Photo: CBS

Cutting It Close

The result of a very short connection determines Brendon and Rachel's fate.

Running For Their Lives

Jet and Cord depart at 2:26 PM for Colombo, Sri Lanka, where they are to find Gangaramaya Temple, a center for Buddhist learning and worship, to receive a blessing. They and Dave and Connor head for a travel agency, and there's little drama for a while, as the first six teams all get on the same flight, which leaves at 11 PM and goes direct to Sri Lanka, landing at midnight. Rachel and Brendon, however, are told at the travel agency that there are no seats left on the direct flight. They can, however, take a connection via Singapore that will get them in at the same time -- but the connection is only thirty minutes, which the travel agent tells them is a risk not worth taking. Rachel, however, thinking of the Speed Bump that will be popping up, figures they have to do it. For their part, Luke and Margie put themselves on standby for the direct flight -- Margie using a rather condescending rendition of that "we're in a race" argument I do so hate -- before investigating the Singapore option and ultimately rejecting it. So it's an interesting situation: Brendon and Rachel could get screwed, Margie and Luke could get screwed, or both teams could get screwed, in which case it's unclear what would happen (they never reveal when the next flight out of Singapore would be). Also, if Margie and Luke knew for sure that Brendon and Rachel were taking the risky option, they'd probably have done it themselves to keep themselves equal with the Speed Bump team, but unless I'm mistaken, they never saw that for sure. Brendon and Rachel take off, but not without running into the Globetrotters, who pass on the information to the country singers (and then to everyone else) that they weren't eliminated, and everyone else is kind of languidly interested? Brendon and Rachel hoof it through the Singapore airport as the final boarding call is announced, and then Brendon drops something from his pack and has to go back for it as Rachel shrieks "OH MY GOD!" I don't want to presume to speak for Him, but it wouldn't surprise me if He has His fingers in His ears at the moment. Also, Rachel, despite the need for speed, I'm pretty sure Singapore frowns on littering, even if you're American.

Teach A Man To Fish...Never Mind

Do they make it? DO THEY MAKE IT? Yes, they do. And good! I like them, and missing this flight probably would have meant the end right here. What's more, the connection will apparently get them in slightly ahead of the other teams, so they're feeling good about overcoming the Speed Bump. Luke and Margie, however, learn the dark side of not taking the connection risk when they do not make it onto the flight and have to wait until the morning. Brendon and Rachel hold their lead, but learn that the temple doesn't open until 5:45 AM, and elsewhere, Luke and Margie breathe something of a sigh of relief even if they don't know why. When everyone convenes at the temple, Brendon wonders what flight Luke and Margie got, and Big Easy replies, "Must be a bad one." (Given his expertise in the field, I'd be more interested in Flight Time's assessment.) When the temple opens, men and women alike have to dress in traditional robes to receive their blessing, and Brendon talks about how he's studied Buddhism and how the philosophy of letting go will help them deal with how horribly they've raced recently. (Not really paraphrasing.) Jessica says it's nice to be able to take a break from the craziness of the race and appreciate an experience like this, and it's a lovely sentiment, but I bet she also wishes she could take a break from John's hair. From here, the teams have to take a train to Galle and hit the King Coconut Stand, and on the way, the country singers (well, Caroline all by herself, really) get Smurfy and stalky about the Cowboys. The train ride is, in fact, beautiful -- Rachel points out the particular aesthetic pleasure of seeing the jungle on one side of the tracks and the beach on the other -- but a team that's not in position to appreciate it is Margie and Luke, who are only just getting on their flight from Kuala Lumpur. After they disembark, teams hope not to get killed as their drivers play a real-life game that looks like it should be titled Grand Theft Tuk-Tuk, but they all reach the coconut stand safely and pull the Detour.

