'The Amazing Race': Surviving Surabaya
Taxi distress ruins the race for one of the leading teams
Last week: In a not-particularly challenging first leg—which saw them pitted against a table-tennis champ eventually forced to hit the ball with, basically, a soggy piece of lettuce—the lumberjacks were out first.
Bing: ‘The Amazing Race’ | Indonesia
Dating divorcees Abbie and Ryan head out first—to Alun Alun Stadium in Surabaya, Indonesia. We know it's hot in Shanghai, because last week Ryan mentioned the state of his underpants after a "17-hour" flight. This week, he's chiefly concerned about knee sweat, and the fact that the Express Pass is up for grabs. Also, Ryan indicates to his taxi driver that he wants to go to the airport by making a "zoom" noise and spreading his arms like a plane. Amy and Daniel are next, followed by Caitlin and Brittany, the still-shouting Natalie and Nadiya ("Some people will be scared of the beggar—those are like our homeboys," Nadiya says), and Monster Truck drivers Rob and Kelley, who somehow manage to bag a flight on Cathay that seems to have a two-hour head start over everyone else, who'll be flying Garuda via Jakarta. The truckers don't seem to know, though, that their flight involves a four-hour layover in Hong Kong, which will actually guarantee their lock on last place.
Photos: Meet the teams
James and Abba, Gary and Will, Trey and Lexi, and Will and Brent hit the airport next, with the Chippendales bringing up the rear. Everyone—save the Monster Truckers—arrives in Jakarta together, but only one team, "Long Hair Don't Care"—James and Abba—make the list for a standby flight leaving an hour earlier. "We're going to have to call them 'Long Hair Do Care,'" Chippendales James says. All the teams arrive at the stadium to "take a number" and wait until morning for the challenge. High fives go around once the racers realize that Rob and Kelley are absent. "Personally, I think we're in the lead right now," Rob says. They're not—they're 10th. "We like to be last—we're just gliding under the radar." Say what you like: He’s good at finding the silver lining to a string of bad decisions.
Everyone's up in the morning for the episode's first challenge: bull racing. But teams aren't actually racing the bulls themselves—they're just sitting on the back of a moped as the Indonesian drivers race the bulls. This is a terrible challenge. This may be the worst challenge the show has ever run, in fact, since there should be more to a challenge than "holding on." In any case, James and Abba are through first, to a route marker at the Genteng Kali Bridge. There, they find a clue that reads "Who likes to party?" James does: "I assessed the situation immediately, as only a rock star can do: keep the kids entertained." This challenge involves pedaling a bike while making balloon animals for kids, which is somewhat less interesting than watching someone pat his head and rub his belly at the same time—but does, at least in one case, have the chance to make teams freak out. Trey and Lexi are out first, just in front of Amy and Daniel and Natalie and Nadiya. Will and Gary fall behind, because Will has apparently never seen a balloon before. "I've never seen him like that," Gary says, as Will strangles his balloon into submission. "I was so nervous my glasses were falling off my face," Will says. It is truly painful watching him make a balloon poodle.
The other teams are on to the Detour at Wijaya Motors, which offers the options of Ice by the Pound (delivering 650 pounds of ice) or Fish by the Barrel (separating two barrels of fish and setting up a shop). Trey and Lexi move quickly through the ice challenge, while Nadiya and Natalie attack the fish challenge—at one point, sticking their entire heads into the barrel, so their long black hair is coated in fish goo. But they're the first team to finish and head for the Pitstop—while many of the other teams are still in their taxis en route to the Detour. The Texans are next, followed by the Chippendales, Abbie and Ryan, Josh and Brent, James and Abba, and Caitlin and Brittany.
The two trailing teams are all having terrible taxi trouble. The Monster Truckers should be shocked that they roll up to Wijaya at the same time as Gary and Will—who by all rights should be out of the game—but Rob is delighted that they’re not in last place, and in fact, he and Kelley manage to keep their narrow lead over the substitute teachers and sneak into eighth place. This means that it’s going to come down to Will and Gary and Amy and Daniel, who began the leg in second place and might have come a lot closer to holding on to it if not for their taxi driver. It’s a lousy way to go out—and that’s exactly what happens. You have to think Amy was very “WTF” after seeing Will and Gary declare “I’m not running” as they dejectedly strolled up to the Pitstop. She did, with two fewer legs than either of them. Here’s hoping she’ll be remembered the next time Unfinished Business comes around.
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"The Amazing Race" airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.