|Posted on Mar 16, 2014 11:00pm|
BRENCHELS FINISH LAST
As the Race continued in Malaysia, teams enjoyed the nightlife in Kuala Lumpur where cowboys Jet & Cord’s bartending skills won them the leg while newlyweds Brendon & Rachel came in last but were spared elimination.
TAKE A LEAP
Departing the Pit Stop in first place at 9:06am, father and son Dave & Connor ripped open their clue instructing them to travel to Prince Phillip Park and search for the Murut Long House. A wrong turn by father and son’s taxi on the way to the park allowed second place cowboys Jet & Cord, only two minutes behind, to reach the Pit Stop first and find a Roadblock. The Murut people of Borneo are part of the hill tribes who keep their culture alive with competitions. In this Roadblock, one team member had to jump on a bamboo trampoline called a lansaran and grab a flag, adjusted for each racer’s height, hanging above. Once they grabbed a flag they would receive their next clue. Entering the long house and tying a traditional fabric around his waist, a barefoot Cord stepped onto the stiff bamboo trampoline lined around the edges by Murut men gently moving it up and down. As the Murut locals made the trampoline bounce, Cord, on the count of three, made a leap but narrowly missed the flag above him. After a third failure, Cord had to step aside to allow Connor who stood waiting a chance for three attempts of his own. But he only needed one. On Connor’s first try, he soared towards the ceiling of the long house and swiped the flag with ease. Dave & Connor ripped open their clue instructing them to fly on one of three flights to the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, and search for their next clue at the intersection adjacent to the Petronas Towers. With another six failures, Cord watched as Leo jumped up and grabbed a flag on his fourth attempt. Soon, nine attempts turned into thirty-five as Cord began working up a sweat with each missed opportunity. On the frustrating experience, Cord later commented, “All you had to do was bend your knees and jump up there. You have to gather up all your energy and put it all out on the line again and again.” Finally, on the forty-seventh attempt, Cord timed the trampoline just right launching him high enough to reach and grasp the flag. Even with Cord’s “cord”-ination (pun courtesy of Jet) problems, the cowboys got seats on the first flight with Dave & Connor and Leo & Jamal.
With mother and son, Margie & Luke, and Harlem Globetrotters, Flight Time & Big Easy, taking the only available spots on the second flight, Jessica stepped onto the trampoline just after Caroline figured out the trick of being in rhythm with the hard, wooden platform to send her flying up to reach a flag. Trying to use advice from the Murut locals to bend her knees and follow the rhythm, the athletic Jessica couldn’t get enough height to touch the flag, but she came close on several attempts. However, after more than eighteen jumps, the constant pounding and sliding of Jessica’s bare feet on the rough bamboo took its toll. With a pained look on her face, Jessica darted off the trampoline and asked to have her foot wrapped. A closer inspection by John revealed large, angry red blisters covering Jessica’s feet and toes making jumping a grueling experience. Jessica later commented on how scared she was because “your feet are really important during this race.” After receiving medical attention and wrapping the blisters, a determined Jessica returned to the trampoline, grabbed the flag, and burst into tears of relief and exhaustion as John hugged and congratulated her. In last place, Rachel bounced on the trampoline but when it came time to actually jump, she continually slipped and landed squarely on her behind. Her problem: pantyhose. Under the sequins, Rachel proudly wears pantyhose, but the sheer hosiery caused her to lose her footing. Once she removed the pantyhose, Rachel soared to the top of the long house and got her flag. She and Brendon joined Caroline & Jennifer and Jessica & John on the third flight scheduled to depart 45 minutes after the second flight.
After the Afghanimals, cowboys, and Dave & Connor departed on the first flight to Kuala Lumpur, the most dreaded word appeared at the gate of Margie & Luke and the Globetrotters: Delayed. Their flight was delayed 50 minutes meaning it now would land five minutes later than the third flight. A bummed Flight Time notes, “The second flight has become the third flight.” Caroline & Jennifer, Brendon & Rachel, and Jessica & John all cheered as they walked onto the tarmac and boarded their plane ahead of the Globetrotters and Margie & Luke. In the waiting area, Luke appeared stressed, remembering how he and his mother lost head to head against the Globetrotters in season 18. Margie worried, “It’s happening again.”
