June 27, 2011

Australia 1x06: Prague, Czech Republic

Previously on The Cape Town Of Good Hope: I got sick of writing "Last week. Also:" at the start of every recap. Also: Eight teams made the daunting journey from one city at the very bottom of South Africa to another city at the very bottom of South Africa. Despite the colourful Travel Porn montage when the teams arrived in Cape Town, all the teams themselves seemed to have seen was a sandy beach, a sandy skydive landing area, and a set of sandy sand dunes. Did I mention there was plenty of sand? I mean, not that it wasn't scenic, but the most amazing thing they saw during the episode was the fluffy hair on one of the people helping out at the skeet-shooting Detour. And even then, Wallace and Grommet weren't impressed, and none of the women picked the task. The latest item in the Cavalcade O' Wacky Twists was the Intersection, which had exactly as much value here as it had in all of its previous appearances combined: Zero. In a Detour choice between Guns and Rosé, the Lucys nearly busted an Axl, and while the three faster all-male teams wound up at the gun club together, the two with no rifle experience wound up beating the pants off of the farmers. (SETTLE DOWN, TOM.) There was a gratuitous play for sympathy with a trip to an orphanage, and a gratuitous attempt at tension with a "close" "race" to avoid elimination, but Chris and Bambi managed to generate more than enough of both on their own. In the end, Momos were finally booted, making the anti-Muslim part of Australian society happy but saddening the rest of us non-racists. Seven teams are still racing for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, even though it's much emptier than those American pots. Who will run out of luck... TONIGHT?

Credits. I'm so glad they didn't use Check Yes Juliet as the actual theme music. [RUN BOMPI RUN, DON'T EVER LOOK BACK.]

Commercials. Remember, comments are my muse. (And? I know Luke and Tom are both in relationships with very lucky women. They're not gay, I know. But I don't care. It's a little thing called humour. And television has had a Hide Your Bisexuals agenda for so long it's become a cliche, so... if you're offended, remember that heterosexuality isn't normal. It's just common.)

Grant welcomes us back to the Rhodes Memorial, which he says gives "magnificent views of the city". And what city would that be, I pretend to hear you ask? Cape Town, because Grant isn't quite through bonding with the locals over their shared hatred of the All Blacks. No, no, the rugby team. The South Africans got rid of their racist policies weeks ago. But since someone finally told Grant we've kind of got to keep going with this whole racing malarkey, Wallace and Grommet will depart first at 3:15pm. Wouldn't that imply they got there at 3:15am? Somehow I don't see that happening. Unless the Pit Stop happened right at the end of Daylight Swapping Time. The clue says to ditch the mother continent and head to everybody's favourite drunken uncle, Amsterdam. This is slightly further away from Melbourne than Tittybong, but that doesn't mean we're not going to be seeing it. Grant adds (amidst shots of Dutch things like bicycles and clogs and invading Germans) that they'll then need to "make their way" to the Big Dutch Words That I'm Not Even Going To Try And Spell Despite Having A Dutch Family Because My Fingers Are Still Sore From Typing Nomathamsanqa (Ouch) food stall, which looks like it's basically the Dutch equivalent of Harry's Cafe de Wheels. There, they'll have to fork out the dough to pay for four appelbollen (literally, "apple balls"), and eat two of the "traditional doughnuts" each to get the next clue. And by "traditional doughnuts", they really just mean "cored apples covered in puff pastry, then deep fried".

Just a reminder: Australia gave the world Vegemite, the pie floater, and the deep-fried Mars bar. We're really not in a position to judge.

They learn that they've been given the princely sum of three hundred bucks for this leg, which surely means the producers are expecting someone to get lost and buy some hash brownies instead. Three guesses who. As they head off, I notice for the first time that they're starting at the Rhodes Memorial entrance sign instead of at the memorial itself. Most observant recapper ever. Wallace confessionals, "I think there'd be a lot of people that are surprised we're still here, in this high position." Um, not really. I mean, considering the other teams at the start of the race included Giggle and Cackle, Momos, Ryot & Liberty, and a guy whose own son will tell you he's so old his life insurance policy has expired, I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility that people would expect the two strong young G-list manbags to be at the front of the pack right now. Sure, they cut their own hair while wearing blindfolds and make even stupider decisions sometimes (by the way, Paris says hi), but... really? You're exactly where most people would have expected. Also? Hee, "high". In their car on the way to the airport, they talk about having never been to Amsterdam. That's surprising. I would have thought they'd have needed to use the windmills as hair dryers by now. Assuming they ever actually washed those things.

At 3:34pm, Tom has just as much trouble pronouncing the name of the stall as the clue writers did spelling it correctly, bursting into adorable laughter before he can finish. Don't worry, Tom, it doesn't matter if you can't say it, you're going to get a pair of balls in your mouth anyway. They might be a little fruitier than you're u... you know what? Scratch that. Matt explains that they're "frothing at the bit to get on to the next leg". I think his metaphors are a little bit stuck between a rock and Tom's crotch in mating season. By which I mean, "during his adult life", given what we've already ascertained based on absolutely no scientific evidence. As they run off to their cars, I feel this strange compulsion to apologise to Tom for thinking he had a gay run before. At least back then his arms weren't waving in the air like he just don't care. Matt tells us he's beginning to enjoy travelling, which would be great had he not had to travel through four continents for it to happen.

3:46pm. Hallmark leave, both giving yet more confessionals about how they're now working together instead of just being A Guy And The Fruit Of His Loins Kind Of Pretending To Like Each Other. And of course, the next step? Playing for the same team. As they arrive at the airport, we see for the first time that Luke is wearing some impressively short shorts. They're so short we can almost see his Netherlands.

While they and the farmers walk around together (SETTLE DOWN, TOM), the surfers get to Lufthansa and learn that there's a flight leaving at 7:05pm and getting to Amsterdam at 9:25am the next morning. What the show doesn't reveal is that since Germans have had issues with both the Dutch and the South Africans in the past, they'll be making a connection in Frankfurt. The weirdest thing is that the Frankfurt flight got spoiled, but absolutely nothing that happened in Europe after that point was until the preview clips practically gave away half of the season. Before the surfers can get their tickets and hide, the farmers notice them and come over to get tickets, as do Hallmark. What's hilarious to me is how comically large the non-farmers' backpacks are. Dear future contestants: If your bag is fatter than you are, and if you are not bulimic, consider packing fewer bowties.

Dave and Kelly take off at 4:56pm, excited about visiting Amsterdam. Why? There's no red wine in Amsterdam. Dave explains in a confessional, "We're here for the travel, the excitement, but we're here for the money. At the end of the day that's, that's life-changing, and we want that." See, Wallace and Grommet? THAT is how you read a script. Kelly tells Dave she hopes "the Road Block's not going to be something in the red-light district", and Dave eagerly volunteers to "take one for the team". Is she really that bad in bed?

Aaaand this is officially no longer fun.

