The Amazing Race Season 28 Recap - Episode 8
Salt That Sand
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
April 25, 2016

Magic together.

Previously on The Amazing Race, a team finished in last place for the second time. The next sentence we write is infuriating to us. They’re still not eliminated. The worse news is that it’s not somebody that we’d like to see hanging around in the competition. It’s team Crying Jag, the saddest sacks in the sack race. After being saved three episodes ago, the mother/son team of Sheri & Cole edged their way up to fifth place in the following leg. Alas, this brief run of almost-competence proved illusory last week, when they again finished in last out of all remaining teams. It was a non-elimination leg. We hate this show and everything it stands for.

The other noteworthy event from the episode was the implosion of engaged choreographers Dana & Matt. If The Amazing Race handed out technical fouls, she’d be suspended through the playoffs. We’re not even clear on what upset her so much. All we know for certain is that it was entirely Matt’s fault and he should feel deeply ashamed of himself for some reason. Matt, buddy, listen to our special message: In the immortal words of the Northern Pikes, “she ain’t pretty, she just looks that way.” There are other women in skin-tight dance outfits, dude.

Our first team to leave this evening is once again the Frisbee duo Brodie & Kurt. They have now one exactly half of the legs thus far. Quietly lost in their dominance is an emerging challenger. Burnie & Ashley, aka Team Rooster Teeth, have finished second in three consecutive legs and top three in five out of the last seven. They’re peaking at the right moment, which is precisely what Kelsey & Joey, the news anchors, did on their way to victory last season. Pacesetters don’t always fare well on The Amazing Race.

Tonight’s first clue is sending teams 4,600 miles around the world to Bali, Indonesia. Once they arrive, they’ll go to the most photographed temple in the region to retrieve their next instructions. Presumably, because of the distance, everyone will be bunched together on one plane, which means that Sheri & Cole get no big disadvantage for the non-elimination. Admittedly, the Speedbumps have been more difficult in recent seasons.

The guys bemoan the fact that they used their Express Pass, though it’s unlikely to come back to bite them nearly as badly as last year’s Tanner & Josh, who allowed their obsession with Green Team Justin & Diana to distract them into using it at precisely the wrong time. Interestingly, Burnie & Ashley note that they are the only team that knows Brodie & Kurt had to use their Express Pass. We’re not sure what the tactical benefit is to them not sharing that info with the other teams, so we’ll be curious to see how Rooster Teeth plays this.

We see a brief glimpse of airport drama, but it’s fake. All teams will be on the same flight. It’s really starting to get aggravating to see teams build solid leads to no avail. We appreciate that the producers want the Race to be competitive, but we also want to see people get what they deserve.

When teams arrive at the temple, there are numbers that they’ll pick up. Each number is associated with a corresponding departure time. There are two for 6:15 a.m., and they go to Brodie & Kurt and… Sheri & Cole. Ugh. Remember what we said in the last paragraph? Yeah.

At their designated departure time, teams will search for a “traditional Balinese offering.” Burnie & Ashley will be going at 6:30, although they amusingly try to get Brodie & Kurt to trade numbers with them. Tyler & Korey will join them, which means 6:45 is left to Zach & Rachel and Dana & Matt. Dana’s body language is… not positive.

The first clue of the day instructs teams to deliver two different types of offerings to two different locations - the Pura Enjung Galuh Temple and Tanah Lot. And how do you find a temple? If you’re Brodie & Kurt, you look for monks, which you’d think would be a good tactic. Unfortunately, these monks have nothing to do with the offering they’re delivering, so they’ve messed up pretty significantly in the early going.

Then again, Sheri & Cole just wander around aimlessly until they muddle on a group of chanting monks. They go to the center of their circle and wonder what’s next, but the mother/son team is also in the wrong place. Brodie & Kurt get directions to the proper temple, but they see upon arriving that the second set of teams is leaving and fast on their heels.

After delivering their offering to the correct monks, Brodie & Kurt are each given… a giant snake to wrap around their necks. Yes, they’re live. Yes, they’re huge, particularly Brodie’s. We hope they’re not hungry. As the other teams receive their snakes, one of the monks tells them, “Have fun but stay calm.” Everyone’s pretty okay with it except for Korey.

Having now delivered their snakes to the other temple, Brodie & Kurt are now directed to go half a mile past… the Bat Temple. No, this is not the vacation home of Bruce Wayne, but actually a cave full of real, live bats. But it’s a bit of a swerve, because the bats are really just a landmark to get them to their next destination. The guys have a bit of trouble deciding which way to go, which basically allows Sheri & Cole, Tyler & Korey and Burnie & Ashley to catch up to them. They are all racing for the same location.

Zach & Rachel and Matt & Dana are also participating in today’s race, apparently. They deliver their snakes without much incident (although none of them like the snakes the way Sheri & Cole did) and we quickly leave them behind to return to our front-runners. The top four are still in a tight group, which allows them to herd toward their next clue. It indicates that it’s time for a Roadblock, and we should note that Burnie & Ashley mentioned earlier that they’ve been trying to stay very even in who takes on the task, meaning that now that they are close to the end, they can strategically choose the best person for the challenge. This stands in stark opposition to Brodie & Kurt, as Kurt has taken on the majority of these Roadblocks for their team (and seems to be the better performer of the two).

For this challenge, teams must first collect seawater and then pour it onto beds of black volcanic sand, allowing the water to evaporate. Next, they will go to a hollowed out coconut tree, where the brine from this process has been able to crystallize. After they have filled four bags with salt, they’ll move on to the next portion of the Race.

