The producers have decided to become Machiavellian figures this season, pulling strings and manipulating to keep Dave and Connor around. Also, we travel to Bali, and The Amazing Race gets back to its annoyingly detailed and complicated roots.

The Amazing Race: Can Teams Succeed While Facing Their Fears? >>>

Again, the ‘Previously On’ is focused heavily on the doomed Dave and Connor. The episode, luckily, is not as framed on these two. Instead, we catapult into the next leg. Our poor contestants only really get a plane ride as some rest. As one of the Roller Moms states, this is definitely competing for one of the longest legs.

That cliffhanger, in which the producers begged us to care if Dave and Connor were going to continue, is barely a cliffhanger. The decision to continue looks like it was made very quickly. In other words, it was so not worth it. It isn’t even much of a decision, it’s an editing technique. And there goes reality TV for you, folks: still as fake as ever.

Teams must immediately find a way to fly to Bali. Strangely, nearly all of the teams have to go through travel agents. New Zealand is a strange place. There are three separate flights, but the important part is that they are arriving to … Bali, Indonesia. Remember that awful book/movie Eat Pray Love? Well, Bali is where the love happens. But it’s safe to say that this leg of the race has no love lost. 

Teams will use a monkey to open a coconut, which drops the clue for the Detours. Monkeys! The detours are either Fruity Tops or Sandy Bottoms. Sandy Bottoms: collect sand and transport the sand on their heads for 200 yards to deposit sand. Fruity Tops: create a detailed and complicated fruit hat and go through a traditional religious ceremony. 

The trend of the teams is Fruity Tops. Does anyone else feel very sad when none of the teams do not choose a detour? Sometimes, I wish there was some rule that had a cap for what people could do. Like, the first teams to arrive at one Detour must either wait or go to the other. And that’s why I’d make a better producer.

Luckily, the Roller Derby girls do Sandy Bottoms. It would have made me very sad. Unfortunately, the differences in staggering plane arrivals make for some lost teams. A bad cab driver allows for the Hockey Players to be very lost. And Team JJ … just end up helping some random dude. They begin a task that isn’t a task: they just make something in a stranger’s back yard. 

After these detail-oriented detours, teams must go to Uluwatu Beach for a Roadblock. One team member must find the surfboard with the priest who blessed them in Bora Bora and present it at the Pit Stop to Phil. 

Now this? This is challenging. Especially if you are bad with faces. Naturally, some are better than others. Unfortunately, Connor sneaks a peek at Pam’s board when she can’t find Phil. Boo. Connor and Dave take first.

Of course, the Amazing Race prize this week is $5,000 each. This race feels increasingly manipulated, doesn’t it? My feelings? Boo. Oh, and Dave and Connor are going to continue in the race. So this whole trilogy on the team feels like an entire waste of time, doesn’t it?

Checking In with the Teams

Dave & Connor (Team Biased): I think it’s pretty clear that the producers thought they had a really great story this season. That Dave and Connor were going to go far, maybe even win. At least, the producers could milk a good heartfelt story. Then Dave gets hurt and they get awarded the Express Pass. (A part of me wonders about producer pressure.) And they win two legs in a row with, not cheating, but with help. This is not the way to reinvigorate a season. Or even make a story. That cliffhanger was a cheap attempt to gain more viewers and this week offers no resolution. This is frustrating.

Pam & Winnie: They show some meticulous skill during Fruity Top, even if they still lack a nickname. Apparently, Winnie designs sets for a living. And Pam’s memory helps her find the priest very quickly. Again, their direction skills need some fine tuning, but at least they finish in second! 

Max & Katie (Team Newlyweds): They are not as grating as last week. They’re smart enough to call ahead to reserve a better flight. And yeah, they finish in third.

Caroline & Jennifer (Team Country Singers): The country singers are very weird this week, but in a good way. They start singing randomly in a taxi and show some strange talking heads about their love for monkeys. “Her flying squirrel died of loneliness. She kept it in her bra and it died from loneliness. That’s a fact.” I’m paraphrasing, sort of, but it’s hard to make sense of crazy. During the surfboard challenge, Caro gets emotional because she doesn’t know which one. She eventually just guesses one, luckily. 

Joey & Megan (Team YouTubers): Joey is auditioning for the next talking monkey movie. Again, I feel like I should dislike them. But they are kind of awesome and energetic as they keep to their alliance with Team JJ and Roller Derby Girls. They finish in fifth.

Mona & Beth (Team Roller Derby Moms): They gain some likability (from me, at least) choosing Sandy Bottoms. Aided by the YouTubers, they make it another week. Also, these are some tough chicks.

Anthony & Bates (Team Pro Hockey Players): They manage to come in seventh after a bout of really bad luck of being constantly in last. Luckily, they are still in it. 

Chuck & Wynona (Team Hair): After finishing last in the previous leg, they manage to hang on for another week. They are sort of really endearing, aren’t they? Wynona speaking about Chuck’s odd hobbies and Chuck being quite sweet during all of it. They know they aren’t the best physically (due to Wynona mostly), but still.

Jessica & John (Team JJ): Is it just me or is John a little too calm and sportsmanlike? It doesn’t read as particularly sincere. Is that possible? For someone so particular and detail-oriented, John pretty much fails. They have to switch Detours after getting frustrated. Jess definitely wants to use their Express Pass, but they never use it. During the last Roadblock, it takes John an hour and 15 minutes to find the correct board. They might be the first team in history to be eliminated with an Express Pass on them. It also seems like they are totally breaking up.

So what did you think of tonight’s episode? Annoyed at the producers’ interference? Were you perturbed by John’s attitude? Do you have any better nicknames for the teams? 

Compete in Fantasy TV: Make your picks on who you think will be going home. Hurry, you have until March 17 at 12pm PST to cast your vote!

Want to add The Amazing Race to your very own watch-list? Download BuddyTV Guide for free for your phone.

(Image courtesy of CBS)

Emily E. Steck

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV