Sunday, October 18, 2009

1x02: Jakarta, Indonesia

But not for long.

Previously on The World Takes On The World: This show was sponsored by a whole slew of random companies, which may or may not have anything to do with travel. An airline was one of them, though you wouldn't have known it from the decidedly flight-free first leg. Relax, you'll get plenty acquainted with them soon enough. Or, rather, you would if you were watching the actual episode. Since this show's product placement is extraordinarily blatant, I'll be referring to their competitors out of cold-hearted spite. But in last week's actual episode, it turned out Kuala Lumpur has a lot of tall buildings. One of these buildings forced Cirran to step over the edge. In a surprising move, the producers decided ropes would add to the drama rather than detract from it, which is probably a good move, because twenty spontaneous funerals would have been very expensive. Ernie proved himself to be an incompetent driver, and Jeena proved herself to be an incompetent apologiser. WuWho makes it sound like "a local" is almost as big a threat as, like, a giant snake or something. (Spoiler!) Joe Jer lost track of how many times she had been around it when she started doing donuts. The simple task of walking to the Pit Stop turned out to be hard for most of these teams, meaning that while you might be fit, you are not always smart, ANDREW. SanFran blew time in almost every single way possible, but survived because not even the producers wanted to give them the distinction of being the only non-Family-Edition team to not leave the starting country before getting the boot. Without an elimination yet, there are still ten teams. But which one of them will get eliminated... TONIGHT?

Credits! Things We Learned From The Credits: Fran loves sitting on San's body, and not necessarily on the body part you'd expect. [BOMP-CHICKA-BOMP-BOMP.]

Kuala Lumpur still has the Monorail Of Proving This Is Better Than Australian Survivor. It also has the Menara Kuala Lumpur, which was the Pit Stop. After twelve hours, the teams get to leave the tower. ["Have they been cooped up in there the whole time? That must have been one crowded-ass elevator." -- EmoHunk] WuWho would like to know whether SanFran will encounter as much of a non-obstacle as all those other teams who've had the penalty found. He also wants to know whether Andy and Laura will "continue" the gameplay we didn't see at any point during the last episode.

2:11am. The mat has been moved to the base of the tower, and the Super Marsio Bros. depart first. They are understandably excited when the clue tells them to "fly to Jakarta, Indonesia". New country! For us, not necessarily them! WuWho fills us in on the other parts of the clue, which involve driving to the airport, and flying [Cathay Pacific]. Officially? I hate the product placement already. Unofficially? Safer than risking it with Garuda. WuWho also informs us that Indonesia is "the world's largest archipelago". Now, see, that I didn't know. When they land, they have to take a taxi to the Ragunan Zoo for "a taste of Indonesian wildlife", and the next clue. Oooh, pretty animals! Apparently, Indonesian animals include monkeys and elephants. Wow. I needs to spends me some more time in Indonesia. As they leave the mat, the Super Marsio Bros. discuss how they aren't fit. Don't worry. If you ignore it now, you'll hear it again soon. Actually, you'll probably hear it again soon regardless.

2:20am. Journey departs, and read the part of the clue demanding them to fly [Air Canada]. Jeena hopes they can survive the pressure a bit better than her first attempt at pottery did last week. They leave some money on SanFran's car for them. Stupid, stupid decision. They might be nice people and all (and he is definitely hot), but they are fit, they are strong, and they have a penalty that could disadvantage them enough throughout the leg to put them in last place instead of you. Why would you not use that penalty to your advantage?

The Super Marsio Bros. find a taxi to take them to the airport, and Marsio tells us that they think saving time is more important than saving money. Well, sure, but you don't want to end up having the same penalty as SanFran have when you haven't had it forced upon you.

In Journey's car, Jeena and her bright, bright headlamp practically ransack the backseat in order to find the clue so she can reread it. Which at this particular moment is the least productive use of her time possible. Since they know they have to drive to the airport, it's not like not reading the clue will stop them from getting where they need to go. And she hasn't gotten out of the car for her to lose it yet, so she's got nothing to lose by not doing it. In a confessional, she says it's so that she doesn't make any mistakes. Then, and this is captioned as well, because the editors love us, she says in their car, "Okay, left. Turn right. Oh no. Wait. I made a mistake." You sure did, but which time was it? She does not know.

2:27am. Morning, girls! Zabrina and Joe Jer read the "taxi to the zoo" part of the clue. As they drive away, Zabrina says she gets "too emotional about everything", and that Joe Jer has to "spend a lot of time calming [her] down". (Dear caption people: Please learn to spell. Last week "ladel" [sic], this week "Jo Jer" [sic]. Correct spelling is 'impotent', you know.) On cue, Zabrina cheers about getting to get out of her own country.

Ernie and Jeena are lost, and they pull over for directions. Proving you can be stupid while (1) you're in a position other than last place and while (2) you aren't models who say "baby" too much, both of them get out. Which ruins my thought about not needing to find the clue immediately. Damn you, Journey.

The Super Marsio Bros. pass a billboard, which tells them to "say no to porn". Mardy responds to the sign as he deadpans, "Okay, I'll say no". Funny. But what really makes it hysterical is that we start to see his response, then cut to a shot of Marsio crossing his fingers, as though he's in Grade 2 and is going to ignore what he's saying at the first opportunity. HA!

2:37am. The Portable Posse departs, after reminding us they have to fly to Indonesia. Thanks for the heads-up, girls. Incidentally, they read the word "Indonesia" as though they're trying to flirt with somebody. I don't know whom, though. The producers who chose it as a location? The Super Marsio Bros.? The guy who invented the font used for the clue? Aubrey rambles about how this game isn't about looks or brainpower. Luckily for them, only one was in their original strategy anyway, so... you know. And she says that "it's what's inside you that encourages you". Girls, if you can show me anyone who gets encouragement out of bile, vomit, urine, and a spleen, I'd like to hear it. Especially if they've never been on Big Brother.

