TAR 12: Episode 8

It was a dark day for The Amazing Race’s resident goths, as Kynt & Vyxsin were eliminated — thanks largely to a poor execution of the right strategy.

The couple entered this leg with a disadvantage looming. At some point, they’d have to complete an additional task (called a Speed Bump), as a penalty for finishing last on the previous, non-elimination episode.

But things started off well, as Kynt & Vyxsin wound up alone on the first flight to arrive in Mumbai, India from Florence, Italy. However, all five of the remaining teams bunched up when they had to wait overnight to retrieve the next clue from a newsstand.

The newsstand clue directed most of the teams to their Detour clue. But when Kynt & Vyxsin arrived there, they had an additional cluebox waiting: the Speed Bump. The goths had to learn and execute a number of progressively more difficult yoga moves before they could move on.

They finished that task quickly, so quickly in fact that they reached the a flower-stringing Detour to find Nate & Jen bickering their way through the task.

By that time, TK & Rachel (but mostly Rachel) had already finished stringing flowers and had moved on to find their next clue. And elsewhere, Nick & Don beat Ronald & Christina at the other Detour task: properly pasting a large, 6-panel movie poster onto a wall. The detail oriented task brought out the worst in Ron — who whined at his daughter and the task’s judge — and it was up to Christina to finish the task by herself.

Nate & Jen finished stringing flowers moments before Kynt & Vyxsin, but the goths were able to reach the next clue box first. There they found an unused U-Turn, which was their best chance to make sure they stayed in the game. The U-Turn allows one couple to force another couple (who must be behind them at this point) to go back and complete the Detour they chose not to do.

At this point, Kynt & Vyxsin correctly deduced that using the U-Turn could be essential to keeping them in the race. Standing on the U-Turn mat, Vyxsin said, "Well, we don’t know who’s behind us, except maybe Nate & Jen are behind us. We could try to U-Turn them in case they’re behind us."

It was the right plan. Even if they couldn’t be sure that Nate & Jen were behind them (and they were), that was the only other team the goths had seen since their Speed Bump.

But then Kynt made a fatal, faulty assumption: "But we could U-Turn somebody and make sure we sink ’em. Someone we know is behind us, like Gramps [Don] & Nick."

Unfortunately, Don & Nick were well ahead of the goths by this point. In fact TK & Rachel, Nick & Don, and Ron & Christina were all at (or on their way to) the Pit Stop by this time.

But Vyxsin didn’t fight Kynt as he stuck Nick & Don’s picture to the U-Turn sign, effectively sealing their doom. Nate and Jen soon arrived at the U-Turn clue, and were then off to the Roadblock.

It was neck and neck as Kynt and Jen completed the Roadblock for their respective teams. And it seemed as though the goths might have a chance when Jen delivered propane tanks to her second apartment, only to realize that she hadn’t gotten a receipt from her first delivery.

But then Kynt left receipts behind at both delivery locations, and, despite Jen’s near hysterics in the taxi on the way to the Pit Stop, there was no doubt that the goths were out.

At the Pit Stop, Phil Keoghan paid Kynt & Vyxsin a compliment that appeared to soften their elimination somewhat: "I would have to give you the award for the most fashionable couple ever on The Amazing Race." Kynt looked overjoyed as he high-fived Vyxsin and said, "See, we won something!"

With my favorite team now gone, I’m getting a bad feeling about the rest of the season. It’s sad to see Ronald revert back to demeaning his daughter, Christina, and it makes them hard to watch. And, in the preview for next week’s episode, Don looks like he’s having trouble coping with the physical demands of the race, making the other underdog team a longshot to win.

TK & Rachel’s strong performance this week makes me fear that they could be this season’s ultimate winners, and I would hate that. TK’s laid back hippie exterior masks an intense and totally un-fun core, and I’d rather not hear him give a b.s. victory speech about how they won by keeping things mellow and staying relaxed.

My last, best hope for a satisfying conclusion to the season lies on the unstable shoulders of Nate & Jen. Their hyperbolic expressions of hatred for one another are things of beauty, especially since the negative feelings seem to disappear as soon as the couple has a chance to calm down.

I like Nate & Jen because I don’t believe they mean what they say when they get stressed and become bickering idiots, so it’s easy to laugh them off. TK has been mean and condescending to Rachel on a few occasions, and I believe that he’s meant every word of it. For that reason alone, I’d rather see Nate & Jen take home the $1 million.

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