I had high hopes for the 21st season of The Amazing Race. The second episode, though, was a bit of a letdown.
The teams started their race from Shanghai. They re instructed to go to Surabaya, Indonesia. The teams had no choice but to be all on the same flight. This is the sad fact about going to exotic and new places, you don’t have much flexibility in flight choices and the contestants are forced to go to the city on the same flight. However, race-wise, this becomes a good gauge of how the teams will manage the sudden loss of advantage.
The teams directly went to Alun-Alun Stadium where they got numbered whips that will decide the order for which they will do the task on the next day. The task is a local favorite which is bull racing. This challenge is a waste of time and tv entertainment time. The contestants are just riding the motorcycles that are supposedly racing the bulls. They are given the route info after the lap. It would’ve been better if the contestants we’re riding the bull and are racing against a local. Or, they should have ensured that the motorcycles finished the lap first before the bull.
It was just like a filler and they didn’t really know other things to do in the city. And given that it was a filler, it was pretty boring.
Next came the Road Block where you had to pedal a kiddie ride while creating animals and hats from an elongated balloon. The detour was a choice between sorting through fish and delivering blocks of ice.
The only emotional and interesting about this episode is the fact that a front-runner team suddenly had the misfortune of getting a stupid taxi driver and a team that is supposedly in the tail end of the race suddenly caught up to all the teams.
The sad part about the race is getting eliminated for the reasons that are outside of your control like stupid taxi drivers. However, the eliminated team didn’t have the assertiveness to make the situation better. Instead of getting out of the cab and hiring a new one, they just let the driver go around the city and wander. On the other side of the fence, it’s just great relief for teams when tasks require you to wait until the start of the next day because it’s too late in the night for people to do anything.
The show’s producers could definitely reconstruct their challenge selection process. It would have been better if the challenges presented are representative of the local culture and cuisine. Indonesia is a very large country and I could bet that there are a lot more interesting things to do than sort fish and deliver ice.