Last week on TAR we started with 12 teams, covering the full spectrum of society as defined by reality television and political correctness:
- Two teams of nearly identical beauties – one team made of cheerleaders, one of Miss USA contestants. (Kellie & Jamie) Spirit Division , and (Kandice & Dustin) Beauty Queen Division aka The Barbies - One team of nearly identical male models that found each other in drug rehab. (Tyler & James) Brunette Beauty Division aka The Kens - One team of gays – although you couldn’t tell it from their hairstyles or dress. (Tom & Terry) Gay Blade Division - One girl trying to prove to dad that there are benefits to having a gay daughter – she’s grown up to be just like him – tough and competitive. A son & a daughter wrapped up in one. (Duke & Lauren) Gays & Straights Working Together Division - One team proving the “disabilities are what you make of them” story. Now, if only she could get him to actually believe that. (Peter & Sarah) Special Olympics Division - One team of hill folk out to prove to the world that, jest cuz they tawk funny don’t mean they don’t gots some smarts. – Oh, and in her case, to prove to her hillbilly mate that women are people, too. (David & Mary) Hick Division - One dysfunctional dating couple that think they complement each other by being polar opposites. (Rob & Kimberly) Opposites Attract Repel Division - One pair of brothers who like to compete against each other – competing against someone who doesn’t share their fears & phobias may be another story. (Erwin & Godwin someone should have slapped their parents) Asian Division - The best friends team who say they’ve both grown strong by being single moms and who seem to think the world owes them because they’re single moms. (Lyn & Karlyn) Black Division AKA Team Take - A second set of brothers – out to prove to the world that Muslims aren’t all suicide bombers. As the first team eliminated they proved they could commit game suicide without bombs. (Bilal & Sa’eed) Muslim Division - And, finally, one functional married couple who are out to prove – well, that doesn’t really matter because, as the second team Philiminated, all they managed to prove was that being functional is not necessarily a good thing in this game. (Vipul & Arti) Indian Division
This week opens with Mike Wallace grilling the Attorney General about patient deaths that occurred in a hospital, cum abandoned Hell hole, located in New Orleans. Yep. That’s what my DVR recorded. Because in a stellar attempt at reviving ratings the network and BvM chose to move the race to Sunday’s following NFL football (that always goes into overtime) and the never-been-preempted-yet 60-Minutes. Way to go guys.
After wading through Andy Rooney’s evening rant about Presidential assistants, their titles, rates of pay, and the fact that, even at that level, it appears that women get shafted in the equal pay department, the TAR theme finally swells.
Of course we start with a recrap of last week, but I’ve already told you where to find a much better version of that than Phil will ever give, so go read that if you want to know what happened.
Phil tells us that the teams have now had a mandatory rest period. (Is it like in Kindergarten where everyone lies down on their floor mats and a monitor makes sure that heads are down and there’s no talking?) Trying to drum up some drama we’re reminded that Sarah’s leg is leaking hydraulic fluid all over the floor making walking slippery for everyone, not just her. (Way to go evening that playing field, Sarah.)
Tyler and James (Brunette Beauty Division) is in first place and Mary & David (Hick Division) trails the field.
So, at precisely 9:04 p.m. (are all their alarm clocks set to GMT via atomic clocks?) TAR comes full circle as our former addicts set off on a 963-mile bus/train trip for Outer Mongolia – the place where it all began back on season 1. Everything that goes around comes around. Except, this time they know they’re in Mongolia and they get to keep their passports.
The addicts can’t believe how great it is to experience a trip outside of their living rooms. They need a pinch to remind themselves that what they’re seeing is tangible for a change. Now that they aren’t living in a gutter life is sooo much better they’re going to enjoy every minute of it. (Too bad that the people who most need to hear their success story are too stoned to watch TAR – besides, unless you score gutter space in front of the hardware store, TV’s are in short supply there.)
They are delighted to get to the bus station first and score a spot on a bus leaving at 12 midnight. They chortle about being 2 hrs. ahead of everybody else. Well, everybody else except Duke & Lauren who leave the pit-stop precisely 3 minutes behind them. Duke tells us that he’s cool with gays, except when it’s his daughter. Lauren wants him to remember that she’s been his daughter longer than she’s known she was gay.
Oh, and Peter & Sarah, who leave the pit-stop at 9:22 p.m. (I don’t know about you, but if I’m gonna be bunched anyway I think I’d rather have the extra 20 minutes of sleep.) Sarah greases the roads with hydraulic fluid as she races to the car. She explains that she can get around, but it’s like riding on a flat tire.
Dustin & Kandice get to leave at 9:36. They, also, have a 12 midnight bus ride ahead of them. (And, I’d be up to 32 minutes of extra sleep.) Evidently they’ve forgotten where the entrance gate is, because they’re shown climbing over a wrought iron fence while explaining that they need each other as friends because the world is such a competitive place.
Rob & Kimberly are next to leave, at 9:51, and we find out that BvM is being really cheap this year, giving the teams all of $39 to complete this leg of the race. (At this rate our addicts will be getting some company in their gutter beds.) Kimberly explains that they’ve been dating for two years and are now deciding if their relationship should go to the next level. After listening to Rob yell at her while she ignores him I think they should just skip all the way forward to the after-divorce stage. Just sayin’.
This completes our midnight run for Mongolia, and, if I were Tyler & James, I’d be pissed. That’s almost a full hour of extra sack time they missed out on – with no penalty for getting it.
The next bus leaves 2 hrs. later, and the first to lose sleep getting to it is Kellie & Jamie, BvM having wisely split the Spirit & Beauty Divisions competitors so that viewers might have a fighting chance of telling the teams – if not the individuals - apart. They get to leave at 9:56, which is even worse than what happened to Tyler & James. They’ll almost certainly get there before the first bus leaves so they’re actually missing out on more than 2 hours of additional beauty rest.
We’re told that Erwin & Godwin are 7th to leave, and we’re told they leave at 7:02 p.m. Huh??? Obviously, BvM is cheaping out on the cost of the production staff this year, too. That can’t be right, unless that second bus is leaving a full day after the first one does. (In which case I’d really be ticked at the sleep deprivation.) They’re all about building relationships with each other and others. They’re hoping to form an alliance with people they can trust. Good luck with that one. Ever watched this show before?
Back from the Twilight Zone, the Gay Division sets off at 10:02 p.m. Proving they took – and passed with flying colours - John Ritter’s class, Gay Stereotype Acting 101, they open their clue, learn they’re going to Mongolia, and turn as one to the camera to simultaneously inform us that this is “Amazing” - matching tone, cadence, and inflection as perfectly as they did their orange shirts. (Well, this is The Amazing Race, after all. What did they expect? A Great American Road Trip? Oh. Yeah. I suppose they could expect that. * scrubs mind to eliminate all memories of TARFE*)
They explain that they’re a couple, and that they’ve traveled. But, they’ve never traveled as a couple, and they’ve never made any decisions as a couple. They hope that part of their relationship works out, too. (How two people, independently, both make the same bad decisions as they obviously have in barbers and clothing designers boggles my mind. If that’s how they work separately I hate to think what they’ll come up with if they rely on each other for advice.) Well, they do make one good decision. They look for the gate and exit through it rather than climb the fence, like some others we’ve seen.