IN THE CLUB
Landing at 9:42pm, the Afghanimals, cowboys, and Dave & Connor jumped into taxis heading to the intersection of Jalan Ampang where the beautifully lit, majestic Petronas Twin Towers served as a stunning backdrop. Reaching the cluebox first, the Afghanimals ripped open their clue to find a Detour having the choice of Mix Master or Master Mix. For both Detour choices, teams had to join the party at Skybar. Mix Master required teams to choose a scratch coach and learn how to DJ. After they practiced they had to head to the DJ performance area to show off their skills. If they failed, they had to go to the end of whatever line had formed and try again. When their performance was up to scratch, the DJ would hand them their next clue. Master Mix required teams to properly pour a pyramid of cocktails without mixing colors. Running into the Trader’s Hotel lobby and riding the elevator to the 33rd floor, the Afghanimals excitedly anticipated the party they were about to enter. When the elevator doors opened, Leo & Jamal heard the thumping beats of the club and wove their way through the dancing crowd to the bar for Master Mix. The Afghanimals watched and studied as a professional bartender stacked seven glasses, poured red and yellow mixes into alternating glasses, shook them up, and then poured the entire stack simultaneously over a pyramid (three on top, four on the bottom) of martini glasses. When the glasses were perfectly poured, the result would be four red drinks on the bottom row of the pyramid and three yellow drinks on the top row. If the colors mixed at all, they would have to start over.
POURING A VICTORY
With the cowboys and Dave & Connor joining the Afghanimals at the bar, all three teams felt confident in their pouring abilities but their first attempts all ended with spilled alcohol, shattered martini glasses, and orange colored drinks from improper mixing. Jet later joked, “We wouldn’t make very good bartenders. Between what we broke and spilled, we would owe them.” When Connor had all seven cups hovering over the empty martini glasses somewhat askew, Dave coached his son to make sure the arc of the glasses lined up properly but even with the advice Connor produced orange drinks on the top row when some red cranberry juice dribbled into the bright yellow liquid. However, after more spills and annoyance, Jet, on his tenth attempt with Cord watching at his side, finally made the perfect pour: 4 red drinks on the bottom, 3 yellow drinks on top. The excited cowboys ripped open their clue sending them to the Pit Stop at Batu Caves. Arriving at the Batu Caves in first place, cowboys Jet & Cord secured their second win of the season. For the victory, they were rewarded with a trip for two from Travelocity to London. The always droll Cord joked, “We’re like butter. We’re on a roll.”
MIX IT UP
With the remaining five teams landing in Kuala Lumpur and heading to Skybar, cousins Leo & Jamal made eleven attempts at bar before deciding they may never achieve a perfect pour. Instead of wasting more time pouring, the Afghanimals ran to the DJ practice area to being their tutorial in record scratching. Jamal described the task as Simon Says, “You had to exactly mimic whatever you hear.” When they heard a series of syncopated scratches, they had to match the exact rhythm. Sensing this was much more achievable than pouring drinks, Jamal complained, “We wasted forty minutes out there.” However, their initial confidence eroded quickly when each had trouble trying to replicate the beats they heard. What little confidence they had left turned into pure panic when engaged couple Jessica & John, country singers Caroline & Jennifer, and Harlem Globetrotters Flight Time & Big Easy entered the DJ practice area. A glum Jamal noted, “Our first flight didn’t mean anything, basically.” With Dave & Connor making a perfect pour on their twelfth try for second place, newlyweds Brendon & Rachel and mother and son Margie & Luke walked up to the bar. Rachel hoped her years of experience as a Vegas cocktail waitress would pay off here, but her resume didn’t extend to bartending. She and Brendon tried pouring the stack of cups together, but that resulted in seven martini glasses in various shades of orange. Of course, the newlyweds’ troubles seemed under control when compared to Margie & Luke at the other end of the bar. The mother and son knocked over martini glasses and spilled liquor everywhere as Luke began showing familiar signs of frustration he exhibited the previous times he ran the race.
FEELING THE BEAT
After almost no practice time, the Globetrotters thought they were ready and walked over to the DJ performance area overlooking the dance floor with the Afghanimals right behind them. When the DJ started up the beats, the crowd cheered as the Globetrotters listened and tried to mimic each increasingly difficult rhythm. The Globetrotters made it through the very straightforward first beat with no problems, but Flight Time couldn’t land the second, more difficult, syncopated beat, so the resident DJ sent them back to the practice room, shouting, “Go to school!” Stepping into the DJ booth, Jamal told Leo, “One time, baby.” The Afghanimals appeared focused as they carefully listened to the beats and continually mimicked each one perfectly. With cheers of approval all around them, the Afghanimals completed the first four beats successfully before they started to relax and feel the rhythm and love from the crowd. Finally, Leo & Jamal reached the seventh and last beat. Once Jamal scratched the last beat of the pattern, he and Leo roared in exhilaration because they knew they nailed it to ensure a third place finish.