5:36pm. Melana. 5:40pm. Lucys. 5:45pm. Chris and Bambi. Melana get the easy part of the montage, just repeating the "fly to Amsterdam" bit, while the latter two teams have to struggle with the rest of the Big Dutch Words, but they make up for it by getting lost on the way out. They explain in separate confessionals that they're basically the Ken and Gerard of this season with their conflicting lifestyles, except beyond Alana being married and Mel being a bit of a slut (in a good way), they really seem to be pretty similar. Sam tells Renae she's got Nederlander heritage, which I'm sure will come in handy for the Identify Sam's Great-Aunt Astrid challenge. They explain what many of us have known for years, that being nice isn't necessarily going to win you the race, so they're going to "be more ruthless now". As an aside, I love that Cape Town has decided to dispense with frivolity and name the road going to the airport "Airport Approach Road". Hee!

In their car, Bambi asks Chris what appelbollen are, and he points out that it doesn't really matter when the task is "get this down your throat, no matter what it takes", which I suppose is a douchey-but-still-correct way of saying "I don't know either". Chris explains that he feels like he's Bambi's designated whipping post, which is of course code for "beat the dead horse, editors" and causes another flashback to their bickering. Considering they're continually returning to these same two "fights" over and over -- the winery one last week and The Argument That Continuity Forgot -- that neither of them make much sense from what we were shown, and that they're generally tolerable people (even if not necessarily the sort of people I'd spend time with in my own life) the rest of the time, I have to believe the editors are trying to craft a villain where there really isn't one. Sure, he needs to calm down a bit more, but compared to the Annoying Dating Couples we've had in the past they're actually coming off pretty well. The feeling I get is that they're closer to being Joseph And Monica Without A Whiny Chick than they are to being Jonathan And Victoria With Vaguely Mediterranean Accents. He continues on about how he's "being the most rational person as [he] possibly can be [sic]", causing Bambi to smirk so obviously that even he notices. Go, Bambi!

Dave & Kelly have managed to get tickets "as the flight was closing", but we've still got the teams from the montage rushing through the airport. Basically, they arrive at the same counter everyone else went to to get their tickets, and wind up having to treat security like it's an obstacle course. Because security won't freak out at all at the prospect of twelve people with giant backpacks (the six contestants plus a camera guy and a sound guy for each team) rushing through the airport. To make a long story short, or perhaps to make a short story even shorter: They make it, meaning everyone is on the same flight as clearly planned.

The Amazing Red Ribbon stretches its way pretty much due north from Cape Town to Amsterdam, which apparently features tulips and buildings. Oh, and bells for some reason. Leaving the airport, Wallace & Grommet, Melana, Chris & Bambi, and the farmers rush straight for cabs. Tom explains that "going from thirty degrees in Cape Town to six I think it was in the 'Dam" meant only two things: Shrinkage (damn), and even fuglier headgear (yay, at least from a snarking standpoint). In their cab, Matt does appear a bit like he's been booted out of the Physical videoclip, causing Tom to correctly tell him he looks "like such a dork". Matt responds that he's chosen to go for warmth over style, which would be shocking if he wasn't, well, Matt.

Back at the airport, Dave & Kelly are headed for the train, Dave explaining that the trip will only be ten minutes for them compared to half an hour for everyone else. SuperDad & Luke are also boarding the train. (Yet to be seen: The Lucys.) Luke tells us that they waited for everyone else to run past them for taxis before checking the information desk. Actually, it's kind of surprising that so many teams went for cabs. I mean, there's... what, less than a dozen countries that are known to have reliable train networks? In a good way, I mean? The UK, India, everywhere bordering the former West Germany, and Germany itself. That's pretty much it. Maybe Japan. Certainly not Australia. It seems to me that when you're in one of these countries (which would include the Netherlands), it would make a hell of a lot of sense to at least check before dashing off for the nearest taxi. That said, though, when was the last time teams had a choice regarding how to travel, and a taxi wasn't the fastest option? Even when the race does hit these countries nowadays, they seem to either give the teams rental cars or specify how they've got to travel. So... you know. Idiotic, but not entirely unexpected, sadly. Meanwhile, the surfers are at least aware enough to know that Dave and Kelly "bolted for the train station". The Lucys? Not so much. Sam tells Renae, "At least you know everybody's stuck in the traffic."

Except for the teams who took the train, who are already disembarking. It turns out the stall is across the road from some big old building that clearly isn't the train station (since we can see as the teams get off that it has a big glass roof, while this building kind of looks like an eighteenth-century bell tower), but some exceptionally bad camerawork shows there's a band playing what passes for traditional Dutch music (as opposed to the Hermes House Band), so it's all fine. Dave and Kelly narrowly beat Hallmark to the stall, so they'll be the first to start eating. Suck it, idiots in taxis! (SETTLE DOWN, TOM.) The woman behind the counter -- let's call her Henrika -- gives them their doughnuts, and they chow down, Dave explaining that it's the biggest meal they've had in the entire time they've been racing. Kelly confirms, "The first one was super-tasty", but eating the second one was a bit harder. I think they got the mix between local-delicacy and volume-eating exactly right here. Volume-eating tasks are really only fine when the food being eaten is the sort of thing that aren't overly "exotic", and even then they shouldn't go overboard. Here, it's fine -- there's no goat placenta or anything in the applebollen, and two of them is enough to feel full.

Hallmark also arrive before the teams in taxis, but they're far enough behind it's not really much of a race, and Dave and Kelly get the next clue first. Still before the taxi teams rock up to Henrika's Cafe de Wheels. The clue says to take a train to Prague. Yes, that Prague. The one that's halfway across Europe from Amsterdam. Grant adds that the first four teams to finish eating will be given sleeper beds for the overnight ride, while the other three will spend their night in normal seats. You know, I should be annoyed that they're not spending the full episode in the Netherlands, but I'm really not. We got enough of a taste of the country and it's culture that it doesn't feel like a waste -- unlike The Amazing Race Asia's trip to Germany, or The Amazing Race 18's trip to Liechtenstein. And the split seating on the train means good racing in Amsterdam -- say, not rushing for a taxi -- is rewarded, so that's always a bonus. Anyway, when the teams arrive in the Czech capital, they'll need to take a cab to the Powder Tower at the entrance of the Old City to find the clue. Not too hard. Meanwhile, given the theme of the rest of this episode, surely the Slovakians are preparing their catapults. They're all kinds of jazzed about it, but probably mostly because they now have an excuse to overuse the "Czech, Mate" pun to their friends when they get home. Meanwhile, Luke is swaying along to the music, but the band really can't hold a candle to Tom. SuperDad "can feel it exploding", but that doesn't stop them from finishing before The Dumb Teams turn up.

Speaking of The Dumb Teams, the first of them to arrive are the farmers and Melana. Alana whines that she and Mel "could not stand that texture" because "it's so doughy and chewy". Imagine a bread roll, just a plain bread roll, fresh enough to be warm. Now imagine if the bready part on the inside was replaced with the filling of an apple pie. That's basically the texture they're dealing with. It's a bit chewy, like most donuts, but I would think the apple part would counteract that a fair bit. Matt tells us the only thing stopping him from enjoying them was, you know, the fact that he's in a RAAAAAAACE, while Chris & Bambi arrive. Before we see them actually eat the mysterious appelbollen, Henrika gives the farmers their clue. Alana continues to gag on it, unlike Tom, and Bambi reveals she's a sympathy vomitter. Oh, goody. Just before Chris & Bambi finish -- overtaking Melana for the final sleeper seats on the train -- Chris displays a remarkable lack of ability to combine nightclub dancing and traditional Dutch yodelling. The two remaining teams of models are the last two teams to arrive, having not been able to use their questionable good looks to get their way. And it's so rare to actually be able to write that last sentence I'm going to enjoy it for the next little while.

