A day late with his recap, only because I was working on the Ep. 1 recap of the Amazing Race Asia. Let’s go.
Eight teams remain after last week’s elimination of Marianna & Julia. We begin in the village of Bingo in the developing West African nation of Burkina Faso, the third pit stop in this season’s race.
Siblings Azaria & Hendekea who were the first to arrive at the pit stop, will be the first depart at 7:58 a.m. They find they will walk along a marked path to a nearby village and find a tribal chief who will not only give the teams their next clue, but a gift as well. They will get no money for this leg of the race.
As I mentioned last week, I like the siblings, but at the same time, I don’t like the way Azaria treats his sister. He tries to get her to walk or run faster. She’s a peanut, but Hendekea has proven she can more than hold her own. Azaria had the audacity to say “she has physical limitations and all that.” To which Hendekea replies, “Physical limitations, like I’m a retard or something.” Retard was bleeped out, but we know what she’s talking about. Azaria says, “Well, you know what I mean.” Hendekea fires back, “Like I’ve got a gimp leg.” Azaria really underestimates his sister.
Anyway, they find the Tribal Chief and he shows them their gift, a chicken which each team must catch on their own, put it into a netted bag and take it with them throughout this leg of the race to show respect to the Tribal Chief. No chicken, no check in. And they get their next clue.
Teams must take a taxi approximately 100 miles and go to the town of Bouda Pelegtanga where they will search for their next clue.
To which Hendekea responds, “I’m going as fast as I can, I’m telling you.” Really nice, Azaria. This is going to be your downfall. Don’t dis your sister because your sister will dis you back. I know this having two sisters of my own. And the racing gods will come down on you. Maybe not in this leg, but in the future, so be careful.
TK & Rachel are second out of the pit stop deciding not to get overemotional or too worked up. They’re followed by Nathan & Jennifer who are feeling confident after finishing in the top 3 in the last two legs.
Goths Kynt & Vyxsin are 4th out of the pit stop. They have not only surprised me with the way they’ve finished in each leg, but also with their genuine loving attitude. They’ve won me over big time. And they’ll do more in this leg to justify that.
Marianna & Julia’s favorites (if you’ve read their interviews over this past week, you’ll get that reference) Ronald & Christina are 5th out of the gate. Ronald toned down his behavior in the last leg, partly having to do with his hernia, but also knowing that yelling at Christina doesn’t help. And Christina pledges to be more patient with her dad.
Next are Nicolas & Donald who just crack me up. Actually, Donald cracks me up. Nicolas annoys me and you’ll see why as you read on.
Teams are gathering at the Tribal Chief getting their chickens. As instructed, they’re taking them in the bag. TK & Rachel are having fun with theirs. Rachel is trying to avoid it as TK swings it over to her arm. You can see that this is one of the teams to root for as they have a good attitude throughout this race. Some I know have compared them to my all-time favorite team, Kris & Jon from TAR6. They’re not quite there with me yet. But I do like them and they don’t fight unlike Nathan & Jen or Lorena & Jason.
Back with the Tribal Chief, teams for the most part are gathering their gift chickens without too much trouble. I do notice that while teams like the Goths and Ronald & Christina are working together to get their fowl, Nicolas hangs back and lets elderly Donald get his chicken. Nothing like helping your grandfather, Nick. And this is just the beginning.
Next to last out of the gate are blonds Shana & Jennifer. Last week, they came out really bad when they made their selling people for money comment as they arrived in Ouagadougou. This week, they get the villain edit again and for good reason. They reach the Tribal Chief and when they realize they have to catch the chicken themselves, Jennifer makes this really scrunched up face.
I notice when she’s irritated or bewildered, she scrunches up her forehead or nose. It’s kind of funny. Not as funny as the Jennifer Death Stare to Nathan as we get to look at it again, but close. I will use any excuse I can get to post the Jennifer Death Stare.
Over to Bouda Pelegtanga, Azaria & Hendekea are the first to arrive. But before they can search for their clue, Hendekea has to make a pit stop of her own. This is where I truly do feel for Azaria, but when you gotta go, you gotta go and Hendekea had to go. Nothing you can do.
