To me this past episode confirmed just once again that TAR is more about “unmasking” the relationships (or true nature of people) than showing gorgeous locations and amusing challenges. True – locations and challenges quite often save the show when the cast is boring. But once in a while you do get a satisfying glimpse into the true nature of people. So let’s recap, shall we?
Our teams leave for Bandung, Indonesia. All in the order they arrived to the Pit Stop. All on the same flights. No excitement here. We are treated once again to a shot of ER doctors pontificating about honesty and setting example for their children. In fact, Travis informs us that they aspire to become the beacon of integrity and honesty. In life and on the Race. Yeah, right. How can you even pronounce it with a straight face?! But Nicole nods with her usual sour expression that can easily make kefir out of fresh milk. Keep in mind this moment for future reference.
Meanwhile, we are moving on. Once in Indonesia, in order to receive their next clue our teams have to get 2 rams (yes – real, live rams) from a truck. Once they see their rams butting horns, they have to return the rams and get the clue. You can probably guess by now that for the duration of this task the rams were obvious stars of the show. It’s kind of sad that rams can so easily outshine the cast, but oh well.
Having completed the task, our teams have to catch a train to Bandung. There is a tiny hint of drama when Tim and Marie’s cab wouldn’t start, but the drama dissipates when they eventually make it to the train station. At this point the ER doctors, the cloned blondes and the Afghanimals are on the first train. Tim and Marie as well as Jason and Amy are on the second train – one hour behind.
The train ride brings us to the Detour which is a choice between “For the elephants” and “For the birds.” In the first one the teams had to get a specified number of various fruit and plants from the market and deliver it to the zoo to feed the elephants. Just from the very description – “8 watermelons”, “5 stalks of sugar cane” – it was obvious that the task might be quite cumbersome. “For the birds” seemed much simpler – to pick up 2 love birds from a bird market and deliver them to another bird place. Once your birds sing – you get your next clue. Sure, the birds might not sing right away, but eventually – surrounded by other birds and tempted by bird food – they’ll sing. Especially with them being so called “singing birds”. So I was very surprised to see that the majority of teams chose “For the elephants“. But I can relate – elephants are my favorite animals, and it’s hard to resist the opportunity to interact with these sweet giants. Even if it means a more involved Detour.
At this point Travis and Nicole (who chose the “birds” Detour) are in the first place and moving to the Roadblock. The Roadblock is to assemble angklung – an Indonesian musical instrument. Nicole is the one who is doing the task. And struggling. Meanwhile, at the Detour, our cloned blondes have a double blond moment and misread the directions for their chosen task. Then they argue whether or not they should have chosen other Detour. Then they transport only part of the necessary fruit and vegetables and return for more. The second train arrives carrying Tim/Marie and Jason/Amy, so we can see that at least an hour passed (the difference between the trains was 1 hour).
Meanwhile Nicole is still struggling at the Roadblock. One of the Afghanimal cousins finishes the Roadblock on the second try and – oh, so wisely! and oh, so deliciously! – destroys his creation so that Nicole cannot copy from him. And what do we see? The beacon of honesty and integrity runs after him and pathetically begs to see the assembled musical instrument. Didn’t you U-Turn them because they were “not honest”? Didn’t you proclaim how honest you were? Didn’t you want to set a stellar example to your kids? And now you are begging to be allowed to cheat of someone else? What a pathetic hypocrite! Zero skills – I sort of suspected it a long time ago. But also – zero pride. Zero honesty. Zero integrity. I hope those who did not see through the doctors’ hypocrisy can finally see now. And for those who worry more and more about Nicole practicing medicine (in ER no less!) – from what I hear they do TV more than medicine. Apparently TAR is not their first TV appearance. Maybe there is a market on the television for presumptuous, self-righteous, hypocritical ER doctors.
Now Tim and Marie get to the Roadblock, and Tim completes it quickly, just a few minutes after the Afghanimal cousin. The Afghanimals are the first team at the Pit Stop, followed by Tim and Marie. Nicole is still struggling. Still with that perpetually sour facial expression and the “fish thrown out of water” look about her. Amy and Jason arrive. Amy takes a little longer, but finishes the Roadblock. Nicole is still struggling. And then Amy is doing the unthinkable: she actually gets to Nicole and – not just helps her – but practically does the whole task for her. Only the arrival of the blondes (not even the urging of her teammate!) makes Amy get back to her senses and leave Nicole. Nicole (or should I say – Amy? since Amy virtually completed the task for Nicole) is finally done, so the blondes are the last team at the Pit Stop. They are eliminated from the Race.
Now the question is – is it, so to speak, “kosher”? Was it Amy’s intervention that kept Nicole and Travis in the Race and eliminated the blondes? And if so – was it fair? There was no penalty for anyone, no reprimand from Phil. Based on how much Nicole struggled at the Roadblock and how clueless she was, I am sure that without Amy’s help she would have been still doing the Roadblock…and – even though I am not a fan of the blondes – they could have had a chance. It makes you wonder…