Lyn and Karlyn leave in 9th place (which, of course, doesn’t matter as we all know they’re about to be boosted to a tie for second) at 10:19. In a clue, unrecognized at the time, about what to expect from them, we’re told that the biggest thing “I want to take from the race” is to be able to tell my daughter ‘Look. That’s what your mom did.’ (I’m sure this means that we’ll be seeing them modeling all sorts of positive role model behaviors. Right? Oh. Oops. Well, except for that lapse last week when they complained that having one leg constituted an unfair advantage thing. Uh huh.) While everyone else is excited about Mongolia, they are looking ahead and getting excited by the Great Wall.
David & Mary leave last (so they, too, are now in second place) at 10:29. Showing that he knows he’s in a race David tells her to put the clue away so they can jog. Showing that she thinks he doesn’t have a lick of sense, Mary points out that they’re all on the same bus. David explains that Mary doesn’t care how blunt she is and that’s what he loves about her. Then, proving that he doesn’t have a lick of sense, he jogs along beside her while she walks to the bus station.
Instead of showing the second place finishers getting to the bus station one at a time we save film and let them all get there together. Mary is delighted at her bus mates. She’s made friends with people she never thought she’d ever be friends with. Like Asians. She’s never met an Asian person before, and she “just loves the Cho brothers “to death”.
Team Cheerleaders and Team Gays join together in a rousing cheer while the others look on. This reminds Team Hicks that they’ve never met a gay person, either. But, Mary, sounding like she just tasted a new treat at the county fair, tells us that she “laaaahks ‘em”.
Our second place teams send off the first bus with waves and cheers. BvM uses Peter to remind us who all is on the first bus with him, starting with the Brunette Beauties – Tyler & James – who, seen in profile have identical pointy noses, each with matching indentations at the end. The result of spending too much time face down on a subway vent, perhaps? Lauren & Duke get a mention by name, as do Rob and Kimberly. Team USA is referred to as “The Barbies”.
Back at the bus station the Cheerleaders are leading everyone in some kind of weird line dance. Proving that line dancing is not a real country past time, Dave sits it out – saying he doesn’t know how to dance. (Trust me, Dave. Neither does anyone else there.) Tom & Terry just can’t get over how much fun everyone is having as everyone snake dances onto the bus.
The bus trip ends at the train station where Duke finds out that the next train leaves at 4 o’clock. This prompts the Beauty Queens/Barbies to, conspicuously on purpose, wander off to a corner office to ask for a cell phone. Barbies #1 tells us that not sharing all of their information is part of their strategy. (Which fits in with wanting people to see them leave, how, exactly?) However it’s supposed to work, it does- with The Kens following after them. The Kens don’t trust the Barbies and are proud that they’ve figured out their whole scheme. That’s nice. I still haven’t figured it out, unless it’s just a mind game being played by the Beauties. In which case, it may be a lost cause because these ex-addicts turned male models may not have much mind left to play with.
Sarah and Peter, meanwhile, collapse wearily on the steps outside and Sarah draws a crowd of staring men – none of whom are staring at what men usually stare at on a woman. She and Peter decide to put on a little busker act. Sarah – the one with only one leg – demonstrates how she can jump up and down. Peter – the one with both legs – tells us that “It’s good to have a physical disability. Because, we are gonna use that to our advantage.” (Glad to know you’re such a sensitive guy there, Pete.) He tells them that if they pay she’ll run for them. They, of course, have no idea what he’s saying, so after he sends her off to expend more energy, running up and down the street, they don’t pay up. Sarah’s not about to continue her show if they don’t pay. “They pay money at the zoo, though.”
Proving once again that the “last shall be first and the first shall be last”, the second bus gets to the train station before the 4 o’clock train departs. Tom & Terry are the first to spot them and realize that the entire morning exercise has been a colossal waste of time. Everybody’s going to be on the same train. (Gee… I’ll bet you didn’t see that coming, did you?) For some reason, though, this leveling of the playing field pleases them, and they take the time to stand together in the closing doorway to (once again in synchrony) wave bye-bye to China.
The map shows us, and Phil tells us, that the teams are going from Erenhot, China to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia – just in case the fact that “Mongolia” has been used in just about every sentence isn’t enough to help us remember that they are going to Mongolia. We get treated to some beautiful shots of the Gobi desert, which prompts our former addicts to talk about how great life is now that they’ve been given a second chance, and what caused them to clean up their acts. (Sorry guys, your target audience is out scoring some more meth.)
We arrive to find that Mongolia is a mix of old and new. Cars clog the muddy streets while costumed dancers perform in the square. The scramble for taxis isn’t much of a scramble, as they’re all lined up waiting for the racers. They take off as it starts to rain. Duke & Lauren’s taxi seems to be taking a shortcut through muddy lawns, while other taxis go various other routes. God only knows where any of these taxi drivers are actually taking them. Kimberly gets splashed in the face with dirty water and starts worrying about contracting some dreadful disease. (Well, if she’d shut her mouth she wouldn’t have to worry about drinking it.)
Everybody, but everybody, is convinced that they’re sitting pretty – in spite of the fact that none of the taxis seems to be going to the same place. Kellie & Jamie, though, may have reason to feel confident. They took the precaution of having the woman who checked their passports write down the name of the temple in Mongolian so, as long as their cab driver can read, they should be all set. And, they are. They get there first to find that performances are every 10 minutes, starting at 9:00. Tom & Terry join them, followed by Rob & Kimberly. Meanwhile, Peter & Sarah and Duke and Lauren are taking a scenic tour on the back roads of who-knows-where.
In a show of competitive spirit the three teams at the temple race each other inside as soon as the doors open. Why, I’m not sure. They’re all going to se the same performance and no one is leaving until it’s finished. They’re met by what looks like a giant Foo dog who motions them on past a rather discordant costumed drum, cymbal, and finger chime band to watch a native dance performed by people dressed in elaborate costumes and masks representative of ancient spirits. Following this brief, according to the tape a less than 30 second kind of brief, performance (for which our travelers are undoubtedly grateful as they’re standing in the rain outside of the shelter erected to protect the costumes) the Foo dog hands over their envelopes.
And, it’s on to the obligatory drive-a-junker contest. In this case the junkers are old (as in hand-crank to start, old) Russian military vehicles. (Specifically, they are Russian made UAV-469’s - the equivalent of the original Willys-Overland Jeep. From the 1940’s, at least. Runs on anything available – from gasoline to diesel, to LPG. I’m expecting a comeback soon. They’re still being built. In Russia. We’ve outsourced everything else. So they should be a big hit soon. Look for a dealer near you!)
If – and that’s a big if – our teams can figure out how to start them they get to drive to Terelj where they will find a river. Once there they get to trade up in vehicle to horseback, where they will be led by a Mongolian nomad 2 miles to find a meadow where their next clue awaits. Since the clue box is sitting alone, in gaudy splendor, in the midst of a clear expanse of grass it’s pretty clear that finding the clue is not the point of the challenge. Getting there is. Which will be worse, the cars, or the horses? (I know Russian craftsmanship, so my bet’s on the cars.)
