The Amazing Race – Season 24 Episode 10: “Bull Down”

Honestly, when you have Caroline gifting you a line like “I still smell of ham” and you still think that “Bull Down” is the more title-worthy quote, I’m not sure there’s anything I can do to help you.

Narratively speaking, there’s not a lot in this episode that we didn’t already see in last week’s. The Occidental Olliance remain resolute in their stated mission to take out Brendon & Rachel with the power of passive-aggression, while Brendon & Rachel themselves keep their heads down and try to race on through, and the Cowboys rather sheepishly admit that frankly they find the whole thing rather unnecessary and they’re just trying to keep out of it. I’m no great fan of Jet & Cord, as you’ve probably noticed, but on this occasion I think they’re absolutely right: the whole thing is completely stupid. Unfortunately (SPOILER ALERT) their attempt to rise above the drama doesn’t work out that well.

In this leg the teams are off to Seville, Spain – much to the delight of Jennifer, who lived there for a year while she was in college, where she presumably perfected useful spanish phrases such as “¡Ayúdeme! Soy sola una chica!” (I don’t speak Spanish, so any errors in that are entirely the work of Google Translate.) Anyway, in time-honoured The Amazing Race fashion, Jennifer’s encyclopaedic local knowledge doesn’t stop her and Caroline from getting lost repeatedly throughout the leg. There’s a direct flight from Zurich to Seville, but only Dave & Connor and Leo & Jamal make it to the airport in time to catch it, leaving the other three teams to fly as far as Barcelona, spend the night in the airport and catch the red-eye connection to Seville in the morning. Obviously, the production team have anticipated this so there’s an HOO bunch upon arrival in Seville meaning that the first two teams can’t pick up their next clue until 8:30am.

That said, the trailing teams are still in the air when Dave & Connor and the Afghanimals get the aforementioned clue, which directs them to a barber shop where the Roadblock awaits. It’s a slightly odd one where they have to cover a balloon with foam and shave it with a razor in 60 seconds without popping it. Unfortunately, there are very few incidents of the balloon popping (unless you count the barber supervisors popping the balloon to indicate that the contestants are out of time), although Leo bursts his at least once. Really, the problem is that everyone’s being so careful and gentle that they can’t finish in the time limit, so everyone has to take several attempts. Connor’s the first to finish, and as he and Dave scuttle off, Jamal comments sarcastically that he’s surprised since he didn’t think Connor would know anything about shaving because he’s probably not gone through puberty yet. And this might just be me being oversensitive, but considering that Connor is in remission from cancer, I feel like jokes about his ability to grow and/or retain hair are in slightly poor taste. Anyway, Leo eventually manages to catch up, and they give chase.

Meanwhile, the other three teams land in Seville and do their best to make up speed. Brendon & Rachel are concerned because they know there’s a U-turn ahead, and they’re aware that the Occidental Olliance want them gone. While they get to the clue box quickly, they get lost on the way to the barber’s and are the last to arrive – but they’re also the first to finish, as Rachel proves surprisingly deft with sharp objects. She grabs her clue and scarpers, leaving Jennifer and Jet to fight it out between them. Jennifer gets unlucky with a couple of near misses but still ends up finishing before Jet, leaving him and Cord in last place.

The next clue is for the Detour, where the teams have the choice of learning a flamenco routine or charging around the streets of Seville wearing inflatable bull costumes, looking for three parts of a particular phrase (which turns out to be “a matador never thinks about his own death”) that they will need to repeat to the official who has the next clue. To make things a bit trickier, there are a load of other people in bull costumes waiting in the areas where the sentence fragments are displayed, ready to charge at the teams and make it harder for them to look around. If you’ve ever played The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time, it’s a bit like that bit where you’re trying to get to the Sacred Forest Meadow and you have to kind of skulk around and avoid the giant angry chipmunks who will run at you and knock you flat if they see you. Dave & Connor and Leo & Jamal decide to run with the bulls, and both teams are fine at spotting the clues but take a severe battering from the enemy bulls, which gives Dave yet another opportunity to yell that he is an OLD MAN, just in case we’d forgotten. Also, Jamal gets whacked quite seriously near the end and really hurts his knee, which will become important in a minute.

