Clearly the most exciting part of this episode was Margie and Luke and Brenchel’s tough decision to layover in Singapore or try for a standby ticket, options that could pay off immensely well or completely blow their lead. It certainly makes sense for Margie and Luke to play their chances with the standby line. But by standing still, Brenchel got ahead and the mother/son duo were left in the dust.The teams who survive on The Amazing Race are those who constantly move forward. And just like the tiny fish who took a break in the Detour challenge, those who stand still will be quickly stabbed away from the competition.
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Travel Agents and Standby Lines
Jet and Cord start off this leg of the race, heading to a nearby Kuala Lumpur travel agency (those still exist?) to book a ticket to Colombo, Sri Lanka. Dave and Connor, Leo and Jamal, Caroline and Jennifer, Jessica and John and Flight Time and Big Easy are quickly behind them, each getting their own spot on the coveted 11pm flight out of town.
The Cowboys’ lead drifts off wayward as the starting six teams are all in the same place. With time to relax, Flight Time cozies up to Caroline and Jennifer, showing his puppy dog eyes and hoping they notice him. “OMG, do you think he likes them?” the collective Amazing Race audience gossips while Flight Time works his magic. But the singers have their eyes set on another team who they think will help create some harmonious Western romance.
As the front teams get familiar, Margie and Luke are starting off, hoping they won’t break any bar glasses on this leg. They head straight to the airport with only team Brenchel trailing behind them. Brenchel decides to head to the travel agency instead and they learn that all spots on the 11pm flight have been booked, with the only option being a 30-minute layover in Singapore or taking the chance at a standby flight. The travel agent tells Brenchel there is no way they’ll make it through Singapore in 30 minutes. Brenchel, ignoring this silly travel agent man with full confidence in their airport sprinting abilities, book the Singapore ticket.
Margie and Luke, though, feel the Singapore layover is too risky, so they opt out for chances at a standby ticket instead. Suddenly, Brenchel bust through the airport, and Big Easy gives a reluctant high five to Brendon. And like a game of telephone, Big Easy tells Flight Time that Brenchel is still in the race, who tells the singers, and then everyone knows.
It’s interesting to see that the teams didn’t know Brenchel wasn’t eliminated until they saw each other at the airport. That means that any team who came in last on a non-elimination round could create the illusion they were eliminated, and hope that other teams slack off thinking that they’re last and have no hope. Brenchel, though, requires too much attention to survive, so that option is an impossibility.
But, alas, Brenchel’s presence is well known and they board their flight to Singapore before everyone else does to Colombo. As their flight lands, Brenchel sprint through the terminal looking for their next connection. It’s final boarding call and Brendon drops something off his backpack. Should he go back that extra five feet to pick it up? No, there’s no time! And the couple hurriedly keeps running and running through the endless maze of chain restaurants and dying newsstands until they arrive at their gate, still alive and ready to board. The travel agent told them it was impossible, but his warning, like his profession, proved useless as team Brenchel is officially in first place.
The six teams on the 11pm begin boarding, and Margie and Luke wait anxiously hoping a standby miracle will happen. But the doors seal shut and the flight departs with Margie and Luke’s fleeting hopes on board. They understand that they’re probably going to get in last place. But what is remarkable is Luke’s calmness, especially seeing how he acted with the drink challenge in the last episode. I’m sure Margie yelled at Luke to not embarrass her on national television by getting so frustrated. So, alas, with hours to spare until their flight, Margie and Luke sit and wait, preparing for their impending race doom.
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Fishing Pole or Spin Control
Brenchel touch down in Sri Lanka and head directly to the Gangaramaya Temple. But the temple doesn’t open until 5:45, allowing all the other teams to catch up. One by one, each team sees Brenchel sitting on the steps outside, and they all give their own weird handshake to Brendon. Dave’s is just a standard handshake, typical of a hardworking Utah resident. Flight Time and Big Easy’s, though, is much more cool and friendly, with a perfected hand grasp and a back pat which they clearly got from their time playing basketball.