The Lucys just chow down, while Grommet feels the need to bitch and moan about how Wallace is "doing it like a girl". So... he's deepthroating it? Or wasn't he big enough for Paris to do that? (Also? Offensive to girls. And prissy effeminate gay men. Not that I had one call me during the episode just to complain about it or anything.) (Luckily, he's not reading this and isn't aware I just called him prissy.) (I hope.) Wallace points out that it's not like they're in a race or anything, and continues to eat at his own speed. Grommet continues to belabor the point, sexist though it may be, and Wallace snaps at him, "Shut UP!", also ordering him to "meditate or somethin'." Hooray! It's only taken them five and a half episodes to show a sign of actual personality! Shame it's not very likable!

So, anyway, the Lucys get the clue, then the surfers, then Melana. Reading the clue with her mouth full, Mel comments, "I don't know how to say that, St. Tropez?" Oh, you wish. Alana corrects her, pointing out it's the "Czech Republic" with such you-idiot bitchiness in her tone I think she's finally sick of Mel making fun of her all the time. You know, like the rest of us were after the first episode. Leaving Henrika's Cafe de Wheels, Alana nearly gets run over by a cyclist. Oh, Amsterdam, you wacky town. Probably explains all the colourful lotto balls currently invading the screen.

Suddenly, they're all boarding the train. Alana informs us that having seats while the Smart Teams and the two fastest Idiot Teams got beds "suuuucked", while the editors keenly include Chris and Bambi both intimating how "great" it was to know that they were going to be getting more sleep than the others. Grant informs us that the train will be travelling via Berlin, which I suppose makes it handy that that wall's been knocked down, but he manages to not explain that the show will be counting this train ride as the teams visiting Germany for the purposes of their commercials. It's suddenly the middle of the night, and while the teams in the sleeper cabin are taking full advantage of their beds (except for Luke and Tom, because it doesn't look like there's even enough room for spooning), Sam declares it "the train ride from hell". If only there was a group of people who'd experienced worse long-distance train rides from the Netherlands to eastern Europe so we could compare them. Oh, wait, there were. And frankly (Anne Frank-ly?), Sam has no reason to complain. I mean, it looks like they're spending the night with the light on, but really? Not that much of a struggle. They could have packed blindfolds or something. And given it looks like they've got three people on the seats and three on the ground underneath them in this room, not even the cramped space is going to be much of an issue. Plus, it's a train running through Germany, for the most part, so there's not even going to be that much bumping and grinding. (Luke and Tom, as well as Bambi, who wanted to watch so she could tell Chris what a Real Man was like: "I'll say.")

It's the next morning now, and medieval horn-style music accompanies the teams as they take their first look at the Czech Republic. The horns reach a crescendo as the train pulls into the station, the last BLAT perfectly timed with the back door of the train opening. This time absolutely everybody heads for cabs, but Melana seem to be having trouble finding one. Mel snarks, "We're off to a good start." Yeah, because falling from third to seventh while eating the appelbollen was just dandy.

Prague may have been behind the Iron Curtain, but it looks like there was enough iron left over to make a shitload of cars worthy of becoming stock footage.

In their cab, Grommet explains they're "putting a hundred and ten percent in and just being consistent. We're not slacking off, you know, we're keeping our minds pretty focussed." And with a confessional like that surely you'd expect them to be able to find a cluebox that's literally a metre away from them as they pull up in their cab. And parallel with the backseat. On the side they get out of the cab on. On a slightly raised platform. With a camera guy right behind it filming them. And clearly within Grommet's line of eyesight as he scans the area for the clue. Right? Well, no. Now that would be bad enough, but Hallmark, the farmers, Dave & Kelly, and the Lucys all arrive and immediately start following the surfers. Yeah, that's a good way to win a race. For some unknown reason, Grommet decides they all need to go inside the tower. Well, of course. Meanwhile, the cluebox is busy using its little struts to perform a cancan to the tune of Livin' La Vida Loca. It's quite impressive. Matt uses his Super Secret Farmer Knowledge to explain that everyone was acting like sheep. Baa, humbug.

Commercials. Is the Top Design promo Channel Nein's way of punishing Jamie Durie for his brief defection? And between the Jamie's Bunch commercial there and the Block Around The Clock commercial for The Block, why are they giving the shows currently airing on Eleven at the same time as their news bulletin and its lead-in free promotion?

Grommet explains that once they got inside the Powder Tower, the people working inside "had no idea what [the contestants] were doing. Surely that would be enough of a hint, but they still feel the need to rustle through the exhibits in the little museum or whatever it is anyway. Good Lord, they're going to have to dumb the clues down to Hidden Immunity Idol level for next season. Kelly wonders whether it's "worth goin' down and havin' a look around the outskirts", but Dave poo-poos the idea. Remember which one's supposed to be the brains on the team, Dave? Yeah. Maybe you should listen to her right now. In a confessional, Dave calls their search "bedlam". Correct.

Melana arrive, and without the quote-unquote "benefit" of having other teams around to help them waste time, Alana finds the clue instantly. Even though there's another cab in her way. The clue inside it, familiar to anyone who saw the particular episode of The Amazing Race Asia it's been liberally borrowed from, tells them to take a taxi to the Charles Bridge and find the "holey statue". As Grant re-explains the task for us, we get the first clue close-up of the season, with a holy halo effect highlighting the word "holey", which is basically telling the teams that it's a statue with holes, not a statue of a saint or anything. The Exposition Hands, also making what I believe is THEIR first appearance of the season, reach into the statue to find the clue. Chris and Bambi also find the clue. Good for them.

In the tower, Matt has come up with the idea to use their higher vantage point to search for the clue, and appears to find it instantaneously. Everyone runs down to the cluebox, with the farmers third, the surfers fourth, Hallmark fifth, the Lucys sixth, and Dave & Kelly bringing up the rear.

Having not wasted time going up inside the tower, Melana are now at the bridge, and learn that they need to go to one of the statues in the middle. The surfers and Chris and Bambi have also arrived, and quickly realise that there are no flags giving away the clue for people who can't read. Wallace decides to ask a guy dressed as the love child of a knight and a court jester if there's "anything up there", seemingly referring to the building behind him (when all else fails, climb a tower, because that always works), and the guy tells him that there's a display about the history of the bridge. Meanwhile, the farmers and Hallmark are working together, and have at least figured out the meaning of the word "statue", so that's one point for each of them and one point off the surfers and Chris and Bambi. But then Chris realises that they've spelled "holey" with an E in the clue, so he earns his point back. All three of these teams -- Chris and Bambi, the surfers, and Melana -- grab the clue, which is this week's Detour.