And the other teams quickly arrived, one by one and Nathan & Jen were the first to find their the clue box. There, they find the Detour for this leg of the race, a common African trade, Shake Your Pan or a common African art form, Shake Your Booty.
In Shake Your Pan, teams must go into a gold mining pit and use the local panning method to mine at least one ounce of gold which they can trade for their next clue. The task is physical, but the weighing is objective so teams with muscle can find themselves making up a lot of time.
In Shake Your Booty, teams must learn a traditional tribal dance, then they will perform the dance for a panel of local celebrities, but they also must include their own creative dance moves. If the judges are impressed, they will receive their next clue. However, if the judges aren’t impressed, the team will incur a 10 minute time penalty. This task is not physically demanding, but the judging is subjective and teams who can’t dance will lose time.
Jennifer who is a dancer with the Los Angeles Clippers (I can make a joke about their historically woeful performance here, but I won’t), decides to take Nathan to Shake Your Booty. TK & Rachel also decide to dance as do Azaria & Hendekea as she finishes her bathroom break.
The very last team to depart from the pit stop, almost three hours after Azaria & Hendekea are Lorena & Jason. Stuck behind the 8 ball, they never really dig themselves out, but before we get to that, we have the leg to get to. Lorena says unlike the previous leg where she had her classic meltdown, she’ll keep it cool today and hopefully they’ll move to the front. Jason says he won’t give up and that’s a good attitude to have. Although this team has had some classic blowups, they seem to be quite happy with each other and that’s half the battle.
Over to the dance detour, Nathan & Jen pick a dancer and they study his moves. TK & Rachel look over what they have to do and quickly decide to do the Shake Your Pan detour instead. Azaria & Hendekea are studying the moves and go for the dance.
Jen tries to teach Nathan the dance moves, but he doesn’t understand the lingo. But he seems to get the hang of the moves so they go first in front of the judges. After basically repeating what was shown to them and not doing any moves of their own, the panel looks at them and gives Nathan & Jen six thumbs down. Thus, they received the 10 minute penalty. Jen really was discouraged being a dancer and she knew she was going to hear it when she got back home.
Nicolas & Donald decided to do the mining as gramps had done some mining in the past. He really rocks.
Ronald & Christina opted to do the dance as she described her dad as “a wild dancer”, but translating that to the panel would be tough.
Nicolas & Donald reach the mining station and when Nick sees the water in the pit, he asks his grandfather to go in because he doesn’t want to get his shoes wet. Way go to, Nicolas. I believe in all of the physical tasks, 60+ years Donald has had to do them. You can’t be Flo and not do any, Nicolas. Don’t depend on dear ol’ granddad all of the time.
Teams will have to make their way on foot through the village and find Pelegtanga Market where they will get their next clue and they find a new twist will be waiting for them, the Dreaded U-Turn.
As Phil tells us, this is first of only two U-Turns in this race.
A U-Turn is usually found at the end of a Detour. Teams can use the U-Turn to force another team to turn around and do the Detour that they previously did not complete. However, once they use the U-Turn, they cannot use it again so teams must decide when would be the best time to use it. Azaria & Hendekea reach the market first and decide not to use the U-Turn.
We cut to TK & Rachel who are woefully lost on their way to the mining pit. Nicolas & Donald are breezing through Shake Your Pan. They find the gold and decide to get it weighed. And indeed they have enough gold to get their next clue. Of course, Nicolas has to say, “That was pretty easy.” Yeah, for you.
Then we see Ronald & Christina at the dance where they try to impress the judges. After doing some strange moves, they are met with silence. And they are told their free creativity is not very good so they are slapped with a ten minute penalty and must wait on the side while Kynt & Vyxsin are next in line.
TK & Rachel finally arrive at the mining area as Nicolas & Donald are leaving. She doesn’t understand why they finished so quickly, but then again, it appeared TK & Rach were wandering for a while. But the time Nicolas & Donald made up in the mining pits will be lost when they go off the beaten path to find the clue box.
At the U-Turn, Nathan & Jen are happy they won’t be doing the other task and decide not to use it. Jen says, “We’re going to win this race like frickin men.” Ok.
