This week "The Amazing Race"is all about hardcore competition. You think it was hardcore before? Have you ever seen a contestant stare death in the face, debate death versus a million bucks, and choose death? That's what I'm talking about.
Remember last week in Africa when JJ took his ball and went home and now he's dead to me? He's still mad. He'll even recap why he's mad, and Art will join in so we know that both of them are equally idiotic. Let's just forget about it and move on to India.
India still doesn't smell like roses
In every India leg of every Race, the Racers notice two things: the crowds and the smell. The crowd goes along with crazy drivers and cows, and the smell goes along with the crowd and the cows. What I'm trying to say is, India is still crowded and crazy and if you're fresh from the airport, you probably shouldn't hang your head out of the window of the bus because in the best case scenario the smell will make you sick, and in the worst case scenario some crazy bus driver will cruise past and decapitate you. Sorry.
Poor Mark, he gets carsick in the backseat of cabs. Turns out he also gets bus-sick in a bus in India. He and Bopper were in a bus behind the other teams because Bopper's injured leg couldn't run for an earlier bus. The whole ride, Mark narrates how he's feeling. It's not good.
Ladies vs. Gentlemen, as interpreted by Art
The Roadblock is beautiful. There are five giant dance ensembles wearing colorful clothes, and the Roadblocker has to learn a Bollywood dance number then perform it with the dancers in front of a director with lights and cameras and everything. It's outside, it's India in December so it's about 100 degrees, and the Roadblocker has to wear an outfit that's silk or satin or something shimmery that does not breathe.
Bollywood is no joke, by the way. You know those dance challenges with five moves and if they don't fall down they pass? The choreographer judging this task is not cutting slack, he expects them to hit every move. Plus, it's a long, fast dance.
JJ does not want to do the Roadblock, but Art reminds him that he did the Peruvian Bottle Dance, so it's JJ's turn. Ah, the Peruvian Bottle Dance. Ain't nothing weirder than that. Anyway, this means that Art sits back and whines the whole time about how men's bodies can't move like women's bodies so it's impossible for a man to do it. He keeps score, "chicks versus dudes," and he's dismayed every time a "chick" passes. Shocking? I guess not. Annoying? Heck yeah.
BB Rachel represents women everywhere
Stay with me, here. Rachel was excited about the dance because of the glitter and sequins. She smiled huge when performing, and only had a mini-breakdown after she failed her third attempt. She passed on her fourth try.
The Detour challenges were to play cricket and hit a ball past a certain boundary, or learn to drive a rickshaw around an obstacle course. Big Brother and Border Patrol end up at the cricket field together, with Rachel and Art battling it out. Ladies and gentlemen, Rachel hits the ball first. Art mentally gives the "chicks" another point, and JJ is visibly shamed. It's kind of a tender moment. Rachel kind of ruins it when she relives it in her interview, but we'll just ignore that.
Listen to your freakin' husband
Army Dave and Army Wife still have that love/hate thing going on. She finished the dance on her first try. She chose the rickshaw Detour, so he made sure she knew that he would have killed at cricket. She messed up on the obstacle course, he didn't. Then he begged her to listen to him guide her through the turns, and apparently she did (or let him think she did) because Dave was very triumphant in the back seat because he was once again the master. They arrived at the Pit Stop in first place, again, for the fifth time.
The triumph of Mark
Mark throws up on the bus. Then he takes the Roadblock because Bopper's knee is so fragile. Under the bright sun, wearing hot clothes, Mark learns that dance. After his third try, he can barely raise his arms. After the sixth try, Bopper still cheers him on but worries about Mark passing out and cracking his head open. Mark is determined to give it all he has.
Bopper suggests that they take the penalty and move on, but Mark says that he will keep trying or die right on that spot. After the eighth time, Mark mentions that he wants to win the money for his kids, if not for them he would quit. Nine, ten, eleven times. Bopper finally convinces Mark that it's better to quit than to die, and Mark realizes that he would miss out on a lot if he died, so he finally walks away.
Mark's dance teacher follows them into the changing tent to beg him to continue. An unspecified amount of time passes while the other teams check in at the Pit Stop and Mark recuperates in the tent. Suddenly he's decided to give it another try. Now that he doesn't feel like dying, he wants to show his kids that he doesn't quit.
He has a fresh, dry outfit on and climbs onto the stage again. His dance crew is ready, all the stage hands are down on the ground dancing, too. Bopper has learned it by now and he coaches from the audience. I wouldn't say that it's perfect, but even the hard-as-nails choreographer has a heart because he dramatically (and he's been dramatic all day, so this is extra drama) presents the clue. All the dancers pile onto Mark for a group hug. You guys, that moment warmed the cockles of my heart. Let's all move to India and make a Bollywood movie, they're all so nice!
We see a brief clip of them driving a rickshaw while we get voiceovers of impending elimination. It's an honorable defeat. We even see flashbacks of them skydiving, jumping in Africa, being crazy. I'm heartbroken. I already lost my favorite on American Idol this week, I'm not ready to lose Bopper and Mark, too.
Phil once again lets them linger on the mat. Then. Then. You guys. Those editors tricked us all! It's a non-elimination! With the flashbacks and voiceovers I was ready to see them go, because we've had many noble teams come in dead last and be eliminated. But as crazy luck would have it, they are saved once again. We can all rest easy for another week!
Here's hoping the Speed Bump next week doesn't actually slow them down. You know what is coming up next week? Vanessa hurts her ankle, and BB Rachel might have to shave her head. I know, there are other teams on this race that don't include JJ or Bopper, who'd have thought?