November 14, 2011

Australia 1x08: Niedzica, Poland

Previously on Czech Yes, Joey NYET!: I spent two weeks recapping an hour that redefined "stupid filler episode", and even longer recapping absolutely nothing. Also: Six teams raced from Prague to a church-y little town just outside of Prague. While five of the teams were given cars that were at least borderline roadworthy, Matt and Tom wound up with a crapheap they decided to name Bindi, which was kind of appropriate seeing as how the car soon turned into The Cop Hunter (disappointing Tom, who wanted it to turn into The Cock Hunter). The only interactions between teams throughout the entire episode seemed to universally wind up with the exact same result: the Lucys turning into jilted ex-girlfriends vowing revenge on whoever they deemed to have wronged them THIS time. Dave continued his efforts to prove that Bitchard and Jenius weren't the real Tooly McJerk team this season. The funnest (and funniest) part of the episode was the bit where a "Soviet" "guard" got to mock Wallace and Grommet for failing to successfully complete a "task" not once, but twice. Spending half the episode playing ice hockey and most of the remainder watching teams pick a sausage-eating Detour before taking a bite and switching made it ridiculously obvious that it was going to be one of those To Be Continued episodes that they wind up randomly finishing within the first couple of minutes of the next episode instead. While Hallmark and Chris & Bambi both vowed to finish the leg in first, Hallmark got lost on the way to a Road Block so dull and uninspired that the editors have decided to burn off the footage of Sam, Kelly, Luke and Tom performing it in the recap footage rather than spend a few precious minutes watching them all do the same boring thing. (You'll note this means we get to skip straight to the bit where they all reach the Pit Stop in a nice quick montage in the episode itself.) Because the leg was indeed Not Over Yet, six teams are still circling the drain. Who will Grant pull the plug on... TONIGHT?

Credits. It's a good thing the contestants are so smart this season, otherwise I might have to do this: [I CAN SEE RUSSIA FROM MY BOMP.]

Commercials. Oh, sure. The one contestant who is aware of these things (even if only in passing) is the one I was calling "Asshole" for weeks on end. Damn it.

Because this show's editors rock, we rejoin the race far enough into proceedings that I don't have to re-recap Chris and Bambi being told the leg isn't over. Instead, they're walking out of the Creepiest Pit Stop Ever (suck it, Salt Lake City Public Library), Chris whining about how when they finally win something it doesn't count. He confessionals, "I really wanted to come first in a leg. It's not the best leg to come first in, the one that continues to the next leg." You'll notice even he isn't sure whether last week and this week count as separate legs, and... you know, I didn't know either when the episode aired. We'd never had the number of legs specifically revealed at the start of a season with a To Be Continued episode before, and the presskit said, "Three legs on the race are predetermined 'non-elimination legs', where the last team to check in is not eliminated. The last placed team will incur a 30 minute time penalty on the next leg unless they come in first on that leg." Since the last team to turn up here doesn't face a penalty, in theory that should have meant it wasn't counted as a non-elimination leg and we were going to have a thirteen-hour season (with tonight's elimination, two more eliminations, and the two remaining non-eliminations before the finale). But then we all learned that Channel Seven still can't count beyond the number seven itself, and we were counting this not-a-non-elimination as a non-elimination and getting a twelve-hour season. (Note: I am using 'hour' rather than 'episode' because of Seven's ridiculous lust for combining and splitting episodes of The Amazing Race at will, despite the weird "is it an hour or ninety minutes this week?" thing they had going on during the season.)

But that's all in the future. Or the past or whatever. Near future for him, increasingly distant past for us. Right now, the clue tells Chris and Bambi to hop a train to Krakow, Poland. Yay, they get to meet Santa! This is like Christmas in July! No, wait, November! I have to hope it isn't a deliberate reference for teams to essentially be travelling by train from Amsterdam to the general Auschwitz area. Because that would top even Jenius's "accent". Anyway, when teams arrive, they'll need to search the train station carpark for a car with a clue inside. Oh, goody. More driving. Running back to their cars (still at the Road Block, remember), Chris tells Bambi, "Let's pull ahead as much as we can." Yeah, because the show has never randomly bunched teams after the halfway point of a two-part leg before.

The surfers stroll into the church before running down to the pulpit, where Grant tells them they're in second place, before giving that "it's not over yet" we heard last week. The editors give us a quick dissolve to Hallmark arriving third, Jeff snarking on how predictable the "keep racing, suckers!" command is. Tyler confessionals (sounding pissed) that he was shocked about how they didn't get to flirt with another set of room service waitresses, while the editors are busy cutting to Luke explaining that he and Jeff decided to treat it as a second wind. Yeah, me too. You know, very eventually.

Kutna Hora train station. Chris and Bambi are attempting to buy tickets, and soon discover that communicating in foreign languages is all Greek to them. Except even worse, because... you know. They can already speak Greek. And they didn't spend long enough in Amsterdam to get confused by double Dutch. (Plus? Basically bilingual at this point.) A local helps the ticket lady by explaining that their train is already boarding. A helpful shot of the departure screen explains that, not only is their train going to be making a connection somewhere, probably Prague, but that it's a minute before 3:00pm on November 20th. You know, for all you geeks who are trying to timeline this show. (Not that I've checked or anything, but putting this information with the known date of the Cape Town-to-Frankfurt flight means that the Pit Stop at Prague Castle was extended, which at least explains how everybody seems refereshed enough to find things three feet in front of them.)

It turns out that they've just missed the train by the time the surfers arrive, and Chris realises that the train is going to get them into Krakow at the prime lead-keeping time of 3:00am the next morning, which in turn means they'll have been racing for 21 hours since they left the last Pit Stop. On the one hand, long day. On the other, overnight train ride with plentiful opportunities for sleep. Or sex tape filming, Tom and Luke. On the third hand, which I suppose would actually be the second hand if this was some kind of amazing watch, Chris's quote here displays obvious signs of audio chopping. Of course. It wouldn't be an episode without Chris and Bambi getting some sort of continuity fuckup.

Hallmark also grab tickets, while some weird uber-techno crap helps the Lucys find the Pit Stop. Wazzup, bitches, yo' asses in fourth. (Please never let me do that again.) As soon as Grant reveals they'll have to keep racing, they break their hug and... well, you really need to see it to believe it. Renae, who has been quite the machine throughout the entire race, looks as though she's just performed an illegal operation and will need to be shut down (or possibly just Googled "meerkat porn" and got bombarded with pop-ups), while Sam's face literally changes from a smile to a full-on clown frown right at the exact moment she blinks. It's like "Whee!" [blink] "Fuck!". Go ahead, watch again. I'll wait.

Grant feels the need to clarify, based on precisely zero cue, that the Lucys need to be told that "keep racing" means "keep racing". Sigh. I mean, they're totally that sort of team at the moment, but still. Outside, they read the clue and get to their car without any dramas. Sam explains that they were already running on empty, and were wondering where the frell they were going to get any more energy from. Kind of ironic, considering how plain lethargic most of these teams sound at the best of times. They're suddenly already at the station in the next scene we see, just in time to make the same train as the three teams ahead of them. Wallace confessionals, complete with Unnecessary Subtitles Of Subtext that Grommet "was happy that Sam made the train." Grommet, as he is wont to do, plays dumb.

Grant helpfully reiterates that the first four teams are all making the same trip on the Poland Express, as the Amazing Red Ribbon once again eschews the bouncy flight path effect for a zigzaggy path showing what is apparently the train's route. Except it doesn't show the connection in Prague we know all the teams are making, so... you know. The Amazing Red Ribbon is like the Twitter to the Amazing Yellow Line's Encyclopaedia Brittanica or something. They'll all be arriving at 3:16am, which means surely they're going to be able to keep their lead on the two trailing teams for the rest of the leg, right? Right? Bueller?

Back at the creepy bone church, Dave & Kelly have arrived. They limply celebrate still being in the race upon hearing they're currently in fifth, while Grant tells them, "But don't get settled..." Because there was a chance of that happening with this particular team. Kelly calls it "ridiculous" given they "were in so much pain from the previous leg". Yeah, you might want to be careful, in case you break a hip or something. Kelly whines some more about not being able to have a shower in a country without water restrictions, while Dave claims he was "bitterly disappointed". Makes a nice change from his usual disappointingly bitter tone, I suppose.

The farmers arrive, suddenly de-hatted inside the church, where Grant tells them they're the bottom two and it's time for them to lipsynch for their li... oh, we're not doing that? Damn it. You know Tom could rock the shit out of Mickey if he had to. In Spanish. (Remember, honey, Spain is the one where horny animals are revered.) But anyway, they get the clue and head off. Matt tells us he was "pretty stoked, really" as Grant gives them the clue, and Tom looks far more relieved than any of the other teams we've ever seen in this position before. We all know why that is, right? I don't need to whip out that tiresome (SETTLE DOWN, TOM.) thing again, surely. Walking to the train station, Matt wonders aloud, "Where we going, 'Pole Land'?" Yes, where Mary Christmas dances for tips, and you don't even want to know what happens if you've been naughty instead of nice. Well, maybe you do.

Dave & Kelly whine some more, this time about how the train not leaving immediately upon their arrival meant the farmers were able to catch up again. How dare the world not conform to their wishes! WHO DOES THE WORLD THINK IT IS? Sigh. I'd ask if we can hurry up and be rid of these two yet, but given the alternatives I'm not actually sure that's a good deal. Their train leaves, Grant voicing over that they'll get to Poland at 6:24am.

We splitscreen to the other train, where not a creature is stirring, not even... never mind. Renae interviews that they were trying to sleep on the train, and Wallace adds that "Sam woke up a couple of times and she saw two dudes standing at our door". You mean... the cameramen? The editors try and convince us, sight inseen, that it wasn't the crew and was in fact somebody else by using ridiculous thumping music. This would be such a Saturday afternoon movie, if only there were more musical numbers. I'd ask Tom and Luke if they'd want to help, but then we'd wind up with a bunch of songs about how awesome Luke's daddy is. And maybe even some songs about Jeff. Sam explains that every time she opened her eyes, the camerag... sorry, "creepy guys"... would go and slide down someone else's chimney instead, because they weren't sleeping. Meanwhile, about fifteen minutes before the first train arrives in Krakow, Wallace and Grommet notice their Amazing Sack has decided to see just exactly how fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh. Without them.

Ironically, one of the very few times that actually is an Amazing Crisis That Really Was doesn't get a commercial break around it, but the long and short of it is that the bells they attached really do jingle all the way... to, like, the next cabin over. Seriously, Wallace and Grommet can't even make a robbery interesting. Why were they cast again? Oh, that's right. To sell this show overseas to those countries who seem to think Australia is made up entirely of kangaroos and beaches and the Harbour Bridge and maybe Aboriginals. You know, Americans. (Dear Americans who feel like complaining: Please note that the eight Pit Stops your version of the race has had in Australia have been a rooftop overlooking the Harbour Bridge, an Aboriginal camp in an area allowing for plentiful kangaroo stock footage, a yacht club, a beach, another yacht club, a lake where the greeter was Crocodile Dundee-lite, another beach, and a mine where the players turned up dressed as kangaroos. That is all.)

More interestingly, I once again didn't win the Monday Lotto. I suppose it would help if I actually bought a ticket, but... you know. Starving artist. No money. Much like the surfers right now, but at least they have their own passports when they're not busy bitching about how they work all night and work all day to win the race they have to play. (Ain't it sad?)

So anyway, the first train arrives in Krakow, and not only does the Crisis That Kind Of Was But Then Wasn't Really fail to put the surfers behind by even a minute, Wallace is also the first person to step off the train. As someone who finds them incredibly boring, this is a bit like unwrapping a Christmas present to find paisley underpants inside. The cars and clues are apparently not hard to find, and these teams would totally have walked together anyway, so the editors thankfully just cut straight ahead to the bit where we learn it's a Road Block. Naturally, it involves driving to Santa's Workshop, hauling a snow-filled sleigh around, and rifling through it to find the key to the front door

Hmmm? Fine. They have to drive to the Wieliczka Salt Mine, head underground, haul a salt-filled minecart down the track, then rifle through it for the key to unlock "the ancient salt king's crypt". The key, by the way, is a piece of plastic that does not resemble any key made ever. Because why stop at reducing a country to 'Salt Mine!!1!1!' when you can go one step further and reduce it to 'Salt Mine With Nonsensical Gimmick!!1!!!!1!!1!!11!'?

Wallace is doing it, and already complaining about the cramped spaces from the inside of their teeny-tiny car. Elsewhere, it seems this time they were allowed to read the task first (or at least the additional information), considering the Lucys are already on their way when they decide Renae will do it. Sam tempts fate in the worst possible way by using the "We haven't found anything we can't do" psychology on Renae. No, girls! Don't you know how the world works? (And don't you people who claim life is all about karma know that the basic principle of karma is that the actions of one life are rewarded or punished in the next? GOD.)

