Danza, Esquire, and the Frats are headed for the route marker. Frank and Margarita are first to the monastery, where they open the Roadblock clue. This week's task is for a "cat lover." Frank takes it. Turns out this particular monastery comes with its own supply of tigers, and the next clue is in an urn that's on the other side of their Tiger Pit. Phil brings as much drama as he can to the words "pit full of tigers," but he's working with limited material here. You know, I'm surprised they even paid for Phil's plane tickets, given how little they actually use him. He explains that the tigers were raised by monks, but they're still a little unpredictable around strangers. Those who walk in the pit will wear big red shirts to make them look more like monks and less like, well, dinner. Quite honestly, the tigers do look a little hungry.
It's also worth noting that the tiger-walkers have to wear little head-cameras, which make them look really dweeby.
Calm Collected Frank is cool as a cuke in the cats' castle. He walks through the pit very slowly, he basically pretends to ignore the tigers, and he grabs the clue. We get our first shot from the Tiger-Chin-Cam, which is attached to a collar around the tiger's neck, so it is always looking hungrily at the contestants from what you can imagine is the point of view of the tiger's teeth. Through it, we see mostly fur, drool, and legs. When he gets out, Frank says, "I just got swatted by a tiger." I'm not sure I saw a "swat" -- maybe a light pawing. But no matter -- he did very well. The next clue tells them to go to the pit stop at Krabi.
Esquire, at the tiger monastery, piles out of the back of their cab/truck. Rob is still wearing the brown MMSSSSI. Have I mentioned that the state song is "Hail, Minnesota!"? He's also working the brown head-bandanna, which I wasn't into at all when he wore it in the first episode, but somehow at this point I feel the urge to say that the state grain is wild rice. On the other hand, Brennan is back in the damn visor, and they're both back in the shorts I don't like, so our geography lesson is over for the moment. As soon as they read the "cat lover" clue, Rob just says, "It's my turn," and that's the extent of the negotiation. Esquire is a model of ruthless efficiency, that's for sure. The sight of Rob in the goofy red shirt and the head-camera is actually almost enough to make me rescind some of the trivia you've already learned. His approach is pretty much to totally ignore the tigers -- the sooner you get out, the better, so none of this walk-slowly-so-as-not-to-alarm-them stuff. Seems to work, because he doesn't die. That's my test for successful tiger-walking. How many pieces are you in? If the answer is "greater than one," you've failed. If the answer is one, you've succeeded. (If the answer is less than one, you have disappeared. Call a doctor immediately.) ["Frankly, given the number of shots we saw of the tigers napping, I don't think any approach except 'walk up to a tiger and stomp as hard as you can on its tail' would have failed." -- Sars]