From an exacting Bollywood dance routine to a cricket batting challenge to a taxi training course, last night’s episode of The Amazing Race was one of the absolute best this season has delivered. The excellently selected tasks were boosted in a big way by the colorful surroundings and breakneck pace of life in Cochin, India. Not to mention the episode's central drama, which was genuinely moving and thankfully not dependent on emotional breakdowns from Big Brother’s Rachel or irritating playground taunts between her and arch-nemesis Vanessa.
Instead, the battle was between Mark’s exhausted body and his steel will. He resisted exhaustion and even Bopper’s exhortations to throw in the towel when the oppressive Indian sun and a demanding dance choreographer almost broke his will. Almost. But more on that later. Let’s take Fraulein Maria’s advice and start at the very beginning.
Although they would eventually find themselves struggling in last place, Bopper and Mark began last night’s leg of the Race in first place after their victory in Tanzania. A medic stopped by to check out Bopper’s busted knee and told him to put it in a brace, so Team Kentucky was forced to balance "taking it easy" with "pushing to win."
The first clue card instructed them to head to Cochin, India, and this time they didn't make the mistake of heading to the airport before the travel agency. Team Kentucky -- along with Teams Border Patrol, Army and Big Brother -- all nabbed tickets on the same flight to India, but somehow Team Dating Divorcees finagled an earlier arrival out of their travel agent via a stopover in Kenya.
Regardless of that bit of good luck, somehow every other team had caught up to the Dating Divorcees upon landing. In fact, by the time Ralph and Vanessa boarded a bus, they were actually in fourth place... just ahead of the duo handicapped by a knee injury. Divorcee power!
A couple of side notes before we move onto the Bollywood magic:
-Art and J.J. were still pissed about “Major Dave” not following through on their agreement to U-Turn Team Big Brother, as was expected.
-Dave’s take: “If the relationship can be restored, excellent. If not, we’ll continue to race as we have.” Spoken like a true robot.
-Both Bopper and Mark told the cameras that Art and J.J. were “babies.”
Now those first two points make perfect sense to me, but I was shocked to hear Team Kentucky slamming the Border Patrol boys. I even re-watched to make sure I hadn’t imagined it. After all, these are the guys who gave them (or promised to give them) thousands of dollars to help with Bopper’s medical bills for his daughter. That’s pretty disrespectful to publicly diss someone who helped you like that. It made me wonder if there wasn’t some altercation between the two teams that wasn’t caught on camera. Either way, it was a weird choice for the editors to include that bit of info and then not touch on it again. Hopefully, there will be a follow-up at some point.
NEXT: Rachel the “high school dance phenomenon” and J.J. the “fat Elvis”