This time, the choice is between Chivalry and Delivery, two tasks that may have pros but may also have cons. In Chivalry, you go somewhere unknown to get dressed in a suit of armour each, and waddle to the Old Town Square. Then, you've got to ask the people walking around, "Do you have the key to a damsel's heart?" Once you find the "keymaster", who looks like he's about sixteen years old, you've then got to take the key to the "damsel in distress" who's in such danger at her balcony near the "Prince" that she's waving to the crowd like one of the random family members at the Royal Wedding. After working out that the Prince is actually a hotel, waddle to it and exchange the key for the clue. Basically, they've stolen the lame spy Road Block from The Amazing Race: Family Edition and wrapped it up in chainmail. On the other hand, Delivery has you ride in a cab to St. Agnes' Convent where you have to pick up a litter (or as Grant calls it, a "royal sedan chair") with a little girl in it, then take it through the streets to "her palace", which the clue calls the Kinsky Palace but which the editors show is actually the National Gallery. It's also in Old Town Square, which means you get to laugh at any teams still waddling around in their armour when you finish. So the choice is between Public Humiliation and Public Herniation, pretty much. (And it's a Tortoise/Hare with Public Herniation as the Tortoise and Public Humiliation as the Hare.)

All three teams pick Public Herniation. It doesn't surprise me so much for the others, but I really appreciate that Melana weren't automatically all, "Ew, lifting stuff!" They only really choose it because everyone else is, which is the stupidest possible way to approach a Detour, but still.

Meanwhile, the Lucys are still lost, but at least they're reading the clue correctly, unlike Hallmark and the farmers, who have somehow decided to interpret "the holey statue will lead the way" as "follow a statue's finger off the bridge and over the river". Tom correctly realises that the holey in the clue isn't the religious kind of holy, but SuperDad tells him with a bit of an "I'm glad you're not my son" tone, "Well, that's how you spell holy." I suspect he was the sort of dad who tried to tell Luke that the best reason to enjoy Shakespeare is because Hamlet has a skull in it. Or, at least he would have been, if not for... you know. Tom's still a bit skeptical, because there is a difference between people from the country working slowly and people from the country being stupid, while SuperDad continues, "In the Old... In the Old Testament, that's how you spell holy." Okay, firstly, that's not true. Secondly, the Old Testament is called the Old Testament for a reason. Thirdly, CHECK THE TITLE OF THE GODDAMN BOOK. Tom explains in a confessional, while we watch a brief clip of him scanning the Vltava River from an area that looks like it's not even that close to the bridge (now with that out-of-focus background thing going on), that he was never confident that the group was going the right way. He attributes it to "the Sheep Effect again", but you may know it by its other name: Killer Fatigue. We learn that the Lucys have also followed them down to the riverside, but all three quickly give up and decide it's got to be a bit more obvious than this.

On the bridge, Dave asks the knight-y jester-y guy for help, and he basically tells him exactly where they need to go. They walk over to the statue and can't see anything inside it, mostly because neither of them is actually that tall. Perhaps they should grab one of the crates lined up next to the statue and stand on it or something. I mean, it can't be a coincidence that they're there.

Commercials. Gloria Jean's: Australian owned, loved precisely nowhere.

A camera films the bridge from the safety of a nearby window (and by "window", I mean "hole in the wall") as Dave and Kelly continue to have no idea what to do. Dave eventually lifts himself up so he can see farther into the hole in the statue, and notices the clues. Kelly points out that She Told Him So, and he explains once again that she's the brains of the team. Really? I couldn't tell. Deciding that the princess they'll need to carry for Public Herniation "might be a big fat slob", they pick Public Humiliation. Dave points out he's "always been a little chivalry [sic]", but noticing the Lucys still looking, he vows not to lay down his jacket so they can walk over it. Which is probably good, considering it's cold, not wet. And also because we're now at that point in the race where you won't make enemies by not helping people. At least not in this season, where nobody left is really that petty. Look how quickly they dropped the "Dave and Chris hate each other" thread. Dave exposits that he's "going to keep SOME credibility... but not ALL of it." You know, like most reality TV contestants.

Wait. That's dignity. Never mind.

Unfortunately, the re-appearance of the lotto results turns up over the subtitled answer the knight-y jester-y guy gives when the Lucys ask him where the clue is, but it sounds like he's saying, "What you're looking for is over there." He confirms that "it's over there on the left side", but this does not stop the Lucys from walking off in exactly the wrong direction -- not only away from the clue, but off the bridge entirely. I'm beginning to understand where they keep losing time. The jester makes a "Eh. What do you expect me to do about it?" face to the camera.

Split-screen to the convent, we arrive just before Melana does. Mel explains that, "For some reason, we thought, 'Surely it just must be around the corner that we have to carry this little princess'. Beautiful little thing." With a pause to allow the editors to splice in some footage of them actually lifting the litter for the first time and realising it's not going to be as easy as the clue made it sound, she continues, "But I hate her." As they very slowly begin to move, Mel tells us that the pain was instant and "excruciating". Part of the problem, I think, is that there's only two people lifting these. Every other time I've seen something like this, it always seems like there's four buff men balancing a pole each on their shoulders. With only two people, the only way to carry it is with your arms locked, and the pain in that position would have been absolutely horrible. This really probably would have been a better task for an Intersection, but I suppose they can't risk having the "princesses" tipped out onto their skulls or something. Of course, every time I've seen one of these in the past it's been holding St. Kylie of Minogue inside it, but still. Mel continues to rant, voicing over that she's not sure "how two chicks can lift a million kilos like that".

It's a good thing Bambi has Chris then. They -- or at least Bambi -- seems to be struggling a bit also, but when Wallace and Grommet arrive they correctly realise that it won't take as long and therefore won't be as exhausting if they manage to walk faster. Despite their decision to bring torn jeans on the race, they're really racing pretty well. Which is annoying, because they're so fucking boring it's taken me until Monday morning to get to this point of the recap and we've still got half an episode left to cover. Medieval horns kick in to show firstly Wallace and Grommet powering past the others, then Chris and Bambi passing Melana. Bambi's doing surprisingly well considering it seems to be a task designed without female contestants in mind, working quickly but being willing to take short breaks when she needs to. And Chris doesn't yell at her for not being A Man, either, so his total point score is almost above absolute zero again. But overall it's not a very interesting task, to be honest. I mean, right now there is carrying and then there is resting. And then there is carrying and then there is resting.

