There’s still some questions out there about this upcoming season. No one can argue that the show wasn’t totally exhilarating last week, but no one seems to be quite sure about eliminating the first team before they even got to participate in a Detour, reminding us a little of Wanda and Jonathon being eliminated from Survivor before they even got to compete in a challenge or attend a Tribal Council. The worst part of it all was that when this team of Muslims was eliminated, along with the married Indian-American team, it killed some of the best diversity the show has ever had. The question everyone has now is if the show will continue to surprise us weekly, or if it was just jumping the shark.
We re-join the remaining ten teams as they are preparing to leave the Great Wall of China, their first pit stop. Tyler and James are the first to leave, at 9:04 PM, and receive a clue telling them to head to Outer Mongolia by bus and train, and as they arrive it the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, head to the Choijin Lama Temple, where they will observe a musical ceremony and get their next clue. Tyler says he is glad to get this opportunity during his sobriety. It’s like icing on the cake, and he feels like someone should pinch them so they they know it really is happening. He knows where they’ve been, as it was on the streets and in the gutter. Now he just figures why not have fun with every situation they can. I really like what these guys are about, but at some point they need to drop the rehab status and just be a good team.
Duke and Lauren leave and 9:17, and he is still talking about being accepting of gays and lesbians … until it’s his daughter, then it’s different. She would like him to see her now beyond the label of being gay. Peter and Sarah, leaving at 9:22, are talking about about her leaking prosthetic leg, and she is repeating that it’s like riding a bike with a flat tire. She knows she just has to keep moving forward and not worry about it. Again, these two teams also need to lost that special status, quit talking about, and just prove their worth as a good team.
Dustin and Kandice leave at 9:36 and talk about being roommates at Miss America. They feel they need each other as friends because of the competitive worlds they live in. They don’t have much else to depend on. Rob and Kimberly leave fifteen minutes later. She talks again about their relationship, saying they’ve been dating for two years and are now at the point of where they need to decide where they should take that obvious next step or not. In other words, she’s telling him to shit or get off the pot.They arrive at the bus station, and find they will be taking the last slot on the first bus out at midnight. The others will be taking a bus two hours later at 2:00 AM.
Kellie and Jamie leave just five minutes after, but it’s enough to get them stuck as the first team to be slotted for the second bus. Kellie feels that she and Jamie are definitely on their way to an even stronger relationship to the one they formed during cheerleading. They like to motivate each other to do better. Brothers Erwin and Godwin leave at 7:02 PM, with Godwin saying they both know this is a competition, but they also feel it’s about building relationships with others. They hop to find people they can trust, and that they can then get through the race together. I have to admit they seem to really understand the strategy here. Let’s see if they can take that next step and actually utilize it.
Tom and Terry leave more than three hours later at 10:13 PM. They have traveled independently, but never together. The challenge in front of them will be to see if they can do it together. Lyn and Karlyn leave at 10:20, and Karlyn says the biggest thing she thinks she will take out of the this will be to be able to show it to her kids tell them this is what their mom did. David and Mary leave ten minutes later, in last place, and David wants Mary to start jogging. She asks why, as they’re all on the same bus anyway. He realizes she’s very blunt, but says that’s just the way she is and what he loves about her the most. So far on the race, Mary finds herself making friends with people she never would have thought she would. She’s never known and Asian person before, and says, honest to goodness, she’s never been around gay people before either. Yet, she notes, “But hey, I like ’em!” Look at that; she expanded her horizons before she even left the United States. Even Terry has to admit that he never imagined there would be so much bonding already between the players.
The teams on the first bus arrive at Erlian Train Station in Erenhot, China, and look for information on the next available train, finding it won’t be until 4:00. Dustin and Kandice sneak off to research it on their own, if there is an earlier flight, and use someone else’s cell phone. Tyler and James bust them and ruin the whole scheme. The second group arrives, and it turns out they’ll all fit on the same train, making this one of the race’s “equalizers.”
Sarah puts on a running demonstration with her artificial leg, and Peter admits this is one of the ways they plan to use her disability to their advantage. He then begs for money from the locals gathered around Sarah, and when they refuse, he tells them they won’t have a “show” then. Am I the only one bothered by this? I don’t even like when the women in the race use their looks to get cash, as it cheapens them, and this is certainly no better. She points out they even pay money at the zoo. Yeah, and the animals also shit in the cages.
The train, carrying all ten remaining teams, takes them through the Gobi Desert to Ulaanbaater, Mongolia. Tyler, getting philosophical again, says his wake up call came when he was arrested for the third time. He knew the end would be one of the two ultimates, jail or death. Everything that has happened since ha been like a dream. Honestly, I so respect what these guys are doing, but if they are to ever consider themselves truly rehabbed, they have to stop making stories about their old days part of their daily life. Otherwise, it’s still very much a part of them.
Off the train and now in cabs on their way to the temple, when street water splashes through he window at her, Kimberly notes that it’s dirty water, and wonders if she can get diseases from that. That would depend on what it’s dirty with. James and Tyler’s cabbie takes them in an opposite direction, and they’re hoping he knows a secret, quicker back route. Peter and Sarah feel really good about the position they’re in right now, and Kellie and Jamie are thankful that when a local woman was checking their passports, she wrote down the name of the temple in Mongolian for them.
Kellie/Jamie, Tom/Terry, and Rob/Kimberly are the first ones to arrive at the Choijin Lama Temple. They find that the musical performances are every ten minutes. They all rush in together while Peter and Sarah are noticing the fact that their driver took the back roads. Watching the performance at the temple, Kellie and Jamie are amazed to see the different cultures. Getting their next clue, they, Tom/Terry, and Rob/Kimberly, find they will use old military jeeps and drive to the city of Terelj, choose a pair of horses, and ride 1-1/2 miles, reaching a meadow with the next clue. Rob tells Kimberly it’s the car grinding, not him. Even though Kellie and Jamie got directions before heading out, Jamie says it is way confusing.