The Lucys soon find themselves struggling with the concept of entering through the marked gate, so apparently that train ride wasn't as restful as it should have been. Does this mean that entire situation was a hoax orchestrated by the surfers to keep the other teams awake and throw them off their game for this leg? Seems to be working, if it is. The Lucys and Hallmark are clear on the wrong side of the mine (or so Luke tells us, and if anyone on this race knows anything about playing for the wrong side...), and the Lucys have the bright idea of asking Hallmark if they know what time the mine opens. Right as we get a shot of a planted hours-of-operation sign saying it opens at six o'clock, SuperDad tells them it opens at eight. Eh. I mean, there are certainly other teams I'd rather see eliminated, but if you expect the team following you to know more than you do, you get what you deserve in this situation.

Luke asks Jeff what it really says, and he implies he isn't entirely sure. In a confessional, Luke tells us, "We've played it really straight with everyone." Yes. Straight as a candy cane, you might say. Anyway, there is bitching and whining from both halves of Hallmark and, while nowhere near as boring as Wallace and Grommet, they're also nowhere near as interesting as pretty much any team we've eliminated so far. Jeff ends the argument by snapping, "You know what? You can do this on your own." Which is convenient, since Luke's already doing the Road Block and all. They grab the first number, which is probaby a bad omen for how much everybody is going to suck today.

Meanwhile, Jeff cracks it some more, but I'm already bored and this recap is already five months late, so... you know. If we don't hurry it along a bit these Christmas jokes will be topical. Yada yada yada squirty bottle disturbing metaphor alert ads.

Commercials. You know how long it's been since I touched this recap? I swear there was an ad for Brashs in this commercial break.

When we return from by boring-induced-coma, the Lucys are displaying their blonde is natural by asking whether Poland is "near, like, Antarctica". Oh, dear. Wrong pole, girls. And even then, not really. (Yes, I am aware of the irony here.) (It's delicious.) (Well, maybe the turkey's a little dry. But the gravy's good. And you wouldn't believe how amazing these potatoes are.) Meanwhile, the surfers have managed to overcome their lack of anything they could use to find their way, and somehow arrive at the mine before the Lucys, who settle for third ahead of Chris and Bambi and the teams on the Slow Team Train. And what have we learned? Well, not a lot, really, except it's better to waste time asking inane questions when you're not trying to figure out where the fuck you're going. And apparently Chris and Bambi were thinking Poland is the one after Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.

They get let into the mine and Hallmark fake claustrophobia just enough to induce a panic attack in Wallace. Or at least as much of a panic attack as someone who comes across so dull can manage. Luke is already plowing his way through the shaft (quiet) by the time the surfers make a lame and half-assed innuendo about "going deep". They don't even snicker. Seriously? What kind of ambiguously-straight twenty-something men are they? They get out and start hauling as the Lucys fistbump in the elevator (yes, really), and as Luke and his blue-nosed hardhat arrive at the end of the shaft. He begins to gingerly nose his way through the salt, and confessionals that when someone said "key", he thought they actually meant "key". Doesn't he know television deals entirely in lame metaphors that don't quite work? For example, Masterchef using Katy Perry's "Hot & Cold" as its theme song is a metaphor for how the contestants are often hacks whose only actual cooking talent is the number of ways in which they can butcher simple recipes. But Luke still manages to find a "clear triangle shape" in his pile of clear triangle colours and clear triangle tastes, and immediately realises it's a key. But is it THE key? Um, no. He returns to the minecart, now with a clear triangle idea of what he's looking for. Wallace and Grommet arrive, and Wallace begins to paw through his cart. Grommet provides the helpful addition of asking Wallace if he knows what the key looks like. And then the girls show up, completing our triple play.

The Slow Team Train finally arrives. Matt agrees to take the Road Block, because Tom is good at neither pushing nor shoving, while Kelly whines about being in last. Has there been anything on this entire race, other than the misfortunes of others, that these two HAVEN'T bitched and moaned about? Being older than everyone, being slower than everyone, dealing with the language barrier, not being surrounded by tasks catering to their seemingly-limited skillset, not being able to navigate. They have whined about EVERYTHING. Can't we just get rid of them already?

Back in the mine, Chris makes good use of those muscles and heads off down the shaft with his cart. As he arrives in the larger cavern where the others already are, he confessionals, "Digging is more down my alley. Like, I've done it before, kind of thing. I know it's not a skill, but." Anastasia laughs, as do I. Chris is actually kind of funny when he's not busy acting like a twat. Meanwhile, Wallace attempts to explain the fact that he didn't finish the task in three seconds on the fact that all the salt looks similar. Probably should have picked that cart that was filled with chicken salt instead then. Everybody just sort of shovels salt onto the ground in an attempt to empty their cart a bit, but Luke is the first to actually find the working "key" and open the "crypt" to get the "clue". Wallace bothers to ask what the key looks like (because that will totally help him save half a second), but Luke's not having a bar of it. Funny, that. Is it because Wallace and Grommet are a bigger threat than the Lucys, or does he just not like them as much? On their way out, Bambi gives Luke a pat on the back. It's always fun when the people I kind of like get along well. Wallace confessionals that, basically, Luke is a bitch. Maybe, but not yours, so he doesn't have to show you anything.

Back up on the surface, Hallmark read the clue, which is a Detour. Already. I'm torn. It feels like we're missing something by not having an intermediate destination, no matter how lame, but at least we aren't resorting to roadside businesses like the US version seems to like doing. Anyway, the two choices with pros and cons are going to be renamed On Dasher and On Dancer, because while I usually mock the stupid task titles, this week's are both stupid and mildly offensive and I just happen to have a pearl nearby to clutch. WON'T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE SEXUALLY-AMBIGUOUS REALITY SHOW CONTESTANTS? Teams picking On Dasher (original title: Herd) have to drive themselves "to the Polish countryside". No, seriously, we aren't given any more information. Just "drive to the Polish countryside". That's almost as bad as "This is Alaska, the twelfth Pit Stop in a race around the world." Once they eventually find The Polish Countryside, they'll have to use fiiiiive me-talllll gaaaaates to form a corral in a paddock, then get three non-copyright-infringing red-backed reinsheep into it any way they can. Of course, there are extra unmarked reinsheep hanging around to generally be a nuisance and just generally be pains in the arse. Kind of like the non-Rudolph reindeer. Teams who pick On Dancer (original title: Hoe Down, because APPROPRIATE) have to drive themselves to Zakopane, which my atlas tells me is basically on the Czech border. Because it's clearly time to go back, having spent the entirety of one task outside the country. When they turn up, they'll have to don traditional Wacky Outfits, then learn and execute a local axe dance. Time penalties and lumps of coal will be given to any player who, accidentally or otherwise, manages to perform an impromptu amputation on their partner. Zakopane does look like a charming little town, though, which makes the fact that nobody will voluntarily pick a task involving wood-cutting implements even more disappointing. It's such a remarkable task that the editors have to randomly add a hyphen to the graphic a split second before it disappears. As Hallmark choose On Dasher, the camera zooms in on a painting behind them, as though it's yet another hint that Petrina is the Mole.

By the way? Salad/Dessert. Both tasks seem like they'd take the same amount of time (for a non-farmer team, that is), so it's pretty much a decision about whether you think a generic animal task is more exciting than a cultural task with music.

Meanwhile, Grommet tries a "key" and fails. So does Renae. So does Chris, and this is all remarkably exciting for what is, at its heart, a very boring task combining two of the three worst aspects of this show - excessive physical strength in pushing the cart, and random luck in finding the key. It's just lucky they don't have to eat an entire minecart full of salt. Maybe next season. Soon, Renae succeeds, and Chris also finds his before the girls can even read the clue. Both of them choose On Dasher, because... well, sheep. In every way. They leave as Wallace voices over exactly what we've just seen, because the editors think we're all as stoned as he and Grommet often come across. Wallace gets pissed at the prospect of not being in the top half of the pack for once, and decides to try and tip the full cart over. And then he'll kidnap the princess and wait for the stereotypical Italian plumber to rescue him. (You totally thought I was going to make a "HULK ON LOW-SALT DIET!" joke there, didn't you?) Of course, once the cart is tipped over, the "key" is right on top, leaving one heck of a mess for the poor mine janitors to clean up. On Dasher.

Elsewhere, Hallmark are lost to the point they are told to "go straight to the Krakow". Snerk. Always a bad sign when you're told to go to where you just came from. On the other hand, they get the This Is Funny music while Chris and Bambi argue their way straight into the sort of musical territory that's less The Lone Gunmen and more Millennium. Bambi explains in a confessional, "He has a different mentality on following a map", while Chris just sort of looks all around the place as though he's taking it in for the first time. Back in their car, he snaps, "I would smash the navigation, absolutely s--I never make a mistake in my life." Aside from the combination of a sky blue beanie and an olive ski jacket, you mean? Heterosexuality's no excuse, sister. Naturally, Bambi goes on a tirade about how, basically... um, I'm not entirely sure. The gist of it seems to be "slow down so we can be last and I can go home already", though. She continues to act like a shrew, and he calls her a "retard", which the editing elves helpfully subtitle and accentuate with a heavy drumbeat in order to hammer home that he said it. Oy. Yes, he absolutely shouldn't have said it. But the editing elves shouldn't have made such a point of showcasing it either.

Wallace and Grommet pull over at a petrol station to get directions (because they don't have any money to buy maps, remember), and conveniently run into the Lucys, who agree to let them follow. Of course, the girls soon take a turn and Grommet is too slow to realise, forcing him to continue straight ahead. And they don't even complain about how the girls tried to ditch them? What sort of race IS this?

Commercials. TAA, the friendly, friendly way. (Oh? They're Qantas now? How's that working for them?)

When we return, the two Slow Teams are finally about to enter the mine. While Kelly does the requisite claustrophobic whining, the farmers laugh at how the overalls provided left Matt with an unfortunate case of mooseknuckle. Down in the mine, Matt begins to push the cart, bending over just enough to make the overalls ride up his crack, too. They're the gift that keeps on giving. Tom continues to laugh, and Matt calls him a "pervert". Bitch, please. We prefer to be called "prude-adjacent".

Anyway, more digging. Dave finds one of the crystals that are supposed to represent "keys", and drops it in confusion. Yeah, I'm not particularly interested in the Road Block any more either. And neither are the editors, judging by the splitscreen to The Polish Countryside, where Randolph The Red-Backed Reinsheep and his pals are watching the Lucys arrive. As usual on this show, the tone here is set by the fabulous music, which this time takes the form of the music they'd use to try and get you to walk into a circus. No, not Cirque du Soleil, a real circus. They are shown to have about as much success with the task as the teams did at the hockey in the first half of this leg, but it's worth noting that they already have one sheep in their corral by the time we splitscreen back to the mine. After yet more boring digging and "key" trying, Matt finally manages to obtain the clue. And if you were expecting them to do anything except On Dasher, go back to watching Big Brother. We don't want you. Dave & Kelly also pick On Dasher when he opens the thing. Nobody's going to do the cool task with axes? Baaaa humbug.

Farm. Chris, Bambi, and Hallmark have all arrived together. That's... actually kind of an unexpected friendship, really. The Lucys are still present, and seem to have lost their first corralled sheep to boot (unless they're the new owners of the Discontinuity Awareness Prize), which means only one thing: More wacky hijinks. While they continue to run around, and Bambi continues to think they can corral the sheep without building said corral first, Hallmark have come up with the bright idea of putting their portable metal fencing against the existing wooden fences to herd all the sheep in, then acting like bouncers and getting rid of all the sheep without doorstamps. Which would be a good idea - in fact, it's how the American teams did this when it was a Road Block in their second season almost ten years ago - if not for the fact that these sheep know enough about cliches to jump over the fence. I see one sheep, two sheep, three szzzz...

Meanwhile, Chris is doing a fine enough job destroying the fences on his own. Bambi and Chris debate whether the sheep are horny, but Renae is the first to actually grab a sheep. She basically straddles it all the way to the corral, and then seems to instantaneously grab their second sheep and pick it up to put in the pen. Hallmark's sheep find their own way back into their paddock with the help of some conveniently-placed fences linking their paddock and the next, and they begin the arduous task of letting the unnecessary sheep loose. The surfers arrive as the other teams seem to be winding up, although the Lucys suddenly only have one sheep in their corral again, so who knows what's going on. Maybe we should ask Chris or Bambi. And then they get their last sheep in, despite it being so heavy both of them have to work together to lift it over the fence. The farmer gives them a clue directing them to Cape Stylchen near Czorstyn. Strangely, Sam stumbles over the "Cz" syllable despite having just spent two episodes in the Czech Republic. Grant adds in the helpful information that there's an Intersection coming up. Naturally. We couldn't let this go and become the best two-part leg in the show's history, so we have to make everything until now - the car searching and the hockey and the photography and the stairs and the funky sausages and the beer and the blasphemy and the overnight train ride and the "thief" and the mine and The Polish Countryside and the sheep and the driving around two countries - completely worthless by bunching the teams together right before the actual Pit Stop. It better not be one of those legs where the mat is right next to the final task.

