After a two week break The Amazing Race 2012 last night picked up right where we left off. Having secured first place in Baku with their Fast Forward challenge, Rachel and Dave got a head start on the trip to Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, the highest mountain in Africa at 19,000 feet above sea level (except the contestants actually only went to 8,000 feet above sea level).
It was a very close run stage. All six teams ended up competing in the final challenge at the same time. Unfortunately, instead of making them more competitive it just seemed to make them whine more. They all have the million dollar prize in their sights now so everyone else is just an obstacle to overcome.
Art and J.J. have grown tired of Rachel and Brendon following them around instead of figuring out their own routes. Part reality striking home, part paranoia, perhaps.
There was more fighting, too. OK, J.J. did expose the Feds in their lie about being school teachers to everyone, but I still don’t get why Nary and Jamie responded so badly. It was their own fault anyway. Plus they only lied about their jobs because they thought it would be an advantage to be underestimated. Well, they haven’t done that well so far, have they? They couldn’t even fake their kindergarten teach alibi effectively. They need to take lessons on faking from cry-baby Rachel.
“Yes, I’m 38 and I still somehow look younger than you. Get your nose done before you get your boobs done and do everybody a favor next time.”
But all that was just distraction. The real business of the night was the teams arriving at Kilimanjaro. It was a stunning setting for this stage of The Amazing Race.
Teams Border Patrol and Big Brother got to the second much smaller airstrip before the other teams and scored seats on the first flight to the Kilimanjaro region. Team Army and Team Kentucky arrived next, grabbing a flight that left just a mere 15 minutes later.
A Masai warrior in an SUV then offered the a choice between challenges in marksmanship or courtship. The marksmanship challenge looked way more fun. It involved throwing a club at clay animals attached to a spinning bike wheel. The courtship challenge looked shockingly easy. Each team member had to jump in place for a minute. I prefer a movie and dinner for a first date, personally, but there we are.
Team Kentucky and Team Big Brother all performed the jumping with boring ease.
The marksmanship challenge took the rest of the teams longer, but Rachel and Dave were first, despite doing it while bickering constantly. Art was sheepish to be appalling at this task. He said he was better at shooting guns than throwing sticks. We believe him. Honest!
Nary and Jamie completed the marksmanship challenge fastest. But since they started in last place, it was pretty much immaterial.
The hardest part of the whole leg wasn’t the challenges; it was getting around on bikes in the thin air of the Serengeti. Vanessa was particularly prone to crashing.
The final challenge involved setting up a safari tent with a metal frame and a working shower. Dave was convinced his army training and OCD would help him complete this challenge quickly. Team Kentucky and Big Brother arrived next, with Team Border Patrol lagging behind because they had headed in the wrong direction first.
Ralph snapped at Vanessa and told her “You realize we’re out, right? So enjoy this,” but he soon softened up and assured her, “I’m not upset at you, I just hate losing.”
Art and J.J. caught up a bit because they were actually good at pitching a tent together. J.J. even had time to take a dig at Rachel and Dave fighting, saying,
“That’s why we’re not here with our wives.”
Struggling massively with putting up their tent, Nary and Jamie set equal rights for men and women back decades by explaining to the camera that they were behind the other teams because they were the only one without a man to help them with the tent’s tall frame.
Rachel and Dave finished the tent challenge first to give Team Army their fourth first place finish, a trip to Costa Rica and a much-needed boost to their strained relationship.
Mark and Bopper secured second place for the first time ever. Team Big Brother came third. After having assumed they were out at one point, Ralph and Vanessa managed to finish much earlier than Nary and Jamie and easily took fifth place but the feds actually took their impending loss with dignity and finished the task anyway. I love how they stopped to watch an elephant herd.
But back at the finish mat there was a surprise: this was another non-elimination round! I was glad to see the feds stick around anther week but I really think it’s time for them to drop the kindergarten teacher ruse now. No one believes it.