And then there were five; the aligned five.
ROUTE INFO: Fly to Siem Reap, Cambodia
All five teams will board the same flight and fly to Siem Reap, Cambodia, where they will acquire a third teammate in the form of a TAR-infamous Travelocity Roaming Gnome at the Psah Chas market.
Riley & Maddison are the first team to receive their clue and make their way to the airport, stating to the camera that their intent is to U-Turn DeAngelo & Gary this leg. Will & James waste no time on doubling down on The Beard Bros U-Turn sentiments.
Once landed in Siem Reap, it’s business as usual as teams scramble for taxis to make their way to Psah Chas. Will & James are the first team to find their gnome, accompanied by a bag full of essential items for the team for the leg’s remainder.
ROUTE INFO: Proceed to Chong Khneas Pier
Teams must assist a local driver in assembling their tuk-tuk and be driven to Chong Khneas Pier to find their next clue.
The Core alliance of Will & James, Riley & Maddison, and Hung & Chee quickly assemble their tuk-tuks and make their way to the pier, widening the gap between them and siblings and NFLers.
DeAngelo spots their new Gnome friend as the NFLers bypass the siblings into fourth, as Eswar & Aparna are the last team to find and assemble their tuk-tuk pier-bound. Riley & Maddison are the first team to arrive at the pier and receive their next clue.
ROUTE INFO: Proceed to Chong Khneas Village
Teams will travel to Chong Khneas Village and visit a floating Buddhist Temple, where they will donate their basket of everyday items (thank you, Roaming Gnome) in exchange for their next clue.
Will & James and Hung & Chee arrive at virtually the same time, where they are shocked to see that DeAngelo & Gary are close behind as they too arrive in a matter of mere minutes. Eswar & Aparna are the last of the five to arrive, as all teams are now temple-bound.
Comedy Moment of the Episode Nominee: The Travelocity Roaming Gnome wearing a mini life jacket
I haven’t given the Beard Bros enough credit throughout this season, as I was impressed with how they used that dead/downtime on the boat to practice their Buddhist customs in an attempt to avoid any potential delays once in the temple. The brothers have not placed anywhere lower than fourth this season, FOURTH; when there have been as many as eleven teams is a remarkable track record.
I say all this, and then their damn boat breaks down, letting Will & James and Hung & Chee pass them; however, the brothers are blameless in this boating blemish, and they are quickly back up and running/boating. Hung & Chee are the first to arrive at the temple and receive their next clue.
DETOUR: Fish OR Farm
In Fish, teams must haul in a fishing net measuring over half a mile long, then gather 15kg of fish to receive their next clue.
In Farm, teams must mix soil and plant seeds (found within their gnome’s satchel) to a farmer’s liking; once completed, they will receive their next clue.
Leg leaders Hung & Chee opt-in for Fish, however without even trying, they pulled a “Hung & Chee” and swapped Detours as their boat driver took them to Farm instead. All five teams have now been to and left the temple in a so-far tight leg.
At Farm, we have leg leaders Hung & Chee, followed closely behind by Will & James, with the three remaining teams opting for Fish.
Comedy Moment of the Episode: “When I was in middle school, I actually had my own garden, and then I got busy, and it died, but I do enjoy a plant.” – Will
Riley & Maddison are the first of the Fish teams to reel in their net and gather all 15kg (they actually got 17kg, but who’s counting?) of fish after a laborious haul, as all teams continue to combat the Cambodian heat amidst gruelling Detour tasks.
ROUTE INFO: Double U-Turn Ahead
Riley & Maddison, followed closely behind by newly named nemeses in The NFLers race towards the Double U-Turn, leaving Eswar & Aparna behind and over-taking the Farm-laden teams.
Onboard their boat and en route to the Double U-Turn, The Beard Bros surmise that their best option now would to NOT U-Turn DeAngelo & Gary as they are too close behind (literally a matter of double-digit metres at this point) and could retaliate by U-Turning one of the other Core Three in Hung & Chee or Will & James. The Beard Bros instead set their sights on Eswar & Aparna, who have completed Fish and jumped into third place.
Well, Riley & Maddison should’ve set their actual sights on the clue box, as it’s DeAngelo & Gary who arrive in first and do the brothers’ planned dirty work U-Turning Eswar & Aparna; however, the brothers are up to even DIRTIER work as they “burn the board” and negate the rest of the teams’ ability to derail one another and “U-Turn” the un-U-Turnable in DeAngelo & Gary. Eswar & Aparna arrive shortly after and are less-than-impressed to see their face plastered upon the U-Turn board.
Teams must travel by boat back to the Chong Khneas Pier, then travel by tuk-tuk to the Khmer Floor Handicraft, where they will find their next clue.