Back at the sheep, Chris and Bambi have no problem with the second sheep, but the third literally drags him across the ground for a few metres. Hallmark are also done, but Wallace and Grommet's late arrival means they're only up to the bit where they have all the sheep in their pen. Their sheep decide to crash through the unsecured metal fence instead of escaping to run all over The Polish Countryside, which must be a bit helpful for them. I mean, it's not like they can afford to send out a search party. Fixing their mistake apparently does precisely nothing to slow them down, much like the whole train situation didn't, allowing them to leave "like, two minutes behind the other teams". You know what we need? Another cluebox across the road from something. They could crash their cab into the cluebox and fail to notice it. On their way back out to the car, an elderly lady sits on the roadside trying to sell them roses. Who would have guessed this show would have enough of a following in The Polish Countryside to entice local spoiler fiends?

Dave and Kelly pass a flagged sign for Kasa Biletowa, which must be where the sheepherding is actually happening. It's definitely somewhere in The Polish Countryside. As you would expect, Dave is soon ordering Kelly to run around and catch the sheep while he builds the corral. I'd normally point out that he's getting yet another chance to be lazy and do nothing before whining about it later, but in fairness she probably does have a better chance of getting the task done quickly. The farmers also arrive, the editors missing a chance to play a hokey flashback of that horrible "remember the choreographed steps" Detour from the Macau leg when Tom points out there was no doubt which task they were doing but oddly adding a small clip of them entering their paddock where we are clearly shown these wooden "fences" surrounding them are fake and temporary. Or the farmer is super strong, either way. Dave and Kelly have managed to herd all the sheep into their makeshift corral, and while they check to confirm whether they have to take the unmarked sheep out (apparently the clue says they don't, which is odd), the sheep decide to escape through a hole anyway. Heh. Game Show Contestants 4, Sheep 2.

Over at Cape Stylchen, Chris, Bambi, and the Lucys have reached the Intersection, and agree to work together. The clue tells them to work in pairs to saw four slices from a big log using a two-handed saw, whereupon the slices will be used to make all sorts of toys for good girls and good boys. We shall assume no partridges were hurt when their pear trees were chopped down for our bemusement. Oh, and they have to stop partners after each slice, which pretty much means these two teams are fucking SCREWED if they can't dump all of their work on Chris and Renae. I mean, nothing against Bambi and Sam, but... you know. Given the choice of all four people in this group, I'm not going to either of them to open my salsa jar. (No, Tom, that was not a euphemism.) Chris basically sums up this quick analysis in an interview, and to put it politely, it's never a good sign when someone with his frame and plentiful musculature thinks his goose is cooked. The Lucys go first, which surely ruins part of the point of making this task an Intersection. If they were allowed to cut any of the pieces without actually teaming up, wouldn't it make more sense to have them just cut two pieces each and not make it an Intersection at all? That way, you'd still get the drama and everything, but the entire two legs up until now wouldn't be a complete and utter waste. Bambi confessionals that they were "already at a massive disadvantage" by virtue of having three women in their four-person team. Because as we know, muscles? All about the cock. Granted, the Lucys aren't exactly showing themselves to be adept at wood-cutting, but still.

All the way back at the Detour, the farmers somehow manage to get a couple of sheep to run straight at them. They wind up basically hugging their necks to stop them in their tracks, while the completely appropriate strains of Sweet Georgia Brown start playing over Dave's attempts to free a sheep from the cage it's stuck in. That's... kind of weird, and not just for the obvious reasons. Firstly, the song is now intertwined in the zeitgeist with the Harlem Globetrotters, who are renowned for being good at what they do. Dave? Slightly less so. Secondly, while the American version of this show was given the rights to use the song when a team containing two Globetrotters was racing, the version of that season aired in Australia had to replace the song with a more generic, less obnoxious score throughout. I'm guessing it was a copyright issue that necessitated the change, given the next season was freely able to use an equally obnoxious score for Jet & Cord, but then that raises more questions: Why is it suddenly fine to use now? And if it was a copyright thing, as opposed to any other reason, why would this show buy the rights to such an iconic tune for a moment that makes no contextual sense? It's almost as bad as when the British version of The Mole decided to start what would turn out to be its final challenge ever, a drive across British Columbia to the final location, with Ca Plane Pour Moi for no apparent reason. Still, at least they could bullshit it away as a reference to the show's Belgian origins. Here? Nothing.

Oh, and the farmers also get their obnoxious "They're country hicks! See? FIDDLES!" music again as well. They finish the task, Tom providing a confessional where he calls the sheep "just short, hairy cattle". Really? I mean, really? I'm not a farmer by any stretch of the imagination - my entire knowledge of farming boils down to knowing hundreds of variations of "Why did the chicken cross the road?" - but even I know that's wrong. (Incidentally, why did the German chicken cross the road? Because it was the most efficient way to invade Poland.) As they get the clue and leave, Kelly points out they had no trouble with the task. Meanwhile, their own sheep decide to jump the fence, helpfully assisted by the musical flourishes. Dave chucks a tanty some more.

Commercials. Next, on an all new episode of JAG...

When we return, Dave and Kelly have their sheep escape AGAIN. How unlucky. Kelly notices that they only need to get one of the remaining sheep to leave their corral in order to finish, despite the fact that one of the sheep that escaped was clearly marked (and is shown escaping from several angles), so apparently there were more marked sheep than necessary and the task just involves getting any three of them, rather than getting three specific sheep like Grant explained. If only that had been explained, it might have made more sense to understand why nobody wanted to go and play with axes. They get it done easily, and we're finally done with the sheep. Is it just me, or does this episode seem remarkably empty? Or is it just that the tasks themselves aren't particularly interesting?

The Lucys are still sawing their first log, and appear to be only about a third of the way through it, at most. Given this task was originally on the Family Edition and an eight-year-old girl was able to finish it, I have to wonder whether the logs used here turned out to be much harder to cut than the producers were expecting, or whether they deliberately made completing the task improbable. Sam explains that the sight of them struggling was causing Bambi to freak out. Said explanation is accompanied by a clip of Bambi looking about as nervous as somebody about to get a vaccination from their doctor, so

The surfers are here. Damn. To use the American version as an analogy for a second, a great cast can make great challenges the stuff of brillance (Ken and Gerard punting), or they can make bad challenges at least tolerable (Lena and the haybales), but a bad cast can either ruin decent challenge ideas (the latter half of Lena's season), or they can make lousy challenges even worse (Japan = Rollercoasters!). And while a team like Giggle and Cackle or even FBA could possibly make this horrible task interesting, Wallace and Grommet are not one of those teams. They're probably nice guys, don't get me wrong, but casting them was a massive mistake, especially when they're the sort of people you'd expect to make it to the final stages of the race. They remark that Hallmark must still be lost.

Hallmark are indeed lost, and have decided to pull over and ask some hikers how to get to Cape Stylchen quickly. Because you know who knows how to go somewhere in a hurry? HIKERS. Luke explains that the hikers were basically useless, but at least they got to see a whole bunch of scenic places. Handy. Luke points out they lost over half an hour thanks to these guys, while Tyler & Nathan celebrate being just mediocre enough to not have to team with the Lucys or Bambi, but not being so mediocre they're left with Kelly. Luke continues to point out that taxi drivers are so much better to ask than hikers, complete with an impersonation. The only thing he's really missing is crossed eyes. They eventually get there, and unsurprisingly agree to work with the surfers. Wouldn't it have been awesome if they refused, saying they wanted to work with the farmers?

Soon, there are more saws in action than in a horror film festival, and it's telling of how slow and boring and utterly unsuccessful this task is going to be that the Lucys managing to finish their first slice is accompanied by the Hooters Of Triumph. The farmers arrive just after, and must now wait for Dave and Kelly... who are currently lost again. Of course. I'm beginning to think those two could get lost in a wading pool. I think this is part of the real problem with the Intersection, to be honest - though the basic idea behind it is sound, it actively punishes good racing instead of rewarding it, while teams who race poorly get off lightly. It's a bit less noticeable here than it has been in other situations, but everything the farmers have done so far this leg to stop themselves from being last has been for nothing, while everything Dave and Kelly have done to bleed time today actually matters. I'm not quite sure whether the problem is entirely fixable, but what I would suggest is that the Intersection should only be placed (1) at the start of a leg, rather than as the last task in a two-part leg, and (2) immediately after a mass bunching point. Granted, the teams who tend to race well would likely join with each other while the slower teams are forced to unite, but at least this lame gimmick wouldn't be counter-productive to the act of competing in a race. Dave and Kelly finally get a local to lead them there.

Back at the Intersucktion, Bambi is struggling with the saw, and Chris is managing not to yell at her. Good for them, but whatever. We have more important things to deal with right now: LUKE IS GETTING HIS GEAR OFF. Okay, he only takes off his outer shirt and leaves the singlet on, but it's still enough for the editors to add in some hilarious soft-porn music. Pfft. There's nothing soft right now. (Ho? Ho. Ho!) I think they were kind of expecting more nudity in this season, what with the surfers and the Lucys and even maybe Chris and Bambi, but now they're just settling for whatever they can get in the Polish winter. Renae (incorrectly subtitled as Sam, because even the editors have given up this week) makes a remark about how she's "taking in the scenery", while the real Sam points out the beauty of the actual Polish Countryside. It's the sort of landscape that would look better when it snows, if we're being totally honest. And who doesn't love snow?

But once the soft-porn scene is all done, sadly without a comment from Tom (who must have been facing the wrong direction), I fall into a temporary Boredom Coma. And you know how bored I have to be to be sick of recapping a challenge involving semi-naked men and wood. When we return... well, I think Luke sums it up best: "No, they don't have a technique, they just rammed through it." "Don't try and bite down too hard." "You've just got to try and just gently take it in." At this point, the surfers and Hallmark are starting their third slice, the farmers and Dave and Kelly are nearing the end of their second, and the Lucys and Chris and Bambi are about halfway through their second. Bambi is struggling, making as many crying moans as she can on a family show, until eventually Chris comes around and console her. Awww.

Commercials. When I started writing this recap, a reference to Diddy Kong almost wouldn't have been dated. Sigh.

When we return, so does my Boredom Coma. Convenient, that. I wake up just as Chris and Bambi decide to take the penalty, which also means the Lucys are stuck taking the penalty. Chris explains in a confessional, "I did not like to see her in any agony, even caused by myself. It hurts me to see it." I... think I'll let that quote stand on its own, because it's not great for him, but Chris honestly doesn't seem like as much of an Asshole as the editors have been trying to make out all season. Sure, there was the thing with the wine, but what person doesn't start yelling for no reason every once in a while? Even Ned Flanders yelled at the whole town that time. It's become tradition at this point for reality TV "villains" to blame the editing for making them look like tools when they're not, and it very rarely is the editors' fault, but I think Chris has a better case than most.

Chris and Sam explain in confessionals that while Chris and Bambi were getting the standard four-hour penalty, the Lucys were only going to be given a two-hour penalty because they were able to complete one of their slices. Without going back into Simpsons-quoting territory so soon and wondering whether they give a Nobel Prize for Attempted Chemistry, that's kind of unfair. What would have happened if they split the cutting so that Chris and Renae did the first slice? Would they have both gotten two-hour penalties for finishing a slice, or would they have both gotten four-hour penalties because Sam and Bambi failed to cut a slice? Bad planning.

On a happier note, the clue tells them to FINALLY head for the Pit Stop, which this week is at Dunajec Castle in Niedzica. Grant tells us it's "a 14th Century stronghold in the south of Poland", which means you may have to discount all those references to things North-Poley earlier in the recap and replace them with penguin jokes or something. Damn, and I didn't even get to make a joke about the good King Wenceslas. He also adds that the last team to arrive "MAY be eliminated". Damn, that would be kind of hilarious if this turned out to be a non-elimination after everything that's happened. It would still suck that there were essentially two non-eliminations in a row, but can you imagine what the teams would be like, learning all of this has been for NOTHING? Awesome.

