And after a second non-elimination leg this season (although arguably, the first one didn't really count as it was immediately followed up by a double-elimination leg) we take the short trip from Phuket to Bangkok. (Which does not make me feel quite as "twelve" as Phuket did, mainly because there are fewer ways to amusingly mispronounce it.) But first, there's some more Phuking to do. The teams set off by taxi to a place that gives elephant rides. Guess what they're doing?
Andy and Tommy, in first, get to the elephant ride, to the Road Block (where one partner has to dive into a pond and look for a package wrapped in burlap), through the Road Block, and back to their taxis all without apparently even seeing another Racer. In fact, they make it to the second Road Block (this leg's twist--each Racer has to do a separate Road Block instead of just one) before all the Racers have set out. Needless to say, this does not bode well for the Doublemint Twins.
The second Road Block is actually quite vicious, despite every team's anticipating it and trying to minimize it. The teams are first told they have to disassemble a Spirit House (a little model of a home with some tiny figurines present) and bring it to get the next clue...and only then told that one of them has to reassemble it, with no model or reference points beyond their own memory and the other models assembled a long taxi ride back the other direction. Andy and Tommy suspect it, but their memory isn't as good as they think it is, and they have to leave the Buddhist temple to get a second look. (And not, as might be suggested by their dialogue throughout the episode, because they are deeply offended by the temerity of foreigners to worship a god other than the One True Christ. Sorry, but evangelicals of any stripe rub me the wrong way.)
Jennifer is a lot nicer when she assembles her Spirit House, and she's also bright enough to borrow their cab driver's cell phone to snap a few pictures of the completed work for reference. I'll admit to some grudging respect for that, even if her brother and her bring out the worst in each other. The other teams show up, one by one, and separate themselves out into "smart enough to take notes" and "about to take an extra taxi ride." (Zac and Lawrence come the closest we've seen this whole race to bickering, as Zac repeatedly mentions that notes would be a good idea and Lawrence brushes him off, only to turn around and suggest that it's not his fault that Zac can't remember where everything goes.)
Meanwhile, several hours after the first team and a full hour after the closest team to them, Liz and Marie set off...and promptly hit a Speed Bump. Which they treat as the best experience of the entire Race, and quite possibly their whole lives to date. They get to shovel elephant manure (which they're actually happy about, so great is their love of pachyderms) and then wash an elephant...and yeah, I might be hardened and cynical, but it is hard to remain cynical in the face of twins cooing over an elephant and talking to it like it was their kitten. Definitely one of the high points of the Race so far.
After that, everyone jumps into buses to go to Bangkok. There is much drama over who gets on which bus and how much they have to spend on taxis, but at this point I will spare you some of the angst and cut to the chase: Nobody's stupid mistakes come back to haunt them because Liz and Marie are way behind, out of money, and relying on the kindness of strangers to limp to the Pit Stop. And they get eliminated. Which is a bit of a shame, as there are teams I liked less, but I wasn't enamored enough of the Doublemint Twins to get upset at their exit. And now there are seven, as we head to Malawi!