And we’re back! Phil recaps last week’s episode with a reminder that Chris counts manipulation as one of his Dunning-Kruger specialties, and that Josh and Tanner have trouble trying to do two full legs in the same time everyone else gets to do one. They’re out, Justin and Diana are in first again, and they’re feeling smug. On to the Race!
We pick up right where we left off, in Agra. No planes, trains or automobiles this time; just grab a tuk-tuk to Kachora Bazaar and get your ass racing. Because oh by the way, they are going to throw motherfucking U-Turns at the Racers until someone starts shit with them. Justin and Diana get in gear, with Justin already planning for his seventh win and Diana sensibly saying that all those wins don’t mean shit if they don’t win the last one. (Well, except for the thirty thousand in cash and multiple free trips around the world, of course.) They’re already thinking about U-Turning the Paparazzi, on the not-unreasonable grounds that the Paprazzi were trying to get them to U-Turn the Cheerleaders and Justin doesn’t like being used. And also Logan said that Denise said that Phil said that Justin looks like a gigantic penis without his hat and oh. My. GAWD!
Joey and Kelsey, meanwhile, head out in second, lamenting the fact that no matter what they do, they just can’t get ahead of the Green Team. Unspoken is the thought that if there’s no travel bunching on this leg, they aren’t going to do it this time either. Behind them are the Paparazzi; Chris admits that he’s been puking his guts up for most of their rest period but states that he’s determined not to use it as an excuse to fail. Why should he? His incompetence and defeatism provide him plenty.
As Joey and Kelsey worry about the U-Turn (needlessly–nobody U-Turns the second place team, because they’re too likely to survive it) and the Cheerleaders set out, Justin and Diana arrive at the Roadblock, which Justin takes. He has to fill a bunch of balloons, slide them into a net on a pole, and then carry them by bicycle to decorate a wedding. The balloons pop a lot on the air nozzle, and the net tangles easily, so Justin is still there when Joey arrives to take the Roadblock for his team and Logan arrives to take the Roadblock for hers. Justin, impressively enough, freely and openly discusses U-Turning Logan and Chris right to their faces. Obnoxious, but damn if he’s not honest to a fault.
Denise and James Earl finally get on their way, somewhere around the time Justin sets out on his bike ride with a full complement of balloons. Chris offers “encouragement” in the form of telling Logan to “do it right” and “do it smart”; Logan gives feedback in the form of telling him to shut the hell up. Believe it or fucking not, they actually chat about proposing during all that shit. Diana occupies herself by tattooing kids in the crowd. (Um, temporary tattoos. She’s not out there with a needle giving them a permanent souvenir of the Race.) Joey struggles with tying the knot, and jokes that his deficiency is balloon-only. Too bad for the producers that the teams in last season’s date-related season weren’t this romantic.
Justin gets back with his clue just as Joey finishes and before the Cheerleaders or Southern Gothic have even set out, and the U-Turn is in front of the Detour this time. Chris responds with predictable panic and demands that his partner race smarter and faster. Judging by the way that the sun is low in the sky, it doesn’t seem like either one is happening. The Cheerleaders finally show up and Tiffany takes the Roadblock for her team.
Logan finally sets out, grateful to be away from her partner for a few blessed minutes. James Earl arrives to take the Roadblock for Southern Gothic, but he’s definitely operating from a time deficit. They must have spent a hell of a long time wandering around the wrong destination last week. Desperate, Denise begs Krista not to U-Turn them, and Krista responds with an charming, heartfelt and impassioned defense of their friendship that only slightly omits the fact that they can’t U-Turn anyone anymore.
Justin and Diana arrive at the U-Turn, and use it on the Paparazzi. America cheers. They then go on to choose between two Detour options, “Bring the Groom” or “Bring the Fun”. Both are pretty much identical, to be honest; they both involve schlepping something heavy to a local wedding (one that apparently was conducted in bulk, given the number of grooms involved). Groom means starting up a bicycle-mounted generator and hauling it to the site (while the groom and several electric candelabras follow) while Fun involves pushing a portable swing set to the wedding and giving a bunch of kids a ride. The generator seems nominally harder to start than the kids do to push, but that’s pretty much it.
Justin and Diana loudly (does Justin do things any other way?) decide to Bring the Fun. Joey and Kelsey arrive and decide to Bring the Groom. Tiffany finally leaves somewhere around sunset, and James Earl is still filling balloons well after the sun dips below the horizon. There’s a brief moment right before the ad break where you think that Tiffany might have to start over again when she experiences charmless street harassment in the form of someone deliberately breaking her net and spilling her balloons (it’s notable that none of the guys had this shit happen to them) but apparently the rules do not force her to retrace her steps in the event of malicious sabotage, because she’s seen after the commercials turning over her half-filled net and getting her clue. (I’m okay with this, in case it’s not clear.)
