The Amazing Race 23: Episode 9
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
November 25, 2013

Did we find the Afghanimals creepy? Of course. They kept trying to smell our hair.

Previously on The Amazing Race, the ultra-bitchy chick exacted revenge upon the women who had slighted her. Baseball wives Nicky & Kim had the audacity to plan ahead at an airport during an earlier leg. Their attempt at “tactics” proved divisive, as former allies Tim & Marie broke up with them just as they once did with each other. Suffice to say that Marie must get unfriended on Facebook a lot.

Tonight’s leg begins the way most episodes have. Travis & Nicole were first to arrive on the last leg, and therefore they will be first to leave. They take a moment to enjoy their new Ford Explorers, which they dutifully state are spacious and perfect for their family. With their forced endorsement over, they will depart at 12:38 a.m.

Their clue tells them that they will be taking a flight to Bandung, Indonesia, where the contestants will then proceed to something called Ram Arena. The show takes a turn for the religious, but not in the “fake Coach on Survivor” way, when Travis & Nicole discuss how certain unnamed players on the Race (let’s call them Marie & Tim and the Afghanimals) behave in loathsome fashion, believing that it’s okay to discard their ethics the moment they start the competition. Travis & Nicole want to be the “beacons” that show how it’s possible to play the game without lying, cheating or otherwise playing in a less than honorable fashion. So far, so good, guys.

Jason & Amy are only 14 minutes behind, and mention that they want to play the same kind of game as Travis & Nicole and want to remain teamed with them as long as they possibly can. As for Tim & Marie, who are about 20 minutes after Jason & Amy, they note that their weakness is their “decision making,” and we certainly cannot argue the point. They next fight about which one of them is right more often and surprise, surprise, Marie says it’s her. She adds that her former lover has made more mistakes during the race than she has. We guess that if Marie does her own performance evaluations, she gets sixes across the board – and the top score is only a five.

At the airport, we learn that everyone will be bunched onto the same flight, so those departure times didn’t really mean anything. Still, we are amused when Leo & Jamal confess that they overslept, although they try to pass it off as waiting to depart with Ally & Ashley. Guys, if you’re going to try to pull this stunt, ask them to meet you in your hotel room. The Afghanimals say that they want to ask Travis & Nicole why they U-Turned them, because they feel like they were undeserving of such treatment because they’ve played a “nice” game so far. To their credit, Travis & Nicole tell them that they U-Turned the Afghanimals because they lied about their own usage of the previous U-Turn. Leo & Jamal think that the doctors will eventually have to turn on Jason & Amy, which should knock them down an ethical notch or two.

For the first clue in this race, the teams are required to pick up two rams (not trucks but goats) and take them to a festival. Once the rams have butted heads, they will load them onto a truck and collect their next clue. Travis & Nicole are first to arrive, followed by Ally & Ashley. Both of these two teams make it through the task without incident and are directed to go to Rancaekek Station, where they will travel by train back to Bandung. Their clue will be on the train platform. Of the remaining teams, we have the Afghanimals, then Tim & Marie and finally Jason & Amy.

Travis & Nicole and Ally & Ashley are on the same train together, and are all kind of excited to be traveling together for the first time… that is, until Leo & Jamal arrive. The Afghanimals and the ice chicks high five each other when they realize that no other teams will be boarding the train.

Back at the goat area, Tim & Marie finish the task first but have their taxi break down, allowing Jason & Amy to get out ahead of them. Jason & Amy suggest that it’s karmic punishment for stealing their taxi earlier, but find out that that’s not the case when both teams have to wait for a second train that won’t leave for another hour.

At the Bandung train station, the Detour gives teams the option between serving an elaborate meal to the “treasured” Indonesian elephant or take birds to a singing competition. “For the Elephants” requires the teams to collect the proper ingredients, then go to a zoo and feed them. “For the Birds” has the teams picking up two Peach-faced Lovebirds from a market and take them to a competition arena and encourage the birds to sing. The Afghanimals choose the elephants, while Ally & Ashley and the doctors go with the birds.

Somehow, Ally & Ashley wind up at the zoo prematurely, but both Leo & Jamal and Travis & Nicole are where they’re supposed to be and starting their tasks. The hockey girls are looking for someone who speaks English, but they seem almost desperately lost. They finally figure out that they’ve gone to the wrong place, but worry that they’ve lost a significant amount of time.

Jason & Amy and Tim & Marie have finally boarded their train, but they’re both incredibly demoralized.

