Despite the fact that the latest episode of The Amazing Race took place in a city with “dung” built right into the name and was billed as “The Final Five teams make mistakes while under pressure,” I didn’t really see many major errors that were in the control of the person or team who committed them.

That being said, the easy winner of this week’s U-Turn Award was possibly the most egregious and indefensible blunder we’ve seen thus far in season 23. Which is kind of ironic, because “Part Like the Red Sea” also featured one of the greatest acts of kindness ever seen in the show’s history.

With Nicole struggling so much with the create-an-instrument Roadblock and the usually supportive and good-natured Travis pining about how embarrassed he was, Amy took it upon herself to basically build the angklung for her desperate friend.

The Amazing Race Recap: Feeding the Elephants >>>

Talk about an alliance paying off! And even though Jason and Amy continue to be nice to Timothy and Reebs (Marie), this season’s villain and her unfortunate ex/sometimes cohort would never see that kind of love based on the way they’ve played things so far. 

Like I said in my rankings, that was “throw me a hundy-thousand if you win” kind of help. Or at least free medical treatment.

But I’m not in the business of praising teams for being nice, so who screwed up what?

Out of Their Control

Many of the things that slowed teams down were simply the result of dumb luck. Even though I wanted to punch Marie while she was ripping into Tim in the cab about being right all the time (not that I condone that sort of thing … no one should ever hit the devil out of fear of retaliation), it’s still not their fault the taxi broke down.

And Tim and Marie and Jason and Amy both missed the first train to Bandung, but no one seemed to struggle at all with the ram challenge. The other teams just got there first, but you can’t blame a team for the driver going slow or getting lost.

Even Leo and Jamal sleeping in a bit wasn’t terrible, especially if you consider the facts that they only started a couple minutes late, all the teams were on the same flight and they won the leg. 

Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti DOH

Then we get to Nicole, poor Nicole, who didn’t know what an octave was, First of all, judging by her age, there’s no way she never saw The Sound of Music. Heck, it’s probably playing in the children’s ward of wherever she works right now. 

Secondly, I would have to imagine there was a bit more guidance available if she hadn’t been so frantic. Even the ice girls figured it out quickly, and they probably think an octave is a food.

U-Turn Award 1-A

Speaking of Ally and Ashley, it was a double dose of dumb that doomed these ditzy, dim-witted dullards. (I really don’t think they’re stupid, but I couldn’t pass up that alliteration. Sorry, ladies. Call me!)

Their first-to-worst descension began with the reading, or more accurately not reading, of the Detour clue. They chose to feed the elephants, but instead of heading to the market to pick up supplies, they went right to the zoo.

They wandered around for a while before realizing where they should be, but still, not all was lost. Until they won the U-Turn Award.

U-Turn Award 1-B

What happened next can only be described as inexcusable. The girls got to the market and picked out all the required food, but they couldn’t figure out how to fit the sugar cane in the car. So they just left it behind

I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why that option was even a consideration. They rode the whole way back to the zoo arguing over whether or not they should switch Detours, knowing full well if they didn’t, they’d have to go all the way back to the market for the sugar cane anyway.

It would have been better to argue on the streets of Indonesia trying to figure out how to make it all fit. It would have been better to switch tasks. It would have been better to carry the sugar cane back the mile or so on foot to the zoo. Literally anything would have been better than just leaving it there, knowing you wouldn’t be able to complete the task without it.

The only dumber way to get eliminated, which is still the gold standard, was when Kisha and Jen got knocked out of season 14 because of three bottles of water and a bathroom break on the way to the Pit Stop. I’d pee myself on TV for a million bucks. In a heartbeat.

The Amazing Race airs Sundays at 8pm on CBS.

(Image courtesy of CBS)

Bill King

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Emmy-winning news producer & former BuddyTV blogger. Lover of Philly sports, Ned, Zoe, Liam and Delaine…not in that order