Eight teams left. Double U-turn ahead. One team quits. Should be interesting!

Team Survivor is leaving at 5:01 AM for Hanoi, Vietnam. That sounds like a reasonable time, but I predict bunching at the airport anyway. At the travel agency, Team S tells Teams BFF and Newlyweds they’ll be leaving the race in ‘Nam. The latter two teams promise not to U-turn each other. Both want to break up the triumvirate of Teams You Tube, Surf, and Roller Derby, since they’re so far ahead they don’t know it has been by virtue of Team Surf’s infamous Philimination.

While there were two flights to Vietnam, the expected bunching occurs at their first destination, since it’s closed for the night. They head to a nearby hotel to camp out. In the morning, Team Survivor officially gets Philiminated. The two remaining lead teams chose to let the laggards believe they were coming back after seeing a doctor, prompting Team Country Blondes to get to the gallery an hour-and-a-half before it opens. Team BFF shows  up next, and they’re agreeing to U-Turn either Team You Tube or Team Roller Derby as the other teams wander up and join in.

I’m more annoyed by Team ‘Bama than Team YT, but since Joey expected Hanoi to be jungle and not a city, I can’t say as I’d miss them very much. While Team Country Blondes get to open their clue first, they’re stymied by it being a joint Roadblock. They have to watch a performance, and at the end a Vietnamese phrase will be shown and they’ll have to run out of the theatre and find that phrase among the hundreds of political posters hung in the gallery. They have five minutes to do it in, and this is where Team BFF finally takes the lead. Pam’s work experience has given her a good visual memory, and she’s the only one to find the correct poster during the first break.

Everybody else has to sit through the performance again, and now Megan of Team YT and Beth of Team Roller Derby are each taking half the phrase. Too bad for them they’re not among the next three teams to get it right; although Megan finds the correct poster she doesn’t desert Beth, and has to hang the poster back up and watch the performance again. She’s the first out the doors on the third trip, and doesn’t hesitate once Beth assures her she’s got it as well. Team Brohockey is hot on their heels as we cut to Team BFF doing their shtick of getting lost while looking for a Bamboo Dance they have to participate in. But they quickly find it, and one of them yells, “We have to hold hands” as they hop through a series of bamboo poles that are being rhythmically clapped together in varying patterns. Remember that; it’ll be important later.  The next clue is for the Detour: Make Your Move or Make Your Meal. When Phil describes both to us, I think the first one will be easier. So does Team BFF, since they say they know Chinese chess and dash off to do that one. The other teams have arrived and are doing the dance and speeding off again fairly quickly, except for Team ‘Bama. They came in 2nd, but as they followed their example through the poles, Chuck hollered out “Don’t hold hands!” Once they figure out this was a bonehead move on his part (and not the first one he’ll make today), they head off to cook in 6th place.

Evidently the clue doesn’t adequately explain the Make Your Move, since Pam and Winnie’s expertise in Chinese chess seems to be the only reason they’re able to figure it out so fast. Find the chessboard, pick four counters. Find four people with tunics with the same symbols as the counters. Place them on the giant chessboard along with a staff in the same position as the counters on the game board. Again, one of them makes an important observation, which her teammate dismisses: “Doesn’t it have to be blue?” Indeed, it does, as they’re quick to figure out, and they’re off to a (the?) B-52 memorial, where they find the Double U-turn. I have to say, during this whole time, the teams were talking about a U-turn, singular, and I was wondering if my memory was playing tricks on me again, so I was pretty happy to see it. What I’m not happy about is the possibility of Team Roller Derby getting U-turned, since they’re conceivably stronger than Team YT. But no, Team BFF U-turns the latter, then head for the Pit Stop before Team Brohockey finishes the Detour in second place. They win a winter ski trip for two as Team YT, out of the Detour in 3rd, somehow pass Team Brohockey to find out they’ve been U-turned. They’re not happy. “You’re in third place,” I say. “Hurry up. Chuck and Winona are screwing up.” That would be because when they got to the start of the cooking part of the detour, they were faced with two different sets of baskets (they’re designed to be worn over one shoulder), one empty and one with chickens, and Chuck decided they didn’t need the chickens, then set off in completely the wrong direction, not only leaving his wife to lug the baskets (OK, they’re still empty and he has both backpacks, but she’s wearing them like a yoke and that makes it awkward to move fast on the crowded streets) but running off in completely the wrong direction despite her protests that the market is supposed to be near the temple where they just picked up the baskets. As if they heard me, Team You Tube promptly U-turns Team ‘Bama.

When Team YT arrive at the market, they’re upset to see Team ‘Bama there. Although they just U-turned them, they don’t realize the redneck bumpkins are still working on the first half of the Detour, and decide they’re fighting for last place. Well, that’d be because they don’t know only four teams have checked in so far. They hand their shopping list to one of the vendors, who, in subtitled Vietnamese, evidently tells the other shopkeepers that this team wants the same thing the previous team(s) wanted. Unfortunately, they wind up with not all the right stuff and not necessarily the right amounts of the right stuff, which sends them into another freak-out. In the meantime, Winona has spotted the baskets and chickens that Joey’s sporting, and persuades Chuck to go back and get them while Team Country Blondes check in at #5. Still not a race for last, You Tubers. And even though their cabbie gets lost, they check in as Team #6 while Team ‘Bama heads for the second half of the Detour. They get the sad music and the truncated task before arriving at the mat in last place. I really wouldn’t miss them, but if Phil doesn’t follow “You’re in last place” with an immediate Philimination, you know it’s a non-elimination leg. But for some reason, after 21 seasons, most of the teams he instead starts talking to still haven’t figured that out. In this case, since Team Survivor was forced to withdraw, Team ‘Bama lives to see another leg, with nary a Speed Bump in sight.

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