I kind of like that they didn't feel like it would be unfair to put a task that would be easier for men to finish into the race, simply because I'm over how much they've adapted the American version of the race in order to finally get an all-female team to win. Instead of changing the race? Cast better. Don't get me wrong, thinking tasks and the like are also great, but a pure brute-force task like this is very welcome every once in a while. When you have too much of the same types of task in a season, you get teams like Eric & Jeremy and Nick & Starr running away with it. Eric & Jeremy got physical task after physical task during their season, as well as a shitload of needle-in-a-haystack challenges, and most of the remaining tasks were as simple as "throw a ball over there" and "jump off a diving board", but it's not a coincidence that they blew the race on the final challenge of the season, which happened to be a mental one. Nick & Starr, on the other hand, won seven out of eleven legs in their season. In the remaining four, they pretty much lost three due to bad taxi drivers, and the fourth was the only self-driving leg in the entire season. (It's also worth noting that while they were smart and fast runners, one of those four legs happened to have a very physical Road Block, which Nick sucked at.) I'd almost count Meghan and Cheyne as one of the teams who dominated their race -- winning seven legs out of twelve -- but take a look at the legs they won. Two of the seven legs ended with a random-luck Road Block (the Japanese gameshow leg and the Don Giovanni leg), they won one leg by virtue of being fourth to sign-up for bunched elevator trips to the cluebox where the Fast Forward clue was given out, two legs had no bunching at all and came right after legs they'd won (in fact, one of them would have been the first leg in history with no position changes had one team not decided that unscrambling a five letter word was too hard), and it's since been confirmed that a judge at the final task miscounted another team's poker chips when they'd had the right amount. In other words, they only really won one leg based on their actual skills. Wallace and Grommet have also done very well -- before this leg, the only times they'd been outside the top three teams to finish a task were the fans and the baccarat (both luck-based tasks) and the money-counting -- but there seems to be a wider variety of tasks here than there was in those seasons, so it feels like they're good at everything instead of getting tasks that are right up their alley all the time.

While Wallace and Grommet switch positions to deal with the "awkward weight", while Melana stand around with their hands on their hips, hoping for the princess to thrust herself to the castle, inch by inch. Nearby, Chris asks a local guy for directions and gets told that it's so far away they'll have to cross a bridge, and that it'll take them "half an hour" carrying the litter. Of course, given Chris is holding a map you'd think either he or Bambi would have had the forethought to take a look before hand to see how far it is. It's not like they don't know where they need to go.

Speaking of bridges, let's head back to the Lucys. They come up with the bright idea to break the fourth wall by asking a Canadian-sounding tourist "where our thing is". The camera shot hides what's actually happening, but it seems clear to me that they've basically held up a clue envelope (with the words "The Amazing Race" printed on it) just because while they're allowed to tell people they're in a race, they can't tell them they're on THE race. She tells them exactly where to find the clue, and they pick Public Humiliation. The two remaining teams both notice them grabbing the clue, and follow. The farmers are up for some Public Humiliation, while Hallmark take advantage of their big arms by choosing Public Herniation. In their cab on the wat to the task, Matt makes another "Look how straight I am!" comment, and Tom remains quiet but makes an "If only they knew..." smile.

Mel drops the back end of the litter, while Alana checks on the girl inside, noting, "She's holding on for dear life." Understandable. Wallace, on the other hand, feels the need to chide their girl for her weight. Because that will help them get her to the "palace" faster. He also blames her for their struggles in a confessional, not realising that the bulk of the difficulty in this challenge is in the position they're carrying her and in how strong the wood needs to be to make sure the person inside doesn't collapse through the floor. They didn't make these litters out of balsa, you know. Bambi also struggles, and Chris tells her to rub them on a nearby wall to "make 'em rough". How will that help? By making callouses? This isn't like sewing a patchwork quilt. Melana finish taking a break and manage to travel a total distance of one step before Mel has to switch positions.

The Lucys arrive at the Old Town Square and begin looking for the armour. Having no luck finding it, they switch to Public Herniation. Sam reads the clue and realises they're going to need a taxi, but Renae decides to ask a guy on the street if he knows where it is. He asks them in German if they speak German (helpfully subtitled in German by the editors, because it's too much work to actually translate foreign languages into English), causing Renae to blow him off saying, "I can't understand you, sorry. I don't speak Dutch." If only they were still in Amsterdam. And had someone on their team with, say, some Nederlander heritage. On her father's side. Renae explains in a confessional that "Prague's a beautiful city, it's just, um, people don't really speak much English, and it kind of frustrates you." They manage to browbeat a taxi driver who isn't free to take them.

Prague has old buildings. And that same road we saw in the last set of stock shots.

Dave and Kelly have found the armoury, and begin getting suited up with the help of a bunch of larger guys in peasant outfits. The farmers rock up before they're fully kitted out, but they still leave first. Dave advises Kelly to "keep [her] legs apart a bit" to avoid an uncomfortable situation. Does he know something about her we don't? Kelly complains, "I'm walking like I've just given birth to something large." Congratulations, it's a Dave! Presumably SuperDad and Luke will each give them a set of greeting cards at the next Pit Stop. They waddle on down to the Old Town Square and begin asking people whether they have the key. Kelly decides to be politically correct and ask a guy with a cane and a guide dog if he has it, but Dave points out that he's blind. Unfortunately, he's not deaf.

The farmers explain in a confessional that their sole reason for picking Public Humiliation was the excuse to get dressed up as knights in shining armour. (SETTLE DOWN, LUKE.) Matt sprints down the street unimpeded by his armour, while Tom's running still becomes even swishier than usual. Both teams continue to search the locals in the crowded square for the keymaster, but neither have any real luck. Dave explains that they "must have asked a couple of thousand tourists", because nothing is more cultural to Prague than people visiting from other countries, and Kelly exposits, "They all thought we were idiots." I'm fairly certain it's not just the people in this square who think that. The farmers run up to a couple getting their photos taken for a wedding, learn that they don't have the key either, and Matt poses for a photo with them anyway. It's not quite a drunken uncle (especially considering we're no longer in Amsterdam), but it has a certain charm.

Hallmark are arriving at the convent to pick up their girl, and seem to be fine with the carrying. Melana are also managing to walk at a reasonable pace... until Mel literally drops the back of their litter. They whine about how they should have done the other task. HOW DARE THE PRODUCERS TRICK YOU INTO DOING A TASK! While Hallmark continue to carry their girl without any dramas or comedies or tragedies or anything even remotely interesting, Alana points out that they've spent too much time on this task to make it a good idea to switch tasks, and has to explain to Mel that the men are having less trouble with the task because they're stronger. Well, she says, "Because they're boys", but there are many guys I know -- and, I'm sure, many guys you know -- who couldn't handle the task. As if to mock the idea that someone is doing better at the task because they have an inbuilt rudder, the editors cut to Bambi telling Chris to walk faster. Heh. Chris might have moments of assholery, but Bambi definitely has enough chutzpah to hold her own.

Sam & Renae are running towards the convent and come across Hallmark carrying their litter. The Lucys ask Hallmark for directions, and then run off in completely the wrong way. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I'm beginning to sense a theme. In a confessional, Renae blames Hallmark because "they pointed the other direction". This is despite SuperDad and Luke both having their hands full, and despite Luke clearly saying, "Back out that way", referring to... you know, the direction they came from. They're nice guys, but they didn't carry the girl around the block just because she wanted a ride. Sam bitches, "They definitely led us astray", and sarcastically adds a few seconds later, "Good work, boys!" Noticing the girls ignoring their directions, Hallmark drops their litter and Luke tries to call out to Renae, but it's no use. He confessionals, "I don't know what street they were running down and why, but the direction I gave them was 'THIS way, and over THERE'", before pointing out that they're not here to be assholes. Well, SuperDad isn't, at least. And Luke's not here to be THAT kind of asshole. Renae tells Sam, "Obviously they came from where they were going", and... huh?

