The Amazing Race recap: Bamboo-zled

Teams feed elephants and construct wooden instruments in Indonesia; final four teams are....
Ep. 09 | Aired Nov 24, 2013

MUSIC TO HIS EARS Tim has never felt so loved.


Jason/Amy and Tim/Marie have caught up by this point, and Ally and Ashley could have stayed in the game had they been more aggressive and insisted to their taxi driver that they'd just hold onto those giant sugar cane stalks really tightly in the backseat. Just shove 'em in there and sit down, seriously! Don't take no for an answer! But the girls have no bite. Ashley's just this terrifically placid blob, and Ally's frustrated. She'd said BIRDS. They endure a "blowup" in the taxi that's honestly not that bad -- their first real fight of the season. Eventually Leo and Jamal pass their wives their scarves on their way out of the zoo -- nice! -- but the extra trip back to the market does the girls in.

Teams proceed to Saung Angklung Udjo, a one-stop cultural workshop featuring music, cheers, Nicole's tears, and two crazy Afghanimal-Americans running laps around the "stadium" like gladiators. It's a Road Block: one team member must assemble a bamboo instrument, the angklung, and play a complete octave on it until a group of children approves. Hilariously, the tiniest child of the bunch is the final arbiter…. and now Nicole's arch-enemy for life!

Travis reluctantly lets Nicole do this one, even though he "knows music" and could've figured out within seconds that different diameters on the wooden tubes produce the different sounds. But they're so far ahead of the other teams (hardly!) that he caves. BIG mistake. Huge. Nicole has no concept of the mechanics of the instrument or what an "octave" is. Speaking of octaves: What piercing sound is this?! Why, Leo and Jamal have arrived for their great attention-feast of the day. Overwhelmed by the beautiful music, they just have to dance. "The beat inside us can't stop," explains Jamal. "Breaking it down! Just break break break break break," he continues, to the rhythm, aptly describing Nicole's crumbling mental state at the same time.

Leo is "supposed to be the puzzle guy," so he's up for the challenge. "Is there an example we follow?" he wonders. Sure: Watch what Nicole's doing and don't do that. Good luck. After a few hiccups, Leo figures out the angklung to the delight of the high-five-hungry Indonesian children. "LEO! DESTROY YOUR INSTRUMENT!" Jamal bellows from the arena. "Don't let no one see!"

Nicole would never have thought to go look at Leo's successful angklung -- she's a good person, doncha know? -- it was only after an evil person's screamed suggestion corrupted her that she got the idea to run over and try to peek at Leo's instrument. God's Gift chases Leo in circles around a very small, crowded area full of children as her voiceover reminds viewers, "We are running this race in an honest way. It is important that our children see that we set a good example for them."

HILARIOUS. Great editing here. It's been a fairly chuckle-less season; I'll get my giggles wherever I can.

NEXT: 'You took forever to help her.'

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