Our contestants depart to their next destination – Malaysian Borneo. The destination is quite exciting! Borneo is the largest island in Asia (and third largest in the world), and it is divided between 3 countries: Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia. The island has one of the oldest rainforests in the world and one of only few remaining natural habitats of endangered orangutan. There are rivers, caves, mountains, and from what I hear – the beauty of the island is exquisite. Besides, correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t think TAR had been to Borneo ever before.
There are only two flights available to our contestants. The first of two flights can only take 6 teams, and it has 3 hour lead. Everybody rushes to the airport to get on that flight and everybody encounters traffic on the road pretty much equally, so here is our Mystery# 1 – how come team “Brenchel”, who are the first team to depart, barely make it to the second flight?
Anyway, the first plane arrives to Borneo. Cowboys exuberantly tell us that they are glad they got rid of the second Express Pass.
The blondes say something, too, but I am too distracted by their foreheads – trying to figure “Botoxed or not botoxed?” On one hand, they seem somewhat young for Botox, but on the other hand – their faces are so expressionless and empty! Their words (and probably minds) are empty as well. Somehow they seemed nicer the first time around. Once again – why are they on this race?!
Meanwhile Dave (the father of the father and son team) emits dullness pretty much like the Afghanimals emit joy. He might be nice and all, but he has a weird gift of sucking excitement out of anything and everything. “Beautiful place. Lush” – says David – and the surrounding rainforest vegetation wearily wilts from boredom and depression. Just don’t say anything, David. Please. I know the producers love a good “sob story” and all, and I know you and your son are probably nice enough people. But! You both are so d-u-l-l, sorry.
We encounter another Mystery # 2 at the Roadblock. “Face the Falls” is a task of rappelling through the waterfalls to the bottom and picking up the next clue half-way down. The task seems super fun if you don’t mind to get wet. Was one of the Cowboys having so much fun that he decided to repeat the rappelling, or did he really miss the clue on the first try?
All the teams from the first plane are done with the Roadblock while the second plane is probably still in the air. They take taxis to the place of their Detour. The Detour is the choice between “River Delivery” – where teams need to deliver goods and “Run to the Jungle” – where teams have to hit a target (fake parrot) blowing a mini-arrow from a long tube. But first they all have to build their own rafts and use them to get to the task of their choice. It’s not quite white water rafting, but at certain places the river seems very turbulent.
The Cowboys build a nice sturdy raft. The blondes’ raft is falling apart. Luke (of Margie and Luke team) is falling apart himself. The dull father and son miss the right turn and keep going.
Meanwhile, the second plane lands and the last three teams arrive to Borneo. I think it’s obvious at this point that these last three teams will be the last three teams at the Pit Stop. No surprise here whatsoever: the time difference between two planes was big enough, and there were no interesting twists along this leg to allow much surging or falling behind.
It’s also pretty clear that the winner of this leg of the race would be someone from the first plane. The Afghanimals seemed to be the first one to make their “goods delivery” (with the Cowboys close behind). So here comes Mystery #3 – how did father-and-son, despite getting lost, managed to be the first team at the Pit Stop? Did they take a shortcut? Did they run over land as opposed to returning by raft? We did see the Afghanimals struggling in the river on the way back. We saw the Cowboys making their way back smoothly and steadily. But we never saw the father-and-son on their raft sailing back. There must be an explanation, but since it was not given to us – I’ll assume they had some help from the production. Or else – they did cut some corner and were not penalized for doing it.
Two of the last three teams (from the second plane) are making it to the river bank for their raft-building task. These teams are “Brenchel”, and “Oy vey”. Team “You Tube”, however, cannot find a taxi no matter how hard they try. And here lies Mystery # 4 – how come every other team had no problem finding a taxi yet You Tube struggled so much to find one? Was that because they let their own taxi go as opposed to asking the driver to wait for them? Was it because all the taxis in the area were taken? Was it just terribly bad taxi luck?
Back to the river. I am impressed by team “Brenchel” – they built a sturdy raft, and even though they encountered a lot of difficulties on the river (and some outright dangerous moments) – they didn’t fall apart, but supported each other and proved themselves to be good competitors.
Team “Oy Vey” built a barely there raft, which brings us to Mystery # 5 – how come that flimsy raft of team “Oy Vey” outlived the much sturdier raft of team “Brenchel”? And I am surprised team “Oy Vey” outlived hapless team “You Tube” in this race (taxi troubles rarely have happy endings, so team You Tube were the last team at the Pit Stop).
So “You Tube” was eliminated from the race. I was never a fan of them, but at least I could see the purpose for them being on TAR – the production hoped their presence would increase the number of viewers (by luring some of the You Tube fans away from YouTube and to TAR). I doubt that really worked, but at least I see the reason. What was the reason for inviting team “Oy Vey” on TAR (the 2nd time!)? Just beats me. Sure, they had that memorable (for us) yet stupid (for them) “oy vey” moment. But other than that? They are not entertaining, not even remotely interesting, not especially capable, not memorable, not even photogenic. Their attempts at jokes are lame, and they take themselves too seriously. What are they still doing here? I seriously would rather have team “You Tube” still racing. Oh well.
Till next time, fellow fans of TAR.
And here you can find the most up-to-date links on all things The Amazing Race: