The Amazing Race: Fon-don’t

 The Amazing Race was back this week, and after a little more uncomfortable product placement teams headed off to Liechtenstein for a pretty crazy leg.

I want to ride your bicycle, I want to ride your bike

Things started off quickly with the Roadblock. One team member would have to travel the length of Liechtenstein on a motorized bicycle. Justin got off to a great start, since he and Zev scored a great cab driver when they arrived. He was joined on the road by Flight Time, Jen, Vyxsin and Jet. Meanwhile, Gary and Mallory were not starting the leg off on the right foot – not only did they have a Speed Bump to complete, but they managed to find the worst cab driver in the country.

Luckily, the Speed Bump was not hard. Gary and Mallory had to figure out a simple mathematical equation in order to make sure they got the right combination of gas and oil in the tank on their motorized bicycle. They finished the task and soon Gary was on the road with everyone else.

The key was to get the right measurement of Liechtenstein – 22km – on the first try. Otherwise, you’d have to ride all the way back to the start and try again. And almost everyone seemed to have problems. Flight Time and Jet both took wrong turns, Jen lost her map and Vyxsin just seemed plain lost. Justin and Jen ended up working together to find the finish, and they both had the right number. Surprisingly, so did Vyxsin – she’s so flighty, I was sure she’d manage to mess up. Then in an unexpected twist, Justin just told Flight Time the right answer. Flight Time didn’t even ask, he just said he didn’t want to get the answer wrong and bike all the way back to the beginning.

I know I talked a lot about how much I hated the sharing of information earlier on in the season, but I really didn’t think I’d see it happen at this stage in the game. With only six teams left, and all but one team (here’s lookin’ at you, Kent and Vyxsin) serious contenders to win, why would you risk giving away an answer? If Flight Time and Big Easy end up winning in the finals against Justin and Zev and Kisha and Jen, I bet they’ll be kicking themselves.

I’d say Flight Time wasn’t to blame, but then he went and did the same thing, telling Gary the correct answer as well. So there. All four of my favorite teams were somehow involved in this scenario, so I can’t really hold it against any of them. They just all get along so damn well! This is a competition, though, not Breaker High! I do not see Ryan Gosling in a Hawaiian print shirt anywhere, so get down to business.

Inter-team social dynamics was only one factor, though. All the teams seemed to feel that they were best off screwing over the cowboys. Is this because their previous performance on the Race has labeled them a threat? Because honestly, I wouldn’t consider them a major threat based on this season at all. The front runners are clearly Justin and Zev, and I don’t think the cowboys are even in the top three.

While Jet peddled all the way back to the start, the other teams caught trains to Switzerland.

Say Cheese!

Once again, the Detour was a misleading choice between food or travel. In “Cheese”, teams had to polish off an entire pot of cheese fondue. In “Wheeze”, teams had to deliver twenty bags of luggage to no less than five hotels. I kind of thought “Cheese” sounded easier, since I love cheese and delivering luggage to multiple hotels sounded tiring and as though there’d be a lot of room for error. I was proven wrong when both Justin and Zev and Kisha and Jen (the two teams who’d made it to Switzerland first) attempted the fondue. Jen and Kisha quickly abandoned ship, but Justin and Zev decided to try and tough it out.

Meanwhile, another train arrived carrying the Globetrotters, the goths, and Gary and Mallory. They all wisely chose to go for the “Wheeze” detour. Well, maybe not so wisely for Kent and Vyxsin – the physically laborious task provided them opportunity for extra bickering. Whee!

At about the 35 minute mark, Justin puked up all his fondue. Ick. Zev really stepped up to the plate, ate a ton of fondue and encouraged Justin to keep at it. Slowly but surely, they burped their way along and finally revealed the bottom of the pot. It seemed like one of the worst tasks ever, but at the very least it provided Zev with lots of opportunities to make fun fondue puns.

Justin and Zev made it to their next location, the double U-turn, just a little before Kisha and Jen did. Neither teams chose to U-turn anyone, and they ended up in first and second place. This was Justin and Zev’s fourth first place finish – do you think we’re looking at the “Unfinished Business” winners? They’ve certainly come a long way from misplaced passports. But Kisha and Jen are a consistently strong team too, and could give them a run for their money.

Extra Baggage

With Justin and Zev and Kisha and Jen out of the way, everyone was in a race to get to the double U-turn. The cowboys had made up a lot of ground and were working on the luggage Detour as well, and it looked like anyone could go. I was hoping Kent and Vyxsin’s incessant bickering would lead to their demise, but unfortunately they managed to keep it together. Kent proved that yes, he can be even more useless when he had Vyxsin pull him along in the luggage dolly after they delivered all their bags. Literally, she was pulling his weight. It was pathetic. Kent and Vyxsin already used their U-turn to oust the redheads, so they couldn’t set anyone back. They made it to the pit stop in third place.

Only the Globetrotters, Gary and Mallory and the cowboys were left – all fan favorite teams. I’ve been pulling for the Globetrotters and Gary and Mallory all along, so I was really hoping the cowboys wouldn’t manage to catch up. With the U-turns in play, though, I had no idea what would happen.

When the Globetrotters returned after delivering all their bags, Flight Time realized he’d lost two of their luggage tickets. Big mistake, especially after they’d already accidentally added an extra stop to their route. They had to run back and deliver two more bags, and in the mean time Gary and Mallory caught up. They chose not to U-turn anyone, which surprised me. I know teams don’t like to do it unless they have to, but I thought they might feel that the race was tight enough that they needed to do it. I also thought Gary might consider U-turning the cowboys as a way of returning the favor to Flight Time, who’d supplied him with the right answer in the Roadblock. I was glad when Gary and Mallory arrived at the pit stop in fourth place, but I was worried the Globetrotters would be eliminated.

Luckily, the cowboys were far enough behind that the Globetrotters’ blunders didn’t matter. Flight Time and Big Easy made it to the double U-turn first and, wisely, they U-turned the cowboys. I know some people are going to hate on the ‘Trotters for doing this, but it was really the only option. Like it or not, the U-turn is a part of the game and the Globetrotters used it in the best way possible – when they absolutely had to in order to keep themselves in the race. So you know, don’t hate the player, hate the game and all that stuff.

Y’all come back now, y’hear?

So we had to say goodbye to the cowboys. I would have preferred to see the goths go first, but I’m happy to sacrifice the cowboys in order to keep my favorites like Gary and Mallory and the Globetrotters. The cowboys didn’t think the Globetrotters’ choice to use the U-turn reflected well upon them but, you know, them’s the breaks. Had the Globetrotters not used the U-turn and gotten eliminated, we’d all be saying “Well that’s what you get for not using the U-turn!” It’s just a part of the race, and I think almost any team in that second-to-last position would have had the good sense to use it as well. Like I said, this is a competition, not a cruise.

Personally, I don’t think the cowboys were forced to eat all that fondue because they did not look nearly sick enough when they arrived at the pit stop. I’m sad to see the cowboys go because they’re pretty entertaining, but they didn’t really seem in it to win it this time around. I did like Jet’s parting comment that he wouldn’t want to see the world with anyone other than his brother…except “maybe my wife.”

What did you all think of the episode? I think this one might be a little polarizing – what with the sharing of information and the U-turn, I think some cowboys fans will have some not-so-nice things to say about the Globetrotters. We’re getting down to the wire, and I want to see these teams cut the BFFs act. I mean, I’d want to be friends with all these people too (except Kent and Vyxsin, they whine and bicker too much) but a million bucks is on the line! They only information I want to see shared is false information. Start taking names and stealing cabs, folks!




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