'The Amazing Race' Recap: U Turns in Tanzania
Two teams are U Turned while Jamie and Nary struggle to stay in
Special to MSN TV
Last week: Nearly done in by a tent-building challenge, undercover feds Jamie and Nary survived -- just barely -- thanks to a non-elimination leg.
This week: We're still in Tanzania's Ngorongoro crater -- "regarded as a Garden of Eden," Phil says. "It's just absolutely beautiful," Mark says. "I want to stay here and forget about the race," Rachel (of "Big Brother") says. Tanzania's tourism department, assuming they assisted in bringing the race here (Phil tweets at them during the show's broadcast), is certainly getting their money's worth with this gorgeous segment, showing the teams driving 1600 feet down into the Ngorongoro Crater, past elephants, gazelles, napping lions, galloping wildebeests, “bamboons” (according to Rachel), and the rest. It may be the show's most effective travel-porn segment ever, since the pressure's off and the teams can actually enjoy it -- they're being driven in safari vehicles, and presumably all at the same speed. The leading teams discuss the upcoming U Turns and targeting Rachel and Brendon. "Dave and Rachel gave us their word," J.J. says. "Everyone is in agreement strategy-wise -- everyone wants Team Big Brother out. They're malcontents." Crying in every episode will earn a team that reputation.
Once at Safari Junction, teams first need to find a souvenir stand named Hillary Clington (it's right near Barack Obama) to discover the Detour: Air Supply or Water Supply, "two chores that are a vital part of living in Tanzania," Phil says. For the former, teams need to patch a leaky bike tire; for the latter, teams have to collect a bunch of empty containers and stand in a very long line to wait to fill them. Of course, they can't see the line until they get there -- bad news for Art and J.J., who are basically starring in a P.S.A. about how incredibly time-consuming just getting water is in Tanzania -- the border patrol agents do the math and estimate that they're looking at a wait of 30 to 40 minutes -- and "it's going to take us 20 to 30 minutes to find [the Air Supply challenge.]" So they stay put -- allowing Dave and Rachel and Mark and Bopper to increase their leads. The Kentuckians, in fact, absolutely speed through this task, perhaps not least because Bopper's a mechanic in real life. "See these hands? They're mechanic hands. Just like a NASCAR pitstop, baby." Rachel and Dave, meanwhile, start bickering again: "Stop being a jackass," Rachel says. "Shush, we're a team," Dave replies. It's not hard to figure out why people are rooting for the teams not in romantic relationships this season. Mark and Bopper are the first ones to set off on foot for the next route marker, at Jack Selzer Pub, three kilometers away. (The one advantage that teams choosing the Water Supply task have is that their walk to the pub is less than half that.)
At the pub, teams have the option of U Turning one behind them -- something Mark and Bopper refuse, and Dave and Rachel do as well, after a bit of contemplation. They'd promised Art and J.J. they would U Turn Rachel and Brendon if given the opportunity -- but they don't, obviously preferring to let the border patrol agents do the dirty deed. The border patrol agents spend a significant amount of time brooding about this: "We're honoring our word -- hopefully Dave and Rachel will come up behind and U Turn the teachers or the cops or whatever else they are," J.J. says. Teams proceed to the Gem Gallery and Art (which will later be the site of the Speedbump) and then on to the Roadblock, at Margaret's Farm. "We just want to stay in the game, but we'd love to have one first place to see what it feels like," Bopper says, en route. Their very ambitious taxi driver then proceeds to give them a lead: "In front of [Rachel and Dave]?" the driver says. "No problem, no problem, no problem."
At this point, the show divides into two segments: the race for first (with Mark, Bopper, Dave, Rachel, and less impressively, Art and J.J.) and the race to stay in -- between Team Big Brother, Vanessa and Ralph, and Jamie and Nary, who leave around three hours after Dave and Rachel set off and are wearing adorable "I'm With My BFF" t-shirts. Vanessa and Ralph are beset by problems from the get-go -- including their inability to find Hillary Clington -- they actually go so far past it that they wander into the Air Supply challenge, where Rachel and Brendon are there to laugh at them. Of course, the joke's on Team Big Brother when they arrive at the pub and discover that the border patrol agents have U Turned them. ("Shocker!" Rachel says.) This gives them, though, the chance to "U Turn our favorite people in the world, Vanessa and Ralph."
Mark and Bopper are first to the Roadblock at Margaret's Farm. Phil reminds us that "more than 50% of Tanzania's economy is centered around agriculture" -- and honey is a big part of it. One team member needs to put on a protective bee suit and harvest 500 grams of honey from a hive, a task that looks a tiny bit scary but really not that incredibly hard -- it's clear that none of the team positioning is going to change much here. Mark takes the challenge, and we learn that a limping Bopper recently had knee surgery -- not what fans of the team want to hear. But they eke out enough of a lead that even though Rachel and Dave look to be only minutes behind them, they arrive at the Pitstop at Lake Manyana first, winning a trip for two to Hawaii. I would have rather seen them win, say, $20,000, but this first-place finish will have to suffice for now. "I'm just a country boy from Kentucky, and I never thought I'd have a chance to stand in the middle of Africa with my best friend," Bopper says. Rachel and a grumbling Dave are second (Phil: "You have to give her props, Dave"), followed, at a distance, by Art and J.J., who are still steaming about the U Turn: "If I could do it all again and jump in front of them, I'd tag [Rachel and Dave] for the U Turn. It makes me sick to my stomach," J.J. says. "It's just you and me racing," he tells Art.
Thanks to the double U Turn, all the conditions are ripe for Jamie and Nary to stay in the game -- but it looks like their finish in last week's episode was actually a mortal wound that took an extra episode to kill them, sort of like William on "Downton Abbey." Even though Ralph and Vanessa get a flat tire, the federal agents still have a Speedbump to do, arranging art at a roadside stall according to a painted guide, and it takes just enough time to knock them out -- thanks, as well, to the no-challenge challenge with the bee collecting. It's a shame -- they were a hardworking team that supported each other and rarely complained -- but they're out.
"The Amazing Race" airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.