The teammate who most likes the “M” role in S&M games calls dibs on the driving - in Kimberly & Rob’s case that means Rob. Then again, given Kim’s knowledge of all things car related (remember, rental car was a novel concept for her), that’s probably more about survival than masochism. (The masochism can wait for after their marriage. They can take turns.) As Rob puts the car into gear, grinding as only a junker can, she pipes up to tell Rob she loves everything about him. Including, “I love how you’re grinding.” (I don’t wanna know any more than this about what sounds he must make when they’re together.) He informs her that it’s the car doing the grinding, to which she wisely responds. “Oh”. (And, it’s the blonde jokes that are so popular. I wonder if she dyes her hair brown…) And, off they go.
Our cheerleaders, one of which is blonde, if you recall, follow the same strategy that got them to the temple first. Before they race off into the unknown they stop and get directions from a local. Unfortunately, they don’t understand the directions. Something they don’t realize until they’re faced with the Mongolian road system. No lights, no stop signs, heck, from what I can tell, no corners. All of the roads seem to end at a building where they split into a “V” and continue on at opposite angles.
As our first place teams take off for the Arctic Circle (depending upon how lost they get), another set of teams arrives at the temple. Oops, looks like The Ken’s cab driver lost the caravan. They hand over a piece of paper (did they also get someone to write down the destination?) and the cabbie immediately recognizes what The Ken’s knew instinctively. They’re not where they’re supposed to be. Hmm… Maybe they should have given him the destination paper before they left instead of after they arrived. Y’think?
We’re spared another 30 second native performance so that we can see the real show. More DAW’s heading out without a clue to where they’re going. Only Sarah & Peter bother to get a map – an actual, physical, map – and directions – from a nearby travel agency who’s sign is in English, Team Hicks stops random people on the sidewalk – none of whom have ever heard of Terelj (if, in fact, they even know what question they’re being asked). Duke’s solution is to “find someone who looks like they know where they’re going”. (Um, Duke? They may know where they’re going, but how do you know it’s where you want to go?) Dustin & Kandice get luckier. Somehow they find a European on the street and, instead of the convoluted explanations given to Team Spirit, he tells them to go down the little street they’re on, turn left, and keep on driving. Even a pair of blonde Barbies should be able to handle that.
Showing that they’re not as dumb as they may seem, (or showing that they’ve actually watched this show in the past – I’m not sure which) Team Hicks gets something better than a map. They get an honest-to-God native willing to go with them. They can’t blow that kind of advantage, can they?
Our Gay Blades and the Dysfunctional Daters are both still driving as fast as they can – apparently on the assumption that a bright shining star will miraculously appear in the heavens above their destination.
As a matter of fact it seems that Rob, at least, is not only a Dysfunctional Dater, he’s also Dysfunctionally Delusional. Evidently he thinks he has a GPS chip implanted in his brain because, in a move that is as stunning as it is unbelievable, he decides to turn off a perfectly good, paved, highway, onto a mud track that angles off into the distance. When Kimberly questions why he thinks they should go that way he quiets her by explaining “That’s why I’m in the race with you, honey”. Suggesting that possibly they do belong together, she accepts this as a legitimate answer.
Team Cheerleaders is still lost on their first roundabout. Round and round they go taking in the sights. They ask for directions again. They get lost again. Someone needs to explain to them that if you don’t understand the directions they don’t count as directions.
Getting to the temple in last place, the Brunette Beauties blame their cab driver saying they “would have got here first”. Woulda. Coulda. Shoulda. If you’d bothered to show him your written directions first, that might have happened. Then again, wishes do not horses make.
Wow! The first team to actually find a sign pointing the way are our Special Olympians – armed with their map. They’re followed by The Barbies – who obviously remembered that the hand who’s thumb looks like an “L” when it’s extended is on their left side - and The Hicks, who’s hitchhiker evidently does know where they’re going. And, you know what? Not one of them are driving on a mud road. Methinks that Rob’s GPS implant is more broken than Sarah’s hydraulic system.
Our final teams leave the temple and, like those that have gone before, we’re split. Erwin & Godwin, in last place, took the time to pick up a physical map and directions. Lyn & Karlyn pick up a man. And, The Ken’s, preoccupied by thinking they were in last place and relieved that they were wrong, decide to rely on some variation of Rob’s implant, evidently based on their impression that maps and directions are for wimps, not men. Good plan, guys. (I foresee another woulda, coulda, shoulda moment in the near future.)
In a moment familiar to all of us, Lyn and Karlyn declare their hitchhiker to be a symbol of God’s divine intervention on their behalf. He was an angel, placed on earth just for them. I hope he’s an angel. Because, angels have wings. And, having delivered them to the required road out of town, they leave him standing by the side of it to find his own way back. (Now, if they’d just have shown him disappear in the rearview mirror we’d have proof that God does, indeed, give a rip about reality show DAWs. But, nooooo. We have to take their word for it. Sorry, I’m not buyin’ it.
Next up we get a little comic relief. In a bit so funny that the best comedy writers in the business couldn’t have come up with it, we find our Gay Blades stopped at some type of checkpoint. It appears to be a toll road, although it could be the Russian border with Mongolia. Faced with a barricaded road they have no choice but to ask for directions. So one of them (sorry, in their orange ski caps I can’t tell which one) does. By prancing around like My Little Pony, slapping himself on the a$$, repeating, “Horse. Horse.” and pantomiming “Right or Left?” Even his partner is looking a bit dubious at his routine as he gallops around the guard booth. But, it seems to be effective. One of the guards lets them through the gate confirming that there is a village to the left. (Of course, there probably is a village to the right, as well. Somewhere. And, Mongolia is absolutely teeming with horses, so they could probably find those in either direction, as well.) But, off they go, toward a magnificent snow-covered mountain range, whose view is almost obliterated by huge electrical towers and a roadside billboard that would have driven Lady Bird Johnson mad. (Those of you who didn’t grow up with every scenic roadway in the U.S. covered in signage won’t get that, but that’s okay.)
Time to check in with our delusionals. The mud road does, in fact, take them somewhere. To a dead end. In the middle of nowhere. At which point Rob calmly admits that Kimberly was “absolutely right. I screwed up.”, which causes Kimberly to laugh in delight. I’m starting to wonder if they actually remember that this is supposed to be a race, or if altitude sickness has robbed them of all memory of why they are there. At least they know they need to go on from where they are. The cheerleaders, on the other hand, seem to be getting dizzy from their ride on the roundabout. They’re talking about going back to the temple and starting over with a map. (Now, that would have been fun to see. Particularly, as I doubt seriously that they could find their way back to the temple. They could be lost trying to find two places at once.) Once again Mr. Obvious Man puts in an appearance, as Erwin & Godwin, the only other team to have bothered getting a map, find their road to DAWdom with no problems. And, perhaps we get an answer to that burning question of whether God cares about DAWs. It seems that even angels can make mistakes. You can lead a DAW to a turn, but you can’t make them recognize it as one. Faced with a road that leads in the direction they were told to take, Lyn & Karlyn can’t decide if it’s a turn, or a fork. They decide to turn around to see if they can find a turn.
Having decided that being lost finding one thing is better than being lost trying to find two things, Team Spirit stop, yet again, to ask for directions and are sent back onto the merry-go-round going in the opposite direction. Round and round we turn. At least they can watch their landmarks pass on the opposite side for a change.
Obviously, the camera crews along on the rides decided that, if they ever wanted to get out of Outer Mongolia before their Visas expired, they’d need to drop the clearly marked maps that they carry somewhere that our racers would find them – like onto their laps. We know this because, for no discernable reason, all of the teams suddenly find the correct road – which causes Tom & Terry to channel the cheerleaders.