Shana & Jennifer finally arrive at the Detour clue box and go for the dance. Good move on their part. And Lorena & Jason are heading to the town of Bouda Pelegtanga well back in the pack.
TK & Rachel are having a hard time doing the mining as he’s just finding mud.
Over at the dance detour, Kynt & Vyxsin are up and he declares he’s going to improv. This task is right up Kynt’s alley as he basically takes over while Vyxsin takes a back seat. And he does so well that the crowd is wowed by their performance and the judges are too. As Kynt says, no one is going to beat them in a dance competition. The Goths get their next clue and are off to the market where they decide not to U-Turn anybody (I’m tempted to write “Yield” and I’m glad to see this feature out of the race as all it did was to piss off other teams).
Kynt notes that as Goths, they look like Aliens dropped from the sky, but they’re amazed at the warmth and friendliness of the African people. Of course, they’re being nice back and they’re being treated the way they want to be treated. Did I say that I love this team?
Ronald & Christina finally get their clue after the 10 minute wait and they choose not to use the U-Turn as well.
Nicolas & Donald lose a few places, but they finally find the market and the clue. They also decide not to U-Turn anyone.
TK finally finds the gold and he gets enough to get the next clue.
Shana & Jennifer step up to the plate and they do an interpretive dance started with crawling, then they get up and do a couple of head turns, then a few foot stomps, some gyrations and finally, the big finish. Even in Africa, interpretive dance is a subjective thing, but the judges decide either it was good or they don’t want to see the blonds again so they get their next clue.
So Shana & Jennifer and TK & Rachel are the next ones heading to the U-Turn. This is where we get some much needed drama in this episode.
But the blonds seeing TK & Rachel behind them, think it’s Lorena & Jason and they put the U-Turn on the last place team, not TK & Rachel. Jennifer doesn’t like it and says it’s wrong. Shana says it’s a game. As they paste Lorena & Jason’s picture, they also put up theirs and Shana says, “That’s a real good picture of us.” That’s the least of your worries, girl.
But as TK & Rachel approach the clue box, they’re relieved it wasn’t them. Shana explains they thought they saw Lorena & Jason and fearing that they were a strong team and thinking they were next to last, used the U-Turn. As we all know, Shana couldn’t be more wrong on their placing and the team following them, but that’s Shana. TK said he felt it was the wrong strategic move to make on the blonds part. And he correctly surmised the girls will now have a target on their back for using the U-Turn.
Lorena & Jason finally reach the Detour clue box and they choose to do the dance.
We cut back to the lead teams and as Azaria & Hendekea arrive at the Goat Market, they’re asked, “Who’s ready to do a juggling act?” We’ve reached the Roadblock in which one person of each team has to load a bicycle with an unwieldy amount of supplies including a potentially uncooperative goat tied to a basket.
Azaria will take the chance to deliver the supplies. Jen will do the roadblock for her team. It will be a race between the siblings and Nathan & Jen for first place.
Each team will load three African print blankets, a plant, two yellow containers, a bundle of sticks, two tea kettles, two hoops of twine and that one potentially uncooperative goat in a basket onto their bikes. Azaria decides to put the hoops of twine over his head and Nathan barks out instructions to Jen. I felt sorry for the goats as they had to be strapped in. Awwww.
Back to the dance, Lorena & Jason strut their stuff. Lorena says she loves to dance and she says it’s what Puerto Ricans love to do. Jason says he fell in love with her watching her on the dance floor. Ok. Whatever. Move on. They finish and Jason says he feels like he’s on American Idol except it’s in Africa. After a brief consultation, the judges give them their next clue so the last place team is off hoping they can catch the others, but they have the U-Turn waiting for them.
At the Goat Market, Azaria and Jen are getting ready to head off. Azaria finds a local and pushes off. Jen tries to find someone to help, but her lack of knowledge in French hurts her here. And when Nathan yells some more, Jen shushes him telling him that she’s stressing her out. Just give him the Death Stare, Jen and he’ll shut right up. She should have turned around and glared at him. It would have been funny to see.
