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The Amazing Race: Season 23, Indonesia, 11/24/13

November 28th, 2013 · No Comments

Already Season 23 of The Amazing Race is down to five teams:  Afghanimals Jamal/Leo, Los Angeles Kings employees Ally/Ashley, and the three power couples–Nicole/Travis, Jason/Amy, and Marie/Tim.  The final teams begin the ninth leg flying the same route between the United Arab Emirates and Bandung, Indonesia.  Because of last episode’s u-turn and some other things, there’s bad feeling between Leo/Jamal and Nicole/Travis that looks to be a factor for the rest of the season.

Teams’ first project is a side trip to a village where, according to Phil’s voiceover, pairs of rams butt heads as part of a traditional Javanese festival.  There’s no further explanation, although there probably should be, given viewers’ concerns about the treatment of animals for entertainment.   However, as Travis observes when he arrives, the animals aren’t injured in any way.

Racers arrive at the village to find farm trucks lined up with pairs of rams aboard, all beautifully groomed and dressed.  Everyone has to lead a ram on a leash to the village arena, where each pair is let loose to briefly battle each other.  Then they’re put back on their leashes and returned to the trucks.    Some people have difficulty controlling their animals–Jamal and Leo get a particularly fierce pair that want to fight while still on their leashes.  Jamal yells, “Don’t let it ram my ass!”

The festival visit  scrambles the running order.   When teams have ffinished with their rams, they’re supposed to take a train back to the city, where the next clue box will be.  Nicole/Travis and Ally/Ashley board the first train, which will leave in about twelve minutes.  With about one minute to go, Jamal/Leo hop on–much to the disappointment of Travis/Nicole.

Leo leans out the train door and yells, “My wife’s pregnant!  I’ll pay extra!”  Maybe it’s just coincidence, but the train starts.  Amy/Jason, buying tickets at the station, watch the train leave.  Marie/Tim–who had cab trouble–are right behind.  Both teams understand they’re now tied for last place, and the next train leaves in an hr.

When the three front-running teams get off the train, they find a clue box with a detour.  One choice is “for the birds” (probably a reference to the expression) and the other is “for the elephants” (perhaps a reference to the movie Water for Elephants.)

This season of TAR has seen a singing contest for humans and a beauty contest for camels.  This episode features a singing contest for birds.  Nicole/Travis are the only team to pick this detour.  They take a taxi to an open-air bird market, where they pick up a pair of lovebirds, each in its own cage.  Apparently they also are supplied feed, because they talk about how if they feed their birds, that may make them sing.  They take the caged birds to an outdoor judging arena, and hang up the cages while judges watch and spectators cheer.  Travis also has a little bird-call instrument–that must have been supplied.

The birds start singing.  The judges show their approval by first planting green flags and then handing over the next clue envelope, which directs the team to the location of this leg’s roadblock.

Everyone else chooses to pick up food and feed elephants at a zoo.  Ally/Ashley are confused and go to the zoo first.  They wander through the zoo at length before they realize they have to go to an open-air market and get the food first.

The elephant shopping list includes watermelons, sweet potatoes, bananas, and a bundle of sugarcane about ten feet long.  Teams have different ways of dealing with this, as we will see.  Leo/Jamal hold it in the back seat of their cab,  several feet of cane sticking out one window.

At the zoo the men load a pushcart, and Leo pushes the cart while Jamal carries the cane.  When they start feeding the elephants, one reaches out its trunk and yanks the cane away!  The guys have a tug-of-war with the elephant over the cane, but the elephant wins.

When Ally/Ashley get to the market, they let their taxi go, then realize they’ll need one to take the food back.  They do something rarely done on TAR–they decide to make two trips, and come back for the sugarcane.  They argue about switching detours but decide to stay with the elephant-feeding.

Nicole/Travis have by now reached the RB at an open-air theater where young students are playing traditional Asian music.  The challenge one teammate must do:  assemble an angkling, an Indonesian musical instrument that’s eight bamboo racks suspended on a larger bamboo rack.  Although a few people are playing them, there’s no convenient model to copy from.

Even though Travis has more musical expertise, the couple agree Nicole should do this RB.  My guess are to their reasoning:  the job doesn’t require strength, so they may be wanting to save the muscle of the team for a more physical RB.

Back at the detour, the final two teams have arrived and are shopping for elephant food.  Jason/Amy put their long bundle of sugarcane on the roof of their cab.  Then Jason reaches out the window and holds it in place during the drive.

Ally/Ashley are taking their first load of food to the elephants while Leo/Jamal are leaving.  The guys tell them about holding the sugarcane out the window.  So that’s what they do on their second trip.

The Afghanimals arrive at the RB.  They read the clue and recognize what an angkling is.  Leo does the task because, according to Jamal, he’s a puzzle guy.  Nicole/Travis aren’t happy to see them, and Nicole can’t put the instrument together, even after several tries.  The doctor couple are even less happy when Amy/Jason and Marie/Tim arrive.

Leo thinks he’s finished, goes to a separate judging area.  A group of young music students check it out and tell him the stand’s wrong.  He tries again, and this time the students check it, cheer, and hand over the next clue.

At the sound of the cheers, Nicole leaps up and runs into the judging area. Jamal yells, “Leo, destroy yours!  The instrument!  Don’t let anybody else see!”  Nicole’s literally chasing Leo–she’s acting like a kid that didn’t study and is now trying to copy somebody else’s test.  He eludes her and breaks the instrument before she can see.  He takes a victory lap around the arena before he and Jamal depart by taxi for the pit stop, an astronomical observatory.

Tim is next to finish–Marie persuaded him to do this RB because he has more musical talent.  She estimates that they’re only about a minute behind the Afghanimals.

Leo/Jamal win the leg and $7500 each.  Marie/Tim are close enough behind to join them on the mat.

Amy finishes her instrument and gets the pit stop clue.  Jason tells Amy to help Nicole.  The minute she starts, however, Ally/Ashley arrive.  Jason suddenly starts yelling at Amy to stop helping Nicole and come along.  The New England couple fight about how much help Nicole should or shouldn’t have got, all the way to the pit stop.

If Amy hadn’t given that bit of help, Nicole might still be trying to assemble that musical instrument.  As it is, Amy/Jason place 3rd and Nicole/Travis are close enough to join them on the mat–which for them is a major disappointment.

Ally/Ashley are fifth and last and are eliminated.  Just like that, both female teams are out, and this race is down to the Afghanimals vs. the three power couples.  Next episode almost certainly will be one last non-elimination round.

Tags: Amazing Race