After a nearly two-month hiatus, Tour Group is finally back on our screens! The adventure picks up as the travelers split up for the first time to explore Maasai culture in Kenya and witness rare mountain gorillas in the jungles of Rwanda. Read on for part three of the travelogue...
The trip continues in Kenya, where we left off before the show's hiatus. As the travelers gather for a dinner of traditional Kenyan cuisine including goat and beans in coconut and peanut butter sauce, head tour guide Brandon Presser gives a toast just as Sandhurst Miggins and Amy Grice finally arrive after staying behind in the Atlas Mountains. Heather Marianna seems surprised and happy to see her BFF better after falling ill, but I immediately start wondering how Amy's reintegration into the group will affect Heather's budding friendship with fellow diva Michelle Harvey. Luckily it won't take long to find out. While the rest of the travelers finish their meal and head outside to gather around the bonfire, Brandon asks a few to stay behind for a couple of special surprises. Brandon's arranged for Michael Cook and Steven Roberts to immerse themselves in Maasai culture by spending the night helping the native men guard the camp. The half-brothers from Georgia head off into the night draped in Maasai red and Brandon reveals the biggest surprise of all to Michelle, Jared Levy and Jenna Kingma: he's arranged to take the three of them on an exclusive detour to Rwanda to see some of the world's last remaining mountain gorillas in the wild!
When the trio return to their tents to prep for their early flight to Rwanda the next morning, their fellow travelers have varied reactions to the news. Misty Kingma, Jenna's fraternal twin, immediately feels left out and wonders aloud why she doesn't get to go on the trip with her sister and Jared. Considering that the twins have become entangled in a bit of a love triangle with the New York playboy over the first week of the trip, Misty naturally feels left behind and sees the excursion to Rwanda as a way for Jenna to get more time alone with Jared. Meanwhile, drama erupts in the tent occupied by Heather, Amy and Michelle. As the latter explains that she's leaving for Rwanda in just a few hours, it becomes clear that Amy isn't following the conversation and seems to be intoxicated. (Sandhurst did point out that after being violently ill for a few days, it wasn't a smart move for Amy to mix her medicine with alcohol on the flight to Kenya...and also at dinner.) When Amy's tipsy rambling gets on Michelle's last nerve, the former model erupts on the blonde and screams at her to be quiet and let Michelle go to bed while Heather refuses to step into the altercation between her two competing besties.
Early the next morning, Brandon, Jared, Jenna and Michelle head off to Rwanda while both Sanhurst and Heather check on an upset Amy. Still floored by Michelle's verbal assault the night before, Amy is starting to feel an unexpected divide forming between her and Heather. Did she get replaced by Michelle when she had to stay behind sick in bed? First up on the Kenyan itinerary is a group outing to a local watering hole led by Sandhurst and fellow tour guide Rachel Grant. Jeff Vasilatos and his wife Jetta Bates Vasilatos are nervous about the excursion - after getting in a life-threatening accident the previous year, Jeff is understandably wary of doing anything potentially dangerous, but the pair agree to go along with the group. Even with four people missing, swimming in the watering hole ends up being a great bonding experience for the group of disparate travelers as they strip down to their swimsuits and joyfully play in the waters of Africa.
Meanwhile, Brandon and his trio arrive in Rwanda and start their day by hiking through Volcanoes National Park. After an arduous climb through the jungles to something like 9000 feet above sea level, the foursome and their local guide eventually stumble upon a band of wild gorillas. The experience turns out to be quite emotional for each of the travelers - watching a mother gorilla carry its baby on her back, Michelle is reminded of her son back at home while Jared actually tears up, admitting in his confessional that watching the gorillas put all of the inconsequential things in his life back in New York into perspective. Jenna particularly marvels at a pair of baby twin gorillas, both boys, who were born in the national park and are now just four years old. Being a twin herself, Jenna breaks down as she explains that she wishes her strained relationship with Misty could be closer, rather than having everything (including the quest for Jared's affections) be a competition between the two.