Chris, Bambi, and the Lucys all dash off as quickly as they can, since their penalty time doesn't start until they arrive. Bambi explains in a confessional that she thought the penalty might not even matter, since Dave has "a couple of injuries" and Kelly is weaker than any of the other players still cutting, which could mean they'll either need four hours long to finish, or that they'll need a penalty just like this group. I can't argue with her basic logic, especially considering how often Dave whines about giving up, but that seems like one HELL of a risk when they (more specifically, the farmers) have just finished their second slice out of four. Kelly starts on the third with Dave, pointing out that hypothermia might set in before they finish. Isn't she just a happy ball of sunshine? Meanwhile, the surfer/Hallmark group are done. Clue! Wallace remarks how wonderful it is to "FINALLY come out on top", as though they've had as much success during the race as Giggle and Cackle did.

The farmers figure they're going to take a while to get through the last two slices with Dave and Kelly, and start a small bonfire. Heh. On the other hand, the Lucys are already at the castle. They run up to a small courtyard, where a cute little lady gives them a bilingual welcome to Poland, and Grant reminds them of their penalty. Since they failed to lose more than two hours on Chris and Bambi (who arrive pretty much simultaneously) on the short drive over, they're safe anyway and it's really just a formality at this point, but they still seem a bit apprehensive.

Out in The Polish Countryside some more, the surfers are following Hallmark to the Pit Stop. Because you know who won't get lost? The team who asks hikers for directions. Wallace explains that they wouldn't be where they currently are without Hallmark's help, so they've decided to let them check in first for once. I must have missed the section of this show where they decided to tell teams Karl Marx was (1) a drag queen and (2) the greeter. Yes, yes, fair play and all, but were it not for the Intersucktion's presence, Wallace and Grommet would have beaten them. But I'm not going to get too worked up about this, because there are much bigger things to complain about in this episode, and besides, I'm kind of happy it stops the surfers from walking away with another ten grand. Grant claims the money can be used "for anything, from sourcing tickets that are all sold out to organising your next trip to Poland." Snerk. Not that Poland isn't a wonderful country, because it is, but it doesn't often feature on people's lists of places to go before they're eliminated from the human race, and I really can't imagine anything we saw in this episode changing many minds. I mean, pickpockets, salt mines, sheep, and trees? Really, show? That's the best Poland has to offer? I'm glad the producers chose not to stick to more traditional holiday places like Paris or Italy, but this entire leg contained more misfiring than most episodes of The Apprentice. (Oh, Didier.)

And the surfers are officially Team Number Two.

The sun is setting as Dave and Kelly finish the third slice for the Whiner/Farmer group. Dave soon agrees to "do it" with Tom, disturbing many a perverted viewer. (Relax, Luke, he means the final slice.) Dave comments, "It's not gonna matter how thick it is, [as] long as we keep it relatively straight". If only he knew. As they cut through the fourth slice, Matt wonders how much penalty time is remaining.

Let's check, shall we? It's suddenly pitch black at the castle as the Lucys' penalty expires, making them Team Number Three. As they head off to the hotel for the night, Tom and Dave are still cutting, but have decided to cut up from underneath to finish. I'm not sure this is the brightest idea, since we've been shown that starting the cut is the hardest part, and they're essentially doing the slow part twice, AND they're now contending with gravity. But Tom does seem surprisingly good at thrusting. Maybe he's just experienced with wood. Meanwhile, Dave complains about his lack of sleep. Again. Some more. The editors are also showing their own sleep deprivation/boredom [delete as appropriate], using the exact same audio clip of Tom telling Dave he's doing fine on either side of Dave's whiny voiceover.

Commercials. In which many dated references occur, but if we don't hurry this thing up, the Occupy Retro movement will make them all popular again and defeat the purpose.

There is more cutting, and more Dave whining about the task being "bloody awful", before we cut back to the Pit Stop to see Chris and Bambi have the convenient time of 43 minutes and 21 seconds to wait until they can check in. The final slice is soon successfully cut, and they're all on the way to the Pit Stop. After the mandatory group hug, of course. Given how long it apparently took these two teams to finish the last two and a bit slices, I have to think the others made the right decision by taking the penalty. I mean, it probably would have been better for Chris and Bambi if they were able to finish that second slice before quitting, because it wouldn't have taken them two hours to do so, but still.

Both teams appear to be lost on the quick drive over to the castle. In what is a rare event in the "modern" racing era, the editors actually manage to create some sense of dramatic tension in the race to the Pit Stop. Driving! Running! Flags! Stairs! Chris & Bambi! More stairs! Tom, mocking the stairs! Grant, right as a bell tolls! But for whom do the bells toll? Well, Chris and Bambi. Not that it was much of a surprise once we knew the other teams were at the castle. Dave and Kelly are fourth, the farmers are fifth, and Chris & Bambi are officially last. The former two teams are already gone by the time Grant puts them out of their misery, calling them to the mat so they can be eliminated. He does seem genuinely sorry to eliminate them, so either he's a fan or he just knows how boring the remaining five teams are. Could go either way. (So to speak.) In their final confessional, Chris explains, "I think that the race allowed us to see each other at our worsts, in particular me" (hee), before pointing out that it's now Bambi's decision whether they stay together or not. Back in the real world, Grant and the greeter both wish them a fond farewell, as Bambi concludes, "Since we can withstand anything that the race threw at us, we can really just pull through and just be together for life."

And then they broke up. Like, the next day.

Next week: Born is the ki-ing of I-is-ra-el, just in time for a certain task the week after. Also: Tom and Luke continue to want to play with each other's dreidels. (I'm 90% sure the next recap won't take as long to come out. It'll definitely be out by the time the next season starts, though.)

November 7, 2011

New Recaps Are COMING SOON!

Read the title, my dears. At least one recap by this time next week, hopefully two.

August 1, 2011

The Amazing Race Australia: The Complete Timeline

Here you go.

It's not perfect (Sam & Renae need to be switched for the final two Road Blocks, for one), but it's done. I'm curious to find out what you guys think -- whether it's readable, how the design works (it's something like the third or fourth version I've tried), that sort of thing.

July 18, 2011

A Post, But No Recap

Hello, dear readers.

I apologise for the slow pace with which the recent recaps have been uploaded. Over the weekend I tried recapping the first Israel episode, but very quickly realised that with the ongoing storylines both on the show and in the recaps (SETTLE DOWN, ALL THE HOT YOUNG MALE CONTESTANTS), it just isn't going to work. The other issue is that I'm getting just as fatigued as the contestants by writing so much in such a short time -- according to my word counter, the first seven recaps come in at over 87,647. I'll have to check and make sure, but that's about the equivalent of a Harry Potter book. In eight weeks. Having to stop and start after every sentence or so. So, what to do? My two options are basically to either stop recapping entirely, recharge my batteries, and recap the remaining five episodes (or six, we're still not entirely sure) at a later date, which could be next month or which could be the twelfth of never; or to keep pushing ahead at a much slower pace, not stress about getting the recaps out in a timely fashion, and just recap them bit by bit until they're all done. Either way, there's no way any of the remaining recaps will be done at the pace set by the earlier recaps, especially considering I'm about to return to university. For now, I'll go with the latter option, taking my time to get it right rather than rushing out a group of half-assed mini recaps like those you'd see on many other blogs. (Hi, guys!) Hopefully, the entire season will be done by year's end but right now I really can't promise anything. It's a shame it's come to this, but keep the site bookmarked and the recaps will be uploaded in due time.

-- David

PS: Eeeeee, second season!

PPS: ...Yes. Time permitting.

July 11, 2011

Australia 1x07: Kutna Hora, Czech Republic

Previously on Desperately Seeking Clues-an: Dawson continued to be kind of a jerk, the Doctor whined about losing Rose some more, Clark saved perpetual damsel-in-distress Lois, and Krycek pashed Mulder again, but this time went straight for the lips. Oh, and I continued to very slowly morph into Daria Morgendorffer. Also: Seven teams ditched the warmth of South Africa and headed for cold, cold Amsterdam, where the task wasn't a Detour between hookers and pot (or between fishing and that blue-and-white pottery, which could just have easily had the tasks named Hookers and Pot), but was instead eating some deep-fried apples. (Don't worry, it'll seem positively enticing in a little while.) After finishing, they were immediately sent to Prague where a pair of "find the clue" tasks resulted in Hallmark feeling like it was a case of the father, the son, and the holey ghost. Tom became Luke's knight in shining armour, and while we didn't get to see his sword, Luke became a Helper Fairy to make up for it, giving Matt the spare arrows he needed to finish the Road Block. The two all-female teams chose a hugely physical option clearly designed for men, and unsurprisingly were the last two teams to arrive at the Pit Stop, but Alana redefined epic fail at the Road Block and she and Mel were eliminated. Six alpha teams are racing to beta each other, winning the gamma. Who will have to rho, rho, rho their way home... TONIGHT?

Credits. Wait, where was Liberty hiding that puppy? [GIVE A DOG A BOMP.]

Commercials. Okay, so I'm watching SBS's news, and either the newsreader's been in a fight, or he's allergic to his spray tan. Sigh. And he's so pretty, too.

Grand, sweeping music re-introduces us to Prague, as though we hadn't just completely ignored Amsterdam in the suspiciously short "previously on Bohemian Crapsody" segment instead focusing entirely on Melana getting booted and the Lucys having as much success getting help as Steve Fielding did at retaining his senate seat. Grant explains that Prague Castle is "the biggest castle complex in the world", which more than makes up for not having any other castle/fortress Pit Stops yet. Remember when the Pit Stops used to be at a fortress every other week, with random hotels and beaches filling in the blanks and freeing up the Amazing Landmarks for other times in the episode? I kind of miss that, because it seems like lately the only really kickass landmarks we see are the Pit Stops, while all the other clues are at train stations and roadside businesses and the like. They've really got to spread out the awesomeness some more -- I honestly wouldn't mind it if they started having boats and hotel rooftops and the like as Pit Stops again, if they were to start including more than one kickass landmark a season on the regular route again.

But I digress, and Wallace and Grommet are leaving first at 5:31am. Grommet stumbles his way through the jaw-droppingly difficult task of reading the words, "Make your way to the Dancing House in Prague", before Grant thankfully cuts him off to explain that it's a "lopsided building" and a local landmark. It kind of looks like it may have been hit by a few catapulted cannonballs in the construction phase, if last week's substandard theme is to be believed. Teams have to get to the building then search the nearby area for a car containing the clue. But because we're in eastern Europe and eastern Europe's a little slow at embracing capitalism and having Honda on hand to provide new cars for "subtle" product placement and whatnot, the cars just happen to be shitboxes. Grant explains that each car is "a 1982 Czech sedan", but... the Czech Republic wasn't a country in 1982, was it? Wouldn't the cars be Czechoslovakian, not Czech? I realise I'm overthinking this, but factual accuracy is important, guys. (It could be worse though -- Czechoslovakia wasn't formed until 1914, yet one of the Pit Stops from The Amazing Race Asia's visit to Prague was supposedly "built by the king of Czechoslovakia in the 14th century".) Leaving the mat, Grommet notes that since they've got to find a car, they've "gotta drive somewhere" (very astute), which he deems "frickin' interesting". I suspect he's the sort of guy who gets overwhelmed by Sudoku, though. Wallace tells us, "We've been at the front of the pack majority of the time [sic], so we have THE biggest targets on our back at the moment." Luckily, they're using the biggest backpacks in existence as a sort of shield at the moment. They head off in a taxi.

Chris & Bambi depart at a minute to six, narrowly avoiding having to watch the Czech version of Kochie and Mel waking them up. She claims, "There's no reason why we can't come first in this leg, you know, we're getting stronger and stronger as a team as the weeks progress." And we have our first Obviously-Scripted Confessional of the week. Why would she say "as the weeks progress" considering they've only been racing for, by my count, fifteen days at this point? Anyway, having trouble explaining "Dancing House" to a waiting cab driver, Bambi decides to go en pointe to try and mime it. Thank heavens for the ballet-esque music, otherwise this could have been really confusing. Except not. Chris tells us they've "exhausted all possibilities for arguing", and this is exactly how you know they're not one of those Fighting Dating Couples that the American version trots out with monotonous regularity: They eventually give up trying to find new minutiae to argue about.

At 6:12am, Hallmark leave, and the farmers follow a minute later. That's not like Tom to bring up the rear! Matt takes note of the forty bucks they're getting this week, before they all set off in search of the Dancing House. Luke calls the remaining teams "the best of the best", which would imply that the booted teams are "the worst of the best", and he's kind of kidding himself if he thinks Giggle and Cackle were the best at anything. Except maybe falling over. While Hallmark find a cab, the farmers decide to hoof it. Oh, dear. It's never a good sign when Tom and Luke get split up. They realise it's going to be a bit hard to find an English speaker in Prague at this time of the morning -- or at least, one who isn't incapacitated from the night before -- but manage to locate someone who tells them the Dancing House is a fifteen-minute walk away. Walking through an archway, Tom voices over that they've been lucky, but that they've deserved it. NOOOOOOOOO! Don't tempt fate! Matt comments on how the walk is at least good for helping them not feel the effects of the winter weather. You know what's also good? A heated taxi.

