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'The Amazing Race' recap, Pearl diving in Bora Bora

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Welcome to Week Two of "The Amazing Race," featuring the Secret Alliance Fight Club and also the Alliance of Quitters. The Race remains in Bora Bora this week, so let's get started because it's so pretty.

We'll totally keep our end of the deal, probably

Jessica and John, the dating couple, Team J&J for this leg, won two Express Passes last week. The top eight teams bunch up on the beach in the morning while waiting for water taxis, and Father/Son approach them about the second pass, which is theirs under the terms of the alliance. John's all, yeah, we're cool, as long as you don't tell anyone we're cool so they'll continue to kiss up to us. Then he interviews that it's "The Amazing Race," not the Amazing Honesty test, so he's still kind of iffy on who gets the Pass anyway.

The water's warm, let's get in! Oh, wait, hold on, okay, now let's get in

The teams stop by an outdoor wedding chapel to get blessed by a priest, then they have to pick up some snorkeling gear and head out on a boat. Fa/Son are first, but they forget their snorkeling gear and don't realize it until they're out on a boat surrounded by other teams on other boats. Oops. They have to turn back, and now they're in the back of the pack.

Let's do it! Let's don't do it! Let's do it!

The Detour is a choice between harvesting pearls or setting up an underwater picnic. Oysters are strung on lines underwater, and the teams have to harvest two red pearls to pass, while wearing snorkels. Otherwise they put on a diving helmet and set up a picnic with table, chairs, tablecloth and dishes. Unfortunately they don't eat underwater (bet it's hard to do with a helmet), which makes me question the whole point of setting things up, but then I remember that on this Race the whole point of things is to do just do them.

The Doctor Brothers are still afraid of water. I thought it was only one of them, but it's both. They sit in their boat and debate skipping the Detour altogether and taking a six-hour penalty. It looks like they agree to quit, but then they agree to try. Sadly they are so afraid that they don't notice they can bring up a whole string of oysters at once, and instead they grab one at a time. Needless to say, they fall to the back of the pack, noting that, "[The water] was so deep, it was everywhere."

Pirate maps are the best

After the Detour, teams are given a scrap of cloth with some hand drawn pictures on it and told it's a map. They hop on jet skis and follow the map to a beautiful tiny island. Teams YouTube, J&J, Hockey, Mullet, and Fa/Son are motor-crafting across the ocean at the same time.

The Fearless Friends are the last of that bunch (except for Doctor Brother) to find their pearls. When they do, they have no one to follow and they don't think very carefully about the map. So of course they head off into the ocean in the wrong direction and get lost.

"We grew up really Asian-American," they say, "our biggest fear is fear of failure. We were trained to be successful." Being lost in the ocean is very hard for them. After wasting time and showcasing some dramatic self-hate, they regroup and figure out where to go.

What about those other people? The quitters?

Meanwhile, nearly two hours after everyone else, the Newlyweds and the Singers begin their leg. One Singer is wearing a sequined headband which really annoys me, but then she takes it off in the boat and says, "No more sparkles for me." Good for her.

Those two teams sort of agree to do the same Detour, the Newlyweds thinking it's easier to "keep [their] eyes on dinner." They do the underwater picnic. Newlyweds finish just ahead of the Singers and jet ski their newlywed hearts out, but the Singers are full throttle behind.

This week's best life skill tangentially applicable to race success

The Roadblock is a "traditional game to test strength." One person must kick a coconut across thirty-five yards of sandy beach, while wearing stilts. If they fall, the coconut can stay where it is but they have to begin the stilt walk again.

Mullet Chuck takes the Roadblock for his team. Wynona interviews that his legs are long, and he works at Wal-Mart and spends his days running up and down the aisles, so he's in good shape for this. I would like to say that Chuck smokes the other players on the stilts, but he does not. However, after such high praise, he does not fall down. Wynona was right!

This week's second-best life skill tangentially applicable to race success (If you're not afraid of water)

Before the Race, the Doctor Brothers interviewed that they're used to working under pressure while sleep deprived. "Yes!" I think to myself, "This will be perfect for Race conditions!"

Unfortunately, their skills are underutilized because they just panic. One of them calls for rescue while snorkeling. They finally decide to try the other Detour, and they are pleasantly surprised that the diving helmets allow them to breathe underwater. Oh, Doctor Brothers. If only you'd realized that before everyone else finished the pearl diving.

The finish line, non-dramatic edition

The top finishers of the Roadblock were Hockey (unsurprisingly good at balance), Fa/Son, and Dating J&J. They race on foot to Phil.

Yards away from the Amazing Mat, Father cries out, "I just ruptured my Achilles!" Ack! He keeps going, just slower.

Team Hockey is first, Fa/Son is second, and J&J are third. Father hasn't collapsed in pain, so maybe his Achilles isn't completely ruptured. You know who is really curious about this? John. If Fa/Son are out of the Race, then the second Express Pass is up for grabs, and J&J can really mess with teams' heads dangling that Pass around. Quite a mental and physical cliffhanger.

The next foot race is between Teams YouTube and Mullet. Chuck may be long of leg and swift of foot, but Wynona has pointed out a few times that she's no spring chicken, so YouTube takes fourth place and Mullet is fifth.

The Roller Moms, who did the underwater picnic and kind of raced apart from the pack, get to the Pit Stop in sixth place.

This week's best life skill actually applicable to race success

Four teams are still out there: the Doctor Brothers, finally finishing the Detour, the Singers and Newlyweds, and the Fearless Friends. The Friends get to the Roadblock first, and one says forebodingly, "Should be easy for me, I'm so good at balancing." The Newlyweds arrive next, followed by the Singers.

Guess what? Singer Caroline grew up doing gymnastics, and she says, "I just love anything nimble-y." I just love her right there for adjectiving an adverb. While Max and the Friend fall over and over, Caroline nimbly crosses the finish line. They get to Phil in seventh place.

The finish line, dramatic edition

Newlywed Katie watches Max fall over and over, and she wins the award for First Person to Say "Maybe I should have done it" at a Roadblock. Then she waits at the finish line where Max can see her. This motivates him, either out of love or fear of death at her hands, and he finishes. They are team number eight.

Friend is still falling over and over. Her foot has a blister, her hands hurt. But just when you think the Doctor Brothers will arrive and pass them, they don't. Fearless Friends are team number nine.

The Doctor Brothers get the sad music of farewell played over their Roadblock. They finish, but they are Philiminated. I bet they would have been so awesome anywhere that wasn’t in the middle of the ocean.

Join me next week when the Race goes to Phil's very own hometown of Christchurch, New Zealand! He promised on Twitter, "I helped set up some pretty wild challenges from my past." Will we get to see his dad again? I can't wait!

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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