And we’re back! Phil starts the episode by reminding us that Kurt and Brodie managed to beat a camel in a bike race and still needed to use the Express Pass, thanks to Brodie’s poor performance at Roadblocks, while Sheri and Cole got so badly lost that they were briefly concerned that they had departed Dubai altogether. Luckily, they were saved by a non-elimination leg, but we have to be pretty much out of those by this point. Which bodes ill for somebody…
We get back into the Race with some utterly shameless product placement even by the Race’s already low standards, as Brodie pulls up information about the trip they won last round with the words, “Dude, check out this Travelocity app!” while Kurt stands next to him holding the Roaming Gnome. It’s moments like this that make me sometimes suspect that the production team is actually attempting a brilliant satire of our consumerist culture and running smack dab into Poe’s Law.
Once they’ve satisfied their contractual obligation to praise their Dark Lord Travelocity, all teams head on the same flight to Bali, Indonesia. The Frisbee boys are a little nervous about this, because they burned their Express Pass last week in order to come in first, and it’s suddenly occurred to them that it might have been more handy to save it to stave off elimination. Only Burnie and Ashley are aware of their vulnerability, though, and it’s not like there’s a U-Turn or a double Roadblock or anything that would leave them mired in difficulties, so they persevere.
Also persevering are Sheri and Cole, who are determined not to suck this time. Sheri tries boldly to insist that this has all been part of a grand plan to make themselves look non-threatening, but she says it with a facial expression that even she knows her trousers are self-immolating even as she speaks. Cole, too, is flabbergasted by the audacity of her deception. (Actually, they both just make goofy faces. But they’re funny goofy faces.)
Once they get to Bali, everyone has to go to a rock formation called Tanah Lot, where they collect timed departure tickets for the morning, leaving in groups at 6:15, 6:30 and 6:45. Team Bravo and the Frisbees take the first spot, Team Rooster and Team Squee the second, and the Magic Couple and the dancers bringing up the rear. Unfortunately for the leading teams, they burn a lot of their head start figuring out what to do and where to go–they have to deliver an offering of fruit to one temple, where they collect a second offering and take it to a second temple. By the time Team Bravo finds the first temple, the second set of teams is already underway.
Oh, yes, and the offering is a live python for each Racer.
Honestly, it’s not that big of a deal. They’re clearly juveniles that had already been fed, and they’re obviously more than happy to chillax around people’s shoulder so long as their bodies were supported and they weren’t jostled unduly. Which is where easily three-quarters of the Racers fail, because they’re freaked by snakes and just want to run and keep it off of their bodies as much as possible. Ashley, Sheri and Cole handle theirs the best, and while Tyler doesn’t do that great, he at least references Britney Spears with a python around her neck, which is funny.
After they drop off their snakes, teams are directed to the Bat Temple, which just never failed to crack me up because I kept hearing it as the Bat-Temple, and I just pictured Batman and Robin running the Race and shouting, “Quickly, Robin! To the Bat-Temple!” Which frankly is awesome, and I’m half-tempted to do an entire season of DC-themed fake Race recaps. (I’m not promising anything, but if you want to suggest teams in the comments, you totally can…)
The last set of teams get their snakes, and they are the worst about freaking out. Zach and Dana, in particular, seem to think that they’re in deadly danger, and handle their snakes with a death grip for dear of suffocation. Which just makes them wriggle like crazy because some asshole is throttling them. Luckily, it’s a short trip, and they’re quickly off to the Bat-Temple. (You can just hear the theme song, can’t you? “Om mani padme hum, Batman! Om mani padme hum, Batman!”) There, they get hit with a nasty Roadblock, one that’s going to significantly affect the course of the Race for a few teams.
The Roadblock involves a sort of simplified version of the steps of making salt. Each team has to take two yoked buckets to the beach and fill them with seawater, over and over again, until they’ve saturated a marked-off plot of ground. They then have to scrape salt out of brine to fill a bucket, and then fill bags from a pre-dried bucket of salt. The tough bits are the beginning and the end; the process requires carrying multiple buckets of seawater in the hot sun, and the filling of the bags is fiddly and delicate.
Brodie ditches the Roadblock off onto Kurt, which has become kind of a theme of his. (Kurt takes the opportunity to share his dramatic cancer survival story, which is pretty much like mentioning you’re one day from retirement in a cop movie.) Tyler takes it for his team. Sheri and Cole hit their Speed Bump, which involves making, selling and eating some traditional Indonesian food, and begin knocking it out. Burnie takes the Roadblock for the Roosters…and not realizing what the Roadblock entails, Rachel takes it for the Magic Couple.
