Image credit: CBS
UNDERDOGS NO MORE Mark and Bopper are starting to look like real competitors, notwithstanding Bopper's facial expression here.
Six teams compete on the plains of Africa, but only five survive| Published Apr 16, 2012
Last night The Amazing Race took its remaining six teams from Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro to Tanzania’s Ngorongoro, another Maasai-inhabited region that Phil Keoghan says is regarded as "a Garden of Eden." And it's true, the episode gets an 'A' in terms of natural beauty -- gorgeous vistas, adorable animals, glorious colors -- but the tasks were pretty tepid.
The worst offender: "Water Supply" required contestants to wait in a long line just to fill buckets with water. Now I have a pretty respectable attention span, but there’s no way that waiting in line is ever going to make for thrilling television. And what does it test, really? One’s ability to move ahead two steps ahead without stepping on the shoes of the person in front of you?
Let’s start at the beginning, though. Before this leg of the Race began in earnest, all the teams took a little safari to check out the elephants, "bamboons," ostriches and other creatures you don’t see back in the States unless they’re behind bars or on a plate (I'm referring to ostrich burgers, here: I'd never eat a close relative like the baboon. And I assume elephant meat is way too gamey).
That footage was probably the high point of the episode (followed closely by the bee task, but more on that later). After that, the six teams were sent to a nearby village and charged to find Hillary Clinton. Not the person, obviously, but the clue card didn't explain any further, leaving most of the teams casually scratching their heads.
Rachel and Dave -- last week’s first place finishers -- soon realized there was a rickety pushcart in the village called "Hillary Clinton Shop" (which curiously did not sell pantsuits). The clue card there asked them to choose between "Water Supply" or "Air Supply." And just like "Hillary Clinton" referred to a dilapidated wooden cart, "Air Supply" referred not to the Australian soft-rock duo but to a bunch of punctured bike tires.
Choosing Air Supply because "All Out of Love" seems to be an apt description of their relationship, Team Army went the bike fixing route. That was actually an interesting challenge. The teams submerged the bike tires (still attached to the wheel) in a bucket of water to determine where the hole was, patched the puncture point and pumped the tire back up. After a local kid test drove it and gave them the thumbs up, they would get the next card.
Team Army was soon joined by Team Kentucky on the Air Supply challenge, while Art and J.J. opted to go the Water Supply route. Water Supply was interesting as a snapshot of life in an underdeveloped African town, but not so much as a challenge. While it's strange and worthwhile to be reminded that a lot of people in this world must cart water to their houses, the patient queuing for well water didn't make for a thrilling sequence.
After they had waited in line, filled their buckets and dropped them off at a local home, Art and J.J. wished they had time to stick around and talk to the people they were delivering water to. It was cool that they were genuinely interested in the people around them.
Compare that to Rachel and Brendan, who seemed irritated by the kids who wanted to help out with Water Supply. Rachel shooed them away dismissively, apparently fearing they would screw something up. But she forgot to take into account her worst enemy: Herself. After almost dropping a bucket of water, Rachel became flustered and ended up knocking over four more as she argued with Brendan. Fortunately for them, nothing spilled and they didn’t have to repeat the queue.
NEXT: U-Turns and Broken Promises