2:42am. Andrew and Syeon inform us that the teams are getting another US$139 at the start of this leg of the race. How do you suppose they come up with these cash values anyway? Do they just throw darts at a giant sheet of paper while blindfolded? Or is it something even more sinister? Speaking of sinister, Andrew voices over that their strategy was for him to make all the decisions. And we saw how well that really worked last week, as soon as the teams encountered a task involving using a small amount of brainpower. To his credit, he uses his failure to justify giving Syeon an equal say in matters. Of course, it might have helped them if he made that choice BEFORE they fucked up, but it's the thought that counts. Syeon says they'll "learn from [their] mistakes, and hopefully [they] won't do it again, right?" Right, but only they get a clue in Indonesia telling them to fly back to Kuala Lumpur and run through the park to the tower all over again.

The Portable Posse are telling us about how their strategy is to "be nice, and nice, and... sneaky". Oh, but you were one "nice" away from winning the Deluded Jackpot! That's like getting two Liberty Bells and a lemon on a scratchie.

2:57am. The second likable team of girls depart, with Sharon reading the "Jakarta, Indonesia" part as though she works for SBS. Awesome. Except, unlike Lee Lin Chin, her hair shows no signs of an unfortunate electrocution. ["Yet." -- WhoreBoy] In a voiceover clearly left over from the previous leg, she mentions that the race is mostly about luck. Melody has her own poorly placed voiceover mentioning how "it ain't over until it's over". Sane thought, especially since The Amazing Race doesn't cast any fat ladies who can sing well enough to use the original form of that cliché. Some random guy offers to get them "to the federal highway". Yay, random guy! Unless the federal highway goes to Hong Kong, in which case, go back to leading SanFran.

The Super Marsio Bros. get out of their car at the airport... right in front of a McDonald's. Sometimes, these recaps practically write themselves. In their car, Syeon once again claims that the Super Marsio Bros. were underestimated. Who are now having their McBreakfast in front of the [Aeroflot Domestic] counter. Andy wonders if the other teams will be smart enough to find an entire airport by themselves, and Syeon puts him in his place by telling him that they could have just hired a taxi again like they were all doing last week.

2:57am. Andy and Laura, who flounders her way through pronouncing "Reh-GOO-Nen Zoo". Laura bitches in voiceover that she finds it impossible to fight with Andy. Really? I have this strange urge to say something slanderous and see if it gets back to him. Laura continues ranting, about how she's the one doing all the yelling.

Airport. Journey arrives. Two seconds of necessary television, and you didn't see it here, folks.

3:43am. Howard and Cirran read the clue (Jakarta variation) together, after someone squeals. Oh, God. It's too early in the morning to hear people talking in unison. There are some quick cuts of Cirran providing directions. Howard says that they're "the perfect two people on the seesaw to balance each other out". But I thought not being balanced is the entire point of using a seesaw in the first place. Isn't it? Just like we get the "providing directions" shots, now we get about ten "asking for directions" shots. Fun. Eventually, they give up and decide to take a taxi. Uh, I mean, FOLLOW a taxi. Taking a taxi? Nancy and Emily own the trademark on that.

At exactly 4:00am, Team Idiot leaves. Prashant correctly pronounces the zoo's name. Sahil provides about fourteen different clichés when he's talking about their gameplan. And I have no idea what he was actually trying to say, even though it's subtitled. Something about cheating and enjoying it, I think.

Jeena runs around looking for Ernie, as Andrew and Syeon arrive at the airport. Jeena pressures a guy behind a desk to tell her the truth about when the counter opens, and: he only WORKS here, lady. It's not like he's going to lie to you. Especially considering none of the other teams have shown up and told him not to. Mardy and Marsio continue enjoying their breakfast. Zabrina and Joe Jer arrive. Andrew is inordinately pleased with himself for making up two places on the way to the airport. Do I really have to point out that he lost FOUR places at the end of the last leg because he couldn't follow a clearly marked path? The Portable Posse arrives next, but it's hard to tell because of the way the shot is framed. I think it's them because one of them does a ridiculous amount of hand-waving as she walks in. Andy and Laura arrive. Journey gets their tickets. Sharon and Melody arrive. Andy and Laura get their tickets, while arguing over who gets to talk.

Leaving last at 4:38am, 2 hours and 27 minutes after the leaders, SanFran have no money. Officially. Fran tells us over a montage that every single team gave them money. So much for that penalty. And Journey even left them a note, which Fran reads in the car before condescendingly calling them "so sweet". The good news? They have about 115 bucks. The bad news? Because of the teams not understanding that this is a competition, we miss out on seeing San strip. Or so Fran says. ["Fran is on The List." -- WhoreBoy] I'd be curious to see San's reaction when she told him about this.

Howard and Cirran arrive at the airport. So do SanFran. Sharon and Melody get tickets. SanFran starts begging for even more money, under the assumption that people will not grasp that they're on The Amazing Race when they're (1) with a production crew, (2) wearing the Amazing Bum Bag, (3) telling people they're on "a travel reality show", and (4) in one of the countries where the show is most successful. I know they're forbidden from actually telling people, but it's like they're not even trying to hide it. Anyway. The Portable Posse gets their tickets. SanFran continue begging. Andy and Laura get tickets. SanFran continue begging. Eventually, they stop. Fran tells us they got about 150 ringgit at the airport, as well as what the other teams foolishly gave them. They get their tickets. Boy, that was tense and enjoyable to watch. Except not.

As we see an [Air Calin] plane and an [Emirates] ladder, WuWho tells us that all teams are taking the same [South African Airways] flight to Jakarta. It's over 1000 kilometres away.

The flight takes off and lands almost instantly in Jakarta. Everybody runs out of the airport and gets into taxis. Team Idiot is adding "Jerk" to their resumes. So are Andrew and Syeon, who dump their bags into a taxi Journey are already boarding. You know, last week it was basically only their "We Live Here, Ergo, We'll Win" thing which annoyed me. This week, it's pretty much everything. Ugh. Anyway, soon every team leaves for the zoo. In their car, Andrew tells us what we just saw. Or, rather, what he thinks we just saw. Because I saw no signs at all that he had booked the taxi already.