Now, Rachel is by all appearances a very athletic woman, and certainly could probably handle this better than a certain out-of-shape, pudgy recapper. This is not a “women can’t handle things like men!” rant. But this is a particularly brutal lift-and-carry challenge, and she does struggle. Would Zach have struggled just as much? It’s difficult to be sure. He certainly seems more wiry than bulky. But certainly this decision may have factored a bit into the final outcome of the episode.
Meanwhile, having sold ten bowls of their noodle broth, Sheri and Cole tuck into their own…and find out it’s obscenely spicy. Cole is sweating, he’s groaning, he’s shouting, “Please Don’t Let My Future Girlfriend See This Episode!” (how this wasn’t the title, I have no idea)…but they get through it and get on to the Roadblock. Which Cole takes. And when Matt takes it for the dancers, Rachel clearly gets a bit nervous.
Burnie finishes the saturation and moves on to the brine with Kurt. They’re pretty much neck and neck until it comes to the bagging, where Kurt slows down pretty drastically due to dropping a bag. Tyler shows up before too long, and motivates himself by imagining the salt around the rim of a frozen margarita.
Cole crushes the saturation part, and easily collects his salt by using his experience scooping ice cream at his summer job. Matt finishes the saturation as well, leaving just Rachel alone with her yoked buckets that she can barely fill to the quarter-full mark. The commercial break shows her dropping her buckets and collapsing to her knees dramatically, and even though that’s pretty much par for the course before commercial breaks it’s still clear that they’re in trouble.
Burnie clears the Roadblock in first and heads to Martasari Beach…and another Roadblock, one that can only be done by the person who didn’t do the salt task. This one requires assembling a thirty-foot kite from the example provided, then launching it into the air with the help of a team of kite fliers (because it’s thirty fucking feet long). Ashley gets started on her kite assemblage, feeling quite confident about her odds…in no small part because Kurt has taken all the Roadblocks he can take for the season.
Tyler leaves in second, and at the beach Korey gets started with his kite. Back at the salt, Zach wonders why Kurt doesn’t just use the Express Pass, and is met with an awkward silence that’s broken only by Kurt getting out of there in second. Cole, meanwhile, says, “I’ve never gone to a mental hospital for being crazy, but if I were, it’d be for tying salt bags.” Probably a little too ableist to be an episode title, but his delivery is amusing. He makes it out in fourth, pretty much ensuring that elimination won’t happen for them this week. Matt follows, and it’s Rachel alone with the salt.
But there’s still a Roadblock to do, and assembling complicated things isn’t Brodie’s strong point. You know that look that Adam Baldwin got in ‘Firefly’ when he was deeply confused about anything complex, or emotional, or ambiguous, or in existence? The one we all thought was great acting until we saw his Twitter feed? Yeah, that’s Brodie’s facial expression the entire time. He tries to copy off of Ashley, but she’s too far ahead for him to get an idea of what to do.
Sheri and Dana show up for their Roadblocks, and while Sheri responds to the challenge with the practiced calm of a woman who has probably put together bicycles on Christmas Eve without waking the kids, Dana predictably whines about how hard it is and how it’s not her strong suit. Sadly, they’ve already done a dancing challenge, and there’s not really a “whinging challenge” this season, so she’s out of strong suits to play to.
And Zach shows up, and begins his work on the kite. He leaps to the challenge, hoping to make up some time on the back of the pack. But Korey has already started flying his kite and is off to the Pit Stop, with Ashley not far behind. They’ve got to sail and row from another beautiful beach (Semawang, for the naughty-minded among you) out into the bay, where Phil is waiting on a boat for them.
Team Squee just barely edges out the Roosters for first (continuing the theme of blatantly hitting on Phil by saying, “We’re pirates and we’re here for your booty!”) and it’s obvious at this point that Burnie and Ashley are getting a bit sick of second-place finishes. Which is usually Race code for “They’re going to win it all,” but we’ll see. I certainly wouldn’t mind it if they did–at this point, there’s only one team I’m actively rooting against.
Sheri and Cole fly out in third, and Dana and Matt send their kite flying right behind in fourth. They hit the Pit Stop in the same order, which leaves it to the ultimate question: Can Brodie’s incompetence undermine the massive head start that they had?
Although there’s a ton of suspense, the answer is, by literally less than a minute, “No.” Kurt and Brodie finish fifth, and Zach and Rachel are eliminated. It’s one of the tighter finishes we’ve seen, and Zach and Rachel take it well, embracing each other in defeat. They certainly have nothing to be ashamed of in this leg, or indeed in their Race overall.
And next week, we get cliff-diving, a Detour that’s apparently “hell”, and a Double-U-Turn. No more nice guys? We’ll see!