It's true that last night's episode didn't exactly begin on a fun note, with Rocker James discovering his father had a severe form of cancer. And then later, when half the teams seemed to suffer at least a mild form of heat stroke — not necessarily enjoyable to watch. But you've also got an episode in which the Twinnies' mutual animosity for Ryan and Abbie spills over. Team in-fighting is Amazing Race heaven! And did you pay attention to the local babe hanging with Panama Jack Keoghan on the Pit Stop welcome mat? Do you think she's on Twitter? Please let me know if you find her, I just have a question I want to ask.
James and Abba got a fast-paced second Bangladesh leg off to a ROCKING start early in the morning, making their way first to Jatrabari Market, then Ferry Ghat Road, where the Road Block awaited. Ever notice how many ultimately worthless stops this show sets up for its Racers? I suppose you see more "sub" stops on legs without extensive plane travel, perhaps as a way to introduce potential transportation chaos. But in any case they serve as the Race equivalent of someone knocking over a stack of chairs in a movie chase scene — good for a second or two of complication before everyone gets back on track.
The Road Block presented a physical and mental challenge: assembling an intricate Bangladeshi scale that then needed to be balanced with wood and stones. (Literally) strong teams like the Chippendales and Trey & Lexi navigated the assembly with relative ease. Ryan and Abbie struggled a little more, especially as Ryan tried to block out Natalie and Nadiya's never-ending twin-speak. Not possible! The only team to suffer a major setback here was James and Brent, the latter of whom forgot about one key placement on the scale. Eventually Brent figured it out, but at that point it was too late. OR WAS IT (foreshadowing)?
The Detour to follow offered a fascinating choice between local resource exploration. In one corner, untangling jute fibers on a bed of nails. In another, bamboo transportation. It can't be said enough how educational a travelogue this show is! Only Abbie and Ryan chose to tackle jute production, which got them through quick enough for a second place finish behind the quietly super-competent James and Abba. Everyone else opted for "Bamboo Jungle." And boy was it a JUNGLE out there! Longer and heavier bamboo than expected (that's what she s—) made the task physically arduous, but what really challenged Racers was the heat. The Bangladeshi sun was hot that day, my friends, like lawsuit-baiting McDonald's coffee. Otherwise strong teams like the Chippendales practically melted transporting their bamboo. (Maybe part of their problem was not using any of their allotted race money to buy food, the stuff you use to stay alive? We can only guess.) 40 shoots were required to complete the challenge; Jaymes and James forgot three and were forced to redo the challenge. They took it in stride. "If you're gonna be dumb, you've gotta be tough." Good guys. Good attitude. I really want you two to win!
By this point the Rockers had long ago won the second Bangladesh leg (and a trip to somewhere, courtesy of the Travelocity Gnome), stopping at a beautiful garden center called Lok Shilpa Jadughar. Back at the Detour, Trey and Lexi grunted/complimented Trey's muscles through bamboo transportation while the twins made it through just fine, the ONLY ALL-FEMALE TEAM TO HAVE EVER COMPLETED THAT SPECIFIC CHALLENGE. (At press time, trophies are being made up.) Josh and Brent, however, already behind from the Road Block, couldn't do much to make up their last-place ground. Cue setting sun. Cue cross-cultural footage of Josh and Brent leading local children in a chant of Beekman Boys, their Cooking Channel show. Cue "we did our best" voiceover.
Josh and Brent were welcomed to the Pit Stop by the aforementioned most beautiful woman I saw on TV last night and resigned to their fate… until they learned last night's was a NON-ELIMINATION LEG and they'd lived to race another day. Excellent! Every so often the non-elimination legs match up with a last-place team we actually want to see continue, so tonight stands as a victory for not only Josh and Brent (and, you know, James and Abba)…but the viewing audience at home. We won.
Stay safe, East Coast!
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