There is a bunch of shots of teams trying to get their drivers to go faster. For some reason, Zabrina speaks unsubtitled Indonesian when she's getting a taxi, but then we see a subtitled English conversation from Mardy eight seconds later. Anyway, it looks like there's a whole bunch of unsafe driving here. I know that Indonesia's not a great country to drive in at the best of times, and I know that this is probably normal stuff for the taxi drivers, but... there really should have been some way of making sure the teams got to the zoo in one piece. Rose Portable calls her cabbie "handsome" because he drives fast. Helpful! Andrew whines that everyone is passing them. Karma! Andy tries adapting his accent a little bit to get the driver to go faster. Borderline offensive! Sharon makes the sign of the cross. Unintentionally hilarious! SanFran tells their driver to follow the Super Marsio Bros. taxi, apparently on the assumption that the brothers visit the zoo more often than the cabbie does. Huh? There is more driving, but it's basically the same stuff and I'm bored of it already.

And after all that, Journey gets to the zoo first. Supposedly. Though we get a series of montage shots showing a lot of darting back and forth between teams, so it's really hard to tell who's in which position. Anyway, the clue is a RoadBlock, and the little teaser question is "Who likes animals?" Boy, that gives away so much about the task. Especially given where they are and all. Before we find out what the task is, we find out that Sahil, Marsio, Laura, and Ernie are doing it. Sharon and Melody read the main part of the clue, which basically tells them that the clue is somewhere near the "Native Small Mammals" section of the zoo. WuWho reminds us what a RoadBlock is ("a task that only one person may perform"), and informs us that this one involves walking through a pit containing large snakes -- second only in size to the anaconda, apparently -- and retrieving a clue from inside a cluebox. And whoever does the task only has two minutes to do it, because this is one of those first-come-first-served tasks I despise so much. Still, at least this is related to the local culture. Slightly.

Teams run through the zoo. Ernie trips over a couple of times. And the Super Marsio Bros. walk.

In their cab, Howard explains that they'll get their cabbie to wait, because they'll need to go somewhere else, and "it might be hard to [get taxis] from the zoo". Really? From a zoo? A major tourist attraction?

…Why do I even bother trying to understand these people?

Cirran takes the RoadBlock, but not before claiming that he'll have trouble if it's a snake he has to deal with. Mwahahahahaha.

Outside the snake pit, there are numbers waiting so teams don't push and shove in the line. Journey gets the first one. The Super Marsio Bros. are second.

Ernie enters the pit. The cluebox really isn't that hard to find, given the pit is about the size of a bedroom, the cluebox is relatively big, and there's a race flag dangling from it. Not that that means the teams won't have trouble with it. Especially Andrew and Syeon. Just as many of the racers today will do, Ernie nervously inches his way through the cage, as Jeena points out where the box is. He "accidentally" steps on a snake, after calling it "dude" a couple of times.

Outside the cage, the Super Marsio Bros. remark that another team is coming. But we can't tell who it is, because we almost immediately cut back to Ernie, getting the clue. Suddenly, Journey is reunited, and they (and by "they", I mean "Jeena") realise that there's a Fast Forward. They agree to try for it. Which makes sense, because they're in first place and they know it. There's no reason for them not to. Sure, you could say you wouldn't because you were saving your Fast Forward for when it's "most advantageous to go for it", but since they cut it down to one or two a season, the only real strategy is as follows: If you are in first, go for it. If you are not, don't bother. It's a shame the cut in Fast Forwards happened, because what used to be a saving grace for struggling teams and for a possible use of actual strategy has now developed into an anticlimactic bore. I'm sorry to say it, but it has.

But enough of my bitching for now. WuWho reminds us of the basic Fast Forward Facts. Each team only gets one, and only one team can get this one. Whoever gets it gets to skip all the remaining tasks and go to the Pit Stop. Back with Journey, Cirran runs up in the background as he points out that they have no reason not to attempt it. WuWho gets another brief clip, this time explaining that they have to go to a school six kilometres away. For an unexplained reason, we get the Fast Forward bubble graphic pimping [Nintendo].

Out the front of the zoo, Journey finds that their taxi has left. Oh, dear.

Back inside, Marsio tells us he thought it would be "the alligator or lions or, you know, whatever". But not snakes. He does know the entire point of visiting different countries on the race is to experience local cultures, right? And, being Indonesian, he presumably would know that lions and alligators don't have anything to do with Indonesia. Right? Right? Anyone? ...Bueller?

Ernie and Jeena get a taxi. Crisis averted. For now.

Marsio sits on the edge of the doorway into the snake pit, as Mardy reminds him of the time limit. The camera zooms in on a snake. And, for once, it's not a member of Team Idiot. Marsio finally enters the pit, covering his mouth as though he's afraid their tails work like Spiderman's wrists. He says God too many times. He grabs a clue. On the way out, Mardy tells him not to provoke the moving snake by stepping on the tail. He barely makes it out.

The Super Marsio Bros. automatically go for the normal clue, which says something about "plate dancing". WuWho fills us in. Teams have to get to a place called the West Sumatera Pavilion. When they get there, they must learn a Minangkabau plate dance, called the tari piring. They have to perform the dance to the satisfaction of a waiting judge before getting the clue. We get shots of experts in full costume performing the plate dance, but the teams will only have to wear the local hats. Which will make them look more than a little foolish.

The Super Marsio Bros. get into their cab. Team Idiot is third to take on the snake pit.

Jeena explains her reasoning behind attempting the Fast Forward.

Sahil is doing the RoadBlock for Team Idiot. Prashant helpfully points out a large "python" doing... nothing, really, and we get an unrelated shot of a snake climbing up the side of the cage entrance. Sahil voices over that he's "an animal lover". Of course, we immediately cut from that to him being scared of one of the snakes on his way out. Heh.

Marsio tells us that he's always hated snakes. Well, look on the bright side. Now you won't be bothered by them for the next month. Unless the producers decided to copy Survivor and put in one of those "second chance" challenges where they combine bits and pieces of all the challenges that weren't any good the first time and try to make them fun.

Andy and Laura and Zabrina and Joe Jer finally get to the zoo. Andrew and Syeon do too, and they get lost. Sharon and Melody are also running around. Once again, SanFran are bringing up the rear. ["Did you just mention Sandy and "rear" in the same sentence and not make a joke about it? Between this and "Brad's woody" last week, I feel like I don't even know you anymore." -- WhoreBoy]

Cirran has taken the RoadBlock, and Howard reminds him that they can't both do the task. Sharon and Melody are sixth, Zabrina and Joe Jer are seventh, and other teams are not yet revealed to us. Zabrina tells us that nobody knew exactly what the task was because they couldn't see it. Actually, this is an interesting development. If you tell them what it is, you give the teams at the back more time to either freak out, or to get over their fear. This way, everyone is scared. Nice work, producers. On a shot of Zabrina looking nervous, cut to...