Leo and Jamal, though, go for the hand slide and fist bump, a very urban and modern shake like the Afghanimals themselves. And John too gives a hand grasp/back pat combo as well, but much more flimsy and loose than the Globetrotters. Clearly, John’s handshake is weak, and is reflective of his character and race performance. The greetings are given and the temple opens up, with each team dressing and praying in traditional Buddhist clothing, and then head to catch a train.
Again, all the teams except Margie and Luke are tied and board the same train together. The Cowboys are relaxing as Caroline and Jennifer cozy up to them. Jennifer talks about how big of a fan she is of the Cowboys, but her body language and enthusiasm clearly suggests she is in love with one or both of them. It would be a good fit, and I’m sure Caroline and Jennifer have had the fantasy of duel weddings on the same day to Jet and Cord in a country music setting like Nashville or Austin.
But Flight Time is also into the singers, officially creating our first race love triangle, except Jet and Cord don’t seem to be aware they’re part of it. Caroline and Jennifer don’t realize that they’re hopelessly chasing two lone souls focused on racing. There ain’t no room for love on this race for these desperados. Keep an eye out for the Cowboys’ inspired track on Caroline and Jennifer’s next album, titled “Express Pass to My Heart.”
The train arrives and teams split up into tiny little cabs, heading off to the next Detour. At this time too, we finally see Margie and Luke boarding their plane, gaining another thread of life with the late opening time at the temple. This Detour requires teams to either catch two fish while sitting on a Sri Lankan wooden pole in the ocean or participating in a native plate spinning dance without dropping any items. Dave and Connor, Jessica and John and the Cowboys go fishing as the Globetrotters, Caroline and Jennifer, the Afghanimals and Brenchel go dancing.
Connor catches the first fish out of the group. They all chat and laugh as the native Sri Lankan sits by in befuddlement at these strange Americans. John’s line nabs a fish but is quickly let go. Clearly, the grip evident in his poor handshake lets loose his fish. But Dave reels one in and the father/son duo head to the next challenge. The Cowboys get theirs, and John and Jessica are having such difficulty that they decide to do the other Detour option.
As the teams dance, they’re also having immense difficulty balancing their plates above their heads. Flight Time and Big Easy naturally finish first, though, with their keen ball spinning skills. Then Caroline and Jennifer, Brenchel and the Afghanimals complete the dance and head to the next challenge. Jessica and John show up and John can’t seem to get his feet in rhythm, just like his handshake. But they too finish and all teams are still way ahead of Margie and Luke. It certainly looks to be over for the trailing team, but the next challenge is one that is a prerequisite of Mothering 101: sewing.
Yes, one person from each team has to sew a shirt at the Sri Lanka’s Trendy Connections Garment Factory. Nobody is having a good time with this challenge. Leo the entertainer claims he will give 1,000 rupees to the other native workers if they complete the shirt for him, earning their laughs and admiration. Connor tries to get his shirt approved first only to earn a no from the evaluator, heading back to the sewing board.
But luckily, Connor gets by on his second attempt, and Dave once again tells everyone how proud he is of his son. They head to the Pit Stop and get first place with a $5,000 award per person. It’s good to know that they won’t have to go on another awkward romantic vacation after the last time they came in first.
Caroline and Jennifer earn second place with the Cowboys in third. As Big Easy still works his machine, Flight Time begins to do Globetrotter tricks, entertaining the nearby workers and injecting life back into his struggling sewing partner. Clearly, Flight Time is jealous by Leo’s sense of humor and is not going to let him become the most entertaining guy on the race. But Leo finishes and says goodbye to his new sewing friends, likely to never be as cool or popular as he was in a Sri Lankan sewing warehouse again. The Afghanimals finish in fourth, followed by Jessica and John, Flight Time and Big Easy and, ugh, Brenchel.
Alas, Margie and Luke don’t make it to the sewing factory in time. They finish in eighth and are content with the result. Luke says it’s really cool to be one of three teams to have raced three times, and Phil agrees, just happy that Luke isn’t going to throw a glass at him. But really, Margie and Luke were a solid team. They didn’t complain, they weren’t obnoxious. They ultimately seem very glad to be a part of the competition. And really, those of us at home are just as glad to have had them.
The Amazing Race airs Sundays at 8pm on CBS.
(Image courtesy of CBS)