The Amazing Race recap: 'Down and Dirty'
Teams orchestrate a tuk tuk traffic jam, make paper out of elephant dung, and hear a Sri Lankan guy play a flute
Leg 6 begins on an even playing field as the seven remaining teams must camp outside the Dutch Museum in Colombo, Sri Lanka before it opens five hours later. They’re just there to grab a clue, and the most noteworthy museum-related event here is that John (floppy blonde hair, green greenish-blue shirt, totally does not strike me as a John) gets trampled in the group’s mad rush for the red and yellow box. Mayhem! But pretty soon everyone’s safe and sound on the same train to the Ceypetco Fuel Station. Leo plays some bongos, which seem to have miraculously shown up just like the Globetrotters’ ubiquitous basketball. But they’re probably just the standard bongos that come with the train.
Roadblock: Who wants to fill her up? “Me me me me me me me!” says Dave (I paraphrase), because he worked at a gas station when he was 16 and should excel in this challenge — in which team members must navigate “a chaotic tangle of hundreds of tuk tuks,” lead the tiny taxis back to the gas station, and fill ’em up. Now this is what I call a challenge! I loved how strategic and aggressive the teams had to be — no working together on this one, plus the tangle of tuk tuks stretched along a bridge so we really got the feeling they were in this isolated vacuum of absurdly high activity.
Rachel, of the Green People, immediately flies into boss lady mode and starts directing traffic and pumping gas into tuk tuks that weren’t even hers. See, she picked green. Obviously. Rachel is all green all the time. Green is her heritage. But she didn’t read the clue, so she assumed she was looking for green cars, when really she was supposed to look at the small flags on the dashboards of the tuk tuks. Girl filled up four green cars and assumed she’d just won the challenge. THINK AGAIN, Green Person! I liken her approach to the cars to her approach to fashion. Unless the car’s wearing an entirely green outfit, Rachel doesn’t really see it as green. She’s never heard of merely accessorizing with green. That’d be hardly green at all.
“Green! Come on, green!” Rachel is still yelling as John gently points out that a green car wearing a red necktie is actually red. Rachel’s emerald city comes crashing down. Christmas: does not compute. “I’m such an idiot,” she mutters. To be fair, I think we all thought she’d overreact much, much worse to her own failure. Her subsequent traffic-directing is obnoxious, but the whole point of the challenge was to be obnoxious otherwise you’d fall behind.
NEXT PAGE: Tuk… Tuk… Big Easy Meanwhile, Jamal, Dave, and Big Easy were also being aggressive — in Big Easy’s case, he has roughly the same heft and power of an actual vehicle, so he’s able to muscle alongside his tuk tuks in a streamlined mechanical/human two-lane traffic hazard. Jamal is traffic-controlling everyone else’s orchestrations. What gives him the right? Oh, why, he’s Jamal. Just go with it. Daddy Dave will not, though. At one point Dave just full-on body checks Jamal’s “freaking tuk tuk,” complains Jamal. Dave may have an AARP card, but he’s “still 20” and “breathes this game,” the Afghanimals talk over each other in a confessional.
Cowboy Cord comes up with some sneaky strategy wherein he creates a whole new lane for his tuk tuks to get around the more traditional traffic — or, he’s “cutting everybody,” according to Leo. Meanwhile, poor Caroline keeps getting hit by multiple tuk tuks but with no physical consequences; the whole thing is like a real traffic jam but a significant percentage of the obstructions are people trying to push the cars in different directions. In other words: your worst nightmare.
Somehow John avoids The Wrath of Dave (you know it’s in there about to explode, possibly in the form of gas) and makes Pops wait his turn for a pump. “I feel like whoever is the most insane under those circumstances is the most successful,” John says.