Like the one Wallace and Grommet are currently getting out of at the Dancing House. They find the cars instantly, or so the editors make it seem, and they've certainly got an easier job now with the whole group of them than the later teams are going to have with only one or two. Grommet laughs about the cars being from the "1940s" in a confessional, but... you know, he could be more entertaing if it wasn't so obvious he was reading from dummy boards. For one, he could at least have correctly pronounced the word "war". The clue tells teams to get into their chosen crapheap and drive to the Zimni hockey rink. When they get there, they'll have to suit up, slide their way onto the ice, and score a goal. It's hard enough to begin with, given Australia has... what, three ice rinks in the entire country? It's some ridiculously small number like that, last time I checked. So it's not likely anyone is going to have any experience on skates, but just in case they do, they'll have to score their goal against the Czech national goalkeeper. And unlike many of the locals teams have competed against on the American version of this show, this guy isn't going to go easy on them, so they'll have to be mighty lucky if they're going to succeed. As they leave, Wallace asks Grommet if he knows which side he's supposed to be driving on, and Grommet tries to blame his lack of knowledge about Czech road rules on the car being old. Well, of course.

Hallmark have found their way to the Dancing House, as have Chris and Bambi. They decide to team up, and soon find the cars. Hallmark feel the need to explain in a confessional that the cars were Škodas, just in case you thought the show's sponsorship deal meant they were only going to treat Honda with respect. No, they're also going to throw other car companies with fairly decent reputations under the bus. Luke explains that the Škoda "resembles nothing of any sort of car I've ever seen before". I don't know, they kind of look like your basic early-1990s hatchbacks. The only real difference -- as the teams are currently demonstrating -- is that the engines are in the back and the boot is in the front, so it's a bit like a Volkswagen Beetle and a Hyundai Excel had a lovechild and then put it up for adoption. They drive off.

It's now 6:45am, and that can mean only one thing: Dave & Kelly are now leaving. Unlike the other teams, they are advised to take a tram. Oh, dear. This could never end well. (Disclaimer: I am making assumptions about this based on how completely incompetent and slow Melbourne's tram services are.) Dave claims, "We're not the strongest team in the game, but we persevere." Well, he's half-right, at least. Need I remind him of all the times something hasn't gone his way and he's threatened to quit? Even Flo didn't threaten to quit until towards the end of the race. They point out how their age is a hindrance when he's the same age as both farmers combined at 52, and older than the surfers (50), the Lucys (45), and Chris & Bambi (44). Still, he's eight years younger than SuperDad, who is currently kicking their asses, so... it's not their age that's an issue. It's his whininess and inability to cope that's dooming them, not their age. Let me ask you this: Aside from the Road Blocks, when was the last time Dave played a bigger role in their success in a challenge than Kelly? And even then, three of the four Road Blocks he's done to this point have had him treated as ballast, pretty much, with only the archery last week requiring actual skill. He explains that they're "going through a lot of Deep Heat and a lot of Tiger Balm". Elsewhere in the world, the makers of Icy Hot are shopping around for a new advertising agency.

Also elsewhere, though probably in a different elsewhere, the farmers are still walking around. Matt over-enunciates the word "vehicle" as the Music of Supposedly-Wacky Adventures kicks into high gear. They explain that nobody seemed to know exactly how far the Dancing House was, and continue walking, Tom briefly coming to his senses and commenting, "Maybe the walking option wasn't such a great idea." Is walking ever a good idea?

The surfers have arrived at the hockey rink... only to learn that it's closed until 7:30am. Normally, that'd be a sure sign everyone was going to bunch up, but with two teams having less than an hour to get to their cars and drive to the rink, and with the farmers currently walking halfway to Azerbaijan, I don't think that's going to happen somehow.

At 6:57am, the Lucys round out this week's departures, and some time-lapse clouds suddenly take us to after sunrise, where they're still waiting for a cab. They explain that they're now feeling the pressure of being the final all-female team remaining, though Renae can't keep a straight face as she reads the cue cards. Is it just me, or are they making the scripted confessionals really obvious this season? It's almost as bad as The Biggest Loser, though with fewer mentions of the words "myself", "journey", and "thunderthighs". Renae celebrates the closure of their cab's boot with their luggage inside, so either she's very easily amused or she really is feeling the pressure. I suspect it's the latter, since Sam's already giving Grommet a bone, and they can't both be easily amused and have made it this far.

The farmers have found their car and, after Matt reads the clue sounding like he's already lost a few teeth in an ice hockey brawl, immediately decide to name their car Bindi. Why? Well, it's khaki brown, of course. As Ms. Irwin herself would say, it's a "fantazzo-wazzo-tip-top-terrific" idea. (Is it worse that she would actually say that, or that I actually bothered to track down that exact quote from last year's Logies?) Matt comments that they "can't find the boot in this heap of shit", and wonders whether Bindi is even roadworthy, but those are going to be the least of their problems today. (SPOILER!)

Hallmark have reached the rink, and noticing the surfers still outside prompts SuperDad to ask whether the rink is open yet. No, SuperDad, they've been and gone and are now waiting for the valet to bring their car around. OF COURSE IT'S CLOSED. Grommet points out they've "only got ten minutes to wait", and hopes that nobody else is going to get there in time. Cue Chris and Bambi, getting honked all over Prague. He shows a remarkable amount of restraint in not shaking his fist out the window, but probably is only managing to resist based on the cold breeze he'll get when he opens the window. He says something in Greek which isn't subtitled in Greek and therefore means that either it's a string of coarse language or the font they're using for the subtitles (which really needs to be bolded, it's too thin and blending into the image at the moment) doesn't have Greek character support. In any event, they arrive right before the rink opens, and all three teams are let in together. Conveniently, they're just in time to witness someone get completely spontaneously shoved into the plastic wall they have to protect the crowds from angry Canadians. Or perhaps to protect the players themselves from the angry Canadians.

They suit up and they're not even on the ice before Wallace is complaining about how tight his helmet is. It's cutting off all the circulation to that thing on his head. As the Fast Teams take their first skid onto the ice, SuperDad explains, "I had heart tremors. Trying to get balance and move and not fall over and hit a very small black, uh, puck with a stick into a space that is way too small and the goalie should have been much smaller. Uh, yeah, it was pretty rubbish actually." In other words? We've finally found something they suck at. SuperDad gets out into the middle fairly easily, but still becomes the first person to fall over. I have this sneaking suspicion he will not be the last. Meanwhile, Bambi is inching her way out by using her hockey... stick (do those things have actual names?) a bit like an oar. Well, whatever floats your frozen boat. Doesn't stop her from falling, though. You know, just like the real Bambi. Grommet, on the other hand, is skating with confidence and misses, while Wallace gets close enough that the goalie can trip him over by sweeping his thing. It's probably not the first time he's been flat on his back.

The Lucys are at the Dancing House, still looking for their car. Sam complains about being last, but she apparently doesn't know that Dave & Kelly are also still looking. Except not for long. Kelly feels the need to finger-quote when describing the "vee-hick-le". We see them walking down the stairs when there's still three cars left, so apparently the producers sprang for an extra car to make it a easier for the last teams. Good idea, but it doesn't atone for some of the other bad ones we've seen throughout the season. Getting into the car, Dave lives up to the cliche by turning on the wipers instead of the engine. Well, he does love the classics. The Lucys also eventually find their car, after Sam gets justification to be That Person Who Says "I Told You So" To Their Partner. For this episode, at least.

Back at the hockey rink, Grommet takes a shot but instead faceplants. Watching people fall over is going to get old very quickly. And this is coming from someone who has watched more than one episode of Wipeout in its entirety. In fact, it already is. Still, at least the laughing locals are actually relevant this time, even if they sound like squealing pigs. Wallace explains that the basic way to finish the task was to trick the goalie so you could get it past him. Gee, thanks for the heads-up. I don't think I would have gotten that otherwise. I mean, how effective could it possibly be to hit the puck straight at a big guy standing in front of a very narrow goal while he's wearing a large amount of padding and holding a stick he can use to deflect the pucks?

Someone does the Worm to try and get up off the ice, but between the helmet, everybody wearing the same jerseys, and the fact that I don't really care enough to try and figure it out, I can't tell who it is.

SuperDad explains that he "found the ice skating quite challenging", and Luke laughs like it's the understatement of the century. Which it totally is. One point, Luke. (Current total: Hmm, I've lost count. Shall we just say he and Tom are both on sixty-nine and leave it at that?) SuperDad continues, "I thought I actually ruptured my liver at one point." I'm impressed that he can tell his liver apart from all his other internal organs. Or did he pick one at random under the belief that it sounded the funniest? If that's the case, all I have to say is: spleen. After his latest fall, Luke tries to get him to stay still and pass him the puck while he's still skating. It would be a good idea, if only Luke could skate any better. While they're busy recovering, Chris gives Bambi a quick peck on the cheeks and skates on over to take a shot, and manages to remain upright despite Karma doing everything in its power to push him over. But you know who does fall over? Bambi. Again and again. And again. The editors show three shots of her falling over in fairly quick succession, punctuated only by a confessional in which she and Chris banter about whether she's the world's worst skater or just "not the best", which I suppose makes her a triple klutz.

The farmers and Bindi are stalled on the side of the road, wipers akimbo. Tom points out that being stuck "on a main street in a foreign country, and not knowing what side of the road we were supposed to be on to start with" isn't the sort of situation they desired when they woke up this morning. What a shame they didn't spend any time travelling on or within eyesight of Czech roads in the previous leg.

Oh, wait.

Matt explains that the only way they could get Bindi moving, without ducking into a local supermarket to buy some red cordial, was to push her "down the hill into the oncoming traffic". Oh, if only. (I didn't just say that. Say what? Exactly.)

The Lucys are at least aware enough to pay attention to what happened in the last leg, and comment on how "weird" it is to drive on the other side of the road. Really? That's her definition of weird? It's not like they're eating spleen or anything gross like that. They also get the Prague Philhornmonic Orchescar honking them around, right before Sam notices from the backseat that they're driving on the tram tracks. It's good to know somebody will be picking up the slack in Melana's absence. On the other hand, their windscreen is so fogged up at this point that I have no idea how exactly either of them can tell.

The farmers also fail to notice they're on the tracks, even as two trams hurtle towards them in a vain attempt to crush Bindi. And that would be a shame. They wonder if they're supposed to be driving on the tracks, and hear police sirens. Well, I guess that's the answer to that. As they pull over, the cop storms over, yanks Bindi's door open, and demands Tom to get out.

Commercials. It seems the recap of the season finale is going to be my 50th overall, assuming I actually reach the end of the season at this slow pace. Hooray for convenient milestones!

So, basically, the Pre-Commercial Crisis ends up becoming a Pre-Commercial Crisis That Wasn't. (I really need a shortcut for that.) The cop even ends up leading them to the rink, but that doesn't stop Tom from imitating his accent in Bindi.

But before we get to continue with their story, we have to see what time it is on the rocket clock. Apparently, it's still time to watch people falling over. Oh, goody. Wallace complains, "My bum's that wet" after falling over yet again, so either Grommet forgot to dry after his last shower, or Luke's latest attempt at ruining the other teams' chances is to make sure he'll be shitting lube until he sees you at the finish line next Tuesday. Anyway, there are more failed shots, until Grommet scores the first goal of the day. Chris tries immediately afterwards and gets a goal as well, which pretty much means the Czech Republic has no chance of winning the next world championships. Anyway, the clue says to drive to the St. Nicholas Cathedral, where they'll have to photograph "a flagged person of interest". Grant and some ridiculous Bond-theme-esque music add that they'll have to climb up to "this former Soviet spy post" to grab the camera they'll need, then look out one of the windows in the tower to take their photo. Oh, and there are two people waving flags on the streets below -- one in a stereotypical "spy" outfit waving the proper race flag like a spinster aunt waving a feather boa, the other in a suit of armour waving the same eagle flag that was flying at last week's Road Block. Grant adds that they'll only be given the next clue if they photograph the right person. So, you know, try not to photograph the person who's not only out of place but also in the wrong time period. I'm thinking Chris and Bambi might be good at this. (But even more important than all of this? Grant manages to correctly pronounce the word "Soviet". I can't even remember the last time that happened on television. And considering Allan Wu mispronounces place names on the Asian version even after greeters have given him the correct pronunciation to copy from, it's doubly impressive.)