Having cheated to get everyone moving in the correct direction they then need to make up for it with some sort of disaster. Since The Ken’s sense of direction is the least believable reason for them to be on the correct road, they must be punished. So, having called ahead to arrange for placement of a tack strip, a flat tire is engineered for our Beautiful Brunettes. What the camera crew may not have anticipated is that the same craftsmanship that went into these cars went into making the jacks. It’s broken. Either that, or this team long ago fried the brain cells responsible for retaining jack usage instructions. Either way, unless someone intervenes, those Visa expiration dates are calling.
But, at least they know they’re on the right road, because other teams are appearing behind them. Rob and Kimberly, having abandoned their muddy dead-end to sneak a peek at the map that fell from the sky, appear within seconds. In the spirit of sportsmanship, Rob offers their jack to help. Unfortunately, their jack is stuck in the backseat where some long ago accident crumpled the car’s body around it. The delay trying to get it un-stuck is enough to allow the rest of the caravan to catch up, causing Kim to whine that they have to hurry. No jack for you.
Next to appear is Team Take. They may believe angels have been placed in the world to help them, but they sure as heck aren’t interested in being angels for anybody else. When the guys try to get them to stop, their reaction is to tell them to “Peace out” as they speed away from them to the strains of “Go! Go! Go!” being sung by Karlyn from the rear seat.
Remember back at the beginning of the episode when Karlyn explained that she wanted to do this as an example for her daughter? Let’s see exactly what kind of example she wants her daughter to model…
“Their tire’s flat. That’s what they’re mad about. Well, screw them. I don’t feel sorry about their tire being flat. I mean, it’s not like, um, we’re just being mean. We just wanna win. *Shrug and snort*.” That’s an interesting philosophy coming from someone who believes in Divine Intervention. Something tells me that her daughter isn’t going to grow up to be anybody’s angel, either. I wonder if any of them also believe in Divine Retribution?
Just as all seems lost for our Beautiful Brunettes the cheating cameramen take action again. This time the target is Team Spirit. They should obviously still be spinning round and round the merry-go-round. They’re not. So, since someone had to have cheated to get them out of town, a punishment must be paid. Knowing that we wouldn’t believe another tack strip incident (and, probably realizing that these two never had a jack usage brain cell to begin with), a simple nudge of the gear shift while changing lenses is enough to put them out of commission. The car stalls, and Kellie’s brain freezes. She can’t get the car started and she just doesn’t know what to do. (Well, since jiggling the shifter isn’t working, perhaps she should try turning the key? Just a suggestion, y’know.)
Since there seems to be some rule that says there should only be one cliff-hangar “is this what does them in” incident happening at a time on this show, it’s time to release The Ken’s from their time-out. Since Team Take declined the angel role the camera crew apparently had to radio town to get a substitute. Cue the helpful local, who just happens to be driving the same kind of vehicle (Mongolia must be where Russia decided to locate their landfill). Not only does he possess a working jack, he also possesses a full set of jack usage brain cells. Luckily for them he doesn’t mind helping (probably because the camera crew gave him more money that the racers got for this leg of the trip) and he has them back in the race faster than Kellie can find the ignition. But, she does eventually try restarting the car and, in short order, both of our teams are back up and running. Which means, of course, that there must be another cliff-hangar waiting just around the corner. *yawn* Who will it be next?
Guess we’ll just have to wait and see because our next lesson is on the joys of having exchangeable appendages, with Sarah exchanging her spring foot for one more anatomically correct – just in case the Mongolians have discovered stirrups. (You know, it’s probably a good thing that she’s making the change in the car. If Team Take catch on to the fact that she can change her foot to suit the challenge they’ll be screaming “unfair advantage” louder than when she got to sit on the plane longer than they did. I wonder if they regret not having had the foresight to have a limb amputated in order to gain a competitive advantage.) I hope that’s a quick-change foot, because Peter has spotted the nomads and is screaming for Sarah to hurry.
First things first, they have to don safety gear – hardhats covered with fur done up to look like a traditional Mongolian hat. Sarah is delighted to be going to a costume party. But, before she mounts she rolls up her pants leg to show the nomad – who isn’t wearing anything resembling a traditional hat (and probably gets paid quite well to play “nomad” for the tourists) – her artificial foot, asking if it’s a problem - Not for him it isn’t. (Showoff.)
The Beauty Queens arrive in second place and are also delighted to be playing dress up, but they seem to think this is a repeat of Boston Rawb’s gross food challenge. “I’m a Mongolian right now. *grin* Bring me some barbecue, baby!” They may not be the brightest bulbs in the box, but at least they were able to follow the road to get to the horses.
Team Hick isn’t so fortunate. I just knew there’d be another disaster looming when they got The Ken’s and the Spirits back in the game. This is it. Or, more precisely, good ‘ole boy David is the disaster. With third place firmly wrapped up, the horses in sight – just over there – Mary and their hitchhiker grinning ear to ear in triumph, David just can’t resist taking a shortcut. Instead of following the clearly defined road he decides to cut across country. I can see the little wheels spinning in his head right now: “Wha’?!? It’s an off-road ve-hicle, ain’t it? A miltry ve-hicle, too. We kin cut raht through this here field ‘n save us some tahm!”
Yes, David… It’s an off-road vehicle – but it’s not a swamp boat, you idiot. (Nor, is it the equivalent of a modern, U.S. built, Jeep. It only has a 2.4 litre engine. In the new models. Geez.) Which he realizes moments after he buries the car to the chassis in the mud pit he drives into. Well, that’s guaranteed to wipe the smile off of Mary’s face. (Put a big one on mine, though.) She immediately recognizes the problem. “We’re stuck!” David, in spite of the fact that he can see the running board he’s standing on is sitting on top of the mud, doesn’t think so. He decides he can get it out if he just rocks it back and forth. Mary, of course, having brought what few brains are in this marriage, knows better. She tells him he’s just gonna get ‘em stuck deeper and they’ll never get out. But, he’s the man in this relationship. He’s not about to listen to her. So he rocks. Repeatedly. While watching the car dig itself deeper into a hole all the while. Too bad he didn’t try harder. It would have been interesting to see if you dug a hole deep enough in China if you’d end up in a backyard someplace in the Midwest. He stops short of that, though. (I’d call him a quitter, but he kind of has to stop once the mud builds up under the accelerator far enough that he can’t depress it anymore.) In CT he tells us that she’s always right, but that doesn’t bother him. (No. It doesn’t bother you. Because you don’t bother to listen to her!) The ever helpful hitchhiker slogs off through the mud in search of a tractor, while Mary looks like she’s just eaten some mud for breakfast. (Or, would like to feed some to David. Maybe she can jam his mouth shut, just like the gas peddle.)
Talk about a stupidity penalty. They get to sit in their mud wallow watching as all these other racers pass them by, laughing and pointing. Erwin & Godwin make it to the horses. Duke and Lauren (laughing), Tom and Terry (enjoying the fact that someone is stuck), Rob and Kimberly (feeling sorry for whoever is stuck), Lyn and Karlyn (they don’t show their reaction, but I’d be willing to bet it involved celebration of God’s will). All go sailing by. Count ‘em. David does.
Lauren informs us that she doesn’t know how to ride a horse. But, she figures out that she has to sit on top of it. That’s a start. And, really, she doesn’t actually have to know how to ride – they don’t even give her the reins. They’re leading them, aren’t they?
