In this episode we have lots of visual delights – sand dunes, the prettiest camels in the whole United Arab Emirates, white water rafting…
In the beginning we need to jog our memory – remember the so-called “Viking ” coins the teams had to pick up back in Norway? Well, now the well-travelled coins come into play – arranged just so, they would reveal a code to open the car doors of the cars contestants have to drive. Most teams have no problem with figuring out this puzzle – after all, they had several legs to “play” with the coins to crack the codes. But some – less bright ones or maybe more blond ones? – are still struggling. All the teams are warned that there is a Double U-Turn ahead.
The Hunny-Bunnies depart last, and they are facing a Speed Bump – an extra task they have to do for coming last in a non-elimination leg. But they remain brave and even proclaim that they are done being “bunnies” – they are “ninjas” now! Quite a transformation! By now I am slowly warming up to our “Bunnies”…err…I mean – “Ninjas”. I still don’t find them entertaining (“entertaining” being a “must have” quality in TAR contestant for me!), but their sweetness is somewhat endearing. So – I am all for “Ninjas”. Well, we shall see.
The teams have to drive in the sand dunes to retrieve their next clue. The doctors got stuck in the sand for a while, the Ninjas got stuck for a much longer while (long enough to burn the clutch in their vehicle!), but eventually everybody manages more or less alright. On to the Detour they all go.
The Detour is a choice between two tasks – “Wedding Guests” (where the teams have to prepare a dish for a wedding feast) or “Beauty Contest” (where the teams have to pick up a camel out of the herd based on the provided description of camel beauty standards and then decorate and present the chosen camel for the judges’ approval).
Most teams choose the latter Detour. The doctors (Travis and Nicole), however, are using their Express Pass to skip the Detour. They are not in the back, so I assume this is the last leg where the Express Pass can be used, and they have either use it or lose it. The doctors arrive to the Double U-Turn and – even though they have no threat whatsoever at this point (all the teams are behind them, and they know it), they choose to use the U-Turn on the Afghanimals (Leo and Jamal). Why? – “Because they lied to us about U-Turning Brandon and Adam!“, explains self-righteous Nicole.
Now, as a viewer, I am all for U-Turns. They spice up the Race, they create tension and drama – all the fun stuff (maybe not fun for the racers, but definitely fun for the viewers). So – even though there was absolutely no need to U-Turn anybody – I do not hold it against the doctors for doing it. If they said something like “we are doing it to the Afghanimals because we can’t stand them!” – I would at least understand. But I hate self-righteousness. Besides, think of it – the Afghanimals U-Turned Brandon and Adam because their own life in the Race was in jeopardy (they themselves were U-Turned by the Oklahoma guys in that leg). They didn’t owe Nicole any explanation about it – truthful or otherwise. So – this self-righteous indignation about their “lie” is very off-putting.
I didn’t care much for Nicole and Travis from the very beginning. Travis seemed ok, but Nicole came across as “full of it” on one hand yet – on the other hand – panicky, unpleasant and easily crumbled under pressure. Not desirable qualities in anyone, let alone ER physician. But now I dislike them even more. Actually they are probably the only team at this point that I want to see gone as soon as possible.
The Roadblock “Who likes rapid transit” is a task where one member of each team had to go on a white water rafting course and collect 3 flags while doing it. The course is man-made (I doubt there is natural white water rafting available in UAE), so – even though it looks impressive, it is quite safe. Besides, you are in a boat with a professional. Yet Nicole – who is doing this task for her team – is screaming non-stop and missing her flags. Eventually though she succeeds and they are the first team at the Pit Stop. That Express Pass came very handy indeed, because it won them 2 brand new Ford vehicles.
We had another team that used the U-Turn – Tim and Marie U-Turned our hapless Bunnies…I mean fearless Ninjas. Tim and Marie – running in the middle of the pack at this point – wanted an insurance against the last place, a “safety cushion” so to speak. Why Bunnies? Marie said she couldn’t forgive them getting on a stand by list ahead of her (remember that leg where our Bunnies managed to get on a stand by in the airport VIP lounge?). Well, at least Marie is honest. And I like it a lot about her – she is what she is. Direct, blunt, outspoken, opinionated. I’ll take it any time over Nicole’s smug moral superiority.
The U-Turn along with the Speed Bump (swimming in a pool with artificial waves) was more than our fearless Ninjas could handle – they were the last team at the Pit Stop and were eliminated from the Race. I think they are quite lucky to survive as long as they have: they were the last in that “to be continued” leg and the last in non-elimination leg. So – it finally caught up with them. And just like that – our Ninjas turned back into Bunnies. Good-bye, Bunnies. I was not a huge fan of yours, but you slightly grew on me. And – goes without saying – I would definitely take you over self-righteous Nicole and Travis.
Who will be next? Who do you want it to be next? Do comment please!
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