Old Town Square. Wallace and Grommet arrive, the former calling it "quite a mission" as they drop off their girl, and claiming that his arms were so "dead" he could barely open the clue envelope the girl gives them to reveal this week's Road Block. It doesn't stop him from being the One Team Member performing the task even though the hint asks "Whose aim is true?" Apparently, he's expecting the task to be artificially inseminating pheasants or some other typically Medieval animal. Instead, because the producers couldn't get that past Seven's censors, the task requires teams to get themselves to a "Medieval village", where Grant is walking past a tent like you'd see at a Renaissance fair, except a couple of hundred years more out of date (and yes, even I'm getting sick of having to finger-quote this episode). The village's presence would almost be believable, were it not for the fact that it's been positioned in exactly the same place as the final Pit Stop of The Amazing Race 15 (Strelecky Island, which was also seen in The Amazing Race Asia 2), and were it not for us currently living in the twenty-first century. Anyway, the person doing the task has to use a bow and arrows to hit a target twice to get the next clue from a guy who looks like Bill Bailey. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, you've got to do it "using no more than 40 arrows" (although Grant makes no effort to explain what happens if you don't), and the actual target is much smaller than a normal target (with just the bullseye and the four inner rings surrounding it), and if they hit the NAB logo in the middle, they'll receive a fifty-dollar bonus on what is clearly a prop credit card that will be replaced with some actual cash at the next Pit Stop. It seems odd that they would come up with the idea of having teams deliberately fire deadly projectiles at their sponsor's logo, but my only real opposition to it is that it's making what was otherwise a fairly decent Road Block seem unnecessarily complicated. It may just be because I watched the last season of The Amazing Race Asia and was sick of stupid random penalties about halfway into the second episode (if that), but I find the 40-arrows restriction far more irritating. There's no reason to have teams face mandatory time delays when it's far more interesting just to let them keep trying the task until they finish it. If it's been added because the arrows were too expensive to buy hundreds of on the chance they'll never be used? Hire someone to retrieve them at regular intervals. It's not like there aren't plenty of extras milling around. There's no reason to ruin what would have otherwise been a decent task like this.

Also? There are no flying watermelons.

While Wallace and Grommet head off in search of a cab, Melana have had to stop again. With Mel's arm literally "twinging" in agony and her "ready just to forfeit", she whines about how the producers are forcing her to do this. Alana reminds her that they could have experienced some Public Humiliation instead, and refuses to switch tasks because it means they'd have to carry the girl all the way back to the convent before they can start again. Mel points out that they can just quit the entire race and not have to, but Alana basically tells her to suck it up and deal. (Australia: "About fucking time.") They learn from a local that their final destination is basically just down the road, but Mel still thinks they "can't do it". Alana pointedly asks her if she wants to quit. Oh noes! What will happen?!

Commercials. It's currently 5:17pm on Monday, a few hours before the next episode airs. I'd like to thank Channel Seven for ruining the ending in their EPG listing for the following episode. Fuck you, Seven. This show shouldn't be hard to advertise, and yet you've done such a bad job with this season I'm seriously considering boycotting you and watching everything for the first time as I recap. It's not like I watch anything else on your crappy network.

Mel is still complaining about being unable to finish the task, but she and Alana soon realise that, to quote from one of my favourite teams ever, "It doesn't say how ya gotta do it, it just said 'do it'!" More specifically, the clue for the Detour (which we were shown twice, and which Kelly read part of aloud) reads as follows: "Locate the young Princess at St. Agnes Convent and use the Royal Sedan Chair to deliver her to The Kinsky Palace in the Old Town Square. Once successfully and safely delivered, the..." Note that at no point does it say they must lift the litter or physically carry it. Therefore, Melana decide to both move to the front and use a handle each to drag the litter down the street. Mel brags, "Dragging it was a thousand times easier." Of course it was. Occam was lying. Meanwhile, Luke has to rub some feeling back into SuperDad's arms (the first time he's touched a guy like that while either of them was wearing clothes) to get him to finish. But before they move another step, Luke lends their girl his jacket so she can keep warm. Awwww. Helping People Is Fun! SuperDad explains in a confessional that it had been a couple of days since they'd been able to wash their clothes, "so she may not have liked the way they smelled". I suspect the bigger problem is that to pick the litter up again, Luke has to basically wave his arse a foot away from her face. Or as he would call it back home, "Thursday".

The Lucys have finally arrived at the convent to pick up their litter. They struggle immediately, and Renae explains that she just has to mention Sam's ex to make her pissed, but I have almost twenty minutes of episode left to recap, the next episode finished an hour and a half ago, the Detour tasks aren't great, and most of the teams still Detouring aren't very interesting (especially since Tom and Luke are doing different tasks), so I'm pretty much just going to skip over the remainder of it, since I've discussed it enough already, right? Thanks for understanding.

Chris and Bambi finish. Bambi explains that they "had no stress whatsoever on this Detour, unlike a lot of the other Detours we've had to do." I am shocked but impressed the editors manage to refrain from including a flashback to Winegate. Chris takes the Road Block, being quite good at shooting off. (NOT LIKE THAT, TOM.)

Dave & Kelly have finally found the guy with their key, who is basically wearing a trenchcoat and a lesbian-stereotype hat. Next stop: Finding the Prince. Elsewhere in the square, Matt & Tom try to "widen" their hunt by asking a random old guy if he has the key, but the guy says something in Czech (not subtitled) that sounds like he's basically accusing them of being Hungarian.

Wallace and Grommet have arrived at the Road Block, and he begins firing. It's only now I realise that their fugly hairhelmets have been covered up by some even fuglier beanies. I am the most observant recapper ever. Amidst random Travel Porn that comes across as fake as most porn acting, they find the archery range without much trouble, and Grommet immediately begins trying to backseat drive. Or backseat fire or whatever the right term is. He's being a bossy little prick, is my point. Wallace's first shot soars underneath the target, and we learn for the first time that instead of using some bad clipart like the American version would do, we're getting a simple 0/2 to show how well they're doing. His second arrow also misses, but the third hits the second ring from the outside.

Dave & Kelly find the Prince and get their clue from the damsel, Dave correctly pointing out that this task is basically a bad riff on Rapunzel. I can't wait for the Goldilocks Road Block. But knowing this show, it seems more likely they'll have a volume-eating challenge where they'll have to eat an entire gingerbread house. He also correctly predicts that the task is archery, and takes it.

Wallace gets his second hit, landing just millimetres away from the bullseye. Grommet tells him that since they've got a handy lead, they might as well use up a few more of their arrows trying to get the bonus money before they leave. Wallace re-explains this in a confessional, helpfully and spontaneously putting in a plug for the sponsors (which I suppose is good, considering how all their customers' money is going down the drain), but gives it a couple more shots before bailing. I'm sure you're all very disappointed the strong not-ugly guys who've been winning everything failed to win the bonus, aren't you? One, two, three.... Awwmovingon. The clue reads: "Make your way to the next Pit Stop. Warning: The last team to arrive may end up in the dungeon." I hope they got some additional informaton that told them where the Pit Stop actually, you know, is. I mean, Grant explains to us that it's at the Prague Castle (which makes it the fifth Pit Stop out of six that's also been a Pit Stop on another version, with only the elephant park being new) and all, but they can't hear him. The same medieval horns from the train ride re-tootle to announce that "the last team to arrive here MAY be eliminated."