Oops. Obviously Tom and Terry’s nomad didn’t get the memo about not turning DAWs loose with their horses. They take off on their own – jerking their mounts mouths as they plow rein them in the general direction everyone else is going.
Kimberly, our dysfunctional dater, evidently didn’t inherit the outdoors gene. “Can horses smell fear?” she asks. I can assure her that they can, but Rob is more helpful than I would have been. He comforts her as he shoves her butt into the saddle. “No, honey. Those are like dees(?) and dogs, or sumpthin.” She’s still not happy. She doesn’t like to ride horses, “’cause they have a mind of their own.” (Hmmm… Says something about her opinion of Rob now, doesn’t it) Robbie tells her that riding a horse is just like steering a car. Then tells her to steer it, and kick it. (What? He drives a scooter?) “Kick. Kick. Kick.” he screams at her. She’s so busy kicking she forgets to steer. And, horses aren’t stupid. They do have minds of their own. They know exactly what they’ll fit under. And, these aren’t, by size standards, horses. I doubt that any of them are more than 14 hands tall. They’re ponies. And, ponies can fit under some fairly low things. Like branches that their riders are kicking them to walk under. It’s not the pony’s fault that his rider is too stupid to duck. And, Kimberly is too stupid to duck, proving that the pony is way smarter than she is. She gets swept to the ground, her pony trots off into the distance, and her ever-helpful boyfriend sits his pony and watches her writhe in pain on the ground while complaining that he doesn’t know what to do. While she sobs, he sits and patiently tells her that the nomad is bringing her horse back. Just what she wants to hear, I’m sure.
Karlyn’s just happy to chalk up another thing to make her daughter proud. She’s actually riding a horse! (I dunno… Normally it’s the parent who’s proud of their little one for getting up on a great big animal and riding it. Not the other way around. And, in this case, Karlyn is almost bigger than the pony. If her legs were just a few inches longer she could help it walk.)
But, of course, we’re reminded that not all of our racers have arrived at the nomadic camp. The irony fairy drops in to share Team Spirit’s wish that the challenge will be something they can excel at – once they finally find the camp, and juxtaposes the scene with one of the Beauty Queen’s horses breaking into a run, sensing that they are almost home. The Beauties CT that no woman’s team has ever won the race before and that this is their chance, not only to win the race, break the stereotypes, and prove that they can do it “on their own”. (Based upon these clips, alone, I’d say that I won’t be putting any money on either of these teams getting their wish. I won’t get my wish, either. I wish the irony fairy wouldn’t be so obvious, sometimes.)
About that “run for home” that’s so delighting our Beauty Queens… Allowing a horse (or pony) to take the bit and dash for the barn is generally not a good thing. It’s decidedly not advised when you’re leading your partner’s horse on a short line. It’s a particularly bad thing when your partner doesn’t ride well enough to keep the ball of her foot on the stirrup and her heels down. And, it’s an even worse thing when you pull your partner’s pony up directly into the rump of your mount, causing it to shy sideways, dumping your partner off, while tripping her with the leading reins, causing her improperly placed foot to slip through the stirrup as she fall off the pony’s back. You see, unless your name is Peter, your partner probably doesn’t have a breakaway foot. And, since her foot is now attached to the stirrup at one end, and her leg at the other, it causes bad things to happen to her head as it bounces across the ground. Which wouldn’t have happened at all had you maintained control of those lead reins you took from her for her safety. But you didn’t. Maintain control, or keep her safe. That’s when those hardhats disguised as Halloween costumes comes in handy.
And, by the way, screaming loudly at your mount while he’s dragging you across the rocky ground usually causes him to speed up, not stop. As the Beauty Queen’s pony dashes off, with nomad outriders in hot pursuit, he manages to shake himself free of his shrieking banshee of dead weight and leaves her lying in the dust. Score two for the ponies.
Sarah’s foot proves to be no problem at all, and her pony doesn’t seem to mind her leaking hydraulic fluid down his side, so she and Peter maintain their lead and “find” the cluebox first, “hidden” there, standing tall amongst the tundra, in the middle of the open field. (Good hiding spot, guys.)
They open their clue and find that this will be a detour. “Take it down or Fill it up.” Ever hopeful that this show is attracting more new viewers than it is losing old viewers (there’s that irony fairy again, showing us wishes that won’t be fulfilled) the producers have Phil explain, for the 576,894,328th time that a detour is a choice between two tasks. In this one teams have the choice between:
- Leading a native ox (also called a Hynik) by the nose. (Probably a good bet for Kimberly, she’s had lots of practice, her ox lacking a mind of his own, of course. Probably not such a good choice for Mary, assuming she ever gets to this point. Her ox refuses to be led, even when he knows he’s being led to greener pastures.) In this case, leading it back and forth to a river where they will collect enough water to fill up a barrel (also called, or at least looking like, a Yak skin) -OR-
- Packing up a Mongolian mobile home (also called a gir) and buttoning it up on the transport vehicle (also called a camel)
We’re told that packing can be fast, assuming our DAWs can figure out how to tie everything up properly. Water is easy, as long as they can charm an ox. (Maybe I’m wrong about whether Mary should choose this. David keeps telling us how charmed he is with her, after all.)
Peter and Sarah decide to take it down, because Sarah is concerned that sometimes you can’t control animals. The Beauty Queens decide to brave the oxen, and decide that the ox they’ve chosen is a sweetie.
While Sarah tries to make sense of the elaborate folds of a packed gir, The Beauties find that they only have one scooper to fill their water cans. They improvise, much to the surprise of the Mongolian nomad who’s with them, by using their shoe to mke another scooper. (Bet he won’t be drinking any water out of that barrel.
As Sarah mumbles to herself, working out the folds, Peter decides she isn’t focused enough. I guess he thinks that she’s grumbling about the task instead of doing it (she isn’t), because he tells her to quit talking and focus. Unsurprisingly, Sarah doesn’t take well to his helpful suggestion. And, since we now have seen enough to know that the show should get really good once they’ve been left alone to stew in each other’s company awhile, we return to check in on the racers still on the ponies (Erwin & Godwin are having the opposite problem than The Queens as their ponies won’t move faster than an amble) and those yet to arrive (The Hicks are now awaiting a new vehicle, their helpful hitchhiker wisely having abandoned them in his supposed search for a tractor).
But, of course, this late in the program we know that the ponies aren’t going to be scoring anymore points. It’s all up to the camels, the hynik, and the ultimate animal threat – the dreaded DAW- to supply any more drama.
First to step up are, of course, the dreaded DAWs – just as we knew they would. It seems as though Sarah talking to herself to figure out the proper folds isn’t a good thing, but Peter talking to himself to complain about the impossibility of tying a knot is. At least in his mind. Lauren and Duke are having a similar issue figuring out the knots, but Duke reacts by kissing Lauren’s forehead and telling her to relax. Peter reacts by telling Sarah that they have to quit and switch tasks. Sarah doesn’t like quitting and starts to cry in frustration. This causes Peter to frantically clap his hands in her face and yell pep talk at her, telling her that if she hurries up they’ll be fine. He declares with finality that “We’re quitting this task. I’m sorry, Sarah. I don’t like quitting, either, but this is not quitting.” (Huh? Yeah. It is. That’s what “We’re quitting this task” means, Peter. And, by the way, if you’d talked to me the way you were talking to Sarah? I’d have figured out that knot system. And, you’d be all packed up on that camel tied in them.)