Commercials. Raceguy's Celebrity Hunk Of The Week this week is Sean Faris. Fuck or pass?

Zabrina has been scared for the entire commercial break, it seems. Sahil is still in the cage, and either he or Prashant remarks that it's "time to get swallowed". I wish. Sadly, Sahil escapes unharmed, and Team Idiot decides to go for the Fast Forward. Prashant tells us they will probably finish in the "top three, top four". Of course, they were in third place anyway, so this argument is complete bullshit. Even by their standards. And if they meant "top three, top four" in terms of making it to the end of the race, then they clearly have no idea how this show works.

In the Super Marsio Bros. taxi, Marsio tells us that they didn't take the Fast Forward because they figured Journey was going for it. Meanwhile, Journey points out that they're screwed if they don't get it.

Back at the zoo, Cirran is about to do the RoadBlock. Howard tries to reassure him. As soon as he sees the actual task, Cirran freaks. He voices over that "these are things I would never, ever, ever, even dream of doing". Cirran wonders if he's eaten today. He must have been talking to Team Idiot. Howard guides him through the cage, and he's moving the fastest out of everybody so far, which is a surprise. Cirran tells us that whenever he goes to the zoo with his friends' kids, he pretends the snake pit is closed for the day. He climbs up the small tree to get to the clue instead of walking around it. Nice. Howard reads the clue, which mentions a place called Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, which I don't remember hearing in either of the earlier readings or in WuWho's spiel. Apparently, it's where they can find the pavilion they're supposed to go to. Anyway, Howard is pissed that he can't see the other animals. And I'm sure all those animals that haven't been fed yet feel the same way. Except for maybe that homophobic orangutan. They leave.

Zabrina is crying, and Joe Jer tries to console her, by telling her she can do it. Zabrina points out that she knows she can do the task, but she's afraid of it. Does she even know it's a snake pit yet? Because I was under the impression that they didn't find out until she actually did the task. Anyway, you can tell that Joe Jer's support has motivated Zabrina to get the task done, because Zabrina actually starts smiling in the middle of the sentence. Now that's teamwork. Joe Jer hugs Zabrina.

Laura is fifth into the cage. She pats the snake, apparently unaware of the time limit. Andy reminds her and points out the cluebox, and she gets it easily. Laura voices over that "it wasn't fear, it was awe" which made her uncomfortable. And that really points out how Andy's comment about it being her "ultimate fear" is complete and utter bullshit. Laura smiles as she leaves. Melody enters. Laura reads her clue, laughing as though plate dancing is one of the most ridiculous things she's ever heard.

Howard explains that they're not bothering to go for the Fast Forward; because they figure Journey would have gone for it. But they would have done it had Journey not beaten them to the zoo. While Howard explains all this, Cirran notices that their cab just passed Team Idiot's. Howard points out that they might also be going for the Fast Forward. Sahil explains that they wanted the Fast Forward. It's a very boring discussion, and it's not helped by the fact that both team members sound like they're practicing to be hypnotists. The only thing worth noting is that Sahil looks at the clue in order to explain where they're going, and still describes it as "some high school".

Melody makes an excited noise as she sees the snake pit. She crawls in. In Andy and Laura's taxi, Laura tells us that she got into the pit and forgot what she was there to do. Hee. Melody nervously meanders through the enclosure. She shrieks as the snake moves, then asks the snake not to harm her, because she was born in the Year of the Snake. Ha! Sharon asks if the snake is poisonous. Outside, Zabrina is still coming to terms with the task. Melody gets the clue and leaves as soon as she can. Zabrina enters the alcove behind the pit. Melody and Sharon hug and squeal and talk about how cool it was. And, I've got to admit, it did seem cool. Maybe it's just because I'm not scared of snakes, like, at ALL, but this task really looks like they were trying to do something that could be interpreted as both cool and scary, and that didn't involve heights. And for that, I am grateful. It's still a bitch to recap, though.

Zabrina voices over that snakes are "one of [her] biggest fears". We get a nice close-up of a snake's head as it hisses. She talks about how it was "the worst thing to happen to [her]", and by the time she finishes the sentence, she has the clue. She's really that quick. Any way you slice it, she kicked that snake pit's arse. Or tail. Whatever. She gets out quickly and they read the plate dance clue, leaving in their taxi quickly. From the looks of it, Zabrina thinks she knows what plate dancing is.

Andrew and Syeon are in eighth place, and he thinks that's "a good sign". And it is, if you ignore the seven teams in front of you. The Portable Posse is still trying to find the enclosure. SanFran are in ninth place, which Fran calls "a real shock", because they thought they were less sucky than they are.

Sharon and Melody think the Super Marsio Bros. decided to do the Fast Forward, because they're not fit enough for the dancing. In their cab, Marsio tells us they're doing the dance. Hee. In their cab, Zabrina tells us she's seen it on TV before. Told you so. Marsio tells us that "it's a beautiful dance". Zabrina is now showing Joe Jer how to do the dance, and as far as I can tell, she's doing a pretty good job. And I say that as, quite clearly, an expert on native Indonesian plate dancing. Which means she's probably actually showing Joe Jer proper curling technique or something. Marsio shows Mardy the same thing, but he's nowhere near as competent. Zabrina practically dislocates her arm trying to show Joe Jer within the tight confines of the taxi.

Unsurprisingly, Andrew has taken the RoadBlock. He literally runs through the pit to get it. Scared much? The Portable Posse is still trying to find the numbers, and hasn’t arrived by the time Andrew escapes. As they run back to their taxi, Syeon tells Andrew that there's practically no chance they can still get the Fast Forward, even though he remains unconvinced. Good for her.

Okay, I wasn't going to comment on this, but this is like the third time it's happened in this episode alone. Can whoever does the subtitles not put quotes from two different people on the same line? It's very weird pausing the video with the line " think? Yes they've all left." on screen and thinking Andrew is even more delusional than even I realised.

