Hello, Amazing Race fans! So are you settling into the new season? I must say I’m liking it. Lots to bash, so let’s get to it.
Last week, we were in China, then Mongolia and mysticwolf told us all about it here. Go read it if you haven’t, then you’ll be up to date. Go on.
We begin Episode 3 in Mongolia. Phil gives us the Short Attention Span Theatre version of the culture and people of Mongolia while standing in front of some weird-shaped building with a bunch of tiers or something. Did he say what that was? Why would anyone have listened to that whole thing?
We are told that the 9 teams left have no idea what’s in store for them. Bilal and Sa’eed nod sagely from Sequesterville.
Anyway, Peter and his dog Sarah get to leave first at 6:54 am. Sarah is a talented animal and reads the clue; they will be going to Hanoi, Vietnam to find Hoa Lo Prison, otherwise known as the Hanoi Hilton, infamous for the torture of American POWs during the Vietnam War. They discover that they have $0 for this leg of the Race. Wow. Zero dollars. I wonder if that will be important later...
But the instructions aren’t done with them yet! No, they must book their airline tickets at a certain travel agent. At first I thought she was mispronouncing “Genghis”, but it turns out the travel agent is in the Chinggis Khan Hotel. Chinggis Khan turns out to be “Genghis” in Turkic. Thank-you Wikipedia.
They get into their Russian army vehicle and head out. Sarah comments that it’s a good thing they’ve got a lead, because her hydraulic knee is “blowed out”. I wonder if mystic’s irony fairy will show up soon.
Tyler and James leave next, at 7:07. So Peter/Sarah have a 13-minute lead on their closest competitors. That’s not really a big buffer zone, but hey, who am I to rain on her parade? Tyler tells us that he and James are doing well because they haven’t fought, just bickered a little.
Duke and Lauren leave at 7:45. Duke drives. For some reason, he is paying attention to the people and not the road. He comments: “A lot of these girls on the street walk arm-in-arm. You think they’re just friends or what?” Lauren looks as uncomfortable as I feel. Duke admits that nothing will change Lauren’s sexuality and that he is the one who will have to change his perceptions. And we can all see the progress he’s making. *eyeroll*
Tom and Terry leave in fourth place at 7:52. They are an hour behind Peter and Sarah. I like to know these things. Yes, I know it’s all going to be negated at the next bunch point. Tom tells us that they’re both independent and it’s hard to make decisions together since they’ve only know each other for 2 years. Interspersed with this we are shown Terry telling Tom to follow the bus ahead of them, which could logically only be going to the same place they are.
Cut to Peter and Sarah. Sarah is still reading the clue. She has come to the bit where they are forbidden to beg for money or sell anything. Oooo… I like it! I have never liked the begging, particularly in poor countries. How arrogant is that? “Hi there! I know you haven’t got enough money to put food on the table for your children, but could you drive us to the airport for free so we can win $1 million dollars and live in a luxury you could never even dream of? Kay, thanks.” Sarah continues to natter on. This time she brags that they have more money than the other teams and that you have to control your money.
Cut to Duke and Lauren talking about how it’s a good thing they still have $11 left.. Since we already know from last week’s previews that this team will run out of money, we should not be surprised at this heavy-handed foreshadowing. Perhaps we are meant to giggle conspiratorially. I am neither surprised nor giggly.
Peter and Sarah make it to the hotel to discover that the travel agency doesn’t open until 9 a.m. Tyler and James arrive shortly thereafter.
Dustin and Kandice leave the Pit Stop at 8:11, Rob and Kimberly at 8:13. Dustin asserts that they won’t be needing Mapquest after the Race, because now they are confident with directions. So. After traveling from Seattle, USA to Beijing, through China and Mongolia, they will never again need to look up how to get from one place to another. Gotcha.
Rob is driving. Hyacinth Bucket Kimberly tells him not to hit the dog. Please note that the dog isn’t on the road. Then she tells us that she won’t stand for Rob being hurtful. Then Rob tells her quite calmly that they went the wrong way and rubs his forehead. Apparently, this is Rob “freaking out”. Kimberly demands that he calm down. Rob makes a funny face.
David and Mary leave the Pit Stop at 8:16, only 3 minutes behind Rob and Kimberly and 5 minutes behind the Beauty Queens. David is lost in memory. His father was in Vietnam, but wouldn’t speak of it. He tries to express his feelings on the subject, but Mary tells him to hit the gas, they’re being passed by other cars.
