Amazing Race Recap: Rats!
Lugging rats through a city in a Santa sack while contracting the black plague is SO HARDCORE.
By Kerri Fleming
Who needs the World Almanac and Book of Facts or even Wikipedia when you've got the Amazing Race?
All I knew about Bangladesh before this week was that it was a third-world country in southeast Asia. But really, that's just the tip of the iceberg. For example, did you know that their cars run on Sprite? It's true! I also learned that the locals are fascinated by hairy white men trudging through raw sewage and that not one woman lives inside its borders, but what the country lacks in estrogen, it more than makes up for in dilapidated buses and dead rats. The Bangladeshi Tourism Bureau is tripping over itself with all this positive publicity right now.
Indeed, this leg of the race had the teams depart from Indonesia to Bangladesh. It also served as a Great Equalizer leg, where everyone winds up together at some point (in this case, on the same flight to Bangladesh) and the order is completely flipped. Or stays pretty much exactly the same.
Once the teams all landed together in the capital city of Dharka, everyone was hit with a bad case of culture shock, where cars were flying through the streets and nobody could seem to grab a taxi. Except Rob and Kelley, who actually thought to head to a taxi stand within the airport and got out before everyone else. It makes you wonder if their earlier flight snafu was an anomaly and they're actually travel geniuses. (Spoiler Alert! There was an anomaly and that earlier flight mistake wasn't it.)
Throughout the show, the teams were really at the mercy of their unpredictable drivers. On the way to the very first stop on this leg, we saw gas stations, "shortcuts" through sketchy back alleys, and the landfill. "Third World Grand Theft Auto," was how the twins, familiar with this type of culture from their upbringing in Sri Lanka, described it.
The divorcees, twins and Chippendales arrived at the stop first, where the road block had one person putty the side of a rusted-out bus, sand it, and then move some abandoned bus seats, in what looked like a community service session for petty criminals. The real punishment for the divorcees was having to listen to Natalie cheer on her sister, the only woman to complete the task. While the other teams found it amusing - Jaymes joined her chants and Rob good-naturedly talked back - Ryan and Abbie seemed to overreact just a tad. Of course, later in the episode, the twins would refer to them as a crazy couple, so I'm guessing we're having a good old personality clash.
A few had no problem with the task. Ryan finished pretty easily (although he had to stay and help the struggling Stripper James since he apparently dropped his clue in acid), and Rob looked like he was at home, having puttied his share of monster trucks. He also showed off his brute strength, what his team really has going for it, by carrying all four bus seats in one trip. Nadiya also didn't have too much difficulty. The rest all had putty problems, particularly Gary, who started to channel his inner Eeyore when he realized they were last. Aaaagain.
While this was all going on, the rockers were the only team that opted to try for the Fast Forward, which consisted of walking through the city of Dharka and collecting dead rats for a local exterminator. Yum? Despite some trouble finding the first stop and a slosh through some raw sewage, they didn't seem the worse for wear, enjoying the crowds of locals than began following them like they were a pair of Forrest Gumps traversing the country on foot. With their hair and beards, the resemblance isn't a stretch. Anyway, they didn't face anything a good Purell foot scrubbing won't fix and wound up in first.
The rest of the teams had to go to a marketplace and dig around a few bags of old sardines to get their next clue, a straightforward (albeit kind of gross) task that was only complicated for Trey and Lexi, whose taxi's engine died and was then brought back to life thanks to a combination of Sprite and Trey's rippling muscles.
From there was the detour, where teams had to either pound out a metal spike using sledgehammers or stuff and sew up a mattress with cotton. Abbie's one year of fashion school was enough for Ryan to head to the mattress, and I have to say that Abbie's little folding trick to fill the mattress was kind of awesome. The fact that they accidentally left some stuffing outside of the mattress and had to open it up again allowed the twins and the truckers, who had both opted for the spike, to jump ahead of them.
Frankly, I was surprised with how many teams decided to take the mattress challenge, since the spike seemed so much more straightforward. But when they made their decision, Gary said something about how physical exhausted he was after the bus challenge, so maybe that's what it was. Either way, there needs to be an Amazing Race spinoff starring Josh and Brent from Team Goat Farmers and Jaymes and James from Team Chippendales because their conversation at the mattress station was fantastic. Between Jaymes and James realizing halfway through that choosing a sewing challenge was a really dumb move for them and Brent joking (or maybe not?) that Josh used to be a drag queen, this needs to happen like yesterday.
Once the teams finished the detour, they had to head to the pitstop. And after Phil's five-minute explanation of how they were to do that - involving taxis, ferries, running, and more - you just knew teams were going to screw it up. The divorcees and the twins were fine, despite the fact that they had to stomach a ferry ride with each other, and they took second and third, respectively. The truckers showed up fourth, but they also took their ferry to the wrong place and had to turn around and go back. "You just cost me $1 million!" Rob growled to the ferry driver, despite the fact that in no one's mind are Rob and Kelley in any danger of winning $1 million. This lapse allowed the goat farmers to slip in for fourth before the truckers returned for fifth.
After the Chippendales took sixth - enjoying the ride in typical fashion, by waving to and playing with the locals - before both the Texas couple and the substitute teachers make the same mistake by having their taxi take them right to the pitstop. Already ahead, Team Texas was able to correct itself for seventh, thereby eliminating Gary and Will.