The things you learn on the Amazing Race. So, it seems if you put a scorpion in your mouth, you can calm it down so much that you can put in the hand of a freaked out gay web host or wife of a mulleted trapping expert. Not that there is any real reason why you should know that, or any real reason why it should ever be referred to again outside of the Amazing Race. But thanks to this show, we know it. And good luck removing the image of the Botswana Bushman shoving the alien-looking scorpion into his mouth from your brain.
One thing was certain this week – and was the first thing I wrote in my notes while Phil was doing the Previouslies – and that was the inevitability of this being a non-elimination leg. It was possible it could have been a standard leg, but usually this is around the time to have a non-elimination. And guess what? Non-elim.
The teams left Vietnam and had their inevitable bunching when they arrived in Botswana. And judging by the Magical Amazing Race Map Traveling Globe , boy, that trip from Hanoi to Maun, Botswana looked absolutely endless and hellish. This wiped out Pwinnie’s almost five-hour lead over the Mullets from the last leg.
Once in Botswana, all of the tasks were basically isolated events in the middle of bush country. There was little chance of getting lost or having locals – especially cabbies – screw things up. The performance in this leg was strictly based on challenge prowess. In the case of the Newlyweds, it came down to stubbornness. And this wasn’t even really egregious stubbornness – the kind that offed The Dudes two weeks ago. It was a fairly brief moment where they forgot the nature of their challenge.
The Detour was the deciding challenge of the week. Most teams were on the course at the same time and virtually all of them chose to do the same task. They had to either make fire the bushman way, or build a chicken trap to the bushmen’s liking. Clearly, none of the teams have ever watched Survivor – never volunteer to make fire unless you have to. Most of them struggled mightily and flipped over to the traps. The Newlyweds watched their competition bail while they struggled, but lingered just a bit too long on the fire. By the time they got to the traps, they were in a hole. They rushed the traps and Max’s didn’t work properly. Game over.
Except, it wasn’t. Because, as expected, it was non-elimination, so they are going to be around for at least another leg.
However, despite the Racers’ running around doing wacky things, by far the stars of the leg were the bushmen. Whether they were telling Slap Shot driving directions – “go straight, go straight.” Or scolding Wynona for digging too hard and threatening the life of the scorpion. Or commenting about how beautiful Underwood ladies are – watch out ladies, you may be betrothed after that scorpion business. One even said – “this one is mine, she will stay in the camp.” I even loved their exaggerated reactions to the successful traps, and especially loved them calling out Joey for being afraid.
Random Task – They had to figure out what country they were going to before the Race-imposed travel agent guard would let them in and book the flight. How awesome would it be if all Vietnamese travel agents had this feature? The first team to screw this up is Slap Shot – who thinks they are going to Kenya. Underwood and Mullets would make the same error.
Pwinnie gets internet, Derby Moms find a smart phone, while Newlyweds just tell Underwood the answer. And they in turn just tell Slap Shot. The Mullets just randomly guess countries – Kenya, Australia, Turkey, Bangladesh, Republic of the Paraguay, Westeros, Middle Earth, Coruscant, and the Planet of the Apes. Well, maybe not the last few.
Upon landing, the teams get to sign up for the tiny plane ride to Maun. Underwood and Slap Shot are first. Newlyweds and YouTube fly the Awkward Airlines 15 minutes later. A half hour behind are Derby Moms, Mullets and Pwinnie. Underwood see elephants and are thrilled. Joey fakes a frightened look. Seriously, this act is already old. Katie blames YouTube for ruining her safari. Chuck thinks they filmed the Lion King here. Pwinnie giggles and reminds them about the lack of Toon Town in real life Africa.
Roadblock – Join with some Kalahari Bushmen to dig for a scorpion, place it in a jar and hand it in. They actually see a lion nearby – which was stunning to me – the bushman scatter and climb a tree while Caroline cluelessly stands around and watches them. Joey is petrified of scorpions – one wonders how many he has actually seen in his life to develop such a phobia. Other than the ole Exaggeration For The Sake Of Being On TV Phobia. Max seems to envy the bushmen for their lack of day jobs. Survival is their day job, Max, disposable income may not be a concern for them. However, he is the smartest one there as he dons a glove to protect from the scorpion. Not the smartest? Wynona who kept digging incorrectly.
Detour – After arriving with the bushmen in the back of the van, they have to decide on – Fire or Fowl – In Fire, they walk to a camp and make fire with two sticks, zebra crap and grass. In Fowl, they walk to camp and build a tiny trigger trap to catch guinea fowl. As we learned in Survivor: Gabon from quickly-eliminated Gillian – animal dung helps in fire building. We also learned from Survivor – fire building is super hard without flint.
Needless to say, Chuck has trapped before, and his skills coupled with the other teams’ choice of fire enables them to earn a top of the pack finish. I still can’t see that lasting.
• Interesting to see the show acknowledge the curious choices of pro-Communist songs and downed American aircraft monuments in Vietnam. Good for them to essentially apologize to our brave vets.
• Max seems to refer to his wife as Big Brain Big Hair Katie – she of her secret doctorate. I will be calling her BBBH Katie.
• How tiresome will the Underwood/Slap Shot love affair get before too long? Yeah. Quite.
• New game – take a line of from Underwood and make it into a country song title. This week – Caroline’s “You Are Getting Bit In Your Mouth.”
• Tell me, has Wynona said anything yet this season that was not in the form of a complaint?
• Max’s reaction to the scorpion in the mouth was out of the Eliza Orlins School Of Facial Reaction Shots. His own words – “I better close my mouth before he sticks it in my mouth.” Also, a winning entry in the Underwood Song Title Game.
• BBBH Katie is skating super close to Ugly American status with her complaining about the bushmen’s odor. Be careful, this is not a road you want to go down.
• Pam – “I feel like we are smuggling Bushmen.” A new series on the Travel Channel.
• Loved how both Chuck and I live in the same country – at no point in time was the option of not working and selling trapped animals to the local fur exchange ever presented to me as a lifestyle choice.
• Understatement Award to Mona after Beth suggested driving to the Pit Stop – “Beth, this could be a bad choice.” Of course, they had to go on foot. Max proved his fandom after they finished the task in last place and read that they had to travel on foot to the Pit Stop. He knew their only real chance of avoiding last place just vanished – very little chance of getting lost there. Maybe in a complicated location – but not here.
Detour – Fire – Slap Shot, Underwood, Derby Moms, Newlyweds, YouTube. Only Slap Shot finishes it. The rest flip over to Fowl and join Pwinnie and Mullets who did it initially.
Roadblock – Scorpion digging. Bates, Caroline, Joey, Max, Mona, Wynona (Finally), and Pam
Order of Finish – Slap Shot (Trip to Phuket), Pwinnie, Mullets, YouTube, Underwood, Derby Moms, Newlyweds (NON-ELIMINATED)
Next Week – Mullets on a boat, and a big donkey-related finish.