For The Baltimore Sun
8:54 AM EST, December 2, 2013
Let’s bypass all the shenanigans and get real, shall we? It’s the penultimate night of "The Amazing Race," four teams are left and cobras are on the menu.
Tastes like snake-ish chicken
Still in Indonesia, teams are sent from the Pit Stop to King Cobra House for their next clue. They are told they’ll each have to eat a serving of a local dish. They all depart within 20 minutes of each other, but Tim and Marie’s cab driver drops them off at the wrong entrance to the area.
In their cab, Leo wonders if they’ll have to eat a snake. Jamal says, “They don’t eat snakes here.” Then they get to the Cobra House and are served a four-inch portion of grilled cobra. Eat those words, Jamal! And also, eat that snake!
Jason and Amy arrive next. Amy says she loves eating challenges. The Afghanimals lie and say that Tim and Marie already left. Jason says that the skin tastes “snake-ish.”
Travis says, “Luckily Nicole does eat, she’s not a salad-eating woman.” I’ve had some delicious salads in my life, but, sure, I get what he’s saying. He also says that, since they’re physicians, they don’t get freaked out by body parts, even if they’re animal body parts.
The saga of Marie and food
“Marie is the toughest girl I know, but there’s some food issues,” says Tim. Marie claims that she’s very picky, and meat would be her worst fear. “I just can’t eat gross stuff,” Marie says.
Luckily they spend some time wandering around lost, so she has time to build up her fear. Finally, they go back to their cab and get to the right entrance after the other teams have left.
She does freak out a bit when she sees the cobras, but says, “I can’t be the girl that didn’t eat the snake.” There’s your life motto, girls. Don’t be that girl.
The other teams are at the Roadblock. They go to a crater near an active volcano. Then they pick up two flats of eggs, hold them while riding on the back of a small motorcycle on a narrow dirt path, then put a dozen eggs into a colander tied to a stick. Then they boil the eggs in a hot spring. Afterward, the egg man will inspect each egg. If they’re all boiled, they get the next clue.
Jason, Travis and Jamal are all boiling eggs together. They sit around chatting until Jason and Travis leave together. Jamal waits two minutes longer.
Back at the egg man, Jason delivers first. They appear cooked, but when the egg man cuts each egg in half and pokes it with his finger, he declares that only six are good. Travis fails, also. Jamal’s extra two minutes weren’t quite good enough, so they all go back to the spring.
Jason decides to set his watch for 20 minutes. Travis says they should tell Marie that it only takes eight minutes. They wait and wait. After 20 minutes or so, they leave. Jason passes Marie on the dirt road and tells her that it was quick. Then Travis passes her and tells her it was tiresome.
Tim gives us great insight into his character, if his character is a person who really understands Marie. You see, Marie has never hard-boiled eggs before. She doesn’t know how. Tim interviews that Marie lacks patience and the only thing that boiling eggs requires is patience. “If she can’t figure out that the eggs go in the basket, and the basket goes in the water, then...” he mimes his head exploding.
Oddly enough, Marie is holding her basket of eggs over the water. Then she decides to put them in the water. She thinks that it shouldn’t take long, but then again, she kind of caught up with the others, so she figures they might have taken a long time. While she boils her eggs, she says, “This sucks. It smells and it’s hot and I hate eggs and I just ate a snake. So far, today blows.”
Tim explains that everything Marie does cook is well-done, and she does it again this time. Marie waits long enough and cooks all of her eggs on the first try. “I overcook things, that’s what I do.”
Painted ladies and painted men
One Detour option is Paint Your Partner, where partners make each other up as traditional Javanese brides without the use of a mirror. This includes foundation, eyeshadow, three sets of fake lashes, jewels, gold stickers and black paint. Oh, and a wig.
Jason and Amy and Travis and Nicole choose this option, the women thinking they’ll be good at makeup. It’s very elaborate. The men have to shave for this. Jason had stubble, Travis had a mustache and goatee; it’s weird to see their post-interviews with bare faces.
After an hour or so, the men aren’t having much fun. Travis’s face is too oily and sweaty for the glitter stickers to stick well, so Nicole pins them to his hair.
Tim and Marie get to the salon. When Tim realizes he has to shave, he says he hasn’t used a straight razor in seven years. Marie says she doesn’t wear makeup. They do it quickly, though, catching up. Tim even manages to tease Marie, “Don’t just do things because you think it’s pleasurable to powder my face.”
The saga of the Afghanimals and their facial hair
Leo and Jamal choose the second Detour option: Turn Over a New Leaf. They dress up as local tea workers with a blouse, skirt, scarf and hat, then search the huge terraced tea fields for a pair of shears. The rows of bushes are curved and on a hill, so there’s no way to methodically search in a grid pattern. Jamal finds a white flag, but no shears.
After two hours, they decide to switch. They get to the spa to find the other three teams still there. The counter of makeup confuses them, and then they see razors, indicating that they’ll have to shave.
Jamal has an epic beard, Leo is just scruffy. (Oh, man, how would Team Beard have done this?! Gladly, I bet.) They think that shaving would take too long, and they’re heartened that the other teams haven’t left, so they go back to the tea fields.
Have we ever seen a team switch Detours and then go back? Maybe once or twice, it’s very unusual.
Back in the fields, Jamal suggests that they look on top of the bushes, not on the ground like they did before. Leo thinks the shears would have fallen to the ground, so they search differently. After who knows how long, Jamal finds shears on top of the bushes. He says it’s an area they’ve searched before, when they were looking on the ground, so he was right and Leo was wrong.
The Daters finish their makeup and pass on the first try. The Pit Stop is at the bottom of the Cimahi waterfall, and they have to go down lots of stairs to find the mat. Congratulations, Jason and Amy, for the first time in the Race you are team number one!
Travis and Nicole don’t pass their makeup. The black paint has turned their hands black, and Nicole has smudged Travis’s face all over. He looks pretty bad.
The Exes finish their makeup, but they don’t pass either. Then Marie asks Tim if her face is smudged. It is. They clean each other up with more foundation and then they pass.
Nicole finally cleans up Travis’s face. They pass.
Then there’s a cab race! The Married cab passes the Ex cab! They hit traffic, both cabs are side by side, and then the Exes take the lead again. They get to the waterfall at the same time and I worry that someone will trip down those wet wooden stairs and break their leg, but they don’t.
Tim and Travis hit the mat at the same time, and then Marie gets there. Nicole is a few seconds behind.
Phil tells Travis that he looks like an angry showgirl with all of his gold stickers hanging off his face. It’s true. Tim and Marie are team number two, and Travis and Nicole are number three.
That leaves Leo and Jamal to take last place. They tell Phil that the Detour took them five hours. But then! Phil grants them one more life, saying it’s a non-elimination leg. Yahoo!
Next week is the two-hour finale. Are you ready? I think there’s a crazy Japanese game show. Oh, and we’ll find out who wins! I’m still voting for Tim and Marie, although anyone could take it.
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