The Super Marsio Bros. arrive at the pavilion, where some local music is playing. Far be it from me to mock someone else's culture, but this music sounds like someone is choking a snakecharmer in the middle of a performance. But it's still better than listening to the goddamn Village People. They both put on their funny hats and begin. Mardy calls it fun, but they argue a little bit anyway.

Fran does the RoadBlock. In her words, "ohhhh, my good God". Indeed. She says she should have told San that snakes are her only fear. Well, that's helpful, isn't it? San voices over that they thought they were in "third or fourth", and were shocked when they found out they were near the back of the pack again. Francesca apologises to the snake for stepping on it. Heh.

The Portable Posse is in last place, and is no longer missing. Seriously, we've hardly seen them yet this episode. Not that it's any great loss. Rose Portable tells us that Jacqueline is scared, and she is apparently too scared to tell us this herself.

Syeon is still trying to explain to Andrew how the Fast Forward works.

Fran grabs the clue and leaves. Jacqueline enters immediately. Fran hopes their taxi hasn't left. Andrew and Syeon are still walking to the entrance, but start running when they see SanFran.

Jacqueline points out something most teams can't understand, which is that when you're in last place, you've got to move faster. She gets the clue quickly.

At the plate dancing, Mardy is having trouble following the required steps. It doesn't look particularly easy, that's for true. The judge lady looks bored. Pace yourself, judge lady, this is only the first team. There's still eight or nine left.

Jacqueline has exited the cage. Bye, snakes! They take a taxi.

Group of taxi scenes. Howard tells us that he and Cirran "both like dancing, and [they] both like plates". But he doesn't know what'll happen when you put the two together. SanFran are still whining about not knowing they sucked at racing. Do we need to take all your money away again? Unsurprisingly, Rose Portable is playing with her hair as she tries to get the driver to go faster.

The Super Marsio Bros. finish their plate dance, and are apparently good enough to get the next clue, which is the Detour. In the space of about two seconds, all the plate dancers have disappeared, while WuWho stands in front of the same building and explains the two options. This time, the tasks are Push and Sell. In Push, you go to some street in a working-class suburb (there's a quick shot of a street sign, and it says "JL Langlima Polim III", though that doesn't match anything WuWho says), choose one of ten bakso carts, and push them along a marked 500 metre course. Sound easy? Yeah, not so much. You've got to keep a bowl of soy sauce from spilling while you do it, and you have to sing a song in Indonesian while you do it. If you spill too much sauce, you've got to start again. In Sell, you go to the same street and take one of the same carts, then prepare and sell fifteen bowls of bakso, for 2000 rupiah each. Sound easy? Again, not so much. There's pretty much nobody around, so if you need to, you can buy and eat it on your own. The basic deal is that selling isn't physical, but it could take longer; while the pushing is physical, but should be quicker unless you fuck up. It's actually a very well-designed Detour, compared to the junk the American version has been spewing out recently, even though the singing sort of feels like it’s tacked on to make it seem as though Push isn’t the clearly faster option. And neither task is easy, which makes it even better.

Marsio thinks they should sell, but Mardy uses his local knowledge to figure out that even if you could find people to buy the food, it's not the right time of the day for people to do so. They eventually decide to Push.

Team Idiot is hoping the lead teams are dumb enough to think the Fast Forward would be a bad idea. Journey thinks the Fast Forward will help them because they want a rest and a head start. But every team spends the same amount of time at the Pit Stop. And you'd be getting most of the rest time during the day, so it's not going to let you catch up on most sleep. They're doing the right thing by attempting it, but they're doing it for the wrong reasons, if that makes sense.

Andy and Laura arrive at the plate dancing.

Team Idiot find the school, which has a sign covered in graffiti. Oh, so it's like the Jakartan version of Frankston. Got it.

By some bizarre fluke, the Portable Posse is the next team to get to the plate dancing. Andy gets in Laura's way while they try not to look too much like idiots. The Portable Posse and Laura all have on these hats that look like they make copies of Madonna's boob tube for your ears. Really. I think the hat you wear depends on your gender, because the real female dancers have these on too, while Andy has on the same sort of McPartyHat that the Super Marsio Bros. wore. Rose Portable tries to boss Jacqueline around.

Journey is still in their taxi. Uh-oh. ["Whuh uh-oh? No uh-oh! Fix the uh-oh!" -- EmoHunk] Jeena tells us in an interview by some swimming pool with a waterfall behind it that the reason they had such bad luck with cabs is because they never take them at home. Yeah, that must be it. They get out of their cab in some area that looks nothing like where Team Idiot is. They keep running, but clearly have no idea they're in the wrong place.

Commercials. If my hair ever gets as bad as Donald Trump's, somebody please shoot me.

Team Idiot and Journey are running to the Fast Forward. Well, only one team is, but we'll overlook that little detail for now and pretend this is tense enough for the accompanying music, shall we? In the least surprising plot development this side of Maggie Simpson shooting Mr. Burns, Team Idiot get to the school cluebox first. Apparently, the producers of this version have decided to wait until teams turn up at the Fast Forward to explain the task. Which... probably should interest me in some way, and therefore lead me to explain why it's better or worse than the American version, but I really don't care here. Sorry.

Anyway, the task is basically to find a bunch of students in a courtyard. All fifty of them are listening to [iPod]s. Then, you've got to get one of the kids to hand theirs over, and listen to the message. Most of them play WuWho telling them to try again, but one of them has a congratulatory message from WuWho. The first team to find that one wins. As Fast Forwards go, it's pretty crappy, but it's not as bad as waving to a surfer or eating a meat pie. And the kids are walking around, too, which makes it a little harder. By the way, WuWho, the name of the device used is not pronounced as two separate words. Just so you know. Team Idiot runs around like... well, idiots as they search for the right thingy.

Andy and Laura and the Portable Posse are still dancing. Andy and Laura at least seem comfortable looking ridiculous on camera in front of millions of people. And Rose Portable is taking it too seriously. Shocking. Simply shocking.

Journey is now at some random person's house, hoping it's a school. It's not, but they get directions from the people inside, who apparently don't care that a TV crew is filming a couple of people trespassing on their property.

The Portable Posse passes the plates, and is given the Detour. They choose Push, with Rose Portable thinking Detours are the same things as RoadBlocks. Or something like that.