They leave right as Dave and Kelly arrive. Suiting up, they don't even appear to be able to get onto the ice without losing their balance. Resume the falling montage! In other news that's less repetitive, Luke finally manages to score. With the goalie, I mean. AT THE HOCKEY THING. (Wow, you all have filthy minds.) They leave, Luke telling us they've convinced a guy waiting around to lead them to the cathedral. Probably a good move, considering how well everyone else's navigational ability is going to help them in this episode.

The farmers, Bindi, and their tinkly music arrive at the rink, suddenly without their police escort. They feel the need to recap their adventures so far, just in case the editors decided to cut it all out and instead show another five minutes of clips of everyone going splat on the ice. Tom points out that neither of them has ever skated before, because cow-tipping is harder when you can't even stand up on your own, but they seem to be skating with a remarkable degree of skill. And by "remarkable", I mean "any". Matt still falls over when taking his shot, though.

Kelly also lands on her back, as does Dave. You know, in case you haven't been paying attention to their previous inability to cope with the mix of pointy blades and slick surfaces. Dave appears to hurt himself somehow, and hurls his stick off in frustration. Someone squeals in mild terror, but the editors don't let us see who it is. And just to make it that tiny bit worse? The goalie lunges forward and slaps the puck away when he takes too long setting up a goal. Heh. Can we have this goalie come with us for the rest of the season? He won't take up much room. Another blocked attempt later, Dave threatens to "smack this bastard in the face with a stick".

Commercials. Has anybody in recorded history ever eaten pepperoni without it being a topping on a pizza?

You know what's an exciting way to welcome viewers back from ads for Sick Sad World (sorry, "Today Tonight") and detergent? Stock footage. It brings us to the cathedral, where Hallmark are now arriving. Oh, thank God. You know how sometimes there's a task that really isn't that much fun but the editors spend far too much time on it anyway? That's the ice hockey. I was actually desperate enough to see whether it was genuinely taking so much time or whether it just felt like it, and let's put it this way: If you take out the "previously on" clip, the opening credits, and the preview for next week, this episode comes to exactly 40 minutes. Now, Wallace and Grommet got the clue for the hockey task a touch under three minutes into the episode itself. Though it hasn't happened yet in the recap, the last team will leave the rink 23 minutes and 56 seconds into the episode. In other words, over half of a 40-minute episode will be spent watching people falling over and getting laughed at by a local Rent-A-Crowd, and considering there are not one but three commercial breaks in that time it's even longer. Sure, you've got other clips in that time as well, such as the one I'm supposed to be recapping right now. Sure, there is precedent for spreading the teams out with the editing. But all those times happened when teams were genuinely severely spread out. Here, there was less than an hour and a half separating teams as they left the Pit Stop, and the first three teams were bunched at the rink anyway, making the gap even smaller. There's no excuse here, really. And that's exactly why I'm not covering it any more.


So Hallmark are still the first to arrive at the tower. SuperDad re-explains the task for those of you who were busy waiting for Masterchef's regularly-scheduled late finish, and adds that they only had thirty seconds to take their photo once they got to the top of the tower. Or else what? The "Soviet" "guard" (and isn't it lucky one's been stuck in this spy tower all these years?) will call them capitalist pigs until they finish? I thought the foolhardy pursuit of happiness in the form of money was the reason for this show's enduring success. SuperDad decides the best way to see more of the Prague skyline would be to stick half his body through the window of the tall tower, as you do, but it's Luke who has the camera and takes the photo... of the wrong guy. Luckily for the company who has clearly not paid enough for this piece of shameless product placement, considering their brand name is not mentioned once in this entire segment, the lotto numbers distract us from a shot of their delightfully blurry screen as the "guard" tells them "Nyet! You failed.", before giving them a clue anyway. Huh? Luke explains in a confessional that perhaps the guy's name was Mark, but it definitely wasn't a marked flag. It seems fitting that the embarrassing Dad Joke is coming from him instead of SuperDad, somehow. The clue once again confirms that they didn't do the challenge right, and must now face a penalty. Of course. It wouldn't be a Michael McKay race without meaningless stupid penalties. This time, however, the penalty is an actual task instead of just sitting around, which makes it marginally better. They've got to walk back down to the base of the tower, then climb up to the top again, correctly counting the number of stairs to the top. If they get the right answer (304), they'll also get the next clue. If they fail... well, presumably the penalty tasks get stupider and stupider until we're left with walking around Prague in suits of... oh, never mind.

The Lucys arrive at the hockey as Seven's ticker reminds us that there's a much more entertaining tennis match currently underway on their digital channel. I realise they probably wouldn't have anticipated an Aussie making it into the second week of a major tennis tournament based on our recent history in the sport (and why DO the media keep acting like we still care about Lleyton Hewitt?), but couldn't they have at least waited until the commercial break to pimp their coverage? I mean, it's not like Seven spent much money making this show and therefore don't expect decent ratings for it or anything.

There is skating, and Tom also scores with the goalie. (SETTLE DOWN, TOM.) Meanwhile, Hallmark have correctly counted the stairs and get the clue, despite making fun of the "guard" in a confessional. It's this week's Detour, though the usual "two tasks, each with its own pros and cons" have apparently been replaced with "two tasks, one with pros and one with cons" for this week. The choice is between Stack Up and Stack In, and it's almost as if the task designers are deliberately trying to outdo their own wit/stupidity with these task titles every week. Teams picking Stack Up have to drive to the Pilsner Brewery, head to the packaging area, and grab enough slabs of beer from a production line to stack two wooden pallets. But because Pilsner is expensive even when it isn't imported, they'll be contaminating the production line by using slabs of Gambrinus beer instead. Teams choosing Stack In (is that even a real term? Or did the task designers spend too much time getting free taste tests on the factory tour?) also have to drive themselves to the Pilsner brewery, but must instead find the Formanka restaurant. There, they'll have to eat eighteen "traditional Czech sausages made from pig's head, tongue, heart, and liver" (but no spleen) while the organs themselves are plated on the other side of the table just to really hammer home exactly what's going down the hatch. So, basically, it's a Reckless/Chicken choice where the usual fear of heights is replaced by a fear of throwing up. Except that unlike in most other Reckless/Chicken tasks, the Reckless one is the deliberately slow one as well. In layman's terms, it's pretty much just a test to see who's dumb enough to take the sucker bet option. It's kind of like how they used to have the bungy jumps and skydives as Detour options while the other task was always something mundane like hiking or... hiking. I actually sort of miss that a little bit, mainly because it makes the choice of who does which Road Blocks less important when they don't test actual skills. The good news is this is only one of a handful of times the gross-food task has been a Detour option, and the first time an eating Detour has actually involved a gross food since The Amazing Race 4 (as opposed to fondue or cake), which gives teams a chance to avoid it. The bad news is that it's the third eating task in five weeks, after the fortune cookies and the appelbollen, which... meh. And is it weird that the only one of these three food items I haven't eaten myself is the fortune cookies? Because... I have a Dutch background and one of my exes was Czech. So I know exactly what this week's suckers are going to have to go through, and let me just say this: I have never had any issue with any of this show's previous eating challenges. Starfish? Live octopus? Sheep ass fat? I could do it. These sausages? I never want to be in the same building as them again. Ever. And I wasn't even staring at pig organs when I ate them. These sausages are the reason this recap is so late -- and they don't even appear in the episode that much.

Not surprisingly, Hallmark pick Stack Up. Leaving, SuperDad comments multiple times that they "nailed it". Aside from that bit where they fucked up and had to do an entire extra task, obviously. As they leave, the surfers and Chris & Bambi arrive in unison. They pull numbers for the task from a sign, which basically implies that this entire section where they appear to be climbing the tower at the same time is edited out of order. Well, it IS a sequence starring Chris and Bambi. Reaching the top of the tower, Grommet has to point out to Wallace there's more than one tiny window for them to look out of. Which is really going to help, considering Grommet appears to be looking at all those men with flags in the middle of the sky right now. Despite Wallace going to look out one of the other windows, which the editors try and convince us is the one where they can see the right guy, it's Grommet who takes the picture. The exact same clip of the guard holding a camera with his thin fingers that we got with Hallmark is seen again as he tells them, "NYET!" and sends them to count the stairs. As they leave the spy post it looks like they pass a stationary Chris on the stairs, so it seems the numbers are solely because only one team can be in the belfry at a time. Good move, producers. And not just because the outpost is so small with all the assorted paraphernalia that it seems crowded with just one team there. With the guard, two teams, and their crews as well? There wouldn't be room to swing a sickle.

While the surfers start counting, Bambi also photographs the wrong guy. NYET! It's hard to tell, but I think part of the reason everybody so far has found the wrong guy may be because he's standing in kind of a courtyard or something (and is thus easier to see), while the right guy is just randomly on the roadside somewhere. Oh, and the flag is almost twice the size. And actually being waved instead of just being kind of dangled. On the other hand, though, the task is one of those filler-y ones where we're just kind of watching things happen instead of the task actually being very interesting. It's basically just "Team Climbs Up, Team Takes Photo, Team Gets Clue/Penalty Task". Scintillating television. I mean, I'm sure the product placement played a role in its inclusion (even though we never hear the camera brand mentioned by name in the episode itself), but it still needs to be either interesting or closely related to the local culture, ideally both, and it kind of isn't either. Sure, there were Soviet spies in Prague, but... you know, what major city didn't have Soviet spies at some point? Hell, even Hobart probably had at least one. On their way down, they fail to realise that the guy they photographed wasn't the guy they were supposed to photograph, instead blaming the fact that they apparently didn't zoom in far enough. But how are they supposed to zoom in on something halfway across town when they can't even notice their own massive personality flaws?

Wallace and Grommet are still counting the stairs. Wallace explains, "We got halfway up counting the stairs and then we sorta looked down at where we were and we were like, 'Wait, is that one hundred and one or is THAT one hundred and one?'" Well, that depends. Which one was one hundred? Apparently this little confusion is enough for them to get it wrong, guessing 303 instead of 304. The guard rebukes them, "Nyet! Where did you learn to count? Down, run again." Grommet doesn't believe him, apparently under the impression that Soviet guards locked in spy towers for more than two decades have finely-tuned senses of humour. Wallace confessionals, "I felt like wringing his neck." Good luck getting past the thick scarf. It's their own fault, but I can understand the frustration: This isn't the sort of task anybody would want to have to repeat. 304 stairs is about the same as a twenty-storey building, and this is about to be their third time climbing it. Add in that it's harder to go down than it is to go up because the strain is on the thin muscles in the front of one's legs instead of the bigger ones at the back (blame the lack of factual description on my nursing-student sister thinking hamstrings were vegetables), and it's really quite a difficult challenge, even without fucking the count up and having to start again.

Chris & Bambi are counting aloud as they go, and make it to the top with the right total. The "guard" drops his fake Soviet accent like a Tetris piece as he hands over their Detour clue. For whatever stupid reason, Chris decides that the surefire way to finish quickly is to do the challenge that will no doubt require vomiting up large amounts of food even without taking into account the taste of pig spleen rather than the task that amounts to "carry this over there, piece by piece", and even the editors' Snare Drum of Destiny feels the need to mock the decision. But because he's The Man In The Relationship, Bambi agrees with him. Clearly, he knows more about her sausage-eating abilities than we do. Returning to their cab, Bambi begins second-guessing herself. I think we may have finally found a situation where not going with your, um, gut instinct is a good thing.

There is more hockey. Long story short, the Lucys are both at home on their skates, but Dave falls over awkwardly yet AGAIN, and he and Kelly both seem to decide the best thing to do would be to quit and take a penalty.

Commercials. You know, Seven, it's bad enough when you spoil the major twists and the eliminations in this show before they air. It's even worse when you spoil the show WHEN IT'S AIRING.

Dave and Kelly don't take the penalty. Crisis averted. And in news that will surprise nobody who saw Dave's ability to stay upright, it's Kelly who scores the goal pretty much instantaneously. Sam also manages to beat him within seconds, so either the guy was basically told to just spread his legs and let them do their thing (Luke and/or Tom: "Why didn't I think of that?") They're all but tied for last place as they leave the rink, and as I begin to recap the episode properly again. For the record? Wallace, Grommet, SuperDad, Luke, Bambi, Matt, Dave, and Kelly all fell over at least once; Chris, Tom, and the Lucys did not. There's an argument that could be made about the contestants with richer/more urbane backgrounds doing better, but I think Tom's balance and Wallace and Grommet's frequent arse-over-teakettle-falling would prove that to be a crock of shit.