Brodie & Kurt strategize about who should do the challenge, and we see that Burnie & Ashley seem to be onto something. Brodie is hesitant and cautious. Kurt senses this and just takes over. This means that Brodie will have to do the next challenges. Tyler takes the task for his team, while Sheri & Cole are directed to their Speedbump. They’ll have to return to the Bat Temple, where they’ll need to locate a guy who is effectively “meals on wheels.” Once they identify him, they will need to prepare and sell 10 breakfasts and also eat one themselves. As we said, the Speedbumps have definitely gotten more challenging. This one will take some time.

The Roadblock itself looks pretty tough. The water gathering portion of the the task is hard because the water is both heavy and the waves are tempestuous enough that collecting significant amounts of liquid is nearly impossible. While this is going on, we learn that Kurt is a stage three colon cancer survivor, making his physical domination throughout this Race all the more impressive.

Zach & Rachel have arrived for the Roadblock, and Rachel decides to take the task for her team. Oops. Ashley’s face says it all, actually. This is simply not a great task for smaller people - it’s actually pretty tough for Tyler as well, though he’s taking the approach of filling his water sacks up only as much as he can handle, figuring that a steady approach will work better than killing himself to try to finish quickly.

After downing their very icky-looking hot breakfast soup, Sheri & Cole have finished their Speedbump and are headed back over to the Roadblock. As Cole burps, they wonder if they just ate goat testicle. We don’t really want to know the answer to that question.

As expected, Rachel is struggling, both with the heaviness of the load and the sunburn on her shoulders. Burnie is the first to finish with the front half of the task, followed quickly by Kurt. Burnie jokes that Kurt traditionally doesn’t do that well in these things, which makes the Frisbee dude laugh. It’s all good-natured competition, which is pretty great to watch.

While he watches his wife struggle, Zach muses that he hopes that either Sheri or Dana choose to do the task for their teams. Alas, it’s not to be. Cole and Matt will probably finish the task before Rachel despite her head start. Tyler is given the thumbs up to move on to the next portion of the challenge.

Burnie goes to the salt ladies to turn in his bags of salt, but he’s sent back to fill one of them up more. Cole finishes the first half of the Roadblock, and Matt isn’t far behind. Rachel is close to passing out.

On his second attempt, Burnie gets the thumbs up on his bags of salt, and he and Ashley will rush off to Pantai Mertasari to retrieve their next clue. Kurt takes his bags for approval, but is sent back to get a fuller one. Unfortunately, he drops one of the bags on the ground at this moment and it bursts, so he’ll have to fill another one completely. This gives Tyler a chance to break ahead, so he and Korey will be chasing Team Rooster Teeth.

At last, Rachel is able to call for the judge for her sand, and the guy mercifully gives her his approval. It doesn’t really look like she has it fully complete, but she’s dying enough out there. Let her move on.

Kurt’s woes continue when he goes back for a second try - one of his ties on the bag has come undone, so the judge sends him back to work on it some more.

Although Burnie & Ashley are expecting a Detour at the next clue box, it actually turns out to be a Roadblock celebrating the Bali Kite Festival. Some of the kites are as much as 30 feet wide and a thousand feet long. For this Roadblock, the person who sat out on the last one is required to do this one. They’ll work with a team to build their kite and then take it out for a fly.

As Kurt continues to struggle with the salt bags (“We have man hands!” Matt rationalizes), Zach asks Brodie why they’re not using the Express Pass. Brodie doesn’t answer, but you’d think everyone will figure out what’s going on soon. Finally, Kurt gets his salt finished, which means they can go over to the beach and break the tragic news to Brodie that he’s going to have to build and fly a kite. Cole and Matt follow pretty closely behind, while Rachel is doing pretty solid work on her bags. She finishes several minutes later.

Brodie is looking at Ashley’s kite for guidance, which she takes as a compliment. Everyone figures that Sheri is going to become quickly frustrated with this challenge, but she proves them wrong, saying she likes to build things. Given Dana’s occasional struggle with details, we expect it to be challenging for her. Meanwhile, Rachel tells Zach that building the kite is like putting together a big LEGO set.

Korey finishes his kite first, and he and his team get it off the ground. It is absolutely gorgeous. Ashley is right behind him, but Tyler & Korey are first to receive the clue that instructs them to take an outrigger to their next Pit Stop, which is located on a traditional Indonesian sailing boat out in the middle of the water. They also wonder why Brodie & Kurt aren’t using their Express Pass, at which point they have the realization that they must have already played it.

“It’s just one of those challenges,” says Brodie, as he fumbles with the knots on his kite and both Sheri and Dana receive approval for their kite construction. Brodie tries to get the thumbs up for his kite, but he’s told that his knots are still wrong. Zach sees it as an opportunity to catch up. Will we really have an epic fall for the Frisbee guys? Also, more importantly, how had we not realized that Kurt was carrying the team on his shoulders?

Tyler & Korey are checked in as team number one, which means that Burnie & Ashley will get their fourth second place finish in a row. The guys have won $5,000 each, but are more excited to be back at the top. Sheri & Cole and Dana & Matt arrive at basically the same time together.

That leaves Brodie and Zach on the beach, and both guys get approval for their kites almost simultaneously. With the stakes this close, the advantage has to go to the Frisbee guys, mainly because Kurt will propel them to Phil’s boat through his sheer force of will alone. More to the point, Rachel has to be exhausted from the earlier challenge, which means rowing the catamaran is going to be really difficult for her.

Except… the guys are fighting with each other over the best way to row to the boat. They do get to the Pitstop first, but they probably only beat Zach & Rachel by 45 seconds. Because The Amazing Race wasted the non-elimination on Sheri & Cole, we lose Zach & Rachel this week. The married couple ran a solid race, but one mistake in choosing the Roadblock participant did them in. “We’ll walk the plank, Phil,” says Zach, and they jump off the boat. If you’ve gotta go out, go out with style!