Team Idiot is still searching for the Fast Forward. Sahil voices over that they got so confused that they "probably checked some people twice". Well, look on the bright side. Those kids got double the camera time they would have had otherwise. You know, just like you guys seem to want. Perhaps you should quit the race and enroll in an Indonesian school. You might need the education.

Andy and Laura are deemed to have done the plate dance well enough, even though they are (1) in the middle of a step, and (2) not coordinated. I think the judge just wanted to end her misery. Until the next team arrives. Laura pressures Andy to make a decision, and then almost immediately chooses for them. They Push.

Journey is still trying to find the school. Team Idiot is still trying to find the right person. This continues for about thirty seconds. Yawn. Eventually, Sahil revisionises that he "spotted this one and [he] went straight for her". After about thirty other people. It turns out that this poor girl got given the right message. Trust psychic powers to kick in when you least want them too. She gives them the [Wii] and they go to swap it for the clue. Said clue tells them to skip the plate dancing and the Detour, and go straight to the Pit Stop at Monas, also known as the National Monument. As Team Idiot leaves, Sahil blows a kiss. You know, there are some things you shouldn't make jokes about, and a weird guy blowing kisses to little schoolgirls is one of them. So, if you want to, make your own. WuWho exposits all about the Pit Stop. Imagine a less dweeby version of the Washington Monument and you'd be about right. Apparently, it's supposed to represent a struggle for independence. WuWho does not mention whom Indonesia was controlled by, making me go and research for myself. The answer? The Netherlands. ["Hey, looks like Dutch people were finally responsible for something decent that isn't Heineken." -- EmoHunk] And the last team to turn up may be eliminated. In the event of a tie, whichever team can name the highest number of African capital cities, in order from west to east, gets to stay. Though we all know this one's definitely an elimination anyway.

Journey finally finds the school. Too late. Off to the plate dancing! Jeena thinks the Super Marsio Bros. got the Fast Forward. Why would they even attempt it, when they can use their local-ness to help them?

Cab. Andy is telling their driver that they're in seventh place, and they need to get to first place. He does that annoying thing people do on this show, where they forget to say every second word in the hope that foreign drivers will understand them better. Has anyone ever actually seen this work? Laura shuts him down by pointing out that they don't know they're in seventh. Which is completely true, because they're in fourth right now.

The Portable Posse is telling us they were lucky to pass Andy and Laura. As they do so, the camera zooms in over Jacqueline's shoulder to show a cab passing their window. Nice catch. Jacqueline thinks it has Andy and Laura in it. Which would make them third, and even more "not seventh" than they were before.

Zabrina and Joe Jer arrive at the plate dance in fifth place. They have never seen a boob tube hat before, and don't know how to put it on properly. Heh.

SanFran and Howard and Cirran are in their cabs, trying to find the pavilion. From the view outside their windows, it looks like they're roughly in the right area. The music has changed from Snakecharmer Asphyxiation to Macarena a la Glockenspiel. Joe Jer comments on how bad she is at plate dancing, but her and Zabrina are easily the best team so far.

Journey is in their cab, and is explaining why the Fast Forward was a mistake. Or something. I tend to tune out when people explain stuff we've already seen. Especially when I've already recapped it. I mean, you'll notice that while I recap the previouslies, what I say rarely matches up with what is said about the events. Mainly because hosts have a tendency to lie in the previouslies (relax, Jeff Probst, I'm not naming names), but also because I can mute the episode and ignore the sound of people shrieking and crying and doing other previously-worthy stuff for a while.

The judge lady declares Zabrina and Joe Jer's dancing "very good", and they get the clue. Unlike everyone else, they decide to Sell.

SanFran are looking for the pavilion, but Howard and Cirran have found it. They start dancing, and Howard voices over what the normal use for plates is. No shit, Sherlock. Cirran looks surprisingly competent at this, even with that ridiculous grin on his face. And, yes, when I get all the way through and make a Caption It, Bitches post like I did for Australian Survivor, that shot will probably be representing this episode.

Andrew and Syeon arrive. Did you care that they were missing? Yeah, me neither. Now, Sharon and Melody on the other hand, we've hardly seen them yet. In either episode. And that's been glaringly obvious. But look how much we've seen of Howard and Cirran. Or Journey. Anyway, Antsy gets their gender-appropriate hats on, as soon as I find a second-rate way of calling them something other than "Andrew and Syeon". Because... well, I'm lazy, and "Andrew and Syeon" is a bitch to type. There is plate dancing, and Andrew's is done as though he's high. I exhibit no surprise. Howard and Cirran are finished. They opt to Push, just like almost every other team. What exactly was written into the Sell description to make it sound so hard? As they leave, Sharon and Melody are just putting on their boob tube hats.

Journey reminds their cabbie where they're going, in case he was just randomly driving them halfway to Hong Kong. No, wait, that would be SanFran. My mistake.

Antsy is still dancing as Sharon and Melody walk over, with Sharon checking her shirt to make sure she isn't showing too much skin. Honey, that is the least of your worries right now.

SanFran are approaching the pavilion. Journey reread their clue.

We are back to Snake Charmer Asphyxiation, and Antsy have finished. SanFran gets out of their taxi and starts running. Sharon and Melody have finished. Sharon wants to Sell, but Melody wonders whom they will be selling to. Um... people, perhaps? With this seemingly irrefutable logic, Sharon agrees to Push. They leave.

Team Idiot is annoying their taxi driver. I wouldn't expect any less.

The Super Marsio Bros. have found the street where the carts are. Sharon and Melody are reading the clue. Their driver starts singing the song they have to perform. Hee. They decide to use this to their advantage, and learn it. The Super Marsio Bros. and Melody sing in an edited medley. Eventually, Sharon tells Melody that they're distracting the driver, and they should just worry about getting there first, especially because they'll be getting a copy of the lyrics.

SanFran finally arrive and dance. Fran voices over that it's a bitch to be so good and still be the last team. Really, that's basically what she says. SanFran could not possibly be having more fun dancing.

The Super Marsio Bros. are still singing and pushing. They try and keep their soy sauce bowl full. Locals watch on in amazement that ten bakso vendors decided to lend their carts out to these wacky people. It seems that they forgot about the sauce a little bit, because now they have to redo it.

