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The Amazing Race Experiences Agra-vation

The U-Turn reappears, causing plenty of inter-team conflict in the shadow of the Taj Mahal.

Karma-n To Get You

Between legs, Team Texas talks strategy with cheerleaders: specifically, what their best plan is to stick it to the green team. Tiffany is angered by the fact that the green team keeps winning and the cheerleaders/Texas bloc keeps bringing up the rear, but she's actively brought to tears when she remembers that one time that they almost won a leg and then didn't. To her credit, she doesn't say it isn't fair, but she really doesn't like that everyone feels compelled to play dirty. Texas assures the cheerleaders that things are going to turn around. "We're due for some amazing karma tomorrow," says Josh.

Funny he should mention karma: the racers are headed to Agra via New Delhi. Culture shock sets in immediately, but the racers are less excited about going to India than they are about the fact that India contains a U-Turn. Everyone is prepared to use it as soon as the opportunity strikes.

Justin and Diana have been so far out in front that they're sort of starved for human interaction by this point, and they attempt to forge late-game bonds with the newscasters and paparazzi by snarking about everyone else. It's obviously music to their ears when they learn that Team Texas have a Speed Bump coming up. Chris and Logan, struggling to feel relevant, decide their best bet to be involved in a storyline is to try to strike up an alliance with Justin and Diana. What do they have to offer? The information that the cheerleaders already used up their U-Turn when they tried to burn the green team.

Justin's not having it, though. His first impulse is to sell Chris out: he goes straight to the cheerleaders and find out if that is, indeed, true. Confrontation ensues, of the "he said you said I was" and "I heard you said he said" type. Conclusion: nobody's making pacts to U-Turn anybody else on anybody's behalf, and everyone's irritated with Chris. "Maybe we're the ones getting U-Turned now," he grumbles.

Teams Air Their Dirty Laundry

Phil's waiting in the train station when teams disembark in Agra, wearing some sort of sheer floral blouse and spouting his usual local trivia. On the banks of the Yamuna River, teams find the Roadblock, in which they'll be compelled to do a load of laundry, Indian-style. Everyone's at the Roadblock at once, which makes for a fair amount of chaos.

Tanner and Josh are decidedly un-stoked to discover that, in lieu of a Speed Bump, they'll both have to do the Roadblock. Worse yet, doing laundry in India is a lot more involved than just throwing some quarters in a machine -- this is definitely one of the more taxing Roadblocks this season, if not one of the most telegenic. (There's a good reason this is the third time over the course of its fourteen-year run that The Amazing Race has gone to the well of Indian laundry.)

"If you're NOT planning on U-turning us, let me know," Tanner says. Diana's like, meh, there's no point anymore, and everyone else is curiously silent on the subject.

Despite his admission that his mom still does all of his laundry back home, Joey finishes first, followed closely by Chris and Diana. From somewhere behind the green team, Texas and Cheerleaders plot about U-Turning the green team.

The Measure Of A Man

At this juncture, the puckers and folds on Phil's shirt are occurring in such a way that they considerably enhance his man-boobs, and once seen, this can't be unseen, so I have to go back and watch his explanation of the Detour several times to really get what's going on.

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CBS

Phil and his moobs explain that in Cans, teams will have to stack 120 empty oil cans onto a bicycle trailer and then transport them through busy traffic. In Candy, they'll have to cut up a local pumpkin to be made into candy. They need to generate one "man" of cut-up pumpkin, which translates to about 90 pounds.

The green team and the reporters choose Cans, but Kelsey and Joey's cab driver gets lost on the way to the cans, which gives Justin and Diana a few minutes' head start. There's a lot of chatter about math as they figure out that five times four times six equals 120, and then some chatter about tying knots (Justin was a Boy Scout because of course he was; Joey doesn't allude to a scouting past, but does offer the far more intriguing tidbit that he used to sell Christmas trees). The navigation element of this task turns out to be pretty inconsequential, despite the presence of an actual parade, complete with marching band.

Over at Candy, Logan and Chris have reached a new nadir in their interpersonal communication, culminating in Logan telling Chris to "keep my name out of your mouth" and then threatening to quit if he doesn't stop micromanaging her. It doesn't help that neither of them has any idea how much pumpkin is in a "man." They do keep it together long enough to be the first ones out of the candy task, though, and maybe they're even poised to be in the running to reach the U-Turn board first -- it's tough to tell.

The paparazzi and the newscasters are now both en route the U-Turn board, just minutes behind the green team. "Can one of these teams get here before Justin and Diana?" Phil asks rhetorically from the traffic circle where they've placed the U-Turn board. Well, maybe, if Justin and Diana's cab gets lost or something...and indeed, that's where we cut to commercial.

U-Turn On A Dime

Yeah, Justin and Diana's cab turns out to be not all that lost, and -- shocker -- they're the first to reach the U-Turn. They decline to use it, explaining that they aren't in danger so there's no need.

Joey and Kelsey have no such compunctions: they U-Turn Team Texas, since they want to guarantee their own safety. Had the green team had the basic human decency to not be in front of everyone, they'd probably have been everyone's first choice, but Texas seems to be the universal second choice, since nobody thinks the cheerleaders or James Earl and his mom are a threat, and everyone keeps forgetting Logan and Chris are even there.

A few yards from where Phil and his blouse-enhanced rack await teams on the Pit Stop mat, there's a guy running an al fresco barber shop of some sort, and evidently he's also pulling double duty as the greeter, since he briefly stops shaving his client and runs over to welcome teams to India. Justin and Diana take first yet again. They've won six so far, and the record's eight, but the only leg that matters is the final one, Justin notes.

Kelsey and Joey continue to be annoyed that they haven't won a leg yet. Chris is too consumed with taking down the green team to contemplate the prospect of winning any prizes himself. James Earl and Denise should be fourth, but their cab driver drops them at the wrong garden and then peaces out, which allows the cheerleaders to pass them.

So now we're down to Team Texas, who've finished the Candy half of the Detour and turned to Cans; and James Earl and his mom.

Texas Gets Messed With

A flurry of jump cuts: James Earl and Denise running through the wrong gardens! Team Texas stacking oil cans! Denise moaning, "This is worse than terrible." Tanner and Josh pedaling a can-laden bicycle! James Earl and Denise learning that the correct garden is a good five kilometers away. Tanner and Josh chirping, "I bet we're first! Let's go!" and then cracking up hard. Tuk-tuks! Speeding scenery! Phil pretending to spot a team in the distance!

Phil and his ample bosom welcome James Earl and Denise to the mat as Team Number Five. This leaves Team Texas to take the fall. They grudgingly admit that Justin and Diana were, plain and simple, the better team. And then they apologize to Texas, because apparently if you lose on a game show and you're not suitably contrite, Texas might not let you back in.

Verdict

Between tasks that don't exactly reinvent the wheel and an overdose of U-Turn-centric bickering, there's no reason to watch every second of this, but: I predict that you're not going to be able to tear yourself away from Phil's unorthodox sartorial choices.

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