The next three teams arrive at the Goat Market, Kynt & Vyxsin, Ronald & Christina and Nicolas & Ronald. Not knowing that bikes are involved, Vyxsin chooses to take this Roadblock, Christina will do it for her team and in a total upset, Nicolas decides to do a challenge.
Lorena & Jason finally arrive at the U-Turn and find they’ll have to turn back and do the mining challenge. This for all intents and purposes eliminates them. But they trudge on. Lorena’s pissed and she has every right to be. The blonds mistook TK & Rachel and Lorena & Jason paid the price for it. I’m wondering after watching this episode in its entirety this week how Lorena & Jason will respond in their press interviews. It will be totally interesting to see. And unlike last week, there were no blowups from this team so they were very likable this week. But it’s not time to write that obituary yet.
In the market, Jen & Azaria are neck and neck trying to find that vendor to deliver their supplies. Jennifer said it was total culture shock for her because she didn’t speak French and had a lot of trouble finding her vendor. Azaria finds his specified vendor and starts unloading. He finally gets his next clue which tells him to go to the Pit Stop, the Hotel De Ville.
Azaria takes the clue and starts running. But he finds that heading back to the Goat Market rather difficult. This begins a theme of teams having difficulty finding their way back to the Goat Market.
Jennifer finally finds her vendor, unloads, gets the clue and rushes back to Nathan. It’s a race for 1 and 2 at the pit stop and it’s very close. Both teams get into their taxis and speed (not literally, but figuratively) towards the Hotel De Ville.
At the mining pit, Jason gets dirty and they get enough gold to head out.
Over to the Goat Market, Ronald is speaking Mandarin to Christina, showing signs of the bad Ronald in the second leg. However, Christina tells him to be quiet and he listens this time. Vyxsin is having trouble loading her bicycle and it topples a couple of times forcing her to start over again. Nicolas loads up properly and he heads out. Christina finally is ready and pushes off.
TK & Rachel and the blonds finally arrive at the Goat Market. Rachel and Shana will load their bikes while TK and Jennifer hang back. Jennifer and TK talk about the U-Turn and he tells her he would not have made that decision. Jennifer is looking sad. Jennifer in her confessional says she believes the U-Turn was a grave mistake.
Meanwhile, Lorena & Jason are heading from the mining pits to the Goat Market. They’re not giving up despite the situation they’re in and they actually look lovable here. No, I’m not turning around on them, but I am liking them in this leg of the race.
Back at the bikes, Nicolas is having a hard time finding his vendor. Christina is as well. Vyxsin finally gets her bike going and she sees the garbage piled up on the streets, but on the other hands, kids kept going up to her and took her to the market where she finally gets to unload her supplies. It was very touching to see and Vyxsin was moved by the whole experience.
Rachel is having a bit of trouble tying her supplies down as is Shana. Both are not liking tying up the goats and I wouldn’t either seeing how they were placed in those little laundry baskets.
Over to the race for first where Azaria & Hendekea are being chased by Nathan & Jen. Their taxis finally reach the Hotel De Ville where Phil is waiting. Both teams arrive virtually at the same time. It’s a footrace to the mat! Azaria drops something from his backpack, Nathan tells him, but there’s no stopping.
It’s here where Jen acts very strange. As she’s chasing them, she yells, “Come on, guys! You’ve got first three times!”Hendekea runs right to the mat. Azaria for some reason takes a left turn, but Hendekea yells for him and he gets to the mat with his sister just tenths of a second before Nathan & Jen get there. Wow. Great finish.Phil makes sure both teams have their chicken, because without a chicken, there’s no check in.
Nathan & Jen? You get 2nd place, but here, Jen starts crying saying “everyone should have their time and they’ve (Azaria & Hendekea) already had their time two times before this .” Meaning that the next time if Azaria & Hendekea are heading for the mat in 1st place, they should step aside so Jen can get in first?
Luckily, Hendekea speaks up. “I love Nate & Jen, but you know, we’re here to go as far as we can go and I didn’t feel comfortable like letting somebody else come in first when I knew we could run and get here first.” Good for you, Hendekea. This is a race. You’re not the Cho brothers or Marianna & Julia. You know to go to the mat and not stop. I really do hope the siblings make it to the Final 3.