David: “Mary…” Mary:”Nuh uh uh, don’t’ you ‘Mary’ me! Now I ain’t goinna lose this Race because you cain’t…” David: “Mary, you cain’t look at my SPEEDometer.” Mary: “Awright.”
That was pointless and made no sense.
Teams 1-5 have made it to the hotel and agree to form a line to get to the ticket agency.
Erwin and Godwin leave at 8:18 a.m. Godwin says in his heart they’ve already won because he got to do it with his brother. *insert sophomoric joke here*
Rob gets directions from an Anglophone.
The teams at the hotel (including Dustin and Kandice) laboriously work out who is going where when the doors open. Are you paying attention? The producers have put a lot of effort into setting this up. It’s important. Pay attention! There are 4 ticket agents. Dustin’s voice tells us that they were 5th in line and that the “gay couple from New York” walked past an agent, so they slipped in. Tom and Terry are incensed. Kandice defends her team saying that Tom and Terry walked past the agent. Tyler and James notice. They say the blond girls are conniving. David and Mary notice the arguing. Tom says he thought they could trust Dustin and Kandice. Then he says the lamest thing ever: “They’re not going to win a beauty pageant of kindness.” Laaaaaame.
And that was the big dramatic moment.
Moment Rating: 1 eyebrow out of 5
Watching the blonde girls try to be ruthless reality contestants is kind of amusing, since they’re so bad at it.
Lyn and Karlyn leave in last place at 9:02. They were a little over 2 hours behind the first team, and 44 minutes behind their closest competitors. Lyn tells us that the Race is not the most glamorous thing. She compares it to childbirth. Oh, come. on. Being on The Amazing Race would be like childbirth if a clue told you to get a different person to walk up to you every few minutes to check your cervix until such time as you felt a horrible pain in your lower abdomen and then a person on either side of you held your knees up to your ears and told you to push like you’re having a bowel movement and then told you to look now so you can see the head coming out like you really want to watch your intimate parts and pieces being stretched beyond all recognition for crying out loud. That’s childbirth. Not flying in a plane or climbing a wall. There might be pain, there might be indignity, but even still, it’s NOT THE SAME. OK, I’m done now.
All the teams are now at the travel agent. The flight from Beijing to Hanoi, leaving at 1 pm is the fastest. Mary tips Lyn off to the flight they need.
In the airport, Mary tells us that she twisted her ankle on the way to the last Pit Stop. David is shown wrapping her foot. Aww.
And here we are in Hanoi. Dustin and Kandice find a taxi and talk about how they will have to pay at least $10, and that they have $24. Then they mention that poor Duke and Lauren only have $11. The producers are really slapping us in the face with this, aren’t they?
All the teams find their own taxis. Duke has met a woman on the plane who he believes has agreed to come in the taxi with them and show them where to go. Lauren doesn’t like this idea. But really, how could this go wrong? Local guides are great, right?
Lyn and Karlyn try to show Southern solidarity with David and Mary by sharing a cab, but they can’t all fit. I guess it’s only OK to be “competitive” with other Racers if they’re not from the South.
There is a truck rollover on the road. For some reason Dustin and Kandice get out to look. Everyone else drives on by. Rob/Kimberly and Tyler/James pass the beauty queens.
Here is the first part of the moment we’ve all been waiting for! Oh, it’s so exciting. Will it live up to the hype? Duke and Lauren are in their cab with the local woman. They aren’t sure if they’re going in the right direction, so they ask if they’re headed to the prison. No, says the woman. She has told the cabbie where to take them, but first they will drive her to her brother’s place - 30 minutes away from their destination. No, she says, they don’t have enough money. Didn’t they understand? She laughs at them. It is rude to laugh at their plight. I? am not laughing. Neither is Lauren.
Moment Rating: 4 eyebrows out of 5
The high rating is mostly due to the local woman laughing at how stupid they were.
They drop the local off and head to the prison. Lauren is worried that they might be arrested for not paying their cab. More foreshadowing? Gosh, I hope so. That’d be cool.
The prison doesn’t open until 8:00 am. Oh my! What a surprise! The teams start laying out their sleeping bags to wait. Peter is excited to be able to camp out in Vietnam.
