I'm writing this recap fresh from a Singapore holiday, where I spent four days or so walking in humid temperatures and surprise rains. And I have two blisters on my left foot, too. Which leaves me to wonder: do these teams on The Amazing Race feel the same thing? You know, blisters after running around for most of three weeks or so? That sort of stuff, yeah. One thing's for sure, though: they do have the urge to break down and cry, or hug endlessly until it's all over. Or fight. Yes, fight, of course.
With Maria and Tiffany quitting the race after finding the both Detours harder than they imagined, we're left with five teams. Sam and Dan finished first, and have the privilege of opening the first clue: they're flying to Stockholm. To a theme park, in fact, and they'll have to get there by both train and ferry. They kick off the race by, of all things, arguing.
It's an instant bottleneck at the airport: the teams left at around nine in the evening (not obvious, since they sun hasn't set yet) and the first flight out of Groningen is at 6:55 the following morning. To make things worse, the ticket counters won't open until 5:30. All five teams get to the airport and wait it out: only three teams left with tickets to the 6:55 flight. Gary and Matt, and Brian and Ericka, ran out of slots for the first flight, and had to settle for a 9:25 flight to Stockholm.
It's a chase to the trains, the ones going from the airport to Stockholm city central. The teams took a while to figure out the ticket dispensing machines (sorry, that's a Singapore memory for me) and the Globetrotters found themselves left behind by the dating couple and the gay brothers. Well, suffice it to say that they get a train and a ferry pretty quickly, too. Worse fate fell on Gary and Matt, who got left behind by a full fifteen minutes after taking to figure out how the thing works.
Over at the theme park, a little task: one from each team has to ride the Fritt Fall, which is a pretty tall drop tower. At the highest point, they'll see an arrow leading them to their next clue box. Fifteen seconds of arrow, three seconds going down. Sam and Cheyne help each other out with the arrow spotting. Flight Time, who was celebrating his birthday, had no choice but to take it, since Big Time is, well, too big. The arrow leads them to a ring tossing booth, where they have to claim the usual Travelocity gnome.
And a clue, too: a Detour. One of them involves the ancient Viking alphabet, but nobody went there anyway, because it seems all the teams love MythBusters as much as I do. That other task involves explosions. Invoking Alfred Nobel's spirit, teams have to create a bunker made out of sand bags, and then trigger a dynamite explosion, which will uncover a clue buried under the ground.
The brothers and the couple got to the quarry first, but were flustered to see the Globetrotters come in--more so Sam and Dan, who see the tall guys as their closest opponents. Understandable, but they don't have to be sooo angry about it. It's actually a straightforward task, with Sam and Dan finishing first, followed by the Globetrotters, and a flustered Meghan and Cheyne. It took a bit before Brian and Ericka arrived at the Detour--they're lucky they chanced upon someone who knows the place so well, lest they ended up like Gary and Matt, who went around in circles before finally asking for directions.
The next clue leads them to the Bogs Gard farm. If it's a familiar sight, well, that's because it is. Ahh, I fondly remember Lena and Kristy, who were stuck with that task for hours, until night fall. It's a Roadblock: one from each team has to search through 186 hay bales to look for one of only seven flags. Once they find a flag, they can head over to the mat: the farm is also the pit stop. They call this a switchback.
This task is, obviously, the one thing that'll break teams down. Sam took on the bales and started arguing with Dan immediately. Dan's being very controlling, to the point of being bitchy. Sam decides to linger with a hay bale--the flag could be stuck in between, after all--but Dan wants him to just move on with the next one. Watching it is pretty annoying and uncomfortable, as the next twenty minutes or so are peppered with "shut up!" quotes from Sam, and only from Sam. And the finger. And personal details revealed.
Meghan and Cheyne are having a hard time, too, but it's more of Meghan's usual frustration at everything. Cheyne didn't want to do the Roadblock, figuring that his girlfriend's taking charge on this leg, but didn't really speak up. Thankfully it's just a minor quibble, and we are treated to stuff we've learned to expect from Meghan: crying. Well, it wasn't that bad.
But it's the Globetrotters who are having a lucky streak. Big Time finds the flag first and they finish first--perfect birthday gift for Flight Time. They also win a trip to Turk and Caicos Islands, which, admittedly, I've never heard of before. "This is the cake and the icing to the cake," he went. Well, happy birthday to you, then.
As they dance around in celebration, Sam starts getting really angry. You know, they really are taking it personally, huh? He just thinks they're lucky. I think he thinks they deserve it more. (Because, what, because they're not celebrities and because they're gay? Ugh.) Brian and Ericka, and Gary and Matt, finally arrive, and they quickly get to the task, too. Brian, in a fit of whimsy, tells Dan that the task is harder than it looks--and, in a snap, Dan shuts up and becomes supportive of Sam. Like, really, Dan? It worked better if you kept reminding each other that it took ten hours for a team to finish this task, rather than a "shut up!" thunderstorm.
Meghan finds the second flag, and finishes second with Cheyne. I expected that. The slightly surprising bit: Brian and Ericka were the third to find the flag, and they finish third. We get an editing trick--a split-screen--and it's revealed that Sam finds the flag and finishes the leg in fourth with his brother. Dan finds the time to cry for being such an ass. I am not sold on it. But I can't flick the channel, because I've yet to see Gary and Matt find a flag and get eliminated. Took them almost three hours to do so. Matt won't give up. They're keeping positive even if they're last.
And then Phil fakes them out... and they're not eliminated. It's a non-elimination leg! Well, I somehow did see that coming. Still, it's gotta be hard being delayed by a couple of hours and facing that Speed Bump.
Next week, the teams head to Estonia, where the showdown between Gay Bros. and Globetrotters finally kicks off. Now, if the Globetrotters can just beat them...