Sunday, October 16, 2011

Amazing Race Recap: “Phuket All, We're Going To Thailand“

In this week’s episode, the teams were off to Thailand for the fourth leg of the Race. Who is getting all wet when their boat capsizes? Which team is having a meltdown battling the wind? And who can’t figure out which way is North?

My Random Thoughts:

- Off the top, we are informed that Indonesia is home to 129 active volcanoes, but I think the more interesting fact is something that I noticed in a shot on the way to the airport. Did you notice that in Indonesia, “Taxi” is spelled “Taksi”? True fact.

- Exiting the Pit Stop, the Route Info indicated that the teams were headed to Thailand, where they would have to find a floating pier. How many different pronunciations of Phuket did we hear from the teams? I caught Poo-ket, Pooka, Bucket, Foo-Ket, and Puckett, which only makes me think of one thing…
- Andy and Tommy talked about wanted to win first place cleanly, and not because another team got a penalty at the mat. Didn’t they do that just the week before? Jeremy talked about the Race bringing out a couple of things in his relationship with Sandy that he felt they needed to work on…like the fact that Sandy apparently just wanders into traffic in a foreign country, which is the footage they showed right after he said that.

- 7 minutes of non-relevant airport happenings, since all the teams were equalized at the floating pier. When the most interesting thing is the snowboarders tickling Laurence in line at the airport, did we really need to see any of this travel escapade?

- I read some people giving Bill and Cathi a hard time since he threw on a fake Asian accent a couple of episodes ago. I’m sure those people won’t be pleased at his “Chop Chop!” directions to their cab driver with the creepy tattooed hand, but I’m not too concerned about a generational borderline racial comment. I’m more troubled by the images caused by Cathi calling Bill “babycakes” and telling him how much she enjoys the view while he is climbing the wall. I really like Bill and Cathi, but it’s a vision that I would prefer to stay out of my head.

- I was hoping the floating pier would lead to some entertaining moments like on an episode of Wipeout, but alas, it looked rather sturdy. I noticed that when Tommy got the clue, Andy just turned around and started running back without actually reaching the clue drum.

Did you catch that? He was about 20 yards shy of where the clue was. I always thought that both members had to be there to get the clue, otherwise, why wouldn’t you just send the fastest member and leave the other one back at the beach?
- After a short boat ride to the Detour site, which looked like a chase scene from an episode of Miami Vice, the teams had to choose between Coral Reconstruction, which had them building an artificial coral reef and placing it underwater, and Beach Preparation, where they would have to collect chairs and umbrellas and set them up.

- Coral Reconstruction was obviously the first-ever TAR challenge to include the phrase “when the marine biologist is satisfied with their work”, and was essentially a Lego/Meccano/Ikea combo building project for the first portion. I wanted to refrain from making the joke that the Snowboarders breezed through it because they’re clearly “good with a pipe”, but I’m just not that good of a man.

The harder parts of the challenge were the Kayaking and dealing with the currents underwater. Marcus told us he is not a competitive swimmer (Really?), and that he’s never been so tired in all his life (REALLY???), and Sandy said she felt unsafe, even though she had a lifejacket, a boat, and was only in about 7 feet of water.

Here’s the thing I don’t get, though. When the teams chose to switch tasks after their structure broke or fell apart underwater…isn’t it ridiculous that they just left it out there in the water? I mean, the whole point of the task was to reconstruct the reef that was damaged after the tsunami. Isn't leaving a bunch of plastic pipes on the ocean floor kind of counter-productive to that goal? Aren't they now just littering?

- In Beach Construction, teams had to deal with finding their items, digging problems, and wind issues. Most people got the task done in a reasonable time, except for the twins, who seemingly ALSO got a hand from all the other teams on how to do it since they were so hapless. This seemed like another challenge designed to have the locals laugh at the racers.
- After the Detour, the snowboarders were back in first place, and leading the charge on all the teams who had to drive 13 minutes North in their boat for the next clue, which was a Roadblock to climb a sheer rock wall to retrieve a clue from a bird’s nest. Pretty much everyone had an easy time with it, including Jennifer, who received helpful nuggets from her brother like “use your legs.”

