Seven teams remain as day dawns in steamy Bangladesh -- and long-haired rocker James has just gotten devastating news. His father had gone in for medical exams and James had known it was going to be bad, just not this bad. His father has stage four cancer. James squares his shoulders and plunges back into the race.
"We're off and sweating," says best friend Abba, as they grab a cab and head off to the Jatrabari Boro Bazaar in search of an eggplant vendor and their next clue. They're bound for Ferry Ghat road and the ...
Road block: It ain't heavy
The task at hand? Build a pyramid-shaped scale out of bamboo poles and lashing rope, then use it to weigh equal amounts of wood and large rocks. James takes the task, partly to spare Abba's problematic knees and partly because he figures his Boy Scout background will help with the task. It does. The rockers are soon off and running to the next stop, a straw dogs or bamboo jungle detour.
Meanwhile, dating divorcees Abbie and Ryan and shrieky twins Nadiya and Natalie are stuck in a massive traffic jam, their cabs mired in a sea of pedicabs, pedestrians and cars. The Beekman Boys can't even find the taxi stand, while the truckers and, in last place, the Texan sweeties scramble into cars.
Abbie and Nadiya begin building their scales as Ryan does a hilarious impersonation, hollering, "Come on, twinnie!"
Clearly the heat of the day is going to be major
(Meanwhile the Giants-Tigers game goes into extra innings. Ahhhh!)
Detour: Straw dogs or bamboo jungle
The sun is beating down on the rockers as they search a jungle of bamboo poles, making the obligatory puns -- "We're bamboozled" -- before starting to load up their 40 poles on a bamboo rickshaw to maneuver it through narrow streets to a construction site. They complete the task quickly, and grab their bamboo, stenciled with an image of Lok Shilpa Jadughar, a gorgeous arts and crafts museum, which is the pit stop for the race.
The rockers are, of course, in first place and their prize is a vacation in Malaysia's tropical rain forest. Any joy is tempered by reality, though, and James breaks down on the mat. "My family told me to keep going," he tells Phil, "so that's what we're going to do. Keep going."
The twins begin scouring the bamboo jungle for marked bins, and quickly wedge themselves into a jam with bamboo poles too long to maneuver. They bop bystanders with bamboo poles and yell a lot, though I probably didn't need to mention that last part. The Chippendales, Texans and truckers soon join them.
Navigating the rickshaw load through truck-clogged streets proves grueling -- and highly entertaining for us couch-sitting spectators. Lexi is hollering "Sorry, so sorry," as the bamboo poles poke spectators. Meanwhile the Chippendales seem to have forgotten some of their bamboo poles. The construction supervisor sends them back to get the missing three. One of the Jameses collapses on the ground, sweat-soaked, while the other apologizes over and over.
"We did some heavy lifting, " Chippendale James says. "The problem is we forgot to use our brains."
Abbie and Ryan have decided to tackle the other challenge -- straw dogs -- which requires manufacturing a jute bag from scratch, whipping the fibers on a giant, pointy thing to create shreds, then taking it to fabric looms in an immense factory, where it will be woven into fabric and made into bags. They make a pun of their own, referring to the "jute force" required to complete the task.
Meanwhile the Beekmans are still trying to build a scale and the heat is felling Brent. He's sitting on the ground, demoralized and pale, while Josh frets about his partner's well-being -- but Brent finally finishes. They head off to the bamboo jungle, thinking it will be the easier task. They're probably wrong about that, but they struggle on gamely.
Abbie and Ryan arrive at the mat in second place, followed by the twins. The truckers are fourth, the Texan sweetie-pies are fifth and the Chippendales sixth.
The big question, of course, is whether this is an elimination round, because there have been none so far. Much to the Beekmans' joy, Phil delivers the big "you're the last to arrive ... however" news. The Beekmans will have to do an extra task next time, but they'll live to race another day. And the Giants won the World Series. Life is good.
Next week: Bracingly cold water in the Turkish baths of Istanbul.