"Knock knock." "Who's there?" "Rob's karma." "Rob's karma who?" "Rob's karma THIS." Yes, this is the night when we learn that you can get away with a lot of grinning and tough talk about other teams until the moment when you egregiously screw up, at which point every self-satisfied thing you say -- and particularly every dismissive thing you say about people who are, unbeknownst to you, ahead of you -- takes on a delightfully ironic flavor. This lesson is driven home to one Rob Mariano after he makes one too many playful jabs to scare Meredith and Gretchen and Uchenna and Joyce, and winds up scaring them intoâ¦investigating a flight they never would have found without "help." When he gets entirely rotten information from a ticket agent, Rob concludes that he's in the clear, and he and Amber and Ron and Kelly have a brief moment of peace in Turkey before realizing that they're actually fighting for last place this time. Despite Gretchen's lengthy sojourn up the side of a tower and the trouble she and Meredith apparently have finding clue boxes in fairly unchallenging situations, they finish second behind a surging Uchenna and Joyce. Rob and Amber beat out Ron and Kelly for third place, and all of a sudden, it's a whole new ball game as the pageant queen and the POW lose all their loot. Oh, and Kelly basically does accuse Ron of using his POW status as a cheap way to avoid his commitment to the military. It's almost unbelievable, but her comment to this effect is actually more offensive than it looked in the preview. I know -- it seems impossible. It isn't. Oh, and -- did you know Travelocity was a sponsor of this show? I bet you do now.
Previously on Trained In Vain: Lucknow pit stop -- psych! The teams took a long train ride, then partied with a local wedding until the wee small hours of the morning -- except for Rob, who was busy securing what might be characterized as a SuperFern for the next day. Gretchen figured that riding on top of the giant elephant was the best way to help it reach its destination quickly, because Meredith could use the exercise anyway. It's good for him! Pay no attention to that graying skin tone and clutching of his chest! Get out of the way! Push! Uchenna and Joyce hit the Fast Forward and learned that they -- by which the universe meant "she" -- would have to shave her head. Which she did, because she is awesome and lovely. She wound up looking better than before, but don't tell anyone, because then a lot of women will shave their heads who really shouldn't, and we'll all be looking at a lot of very unattractive scalps. Uchenna and Joyce hit the mat first, just ahead of Ron and Kelly and Rob and Amber. Meredith and Gretchen and Lynn and Alex raced to the pit stop, and karma finally bit the whiny pair of boyfriends as they found themselves Philiminated, meaning that Gretchen and Meredith will continue to operate on whatever combination of generosity, perseverance, and Ensure has gotten them this far. (Ooh, the Horns of Perseverance make a sadly rare appearance in the previouslys -- go, Horns of Perseverance!) Four teams left. Who will be eliminated...next?
Credits. It wasn't until I heard the theme song on headphones while working on the recap on my computer at Starbucks (thanks, computer with TiVo capabilities, and thanks, total lack of shame at appearing to be the kind of dork who does work at Starbucks!) that I truly came to appreciate all the drums, which I think are the secret weapon of that music. [BOMP.]
Commercials. It seems to me that if you have your husband on speaker phone while your colleagues are coming in for a business meeting, especially if you don't tell your husband he's on speaker phone, I really can't feel all that sorry for you.
We return to Jodhpur, India, where the introductory footage treats us to an actual apparent snake-charmer. Phil explains that this is the "agricultural center of northwest India," and that in the middle of the city is the eighth pit stop. On, of course, this "racearoundtheworld." He wonders whether working together will benefit Rob and Amber and Ron and Kelly, and whether Meredith and Gretchen will ever stop finishing last. I think you'll agree that the respective answers to those two questions will come as something of a shock to anyone viewing the episode.