Here is the pivotal moment! The one we’ve been waiting for! Here it is! Duke and Lauren finally arrive and tell their cabbie the awful truth. They have only $11. So all the gas he’s burned and all the time he’s taken that he could have been driving paying customers has pretty much been for nothing. He’s lost money on this and it was such a lot of hassle! What will he do?
Nothing. He doesn’t even give them a proper dirty look, just nods and mumbles. Geez.
Moment Rating: 0 eyebrows out of 5.
Duke says it was a godsend. Cause God is out there screwing over poor Vietnamese taxi drivers for the benefit of already-rich white people trying to get richer.
While standing out front of the prison, each team receives a piece of paper with a pretty flowing script describing the historical importance of the prison. I think they probably need to hold it over a candle to get their next clue. What? Oh, wrong show.
Phil tells us that during the Vietnam War, many American soldiers were held and tortured in this prison, which came to be known as the Hanoi Hilton. Teams will need to search for the flight suit worn by one of its best-known inmates, Senator John McCain. (A Republican product placement? *shakes head*) They’ll get their clue when they find the suit.
At 8:00, teams enter the prison - apparently for free, since Duke and Lauren get in - and rush around trying to find the suit. Several Racers take a moment to comment on the conditions endured by the prisoners.
Terry and Tom find the suit first and take a contrived “moment” to reflect. Other teams flood into the room. Peter and Sarah are first, but Kimberly scoots in and is handed the clue before them. Peter snatches it out of her hand, but gives it back when Rob goes to snatch it back from him. In the meantime, James gets the clue for their team. Peter seems to find this funny.
Erwin and Godwin take a more sincere moment to honour servicemen everywhere.
The clue tells teams to go to the Old Quarter, 1.5 miles away, to a particular intersection. There they will find a marked flower shop and get their next clue. Duke and Lauren must walk. Everyone else gets a taxi. Wisely, Erwin and Godwin check how much money they will need before jumping in.
At the flower shop, they discover a Roadblock, which turns out to be a task that only one person may perform. This time, the team member will take a bicycle loaded with flowers and sell enough to make 80,000 dong (approx. $5 US). They can keep whatever money they earn. Good news for Duke and Lauren. Tom, Erwin, Peter, Rob, James, Kandice, David, Karlyn and Duke are selected by their respective teams. Please note that both Peter and Erwin have done all the Roadblocks so far.
The Racers complete the task with varying degrees of efficiency. Tom tries begging: “Please? Flowers? Please? Money?” while Peter seems to be charming all the chicks. Sarah claims it’s his blonde hair. In any event, Peter and Sarah finish first and get their clue. They are to travel 30 miles by public bus to the town of Vac, where they will find a Buddhist Temple and their next clue. Peter says they must be sure to get on the right bus.
Back at the flowers, Godwin is desperately screaming to Erwin to come back because all the customers are right there. They are bitter that the beauty queens sold more flowers because they’re pretty. Several teams finish and head to the busses.
Cut to Peter and Sarah, quizzing a local on the bus. Oh no! It is not, in fact the bus to Vac! They get off the bus and wait for bus 22.
Duke shows surprising skill at selling flowers. He actually has to turn down prospective customers after he has earned enough.
Tom and Terry and Erwin and Godwin board busses for Vac. The Blondes, the model boys, the single moms, Rob and Kimberly and Duke and Lauren all wander the streets looking for the bus station. They spot it, across a busy street. Despite the large white lines on the road that are reminiscent of crosswalks, not a single car or truck or bicycle slows down to let them pass. Someone comments: “It’s like Frogger, dude!” Kimberly is nearly hit by a motorcycle. No points for you, motorcycle guy.
All the other teams are now headed to Vac on the same bus, including David and Mary, who did not participate in the street-crossing task.
David surveys the Vietnamese countryside while pondering his father’s experience in the war.
Erwin and Godwin are the first to get to Vac. They are offered a ride on a motorcycle. They refuse, saying they can’t. Phil tells us that, for safety reasons, they aren’t allowed to ride or operate motorcycles in Vietnam.
They find the temple and head for the clue box, only to be attacked by a dragon puppet show. They struggle to the clue box and discover a Detour. They now have a choice between two tasks:
Fuel or Fowl
In Fuel, teams will walk to a coal yard and use a press to make 30 bricks of coal. The coal is very wet and must be smooshed into the press. The bricks must be made correctly and inspected by the coal guy.