- Ernie and Cindy got lost on the way to the Roadblock because they didn’t actually go North, and were looking for flags in the water instead of the giant rock formation that was sprouting out of the sea, as it was hinted on the medallion. They instead stumbled across a random boat in the open waters. I’m not going to lie, I was hoping it was pirates.

- Laurence and Zac seem to work well together, until they get lost navigating a boat! “What a bunch of useless sailors we are”, Laurence astutely pointed out, as the experienced mariners resorted to “Follow that boat!”

- At the Pit Stop, which was at a floating soccer stadium in the village of Koh Panyi, Team Snowboarder came first, winning a cool $5,000 each, which would be enough to take their wives on the trips they already won. Did anyone else notice that they are alarmingly interested in the hair/beards of the locals? First the guy who drove their speedboat, and then the greeter at the mat with Phil?

- Jeremy and Sandy had an impressive 3rd place finish on this leg, but I’m wondering if the way they were edited this week was an effort to lay the groundwork for some discord and disharmony in future episodes. I hope not, I’m actually enjoying not having a team to dislike, so I hope we don’t get a villain edited in the coming weeks.

- Liz and Marie were last to the Pit Stop, but after learning it was a Non-Elimination leg, rapidly changed their tune from “It’s like Riding to our death” to “It’s not over till it’s over.” We’ll see if next week’s (sure to be lame) Speed Bump will slow them down.

Next Week: Elephants in the Stream, and the Twins are Penniless.

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Thanks for reading.

(Photo Credits: Reality Fan Forum, CBS)

9 comments:

Beth said...

My nomination for dumbest statement by a racer this week is Sandy: "I've always wanted to go to Thailand. It's gonna be foreign to me, though. Once again." Isn't that the point???? Sheesh!!

Anonymous said...

I don't understand, Liz & Marie were lifeguards for 2 years but chose putting up umbrellas on a beach over swimming. Lifeguards do go swimming don't they?

Anonymous said...

I don't think the coral reef challenge was THAT hard...seemed like Lego simple to me !

Anonymous said...

What no random thought on the awesome Goonies reference by Team Siblings?? That was my favorite part and was shocked no one else thought of it (well they could have edited it out).

R.P. McMurphy said...

Not only was Marcus dead tired, he said that he willingly took the harder challenge, in the middle of a million dollar race, to give something back. How 'bout winning the race then maybe making a donation? Thanks for giving up your undefeated season to the Jets and losing all momentum for the playoffs.

Nice catch, anonymous, on the Goonies reference. That was classic. Anyone seen Chester Copperpot?

Wasn't really much of a "floating stadium," was it? I'd have loved to see a game played. Seems like people would be constantly falling in the water.

Glad to see the twins survive. They've got kind of a Charlize Theron thing going on for me!

Hope they can make it untying a knot and breaking out of a wet paper bag for their speed bump next week. Maybe throw in an extra tile or two to break also.

Kurt Sahr said...

I noticed the one snowboarder (I don't know which one is which) grabbing the clue 20 yards from the end of the pier as well, and wondered the same thing Sean did.

R.P. McMurphy said...

In my best Columbo voice, "Just one more thing..."

I didn't get into TAR until it was already several seasons in and now I love it but I have a question that I've raised here before.

Does each partner have to complete an equal amount of challenges by the end of the race? A certain percentage of the challenges? I have never seen that rule adequately addressed on the show.

Cathi said that she was going to let Bill do the challenges last night in order to give them the best chance to survive another day, insinuating that if they kept going, she would have to do more later.

I get it but I wish they'd clarify it from time to time.

Vyrastas said...

I noticed the same thing about the clue drum... I thought they both had to be there. I guess not?

I really liked this episode, which pretty much everything being on the water. The snowboarders just smoked everyone on this leg of the race. They are killing on these physical challenges.

I was waiting for a Goonies reference after seeing the medallion they had to use. Funny thing is that the rocks in Goonies don't actually exist in that formation... at least these did.

Sherilyn -Dominee Huisvrouw said...

The Goonies rocks are real. My family used to go there every year. The beach is beautiful! The formation is called "Haystack Rock & the Needles". :)