Dave & Kelly appear to have left their Amazing Currency Colostomy Bag on the roof of their car as they get it, but it mysteriously moves to inside the vehicle as they drive off. Damn. Dave whines, "I've done my shoulder, I've done both hips, and my calf is completely destroyed... so, yeah. Great. That was really well... well and truly worth it to be in last place." Good Lord, I don't think we've had a contestant whine this much since Flo. And even then, she seemed like someone who would be kind of fun outside the high-stress environs of the race. Here, Dave just seems like a douche.

Wallace and Grommet are "finally right", in the words of the guard, who doesn't even wait for Grommet to finish writing the answer on the board to share the good news with him. They also pick Stack Up. As they leave, Wallace wishes the incoming farmers "good luck". Matt comments that he likes the stone spiral staircase on the way up, but still confessionals about how much he hated the climb as the farmers reach the guard. It's quite impressive that the editors can now do that "glass is half-full/glass is half-empty" thing without even requiring a second person. Perhaps he can blame it on bonking his head on the wooden frame representing the "window" he'll be looking through. Tom snarks about the search being "just like 'Where's Wally?'". Of course, making this link would help suggest that the guy in with the black and gold flag is the wrong guy, not that it stops them from taking his picture. NYET!

Hallmark are arriving at the brewery for the Detour, still in first place and still in their hockey jerseys. Unlike back in South Africa when they'd both had experience as tradies and still didn't pick the building challenge, this time they've picked Stack Up because of Luke's having worked at a bottle shop. They enter the packaging area tastefully covered in loose-fitting body condoms, and for some reason one of the guys working there puts their first crate on its pallet. They then continue on their own, successfully coming up with the idea to stack the slabs in layers instead of putting them all on top of each other. It sure is lucky Luke knows his way around beer, because I don't know how they would have figured that out otherwise. Luke tells us their plan is to "do everything slowly and methodically, and not make any mistakes", which would make them the tortoises to FBA's hares. Giggle and Cackle would be so proud. SuperDad confessionals, "We haven't won a leg yet. Now's the time for us to win one."

Tower. Matt and Tom finish counting and get it right. Matt says he "would have thrown [the guard] out the window if [he] said no". You mean the window you couldn't even fit your head out of before, Matt? And wouldn't he have said "NYET!", being a "Soviet" and all? Tom dumbs the Detour decision down to "eighteen sausages or a pallet of piss", and now might be a good time to inform non-Australian viewers that "piss" is local slang for "beer". Matt lets him make the choice, and if there was any doubt Tom would pick the one that involved him getting his mouth on some nice meaty sausages, it's gone now. On their way back down the stairs, they pass the incoming Lucys, and Tom tells them, "Don't take a photo of the guy with the big flag". You know, for future reference and shit. (Oddly, Sam is holding the clue envelope for the Detour as she climbs up, but they shouldn't have it yet, having not finished this task. And it can't be edited in from later on because they didn't need to walk back up the stairs after they got it. Que?) Matt adds, "I like to think of myself as a good person. Damsels in distress, that's my weak point." As opposed to all those people who like to think of themselves as genocidal maniacs, presumably. In a confessional, Tom exposits that they didn't think about the situation enough to realise that THEIR Guy With A Flag wasn't THE Guy With A Flag. And as luck would have it, the Lucys find the the right Guy With A Flag, so now the farmers come across as Lying Liars Who Lie. (I need to stop Randomly Capitalising Words, don't I?) Sam explains in a confessional that "it was all very sexy", and the next word we hear is the guard's "Da!" And I've officially forgiven the editors for how long they spent on the hockey. Despite the Lucys bitching about how the farmers "lied" and "tried to screw [them] over", they still maintain enough intelligence to pick Stack Up. Outside, Matt calls it their "Good Samaritan deed for the day", and if my life has taught me anything, it is that nothing brings out the Good Samaritans like a stalled car. But since my life has taught me nothing, the farmers are left to their own devices to push start Bindi. The Lucys have much less trouble starting Rhonda Burchmore, but unfortunately the chip on Sam's shoulder is starting to attract seagulls. Renae says in response, "There's no alliances left in the game anymore, so I think it's just game on." Yes, because when I think about the alliances we've had so far this season, the one that comes to mind is the one between the farmers and the Lucys. Not between the Lucys and Wallace and Grommet, not between the Lucys and Dave and Kelly, not between Momos and Giggle and Cackle, certainly not the one between Tom and Luke.

Dave & Kelly are finally at the cathedral. They spend a lot of time looking over each other's shoulders and failing to see "a flagged interesting person" (though Prague IS known for its flagged boring people), but still manage to find the guy and get the clue.

We splitscreen to Chris and Bambi, still second-guessing themselves about their choice to chow down. Or at least half the team is still second-guessing themselves, while half the team is continuing to demand to find out once and for all whether he's the biggest weiner in the Czech Republic. It doesn't help that Chris's biggest concern is whether it's "rhetorical" to wonder whether they have the "guts" to eat "six sausages". How is he dividing eighteen sausages by two people and getting six? Is he thinking the sound guy is going to help them finish? They arrive at the brewery, and he immediately begins walking bowlegged in order to make it less obvious later on when he has to walk around with sausages stuffed down his pants. The editors include a Metal Hiss of Doom with a zoom in on the restaurant's sign, which can never be a good omen. Bambi re-explains about all of the awful offal in the snags, although the clip we see right as she mentions intestines is the same one we saw when Grant mentioned tongues in the explanation, so... you know. Tasty either way. While Bambi sits expectantly and compares it to "just a souvlaki", no doubt waiting for someone to cut her sausages and forcefeed her (here comes the aero-bleeeeeurgh!), Chris takes a bite and immediately decides that while it might work for Tom and Luke, sausage isn't for him today (Gay/Bisexual/MSM Community: "Wow, we dodged a bullet"), saying "As soon as it went down, I knew, like, I half-handled it. No way she could handle it." I know the obvious assumption to make is that he's saying it with an air of misogyny, but... I don't think that's the reason here. To me at least, it seems likely that Bambi isn't a particularly adventurous eater -- especially with how she was trying to get him to switch before they arrived -- and that she would genuinely be the less capable half of the team with this challenge. Bambi is actually LAUGHING at how bad the sausages could be as they leave, Chris telling her, "You'll taste the intestine and you'll be out of here." And except for her not having to eat anything, he's right. In a confessional, Chris explains that the reason for their switching is that his stomach went "NYET!" Hee.

The farmers and Bindi are stuck and need another push-start. Surely it must be time to call for the replacement vehicle by now. They can call it Bob. A few seconds of Television Time later (so who knows how long it actually was), the "Khaki Warrior" gets pulled over again by a group of cops. Tom deems Bindi "a likely target for the local popo". No, she's too old for him. And female. Oh, you mean the car. Never mind. (I'M SORRY, BUDDHISTS WHO WANT EQUAL MOCKERY.) As Matt wonders how often one team can get pulled over, the cop wants to see the car's documentation. Probably to check it wasn't illegally imported from Slovenia or some shit.

Commercials. It seems the only thing anyone involed in the carbon tax debate can agree on is that there just isn't enough Television Time devoted to bloated windbags. Now, if only we could turn all that gas into energy somehow.

It's another Pre-Commercial Crisis That Wasn't, with the cop basically doing nothing after realising they were just lost tourists, and even giving them freakin' directions. Rather hilariously, the next shot is of Matt pushing Bindi past what the interwebs tells me is a Czech mechanic.

Wallace posits, "I think the eating one's gonna be faster." Only insofar as the sausages would be expelled from his body quicker, even if they were allowed to crack a tinnie. While Grommet says he'll be fine as long as he doesn't have to eat a ridiculous amount, Wallace undercuts his own argument by stating, "I'm not the fastest eater, you know that, and I'll try my best, but that's all I can do". Grommet counters, "Well, we can you can just throw up if we have to, man [sic]. I'll eat it and just throw it all back up." I assure you, the barfing is not voluntary. (Possibly True Fact: Ipecac comes from pig spleen.)

Okay, switching over to Wimbledon actually DOES seem more enticing right now than watching people eat these things.

The local brass band playing the Sucker Symphony welcomes them to the Feast of Failure, where the biggest distraction of the Pig Part Plates is trying to figure out what the assorted organs actually are. Surprisingly, it's not Wallace but Grommet who has trouble downing the sausage. (Wait, maybe that's not so surprising.) Grommet overtakes SuperDad's ice hockey commentary as the new understatement of the century by claiming, "This ain't sausage." (Yes, I know. Ain't ain't a word.) He continues in a talking head, "I thought I had strong guts. [...] I could eat anything, and I tasted this, mate, and I was like, I nearly started dry-retching. It was disgusting." While I marvel at how his stomach is strong enough to only dry-retch, and while the Slovaks prepare a tickertape parade in his honour, he spits out his food and gets up to leave without even consulting Wallace. Awww, somebody needs walkies!

Back at the packaging area, Hallmark are almost done as Chris and Bambi stroll up. The latter pair immediately start arguing about whether having Chris wait for Bambi to finish is really the best strategy for the task. Wallace and Grommet soon join them, and it soon becomes apparent this task is another Watching People Do Stuff task, with the only real interesting moment being Bambi showing she's not nearly as meek as she's been the last few episodes. But we already kind of knew that from The Argument That Continuity Forgot. Still, at least this time it seems like the idea itself was a decent one -- a physical challenge that isn't catered to suit men in the way the Public Herniation task last week was -- but the problem here is that there doesn't seem like there's much of a chance for anybody to gain or lose time unless we get a sprained ankle or something. Regardless of the task, it's always far more interesting if it's at least theoretically possible for the order to change. That doesn't necessarily mean the tasks have to be complex to understand, nor does it mean that the order actually DOES have to change, but if it's not filler there should either be a learning curve involved in the task or a way to "break" the challenge and make it easier and faster to complete, like Melana did by dragging their poor girl across Prague last week. (This is kind of my problem with the overdosing on penalty-based tasks that happened in the most recent season of The Amazing Race Asia, too -- people can't make up time if they're just sitting around.)

The best example so far this season is the first Detour back in Lombok -- both had learning curves (in how to balance the baskets, and in how to schmooze the locals) and both had alternate methods that made them much easier but were perfectly within the rules of the task (Matt's hat, selling multiple bowls at the same time). Sometimes, the task can be completely innocuous and still be brilliant. When the American version went to Hamburg, the final task of the leg before walking across the red-light district to the Pit Stop was to "share" a boot of beer. Simple, right? With the clue for the task displayed as a plaque above the boot-shaped jugs, it's easy to confirm that there was specifically no instruction forcing them to DRINK the beer themselves, and yet team after team (including Those Other Cowboys, who normally don't drink, and a contestant who wasn't old enough at the time to legally be served beer in the United States) wasted their time and sobriety chugging it down instead of doing the obvious thing and giving free refills to the other customers in the bar, or sharing it with the gutter outside. Then again, it's not so surprising considering that girl who tried to blame American stupidity on "The Iraq" and "Everywhere, Like, Such As" finished third in the season.

Anyway, with little to no chance of the order changing at the task, Hallmark are indeed the first to finish. The clue they get tells them they'll now need to drive to Kutná Hora, then find the Church of the Assumption of Our Lady and St. John the Baptist. Grant repeats the information in case Hallmark bores you to sleep, while the graphics shorten the church's long name to "Church At Kutna Hora" just so it fits. Fair enough, but as we'll see it's far from being the only church in town, so... you know. I'm glad the contestants get more information than the viewers do, because otherwise ALL of us would have been mildly confused. Leaving the brewery, SuperDad makes like an 1850s gunslinger, telling Luke to "just gun that engine, boy". It's nice to know it's not just Indonesian cab drivers he calls "boy". They mention that the turn-off to Kutná Hora is "before Prague", and... see, this is why we need to start being told distances between locations again.

The other two teams already at the Detour continue stacking. It's worth noting for later that Chris passes a slab to Bambi then grabs another for himself, and that Wallace and Grommet retrieve slabs from two different areas in quick succession, so there's clearly no rule forcing players to retrieve their slabs one at a time from the same area. Chris and Bambi are soon done, and after getting the clue Chris brags, "We're getting first today. [...] We've earnt it. We've earnt it, I can feel it." Really? I don't want to burst your bubble and all, but with a bit over eight minutes left in the episode and no sign of either a Pit Stop or even of the Road Block, I can feel something entirely different about to happen. Wallace and Grommet get their clue just Television Seconds later.

