TAR 12: Episode 4

The two-person teams of The Amazing Race expanded to teams of three this week: two humans and one chicken.

Teams acquired the chicken from a local tribal chief at the start of the leg. Their first clue warned them to keep their new companion until they reached the Pit Stop: "No chicken, no check in." Teams toted their surprisingly docile cluckers around in a mesh market bag.

The trios traveled approximately 100 miles by taxi to the town of Bouda Pelegtanga to find their next clue. But first Hendekea needed to make use of a public restroom. Because girls never go to the bathroom by themselves, she brought the chicken in with her.

The clue was a Detour: Shake Your Pan or Shake Your Booty. In Shake Your Pan, teams had to scoop up some mud and sift out one ounce of gold to receive their clue. It was dirty, physical work, but it had a objectively measurable goal.

In Shake Your Booty, teams had to perform a traditional dance and add their own creative moves to it in order to get a passing grade from three local judges. If the judges didn’t like their interpretation, the team had to wait ten minutes before receiving their clue.

Jennifer & Nate reached Shake Your Booty first, and TK & Rachel and Azaria & Hendekea arrived in time to watch their performance. Africa’s answer to Simon Cowell told Jennifer & Nate, "No creativity," and sent them to wait out their penalty.

After receiving some instructions from a costumed dancer, TK & Rachel decided they’d have better luck mining for gold. Azaria & Hendekea then went ahead with their performance and got a passing grade. They received their clue when Jennifer & Nate still had 4:47 minutes left to wait.

Even had TK & Rachel tried to dance and failed, they would’ve only been five minutes behind the lead team. Instead, they wandered around trying to find the location for Shake Your Pan, during which time Jen & Nate got their clue.

TK & Rachel reached the gold mining station to see Nick & Don leaving it, clue in hand. Nick told them mining for gold was "easy," which was true for them, since Don had some mining experience. But the dismayed hippies scooped up a few worthless pebbles at a time and realized that they’d made a big mistake.

Back over at Shake Your Booty, Ronald & Christina were penalized for an over-reliance on The Bump in their performance. Kynt wowed the judges with some impressive — and utterly predictable — baton-twirling skills. And Shana’s & Jennifer’s impressions of lazy pole dancers were rewarded with a clue seconds after TK & Rachel finally turned in their ounce of gold.

Eighth place team Jason & Lorena were absent through all of this because they left the Pit Stop almost 90 minutes behind the seventh team to leave (Shana & Jennifer). And since the first seven teams left within forty minutes of each other, it looked like a tall order for Jason & Lorena to catch up.

Adding to Jason & Lorena’s disadvantage, Shana & Jennifer used this season’s new screw-your-opponents tool, called a U-Turn. The U-Turn allows one team to send another back to complete the Detour task that they initially skipped.

The top five teams decided not to use the U-Turn, but Shana logically insisted that they seize the opportunity to knock physical threats Jason & Lorena out of the race, assuming that this was an elimination leg. Jennifer consented, although she worried about race karma coming back to bite them.

After the U-Turn, teams took a taxi to a goat market to find their next clue: a Roadblock in which one team member had to load various items, including a "potentially uncooperative goat," onto a bicycle and deliver the supplies to a specific vendor. The wobbly bike was annoying, but not as annoying as trying to navigate the crowded market stalls without speaking the local language.

The task especially freaked out Rachel, who got lost after delivering her supplies. Meanwhile, her partner TK took the opportunity to go all self-righteous about the U-Turn on the already guilt-ridden Jennifer, while Shana was doing the Roadblock: "I probably wouldn’t have made that decision."

The other Jennifer displayed a similar lack of bad manners at the Pit Stop, when she and partner Nate were narrowly beaten to the mat by Azaria & Hendekea. Jennifer said, "I wanna come in first. We just really want it bad, and I just feel like everyone should get their time, and they’ve already had their time two times before this."

Jennifer appeared to regret the statement, after Hendekea said it would have felt wrong to just let another team beat them in a competition for $1 million. But I’m sure Azaria & Hendekea will give Jen’s words some consideration when they’re zipping around on the motor scooters they won for finishing first.

Shana & Jennifer reached the mat sixth, TK & Rachel seventh, and Jason & Lorena last, as expected. It was an elimination leg, and the dating couple was sent packing. Lorena said that the race taught her not to be in such a rush to get married. Given Jason’s statement that "there’s some kind of confinement within a marriage," she’s probably going to be waiting a long time.

Next week, Ronald falls off some stilts, and Shana & Jennifer back their car in front of an oncoming bus.

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