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On tonight’s installment of “Why did they do that?,” two teams with a decided time advantage over the rest made an inexplicable airport blunder that could prove fatal. Except it doesn’t, because this is yet another lackluster episode in what is turning out to be a ho-hum season of The Amazing Race.


With eight teams remaining, snowboarders Andy and Tommy and “adventurers” Laurence and Zac are the first out of the Pit Stop. Their assignment is to fly to Phuket, Thailand—and let’s all be careful with those pronunciations of Phuket, folks—where the next clue awaits. As it turns out, there is no direct flight to Phuket, so they’ll have to go by way of Jakarta. Which is fine, except that for some reason, both teams only buy tickets for the first leg of the flight, figuring they can just buy the Jakarta-Phuket tickets once they arrive in Jakarta. Maybe they were under extreme time constraints and had to race to make their first flight, but it didn’t seem that way. Couldn’t they have taken another three minutes to ensure they had tickets for the next flight?

As it happens, that’s exactly what the rest of the teams do, so when the Dudez and the adventurers arrive in Jakarta, they find the next flight to Phuket is already booked, and therefore, they have to fly via Bangkok. They are now nearly an hour behind the other six teams, which… makes no difference at all, because they can’t pick up their next clue until 8 a.m. the next morning anyway. Ah, can you feel the tension? No, neither can I. (Although I did enjoy the woman at the cab stand having a good laugh at the expense of the late arriving teams.)

When morning comes, all teams are released simultaneously, and the Dudez are able to pass them all and grab their clue first, thus rendering their airport faux pas completely meaningless. Phil helpfully informs us that both Detour tasks will give the teams an opportunity to help rebuild the local tourist economy following the devastating tsunami. That’s probably a bit of a stretch, Phil. One task requires the teams to assemble a coral nursery, paddle it out to sea in a kayak, then place it on the ocean floor and fill it with coral. The other, seemingly much easier task, entails setting up beach chairs and colorful umbrellas. As it turns out, neither mission is easily accomplished, mainly due to the weather conditions. The current keeps pulling apart the hastily assembled nurseries, even as the wind is knocking the colorful umbrellas all over the beach.


None of this is any sweat for the Dudez, who are smart enough to find a big rock to hold their nursery in place. (Justin and Jennifer have success using the same technique, albeit accidentally, as their nursery happens to catch on a rock.) The remaining teams give up on the task and switch to the beach umbrellas, which continue to blow all over the place. (Once again, the locals enjoy a hearty laugh at the foolish Americans. I have a feeling this happens a lot in Thailand.)

On to the Roadblock, which must be located using the season’s latest oblique clue, a compass and a shell with a pattern carved into it matching a pair of islands in the distance. One member of each team must climb an island rock cliff to a bird’s nest containing clues (and apparently no eggs). This is easily accomplished by everyone, and it’s off to the Pit Stop. Having struggled the hardest with the beach umbrellas, the Twins are the last team to arrive. But in keeping with the anti-climactic tone of the episode, this is a non-elimination leg. No tearful goodbyes this week.

Stray observations:

  • For a while, I thought Jeremy and Sandy were getting the loser edit, mainly because I’d never heard them speak before this episode, and they seemed to be getting an inordinate amount of screen time. They sure are boring.
  • Nice work navigating with the map, sailor boy! Are we sure he made it all the way around the world?
  • Next week: Elephants!