Aparna is angry and distraught at the U-Turn decision but marks her word and is determined to harness that anger into a comeback for herself and Eswar.
Meanwhile, back at Farm, both Hung & Chee and Will & James are given the go-ahead and make their way to the clue box, where a less-than-impressed (a trend amongst teams this leg) James is fuming at the sight of The NFLers in first.
Both The NFLers and the Beard Bros are back on land and on their way via tuk-tuk to Khmer Floor Handicraft. Eswar & Aparna begin their second of two Detours, as both The Beard Bros and The NFLers arrive at Khmer Floor Handicraft.
ROAD BLOCK: Who Thinks They Can Fit the Mould?
Teams must learn the process of tile-making by following the steps of a local artisan; once completed, they will then be handed a key to unlock a chest containing various tile pieces as part of a slide puzzle they must complete to obtain their next clue.
Riley & DeAngelo opt-in for their respective teams and begin work on their tiles. DeAngelo tries to extract his famous IKEA-furniture-assembling skill into tile-making, leaps into the task without watching the demonstration in its entirety, and fails on the first attempt, as does Riley.
Hung & Chee and Will & James both arrive, with Chee and Will opting in. Eswar & Aparna complete their second Detour as they look to close the gap on the teams struggling with the tile task, with Aparna possibly foreshadowing events by saying: Hopefully, it’s a really long Road Block…
Upon further re-watch of the demonstration, Riley is the first of the Road Blocked to complete the tile portion of the task and begins work on the slide puzzle, followed closely by former middle school gardener, Will. Gary is beside himself and has little-to-no confidence in his teammate during this Road Block, as DeAngelo’s tiles continue to crumble. Riley outmanoeuvres Will as he is the first to complete his puzzle and receives his and Maddison’s next clue.
ROUTE INFO: Proceed to Pit Stop
Teams must make their way by tuk-tuk to Angkor Thom, the Pit Stop for this leg of The Race. The last team to check-in WILL be eliminated.
Will quickly completes his puzzle as he and James race The Beard Bros to Angkor Thom. As per their tiles, Chee and DeAngelo’s leads continue crumbling as Eswar & Aparna fast approach the Road Block.
In a tight race for first between Will & James and Riley & Maddison, it’s…
- Team Number 1: Riley & Maddison
- Team Number 2: Will & James
Eswar & Aparna close the gap between Hung and DeAngelo and arrive to even the playing field amidst the Road Block. Aparna gives DeAngelo a friendly “F-You” and doesn’t hesitate to taunt the NFLer from the side-lines as Eswar begins the Road Block.
Chee, Eswar, and DeAngelo all battle for third, with only Chee and Eswar deciding to re-draw tile tactics from the example to try and see where they may have been going wrong. Chee is the first of the three to right his wrongs and creates his tile, making his way to the puzzle. DeAngelo finally re-watches and has seemingly figured out where he’s gone wrong and looks to correct his error. Chee completes the slide puzzle as he and Hung make their way to the Pit Stop.
- Team Number 3: Hung & Chee
The TAR/producer Gods have blessed this Road Block as it’s a tight and rapid race between the Detoured and Detourees. DeAngelo is the first to strike as he successfully creates his tile and solves the slide puzzle, leaving a tile-making Eswar and an F-You-greeting-Aparna behind.
Eswar completes the Road Block, as The NFLers have lost their tuk-tuk, giving hope to the disgruntled brother/sister duo. Both teams finally locate their tuk-tuk drivers amongst the crowded streets and make their way to the Road Block. Cambodian construction works slow down The NFLers as Eswar & Aparna seemed to have gone an alternate/construction-free route to the Pit Stop. In a nail-biting finish, it’s…
- Team Number 4: DeAngelo & Gary
- Last Team to Arrive: Eswar & Aparna.
Eswar & Aparna were never able to utilise their engineer insight and were criminally under-developed as characters this season, only being shown to have any form of spunk or chutzpah during the series in this episode. This is not a knock against the siblings but a knock against the show lacking an even edit.
As tight as this leg was, it was too late of a coming-out party for the pair, as from an edit perspective, they were NOT going to surpass the four teams in front of them with far greater screen time throughout this season. This was by far my favourite showing of Eswar & Aparna, and I hope they are given a second chance (Cambodia, the home of another CBS reality series where the theme of second chances was in full effect) in a future series.
Power Rankings Based on Placement Average:
Riley & Maddison (3, 3, 4, 4, 1, 2, 2, 1, 1) 2.1
Will & James (4, 6, 1, 1, 4, 4, 1, 2, 2) 2.5
Hung & Chee (1, 1, 2, 6, 2, 3, 3, 4, 3) 2.5
DeAngelo & Gary (10, 2, 5, 7, 5, 1, 4, 3, 4) 4.1