So, they switch tasks. Peter piles all of the water jugs on in an upright position (everyone else has been wise enough to lay them flat), then walks off with the ox telling Sarah that it’s her job to keep the jugs on the cart. Which would be easier to do if he hadn’t just walked off and left her standing there. Instead of actually leading his hynik, he decides to walk alongside and allow the hynik to lead him. Which might have worked if the hynik actually wanted to go to the river. He doesn’t. He wants to go to the barn. So he walks off, breaking into a run as soon as his shoulder passes Peter’s side. (See, oxen aren’t dumb, either. He knows, and Peter doesn’t, that as soon as he gets Peter behind his shoulder Peter loses all leverage on his nose. Buh-bye.)
An elderly nomad rounds up the runaway ox and returns him to a crying Sarah and apologetic Peter. Now, he does have something to apologize for - being stupid. But, since I doubt that he has any idea just how stupid he was to try to “lead” an ox from behind. He’s actually apologizing for not being strong enough to hold back an animal that outweighs him by several hundred pounds. Which is… just stupid. So, why he doesn’t just wrap it all up neatly and simply apologize for being an idiot escapes me. He tells her that they’re going to try again and, if the ox is still smarter than he is, there’s not much they can do about it. Sarah is really frustrated and just wants to do something. Anything. Which is Peter’s cue to refuse to move. He’s in nursery school teacher mode, and Sarah is, in his eyes, an out of control nursery brat having a temper tantrum. He’s not gonna move until she calms down. She’s not gonna calm down until they move. Stalemate. At least, until the ox is returned and once again proves his mental superiority. Back to gir packing.
The Beauty Queens figure out that they can fill the water cans and their shoes at the same time by taking them out into waist-high water. Two trips with Sweetpea the hynik and they’re done. Lyn & Karlyn are now struggling with the knots, calling on Jesus for help rather than talking to each other. And, here comes the irony fairy. As they are strolling back to sweet victory one of the Beauties realizes that they are missing a helmet. Well, hey, it’s not their property. So what if they lost something that belongs to someone else.
All of the other Fill it up contestants are rapidly finishing their task. Except, of course, Rob and Kimberly, who have taken time out to brush up on what really works in their relationship. Their disfinctionality. Rob, riding on the back of the cart with full water jugs screams for Kimberly to stop. Since Kimberly weighs approximately as much as one of her hynik’s horns, stopping doesn’t happen on a dime. This infuriates Rob, who starts screaming at her. She tells him to shut up. He tells her to shut up. He declares himself to be her Lord and Master. She probably tells him where to put one of the hynik’s horns but, being a family show, they don’t show that part.
The Beauty Queens are, as we knew they would be, easily in first place. Way to go Sweetpea! (So much for winning “all by yourself”, huh?) They get their next clue card, which tells them to drive 47 miles to the Hotel Mongolia to find the next clue box. Oops. Remember that helmet they lost? Remember how cheap they’re being this season? TAR isn’t about to spend money to replace things their DAWs lose. Before they can drive they have to get back to their car. And that means riding the horses again. And, to ride the horses they have to have all of their safety equipment. And, that means they have to find their lost helmet. And, that means that one more wish has been squelched. No way are they going to stay in first place. Unless, of course, their guide knows where it is. Which he thinks he does when, of course, he doesn’t.
Somehow Duke and Lauren have figured out the knotty issues they faced (at least in the task, their relationship remains to be seen – but, it’s looking promising). Their camel is willing to stand up and their mobile home stays on. They move out into first place. Seeing that, Peter and Sarah realize that it is possible, just as Lyn and Karlyn decide that it’s not and head off to follow the Hicks to the water hole.
Erwin & Godwin have encountered the same problem as the Queens – they’ve lost a hat. Which they realize when they search their heads for it. While they’re patting their heads to make sure the helmet hasn’t somehow gotten lost in their hair, Peter and Sarah manage to finish off their task while Rob and Kimberly work to finish off their relationship.
While two teams, neither of which are, unfortunately, contortionists, try to find their heads (oh, okay, be picky… what used to be on their heads), and other teams race to Hotel Mongolia, Team Cheer finally arrives at the nomadic camp. (How long did it take to realize that jiggling the shifter isn’t going to, by itself, restart a car?!?) They decide to load a camel.
Finally finished with their task, Rob and Kimberly are on the road again. Rob decides that maybe he should apologize for all of the yelling. Kim accepts it – to his face. In CT with us she allows that there’s a rift (maybe more like a chasm) in the relationship. She’s decided that, if this relationship is going to go anywhere, he can’t talk to her like he did – No.Matter.What! I suggest that, No.Matter.What, the best place for this relationship to go is over Niagara Falls – without a barrel.
Team Beauty is trying really, really, hard to find their lost helmet. They seem to think that it must be hidden at the bottom of Team Hick’s water cans. Because their search strategy seems to consist of watching the Hicks and the Takes catch up to them while trying not to freeze to death. (Remember, they’re the only team that decided to fill their cans by taking them diving.) The Hicks finish before the Takes and both live up to their names. The Hicks offer their unused can of water to the Takes – who take it gladly, seeing Mary and Dave as more proof of God’s angels at work for them.
The Beauties’ guide finally comes through with their helmet (which probably would have happened a lot faster if they’d suggested that he take one of their ponies instead of making him walk) and they depart as the Takes make a final trip to the river – checking in on Team Cheer who is “trying to fold their thing”. (Yes, that may be code for something. But, if it is, I don’t want to know for what.)
Both teams – Take & Spirit – finish pretty much simultaneously. And, Take is just barely in the lead to avoid last place – upset that they’ll have to ride the horses back to get their car. (What? They expected that God had arranged for an angel to hover overhead just to pick them up and fly them back?)
All right!!! It’s a horse race! Errr… a pony race. Conducted at a trot. Ummm… Well…. It’s a race. Kinda. The Hicks are back in their car. Mary informs us that they are following “Miss New York and Miss California.” Dave jumps in to finish her sentence… “So we’re not doing too badly at this point.” Mary doesn’t look like she’s too impressed at being in 8th place.
Peter and Sarah overtake Duke and Lauren on the road to take first place. Sarah was evidently too overcome with their “failures” to count cars before leaving, because she’s overjoyed at not being last. The Ken’s pass them next and Lauren is pissed. Either their car lacks acceleration, (quite possible… as I said earlier, at max this has a 2.4 litre engine – and they got to choose which vehicle they took – no one said that all of them were from the same year or outfitted with the same engine), or Duke simply refuses to drive over the speed limit. In which case he’s an idiot. But, that wouldn’t be a revelation – so it must be his choice of car.
As long as the subject is the cars… remember that hand crank slot in front? Neither did any of the racers. If it was a Model T or Model A, they might have taken notice. But, it’s not. So, they didn’t. Remember… this is a Russian military vehicle designed to run on almost anything. Running on anything doesn’t do much good if you need jumper cables and another vehicle to get it started if the battery goes dead. You starting to get the picture? So are they (even if they don’t yet know it). The car you chose at the start of the leg actually did make a difference. (Which is something that even after the race is over they won’t have figured out. I’ll bet my last dollar on that.)
