“The Amazing Race” recap (18.6): “I Feel Like a Monkey in a Circus Parade”

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The episode opened with the teams still in China and the next clue informed them they are staying there, much to the chagrin of several of the contestants. Their next challenge was to go to Jin Fu Yi Zhan Tea Shop to sip some tea. Cut to several less than fascinating scenes of the players lounging around sipping tea. The excitement was so palpable that I nodded off and woke up to the sight of the teams painting pink elephants that looked suspiciously like the Goths in Kolkata, India. Uh oh. Time to rewind the DVR.

Back to China, my friends! Little did the teams know that one of the teas in the “challenge,” the papaya-mango tea, would become the focal point in the next challenge and the bane of their existence. After the tea sipping sequence, the teams were told to fly to Kolkata, India, the city formerly known as Calcutta, and to congregate at City Hall. City Hall did not open until 10 a.m., so the teams were left to sit outside overnight. Amazingly, the directionless Goths made it to City Hall with the rest of the teams without losing passports or becoming histrionic, and Ron did not stop for samosas.

When Gary and Mallory arrived, one of the Globetrotters tricked Mallory into believing that there was a clue box down the street, and Mallory reacted by running around in the dark frenetically, squealing like a piglet that had just downed a five hour energy drink. When she realized that there was no clue box down the street, Mallory came back, playfully shouting, “I hate y’all!” to the rest of the contestants.

Next up was yet another “needle in the haystack” type of challenge – find the mango-papaya tea in an ocean of teas in tiny little teacups. It helps to be a snooty foodie, and Ron did well in this challenge, carefully sniffing the teas for a whiff of mango. He found the pesky papaya-mango tea quickly and was given a Snapple bottle with a clue inside the cap. Some others did not do so well. Like a classy cocktail party that turns into a raging s–tshow by the end of the night as guests become increasingly inebriated and rowdy, the tea challenge soon turned into the Worst Tea Party Ever. One of the Globetrotters became so frustrated he just poured one of the teas on his face. Zev went ballistic and smashed a teacup on the floor. Was the tea laced with steroids?

And Luke — poor Luke. After all of the teams ran off, bellies distended by many rounds of failure, Luke was left all alone to face the army of tea, which seemed to mock him. Luke succumbed to the ridicule from the evil tea army and ran crying into the arms of his mother Margie. “This is so hard!” he sobbed. Later, he collapsed into a fetal position on the floor, and the patient Margie helped him up, as the tearoom attendants took pity on him and offered him encouragement. Eventually, after sipping from pretty much every teacup on the table, Luke found the mango-papaya tea, and the tearoom attendants hoisted him up in the air, cheering. Unfortunately, the feeling of accomplishment was fleeting, as Luke and Margie were in last place, and they had a lot of catching up to do.

The Snapple cap clue instructed the teams to head for the Tiwari Tea Stall. Kisha and Jen, who finished the challenge in third place, mistakenly believed that the entire Snapple bottle was the clue, and they set off to find Kolkata’s nonexistent Snapple factory. By some miraculous twist of fate, Kisha and Jen ended up in the same place as the rest of the teams, so the Hindu Gods and commercial tea deities were definitely on their side in this leg of the race.

The detour challenge required the teams to choose between two tasks – either paint, dress, and accessorize an elephant statue in pretty pink and gold, or deliver schoolbooks in Bengali literature. Guess which ones the Goths picked. Yep, the “give the elephant a makeover” challenge. “We draw on eyebrows every day. It was kind of like us getting ready in the morning,” said Kent.

The detour challenges were neither time consuming nor difficult, and most of the teams finished quickly and made it to the pit stop without breaking a sweat, although the Globetrotters accidentally spilled some paint on their statue, and had to do some touchups. Luke and Margie, unfortunately, did not catch up in time, and after they stumbled up to the pit stop, Luke collapsed again in defeat. Since having two non-elimination legs in a row is an impossibility in the world of the Amazing Race, the mother-son team was eliminated. After Luke’s second sobfest of the episode, he signed, “Being on The Amazing race has been a big dream for me. I never thought I could be on The Amazing Race in a million years. I had a wonderful time racing with my mom.”

Mother and son walked off the set arm in arm, where Luke probably made a beeline for the nearest bush to empty his bladder of four gallons of tea.

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