At the very start of this episode, CBS posted an apology to any veterans or others who may have been offended by last week’s episode, a demonstration of how controversial the entire subject of Vietnam remains in America. This TAR season shaped up as an especially edgy one–last week, Communism and the Vietnam War, this week, hunting and trapping. Later episodes brought crocodiles, simulated drug trips, horror show characters, Martin Luther King, Jr., President Obama, and the Berlin Wall.
As teams start this leg in Hanoi, they’re given clues to fly to Malin, and are apparently instructed to use a specific travel agency, but they need to find out what country they’re going to on their own. Only then may they buy tickets. They use various sources: hotel Internet connections, borrowed smart phones, other teams. Alabama couple Chuck/Wynona appear to use a brute-force method with some kind of guidebook and electronic device, naming about five different countries before getting the right one–Botswana.
At the airport teams are all on the same connecting flight route to Botswana. There’s some bickering over last episode’s u-turn, but this season is–so far–relatively bicker-free. No one team, at least so far, stands out as being that couple that takes turns tearing into each other and/or other teams.
9 a.m.–the hockey players (Bates/Anthony) and country singers (Caroline/Jennifer).
9:15–You Tube star Meghan’s got white knuckles, while Joey’s got white knuckles and is complaining about how frightening the flight is. Via voiceover Katie wishes she and Max could be with any other team.
9:30–Beth/Mona, Chuck/Wynona, Pam/Winnie.
The destination is a rustic dirt airstrip, where a hut houses a bowl full of clues. Teams are instructed to drive SUVs along a marked dirt road through the bush. Along the roadside teams come to a spot where there are 21 local Bushmen arranged in 7 teams of three. There are also seven specimen jars with clues to the roadblock inside.
The clue reads, “Who wants to make new friends?” The challenge is to go scorpion-hunting with one of the Bushmen teams. Why scorpions are important to the tribesmen isn’t explained.
Bates (the bearded redheaded hockey player) and Caroline start their scorpion hunts. Caroline’s Bushmen spot a lion in the distance and scamper up a tree. Caroline doesn’t. She says later maybe she should have. The lion passes by and the Bushmen come back down.
Bates digs up a scorpion and the Bushmen, through gestures, invite him to hold it and let it pinch him before putting it in the speciman jar.
Caroline digs up a scorpion and one of her Bushmen does one of the most amazing things ever seen on “The Amazing Race.” As she describes it, “He’s putting it in his mouth, sucking on it, putting it to sleep so I can hold it.” The tribesman puts the relaxed scorpion in her hand and she puts it in her speciman jar.
Joey arrives at the roadblock and wants to make new friends, then he finds out the task involves scorpions. He’s afraid of scorpions. “I have to hold it?” he’s whining. Between the plane ride and this, he’s having a rough leg.
Most of the teams are on-course at the roadblock at the same time, and most of the tribesmen repeat the gesture of sucking on the scorpion before they let the racer hold it and put it in the jar. Once teams finish catching a scorpion, they have to give their team of Bushmen a ride to the next clue.
Next clue: detour, “fire” or “fowl.” Phil explains that the fire challenge involves having to make fire as the Bushmen do–rubbing two sticks together over tinder that includes zebra manure.
Most teams opt to try fire-making. The hockey players are first at the detour and they actually get a fire started! They get the clue to walk (or run) with their Bushmen team to the pit stop, a riverside safari resort. They make a wisecrack in their pit stop interview about how it was the “elephant poop” that did it. (They’re hockey players, they can’t be expected to know zebra from elephant, right?)
Pam/Winnie and Chuck/Wynona opt for the “fowl” challenge as soon as they pick up their detour clues. For this task, they have to have their Bushmen teams help them set and spring a guinea fowl snare. For some reason–not explained–it’s baited with an egg. When the fowl tries to peck at the egg, the noose snares it. Once the trap is set, a team member has to cluck and flap like a guinea fowl, and reach for the egg. If the snare doesn’t spring, the trap isn’t properly set and they have to start over.
Pam/Winnie and Chuck/Wynona get their snares set and sprung quickly. They and their Bushmen teams reach the pit stop in 2nd and 3rd place.
Back in the native village, the four remaining teams are still trying to make fire. Three of them give up and switch to the “fowl” task. Max/Katie decide to cont. w/ the fire challenge. However, eventually they give up and switch, too.
Joey/Meghan get their trap set and sprung, and finish 4th. Caroline/Jennifer get theirs finished, and come in 5th, getting flirty with their Bushmen team along the way.
Last teams on-course are Max/Katie and Beth/Mona. Both are having difficulty getting their traps right. However, Beth/Mona finish first and get the clue to take their Bushman friends and go to the pit stop. There’s some suspense, as first they misread the clue and think they’re supposed to drive. However, when they reach the parking lot they see no one else drove. They still reach the pit stop well ahead of Max/Katie, who are saved by this being a non-elimination round. “The honeymoon continues,” says Katie. “The tent’s gonna be rocking,” wisecracks Max.