The doctors are really enjoying their bird competition, and are first to complete the detour when their happy little lovebirds break into song. It’s a wonderful, positive atmosphere and the energy in the crowd is incredibly uplifting. It was the perfect task for these two.

Their next clue directs them Saung Angklung Udjo, where new instructions await. Ally & Ashley wind up working on the elephant task despite having said they would do the bird detour earlier, and mention that they will keep their taxi around so that they can carry their fruit back to the zoo. Meanwhile, the Afghanimals are at the zoo and getting the food distributed.

Jason & Amy and Tim & Marie have finally arrived, and they both are choosing the elephant task. Marie says that she wanted to see the elephants; therefore, they went with elephants.

Back to the hockey girls and they’re flipping out. The task is too hard for them because they have to carry the food and it’s too heavy. They consider switching, but it becomes a massive fight in the taxi. It’s the first time that these two happy-go-lucky ladies have exchanged angry words that we can remember.

Leo & Jamal’s elephant enjoys its meal, and they run into Ally & Amy coming into the zoo. The girls are struggling with loading their food so they can transport it to the elephants, and the Afghanimals kindly give them some assistance. These guys are annoying, but they do hold pretty steady to their alliance with the hockey dancers.

The doctors are way out ahead and have already arrived at the next clue, which is a Roadblock. Teams have to assemble a traditional Indonesian instrument with bamboo sticks. They have to be put together in proper order and once they’re done, a correct octave has to be played. Against Travis’s better judgment, Nicole takes the task. We know from a previous music assignment that he’s solid in this category, and he’s not so sure she understands what she has to do here. They seem a little sheepish about it in confessional, but say that they were so far ahead, they didn’t worry too much.

Back at the elephant challenge, Jason & Amy are gathering their ingredients and they had a blanket with them that was useful in grouping all their items together in an organized way and helped them to carry them in one trip. This allows them to get out a little ahead of Lady Bitchface, but not enough for comfort.

With Nicole struggling as expected at the Roadblock, the Afghanimals have now arrived. They’re as obnoxious as ever, but the kids playing the music seem unable to see through their insincerity.

Jason & Amy and Tim & Marie are at the elephants and have all their items – it’s just a matter of keeping them on the carts. Unfortunately for Ally & Ashley, their cab driver wouldn’t let them bring over the sugarcane, so they had to return to get it. The ice girls are now in last place.

Nicole finally figures out what she was doing wrong (four notes instead of the eight needed to make an octave), but she doesn’t have the musical sense to put the notes in order. That allows Leo a chance to get ahead, but he’s told that his musical stand is put together wrong, too.

It’s almost all even at the Roadblock area now with the arrival of Tim & Marie and Jason & Amy. Despite the fact that it’s her turn to take the Roadblock, Marie feels like Tim will do better at a musical challenge so he takes it. Amy takes it for their team.

Leo finishes the challenge, which causes Nicole to panic and chase after him in an effort to see what he has done with his stand. There’s a brutal edit where she mentions that they want to set a great example for their children while she tries to steal someone else’s work. Even though it’s not technically illegal, we doubt very much whether she’s proud of herself at this moment.

For their part, the Afghanimals are annoyed, and though it pains us to say it, rightfully so. This is the person who just U-Turned them, so why in the world would they want to offer them any assistance? C’mon, Nicole. Don’t make us take their side.

Leo & Jamal are directed to go to the Bosscha Observatory for the Pitstop, while Tim has now finished the Roadblock task and justifies Marie’s instincts. Evil is winning all around this episode. The Afghanimals win the leg and collect $7,500 apiece. Tim & Marie are right behind them. Leo & Jamal celebrate Travis & Nicole’s fall from grace, which reminds us why we don’t like them.

Amy finishes the task and she and Jason are off to the Pitstop. Nicole is just terrible at this task, but Jason & Amy hold true to their alliance and Amy goes to help her. Honestly, this is a pretty embarrassing showing by Nicole. She has completely turtled under the pressure and Travis is horrified. It’s alarming this late in the race that Marie’s instincts are better than Travis’s (or Nicole’s).

Amy stays to help Nicole until Ally & Ashley arrive, but her assistance is enough to get Nicole through the task. The hockey girls know that they’re in last place, so they just try to have the most fun they can, which is a nice turnaround from the meltdown earlier in the day. When they arrive at the Pitstop, Phil informs them that they have… wait for it… wait for it… been eliminated from the race! We’re not celebrating their elimination at all. They’re nice girls. But at long last, the David & Kim streak of only recapping non-elimination legs has come to a close. Have fun with next week’s non-elimination, Daron!