Despite leaving the Roadblock in last place, the Cowboys actually end up beating Brenchel and the Country Singers to the location where the Detours are, but can’t seem to find the clue box. Brendon & Rachel arrive and see them in the distance, and (cannily) cotton on quickly that the Cowboys are lost, so they ask some tourists for directions instead. They decide to do the bulls task as well. Meanwhile, Caroline and Jennifer have to perform their Speed Bump for finishing in last place in the previous leg, which requires them to deliver six joints of Spanish ham to a café. It’s all finished in one trip and doesn’t seem like a particularly complex or time-consuming task.

Dave & Connor finish the Detour and arrive at the U-turn to declare that they’re not u-turning anyone because they no longer have the means to do so, but BOY HOWDY THEY WISH THEY COULD U-TURN THOSE BRENCHELS, THAT’S FOR DARN SURE!, which completely contradicts everything that they’ve said up to this point about being wholesome innocent souls who respect the integrity of the race and would never use anything as cheap as the U-turn, so they can both go and suck a fuck, quite frankly. They leave in the hope that they can still rely on the Occidental Olliance to u-turn Brendon & Rachel for them – and in normal circumstances that probably would have worked, but the next team to arrive is Leo & Jamal, who are worried that Jamal’s leg injury is going to seriously hamper their progress and opt instead to u-turn the bigger overall threat: Jet & Cord. (Of course, they weren’t to know at this point that the Cowboys were already in last place and struggling.)

Brendon & Rachel manage to complete the bulls task as well, although Rachel gets knocked down a lot and screams that they are mean bullies. The Cowboys go for the bulls task once they find the clue box, but they can’t locate the first part of the sentence and end up going straight to the second one, at which point they at least realise they’ve goofed and have to go back. Returning from their Speed Bump, Caroline & Jennifer initially plan to do the bulls task with everyone else, until they realise that they’re good dancers and decide to go for the flamenco task. Sensibly, they decide to rehearse it several times rather than risk attempting it early and being sent back, although for all their talk about how their musical experience makes them naturals at this task, it’s quite distracting to hear them chanting “1-2-3! 1-2-3!” throughout the routine to keep themselves on the beat.

Brendon & Rachel get to the U-turn point and are both surprised and thrilled not to have been spiked by another team. Rachel declares that the Afghanimals made “the smart choice, not the popular choice”, which may or may not be true. Dave & Connor arrive at the Pit Stop in first place and win another trip, but nobody really cares about that because it’s not a FORD MUSTANG, amirite? Leo & Jamal either get lost or are hampered by injury, so Brendon & Rachel end up beating them to second place and they have to settle for third, which they’re kind of grumpy about, though they reiterate that they fancy their chances more against Brendon & Rachel than against the Cowboys.

Caroline & Jennifer get to the U-turn and are aghast to see that Leo & Jamal broke the first rule of Occidental Olliance by u-turning Jet & Cord, so they belatedly and uselessly use theirs on Brendon & Rachel (with Caroline claiming that it’s “nothing personal”, which is hilarious considering that they’ve just spent the best part of two episodes talking extensively how personal it is, like you formed an alliance for the sole purpose of doing this, you idiot). So the Cowboys get there last, and would’ve been in last place even if nobody had u-turned them, and there’s nobody behind them that they could use their U-turn on, so they slump off to the flamenco task (which it looks like they’re pretty bad at as well, although I get the impression the judges take pity on them in the end). Caroline & Jennifer are thrilled to have made the top four for a second time, and take this as affirmation that it was no fluke that they got this far last time. Hmmmm. The Cowboys finish last and are eliminated, thanking God for guiding them around the world yet again, though apparently He didn’t quite care enough to point them in the right direction during the Detour. I guess He moves in mysterious ways like that.

Next week: The Amazing Race hits the UK again, the teams play football at Anfield, and Rachel sobs at some wellies.

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