The farmers arrive and even Bindi squeaks her disapproval of their choosing the sausage task. The wacky music kicks in even before they get to the band at the restaurant, so you know this is going to be good. As Matt informs us, "At home we, uh, make our own sausages when we kill them, and we thought eating eighteen sausages wouldn't be too hard. Uh, but when we got there they were a funky green colour." As opposed to all those wild sausages they kill back home, which are a nice deep burgundy. It does need to be asked, though: Given all the organs shown are either white (the tongue/intestine/spleen/whatever) or somewhere in the "red" family, how come the sausages are green? They both take a bite, finishing each other's sentences in a confessional to call the taste and smell "shocking" and "horrible" respectively, before switching tasks. Leaving, Matt surmises, "If anyone can eat those, they're doing good [sic]." I agree with the sentiment, if not with the grammar.

Meanwhile, Dave and Kelly have arrived, accompanied by more serious music. You know, since they've chosen the smart task and all. While Kelly grapples with the extremely difficult concept of "take them over there", Dave bitches in a confessional about how he "couldn't get a beer at a brewery", calling it "a bloody sad day". I may not be the best person to consult on this, considering two of my three known allergies are hops and grapes (which basically means no beer AND no wine), but... it is kind of a tease. On the other hand, if he wanted free nourishment the option IS available. The Lucys also park and manage to get to the packaging area before the farmers, which I suppose is good because it means the complete inanity of the other task at least serves a purpose. Renae explains that they "got quite competitive", while Kelly whines that Renae was able to start "pluckin' em up like they were nothin'" with her mannish hands.

The farmers enter the packaging centre, and though it looks like the two teams already there are only about halfway through their first pallet, we saw a shot just before they arrived that made it seem like they were halfway through their second. Sigh. The editors are very good at at least maintaining the general continuity of the show, but once the teams are actually at the tasks it seems all bets are off. I don't know what it is -- even though I probably should be able to figure it out by virtue of being a past and future film student -- but part of the issue with this task at least may be the staging of it. With the pallets set up as close together as they are, the usual standard rule of shooting only from within a 180-degree area isn't working. The footage from the production line area itself is perfectly fine, but what they really needed to do here was to shoot the pallet-stacking from the far side, with the production line in the back of the image. Instead, we've got some shots that make it seem like it's behind the pallets and some that make it seem like it's off to the left, which doesn't jibe well with the constant closeups. Here, it's making it look as though the full pallets the earlier teams stacked are these teams' completed first pallets, and that makes it much harder to see who's at what stage of the task. And, remember: If your viewers can't understand what's going on, they'll switch over and watch Neighbours. At least people know that shit's not supposed to make sense. (While I'm sidetracked: Why would they go to all of the trouble of breaking stereotypes with the rest of the Token Gay Kid storyline, then ruin it all by making his first love interest a male nurse?)

Anyway, Matt unloads three in a row, giving two to Tom. Naturally, because the Lucys aren't actually playing the game at all and because Dave objects to anyone who isn't him trying to play the game, this pisses everyone else off. I can't see why none of these people would move around them and grab the slabs from earlier in the production line, seeing as it looks like he's grabbing them at the last available chance anyway. I suspect it's just because neither of these two teams has been doing very well for a while now, and they need a scapegoat. Or, rather, a scape-farmer. (Oh, I'm sorry, "scape-cowboy".) Kelly confessionals, "We were all congested getting in each other's way and it was getting a bit nasty and snaky and pushy," and Dave adds, "It was, wasn't it?" I'm not sure it's a good idea for them to talk about the anger like it was the other teams' fault. I mean, it's certainly not because of the team who was at the FRONT of the queue. Just saying. I'm beginning to think Dave's head is so far up his own ass he can eat his spleen.

Renae also bitches some more about how she got to the production line behind Matt one time and he passed a slab to his own teammate instead of to her. HOW DARE THEY TRY AND FINISH THE TASK QUICKER! And speaking of finsihing quicker? This recap's already a week late. Let's skip past the next minute or so of hypocritical whining and violent threats to the bit where everybody's gotten their clue and the Detour is over. Despite the alleged "cheating", the Lucys finish first in this bunch and the farmers finish last, which means it's all just a big bunch of nothing anyway. But to do so, we also skip over this week's last set of...

Commercials. Dear People of the World, I don't mean to sound slutty, but please use me whenever you want. Sincerely, Grammar.

Hi-ho, Bindi... away!

Dave and Kelly pull into a petrol station to get directions. Dave joins her in going in (probably because the Czech have laws against noise pollution or something), and they both quickly learn that while the map might be written in Czech, that doesn't necessarily mean the poor lady working behind the counter can understand it. Hmmm. Firstly, it's place names written in a language that uses the same Hindu-Arabic characters as English, not freaking Nineteen Eighty-Four written in Cantonese, so it doesn't really matter that much that the map is in Czech. Hence she really just has to show where you are and where you're going. Who knows, perhaps she's just pissed Dave was bitching about how the map was "all written in Czechoslovakian". Back in their car, Dave angrily grinds the generic soft-drink can he's using as a gearstick while whining about how they've just lost some time. Back before the season, Grant spent a fair bit of time in his publicity junket trying to pimp two teams over all others. Obviously, Giggle and Cackle were one. The other? Dave and Kelly, under the justification that every Aussie knows someone like Dave. Unfortunately, not many Aussies actually LIKE the person like Dave they know.

Meanwhile, Bindi needs a firm kick up the spleen. (And the car, too!) Matt manages to muster a trio of locals to help him push it back into the realm of "moving" again, before getting back in and vowing, "I'm gonna burn it when we finish with it." Yeah, but driving it to Athens or Vancouver so it doesn't look out of place is going to use quite a lot of petrol. And time.

Hallmark (remember them?) are now arriving at a church, and begin looking for the clue. Unfortunately, the only thing they actually manage to come across is a locked door. It's nice to know churches are just as welcoming as they always were. Meanwhile, Chris and Bambi have also arrived at a church, and run down a flight of steps to reach the cluebox, hidden in plain sight. With three minutes and twenty seconds left before we find out what happens next week (assuming you didn't get spoiled while setting your set-top box because of the varying episode lengths), it's a Road Block. And, as it turns out, kind of a U-Turn. From inside the church, a choir sings hymns in praise of the show's approach to recycling tasks, while Grant thinks "Let's see you do THIS, Phil!" but instead explains that the task (which only one team member can perform right now, but which the other team member may have performed earlier in the race) is for the chosen team member to climb to the church's attic, then abseil down in the most deliberate display of blasphemy since the Detour in Vietnam had teams coveting each others' oxen. (Oops, "carabao".)

Bambi takes it, and rings the bell to summon the Benedictine monks or whatever. What a load. While she waits patiently for a guy holding a candle to limp down the aisle to her, Chris tries to peek through a hole in the wooden door, then moves away noting, "All right. We're not getting married, so it's not a false alarm. It's all good." Well, that's a relief. Probably not so much for the heterosexual women watching this, but definitely for the rest of us. And wouldn't that have been awkward if the task actually WAS "Marry your teammate"? Especially considering (1) Dave & Kelly already are, (2) Grommet would not have been invited on the Lucys' wedding night spleenanigans, and (3) despite gay marriage being legal in a decreasingly small portion of the world, marrying your own son is still illegal everywhere, even if you're SuperDad.

Back inside, the guy finally reaches Bambi and she follows him back across the church, now at a much faster pace for some reason. She explains that he led her "up these windy stairs, round and round and round, and I'm still not sure what's going to happen next". It's kind of interesting to note that she doesn't know what the task is. I wonder what was actually written in the clue. "Ring the bell"? Seems oddly simple. (Also? Chris is ROCKING the blue tee look in this confessional.) (What? It's totally worth pointing out.) While the choir is singing about the seraphim, our very own little nephilim is let into the church to watch. He's forced to wait in a little rope area, probably so Bambi can't swing her way out just to kick him in the face. Bambi continues narrating, "As soon as we got up there, all of a sudden the ceiling opens up and I had to go through it. I just couldn't believe my eyes that I had to abseil down this, you know, incredible church." Well, that's her. For me, wearing a safety helmet and being attached to a big long rope would have been a little bit of a giveaway. She begins her descent, the choir adding an enviable amount of tackiness to proceedings, and unfortunately her arms are too busy keeping her alive to replicate the statue of Jesus on the crucifix we are shown. When she lands without a splat, Chris calls her "an angel" (let's not go overboard with the religious theme), and the clue the priest gives her tells them to walk to the Pit Stop at the Bone Church (so much for that idea). Most hilariously, while she reads the clue the abseiling rope (which was lowered with Bambi instead of just dangling like every other abseiling rope the show has ever used) just sort of swings around in the non-existent breeze behind her.

Grant and some macabre music inform us that there's "an estimated seventy thousand human skeletons" in the Bone Church, which makes it only about thirty-one percent as disturbing as the contents of Lady Gaga's closet. He adds that "the last team here may be eliminated", but since there's around about one hundred seconds left in the episode and five Road Block performances and six Pit Stop arrivals to squeeze in, with the last three teams seemingly much farther behind than the surfers and Hallmark? I doubt it. Though the start of the conversation appears to have been snipped (with these two? Never!), it seems Chris even has to question whether the Pit Stop is indeed next. He's got a point -- the clue Bambi read just says to walk to the Church, never calling it a Pit Stop.

Meanwhile, Wallace and Grommet arrive at the church, and Grommet decides to take it from the misleading clue. Where is the scaling? "Scale" means "climb", not "drop". Hallmark also arrive and Luke takes it, but he has to wait outside for a bit longer because Wallace and Grommet are currently inside. He tells us he's "really disappointed" about having lost their lead. Diddums. So, to recap: We spent over half of this episode playing hockey, and now we've got to fit a first-come, first-served Road Block plus the accompanying Pit Stop arrivals into eighty-something seconds? Not happening. And why is the final task of the leg a first-come, first-served task anyway? Isn't it better to have a tight finish? Between the time the task itself takes and the safety briefing that goes with it (probably lasting about fifteen minutes), there's no tension in this at all. I kind of feel like the entire point of the task here isn't for the religious imagery but instead to get teams to a point where they can be told to walk to the Pit Stop without it feeling forced. They certainly seem to be trying to get the teams to the Pit Stops in a variety of different forms -- cidomo in Lombok, army jeep in Hue, the gate-entry Road Block in Macau, self-driving in both South Africa legs, walking here, and through any means necessary last week -- and there hasn't been a single "take a taxi to the next Pit Stop" order yet (which I thoroughly approve of), but sometimes the familiar structure is better. I mean, I love it when they get told to walk (because it's easier for people to get lost and thus easier to create actual, non-fake tension with), and I absolutely ADORE that they haven't decided to randomly have a leg without a Detour or a leg without a Road Block, but what would probably have worked better here is if the hockey was the Road Block, possibly tweaked a little bit if necessary, then got to the current Road Block church to find a clue saying "Leave your car and any maps you have where they are and walk to the Pit Stop." It's the same basic leg, but the final few minutes aren't crowded enough to give away the ending.

I realise I'm overthinking this. You may have noticed it's kind of what I do.

Grommet descends, wiith more "dude!"s than present in the entire Ashton Kutcher oeuvre, and for some reason his rope is already in place, which both ruins the surprise element AND means it's kind of a different task for him than it was for Bambi. Grommet explains that he's "not religious" but still enjoyed the chance to help a church unwittingly blaspheme. Meanwhile, Wallace voices over completely randomly and without any reason that it's his "first time in a church". Really? Wow. I'm the sort of person who believes that if God existed, atheists wouldn't, and even I've been in a church. Unless he's, like, Jewish or something and has only ever been in a temple. Tom, Luke, you guys wanna check for us? They read a section of the clue that says "Grant Bowler awaits", which now officially means nobody except the new viewers are about to be surprised.

Both Wallace & Grommet and Chris & Bambi get directions to the Bone Church, and run in through the front gates in two separate shots, never in sight of each other. Not surprisingly for any longtime fans, Grant is waiting at the mat alone without a greeter (though wouldn't you have loved to see what costume they would have come up with for this Pit Stop?), as trumpets herald the arrival of... Chris & Bambi. Shocking, I know. The team with a large lead that wasn't shown getting lost on the way is still in front. Chris kisses the mat (ew, you don't know wh... actually, he knows exactly where that's been), right before Grant confirms -- with what I believe is his first smile of the season -- that they're Team Number One. "That's the good news," he intones. While Chris and Bambi wait expectantly to find out who will be giving them their five grand in vouchers this week, he continues, "The bad news is... it's not over yet." And we are officially To Be Continued, with Wallace and Grommet apparently on the Pit Stop grounds, Hallmark about to start the Road Block, and the three remaining teams driving there from the Detour. The oddest thing is that there's about a tenth of a second of other audio from a male voice (that sounds more like Grommet than Chris) right as Grant says "it's not over yet", which suggests to me that they actually edited that shot in out of continuity. Well, of course. It IS Chris and Bambi.

Next week: Wait, I have to keep recapping this leg? GOD DAMN IT.