For years now, Amazing Race fans have been complaining that the clues have become too easy and straightforward. This season, it’s starting to look like the show has overcompensated for this perceived flaw, because nobody can seem to make heads or tails out of half the clues so far. As the episode begins, we’re still in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, where Andy and Tommy are the first team to depart from the Pit Stop. The first task will not live long in TAR lore, as the teams must re-enact a colonial Dutch bicycle patrol of the 1940s. The only drama to develop comes when Ernie breaks the pedal of his bike, and he and Cindy are forced to watch helplessly as several other teams pass them by. This does not exactly make the pulse race.
The Detour isn’t particularly thrilling either, but at least it involves stubborn animals, which is always good for a laugh or two. The choices are Rice Field, which entails bringing lunch to some women working in a rice paddy and planting 300 rice seedlings, and Grass Fed, for which teams must transport two sacks of grass, two sheep, and six buckets of water to a barnyard locale. Unsurprisingly, the Dudez choose to transport the large sacks of grass. Hey, it always pays to draw on your own personal experience. In fact, most of the teams choose Grass Fed, with only the Twins and Boobs ‘n Brains opting for Rice Field. Somewhat surprisingly, however, the latter task appears to take less time to complete, as the two all-female teams depart for the Roadblock ahead of much of the competition.
Lagging far behind are Marcus and Amani, who seemingly make matters worse by abandoning Grass Fed midway through and switching to the alternate task. This is usually a mistake, and for a while, it looked like this week’s elimination was a foregone conclusion. Fortunately for them, the Roadblock clue was so confusing, it completely flummoxed almost every other team. It’s not that the task was difficult: Teams had to count all the copies of four different types of Buddha statues found inside the temple, then give the correct count to the cluemaster while recreating the four different hand gestures found on the statues. It’s fairly easy to do but rather difficult to explain, as I’ve just learned from spending 15 minutes trying to puzzle out how to describe it accurately. Laurence gets the count right on the first try but has to go back to figure out which number corresponds to which gesture. Most of the teams simply report the total number of Buddhas found (a number that wildly fluctuates, as some racers are including wall carvings of Buddha along with the statues), until a temporary four-way alliance is forged in order to split the labor.
If Marcus had been paying closer attention when he and Amani crossed paths with a Pit Stop-bound Andy and Tommy, he could have saved himself a big headache. For whatever reason, the Dudez decided to share their hard-won answers with the couple, but by the time Marcus gets to the temple, it’s all a blur. Still, the former NFL player and his wife are saved when it turns out their decision to send their cab driver on his way was the right one. While other teams are still settling up with their cabbies, Marcus and Amani cruise to the finish line. Instead, it is Boobs ‘n Brains who are eliminated, as probably should have been obvious earlier in the episode when Boobs teared up while talking about missing her young daughter. It’s an unexpectedly emotional end to their race, but not a terribly exciting episode overall. I’m all for making the clues more difficult to decipher, but there’s got to be a better way to do that than simply wording them badly.
- “Marcus, boom-ba-yay! Marcus, boom-ba-yay!” I like that guy. I hope they stick around a while.
- This week’s lesson in not reading the clue carefully: Laurence and Zac missed the part about only being able to use two buckets to transport water, and were penalized 15 minutes for their trouble, causing them to miss out on first place.
- Apparently it’s not so easy to run through rice paddies.
- Next week: Colorful beach umbrellas!