OH MY GRAVY! This episode! So many twists and turns, it made my head spin. Malaysia was kind to one team while ruining another. There were lots of pretty colors, between (MORE) coconuts, flags, incense and some chill Malaysian gurus.
Steve and Allie kicked off the eighth leg of the race with only the clothes on their backs and led the pack to Penang, Malaysia. It's a good thing they were going some place warm. According to Race rules, they would have to run the rest of the race without their backpacks, which they left in the Seychelles. That is some dedication right there.
The order the teams left the islands didn't really matter, though, because all of the teams had six hours to kill before they could carry on with the race. In that time, Louie & Michael and Caite & Brent had a bit of a trash talk session about the lesbians. Louie & Michael are breaking my heart here. How could such nice guys be so mean! I think Team Stupid is rubbing off on them, in all the wrong ways.
Respectful? They'd actually want to have Brent & Caite as children!? WOLF CUBS? What kind of dumb Kool-Aid did the detectives drink to align with the most annoying team this season? Bad move, guys.
So, the teams were neck and neck on the plane to Malaysia, or as the cowboys put it "Tied for sixth, and first. Which is better than being in sixth all by ourselves." This sentiment would prove to mean absolutely nothing, as they ended up last to get a cab to the Snake Temple, where their next clue was held, so in sixth the cowboys stayed as they went into the Detour.
The Detour for this leg was Buddhist Tradition or Chinese Custom, which are culturally relevant to the country, etc. etc. etc. In Buddhist Tradition, teams had to go to a temple, carry twelve giant incense up 153 stairs, arrange them in a burner and light them on fire. In Chinese Custom, teams had to balance a 32 foot flag pole called a chingay on their foreheads across a 120 foot field without dropping it. Both involve large, cumbersome objects, both seem fairly difficult. It's about time they stepped it up with the challenges.
All the teams were on route to their respective Detours, except for Jet & Cord, who (wearing adorably high waisted jeans) couldn't find a taxi. That was until a lovely Malaysian man clearly felt bad for them and called for one on his cell phone. First to arrive at the Buddhist Tradition were the lesbians and the models. Once they got a good look at the size of the incense, they realized they would have to make multiple trips up the steep temple stairs. At most the teams could carry two at a time. Too bad Sly Stallone isn't on this season, he would have been a-ok with this task. Cue Eye of the Tiger. Meanwhile, somehow the cowboys got to Chinese Custom first, and Cord used his cowboy hatless head for the greater good. He flew through the flag challenge, and Jet followed suit shortly thereafter. They attributed their good fortune to broom balancing to pass time as kids. Who knew rural upbringings could be so useful?
And just like that, they were the first team headed for the Road Block (and their Speed Bump) at Teluk Bahang. Yes! All they needed was a decent cabbie and master broom balancing skills to get back in the race!
The last three teams (detectives, Steve & Allie, and the brothers) were scrambling around trying to figure out how to get to their Detour destinations, while the two teams working toward Buddhist Tradition kept trucking along, trying not to die from the stair climbing and boiling heat.
Jet & Cord made it to their Speed Bump, which in true Race fashion, was super easy. They had to smell some spices, pick the right tea from three choices, and deliver it to a meditating guy on a swing. Basically they had a one in three chance. And even if they screwed up twice, it wasn't like the meditating guru was far away from the spice garden. I estimate it took all of 10 minutes for them to do the Bump, and I'm not complaining. I love those guys and I was giddy to see them back on top so easily.
When Louie & Michael started their Detour, Michael exclaimed "Cardioman is back!" Which, I guess, is a really nice way of saying Louie should really quit smoking.
Steve & Allie and Dan & Jordan were all somewhere in La La Land, not in a taxi, running around on foot and at the wrong temple. For two teams who have been pretty good at navigation this whole race, I was surprised to see them both running around like headless chickens. Either Malasyia is really tough to get around, or their cab drivers are just flat out terrible. It was super difficult keeping track of who was where at what moment, because everyone kept getting lost.
Jet & Cord were first to the Road Block, which had them smashing coconuts (as if they didn't have enough of those in the last episode?) to find the right one, so they could make an offering to give to another guru hanging out in the ocean, mermaid style. Watching the racers smash coconuts seemed pretty cathartic. It was as if all the pent up anger/frustration at one another was destroyed with each exploding coconut.
While Jet & Cord smashed away, Steve & Allie finally made it to the Detour, Chinese Custom, and promptly failed at it thanks to Allie's insecurity. So off to Buddhist Tradition they went. Talk about a role reversal. They caught up with Dan & Jordan who were still trekking up and down the staircase, and battled it out for last place while the other three teams got to coconut smashing. Mike & Louie got lucky, and found a colored coconut on the second try.
But none of that mattered, at least in my head, because Jet & Cord finished first, and for the first time in 16 seasons of The Amazing Race, they had the only last-to-first-place-including-a-speed-bump finish ever. I hope they enjoy that romantic getaway to Maui! They deserve it. The lesbians and detectives predictably came in second and third, and Caite & Brent managed to not suck too hard and came in fourth.
As Dan & Jordan finished up their incense Detour, it became pretty clear that Steve & Allie, who wasted precious time by getting lost and trying Chinese Custom at first, were not going to make it, unless another team had something silly happen, like a cabbie deciding to stop for gas. Oh wait, what's that? Dan & Jordan's cabbie stopped for gas? In the middle of a fare? And a race for 1 million dollars? Sucks! Then, at the Road Block, Jordan didn't even read the clue properly (when will these contestants learn? Always. Read. The. Whole. Clue.) and had to rebuild the offering to hand off to the guru. But even that wasn't enough of a time waster for Steve & Allie to catch up.
They came up short, were the last team at Pinang Peanakan Mansion and were sent home. As a fan of the daddy/daughter team, I was sad to see them go. But I think of it more as a pity elimination than anything else. With 4-5 legs left, they were bound to run into cold weather again, and probably wouldn't have been able to handle it. Either way, it seems poetic for Steve Smith, a third base coach for the Indians, to get eliminated on Opening Day. I bet baseball missed him and will be happy to have him back!