The farmers get their key, and believe the only reason they struggle to find the damsel is because "[they] couldn't look up in [their] armour". But they still manage to find her, so clearly at least one of them is used to bending over backwards or something. Matt takes the Road Block, but feels the need to lift his helmet up so the camera can confirm he'll be doing the task.

Chris and Bambi are at the Road Block. After his misses the first time, she tells him to "just aim". Ah! So the clue wasn't misleading! In a confessional she tells us, "It really sort of came down to technique, which, funnily enough, I did some archery back in Year 5." Well, of course. Grommet probably wet his pants in Year 2, but we haven't had THAT as a Road Block yet. (Give it time though, they're running out of excuses to justify laughing locals.) When she tells him he needs to hold his front arm straight and flex with the back one, he cheerfully snarks that perhaps she should have done this. And considering it's his fourth Road Block out of six, meaning she's got to do four out of the last six now, maybe he's right. I mean, they can't possibly have even more lame first-come-first-served adventure-sports Road Blocks coming, right? On the other hand, she would have had to resist the temptation to deliberately avoid the target. A few misses later, he is told to think positively and get rid of "all the negative energy". The music reaches a hissing climax, right before he... misfires and somehow gets the arrow to flip around before dropping to the ground right in front of him. Does that count as an attempt? I'm not sure.

Melana are still struggling, but SuperDad & Luke are done. Luke relishes the opportunity to pierce something with some nice long wood (SETTLE DOWN, TOM), and takes the task.

Chris hits the very top of the target, and at the exact point the arrow embeds itself in the target we get a "DING!" sound effect, the score changes to 1/2, and we get that shot of him cheering that's been in every pretty much every preview clip this season, ruining the tension about if, say, their lost key last week was going to cause them to get eliminated.

At the Pit Stop, Grant is waiting with this week's greeter. Now, with the whole medieval vibe they're going for, you'd expect it to be, say, a proper knight or a CGI dragon or maybe a bad Shakespeare impersonator, right? (Don't laugh, he's no less tied to the culture of Prague than any of the other tasks in this episode.) Well, no. It's a random model in a black catsuit. Not surprisingly, given nobody else is even on their way yet, we're here for the arrival of Wallace and Grommet as Team Number One, and for their receipt of the same Kathmandu shooping spree prize they narrowly missed out on in the footrace back in the first South Africa leg. In a post-leg confessional they're proud of their win, Wallace vowing to "take out the next leg too, I suppose". If I know my television, that's either Foreshadowing that they'll win the next leg and make the season even more boring than it's rapidly becoming with the elimination of most of the interesting teams one by one, or Foreshadowing that they'll flame out spectacularly and be eliminated on the next leg, and I'm not sure which.

Chris is down to just having six arrows left, and is freaking out. But more importantly, with my copy of the episode paused where it is, Nick looks exactly like a tanned version of Dr. Nick Riviera. Yeah, maybe the freakout is justified.

Commercials. You know, a couple of months ago I would have told you I was collecting all the Doctor Who DVDs for the sake of completeness. At least the new series, anyway. But now that I'm getting much closer to having the only real vacancies being the volumes with the "farting aliens in Downing Street" and "Daleks helping erect the Empire State Building" two-parters, I'm not so sure.

Chris tells us that with Bambi helping him he was thinking something along the lines of "I used to say I and me, now it's us, now it's we", right before he gets the second arrow. And it's a bullseye, so he also gets free money. Hooray! (Part of this enthusiasm may just be because he's away from the deadly weapons before the other teams arrive, I'll grant you, but still. Good for them.) He continues, "We hit that target. It was not me alone." Will they get a penalty for him not doing it on his own, then? Bambi explains that "this challenge proved that we can actually make it through challenges without screaming and getting frustrated at each other". Have they even raised their voices to each other once this week? It seems like surely they're the first Couple On The Race To Test Their Doomed Relationship to actually manage to repair it. The peasant gives them their clue, as well as the NAB card. It sure is lucky they had credit cards back in the Middle Ages.

Seriously, how slow is Prague traffic? This is the third time we've seen this exact shot now.

Matt and Tom are in a cab, and Matt posits, "If I can't hit this thing twice in five arrows, we're useless." Awwww, don't be hard on yourselves. Well, not you, at least. We already know what makes Tom hard. Arriving at the fake village, his first arrow pierces the easel supporting the smaller target they've got to hit, so it doesn't count. Tom tells us, "The wind was definitely going the wrong way, the bow was definitely bent, I think we just got the dud batch of arrows." Were it not for the fact that I used the same exact line in last week's recap, I'd point out that there are no bent arrows, just bent shooters, but that's really more a comment on how repetitive the tasks in this race have been. Ignoring the tasks in the next episode, the tasks have been pretty similar throughout the season. We've had three "carry this item in some unorthodox local method" Detours (produce in Lombok, chickens in Hue, and the girls here), three adventure-sports Road Blocks (abseiling in Melbourne, bungy jumping and skydiving in South Africa), two "use the clues to arrange these items in a specific order" Road Blocks (coins in Hue and lanterns in Macau), and three tasks in three consecutive episodes where the basic skill is "How good are you with weapons?", four in four if you count the kung fu tile-breaking in Macau (as well as the knopkieries and guns in South Africa and this task). Unless this is for some stupid race-memory task, it's just bad planning.

Dave & Kelly arrive, and Matt still hasn't hit the target even once. Useless! Kelly and Tom watch on as they both perform the task, spending more time talking to each other than actually shooting, it seems. Dave hits the bonus bullseye, while Tom tells us how "it got a little nailbiting" as Matt continued to hit everywhere on the support easel except for the target itself.

Melana have arrived at the end of the Detour with their litter, and while Mel asks a local where the Narodni Galerie is, Alana points out that they're standing right next to the building. The camera zooms out to show it even has a labelled facade, so we've officially had enough Right Here, You Idiots camera shots to last us for the rest of the season. They finish dragging their girl into place. Clue! Mel bitches in response to Alana explaining about her newfound inner strength or whatever, "When are you the motivational one? LET ME GIVE UP!", not realising that she's basically the human personification of a demotivational poster, and Alana is a lolcat by comparison. Alana takes the Road Block because of Mel's apparent arm injury, but why are they even considering it? If Mel does this one, then Alana has to do five out of the last six, and that's not a position any team would ever put themselves in.

