It's episode two! We still maybe can't tell teams apart! There's a good chance it's a non-elimination leg because they sometimes bust those out well before we're able to form emotional bonds strong enough to care whether someone goes home or not!
The teams and "Love Machine" Phil Keoghan are in Argentina, and they have to head to the town square in Cafayate, which was chosen because it's too easy for Americans to fake their way through pronouncing Buenos Aires (when in doubt, WWMFES - What Would Madonna From Evita Say?).
The military dude, who I think is named Dave but I'm not sure because he's completely unremarkable and his wife (Mrs. Dave? See above) are in first, and they think the target is on their back. Kinda hard for anyone else to target you when they couldn't pick you out of a lineup. If I was any other white bland couple on this show, I'd worry about being collateral damage when this hypothetical target is eventually placed. Anyway, Team Big Brother is in second, and they think that the Race is harder than BB. That's probably because the Race has replaced desperate, agenda-driven sexual relationships with things that require effort and skill, such as running between two places or counting livestock (spoiler!).
Everyone meets up again at the town square because their task doesn't start for a few hours, a revelation that is stunning to nobody except the 20 people competing in this show.
The federal agents are lying to everyone and saying they are teachers. I wouldn't think of it as lying, ladies, I would think of it as trying on a new career once this appearance on a national reality show renders field work pretty much impossible.
The Detour is to either boil water using some solar heating contraption (more examples of CBS' relentless liberal agenda, am I right, 2 Broke Girls With Preexisting Medical Conditions?) or to pack a bunch of stuff on a burro and lead it uphill or something. Classic "attention to detail" vs "dumb excruciating labor" challenge. Only the immigration dudes go with the donkeys, probably because their personal politics conflict with anything that relies on nature. I don't want to assume both Art and JJ are hyper-conservative based on snap judgements, but I am certain that one or both of them have said something at a holiday barbuque that sparked a subsequent conversation about their racism. Meanwhile, back in Argentina, these two sweat a lot and curse and have teenage girl breakdowns and then it turns out that they are only 20 feet from finishing so they do that and they're in first place.
The male clown, who I think is also named Dave but doesn't quite qualify as Funny Dave (Military Dave probably has him beat there, but I can't say for sure because I forgot what Military Dave looked like since I started this parenthetical), has been cancer-free for 11 years. He's a real demonstration of Dr. Blake Downs' concept of "the healing power of laughter." Laughter can't read your instructions on the clue, though, and neither can the clowns. They don't realize that they need to consult the picture on the box, which I guess means they've never bought a piece of furniture from Target? I think there are two things that compel someone to attend clown college. One is the the inherent drive to make other people experience joy through laughter. The other is being a complete failure at regular college. Clown Dave and Mrs. Clown Dave seem friendly, but they are clown-smart, which is to say they are not smart at all.
Right after I imply that none of the contestants have ever watched the show, Mark drops one of the major tenets of my own strategy (in the hypothetical world where I go on the Amazing Race twice and use it to catapult to fame and wealth): "As long as one team is behind us, we're fine," he says. That -- along with his stunning tolerance for the Jim Varney impersonator named Bopper he took on as a teammate -- is why Mark is awesome. He also tries to interpret the solar heat thingy in terms of Legos. I have sent him a letter asking to be my dad, but I don't think he's going to say yes because I already like my current dad and that means Mark would have to be the Greg Evigan.
Everyone except Mark and Bopper have a hell of a time using the sun to heat the water. I guess maybe the picture/diagram on the box didn't explicitly show it facing the sun? I'm most disappointed in the Jersey Dudez and the Twins, because pairs of young, athletic men typically do well. These guys are running in the middle of the pack at every stop, so if we assume they are just a little faster, they've gotta be real dumb to keep cancelling that advantage out. The girls from Mississippi (can I call them the Dixie Chicks? Are you comfortable with that) storm past the boy teams. Speaking of them, I already professed my love but I cannot forgive their black and pink color scheme (unless they are huge fans of The Hart Foundation). Nor can I forgive that cheer they do near the end of the episode. Don't abuse this love, ladies; I am very sensitive.
After the Detour, everyone has to takes one of three overnight buses, except one of the buses breaks a window because it broke the sound barrier or drove through a segregated part of the 1950s American South, I don't know. Everyone's all bummed because it's putting them slightly behind the rest of the teams, and no one seems concerned about BEING STRANDED ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD IN ARGENTINA AT NIGHT, which is probably how all of Art and JJ's nightmares start. Anyway, spoiler alert, they don't get turned into the plot of U-Turn 3 or some other future Netflix Instant Streaming gem, they just make it slightly behind the other teams.
Once they get off the bus they have to count cows at the Roadblock, which continues the proud tradition of making contestants do menial tasks in other countries and flip their shit while the locals who get up and do this every single day just sit there and giggle. Granted, this is math under pressure, since there's a time limit component of Cowmath, and the pressure and environment is probably like taking the SAT at the county fair.
At some point during this task the girl on the Big Brother team has a total meltdown, probably because that's what she did when she had to take the SAT for reals. The worst part is that her crying face might be the ugliest thing ever broadcast on CBS (a network that kept Dick Van Dyke on the air five years after he was already dead). Every time she cries, her face twists into what is best described as a gargoyle's asshole. How can your crying face elicit no empathy from a viewing audience? She starts to break down and suddenly I wish something fiery and sharp would hit her in the face. Meanwhile, her boyfriend offers to help and somehow he gets yelled at. He takes it like a milquetoast champion, because that's how you win at reality shows -- just let the unstable chick get sloppy and don't create conflict. It's admirable in a masochistic sort of way, but I kind of wish that she becomes the first person to get dumped DURING the actual race. Brendon should just ask Phil if he can trade her out for a local, and also maybe start spelling his name with an A instead of an O.
Once again, the clowns' rejection of any and all conventional education systems means Not-Military Dave doesn't know math, so he finishes last in cow-counting' and they finish last at the Pit Stop for the elimination. Cherie starts crying (again) and uses the line "tears of a clown" (again), so be slightly thankful that we didn't get 11 more episodes of that charm.
Two episodes down and now we at least get an idea of which teams are actually going to make a run at this thing. And it looks like Team Big Brother and the Divorcees get in a fight next week, which is to say the girls in those couples get in a fight, because the dudes are basically interchangeable.