Last week on The Amazing Race, Margie and Luke were eliminated and were forced to walk the trail of Luke’s copious tears into the sunset. Seven teams remain. Welcome back to Kolkata, a city of 15 million people and 15 million decibels, which left Zev semi-paralyzed in the bustling streets, covering his ears in pain. Meanwhile, Gary and Mallory, who won the last leg of the race, were treated to an authentic Indian meal, featuring the very authentic Indian tea brand Snapple.
Next, the teams were told to depart Kolkata for their next destination: Varanasi, a holy city on the banks of the Ganges. The Cowboys wandered up to a ticket counter and asked for the earliest flight to Varanasi; they ended up on a flight that landed an hour behind the six other pairs. “When I look into a man’s eyes as he’s telling me something, I believe him,” lamented Jet. Jet, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.
The roadblock challenge was to find the meaning of life. While scads of philosophers and scientists before them have attempted this task and failed, our fearless teams in backpacks were told that six holy men called sadhus held the key to the answer. Judging from the amount of product placement, I’m surprised the answer was not to be found on the inside of a Snapple cap. The teams were told to play a real life game of “Where’s Waldo?” by searching for the sadhus, who would each give them one word to complete the phrase declaring the meaning of life.
Kisha and Jen were the first to unearth the meaning of life. “Once you’re over the hill, you pick up speed.” Isn’t this the concept of linear acceleration that we learned in high school physics? Here’s a brain teaser. If you rolled a sphere and a cylinder with the same radius down a hill, the sphere would roll faster, because more of its mass is distributed closer to its axis. Out of all the contestants, would Ron then roll the fastest down a hill, because his belly is always full? While Ron can ferret out the best eating establishment in any city, his skills at finding the meaning of life were noticeably sub par, and the rest of the teams left him in the dust.
The Detour gave the teams two choices: “feed the fire” or “feed the buffalo.” Let’s see. One task was to carry hay to feed some hungry bovines. The other task was to wander around in a pit of cow poop, make fifty cow patties, throw them against a wall to dry, light them on fire and then used the burning excrement to boil milk for a bunch of kids. I’d say the teams who chose “feed the fire” got the s–t end of the stick.
As Kisha and Jen waded around the pit of feces, retching and gagging every so often, the kids reacted with jeers. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. The judge was equally unappreciative and made them re-form the patties.
The Globetrotters, choosing the less difficult and less odiferous of the challenges, i.e. carrying hay to buffalo, went from the anchormen to first place. Zev and Justin were second, Kisha and Jen third, Gary and Mallory fourth, and the Cowboys fifth. Kent and Vyxsin had a water taxi situation in which Vyxsin flipped out and launched herself into the Ganges River, as Kent shouted impotently after her. The Goths ended up in sixth place, and Ron and Christina were eliminated.
Ron, you may not have been timely in discovering the meaning of life, but now you have all the time in the world to discover the culinary delights of Varanasi.
The Amazing Race airs Sundays on CBS.