In Fowl, teams will walk to a courtyard to build a birdcage, using local materials and methods.
While Erwin and Godwin set off to mind Fuel, Tom and Terry hop off the bus and onto a motorcycle. Oh no! They’re not allowed! Of course, it wasn’t enough that Phil told us; we had to get the dramatic Uh-Oh music.
The –wins get started on the task. An audience has gathered. They laugh. The brothers complete the task, but are told they have made every single brick too short and must do it again. I laugh.
Tom and Terry are now trying to make bricks. The audience is amused. Some try to help by making hand gestures and then laughing when Tom and Terry get it wrong.
All the other teams (except Peter and Sarah) arrive at the temple, see the puppet show and get their clue. Mary comments “It’s ona those things you see on TEEvee.” They obviously pick the coal task, but so does everyone else. Everyone else gets hopelessly lost.
Erwin and Godwin finally finish and get their clue. They are headed to the Pit Stop at Cahn Dong Dia, a rice paddy. The mat and Phil are waiting in the middle of the paddy.
Peter and Sarah are in last place. Peter tells Sarah she’s kind of slow. Well duh, her knee is blowed out. You’d think he’d remember. She starts to do the Terry Fox hop as she runs.
Lots of teams are still lost and wandering around in a grid of fenced yards.
Peter and Sarah make it to the temple puppet show and read their clue. The person making the captions seems to think they are in first place. Last week, that same person thought Erwin and Godwin left the Pit Stop at 10:22 instead of 7:22. Where is the Donald when you need him to fire someone? The caption person is clearly not performing hir duties with a high degree of professionalism. While we’re at it, I’m not thrilled with the caption “Coalminer and Wife” for David and Mary. Like she’s some kind of appendage or something.
David and Mary arrive and start the task. David disses the weird wet coal.
Ah! Here is the Mat. Here is the Native Greeter. Here is Phil. Here are Erwin and Godwin. They have finished in first place! For this, they will receive a home entertainment system. Oddly, we are not told who has furnished the prize.
Duke and Lauren stumble upon the birdcage Detour and decide to do that, since they’re there.
Finally, all the teams - including Peter and Sarah (but excluding Erwin and Godwin and Duke and Lauren) – are smooshing coal. Peter and Sarah come from behind and motor through the task.
Tom and Terry finish and head to meet Phil. They jog through the rice paddy. Triumphant music soars. Phil tells them they are the second team to arrive. They are elated! "However..." says Phil. Ah, a word to strike fear into the hearts of the New York boys. They have taken motorcycles when they were expressly told not to! They will be penalized 30 minutes. They are told to stand in the Naughty Spot. Nanny Jo shakes her head. Dramatic punishment music plays.
Other teams finish and make their way to the rice paddy and Phil:
Tyler and James get to be Team #2. Tom and Terry look unhappy. Rob and Kimberly are Team #3. Dustin and Kandice are Team #4. Tom and Terry look upset. Peter strides ahead while Sarah tries to hop on her organic leg while walking on her hands. They are Team #5. Tom and Terry look more upset.
Phil comforts them by saying “Guys, this has gotta suck.” Never let it be said that Phil can’t be eloquent in a highly emotional moment. 6 minutes and 15 seconds remain on their penalty. They cry.
Lyn and Karlyn are Team #6. Mary limps in. She and David and Team # 7. Tom and Terry look positively ill.
A teary-eyed Lyn explains that when she and Karlyn passed Mary and David on the way to the Pit Stop, they were upset because they considered them friends and “deserving people” and she didn’t want to see them go home. Mary says they “had to” pass her and David. It’s a game, after all. Mary tells us in confessional that they have made good friends in the Race: Lyn and Karlyn, the Cho brothers and T-n-T. T-n-T? Mary yells encouragement to T-n-T.
Duke and Lauren have completed their Detour. They are running to the Pit Stop! Will they make it in time to beat out T-n-T or will they be the last team to arrive?
Phil calls Tom and Terry to the Mat and tells them they are Team #8. They cry.
And here come Duke and Lauren. Suspenseful music plays. They are the last team to arrive. They have been eliminated. They cry. Duke says they’ve learned a lot about each other. In confessional, he tells us that every parent should do this and gives Lauren a little kiss on the cheek.
Next week, Peter gets whiny, Rob and Kimberly have a meltdown and Cyndimaus will be giving us all the details. See you then!