SanFran finish dancing. Fran chooses to push. Has Sandy even been given a full sentence since their introductory interview?

Zabrina and Joe Jer have arrived at the carts. They make the food quickly, with Zabrina saying that because they're not great eaters, they have to work harder to sell. They seem to be doing it pretty quickly, but that could just be the editing.

The Super Marsio Bros. push. Marsio voices over that they tried especially hard because they had to represent their country and didn't want to lose. I think they gave up any chance of winning this leg when they decided not to go for the Fast Forward, but to each his own. They finish. The next clue sends them to the Pit Stop. For some reason I've never really understood, WuWho reintroduces the monument. At least this time, we get a shot of the greeter, who is wearing what is by far the most unusual hat in the episode. And that's saying something. The Super Marsio Bros. leave, as soon as Marsio gets himself some water.

Andy and Laura arrive. Laura reminds him the important part of the task is keeping the soy sauce from spilling, but while they focus on that, they're not singing. Andy wants them to stay on the non-cobblestoned section of the road, which is sensible. Howard and Cirran arrive and start pushing. Howard explains that they didn't want to follow teams all the time, so they decide to overtake Andy and Laura. Which makes sense. Andy and Laura voice over about why they were going so slowly compared to Howard and Cirran, who had completely forgotten about their sauce.

The Super Marsio Bros. banter about how difficult pushing one of those carts is. Team Idiot blathers about something to do with not knowing where they other teams are.

Zabrina and Joe Jer are not bantering or blathering, because they still have ten bowls to sell, and until they are sold, there will be no banter or blathering from them.

Antsy turns up and starts pushing. In their cab, Marsio is still talking about bakso vendors. The Portable Posse is now starting the Detour. The Super Marsio Bros. are still talking and trying to explain that song in English. Andy and Laura have finally started singing. I miss when they were quiet.

Journey arrives at the pavilion. Jeena bosses Ernie around. Yawn.

Sharon and Melody arrive at the carts in 8th place. They start singing, and bump into something. Zabrina and Joe Jer are still selling. Sharon and Melody are still pushing, in case you had forgotten in the past three seconds. So are Antsy. Syeon correctly points out that the task is hard, but Andrew blames this on "the other teams were doing better than [them]". Dude, just shut up and run your own race. God. He says they were overtaking, and right on cue there's a shot of Sharon and Melody overtaking them. Good.

Andy bitches that "[his] back is about to break".

Zabrina and Joe Jer still have five more bowls to sell. Zabrina says she thinks "the locals like making fun of [them]". Heh. They finish easily. In their cab on the way to the Pit Stop, they talk about how much fun it was. Love. Them.

Journey is still dancing, and Jeena is still bossy. They get the clue anyway. Something gives Ernie the impression that they're not in last place. I think -- but don't take my word as gospel here -- that it might be the extra clue the judge lady had in case nobody took the Fast Forward. ["We were supposed to be taking your word as gospel before?" -- WhoreBoy] Anyway, Jeena is feeling very Pushy today.

Melody is talking about all the different things that made the task difficult. She says "it was not something [they] could be proud of". You know, I think these girls might actually have a chance to win.

Marsio thinks they can see the Pit Stop. Team Idiot is still ordering their driver to go fast.

Tense music plays as a taxi drives up. Team Idiot gets out and starts running to WuWho and CobraHat. The rest of CobraHat's costume makes me think bullfighting must be one of Indonesia's other favourite pastimes. Either that, or line dancing. CobraHat greets bilingually, which is a cool idea. Prashant remarks on how beautiful the country is. Nice thought, and definitely correct, but you really didn't see enough to judge. Welcome, Team Idiot, you are Team Number One! They are understandably happy, but they can't have really been that surprised. Which makes it even weirder to hear that Prashant thinks it was very lucky that they won the leg after getting the Fast Forward. He speaks as though they are allowed to take another Fast Forward in the future. Which they are not. Shut up, Prashant.

SanFran are in traffic. Fran is a little annoyed, but San the eternal optimist points out that they are at least not as hopeless as they were "yesterday".

There's a montage of the teams singing, and on the bright side, at least they aren't on Idol. Because I don't think anybody here would make it past the first round.

Howard and Cirran finish. So do Sharon and Melody. And the Portable Posse, with Rose Portable deciding she wants a hug from their guide. Howard's back hurts. Andy and Laura also finish. Everybody reads the clue and leaves. Howard realises that the clue confirms this leg will end with an elimination. Sharon says she's never eating bakso again.

Jeena rereads the clue. Again.

Syeon tells us she and Andrew have never worked "together as a team" [sic] before. Really? I had no idea. Andrew is still bossing her around, and she is still being a princess. Zabrina and Joe Jer notice that they're still pushing. Didn't they leave, like, forever ago? Anyway, Antsy finishes.

The Portable Posse is reminding their driver where to go. Jacqueline says, "it's an emergency", and Rose Portable giggles like it's the most adorable thing anyone has ever said.

SanFran have finally found the Detour. They start pushing. Fran seems to think this is a little bit ridiculous.

Jeena tells Ernie they're still going to do the task, even if they're last. Well, it would help you if you were trying to, you know, not be last any more. There is a road sign showing someone pushing a cart. Really. Journey arrives and starts. They spill a little bit of soy sauce right at the very start, and Jeena points out that "they might accept this little spill", even though Ernie wants to run the whole way through and try again, which doesn't seem like a bad idea. Why waste all this time if you know you're going to have to do it again anyway?

SanFran steers past a pothole. Locals laugh.

Syeon tells an exhausted Andrew that she "didn't even realise it was heavy". Well, of course she didn't, because she wasn't doing any of the work. Andrew whines. Shut up, Andrew.

Jeena and SanFran are still pushing. We get close-ups of their soy sauce bowls. Eventually, Journey finishes and tries to get the clue, but the guy tells them to start again. Heh. They try to figure out why they have to do it again.

Commercials. If they're going to put out videos of naked girls and advertise them on late-night TV, can they do the same thing for naked guys? Because... come on. You'd practically double your income.

The bakso judge guy still wants Journey to do it again. Jeena seems exhausted. Must be all that bossing Ernie around.