On to Shana where she’s having trouble tying her supplies down. Rachel is panicking as well. Nicolas finally reaches his vendor and gets his next clue. Christina is next to find her vendor and gets her clue. Vyxsin sees the conditions and is totally floored. She reaches her vendor and unloads.
Rachel finally is set and heads off to her vendor. Shana is still tying things down. Nicolas returns and he and Donald head out. Christina finds Ronald and they go to their taxi. Vyxsin finally reaches Kynt and they can go.
Vyxsin relays to Kynt what she’s seen and is moved by the experience. After all that, I can understand it. She says the people have been wonderful and even though they don’t have a high standard of living, they’re friendly. She cries on Kynt’s shoulder. Now I usually criticize people for crying on the race, but this is something I totally understand so I give her a pass.
Over to Shana & Rachel. They’re having all types of trouble finding the market and the vendors. They’re not getting help from the locals and both are getting frustrated.
Lorena & Jason are seemingly on the longest taxi ride in the history of The Amazing Race. They appear to be riding their cab for days heading to the Goat Market. While their chances are slim, they still are hopeful that they can pass one team and stay in the race. Jennifer of the blonds was fearful that Lorena & Jason would show up and overtake her.
Back at the pit stop, Nicolas & Donald arrive before Ronald & Christina, but they take that dreaded wrong turn walking out of the taxi and the father-daughter team take 3rd while the grandfather-grandson team are in 4th.
Shana is still looking for her vendor. But Rachel finds hers and gets her next clue. But she gets hopelessly lost while trying to find her way back to TK. Shana finally finds her vendor and heads back. Rachel is walking in alleyways, dirt roads, and has no idea where she is. Shana gets to Jennifer. TK asks if Shana saw Rachel, but she tells him she was following Rachel at one time and then she didn’t see her. Speak English, Shana. Rachel is seen walking in unfamiliar territory saying she has no clue where she is.
Lorena & Jason are heading to the Goat Market and still feeling positive. But teams are slowly, but surely checking in. Kynt & Vyxsin hit the mat in 5th. Phil asks them about the reaction to them and Kynt says the people are amazingly tolerant. Vyxsin could not believe how happy the people were yet having so little. So along with Azaria & Hendekea, I’m hoping Kynt & Vyxsin also make it to the Final 3.
Jason is seen in the World’s Longest Taxi Ride saying he wants to screw over the blonds, but they arrive on the mat in 6th place.
Rachel then asks to see her vendor again and he gives her the direction to go back, something she should have done in the first place. She finally gets back to TK and they head out of the Goat Market well before Lorena & Jason arrive. Rachel said she had no idea where she was, but TK was great about it saying “It’s ok, babe.”
Lorena & Jason arrive at the Goat Market and he loads up his bike while Lorena lovingly looks on. They leave, hopelessly in last. TK & Rachel arrive in 7th as she’s blown away by it.
As Lorena & Jason get back in their taxi, they know they’re putting off the inevitable. He says to her, “We’ll make a million dollars another way.” She smiles knowing that it’s the end to their adventure. She doesn’t want it to end, but Jason is being kind to her and there’s no blowup here, just a lot of hugs and kisses.
They arrive on the mat in 8th and last place and are thus eliminated. Phil asks what their future and Lorena says she wants to stay together with Jason. In her confessional, Lorena says marriage is important to her, but after seeing the conditions in Ouagadougou, she doesn’t have to do it now. She can take it slower.
Jason for his part says he loves Lorena no matter what happens, but there’s a confinement in a marriage that you can’t have when you’re just free. He says being free, you stay in a relationship because you want to stay in it. Ok, tough guy. That’s enough of transcribing that quote.
So our final order of finish:
1. Azaria & Hendekea – First in this year’s race to get a Threepeat and winners of Honda Motorscooters
2. Nathan & Jen
3. Ronald & Christina
4. Nicolas & Donald
5. Kynt & Vyxsin
6. Shana & Jennifer
7. TK & Rachel
8. Lorena & Jason – Philiminated
Next week, Ron takes a nasty spill at the Detour.