Hallmark arrive and Luke gets one with his first arrow. I'm impressed. And so is Tom, probably. Matt, on the other hand, can't even get his final arrow prepared before misfiring, so... you know, so much for "five arrows". Dave hits the target again and gets ready to leave, but not before Matt has to beg him to let him use his spare arrows to avoid the penalty. Dave refuses, and... good for him. I like the farmers and barely tolerate Dave, but when the task says "using no more than 40 arrows", you shouldn't get to avoid the penalty by having other teams help you. What would have happened if Wallace ran out? Or Chris? There was nobody else here when they finished. Do they get punished unfairly for not being in a position where they're able to beg for spare arrows? It seems like a loophole in the task design that shouldn't be there. Either make a new penalty for failing that's much smaller (half an hour would probably do) than the penalty for quitting the task, since they're two separate things and one is definitely less desirable in contestants who get cast than the other, or better yet get rid of the penalty entirely and just structure the tasks so that teams try until they succeed, no matter how long it takes. Luke hits the bullseye to finish the task, and SuperDad brags in a confessional about how "he was really awesome at it". Oh, great. Now that people's parents are using the word awesome it has to officially be retired from the lexicon of today's youth. (Also retired: Shindig. Dy-no-mite. Half of the made-up swear words from Farscape.) Matt begs him for some arrows. Since "there was going to be very little chances for Matt after that [sic]" and if they get eliminated Luke won't get to spend more time with Tom, he gives Matt his spare arrows. All thirty-something of them. Matt only needs "about six" to get both of his hits, though, so now it's a tight race again. And if he'd had a four-hour penalty, that wouldn't have been the case. Just putting it out there. Tom laughs, "I thought he'd do a little better than 46 arrows."

Crowds mill around at Prague Castle for the Changing of the Guard. But that's not important. What is important is that Chris and Bambi are Team Number Two, the former managing to run onto the mat backwards in a way that doesn't look contrived. (Fucking hippies.)

The Lucys are done, and it appears even the editors are sick of the Detour. Sam volunteers Renae for the Road Block. Heh.

Melana are busy arriving at said Road Block. Alana tells us, "For one of the first times on this race, I felt really confident stepping into that Road Block." Which is convenient because it's one of her first Road Blocks, too. After waiting for some geese to pass, she begins shooting, realising that she's "getting bloody close to the blue". Yes, but close doesn't get you the clue, dear.

Dave & Kelly are getting on a tram. Inside, he explains that "the taxis have robbed [them] blind." While the farmers and Hallmark both rush for cabs, it looks like Dave & Kelly disembark pretty quickly and begin walking. All three teams close in on the Pit Stop in a surprisingly uninteresting footrace, or maybe it's just suffering because the rest of the episode has felt remarkably dull for a city with such rich history. I liked the way they dealt with the Amsterdam visit earlier in the epsiode, but it would have been more fun to see a season run by someone who isn't Dutch tackle the Netherlands for an episode (if you're not aware, the executive producer of the American version was born and grew up in the country) than to sit through an episode of boring medieval-themed tasks. And it's not like Amsterdam doesn't have scenery of its own.

Anyway, Hallmark arrive first in this footrace, and right after Grant checks them in as Team Number Three, the farmers sprint in and nearly bowl them over to get on The Amazing Bathmat. They're officially fourth, and while Tom remains disinterested when Jeff pats his back, the moment Luke and Matt quit celebrating together he's over there feeling up Luke's biceps. Awww, he's just like me, except with a hat that would look decent on television. Dave & Kelly? Fifth.

Back at the Road Block, the Lucys have arrived. Alana gets her first arrow, a bullseye, and has to check whether it counts. There's more firing, and more locals watching on pretending this is all very interesting, and then Renae gets a hit of her own. Alana suddenly notices she's almost out of arrows, and there's nobody here she can beg from, since surely Renae won't give her any when they're struggling not to finish last. Hey, look, actual tension! Kind of!

Commercials. Eurovision: The greatest eleventeen hours of teleprompter fuckups every year.

We teleport back to before Renae got her first hit, or so the graphics state. This does not stop Mel from claiming that she deliberately tried not to pressure Alana, or stop the Lucys from getting their clue when she hits their target again. Sam is confused by the "the last team to arrive may end up in the dungeon" bit replacing the usual "the last team to arrive may be eliminated" bit.

Somehow, Alana grabs what is clearly her last arrow from its holder, but when we cut to the next shot (where she gets her second arrow in) there's quite a few left in it. I think what happened here is that they were basically kept here until the Lucys had checked in at the Pit Stop, then told to finish the task properly for the sake of television, so it didn't look like they were getting eliminated by penalty. Not to spoil the ending of the episode or anything. But you've all seen and/or found a torrent for the show by now and know what happens, right? In a solo confessional, Mel says, "Alana was fantastic today. I love it when she goes and she takes control and I can see that little lion inside her go 'Raahhh!'". Yes, because all lions sound like angry tabby cats.

And now for another cab race. Actually, we really haven't seen much of teams in vehicles this season with how the episodes are so filled with tasks. I'm not opposed to the idea of exhausting teams with tasks, but if they either cut out one random task each week (and it's not like there isn't one random task each week that seems to serve no purpose and isn't very entertaining) or made all the episodes 90 minutes so we could get some more footage of stuff like this, we could finally learn why the Lucys keep burning time all over the place or have a reason for why Hallmark can't get ahead of the other all-male teams that isn't "because Luke likes being behind". While Alana is happy with how they're finally working together, Mel deadpans, "I'm happy. Not so happy if we have to spend the night in the dungeon."

Grant and the greeter, who surely must be cold by now, wait at the Pit Stop as the Lucys run up. Gee, there's a shocker. They're Team Number Six. Sad music kicks in as Melana slowly jog up to the mat to be eliminated. Mel explains that their basic goal was just to "make it past the first leg", so clearly they've never seen any of Michael McKay's races before, then. Of the five he produced before this, the only one without a non-elimination in the first episode was the one right after he was being criticised for making the race too easy on teams. They're very proud of themselves, as they should be. I mean, they were obviously never going to beat Hallmark or Wallace and Grommet, but with how hard the race normally is (and how hard this race has been on top of that), any team that survived four eliminations didn't fluke their success. Were it not for FBA's Fast Forward win, they would have won the Macau leg, so it's not like they were bad racers, but this is more of a "we raced well, they raced better" elimination than an "it's our fault we lost" elimination, and it's really not too often we get that situation happening any more. In their final confessional, Alana explains that they hadn't lived together for a while, "at least not in the last decade", so they won't need to see each other again for another ten years. While Alana closes by saying that they've gotten what they wanted out of the race -- to be able to work together -- Mel instead claims their big goal was for Alana to stop being so useless. Fitting.

Next week: More racing, but it's 3:00am and I've just recapped thirty minutes of episode since I woke up yesterday morning and this is one of the longest one-hour recaps I've ever done and I don't particularly care at thisssszzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

1 comment:

  1. This really probably would have been a better task for an Intersection

    Yeah, we thought that too. Pity they didn't go with the last leg being an NEL and then make the sedan chair the intersection - it would have been a lot more interesting than what they actually did do in South Africa and required the teams to actually work together.

    The 40 arrows thing was bizarre, we couldn't work out what was going on with that.

    Commercials. Gloria Jean's: Australian owned, loved precisely nowhere.

    So glad I'm not the only one that avoids them like the plague. More so than usual at present, as the smell makes me feel nauseous.

    I'd also avoid those particular Dalek episodes. Bleh.

    the former managing to run onto the mat backwards in a way that doesn't look contrived. (Fucking hippies.)

    And yet they still managed to irritate me less than the Filipino team on TARA-2. Oh. My. God. were they poseurs. At least it took me about three episodes to start hating the hippies - the other team I started hating in episode 2.