|3 – The wheel After most of them failed at the other detour option (see #4), they moved over to the physical challenge. Here teams had to roll a naked bicycle wheel with a stick across a poorly tended soccer field and back. It’s as if Ghanaian children are playing games American kids played in the 40s. Many teams did well – like Gary (again) and Chad/Steph. Some struggled for a while like the Volleyballers and QVC. But the worst was Michael who was overheated in the 98-degree scorcher and needed medical attention. On the positive side, Michael mustered enough energy to plow through the task and make it to the mat.
The most impressive meltdown was not the physical one felt by Michael, but the mental one from Nick. In a season fairly devoid so far of villains, Nick has stepped up to try and fill the role. After mocking Vicki for misreading the wheelbarrow clue – “That’s fifth grade reading/I don’t give a bleep about your sorries/Is that going to keep us from losing?” He continued to ride her badly as she struggled to get the wheel across the field. At least until her asthma started to kick in. He backed off at that point and realized what a dick he was being. Let’s hope for their sake – and for ours – that he’ll remember that in upcoming legs.
4 – The puzzle This was the real kicker. Teams were given a scroll for this side of the Detour containing eight proverbs. They are told to find the translation key with corresponding local language symbols. Then consulting a very large Word Find-type puzzle stretched out across the side of a building, they must find the eight symbols in order. The key component – the decoder key is a giant poster located just around the corner from the puzzle. Literally. And only Gryffindor could find it.
I was very impressed with their strategy – they used a familiar item to associate with the hieroglyphs. “Kidney Beans, Ladder, Crazy…” They find it really quickly. No one else could find the damn key itself! My favorite is how all the teams who flipped to the wheel challenge could actually see the decoder key from the soccer field. It was staring them in the face – mocking them like Ghana townspeople buying sunglasses. Oh, wait, that was last week.
Thanks must go out to the show itself , which managed to surprise me. I’ve been saying for a while that they needed to do some non-elimination legs early in the show to keep us on our toes. With the exception of the Leg 1 non-elim with the Poker Girls a couple of races ago, they really hadn’t done much with mixing up the legs. This week was the earliest one they ever did beside the Poker Girls (and that was in there because of the goofy starting line elimination). I am happy that YouTube survived the cut – if only because Michael doesn’t lose based on health issues. Now they have a chance to move on assuming Michael is healthy and they can overcome the Speed Bump.