'The Amazing Race' recap: Down and out in Indonesia

In the latest Amazing Race, teams get the heck out of Taiwan so they can get down in Indonesia. With two eliminations coming up, who will survive? And who will think of the children?

Since the Taiwan-to-Indonesia air route isn’t too popular, all the teams bunch up on the same flight. Then they take the same overnight train, and finally splinter off during the Great Taxi Race to a remote cave. The spread during the taxi race seems to follow the teams throughout the episode, which is how Grandma and Grandpa pull themselves out of last place, even with a rope-untangling speed bump.

A spelunking Roadblock doesn’t shake up the order much, and the final 3 teams leaving the cave are father/son adventurers Laurence and Zac, Vegas showgirls Kaylani and Lisa, and flight attendants/life partners Ron and Bill.

What’s in Your Backpack?
A banana. I can only blame misfired synapses in my brain for the fact that I find certain food references funny. Mostly waffles, like Tom Hanks in “The Ladykillers”: “We must all have waffles forthwith.” Or an old Letterman Top Ten list that might have been Questions to Ask the President: “Sure, waffles is tasty now, but will they always be?”

Maybe it’s just me. Anyhow, Laurence was in a taxi in the middle of the night and he dug through his backpack, pulled out a banana, and showed it off to the camera, and, “Banana!” And I laughed.

Maybe I just mention it so that I can highlight him and Zac, the youngest person to ever sail around the world solo. These guys are hardcore, so if they’re packing bananas, maybe we all should. I’m just sayin’.

Communication: You’re Doing It Wrong
Siblings Justin and Jennifer had a brilliant argument in the airport about whether or not to use the phone. What I liked is that they talked over one another constantly and consistently, ensuring that neither one heard the other. Jennifer, a self-described hothead, finally talked longer than her brother and thus won the argument. Let’s monitor them and see if they develop any listening skills.

Snowboarder Lingo of the Week: “Don’t ‘dude’ me, dude.”

Favorite Psych Ending
Here’s all the captions I couldn’t decide on: Only the Penitent Man Will Pass; We Looked Into Your Soul and Found It Lacking; Heart of Gold or Heart of Darkness; or some reference to Lose Yourself to Find Yourself. It’s like Zoltar the Fortune Teller generating random bits of wisdom but then giving out a bonus to those he finds worthy.

Basically, morality or karma or a quirky bit of fate entered the last stage of the race and shuffled the deck. Are we sick of me being abstract? Good, let’s break it down.

The Detour instructed the teams to either dance in a busy intersection for tips, or hustle traffic into a parking lot to earn money. Either way, they had to earn a certain amount, then take the money to an orphanage to help victims of a recent volcano eruption. Yay, give money to the orphans!

But wait — there’s more. A group of smiling children will stand behind a table to greet the teams and accept their money. On that table is a printed sign instructing the teams to turn over all their tips, plus all the other money they are carrying. All of their money. That’s not printed in the clue, it’s entirely dependent upon someone reading that sign.

You know what? Only three teams read the sign. Ernie and Cindy, the dating couple who were first last week and stayed near the front of the pack this week, did not read the sign. Phil turned them away at the Pit Stop and Cindy had a meltdown, because she grew up in a “competitive Asian environment” and can’t believe she missed one little thing.

Grandpa and Grandma don’t read the sign. The Wonder Twins with their amazing communication skills don’t read the sign. The snowboarders almost leave the orphanage but then one of them gets tapped by a magic wand and reads the sign as he walks out the door. They give up all their money and head for the Pit Stop. They are the fourth team to arrive, but the first to finish correctly, which makes them Team Number One.

The arguing siblings don’t read the sign. Token Engaged Couple doesn’t read the sign. Laurence and Zac, that potassium-loving father/son team, read the sign and thus move up from eighth to second place, which is pretty impressive.

Finally, proving that Vegas showgirls do indeed have hearts of gold, Kaylani and Lisa read the sign. They are the tenth team to arrive at the Pit Stop, and since it’s a double-elimination round they are bravely waiting to be Philiminated. Instead they move up to third place. How about them odds?

The rest of the teams double back to the orphanage and arrive penniless at the Pit Stop. Who loses? Ethan and Jenna, the Survivor winners. I’m really going to miss his smile and his hair, he’s adorable. We also lose flight attendants Ron and Bill, who were in the back of the pack since the Great Taxi Race. They’re also too adorable to lose.

Next week promises mud, elephants, and silly hats! Let’s try to pick some heroes and villains, too, okay?

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