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'The Amazing Race' recap, 'Part Like the Red Sea'

Auto RacingThe Amazing Race (tv program)

Last week on "The Amazing Race," I rooted for the Baseball Bunny Ninja Wives, and they lost. So now I’m going to root for a team that I actually believe will win: Team Exes. The show loves to highlight all of Marie’s screaming and ordering Tim around, but I think she’s one of the most self-aware Racers the team has had. She knows what she looks like and sometimes she plays it up, always with a wink to the camera. She never has a total breakdown, so I think she has a lot of control. And she’s tough. So, Tim and Marie for the win!

The Sainthood of Travis and Nicole

Team Married took first place in the last leg, and we’re reminded that they U-Turned the Afghanimals because “they lied.” The Marrieds live by a moral code, and they talk in an interview about their faith, how they want to be beacons of faith. They say a prayer in the cab.

I don’t think religion has been brought up in previous episodes, but it’s certainly getting highlighted now. Hmm…I wonder why?

Cab talk

Checking in with other teams as they drive to the airport on their way to Indonesia… Dater Jason asks Overachieving Amy if Indonesia “has, like, Chinese people? Or Indians?” She doesn’t answer! She just laughs at him! It’s a serious question, Amy.

In the Ex cab, they discuss who has made more mistakes. Marie feels the need to tally them because she claims Tim makes more. Marie looks like she’s messing with him, although Tim looks a little tired of her. Bottom line, Marie doesn’t want to give in to Tim just because she feels bad that they’re not doing what he wants. So, good luck with that, Tim!

The Afghanimals sleep in, by the way. They burst out of their hotel room one minute prior to their departure time. But they’re loud and happy as always, meeting up with the Pink Ice girls at the mat.

Butting Heads

In Bandung, Indonesia, everyone cabs to a Ram Arena. My high school mascot was a ram! For half a second I totally thought this had to do with my high school, which makes me as smart as Jason.

Oh, look, there’s a monkey on stilts!

They have to choose two rams from a truck, walk them to a festival and watch them butt heads, then return them to a truck. These rams are a lot smaller than I was led to believe. My school had a majestic ram statue in the foyer and it was bigger than me. These Indonesian rams are more like goats with really cool horns.

Based on cabs and traffic, the team order is: Marrieds, Pinks (what?!), Afghanimals, Daters and Exes. They have to take a train back into the city; the Marrieds, Pinks and Afghanimals make the first train.

The Daters are in the station buying tickets when the train leaves. Leo and Jamal tell someone that their wives are pregnant (again) to get the train to leave the station faster. I don’t know if they really affected anything, but it gives Travis and Nicole an opportunity to shame the Afghanimals for lying.

So it’s shaping up to be a battle for last place between the Daters and the Exes, because their train leaves an hour later. Have I already doomed my team to lose?

Birds and Elephants and Meltdowns!

Next up is the Detour. For the Birds, The teams have to pick up two lovebirds from the market, deliver them to an arena and encourage the birds to sing. Once they’re scored, a judge will give them a clue.

Travis and Nicole are the only team to choose Birds. What I learned is, people take their bird-singing festivals seriously in Indonesia. I mean, there’s an audience, there are judges, there’s cheering.

Travis clicks some bird-sound thing. When the birds sing, the crowd goes wild. Travis and Nicole jump up and down like they just won the Race, it was that exciting. All the locals want to high-five them. I’m thinking that if you need some validation in your life, the  Prix of lovebirds in Indonesia is a good place to start. 

The Pinks are the first team to choose For the Elephants. The clue tells them to visit a market and pick up eight watermelons, two bunches of bananas, 12 sweet potatoes and five really long pieces of sugar cane. Then they take the food to a zoo, load it onto a hand trolley, transport it to an elephant, then feed the elephant.

Because nothing will work for them this leg, the Pinks head to the zoo first, then wander around looking for hand trolleys, then wonder what they’re missing. Oh. All of the food. They head to the market.

The Afghanimals went to the market first. They load all the food into the trunk of their cab except for the sugarcane, which is so long they have to thread it through the back windows of the cab. When they get to the zoo, they use their scarves from Abu Dhabi to tie up the watermelons, so they don’t fall off the trolley. They successfully feed their elephant and get the next clue.

The Pinks finally get to the market and dismiss their cab. Then, when they realize the food they need, they try to flag down another. “Somebody help us, we’re lost and need help in Indonesia,” one of them says sadly. Finally they load up their cab, except for the sugar cane. They don’t know how to transport it, and they seem to think their driver won’t let them put it through the back windows. 