The Globetrotters finish first as Big Easy lifts his final tuk tuk onto his right pinky finger and spins it, creating a perfect coil of gas-pump-line that no one with regular human strength can untie in time to finish the task themselves. Something like that. No, all the teams survive, with Rachel taking out her frustration at herself by yelling at the tuk tuk drivers. She and Brendon almost miss the train to The Millennium Elephant Foundation in Rambukkana…. but they don’t. We probably all wanted them to miss it in the moment just for the drama, but after the fact I’m glad the playing field has been leveled once again in time for the Detour.
I love how the casual Sri Lankan setting allows for great shots of the contestants just barreling over the train tracks in their quests to arrive at…. more tuk tuks! NO ESCAPE. These tricycle taxis will haunt their dreams for years to come. Anyway, these new tuk tuks take them down to the riverbank where, unfortunately, Leo and Jamal choose not to reenact their “we’re about to drown while flashing perfect movie-star smiles” canoeing adventure from a few weeks ago.
NEXT PAGE: Dung or No Dung? Detour: Trunk or Sheets? Either way, you’re working with elephants! Whoops; correction, in one of them you’re sifting through elephant waste with your hands. Only four teams can do Trunk, the non-dung option, which requires them to specially attach a giant chain to an elephant so that the elephant can use it to carry a log over to a truck in its mouth. It’s fascinating, to be sure, but I feel so bad for these elephants. Why should they carry our logs? The humans can carry the logs just fine, as exemplified by mechanical wizards Jet and Cord, plus Jessica and John, Dave and Connor, and Leo and Jamal. I guess the elephants’ logs were bigger; plus, what’s the point of people carrying logs when there are elephants around? Said the television. The television is always right.
Over at Dung, Caroline and Jennifer, Brendon and Rachel, and the Globetrotters “got all up in that elephant dung,” as Caroline marvels. At least it doesn’t smell! Knowing that actually really helps. They hand-mix the dung with other paper scraps (OMG, there’s your paper, why do you have to make dung-paper?) and water, then smear it over a screen, press it to get rid of all the dung-bubbles (this is where teams got dung up, excuse me, hung up during the challenge), and laid the all-new environmentally friendly sheets of paper out to dry.
Brendon declares himself “The Poop Master,” which I’m sure Rachel will appreciate once they have that baby he’s promised her if they win the million bucks. (Healthy!) He’s just resigned himself to eternal diaper duty. Congrats, Brendon.
Teams then race to the Heritage Rest — Ambepussa Guest House, where they have to “let their ears guide them to the wise man” — in this case, a long-haired guy speaking no words but playing a flute beautifully up in a treehouse-like setting. Phil?!? You look different. Just kidding, it’s not Hippie Phil. Just a hippie.
Pretty nerve-wracking challenge, that last one! Thankfully, Genuine Button-Down Phil is at the Pit Stop Party at the Mount Lavinia Hotel Beach so the teams can all calm down — once they’ve sprinted (in some cases head-to-head) to the mat.
“It’s Cowboys vs. Indians. Indians took over today — what’s uuuuuup?” yell Leo and Jamal in triumph.
1st place and a trip to Berlin: Leo and Jamal!
2nd: Jet and Cord
3rd: John and Jessica
4th: Dave and Connor
5th: Brendon and Rachel
6th: Flight Time and Big Easy
7th: Caroline and Jennifer
But wait! It’s a NON-ELIMINATION LEG, which I probably should have mentioned at the beginning of the article… but if I had, no one would’ve read it! Hey, that’s how TV works, too.
NOTEWORTHY: How about Dave and Connor encouraging their taxi driver to send his brother — the Globetrotters’ taxi driver! — in the wrong direction? We didn’t hear exactly how it went down between the drivers; but when Dave and Connor heard the other driver didn’t know where he was going, Connor said “Don’t tell him, Babu,” and Dave said “Send him in the wrong direction!” I guess it’s the same thing as the Afghanimals telling their driver to edge out the Cowboys. Everyone’s playing to win.
What’d you think of the episode? Would God approve of Dave and Connor’s shady play, or does He have an “anything to win the Race!” attitude about all of this? Discuss!