And we’re back! Last week, we went to Poland, and the Texans showed that they’re both nicer and less competent than they previously demonstrated. Luckily, a non-elimination leg gave them a reprieve…but can it last?
We open with the Texans and the Cheerleaders chatting about their hopes for the next leg. Namely, they’re hoping that somehow luck and/or the U-Turn saves them from being eliminated despite sitting at the back of the pack going into things. As it turns out, luck does come into play at least a little; everyone is leaving for Agra, India on the same plane, so they’ll at least have a little bunching to help them out.
Everyone else is thinking U-Turn, too. Well, except for Tiffany and Krista, who wasted their U-Turn several legs ago on the Green Team, and except for Justin and Diana, who are thinking about the five legs they’ve won and are hoping to add a sixth. It would be safe to say that between all of the other teams openly admitting that they’re psyched out by Justin and Diana’s supernatural luck and competence, and Phil’s ego stroking at the mat, the Green Team is feeling a little overconfident. Justin openly cackles while thinking about sending the Texans home, and seems to enjoy stirring shit between the Paparazzi and the Cheerleaders. (Admittedly, the Paparazzi were clumsily trying to manipulate Justin and Diana into U-Turning anyone but them, and I might well have done the same thing, but I don’t know that I would have giggled like Andy Robinson in ‘Dirty Harry’ while doing it.)
After all of the high school drama shit ends, everyone gets on a train and heads to Agra. Joey and Kelsey start their weird, creepy live correspondent act, before “tossing it over” to Krista for a weather report. OH DEAR GOD IT’S SPREADING. At the Agra station, they all get tuk-tuks (adorable little golf-cart style taxis that are a Race staple) and take their lives into their hands as their drivers careen through the vague suggestions that pass for India’s traffic laws on their way to the Yamuna River and the Roadblock.
The Roadblock is simple, but time-consuming; Racers bike to the riverbank with a basket of saris and tie them in knots according to specific instructions before tossing them in a vat of hot water to be washed. They then take a Blue Peter-style “here’s one I made earlier” pile of wet saris and spread them out to dry. The Roadblock goes to Krista, Joey, Chris, James Earl, and…oh. Yes. About that.
Tanner and Josh find out that instead of having to do a Speed Bump, their penalty for coming in last on the previous leg is that they each have to do the Roadblock. Sequentially. This is a new way of handling non-elimination legs, and while it’s not entirely unfair, it does show the way that the Race can be capricious and arbitrary in the way it handles non-elimination legs. Sometimes the Speed Bump is something simple, like sitting in a sauna for fifteen minutes. Other times, it’s this. Just one more reason to stay out of last, boys!
Diana takes the Roadblock in last. Krista crashes on her bike going down the hill, and wails as she wipes out. She nonetheless continues on. Everyone drags their bikes through some loose sand, which looks about as fun as you’d imagine, and proceeds to the folding. After a little bit of practice, everyone gets the hang of folding and tying their saris, but they’ve got a pretty big bag to get through and it’s slow going. The teams chatter a bit about the upcoming U-Turn, and Krista screams and runs from a giant bug that comes at her in the exact same way that I cheerfully admit that I would do under the circumstances. Right down to the pitch.
Surprisingly, they skim through the unfolding in a montage, despite the inherent dramatic potential of competitive laundry drying, and move out to the next clue with Joey in first, Chris in second, Diana in third, Tanner trading out his place to Josh, Krista in fourth, and Denise in fifth. They head out to Hanuman Temple to get a bindi placed on their forehead as a blessing, which most teams seem to accept with charming good grace, and head off to the Detour.
The two choices for the Detour are “Cans” and “Candy”. “Cans” involves stacking empty fuel cans onto a cart in a 6x4x5 grid, tying them together, and navigating them through the streets of Agra en route to a fuel depot. “Candy” involves cutting about 90 pounds of pumpkin into rounds to be washed and weighed, the taking boxes of the finished petha to a candy store. It seems fairly obvious that stacking cans is quicker and easier than slicing pumpkin then cutting pumpkin into rounds until you’ve got 90 pounds worth (especially since they won’t weigh your bucket until all the pumpkin has been washed) but a lot of teams give Candy a go.
Justin and Diana have a little tuk-tuk luck and get to Cans in first. They’re stacked about four and a half tiers high by the time the Reporters get there, which has to be a little demoralizing. (I admit to crushing a little on Kelsey’s bad-ass math skills.) Chris and Logan, meanwhile, get to Candy first, and immediately snap into action with their trademark teamwork as Logan asks Chris if he thinks he can cut the pumpkin into slices without cutting his hand off. Then asks, “Have you cut yourself already?” The only thing sadder than her total lack of faith in his abilities is the complete and utter believability he brings to that lack of faith.
Tiffany and Krista hit the temple in fourth, and Southern Gothic in fifth. Both go for the Candy. Justin and Diana finish tying up their cans, and head out onto the streets where Justin’s natural gift for being loud and obnoxious helps keep the traffic at bay. Meanwhile, Chris is criticizing Logan’s round-cutting technique, prompting her to threaten to quit if he talks to her. The fact that these two are still racing defies common sense and possibly physics. Meanwhile, Josh finishes and gets a “sympathy clap” from the folks doing laundry.
Chris and Logan decide to get their pumpkin weighed, despite not knowing how much they need. This is worth mentioning primarily because several teams mispronounce “maund” as “man”, amusing us all with the spectacle of Chris saying, “I have no idea what a man is!” As it turns out, he falls short of maundhood, and they have to go back and cut some more just as Justin and Diana are unpacking their oil cans and the Reporters are setting out.
On the second try, Chris and Logan get their maund and head out with the finished candy. Josh and Tanner show up to make their candy, having made up some significant time, but two other teams have already finished the Detour and there’s a U-Turn (as previously and repeatedly mentioned) ahead. Phil shows up in person to remind us that the leg pretty much hinges on this–if the other teams don’t get to the U-Turn ahead of Justin and Diana, there’s very little chance of stopping them. But Justin and Diana get lost, and Joey and Kelsey get out of their Detour, making it a three-way race for the U-Turn!
…which Justin and Diana win. Because of course they do. They choose not to U-Turn anyone, and head for the Moonlight Gardens near the Taj Mahal to find the Pit Stop and Phil. Joey and Kelsey get there in second, and decide to U-Turn Josh and Tanner, on the grounds that fuckit, it’s a lot easier to win a foot race when you break someone else’s legs.
At that point, it’s pretty damn near a foregone conclusion. The boys are already racing to overcome a huge time deficit from the double Roadblock, and now they have to do a double Detour as well. Southern Gothic does their best to help avoid a Texan elimination by going to the complete wrong destination and letting their tuk-tuk go, but it’s just not possible to spot Josh and Tanner enough time to keep them in the Race. The teams come in Justin and Diana, Joey and Kelsey, Logan and Chris, Tiffany and Krista, Denise and James Earl, and finally Josh and Tanner, and this time there’s no non-elimination leg to save them. They leave a little bit humbler and wiser, having at least learned something about the world and about themselves, which is no bad thing even if they’d rather have had the million.
And next week, Logan and Chris scream at each other some more, while Tiffany “has a blowout”. They show her with balloons at the time, though, so it doesn’t sound like it’s a diaper-related mishap. See you then!