Putting on tonight’s episode of The Amazing Race from the TIVO, seeing the description one team picks up a hitchhiker, my son and I glance at each other and say in unison, “It’s gotta be the hippies.” Honestly, who else would do that? Starting this leg of the race from a castle in Muscat, Oman, it was a non-elimination round last week. That means the hippies will be starting with no money and only their passports and the clothes on their backs. For some reason, I don’t see this phasing them too much.
The couple that surprised everyone to arrive at the pit stop in first place, Fran and Barry, leave Muscat at 5:35 AM. They think the other teams will finally seem them as real competitors, and admit they’re older, but say their travel experience helps keep them there. Their first clue has them flying to Perth, Australia, the capital of Western Australia. Before they leave, they put $20 in BJ and Tyler’s car, saying the hippies asked them to do that. It’s only right, as the hippies have helped Fran and Barry out before.
Leaving at 5:54, Joseph and Monica laugh about the hippies starting out with no money, and say, “Those guys are screwed.” They talk about giving them only a dollar, then decide they’ll leave nothing and just pretend to be leaving something. Who are they pretending for? The film crew? They admit it’s getting brutal, and it’s starting to get real competitive, with them being happy when the hippies are gone. They have reason to be a little bitter, as the hippies told them they would Yield anyone that doesn’t help them out by leaving cash. Hey, that’s not cool! MoJo and Fran/Barry reached a blocked road. Stopping to ask for help, they find the King is coming, and there isn’t anything they can do but sit and wait it out.
Ray and Yolanda leave at 6:26 and admit that their arguing took them from 0 to 120 kilometers in no time. I have to wonder, are they talking in metric because they are in Oman, or are they talking metric because they are the only ones using the metric system in the United States? When I was in seventh grade, we were told we had to learn it, because our whole country would be using metric by the time we were grown up. Nearly thirty years later, I’m wondering when I’m going to be grown up. Ray and Yolanda vow to bring back the fun and energy to their race and relationship. They leave money for the hippies, and notice that MoJo just left paper, and not money, and decide that’s not nice.
Twenty minutes later, Eric and Jeremy leave, and they leave they hippies a $100 IOU, deciding that since they’re hippies, they’ll find out how to make gas from trees or something. They can’t figure out why people would give them money, and say it’s dumb. Haven’t they ever listened to Barbra Streisand? It’s people helping people. They’re going to do whatever it takes to win, and decide it’s like trying to get into a girl’s pants – lie, cheat, steal, whatever it takes. Nice.
Leaving at 8:21, BJ and Tyler rip open their clue with their teeth. They see the money that has been left for them in their car, and say they are worried about the teams that didn’t leave them money. They have to admit to thinking before how amazing it would be to travel the world with just the clothes on their backs. Now they get the opportunity. Their goofy attitude has gotten them this far, but now they’re going to get more serious. Of course, just after this, they say, “Let’s go put another prawn on the barbie.”
The first four teams all arrive at the airport, one after the other. MoJo refuses to tell any of the other teams what flight they have. It doesn’t matter, as all four of them end up getting the same flight. They laugh saying the hippies will never make it. This is where BJ and Tyler decide to pick up a hitchhiker in Oman. He says his name is Abdul Hamid, he is Bedouin and is from the desert. BJ says, “I’m from New Jersey.” The hippies have to stop for gas, and Abdul gives them mango juice, gas, candy bars, and a kiss goodbye. Would you kiss a hitchhiker from the dessert for juice, candy bars, and gas?
Arriving at the airport, Tyler says it’s time to get serious. The flight everyone else is on leaves in ten minutes. The other teams on the plane celebrate, saying the hippies won’t ever make it, and even say they are sure of it. Apparently they haven’t seen the season with Rob and Amber, who similarly surprised their teammates on a plane. Nor did they catch the finale of that same season when Rob and Amber thought they had it made, and the plane was held for Uchenna and Joyce.
