And we’re back! Last time, as Phil reminds us, everyone was just hanging out at home with their bags packed when they got an unexpected call reminding them that it was time to start the Race! Ashley nearly got killed by rogue fireworks, but Scott and Blair came in last. But it was a non-elimination leg, so they’re safe…and Blair volunteers to ditch her hair dryer and curling iron to help them travel light. Leading Phil to say, “You brought a hair dryer on the Amazing Race?” You speak for a generation, Phil.
Dana and Matt, who won the last leg but got nothing, leave first at 1:42 PM (suggesting a 24 hour rest period instead of the usual twelve, because they checked in during the daytime as well) and head to Cartagena, Columbia. They take this opportunity to confirm that yes, the three-year long engagement with no wedding date in sight is in fact a clear sign of a relationship in turmoil, and they are in fact this season’s “tempestuous” dating couple. Foreshadowing? Nah.
Tyler and Korey explain that they are not an adorable gay couple, but are in truth a ruthless pair of alpha predators who will destroy their competition. This is certainly not undermined by the sassy finger snaps they use to illustrate the point. Meanwhile, Zach and Rachel have decided that going screen-free on the Race gives them a chance to do more serious kissy-face. D’AWWW!
Darius and Cameron explain that they’re smarter than people think, and they’re going to stay in the front of the pack. Irony chuckles in preparation for dispensing justice, while Brodie and Kurt explain that their career of competitive frisbee will prepare them well for the Race. Because that’s a thing. (I’m restraining myself valiantly from finding out if Kurt and Brodie have any kind of sordid extreme frisbee history.) And Burnie and Ashley are just excited to go to a new continent. (The remaining teams will just get assorted “Woo! Travel!” shots, because there are too damn many teams right now.)
People start getting to the airport. Tyler and Korey, Dana and Matt, and Burnie and Ashley all get flights that leave at 9 AM while Darius and Cameron wander the airport and sign autographs for fans. Zach and Rachel, Brittany and Jessica, Cole and Sheri, Erin and Josyln, and Scott and Blair all get 9:37 flights. Marty and Hagan get a 10:00 AM flight. And somehow, Darius and Cameron wind up all by their lonesome on a 10:30 flight despite leaving in fourth. This does not bode well, guys.
Once everyone gets to Cartagena, they take taxis to a mud bath at an extinct volcano called El Totumo, where the Roadblock awaits: Racers have to search in the cold mud for a bag strapped to the wall (to prevent it sinking into the 2000-foot deep mud) and wash off the stone inside. If it’s an emerald, they get to exchange it for a clue. If it’s not, it’s back into the mud! Dana and Brodie take it for their respective teams, and change into bathing suits for the mud dive.
Brodie gets his emerald before Dana can even get to the top of the volcano, leaving her in the mud alone. He gives over the emerald and then swims out to the clue box, which is twenty feet or so off-shore in shallow water. It’s not much of an extra challenge, so Brodie and Kurt leave in first. Meanwhile, Dana finds a pink stone (possibly rose quartz) and decides hey, maybe emeralds also come in pink. She decides to test it out with the judges as Ashley and Korey take the task for their respective teams.
Ashley gets her gem around the time that Dana gets back, and figures out that emeralds aren’t blue pretty quick. She goes back for another dive. Korey finds his emerald, but drops it on the way down and can’t find it again, so has to go back. (Oh, and yes, there are women writhing in mud while wearing bathing suits, if you care about that sort of thing.) Ashley finds her emerald on the second try, and gives Alternate Episode Title #1: “I Think I Got Mud In My Butt”.
The second flight arrives, with plenty of taxi jockeying. Instead of bitching and yelling at their cab drivers, everyone waves cheerfully to each other. Again, if this is what “social media stars” act like, I could get used to it. The first flight teams get out of the Roadblock while the second flight teams are on the drive, with Dana and Matt leaving in second, Burnie and Ashley in third, and Tyler and Korey in fourth. All teams head to a juice bar in Manzanillo del Mar to collect their next clue.
Marty and Hagan get out of their flight, with Darius and Cameron not far behind. Marty and Hagan are more than a little upset that their taxi driver is getting passed by cars, trucks, other taxis, mopeds, foot traffic…they plead with the driver to go faster, but his facial expression clearly indicates that this is a man who gives no fucks about the Amazing Race. This man could give a masterclass in resting bitchface.
Rachel, Blair, and Joslyn take the Roadblock for their teams, with Blair first borrowing a swimsuit of her dad’s so she’s not doing a mud dive in a thong. (Again, I certainly don’t recommend you watch this episode for the prurient interest of no less than seven women stripping down to their bikinis and swimming around in mud. That’s certainly not the kind of competitive excitement the Race is known for.) Meanwhile, Marty and Hagan exhort their driver with “El Race-o!” Frankly, at that point I wouldn’t be surprised if he started braking.
Brodie and Kurt finally get to the juice bar, and get a clue leading them to the Detour. The Detour has two options, Pop-Up and Parrilla. “Pop-Up” requires the teams to assemble a lean-to according to the model provided, while Parrilla requires them to cook a fish dish to look like the model. Both require attention to detail, as per Race usual. All four of the first place teams choose Pop-Up, on the grounds that at least it doesn’t involve accidental burning of things. They take their taxis to the beach and get started digging post holes. And apparently missing the significance of loudly shouting to each other, “No! No! It’s gotta go in deeper!”