Lyn and Karlyn, in 9th place, are the first to realize that their battery is dead. The car refuses to start. Their problem is that the generator is shot. Erwin and Godwin also seem to have a shot generator, but they don’t realize it until they stall out while on the road. (How embarrassing is that for a guy? Stalling is just so not cool.) Tom & Terry see them – on the way past – but “We can’t help them. We don’t know how to fix a car.”) Rob & Kimberly see them, too – on the way past. Kim is concerned, but Rob, at the wheel, drives on. “We can’t do anything, honey.” (Wow! No one even asks what’s wrong. Well, at least we’re only being “ugly Americans” to other Americans, so far. Do they get points for that?) Dustin and Kandice follow suit, but at least they keep their windows rolled down and apologize for not stopping. (Yeah, that’ll make it all better.) David and Mary roll past. David slows down – because what good ole boy doesn’t slow down to look at a wreck? – but, he keeps on rolling. Eventually, a local comes up to find them blocking the road and does what every kid in your parent’s generation did when they wanted to sneak the car out of the driveway at night did. He push starts the car. (Yeah. Pushing a manual transmission car is a new concept to these peeps. Peeps who are proud of going “back to their homeland” (even if it’s not). Peeps that may only – just - be starting to realize how spoiled this country has made them, when the local walks back to his own car without acknowledging their deep bows of thanks.)
Team Spirit is in the same boat as Team Take. Their car won’t start, either. But, they are quicker on the uptake and immediately start looking for someone to give them a jump. A local comes to their aid and removes the hand crank and starts to wind them up. Team Take watches and Lyn remarks that he “Had a long crank.” She finds her own long crank and copies what he’s doing. (Yeah. I could be snarkier here, since Asians aren’t known for having long cranks, but they get points for this, in my opinion. Crank that puppy too far and it’s gonna spit that crank back into your face and break your arm in the process. Not sure I’d want to try it. Points to Team Take.)
As we leave for a commercial break Team Spirit is driving off, Team Take is still cranking, now in last place, and my DVR decides that the episode is over. Remember? There was that day/time move to Sunday, following football and 60 Minutes, to boost viewers? Yeah. That works really well. Particularly when the game goes into overtime and no one at the networks cares enough to tell the satellite that the timing was now off.
Thankfully I just happened to actually be watching in real-time, too. And, had the presence of mind to ask someone on the real-time East Coast thread what might happen. And, thankfully, Snidget was kind enough to answer. Telling me to also set it to record Cold Case – a show we don’t usually watch, much less record. And, thankfully again, I wasn’t quite inebriated enough last night to go through with deleting a show that showed up in MyVOD that I couldn’t comprehend why it would have been recorded in the first place.
If you’re sitting on the edge of your seats in anticipation (why that might be so I don’t quite comprehend… but, just in case) you owe everything that comes from here after to Snidget’s being bored kind enough to look back at, and answer, previous posts - early enough to allow me to set the record function. WARNING SUBSEQUENT RECRAPPERS! And, a major shout-out thanks to Snidget! (Or not. I guess it depends upon whether you’re enjoying the recrap, or not. But, if you’ve managed to slog this far through it I guess I have to assume you’re either enjoying it and want to know what happened, or you’re a candidate to sign up to drive one of those junkers while the person you love best beats you up for its faults.)
So… we’ll have a brief interlude while I try to remember how to find the next section. (And, interestingly, while I have a brief trip down memory lane. Evidently, our favorite local station goes off air at a little past 2 in the morning. I didn’t know that. If I’m still up I’m watching satellite. I haven’t heard a station sign-off, followed by the National Anthem and a test pattern since I was a small child. *wipes tear out of eye* (It was a really badly sung rendition of the Anthem. And, the test pattern no longer looks like a nuclear warning sign. But, it still brought back memories from long ago… Who knew they still did that?)
OK. I’m back (although, if you had any sense I would have lost you long ago…)
Seems that Takes weren’t able to manage that long crank after all. So, after Spirit is done with them they ask for seconds. The locals know how to manage a long crank and can even do it twice in a row. They’re back on the road quickly. But, they’re now following Team Spirit and are in last place.
As they finally get underway Peter and Sarah arrive at Hotel Mongolia. (So do some others, including our Dear Gays, but BvM doesn’t seem to care, so why should we?) They race to the clue box to find a Detour. Gee, who expected that?
Once again trying to defy the irony fairy, Phil explains that a Detour is a challenge that only one may complete. (Yeah… yeah…. yeah. Absolutely no one watching this is a new viewer, unless they’re hard core Cold Case viewers living in the Midwest where you’re now pre-empting their show. I’m sure they’re gonna love you for that!)
Well... If you’re gonna try to suck ‘em in, the challenge had better be something spectacular. Ancient weapons, clumsy in the hands of anyone other than an expert… Fire… Warfare… “Fire a flaming arrow into a target.” Yeah… That could work. New viewers can be buffaloed into thinking this is a special on ancient culture (at least with me, good for a few minutes before I catch on), and old viewers can hope for a spectacular mistake. Which, if it happens, is sure to draw in even more new viewers once it hits the news. (Phil, realizing that the mistake part is all too possible – and, that it may not actually be a mistake, if you know what I mean – is far, far, away from the testing grounds.)
In this detour the player must “aim high”, using a bow – no, not a modern, compound bow, an ancient bow, of course, to set a signal target (otherwise known as a large pan of oil – aka, in refined form, gasoline) 160 yards away, on fire. Shhh… It’s a secret. This part of the world has oil to burn. We just need to figure out how to get them to trust us enough to “help” them get it out. (Heck. We already know they don’t need it. Their cars run on anything.) That’s why we keep sending DAWs as “ambassadors” for our country. That’ll help solidify good relations between our countries. Right? *clue irony fairy*)
Peter steps up against James. The music helps to build the drama. (What drama? Unless one of them sets the other on fire, or starts an international incident by setting the whole compound on fire, we already know that one of them is bound to be first.) Special Olympics takes the honors, with Peter urging Sarah to run to the mat (for absolutely no reason, whatsoever) so that she can “prove her training”. God… Get a clue, Peter. Quit using this woman to boost your own ego. It may do something for you internally, but it’s not helping anyone else to feel good about you. Not even Sarah. Showing her innate intelligence (something that Peter seems to lack), she tells us that she’s learning a lot of “interesting things” about him during this race. She’s not pleased with all that she’s learning. Not that she’ll pass judgment – yet. But, she’s “taking note of it”. So are we, Sarah. So, are we.
In what ends up being one of the funniest – or saddest – (take your pick) - moments, Phil asks if they ever believed that ”two legs into the race” they’d be in first place. And, neither he, nor Peter, even picked up on the unintended pun. *sigh* He (again, take your pick) really is as clueless as he seems.
So, now we know who comes in first, assuming we care. This isn’t a game that’s won by being first at anything. Being first doesn’t really get you anything. Think about it. You get to leave on the next leg sooner than others. But, we all know you’re gonna get bunched again someplace. So, as we saw in this episode, all leaving earlier gets you is a faster trip to sleep deprivation. You might get a nice trip out of it, like Peter and Sarah. But, c’mon, who here really thinks they’ll still be together as a couple when this is all over? Or, if they are, that this will actually be a nice trip? Show of hands? Anyone? Anyone??? That’s what I thought.
