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Shanghai to Indonesia

The reason you keep plowing through every task on The Amazing Race and never stop competing is that you never know how many other teams might be having worse problems than you are. That was definitely the case with the teams that finished at the back of the pack in tonight's leg in Indonesia. While several teams were finding their rhythm and making their way to the front, others were either hopelessly lost in the streets of Surabaya or totally befuddled by the prospect of making balloon animals.

Monster truckers Rob and Kelley had taken a big gamble by booking an earlier flight than all the other teams, but one with a four-hour layover in Hong Kong. That put them in dead last by the time they got to Indonesia, and they spent the entire leg catching up. Meanwhile, Gary and Will (well, Will, the shorter of the Mutt-and-Jeff team) had a meltdown (almost literally) while trying to make balloon animals for children at the Road Block and fell into last place. All the way from next to last, so it was kind of a short fall. Luckily for Will.

These two teams were convinced they were battling for the last safe spot in the race by the time they got to the Detour, which involved delivering large blocks of ice on a bicycle. At least, that's the option nine of the ten teams chose. When Gary and Will saw that Rob and Kelley had finished ahead of them, they gave up, refusing to run to the Pit Stop and walking their in a rather casual manner for two friends trying to win a million dollars together.

They must have been shocked into a whole new attitude when they learned from Phil that they were not last. Fortunately for them, Amy and Daniel, who had been near the top the whole time so far and left the Road Block in a comfortable fourth place, had the misfortune of hiring a taxi driver who took them so far out of the way to the next clue at Wijaya Motor Shop that they really had no chance to recover. They must have seen every shop in Surabaya with the name Wijaya on it, and there must have been a hundred of them.

So the team with arguably the greatest handicap, the fact that Amy was racing on prosthetic legs, were done in not by any physical liability but by that old race bugaboo, the incompetent cabbie. They said at the end that they could have won the race, and I think with better luck on this leg they probably could have.

Teams that stepped it up impressively on this leg included the twins, Natalie and Nadiya, who were the only ones to choose the opposite side of the Detour, which was all about sorting raw fish. Phil was quick to tell them how bad they smelled when they hugged him at the mat, but he was also happy to tell them that they had won not only this leg, but also the Express Pass, which could help them stay ahead somewhere down the line.

Next behind them were Trey and Lexi, or Team Texas as they are known to the twins. They were near the back at the start of the leg but took advantage of the fact that all teams were at the Shanghai airport together to use their strength and skills to move to the front. They were, in fact, the first team to get to the Detour and the first to finish the ice hauling half of it.

Other teams that moved from the back of the pack to near the front were Jaymes and James, the Chippendales, and Josh and Brent, the goat farmers. Dating divorcees Abbie and Ryan, who won the first leg, were fourth in this one. Rock star and lawyer James and Abba and best friends Caitlin and Brittany stayed near the middle. This early in the race, I'd hesitate to guess whether they will go up or down, but they need to make a move quickly or they could get left behind.

The first task on this leg, by the way, was the somewhat pointless race that each team had to perform on a motorcycle against a team of bulls yoked together. It didn't seem to matter how fast they went or how close they finished, because they all came out of the task in the same order they entered. I'm not even sure why this task was included, because so little of it was shown and it had no effect on the outcome. It must have been fun for the teams, though.

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