Over the past several seasons of "The Amazing Race," we've seen teams form alliances to help one another. Two teams might work together to solve a puzzle, or one might tell another the direction to travel to find the clue box. But what would happen if alliances became more blatant and aggressive? Episode 3 of Season 19 gave us a hint of just how powerful such an alliance could be. How would such partnerships affect the game, and should rules be implemented to prevent such conspiracy?
Here's what happened. While in Indonesia, the remaining nine teams had to enter a Buddhist temple and count Buddhist statues with four specific hand positions. Olympic snowboarders Andy and Tommy were the first to arrive, and upon exiting, gave the entire solution to former NFL player Marcus and his wife, Amani. As luck -- or stupidity -- would have it, Marcus and Amani weren't really paying attention. Although in the end the information may have helped the couple complete the task a bit more quickly, it wasn't the "gimme" it had the potential to be. But what would happen if this sort of blatant partnering continued?
Theoretically, this sort of alliance has the potential to wipe out many of the remaining teams, no matter how well or how honestly they play the game. It certainly gives the aligning teams an advantage that many would consider to be unfair. Over the years we've already seen "The Amazing Race" implement rule changes to prevent other types of inequity. Teams are no longer allowed to beg for money or exchange goods (like clothing or jewelry) for services (like cab fares). It would not be surprising to see the show's creators come up with something to disallow this sort of strategy as well.Currently, when teams break a rule, either deliberately or through oversight, they incur a time penalty at the finish line. If the same sort of penalty was imposed for giving another team the answer to a task, it would almost certainly lessen, if not eliminate, that sort of alignment activity. This solution is not without its problems, however. The question then becomes: Where do you draw the line? Certainly giving another team the entire solution to a task would be an infraction, but what if they simply pointed to the direction of the clue box? It will be interesting to see how the remainder of Season 19 unfolds, and whether or not this becomes a significant game changer.
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