By Janell Sutherland
10:08 AM EDT, April 16, 2012
This week on The Amazing Race we get an African safari, and that’s just flat-out cool. Also, my on-again, off-again relationship with JJ is off. I’m done with him like I’m done with tofu, and there’s no more done than that, I tell you.
Once upon a time in Africa, a volcano erupted. Then plants invaded, and it became the Ngorongoro Crater. It’s lush, huge, beautiful, and full of all your favorite African animals: lions, elephants, zebras, baboons, gazelles, all of that. It’s known as the Garden of Eden, and according to BB Rachel, “It’s better than a zoo!”
The first part of the episode has all the teams driving through the crater on a safari. It’s nice of the Race to give them some time to appreciate their surroundings before throwing a cutthroat Double-U-Turn at them.
African life is hard, okay? The Detour options are to repair a bicycle tire or to fill up several large jugs of water from a communal well. Homes in this small village don’t have plumbing, so residents wait in line at the well for hours every day. This is the part where you appreciate your shiny faucets in multiple rooms of your house.
By the way, life in Kentucky isn’t that easy, either. Bopper and Mark choose the bike task because they’ve fixed a lot of bikes in their time. Mark comments that he never had a new bike growing up, he had to make one. Those skills put them in first place, so eventually it worked out, right?
Bopper Don’t Fail Me Now!
You guys, Bopper slipped a little bit on the side of an African road last episode, and it tweaked the knee that he recently had surgery on, and now he can’t run! But he would rather cut off his knee than let it slow him down (although, I’m thinking that cutting off the knee actually would slow him down, so I hope he doesn’t have to make that decision) so he pushes through. Even when Army Dave and Army Wife are close behind, Bopper keeps going. Spoiler – he and Mark get their first first-place finish! Yay!
JJ is a Whiny Crybaby
During a previous leg of the Race, the BPAs made a deal with Team Army and some other eliminated team that, should a U-Turn opportunity arise, the first team would U-Turn Big Brother. They had a secret handshake and swore oaths and promised firstborn children, because it was the most important priority on the Race.
Bopper and Team Army both fixed bikes and finished the Detour, and they arrived at the Double-U-Turn first. Bopper didn’t U-Turn anyone. Team Army explained that, since the Feds were two hours behind the last team, they weren’t going to U-Turn. They moved on.
Art and JJ finished filling water without seeing other teams. They got to the U-Turn and noticed it hadn’t been used, so they assumed that they were in first place, because if Team Army were ahead of them, they would have used it. JJ has a lot of faith in Team Army. He U-Turns Team BB as promised (blood-oathed).
At the next clue pickup, JJ notices some clues are missing so he knows they’re not first. Uh oh. During a cab ride, JJ monologues about the honor of Army Dave, because either Dave is behind him, and still adhering to the Bro Code, or Dave is ahead of him and didn’t U-Turn and broke the oath and how could he do such a thing. Sure, the editing makes it look like he went on and on about this, but I choose to be persuaded by that editing that he went on and on about this.
Art and JJ catch up to Team Army at the Roadblock. Army is just leaving, actually, and they don’t have a lot of time to chat because Army Dave wants to get to the Pit Stop first. JJ confronts them and Army Wife explains that the Feds are behind enough that they weren’t worried. Then they run off. Oh, JJ does not like that. He takes his ball and goes home, telling Art that he doesn’t want to share with Army anymore. He’s cutting them off. Oh Alpha Man, it must take so much energy to maintain that righteous indignation.
JJ is still upset when he gets to the Pit Stop, and he tells Phil that if he had a time machine, he would go back and U-Turn Team Army because he’s sick to his stomach about the betrayal. I wonder if Phil is surprised at all the inter-team drama going on this season. So much “hater-ade,” as BB Rachel calls it.
What About the Other Haters?
Remember how Vanessa and BB Rachel hate each other? They still do. BB got U-Turned, but they were able to U-Turn Vanessa. Then they both finished up before the Feds caught up, so they are in a holding pattern of hate this week.
What About the Speed Bump?
Oh, Federal Agents / Fake Kindergarten Teachers. They almost pulled it off! Ralph and Vanessa spent some time being lost and wandering around the village, so the Feds just about caught up to them. After the U-Turns it was so close! And Vanessa’s cab even got a flat tire! But then there was a Speed Bump at the end and, unlike every other Speed Bump in the history of the Race, this one actually slowed down the target team.
It didn’t help that the Roadblock was to harvest honey from a beehive. According to the beekeepers, you have to remain calm. It’s not a task that you can rush through. “Respect the bees,” from BB Rachel again (sure, she cried again this episode, but she’s also supplying colorful narrative). The Feds couldn’t make up any time in the Roadblock, so they came in last again and were officially eliminated.
Next week: I’m worried because they show Mark having a meltdown because he can’t do a Bollywood dance in India, but I’m also hopeful because the teasers are always fake-outs. Tune in to see Kentucky dance!
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