As TAR Season 23’s tenth episode begins, Phil explains that teams are departing from an astronomical observatory in Java, part of Indonesia. The field begins this leg in the following order: Afghanimals Jamal/Leo, gym owner Marie and her ex-boyfriend Tim, dating couple Jason/Amy (who the others call “Team Boston”) and married couple Nicole/Travis.
This episode ekes drama out of grilled snake, hard-boiled eggs, and make-up. First clue directs teams to the King Cobra House for a snack. Everyone has to eat an entire serving of the house specialty–grilled cobra. What makes this task especially unsettling is that the roadside shack’s only seating puts diners nose-to-nose with tanks full of live cobras (probably tomorrow’s meals) that strike through the glass.
Jamal/Leo are first on the scene and when Amy/Jason and Nicole/Travis arrive, the guys pretend Marie/Tim have left already. Actually the shack is at the north entrance of a camping resort, and Marie/Tim have been delayed–their taxi went to the south entrance by mistake. This puts the ex-couple in last place for most of the leg.
Travis and his wife agree the snake actually tastes good, in a tastes-like-chicken way. The three front-running teams get their next clues, directing them to a volcanic hot springs, where a roadblock clue instructs them to hard-boil eggs.
For this RB one member from each team must take two trays (60 eggs total) to a boiling spring, use a plastic basket on the end of a long pole to hard-boil one dozen eggs, then take them back up the trail. A man will cut each racer’s one dozen eggs open, and if all are hard-boiled (not soft-boiled), he’ll hand over the next clue envelope. The trail to the springs takes about 8 min. and needs to be traveled on the back of a motorcycle partway and then on foot–meaning the chances of someone breaking a load of eggs is good. Everybody avoids that, however.
Jamal, Travis, and Jason do the RB together. First they try boiling the eggs for about 8-10 min. That’s not long enough. They have to go back to the springs, and this time they wait 15-20 min. That’s long enough and the three teams get their next clue.
Back at the snake shack, Marie first says she can’t eat a cobra. Then she decides she doesn’t want to be remembered as the girl that couldn’t eat a snake. Tim comments her sense of competition overrode her fear.
Marie/Tim arrive at the RB as the other teams are finishing. Marie says she can’t hard-boil eggs. However, she needs to do this RB to stay even. When she gets to the hot spring, first she tries holding the basket over the steam while she tries to remember her mother’s cooking. She finally figures out she needs to boil–not steam–the eggs. She leaves them in the water extra-long just to make sure. She competes the RB on her first try.
After the RB comes a choice of detours. One option is for teams to go to what looks like a bridal salon, where team members must make each other up in the very theatrical style of a traditional Javanese bride. Both women and men have to get the same make-up job. Men have to be clean-shaven first. It’s a look that takes hours–including cosmetics, paste-on jewels, wig, hair ornaments, earrings. Somewhat surprisingly all the mixed teams choose it, and the men do a minimum of complaining. The biggest complainer is actually Marie–she couldn’t eat a snake, she couldn’t boil eggs, now she’s complaining she can’t do make-up.
Leo/Jamal choose the other detour, which is to search a field of tea for a pair of large harvesting shears. They have to put on traditional Indonesian costumes and are warned to watch out for snakes that may be under the plants. They’re amazingly hopeless at this task, however. They find a flag and wonder if that’s what they’re looking for. They spend two hrs. going all through the field, can’t find any shears, and decide to switch.
However, when the men reach the make-up salon, they find three things: (1) other teams have been there for hrs. and still look terrible, (2) those other teams have female members, while the Afghanimals know absolutely nothing about what to do with make-up, and (3) they’ll have to shave, and they’ll take “forever,” as Jamal puts it. Back to the tea field!
Amy/Jason are the first to finish their make-up and get the next clue–for the pit stop, which is down a 500-step flight of stairs from the top to the bottom of a high waterfall. The dating couple win the leg–their first–and a trip to Cancun.
Marie/Tim finally get their make-up approved, and Nicole/Travis are right after them. Not knowing what’s up with the Afghanimals, both teams wonder if they’re racing for last place. Their taxis swap leads a couple of times.
At the waterfall, a footrace reminiscent of the Season 2 finale ensues. Travis and Tim tie at the mat, but Marie outruns Nicole. That makes Tim/Marie 2nd and Travis/Nicole 3rd.
Jamal and Leo estimate they spent about 5 hrs. total going through the tea field. Jamal finally finds a pair of shears in a spot Leo checked several times–and it was one of the first rows they searched, too. They head for the pit stop with the knowledge they could have finished the task in less than an hr.
At the waterfall Phil gives the male team the not-unexpected news that this is a non-elimination round and they’ll have to perform a speed bump during the next leg. So the outcome of TAR Season 23 is beginning to take shape–will the three power couples be the ones to cross the finish line, or will the Afghanimals muscle one of the couples out?