In Fishing Pole, teams head into the surf and climb a pair of "fishing stilts," on which they'll stay until they've caught a certain quota of fish (which the editing later makes seem is only one per team member). In Spin Control, they have to learn a folk dance while spinning certain "drum-like instruments" on short sticks. Sight unseen, I figured everyone would fish, since it seems less likely to be impossible to master, but in fact, only three of the seven teams go that route, which already means it's a successful Detour, and that's not even counting the part where the dancers once again have to wear festive traditional garb. Jennifer explains that the choreography by itself wasn't so difficult, but that the addition of holding the instrument made it problematic; however, the fishing (this involves Jessica and John, Jet and Cord, and Dave and Connor) is no joke either: the surf is rough and the stilts aren't the sturdiest. Connor's the only one to catch a fish in the early going, while the dancers are all having trouble keeping their plates spinning. Dave then also catches a fish, which as I mentioned is apparently enough for their team, and they're told to go to the "Trendy Connections Garment Factory." The Globetrotters nail the dance, and I'm not going to lie: seeing them perform the steps to the Globetrotters theme on the soundtrack is pretty great. Leo and Jamal are next out, followed by Jet and Cord, and Jet somewhat hilariously deadpans about how amazingly huge the fish he caught was, which isn't quite a minnow but also isn't far from it. Caroline and Jennifer finish the dance, but Brendon keeps dropping plates right and left, and he admits in a camera interview that he's the stressed-out one this season, while Rachel's been the encouraging motivator. Eventually, though, he gets it done, while Jessica and John contemplate switching Detours, and John's delivery of "Oh my God, this is starting to become a nightmare" bodes as poorly for his fishing prowess as his heterosexuality.

Not Sew Good

Jessica and John do end up switching tasks, while Luke and Margie are just getting their blessing. At Trendy, teams pull the Roadblock, which requires the participant to use a sewing machine to "properly stitch together a shirt." Big Easy, Connor, and Jennifer take it, and Connor notes that the Speed Bump is there for Brendon and Rachel. Connor watches the demonstration and thinks it's going to be tough despite the home-ec sewing he took in middle school, and he's not the only one as Big Easy thinks picking this task was the worst decision of his life. John is as bad at dancing as he is at fishing, which is confusing my stereotypes right and left, while Jet and Leo take the Roadblock, and as much as I hate the Garanimals, I do like that Leo doesn't try to act bummed out by the sewing, instead letting us know that he's watched his mom do it lots of times. Jet apparently can't say the same as he looks absolutely terrified, but John and Jessica finally get out of the Detour, while Luke and Margie are still only boarding the train. Brendon and Rachel get their Speed Bump, which involves printing the Sri Lankan flag onto fifteen T-shirts. Rachel has used silkscreens before, so you can imagine this shouldn't be so tough for them, although she does caution that it's time-consuming to do it right. Jen and Connor decide to team up, and as Connor camera-interviews how great it was to work with Jen, Dave gives the camera an absolutely hilariously inscrutable look, like he's psyched Connor's showing an interest in girls but is still worried about the choices he's making. No one is doing too great at the sewing, but Brendon and Rachel finish the Speed Bump, and Brendon takes the Roadblock and immediately says it's very difficult. Connor gets his inspected and seems close, but is told to fix one problem, and Jennifer gets a similar evaluation. Jessica takes the Roadblock, and when someone asks John if she can sew, he doesn't even return her gaze as he doesn't hesitate: "No." Hee. Margie gives her seventeenth resigned "we love this race" interview of the episode before Connor finishes; the clue tells him and Dave to go to the Colombo Rowing Club, in existence since 1864 and now the Pit Stop. Jennifer also gets out, which is good, since she and Caroline don't have to see Leo hamming it up like an ass. Brendon and Jessica decide to start over and help each other, while Jet finishes and Dave and Connor win the leg (and five grand each), with the country singers second. Leo finishes, and I can't blame Brendon for being discouraged as Margie and Luke speed toward the Detour. The show is doing its best to make it seem like Margie and Luke's deficit isn't prohibitive; I don't buy it for a second.

Night, Mother

Trying to distract from the grim feeling setting in, Flight Time gets out a basketball and starts doing tricks to entertain all the workers, and it succeeds in getting Big Easy out of his funk. Similarly, Brendon has at least gotten his collar done, so he's feeling better as Jet and Cord finish in third. Jessica gets her shirt approved, and she and John are fifth behind Leo and Jamal's fourth. The remaining teams follow before Luke and Margie appear, so the only question is whether they'll even have to bother with the Roadblock; in fact, the question isn't explicitly answered, although the sun is long gone by the time they end up on the mat and are eliminated. They're fine in their interview, but I can't claim to be sad they're gone.

Verdict

Watch. There's good travel drama, even though the Luke/Margie elimination was clearly a fait accompli once they didn't get on the flight; also the tasks were good and the strongest teams continued to perform well. Mostly good leg-planning so far this season; I'm enjoying it.

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