Justin and Diana pick their carnival ride and get going. They remind everyone that there are reasons not to hate them by talking about how wonderful the experience is and how they need to live in the moment and enjoy it. And how much they’re looking forward to playing with adorable kids. Good on them, goddammit. Meanwhile, Logan and Chris get to the U-Turn, with Chris insisting on looking everywhere but at the clue box (while Logan screams, “It says ‘bookstore’! Look among all the books!” I can’t sympathize with the way she expresses her frustration, but I totally understand getting pissed at Chris.) They decide to do the ride first, while complaining about how much they hate the Green Team and how much this sucks…then, as is traditional, devolving into an argument about who’s being more negative about the situation. They are a well-oiled machine.
Tiffany and Krista get to the Detour and practically lead a victory parade when they find out they’re not the ones who got U-Turned. They choose the Groom. Joey and Kelsey, meanwhile, get their generator started and parade through the streets. Kelsey, adorably, hopes she won’t be as sweaty on her actual wedding day, saying it with a smile on her face. I wouldn’t mind if these two won it all, I have to say.
Logan and Chris pick up their ride, and then stop in the middle of a crowded street with a carnival rig the size of a small car to scream at each other about directions. TEAM! Justin and Diana, meanwhile, make it to the wedding and park their ride. They have no problems finding eight cute, cheerful kids to give a ride to and push them back and forth while talking about having their own someday. (Maybe not eight, though?)
Phil turns out to be at the wedding, so Justin and Diana search for him with the whole mob of kids in tow. They all charge to the mat in a swarm of cute kid-ness, take first place, and get five grand apiece. They then squander some of that goodwill they’ve been earning by once again boasting that they’re two wins away from breaking the record, and oh hey, they have two legs left! I have no idea why that kind of smugness bugs me so bad, but I freely admit it does.
Joey and Kelsey deliver their groom, get their clue, and start looking for Phil at the wedding. The horde of children, deciding that they have a new favorite form of entertainment, run right along with them and check in second as well. No word on whether they get to go on to the next leg, though. Meanwhile, Southern Gothic finally get started on the Detour, in Way the Fuck Far Behind place.
The Paparazzi get to the wedding, and Chris decides to just push the ride around and hope that small children jump on for a free tour of the wedding grounds. Logan finally sets him straight through intense screaming therapy, and they park the rig to let the kids on. After pushing them until they start getting vaguely terrified, they head off to start Grooming.
The Cheerleaders have a little trouble starting the crank-powered generator, but it’s not like any of the tries consume a lot of time, so they basically struggle just long enough to lead into a commercial break. After the ad is over? Miraculous success! The Race can be adorably predictable sometimes. They set off, once again clearly wishing that this Race had more dancing challenges and fewer “lug heavy shit around” challenges, right as Logan and Chris arrive.
Chris proves to have one useful skill, starting hand-cranked generators. He and Logan set off, with Logan now firmly in the grip of her adrenaline–she’s screaming, she’s flexing, she is crazy bad-ass and determined to win. On a more competent, less annoying team, I’d probably be proud of her, but she and Chris bring out the worst each other so bad that I can’t even like her enthusiasm. It probably helps her spirit that Southern Gothic gets to the Groom challenge well after they set off. So it’s right about here that America’s heart starts to sink once more.
Because despite their utter failures at communication, navigation, and basic competence, the Paparazzi are firmly in the middle of the three-team procession, and there’s just nowhere to make up ground. The processions are too big and slow to really gain on anyone by pushing harder, and Phil is once again right near the last clue, so barring complete and total incompetence, there’s just no way to sneak by anyone on the way to the mat. And even the Paparazzi aren’t that incompetent.
Sure enough, Tiffany and Krista show up in third, Logan and Chris in fourth, and Denise and James Earl in fifth, each one accompanied by the children who are clearly enjoying the new game of “Run Up to the Mat With the Crazy Screaming Foreigners”. And there is no double leg, no non-elimination leg to save them. We are down to four, and I have to say I’m impressed that they made it as far as they did. They struggled at times, but they finished respectably and maybe they did mend a little of their relationship after all. Their creepy, dysfunctional relationship is now a little less so, and good for them.
And next week, we have ominous facial expressions and tear-drenched proclamations of desperation that suggest either an unexpected elimination…or possibly they’re just going to skip straight to somebody fucking dying mid-leg. See you then!