What did you do last week when "The Amazing Race" wasn't on? Did you think of Big Brother Rachel's green sequins? Or of Army Dave's biceps? Or the cute way that Kentucky Mark pukes when he's in the back seat of a car? Oh, it's so nice to be back.
So the teams leave the Middle East and head to Africa. Yeah, like it happened that smoothly. Let's get this on the table right now: drama is afoot. Drama is underfoot, even.
Drama Part One: I thought kindergarten teachers would be bouncier
A few days or weeks ago, when the teams were having a hoe-down around a ring of fire, the Border Patrol Agents and the Feds got to talking. Were they trying to flirt? That would have been awesome. Anyhow, JJ got the idea that they didn't talk like teachers; in fact, they talked like law enforcement! Dun dun duuuun!
While pooling up at a travel agency, JJ spreads the rumor to Team Bopper and Team Big Brother, using the argument that real kindergarten teachers would be bouncier. He just wants to stir the pot, you see. Later, during an airport layover, BPA and the Feds Have A Confrontation. It goes like this: "What are you really?" "Teachers." "No, but seriously, we just wanna talk shop with you guys." "Sucks to be you. We're teachers."
I like it. The Feds know their cover is probably blown, but there's no particular reason to tell anyone. If it drives JJ crazy, then they're all for it. It just goes to show that making JJ crazy is an end unto itself.
Drama Part Two: Vanessa's one-liners are slightly funnier
Throughout the Race, some teams (like BPA and Ralph and Vanessa) have not liked Team Big Brother. I don't know if they had preconceived notions about them, or if they just hate sequins, or if they notice how BB Rachel always cries and seriously, she always cries. So.
During the Nairobi airport layover, teams run through the halls. Someone might have been shoved, but it must not have been caught on camera because anytime they catch anything remotely physical on camera they replay it about five times (and usually I still can't figure out what happened). No replay here, so you just have to imagine that VaRalpha and BB got a little thrown together in a hallway.
And then, as Kentucky Mark describes, it turns into a school lunch line with insults and arguing. BPA are in it for a while, just because they don't like BB and they like to assert authority. Ralph and Brendon are doing manly stares at each other. Rachel and Vanessa are just pulling insults out of the air. I couldn't even write it all down because it was so fast and furious. But I think Vanessa won with her references to sparkles, maturity, plastic surgery, and their relative body sizes ("Did you call me fat?" "No, I just said that my body is smaller than yours.").
Later, when they're alone, Rachel cries to Brendon. Vanessa comments, "I didn't make her cry, her lack of self esteem made her cry."
Choose your own winner from all of that, and meet me in Tanzania, OK?
Make Love or Make War?
This is the Africa that you expect: sunny, open savannahs, herds of wild animals, locals wearing brightly-colored robes and necklaces. In the midst of this, the teams bike to a village and choose either to throw a small club-like weapon at a moving clay target, or take part in a courtship ritual that is basically jumping up and down for one minute when they're 8,000 feet above sea level.
For reasons I don't understand, only BB and Bopper choose jumping. It's timed! You're finished! Why not? Although I was worried about Bopper's heart. No problem, though, he and Mark had such a great time, they "coulda jumped for ten minutes!"
This is the part of the recap where I mention that Team Kentucky is my father-in-law's favorite team. They might be the most popular team on the Race right now, actually. My father-in-law said that he relates to them, so I'm pretty sure he was jumping up and down right along with them.
The most beneficial "Race" prep this week was growing those extra 5 inches
Some of the women had trouble riding the bikes because the bikes were so tall. Vanessa crashed several times, and I kind of like her because she's witty but I also kind of hate her because she's mean so I didn't feel bad that she crashed. Also, she was just fine. But she did end up walking back instead of riding, which caused Ralph to go on and on about how they would lose, and it wasn't her fault, although if she had just kept her feet on the pedals they would have gone faster and wouldn't be in last place, but he loved her and was just sad to be in last place, that's all.
The final challenge was to assemble a campsite. This wasn't a pop-up tent and some sleeping bags. This was serious metal frames, tarps, cots, bedding, and a working camp shower. According to Army Dave and Army Wife, that frame was not easy to put together, since they took it apart a few times and shared nice words like "you're so negative" and "I heard you the first five times."
The Feds are the last all-female team, and they noticed it during this challenge. The metal frames were tall and they were still working on it when everyone else was decorating their site. It was another great never-give-up Race moment.
The Finish: Phil knows what you're up to
Army Dave and Army Wife pull it together for their fourth win. Team Bopper comes in second! Yay! BPA comes in third, and Phil asks them about a rift between the teams. They claim to want to stay out of it. Yeah, I think they just lied to Phil. My feelings about BPA go from one extreme to the other so frequently I'm like a sine wave, and this is a down curve.
Big Brother comes in fourth, and Phil asks them about the fight. Rachel blah blahs about rising above it all, not letting the (wo)Man drag her down, etc. Then when VaRalpha comes in fifth, Phil asks them. Vanessa says that all the teams are on the same page about "the green team" (whose name shall not be mentioned, I guess), and she doesn't want to speak to them again or be friends with them. I'm sure the green team will be crushed. Dang it, Vanessa, grow up!
The Feds know they're in last place, so they stop to watch some elephants on their way to the Pit Stop. By the way, Phil at the Pit Stop? With his hat? He looks very flirty and adventury. He chats with the Feds, and then gives them a big smile and tells them that they're not eliminated. Aw, Phil, you big softie!
Next week there's a Double U-Turn and JJ gets mad. Will he finally explode?