Antsy are getting a bit antsy in their cab. Mostly Andrew. Syeon is just sort of... there, if you know what I mean.

Jeena has apparently regained enough energy to boss Ernie around again. She says "it's harder than [they] thought, huh?"; and it would have been easier had she not been so insistent on trying to finish properly even though she knew they couldn't, I would think.

The Super Marsio Bros. run up to the Pit Stop. Welcome, you are Team Number Two! If you had have told me before I started watching this that these two would have the best results after two legs out of any non-Rob-and-Amber team in the history of the show, I wouldn't have believed you. But here we are.

SanFran finish the Detour.

Howard and Cirran, Sharon and Melody, and Andy and Laura are all racing to the Pit Stop, and it looks as though they're very close to each other. Joe Jer bribes her cabbie. As you do. Cirran tries to figure out where the required car park is.

Journey moves very slowly, thus proving that it's never the destination, it's always the... uh, journey. Jeena is still bossy. Also: There are tuk-tuks. Yay!

Howard and Cirran have found the Pit Stop. Their cabby tries to screw them over. They ignore him and leave.

Journey finally finishes. Ernie is still hoping someone else is even more screwed than they are. Right on cue, SanFran are moping in their cab about how they're low on cash and in last place and blah blah fishcakes.

Howard and Cirran are drunkenly trying to figure out which way they need to go, even though it's very obvious. There's a huge paved path and everything. Zabrina and Joe Jer arrive and start running immediately. Woo! Sharon and Melody are next. Double woo! WuWho and CobraHat look on as Howard and Cirran step on the mat. Welcome, you are Team Number Three! Cirran says they kept seeing cars overtaking them, but apparently they were only cars belonging to normal people driving around Jakarta or something, because they're in second out of the nine teams who didn't take the Fast Forward. WuWho congratulates them, and forces them off the mat, because another team is coming. You can actually see two teams running up.

SanFran bitch in voiceover that their cabbie wanted them to pay for his fuel. Yeah, not happening.

Back at the Pit Stop, the four women are still running up the path. Joe Jer voices over that she didn't even realise Sharon and Melody were right behind them until she looked around. Hee. But hurry up and race. They do. Welcome, Zabrina and Joe Jer, you are Team Number Four!

Jeena is wondering if the other teams are lost. Not likely, given about half of them have already checked in.

Fran tells San that as long as they don't finish last, they stay in the race. Genius!

Welcome, Sharon and Melody, you are Team Number Five!

SanFran and Journey are still racing to the Pit Stop. So are three other teams we haven't yet really seen much of in this sequence. We get the exact same shot of the side of SanFran's taxi that we saw about a minute or so ago.

The Portable Posse and Andy and Laura have arrived and are sprinting. In what could conceivably be called a tightly-contested footrace, Rose Portable is way ahead of everyone else, but both Andy and Laura are ahead of Jacqueline. Rose Portable reaches the mat first, but she has to wait for Jacqueline to get there before she can check in. It's hard to tell what happens next, but it looks like Laura trips over or something, because all of a sudden she's on the ground crying, and Jacqueline runs ahead. For some reason, both members of the Portable Posse fall on the mat, even though Rose Portable was standing there perfectly fine a minute ago. Welcome, Portable Posse, you are Team Number Six.

Journey and SanFran are still racing.

Andy and Laura hobble up to the mat. Welcome, you are Team Number Seven. Now go put some ice on that. Incidentally, you can now mark "honeybun", "sweetpea", and "honey" off of your Pet Name Bingo card.

Journey? Still racing. SanFran too. Journey can now see the monument.

But first, WuWho must check Antsy in. Welcome, you are Team Number Eight.

Journey has found the car park. SanFran are still looking. Supposedly.

WuWho and CobraHat wait. SanFran have found the right place and are running, as are Journey. Run, people!

CobraHat greets the team before we see them. As far as I can recall, this is only the second time in history this has happened. ["So when was the first, smartarse?" -- EmoHunk] ["Venice in the fourth US season." -- Raceguy] Welcome, SanFran, you are Team Number Nine. Just remember that ninth next time means you'll probably get eliminated. In a scene considerably darker than it is at the mat, they celebrate.

Later, Journey arrives and sad music plays. Jeena doesn't want to hear what WuWho has to say. But I do. Journey, you are last, and you are eliminated. In the same poolside interview from before, Ernie says he probably wouldn't have made it onto the race if he went with anybody else. I tend to agree, given Jeena was easily the more interesting of the two of them. Jeena starts crying. He mentions that the day they got eliminated was their tenth anniversary. Ouch. Jeena tells him to stop. He's happy he got the chance to be on the race, because not many people get to. Anyway...

Executive Producer? Michael McKay. Sequester producer? Michelle Lee. Pit Stop hotel? Not thanked. Apparently, they must have gotten angry at the size of the room service bills.

Next week: The Portable Posse continues in their attempts to act slutty in as many countries as possible. Someone thinks Sharon and Melody are sluts when they're not. There are elephants. It’s time for a beach party.


  1. From an old version of this blog, Bob:

    "Hi! Can you believe I started out writing recaps for TARA1 a while ago, and you've beaten me to the punch of actually posting them online? Oh well, I never quite finished even the first episode, and I'm enjoying yours so far.
    Just a story regarding your surprise about getting a taxi from the zoo: I went to Chiang Mai Zoo a couple of years ago, and needed a taxi back into town. There were none around, and I ended up walking around 5km before finding a tuk-tuk. Zoos can be pretty isolated, and I don't think many people actually plan on taking taxis away from them.
    Anyway, enjoying recaps in Australian English, with Lee Lin Chin references and everything!"

  2. Maybe it's just because I'm not scared of snakes, like, at ALL, but this task really looks like they were trying to do something that could be interpreted as both cool and scary, and that didn't involve heights.

    If you are... not great with snakes, as I am, then this task would have been terrifying. Seriously, the only thing worse for me would have been the crocodile task from TAR4 - either part of it, I'm not convinced I would have been able to hold the camera and point and click, let alone give food to the damn thing.

    I was actually watching the snake task from the safety of my living room several thousand km away and still starting to hyperventilate.

    And seconding the enjoying recaps, and particularly the Lee Lin Chin reference!