(Awkward Photo Finish - Andy and Tommy edge out Cindy and Ernie for 1st Place at the mat. But will this short-term gain come back to haunt them in the long run?)
Episode Seven Fake Title: All The Fight Has Gone Out of Them
Starting City: Kumbali Village, Malawi
Pit Stop City: Salima District, Malawi
1st Place: Team Tricky Reward: 15K Gift Card
2nd: Team Bert & Ernie
3rd: Team Out-To-Pasture
4th: Team Footballers Lives
5th: Team Nemo
6th: That Other Dating Couple
Last Place: The Squabblings -Eliminated!
Roadblock: One team member drives a bicycle taxi, taking a customer carrying fish to one of three different destinations written on tags on the fish. After they dropped off their customer, they take the fare and bring it back to the bus station to trade in their earnings to the dispatcher for their next clue. How far they actually have to travel is unclear, but it looks like some racers go off in the wrong direction for quite some time. Jennifer from the Squabblings lost the leg on this task. After she found her fish location and got the money she realized she left her clue with her brother and didn't know what to do next. Instead of going back to the dispatcher to get the clue (which was what she was supposed to do anyway) she just stood still, hoping another team would come by.. They didn't. And after what seemed like a VERY long time, she finally went back, but by then it was too late to catch up. Amazingly, the siblings didn't fight about it all. As soon as they start getting along, they get cut! Sadness.
Detour: A choice between Dugout and Lugout. In Dugout, teams participated in a canoe race on Lake Malawi using traditional canoes (read: heavy, difficult to paddle) to go out far into the lake and circle around a buoy and then paddle back to shore to receive their clue. In Lugout, teams had to wade out to a ferryboat on the lake and unload cargo and passengers (!!) from the ferry by carrying them to shore. The list went: two boxes of cabbage, two bundles of sugar cane, two bundles of brooms, one chair, one fan, and eight passengers, before they received their clue from the boat's porter. The Lugout task was insane. As hard as it was to operate the canoes it was SOOO much harder to carry eight adults back to shore without anyone getting wet. I have no idea why Amani and Marcus chose to do this one over the simpler canoeing. Marcus looked WRECKED afterwards, and that's a strong dude right there.
Speed Bump: Before the Roadblock, Footballers Lives had to solve a slide puzzle that, when completed properly, looked like the Malawian flag. It seemed to take them awhile. Those things can be tricky, especially if you feel crunched for time. I wanted to push them out of the way and do it myself. I love slide puzzles.
Also of Note This Week: It seemed like there was a drastic temperature change throughout the day in Malawi. People were wearing layers and you could see their breath in the morning, but by the afternoon they were kayaking on the beach and it looked HOT. It made me wonder what time of year it was during filming. or if that's just how it normally goes in Malawi.
The episode interviews told us that Justin is gay and that his sister is supportive of him and loves him. I immediately became nervous that having them become mutli-dimensional characters who got over their initial racing problems meant they were not long for the race. Sadly, I was right. But I'm glad that Justin is out and proud and supported by his family and I'm glad he did not blame his sister for their elimination when she obviously felt terrible about how she slowed them down.
Tonight featured a Double U-Turn - where you can force a team that's behind you to complete both U-Turn options instead of just one before they can advance. Three things of note here. 1) Lots of teams seem hesitant to U-Turn people, citing that it's a not nice tactic and you make unnecessary enemies, but I would TOTALLY stick to a competitive team if I got to the U-turn before them and definitely if I was in the back of the pack and needed to create some space with the team behind me. Take out your competition! Team Bert & Ernie had a chance to take Team Tricky down a peg and make them do the second Detour. They opted not to do it. Team Tricky paid them back by running as hard as they could to beat Bert & Ernie to the mat for their 5th (FIFTH! in seven legs!!) leg win. Bert & Ernie were NOT pleased. It wasn't a very chivalrous move on Tricky's part. I get their competitive spirit, but they've won a lot, and it was just one leg. Careful boys, there's more than one way to make unnecessary enemies on this Race.
2) Team Nemo was toward the back of the pack and U-Turn'ed Footballers Lives. Unfortunately in terms of strategy, Footballers Lives was already ahead of them and the U-Turn was wasted. What is with Team Nemo?? They just can't get it together. I don't understand their decision making process at all. It's almost like they never watched the show before racing. I just don't get it.
3) The U-Turn Station is now all high tech like you are ordering a Blockbuster Express movie from a vending machine instead of just sticking a cardboard picture of the team to a U-Turn sign. I don't know if this technological upgrade was really necessary. It sure looked weird in the middle of such an undeveloped area as the lakeside beach of Malawi.
Team Bert & Ernie used the Express Pass they won in the first leg to skip the canoeing. Unfortunately, they could not find the "Jamaica Shop" to get their next clue to the pit stop and, as mentioned before, got overtaken by Team Tricky only a few feet away from the Pit Stop mat. So the Express Pass is now out of play. Let's hope that eating challenge never shows up!
Team Out-To-Pasture keeps showing themselves a much stronger team than That Other Dating Couple despite the decades between them in age. Out-To-Pasture might be older but they are definitely wiser, with much better communication skills. Over on TODC, Sandy keeps telling Jeremy not to yell at her every time they have a disagreement. All I want to do is yell at her, "HE'S NOT EVEN YELLING AT YOU!" Seriously, he's not. She just seems really uncomfortable with any frustration or annoyance or exhaustion that creeps into his otherwise level speaking voice. I have seen people yell at their boyfriends/girlfriends on this show before. Jeremy is not even in the Top 10 of worst offenders. Not yet, at least. There's always next week!
Next week: Off to Denmark! There are bunny races! Bunnies are actually jumping miniature fences! Yes, Show! YES! Footballers Lives seem to experience airport woes. Bert & Ernie seem to rethink their U-Turn Strategy against Team Tricky when the opportunity once again presents itself. Ooh, DRAMA! Onward, Racers!