Amazing Race
Unbalanced

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Chill Out, Freak

The twins pick up some twenty-footers at the bambooyard, banging into everything in sight with the end, including the camera. People duck as they swing around, and they briefly get stuck. In other words, it's not entirely unlike a Laurel & Hardy bit.

At the Latif Bawani Jute Mill, Abbie and Ryan show up and draft some local women to show them where to go. I was wondering where all the females in this country were, but now I see that they're here. The inside is a cavernous factory floor with rows and rows of noisy machines, not to mention stifling heat. The place is clearly in desperate need of a young Sally Field to climb up on top of a sewing machine. They follow a worker who demonstrates the process of "hackling," which is the whipping and combing of the jute fibers preparatory to twisting it and knotting it into coils so it can be carried to the machines. "It takes jute force to do this work," Ryan dorks in an interview, embarrassing even Abbie. As she should be.

At the Roadblock, Lexi chants, "Trey's almost done, Trey's almost done..." And indeed he is, at least with the construction. Now he just needs to load the scale. Brent, however, does not get approval on his scale, and a splitscreen compares the correct way to place a pin at the end of the crossbar to the way Brent's done it. "I'm so exhausted I can hardly form a word," Brent pants, somehow finding the strength nonetheless to form seven. It'll take more than a little heat exhaustion to shut that guy up. Rob cheers Kelley on, and she gets the okay on her scale construction so she can start balancing. Trey is the next to find the balance, with the needle right on the center, so he and Lexi have finished the Roadblock in fifth place, jumping ahead two spaces. Very well played. Opening the clue, they decide to do Bamboo Jungle for the Detour. Kelley gets her balance needle centered, so she and Rob are done. "Sorry, Robby," she says as they leave, but he insists she did a great job. Which is how you do that, Ryan. That leaves just Brent and Josh stuck behind in last place, in a leg where they started dead center.

At the Pit Stop, which is a lovely building with an even lovelier greeter next to Phil at the mat, James and Abba once again are team number one, winning two legs in a row. Although it's hard not to repeat when there's a Fast Forward in the same city. This time they've won a trip to the tropical rainforest in Malaysia. Between that and Antigua, these two are going to have such a romantic time together. Phil talks about what an emotionally taxing time it is, and James promptly chokes up, saying his dad was a laborer, and he hopes to have made him proud. Abba hugs James awkwardly, and Phil asks him if he considered going home, but James said his family told him to keep going, so that's what he's going to do. Obviously I feel bad for James and his family, and James's comments are a nice break from hearing people say that they're doing what a late loved one would have wanted them to do. Which is always, coincidentally, also what the person doing it wants to do.

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Amazing Race

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