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Amazing Race Recap: Bamboo Yah

Amazing Race Recap: Bamboo Yah

"Shut up, please!"

By Kerri Fleming

Amazing Race isn't Amazing Race without a villain, but this season is decidedly villain-free. Sure, there are some annoying folks: the twins' enthusiastic and high-pitched chants rub some people the wrong way, while there is a fairly vocal anti-Rob campaign out on the interwebs.

But after seeing seasons where overbearing fathers bully their adult daughters, couples verbally abuse one another and some of the more catty among us devolve into jealous sorority girls, the folks on this season are pretty tame. The twins might be a little over the top, but they're actually pretty funny. Rob is a little overbearing and thinks a little too highly of his game, but he is so sweetly supportive of his wife, I find myself saying "awww" at least once an episode. The worst is Ryan and even he is pretty harmless, despite his derogatory statements about other cultures and the unattainable standards he holds his team to. It could be worse.

Things started even before the first team left the pitstop, when James from Team Rocker learned from a Skype conversation with his wife that his father has incurable cancer. With the support of his family, he decided to keep racing, leading a lot of emotional and sweet moments for both he and Abba.

After using the Fast Forward in the last leg, James and Abba were the first team to leave, learning they had to take a taxi to a marked stand at a local bazaar. You know what that means - more Bangladesh! And for every happy twinny, there is a whiny Ryan to moan and groan. The best juxtaposition of these attitudes were in that first taxi. While Ryan looked physically sick by the chaotic traffic, calling the country "hell" and a "war zone," the twins were hanging out the windows of their taxi, talking to people and looking for the right destination. Despite the traffic, getting to the stand was pretty uneventful for most teams, save for the goat farmers, who could not seem to find anything in the crowded market.

Eventually, the teams make it to the road block, where one person has to build an ancient scale and use it to weigh logs against giant stones. After Abba's mishap of twisting his knee while falling into some raw sewage in the last leg (yum), James jumped at the chance to show off his Boy Scout skills - or at least those skills he hasn't lost in a sea of sex, drugs and rock and roll from the '80s. HARDCORE!

Overcoming his sadness at his dad's diagnosis, as well as the frustration of building something with only a model to copy, he kept his team's trademark cool and good humor, joking with the locals who looked kind of confused at the hairy white guy.

James finished before the next couple of teams - Abbie and Ryan and Nadiya and Natalie - even arrived. And because the clue to the road block was a little deceptive, Abbie was one of several contestants stuck doing a challenge that her partner probably would have been better at. Not exactly handy, and not powered by whatever makes the twins the way they are, she struggled a little more but still performed better than I would have (albeit that's a pretty low standard). What she didn't have was a twin and a few adorable local children chanting for her, and with that to boost her, Nadiya flew through the challenge without much difficulty.

Abbie finishes as the rest of the teams start arriving. Kelley made the same mistake as Abbie, doing a challenge that probably would have been more suited for Rob and looking pretty exhausted right from the get-go. Never one to denying an adoring audience - even one that isn't adoring at all - Jaymes tried to play up the crowd, but without having a cheerleading twinny, they were pretty uninterested. Jaymes and Trey get through the challenge without much difficulty, and Kelley also has a solid performance, her reward a sweet congratulations by her main squeeze.

As is often the case, when it rains on a leg, it pours, and again it was the goat farmers struggling. Farmer or not, Brent had no idea what he was doing and kept getting more and more hot and more and more frustrated. He was even forced into the politest "shut up, please!" when Josh tried to cheer him on. He finally did realize that he had one of his knots tied incorrectly, but by that point, the rest of the teams were long gone.

From there, the teams were faced with a detour: either whip and untangle jute to be made into bags or transport bamboo sticks of varying height to a construction site to be used for scaffolding. Still miles ahead, the rockers opted for the bamboo and finished their delivery right around the time the second wave of teams were arriving at the site. We weren't treated for any more of the Divorcees vs. Twinnies show, as Ryan and Abbie went for the jute (fashion institute power!) and Nadiya and Natalie never turn down an opportunity to show their physicality. Both struggled a bit, as Ryan and Abbie's first attempt at making jute bundles was completely denied and the twins threatened their status as Most Popular Sisters in Bangladesh by repeated knocking down locals and cameramen with bamboo.

As they were working, the truckers and the Texas couple also arrived at the bamboo station, with Rob utilizing his brute strength to carry much of it and take the load off of Kelley. Lexi, meanwhile, proved there's more muscle than you would think in her tiny little package and she did her best to keep up with her boyfriend's huge, rippling muscles. Sometimes, that meant smacking Rob in the head with some errant bamboo. Gotta do what you gotta do.

After figuring out their problem at the jute factory, the divorcees finished the task without difficulty, getting the clue probably around the same time that the twins were busting a move with an ancient-looking local guy. Annoying or not, I want what they're having. After the twins, Jaymes and James reach the final bamboo destination next, but not before James accidentally left three sticks behind and they have to go back.

Apparently paranoid that they're going to run out of money, they've been skipping meals and therefore looked pretty much dead on their return trip. In the meantime, Lexi and Trey were able to jump ahead of them, but they still finished ahead of Brent and Josh.

Ah, poor Brent and Josh. At least they were able to get some motivation from an adorable baby goat before starting the bamboo challenge. After what Brent went through, Josh did much of the grunt labor, and they operated at a slow-but-steady pace. Thankfully for Beekman fans everywhere, the leg was nonelimination and they get to race another day.

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