After that, they meltdown. Ashley thinks they’ll have to walk the sugar cane, which will take an hour, and she wants to switch. Ally doesn’t want to. They’re in the cab driving most of the food to the zoo as they scream at each other. Ashley says she wanted to do the birds first, Ally gets mad at her for saying that now. “Fine, let’s do the freaking birds!” Ashley claims that she always backs down and does what Ally wants. Ally tells her she needs to be louder, then. 

They get to the zoo and load their trolley, but the watermelons are rolling off. The Afghanimals pass them, and as good Race husbands, loan them their scarves. Aw.

Meanwhile, the Daters and Exes have arrived on the second train. Amy uses a blanket to tie up their watermelons, while Tim loads up a bunch in his shirt. They’re both transporting food through the zoo when the Pink girls leave to go back for sugar cane. Oh, Pinks.

An Octave is Eight

After the Detour is the Roadblock. They have to properly assemble an angklung, a traditional instrument made of bamboo, by putting together an octave of notes. It looks like they put together a frame and then hang notes on it. The parts are in a big pile in the center of another arena.

A procession of kids playing the instrument walks around the pile, but there’s no static example for them to copy. They just have to figure it out. 

Nicole takes the Roadblock, even though Travis is the musical partner. They’re in first place with no other teams around, so he thinks they’ve got time. As she walks in, he says, “You know what an octave is, right?” Apparently not, because Nicole has four things dangling from her frame and she looks perplexed.

Leo and Jamal get there, and Leo takes the task because he is the puzzle guy on the team. Leo finishes his right before Nicole finishes hers. Leo’s sounds good, but it’s not quite right. Nicole’s sounds terrible. “I don’t understand this concept,” she says.

Next comes what the show would like us to believe is blatant hypocrisy. Leo tries again and passes, getting his clue. Jamal shouts to him to destroy his instrument. The judging takes place down a corridor from the assembly area, so Nicole runs down to look at Jamal’s instrument.

I allow for the possibility that she was kind of joking with him, the way she tries to grab it and tells him that he’s going to win, anyway. Although she is very grabby. But Nicole’s not the most casual person. I can totally see her not knowing how to joke, especially when she’s so stressed out. 

Anyway, the show intersperses this with interviews of Travis and Nicole saying that they want to run the Race honorably. The Afghanimals interview that the Marrieds are hypocrites. What do you think?

If she is a hypocrite, Nicole is being sorely punished for it. She has no idea what she’s doing.

The Daters and the Exes get to the Roadblock. Tim and Marie have been alternating challenges, but Marie tells him that she really feels it’s his thing, even though she’s not sure what it is. But she suspects it’s about music, and Tim can play piano, he was in chorus in high school, he’s teaching himself how to play guitar. He knows what an octave is, basically. So he takes it and finishes quickly, and Marie gloats.

Amy finishes it, but before they leave, Jason asks her to help their Race buddies. Amy runs over to Nicole and explains that they’re arranged from shortest to tallest and tells her that one of her sticks is upside down. When Nicole begs her not to leave, Amy arranges the notes in order on the floor. The Pink girls finally arrive, so Amy runs off.

In the cab, Jason gets mad at her for taking so long;  he just wanted her to tell, not show. 

Nicole assembles it carefully, just as Amy told her, and she passes. Travis is not happy. He’s been not happy for 40 minutes while she tried to figure out what an octave is.

He says this in the cab, how he is embarrassed. Nicole is silent but shaking with despair. I feel bad for her. She doesn’t do well with creative things (or charming-people things). It’s got to be hard for her to fail like that.

Best Greeter Ever

The Pit Stop is the Bosscha Observatory, home of the oldest astronomical telescope in Indonesia. The greeter is a man even taller than Phil, dressed as an old-fashioned scientist, I think. He wears a suit, a bow tie, a pocket watch, straw bowler hat and big owlish glasses perched halfway down his nose.

And you know what? He is way into it. He doesn’t say anything besides the usual “Welcome to Indonesia,” but the look on his face matches Phil’s as he waits for teams to arrive. Acting! Brilliant!

The Afghanimals arrive in first place, winning $7,500 each. The Exes join them on the mat a minute later in second place. 

The Daters arrive in third place and the Marrieds join them soon after in fourth. Nicole starts saying, “I am a complete and utter…” and then she hugs Amy and says she’ll love her forever.

Nicole’s relief and gratitude is nice; she knows how close they were to being out. 

Travis still isn’t happy, though. Phil says, “I don’t think I’ve seen this look on your face since you started the Race.” Travis doesn’t say much, probably because he said it all in the cab.

Oh, Pink Ice. They get the music of sadness as they do the Roadblock. The Scientist Greeter wears a very serious face as they arrive on the mat…and get eliminated. Farewell, ladies! They say they’re proud to have made the top five, traveled to seven countries and made lifelong friends with Leo and Jamal. 

Next week: Cobras! And makeup! Four teams are left. Only three more episodes!

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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