The Amazing Race 15: One Meltdown Away from Elimination
- Monday, November 30, 2009
Many times, we are our own worst enemies. Or in the case of Team Bro, our own worst enemy could be a little DNA and one meltdown away.
In this week's episode of The Amazing Race, Team Bro's Sam and Dan were spared by the skin of their gollum. Well, make that the clay exterior of their gollum (read on for the deets). But in the end, it was the brothers from another mother—Team Globetrotter's Nathaniel and Herbert—who were eliminated.
The next-to-last episode for this season began in Prague, where last week's final pit stop brought the teams. The four remaining teams had to complete a number of challenges in order to make it to the final three (competing in next week's grand finale for first place and a prize of $1 million). Here are the highlights …
HOLY SPANISH SYNAGOGUE! … It's the city's "oldest Jewish house of prayer," we're told, and yet it's called "Spanish Synagogue." I don't get it either. Anyway, the teams taxied here to pick up their first clue: "DETOUR: Go to the Ekotechnicke Museum." That was the directive for all except Team Jungle Fever, who had to complete a SPEED BUMP first ("Pay a visit to the green fairy." They had to find a pub and perform a three-step process to make a drink called absinthe. Then, they each had to drink a shot and continue on in the race. "It was like rubbing alcohol going down my throat," said Brian, the teetotaler, afterward.)
KAFKA CALLING … Meanwhile, back at the museum, a ROAD BLOCK met the teams: "In order to obtain the impossible one must attempt the absurd." Teams had to search for five phones in a Kafka-esque type of convoluted, bureaucratic setting (dozens of empty desks and telephones in an otherwise-barren and darkened room) and listen for a voice at the end of the line. Five voices needed to be heard with five different letters being spoken. Teams could not write them down until they had made their way through the desks and phones and heard all five letters, and then checked in at the supervisor's desk.
Once there, they had to fill out a form (useless information to try and scramble their brains and cause them to forget the letters they were trying to remember). At the end of the form, teams had to correctly write down the five letters and figure out that they should be in the order that would spell out "FRANZ" (as in existential author Franz Kafka). If done correctly, the supervisor would approve their form and give them the next clue. Not surprisingly, Team All American's Meghan sailed right through. But Team Bro's Dan had some trouble figuring out that the letters should be spelled in the order of "FRANZ," as did Team Globetrotter's Nathaniel.
Frustrated beyond measure, Sam and Nathaniel decided to pool their resources and work together. But in the end, Dan figured out the lettering combo, withheld the information (except for a snarky, mildly helpful "it starts with an F!" clue) and left Nathaniel in the near dark while he scurried off to the next challenge. But the task proved too intricate for Nathaniel, and Team Globetrotter ended up taking a four-hour penalty and sat out the hours before they could continue on. This lapse in time (and judgment), led to Team Jungle Fever's gain as they made it through their SPEED BUMP, and then saw Brian sail through the phone and lettering challenge to pass up Team Globetrotter and receive the next clue.
ICE ICE BABY … The teams hadn't stripped down to their skivvies in quite a while, so it was time to get to it! (Seriously, though, has there been an episode this season yet where someone has not had to strip down to underwear or swimsuits?). In this challenge, teams were required to go into a holistic treatment chamber at the Kryocentrum, where it was 180 degrees below zero (Celsius). Teams were allowed to don gloves, surgical masks, socks and flip-flop-ish shoes, and sweater headbands to cover their ears. But they had to remain in the chamber for two minutes before exiting and receiving their next clue to head to Charles Bridge (which connects the old and new parts of Prague).
OF LEGEND AND LAGER … Once reaching Charles Bridge, teams received their choice of DETOURS: Legend or Lager. Legend required teams to cover a monstrous gollum form with clay, then transport the heavy figure (on foot) across busy intersections of the city (up and over curbs and all) to another synagogue. If the rabbi was satisfied with their work, he would give them their next clue. It's a wonder Team Bro ever made it through this challenge, though, with all of their "shut up's" and bickering and mini meltdowns. Their gollum even fell at one point, cracking an arm, and frequently the brothers would be stopped in the middle of streets with their teetering gollum while arguing about the best way to transport it to the synagogue. I thought for sure they would be passed up, eliminated or (gulp) maybe clipped by a passing motorist.
Lager required teams to transport 30 glasses of beer on round serving trays, while walking through cobble-stoned city streets amidst drunken groups of people who might try to swipe at a glass—and Czech people drink more beer per capita than anywhere in the world, we're told—from one pub to another. Team All American and Team Bro chose Legend, while Team Jungle Fever chose Lager. Meanwhile, Team Globetrotter was still on their four-hour break (penalty). Zzzzzzzzzz.
BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER … The first three teams to complete Legend or Lager and arrive at the check-in mat at Strelecky Ostrov—an island of sorts next to Charles Bridge—were greeted by host Phil Keoghan and congratulated for making it to the final three.
So, after all of that, our current standings are as follows:
1st: Team All American (Meghan and Cheyne)
2nd: Team Bro (Sam and Dan)
3rd: Team Jungle Fever (Brian and Ericka)
Team Globetrotter's decision to take the penalty was a foul move from the get-go and the basket-ballers weren't able to make up a four-hour discrepancy. In fact, after their time period was up at the museum, they were instructed to just go straight to the final pit stop (the other teams had long since checked in).
Next week, we're told this for the season finale: "In high-rolling Las Vegas, teams put it all on the line, experience the highs, the lows and ‘The King.' Who will cross the finish line first and win one million dollars?"
It's anyone's guess at this point. Will Team All American clinch what looks like sure victory? Will Team Bro use their bickering to fuel their way to the top? Or will Team Jungle Fever come from behind and outdo them all with winning colors?
Who knows! But until then, keep it simply amazing. And keep watching The Amazing Race. See you next week!
WANT TO WATCH?
The Amazing Race airs on CBS on Sunday nights at 8/7 Central. Plan your schedule accordingly.
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