This is a game where you win by playing for next-to-last in every round but the last. First gets you nothing. Last gets you locked away in a hotel room until the game is over. But, consistently being next-to-last, at least until the final round, gets you 1 million dollars. Think about it. Not a bad reward for steady mediocrity.
We know this. The producers know this. So, nothing else much matters in this round until we see who ends up in that next-to-last spot. Of course they have to show up something until the real competition starts. But, unless one DAW sets another DAW on fire, or starts an international incident by accidentally burning down the Hotel, there won’t be much to look at.
Tyler and James end up in second place. Duh. There’s no one else there. How long it takes them, we have no idea. Told you there wouldn’t be much to see here.
Lauren hasn’t had the experience playing with arrows like her father has, so she decides to get some practice in. We’ll have to wait to see how she does, because we need to check in on the real race. Team Spirit and the Takes are finally on the road. They both headed out in the same direction, but Spirit seems to miss their roundabout. They decide to go round and round on a straight road. Just for old-times’ sake. They’re delighted to wave at the Takes on their way past them in the opposite direction. They’re sure they’re going the right way, this time. They look to see if the Takes are turning around to follow them and, when they don’t, Jamie finally “had a little bit of hope”. (I do hope the irony fairy is getting overtime pay for this leg.)
Tom and Terry arrive at the clue box in 4th place and Tom volun is volunteered as the marksman. So, we have two gays – Lauren and Tom – competing to see who handles their arrows better. It’s Lauren, by a long shot. She hasn’t hit the target, yet, but she’s got the form, the range, and the pull down. The Mongolians are taking great pleasure in cheering her on. Tom, on the other hand, manages to pull his bow string back a good 6 inches (using his fingertips) before his flaming arrow falls to the ground, causing the Mongolians to laugh so hard they wet themselves. Lauren lands one dead center on her pan of oil gaining them third place and causing Terry to stamp his foot in frustration. Tom’s finally managing to get the arrows to fly without setting his sleeves, or his bow, on fire and a gust of wind finally blows his arrow over enough to actually hit the 6’ diameter pan. That keeps them in 4th place, which earns the Mongolian a hug and Phil a little happy dance on the mat.
Rob and Kimberly arrive, and Kimberly decides that she aims higher than Rob ever will. The Mongolians teach her how to hold and draw the bow while Rob argues the merits of their technique. Her first attempt lands at her feet and she rounds on Rob in fury at his interference. Realizing that her aim and technique are good enough to land an arrow in him, he puts his hands in the air in surrender and wisely backs off to a safer distance, promising to hold his tongue.
The Beauty Queens determine that Dustin has the better aim, and Mary informs David that if shooting is involved he’s the one to handle the job. He looks dubious, but says he’s ready to. Oops… This ain’t the kind of shootin’ he’s used to doin’ back home. And, in the most pitiful attempt yet, the good ole boy from the hills manages to loose his bow while hanging onto the arrow. This doesn’t come anywhere close to the target (since it’s still in his hand), but it lights a fire in Mary, who realizes that she’s perfectly safe unless he runs over and stabs her with it. (Which he’s probably contemplating doing.) His second attempt lands 3 inches from his feet and Mary crosses her arms and screws up her face in disgust. Poor David isn’t doing anything to redeem his manhood and, between this and the dive into the mud wallow, I’ll bet there are a lot of folks back home just waiting to give him his own personal blooper tape – which they’ll play repeatedly in the local bar for entertainment. (Hmmm… maybe he can just hide out in the coal mine for a few years until they forget.)
Some time must have passed because all three of them are finally getting their arrows in the general vicinity of the targets and Dustin is the first one to get lucky and hit it, causing Rob’s tongue to escape from his grasp. The more he talks the worse Kimberly performs. His helpful suggestions on how far back she needs to pull the bow have shortened her range to a point where she’s now attempting to set the fence directly in front of her on fire. From the forced grin on her face as she “thanks” him for his suggestions we just know what she’s seeing as her next target.
Neither Erwin, nor Godwin, look terribly confident, but Erwin agrees to step up as the target for Godwin’s disgust and frustration, joining David on the firing line in time for Kimberly to finally land 6th place with one on target. Now, if she can just convince Rob to go with her to look at it, maybe she can push him in and say that he slipped.
And… We return to the part of the race that matters so that the irony fairy can earn his keep. Team Spirit is brimming with confidence since they’re all alone on their desolate stretch of road with Team Take nowhere in sight. Yeah, we all know just how well their internal GPS system works, don’t we now? (What I wanna know? How the heck does the camera crew manage to keep a straight face when this stuff happens? Are they wearing ski masks and dark glasses?)
David finally sets off an explosion and takes off running, leaving Mary to follow along behind. In an effort to keep up she manages to twist her ankle, so running is out of the question. Not that they need to run. There are enough teams behind them that they’d avoid last place if they crawled the distance on their hands and knees. But, David has never heard of a race where you don’t run and he doesn’t see why a little thing like a sprained ankle should keep him from his fun. Mary’s having none of it, though, and they walk in to their 7th place finish.
Erwin and Godwin take 8th place and the real race heats up. Lyn and Karlyn just want their next clue so they can move on. They have no idea what place they’re in, but are hoping to make up some time. As they arrive at the clue box Team Spirit loses theirs as they finally find signs of life and are sent back on their straight-road merry-go-round. “Yes. We’re idiots. Today is our stupid day.” (Yes. You are. How nice of you to finally notice.)
Lyn plays snake charmer with her arrow as it twists and slides off and around her bow. Karlyn is obviously an expert at this. She advises that Lyn needs to hold it steady and quit arching her back. Karlyn had best be careful. They’re on the line with no other witnesses than the Mongolians, who would, at this point, probably pay to see one of the DAWs shoot their partner.
The irony fairy has one last wish to quash. Team Spirit whines that they don’t want to go home right now. They don’t want this to be the end for them. You just know that they’re wishing this will be a non-elimination round or that Team Take has gotten completely lost on the straight road to their destination. No, girls. Only you seem to have that talent.
Proving that the girls aren’t going to get their wish Lyn sets her target ablaze and Team Take jogs off into 9th place before Spirit arrives at the clue box.
As the rest of the teams finish their dinner, Kelly looses another arrow into the tundra. As the sun sets, and the rest of the teams crawl into their beds, Kelly continues to fire arrows into the ground. She might never have been able to signal a warning of approaching armies, but I’ll bet she would have been great at the “burning the fields” part of battle. As the rest of the teams start to dress for the next leg of the race, Kellie finally gives up. The field blazes brightly in the background, and the cameramen get to save the batteries on their lighting units.
Alerted to get dressed and head back out to the mat, our costumed native welcomes the two crying girls to the city and Phil tells them they’ve been eliminated. Which isn’t at all ironic, because we knew it was coming 40 minutes ago. They’re proud of themselves. They’ve had to rely on each other and they’ve bonded because of it. They’re gonna be friends for life. Which is a good thing, because they’re gonna be sharing a hotel room for the next 9 weeks, or so.
Next week on TAR Lauren anticipates whether she’ll find true love in an Asian prison after they stiff their cab driver because they’ve run out of money. The Gay Blades have a hissy when The Beauties take line cuts. And, Seana will take over as your tour guide. I’d wish you all a good night, but we all know what the irony fairy does with wishes made in connection with this show and I don’t want you to have nightmares. So, I’ll just say, it’s been fun.