Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Amazing Race Round-Up, 18-9

Last time, we had six teams left on the Amazing Race. This time, we have...still six, because of a timely non-elimination leg that saved Gary and Mallory. Everyone seems pretty aware that they're not going to get that lucky again--I (and presumably all the Racers at this point) expect that it's going to be the last NEL of this Race, which is good because we've had three episodes where nobody got eliminated and I want blood. Blood! BLOOOOOOOOOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Metaphorically speaking, of course.

With that in mind, the six remaining teams left Austria and headed to Lichtenstein, home of the undead, wait. There are no actual liches in Lichtenstein, are there? Dang. Just when you think they've found the coolest location for the Race...oh well. They head to the tiny little postage-stamp country of Lichtenstein for the next leg. How small? Well, let's find out! All six teams must measure the western border of Lichtenstein as their Road Block, riding motorized bicycles and measuring the distance on their odometers. Correctly navigate the 22 km course, you get the next clue. Screw up, and you go 22 km back to start and then 22 km back to the end and guess again.

As you can imagine, getting this one wrong is Very Bad. And it's around here where we say to ourselves, "What's the one problem that otherwise super-competent team Jet and Cord have had this season? Oh, right. Navigation." Sure enough, as we watch everyone navigate the course, we see Jet getting lost somewhere in the tiny country of Lichtenstein. And although he can't get too lost in a country that's actually smaller than some Oklahoma ranches, this is one case where precision pays.

"Ah," you say, "but what about the other teams? Surely someone is going to help him out by screwing up just as bad?" This is where the bit that left a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth comes in...Zev and Justin, who get it right, pass on the information to the Globetrotters (specifically Flight Time, if I recall correctly) who then lets Gary know. So of the six teams, only three got it right the first time (Vyxsin and Kisha both did it without help, although Kisha had her guess confirmed before submitting it), but only one had to do the course over. This seems a trifle unfair to me. There's no rule against it, there's nothing that says that other teams can't do a little kingmaking by getting rid of a team that's been almost supernaturally good at breezing through Detours and Road Blocks, but it still leaves me with some uncomfortable "what ifs" in a show that doesn't normally have them.

But the Cowboys made a good effort at catching up. They might have hit the Detour well after everybody else (probably an hour or so behind, given that it was a roughly 10-mile course and the Velosolex they used, while capable of high speeds, was probably being ridden at about 20 mph for safety's sake)...but man, did they catch up fast. The Detour was a choice between delivering luggage and eating an entire pot of cheese fondue, and they knuckled down and ran luggage around town like nobody's business.

Unfortunately, everyone had an hour's head start. Zev and Justin took the cheese (they were the only one, hence the old saying, "the cheese stands alone") and muscled through it in about an hour, with only one bout of vomiting. (Also legal, also leaving a bad taste in one's mouth, but for entirely different reasons.) Kent and Vyxsin did luggage and we saw again that Vyxsin is way more determined, way better suited to the physical challenges, and way less patient with her partner than her last time on the Race. At one point, she tells Kent to get on the empty luggage cart and literally drags him back to the checkpoint. That's right, after years of jokes about one partner carrying another, it's finally happened for real.

Oh, and at the end of the Detour right before the Pit Stop, there's a Double U-Turn. This is a brutal place to put a U-Turn; since it's right before the Pit Stop (not that the Racers knew, but...) anyone who gets U-Turned is pretty much left in the dust. There's nowhere left on the leg to make up the time. That's why they made it a Double-U-Turn; a single one would be like a sign saying, "Who do you want eliminated?"

Unfortunately for the Cowboys, the first four teams didn't use that U-Turn. Vyxsin and Kent couldn't, because you can only U-Turn once per race and they'd already used theirs to FUBAR the Cheerleaders, and the other three teams who got there early (Gary/Mallory, Jen/Kisha, Zev/Justin) decided that as long as they were doing okay, they weren't going to piss anyone else off by U-Turning them. Which meant that when the Globetrotters got to the checkpoint, mere minutes ahead of the Cowboys (well, at least that's how it was edited to look--they might have been further behind, but the Globetrotters did screw up the luggage task and had to deliver an extra two bags...) they knew exactly what to do. Put the game out of reach by slapping the Cowboys' picture up there.

So sure enough, the Cowboys arrived to see that they were DOA. They went back, had a nice, leisurely meal of cheese fondue, and checked in for their inevitable Philimination. Which is tough for them, since they mainly got eliminated because nobody wanted to help them the one time they needed it, but then again, maybe those people just had gay friends. (Yes, I went there.) And honestly, at this stage of the Race there are no "good" eliminations. Everyone goes out hurting.

Five teams left, next week is Switzerland, and apparently Kent gets into an argument with a guy big enough to use him as a toothpick. Good luck, Kent!

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