Watching Caroline & Jennifer succeed as DJs on their first attempt to secure fourth place and Jessica & John earn their DJ stripes after several tries in fifth place, Luke’s frustration at failing with his mother at the bar only increased. By the 22th attempt, Margie later commented, “I just couldn’t get it. It kept dripping. We just didn’t know how to do it.” After the 24th attempt, Luke’s frustration turned to despair when he witnessed the Globetrotters finally earn their scratching degree in the DJ booth after many failures in sixth place leaving only newlyweds Brendon & Rachel still at Skybar with him and his mother. Luke later admitted he began thinking about the Tea Challenge from Season 18, which ultimately ended his Race in tears. This only managed to increase his frustration and concern at finishing the Detour. When his next pour produced yet another row of failed orange drinks, Luke smashed the seven cups on the ground in anger and stalked off. Margie marched up to her defiant son and shouted, “Stop it! That is not acceptable behavior.” She also made Luke clean his mess up as she later commented, “Luke just lets that emotion and stress overtake him.”
Seeing Luke become overwhelmed by his frustration and anger, newlyweds Brendon & Rachel tried to help out their competitor, whom they also considered their friend. In their first attempt to brighten Luke’s dark mood, the Brenchels waved their hands to him, the ASL sign for applause. When Margie & Luke failed on their 25th attempt, Luke suggested taking the time penalty, an idea Margie immediately floated to an equally frustrated Brendon & Rachel. But Rachel instantly shot the idea down, rallying everyone, “We can do this. We need to race this out. I want to be here more than anything in the world.” Rachel’s pep talk and ensuing hugs did wonders to inspire Margie who admitted that before the Race, she considered Rachel “the biggest crybaby ever.” However, the biggest change after talking to Rachel was Luke’s attitude. Margie said, “That’s what it took to regain his composure.” With Luke guiding the cups as they hovered over the empty martini glasses for a 26th time, Margie finally made a perfect pour that sent Luke jumping for joy and caused Margie to scream with excitement. Luke admitted he was happy that Rachel decided to decline the penalty while Margie gave credit to the sequined newlywed for turning around their evening to finish in seventh place.
NEVER GIVE UP
After more than three hours and 40 attempts, newlyweds Brendon & Rachel still seemed no closer to pouring seven drinks simultaneously. Seeing her husband look defeated, Rachel told him, “We’re not quitters, Brendon. We’re Brenchel.” Then, she asked Brendon to pray with her because she wanted to show their family that they wouldn’t give up. Holding Brendon’s hands and bowing her head, Rachel said, “Dear God, this is one of the hardest things Brendon and I have ever had to do and this sucks. If we’re gone, we’re gone, but at least we didn’t give up. Thank you for giving me Brendon because he’s the most important person in my life. No matter what, I love this guy.” With Rachel’s inspiring words, Brendon lifted the filled cups one more time and finally made a perfect pour three hours and twelve minutes after they began. Stepping onto the mat at Batu Caves, Brendon & Rachel knew they were the last team to arrive. After Rachel told Phil the experience was great, he told the shocked newlyweds that their experience wasn’t over yet. This was a non-elimination leg. On their tough leg, Rachel commented, “I think I’ve matured since the last race. With my relationship with Brendon, I realize that no matter what challenge life throws at us, we’re always partners and teammates. That’s what’s important.”
2404 ROUTE MARKERS
Roadblock: A Roadblock is a task that only one person may perform. The Murut people of Borneo are part of the hill tribes who keep their culture alive with competitions. In this Roadblock, one team member had to jump on a bamboo trampoline called a lansaran and grab a flag, adjusted for each racer’s height, hanging above. Once they grabbed the flag, they would receive their next clue.
Performed Roadblock: Cord, Connor, Leo, Caroline, Rachel, Jessica, Big Easy, Luke
Detour: A Detour is a choice between two tasks. In this Detour teams had the choice of Mix Master or Master Mix. For both Detour choices, teams had to join the party at Skybar. Mix Master required teams to choose a scratch coach and learn how to DJ. After they practiced, they had to head to the DJ performance area to show off their skills. If they failed, they had to go to the end of whatever line had formed and try again. When their performance was up to scratch, the DJ would hand them their next clue. Master Mix required teams to properly pour a pyramid of cocktails without mixing colors.
Mix Master: Leo/Jamal, Jessica/John, Caroline/Jennifer, Flight Time/Big Easy Master Mix: Jet/Cord, Dave/Connor, Margie/Luke, Brendon/Rachel
Order of Finish: 1. Jet & Cord 2. Dave & Connor 3. Leo & Jamal 4. Caroline & Jennifer 5. Jessica & John 6. Flight Time & Big Easy 7. Margie & Luke 8. Brendon & Rachel