Once the hippies step on the plane, Ray says everyone looks like they saw a ghost. The hippies approach Eric and Jeremy, and say, “What’s up, Fraternizers?” Monica notes how annoying it is, and Joseph says under his breath, “I hate the hippies. Not only did they catch the flight, they manage to amass $300 in American money from others on the flight.
Once the plane arrives in Perth, all five teams catch taxis to Kings Park in search for the state war memorial and yet another clue. Eric/Jeremy pass the cab of Joseph/Monica, and she decides they are stinky boys. Fran and Barry somehow manage to catch every single red light. Wow, the same thing happens in the states! Eric and Jeremy are the first to the state war memorial and receive another clue telling them to make their way to the port city of Fremantle, where they will take a ferry to Rattnest Island, a popular vacation spot. The others all follow suit, with Joseph/Monica getting there in second place, Ray/Yolanda in third, BJ/Tyler in fourth, and Fran/Barry bringing up the rear.
This is all just to find out that the ferries to Rottnest Island don’t open until 7:30 AM. Everyone decides to get a hotel for the night. Going into a hostile, Eric and Jeremy say the feel like they got a room in the Bat Cave. Fran and Barry get a room that says, “Welcome to the Pleasure Dome” on the door. Opening it, they see there are other people in there, and Barry says, “This race has ruined our sex life.” To which Fran answers, “That’s for damn sure.” Ewww. That’s like finding out your parents are doing it.
At 7:30 AM, all head out to take ferries to Rottnest Island, where they will ride tandem bikes to find a lighthouse. and another clue. Joseph, pedaling in front, complains that it’s tough, and Monica says it’s easy in the back. Fran and Barry are into biking long distance, so this is up their alley. They believe they are much fitter today than they were twenty years ago. Yolanda, in the front, suggests Ray should be the one doing the work, and they agree to switch.
At the lighthouse, the teams finda a Detour – Sand or Sea. In Sand, the teams need to drag piles of large branches twenty-six yards across a sand dune. This is known as “brushing the beach,” and helps prevent beach erosion. In Sea, the teams will dive beneath the waves to search fifty crayfish traps on the ocean floor. Only a few of the traps contain crayfish. Each player on the team must retrieve one crayfish. When teams are done with either chore, they will ride their bikes back to Salmon Bay (how do you pronounce that Kellie Pickler?) Eric/Jeremy decide to do Sea, and BJ/Tyler decide on Sand. Fran and Barry arrive and decide on Sand as well. Joseph/Monica, getting to the lighthouse after getting lost, decide on Sea, while Ray/Yolanda choose Sand.
Eric and Jeremy, excited because they get to wear their “amazing Speedos”, find their crayfish quickly, call it a Baywatch moment. They must return their bikes, take the ferries back to the mainland, and make their way to Fremantle prison that was shut down in 1991. The prison still stands, along with the tunnels beneath it, that are used to supply the city with water. They don’t know why the hippies are doing the manual labor of Sand, saying they thought they went to Harvard or Yale or something. The frat boys also don’t want the hippies following them, saying they’re the best followers ever.
Just a little later, BJ and Tyler fish with Sand, and are on their way as well. Joseph and Monica struggle with the crayfish. They at first believe they only need one, and after Joseph retrieves it, they head off to turn it in and get their clue, only to find out they need yet another. Monica is afraid doing it. She screams she can’t do it, and Joseph tells her she is driving him insane. Meanwhile Fran and Berry finish the Detour. Eventually Monica bites the bullet, and does retrieve the crayfish. Ray and Yolanda finish just after them.
Eric and Jeremy are the only ones on their ferry to Fremantle. BJ and Tyler just miss it, but find another ferry going to Hillary. They decide to take the one to Hillary, and taxi over to Fremantle, to stay ahead of the last three teams. While the last three teams wait for the next ferry to Fremantle, Fran and Barry go to the visitors center to look at a map and book a taxi. Joseph and Monica follow their lead.
As Eric and Jeremy get to the prison, BJ and Tyler arrive in Hillary and catch a cab to get them to the prison. At the prison, Eric and Jeremy find a Roadblock. One person from every team will need to search several cells of the prison for one of several that contain a flashlight and Duracell Coppertop batteries. Hmmmm. I wonder who the sponsor of this episode is. Once they get the flashlight, they need to scout around for a door that will admit them into the tunnels. While down there, they will search in small row boats through the tunnels for the next clue.