Cole and Brittany choose to mud dive, while Erin sees her friend covered in mud wearing a string bikini and says, “This looks kind of naughty.” Really? Huh! The second through fourth place teams reach the beach, and Phil cheers them on in person, which is kind of cool. Oh, and someone disturbs a pretty freaked-out looking crab with their digging. There is much assemblage of lean-tos.
Hagan takes the task in 10th, and Cameron in 11th. They appear to be a bit closer to each other than before, but still don’t appear in the same frame. Over at the lean-tos, Dana and Matt are coming unglued as their struggle with proper assemblage proceeds, leading to Dana screaming that part of the problem is “my partner’s lack of communication!” When they ask the judge to look at their lean-to, they get shot down, with a side-by-side diagram showing that their posts are at the wrong angle. The caption reads, “Correct: 90 degree turn. Incorrect: MATT AND DANA.” That’s by way of being a hint. Brodie and Kurt are also shot down, but Tyler and Oakley get it right and get out in first to head for the Pit Stop at Plaza Bolivar.
Meanwhile, we finally get confirmation that the brothers have caught up when they pass Marty and Hagan to get their emerald in 10th. (They’re clearly omitting a lot of stuff here, because they don’t show anyone swimming to the clue box after the first flight.) Hagan finds rose quartz, leading her into a pit of existential despair. Even a commercial break doesn’t relieve her misery.
Meanwhile, the second flight of teams finally gets to the juice bar. Erin and Joslyn go for the fish in fifth, Sheri and Cole go for Pop-up in sixth, the Magic Team goes for Pop-Up in seventh, and Scott and Blair get to eighth place but find out they’ve got a Speed Bump to handle next. Brodie and Kurt, meanwhile, finally make it out of their tent challenge in second and head for the Pit Stop.
Erin and Joslyn begin their cooking, with Erin explaining that she had a “traumatic experience” with a fish as a child. It apparently got caught in her bathing suit–specifically, as she explains, in “The Thing…the Crotch.” Episode Title #2. Hagan, meanwhile, is still gemless as Scott and Blair start their Speed Bump. They have to haul in a fishing net and then fill a bucket with fish. Not the worst ever, but definitely one that involves some physical effort. Meanwhile, Brittany and Jessica get to the juice bar in ninth and decide to grill some fish.
Zach and Rachel begin assembling, well away from the actual spot where they’re supposed to. Dana and Matt finally figure out that they’ve done everything wrong and start screaming at each other about the best way to fix it. This is exacerbated somewhat by the fact that Dana has to stand on a chair for part of the de-assembly process, and standing on a chair in wet sand is not great as a plan. This gives Burnie and Ashley a chance to scoot into third.
Unsurprisingly, Tyler and Oakley check in to the mat in first and get a vacation to St. Thomas. Brodie and Kurt take second, and get a sense of frustration that they try hard to pretend isn’t rooted even a little in alpha-male dudebros not taking a gay couple seriously as a threat. Zach and Rachel, meanwhile, figure out that they’re in the wrong place and start over, while Scott and…pretty much just Scott…gather fish while Blair squeals like a twelve-year old. Oh, and Darius and Cameron drive right past the juice bar because they don’t see a clue box.
Burnie and Ashley take third, indicating there are probably no surprises between the Detour and the mat. This bodes ill for the back-of-the-pack teams. Luckily for Dana and Matt, they finally fix their lean-to and head out in fourth. The fish cookers, meanwhile, are having problems–one of the models cuts herself, so the judges on ‘Chopped’ won’t even taste their dish. Oh, and Scott drops a fish and briefly tries to apply the five-second rule before his daughter tells him to let it go.
Dana and Matt check in to the mat in fourth, and Phil asks if there’s a problem. Dana says to Matt, “Well, I Guess We’re Communicating, Because I Haven’t Killed You”. (Episode Title #3!) Marty and Hagan get their clue at the juice bar…and start walking, instead of riding in the taxi, to the beach site. FORESHADOWING!
Scott and Blair call over the judge, and are told, “Fish. No good.” Brittany and Jessica, on the other hand, are given the thumbs up, and practically tackle the poor woman who’s judging. They get their clue and head out in fifth. Erin and Joslyn take sixth, and also maul the clearly uncomfortable judge. Zach and Rachel assemble their lean-to in seventh, and decide just to hug each other, but Sheri refuses to respect the judge’s personal space at the lean-to challenge to get out in eighth. Scott and Blair get their fish right the second time and head out in ninth…
Which just leaves Darius/Cameron and Marty/Hagan. The brothers are having a lot of problems with burning their fish, their plantains, and pretty much anything else cookable, giving Marty and Hagan a chance to catch up. They leave the Detour in 10th and start running. (At the Pit Stop, there’s a slight shuffling of teams: Erin and Joslyn take fifth, Zach and Rachel sixth, Brittany and Jessica seventh, Sheri and Cole eighth, and Scott and Blair ninth, but it’s nothing anyone loses sleep over.)
Darius and Cameron cook for their lives, and finally get out of the Detour in 11th. At that point, it’s just a question of whether Marty and Hagan’s lead is long enough to allow them to run back to their taxi while the brothers drive…and as Darius and Cameron pass them, it becomes clear that it is not. Darius and Cameron are safe for another week, while Marty and Hagan are eliminated.
And next week, we get explosions (tiny), prostitution (not really) and claustrophobia (severe)! See you then!