Back in Maasai Mara, the rest of the travelers get a glimpse of authentic Maasai culture by visiting a local primary school and a Maasai village to see how the warrior tribe lives. It's heartwarming to see the cast help the classes of children with their English, math and art lessons, and run outside to play soccer with all the kids. When they arrive at the Maasai village, the men and women divide into separate groups to learn about the different roles of each gender in day-to-day Maasai life. Jetta and Heather are taken aback upon learning that women are responsible for 70% of the work that keeps the village running and the majority of the female travelers balk at the concept that the Maasai build houses out of fresh cow poop with their bare hands. All the ladies except Rachel that is, who jumps right in and ends up covered in cow dung in order to build a wall. Jetta, on the other hand, opts to use a tool in the form of a rag in order to avoid getting messy. As she so rightfully points out, there's more than one way to skin a cat, honey.
While the women are busy getting their hands dirty, the men are taken by the tribe's warriors to a different part of the village to experience the Maasai ritual of drinking cow's blood. While a few of the Maasai men hold a cow steady, one of the warriors punctures a giant vein in the animals neck with an arrow. Dark red blood immediately spurts from the puncture, and Jay Ward is given the task of filling a makeshift canteen with the liquid. Then, each of the men take turns drinking the blood, which purportedly gives you energy, vitality and strength and also has healing properties for the sick. Honestly, though, I'm not sure I could've stomached drinking the fresh blood I just watched come out of an animal, health benefits or not...
Returning to Cottar's 1920s Safari Camp, Steven FaceTimes with his adorable four-year-old son Kason while Heather sits down with Amy in an attempt to diffuse the tension building between them. Heather apologizes for her part in the previous night's drama and wants to move on as quickly as possible, but Amy takes her to task for doing nothing during the argument but sitting back and agreeing with Michelle. From Amy's perspective, her BFF should've stood up for her or at least tried to mediate the situation, but instead Amy accuses Heather of wanting Michelle all to herself and leaving her in the dust. Heather readily admits in her confessional that she's completely on Michelle's side in the argument, but promises Amy that any drama in the future won't be coming from her. I mean, they're in Africa for Pete's sake! Can't the divas just enjoy the trip together?
Meanwhile, to help get her mind off of Misty and Jared frolicking through the mountains of Rwanda with a band of wild gorillas, Sandhurst treats Misty to a bikini-clad spa outside of his tent. (Keep in mind that the Trinidadian concierge promised at the beginning of the trip that he's an expert in all things of the "sensual persuasion." I can't get a read on whether he's gay, straight or somewhere in between but Sandhurst, if you're reading this, feel free to persuade me any time...) However, even surrounded by bubbles and champagne on the African tundra, Misty can't help but bring up her sister and Sandhurst eventually puts her on the spot by asking what type of guys she likes (ambitious, like Jared) and what her secret fantasy is (it involves taking a ride on the metaphorical "nightstick"). Sandhurst seems to genuinely want to help Misty come into her own on this trip and reminds her that just because Jared and Jenna are temporarily gone, it doesn't mean she doesn't have other friends around her.
Later that evening, Brandon, Jenna, Jared and Michelle return with stories and pictures of their gorilla sightings just in time for Sandhurst to announce to the group that it's time to say goodbye to Africa. Next stop: the Maldives! The travelers gather for one final dinner to say goodbye to Kenya, but before they can sit down, Amy pulls Michelle aside for a chat. Michelle is still angry about Amy's confusing behavior from earlier and accuses her of not being in her right mind as a result of being high on something. Defensively, Amy refutes this slanderous accusation and tries to explain her point of view, but Michelle promptly shuts her down and loudly "declines" to engage in any kind of conversation. In the heat of Africa, it appears that battle lines are starting to drawn and this budding feud isn't going to be resolved quickly or quietly any time soon.
What did you think of this week's episode? Are you glad Tour Group is finally back? Which excursion would you rather take: seeing gorillas in Rwanda or experiencing Maasai culture in Kenya? Leave your thoughts below in the comments section and I'll see you next week in the Maldives!