Jeremy, doing the Roadblock, finds the flashlight and batteries pretty quickly, but then can’t seem to find how to enter into the tunnel system. He thinks he finds it at one point, but it ends up being an outhouse. He thinks this whole thing is ridiculous and stupid. BJ and Tyler are met with red lights, forcing them to lose some of their lead over the last three teams. It’s confusing for those last three teams which cab is which, and Monica says “Joseph?” and when the driver answers, she says they’re taking it because the driver said their name, so Fran and Barry can’t complain if it ends up being theirs. Fran and Barry never do find their taxi, and end up taking the bus.
Just after Monica and Joseph arrive, the hippies do as well. Just after Joseph and Tyler start searching for the flashlight and batteries, Jeremy finds the tunnel system. He enters the system saying he’s going to kill someone, asking if anyone knows how long he has been running around. He paddles his boat around and finds the clue quickly. Joseph, just about to come upon a cell with the flashlight, refuses to work together with Tyler. Joseph finds it, and Tyler keeps looking. Eventually Tyler finds it as well.
Ray and Yolanda arrive in fifth, and Fran and Barry in fifth. Yolanda and Fran are doing the task. As they show a closeup of Fran looking at the clue … Man, this woman’s got some guns for arms. Who would have expected that? Joseph finds the tunnels and boards a boat, as Jeremy emerges with the next clue. They are to make their way to the next pit stop, 1-1/2 miles to the Fremantle Sailing club, next to the Indian Ocean. They think about stealing Mojo’s cab, but the taxi driver tells them it’s close enough they can walk. Maybe if they would had gotten the cab driver to say “Eric” or “Jeremy”, they could have stolen the cab. Well, that follows Monica’s logic.
Joseph finds the clue as Tyler continues to look for the tunnels and Yolanda and Fran look for the flashlights. Joseph and Monica make their way out to their cab, and tell the driver it’s a matter of life or death. The driver tells them they are just two minutes away from the sailing club. Once they arrive, they see the frat boys just arriving as well. They decide to “haul ass.” Both teams run in, but it’s Eric and Jeremy that make it in just a few feet in front of MoJo. Apparently they haul ass better. Jeremy wonders if Phil knows how much running he did today. They win a Travelocity trip for two to Hong Kong. Joseph and Monica come in, of course in second place.
Tyler finally finds someone to work with him in Yolanda. Pretty smart of her, considering she arrived there in fourth place. They find the tunnels together, followed by Fran. Taylor finds the clues first, followed by Yolanda who declares herself a badass bitch (if you say so), and Fran. The hippies hop in their cab, and get to the pit stop to make third place. It’s Fran/Barry and Ray/Yolanda fighting for fourth and fifth place, and since last week was a non-elimination leg, this one isn’t expected to be. Fran and Barry are stuck at a red light, and Ray and Yolanda are out looking for directions. It’s Ray and Yoland who run in for fourth place. Phil asks if they fell in love again with each aother, and they admit they have.
Fran and Barry run in, knowing they are probably in last place. He says, “C’mon, Kiddo. We did great. I am so proud of you.” Fran says she doesn’t way to cry. They are, of course, Philiminated, and they hug each other, deciding they had a good run. Phil tells Barry he has to be so proud of his wife running this race with him. As she is still trying not to cry, Barry says she is an incredible woman, and that he couldn’t have done it without her. He says at 61, she doesn’t know how unique and special she is. Fran says that having survived breast cancer, it put a lot of things in perspective. She had to start to live every day to the fullest she could.
It’s too bad these two didn’t show this endearing side of themselves a little earlier, instead of being hell-bent on proving themselves. I’ll leave everyone with Fran and Barry’s final thoughts, as I find it very touching, especially since we saw them as the old couple on the race. Fran and Barry watch old couple holding hands, and think that will be them in thirty years. They end the show saying, “God willing it will be.”
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