The Amazing Race recap: 'King Arthur Style'
The teams travel from Santiago to Lisbon; A surly Magellan impersonator sneers in contempt
Awww. What a tragic and disappointing outcome for episode 3. It’s one thing when a team flops and flails all over a new place and earns the dreaded “last time to arrive” from Phil, but quite another when all the racers can do is sit around and wait the whole episode until Phil finally comes trotting into the airport to inform them of their doom (and that they’re apparently not allowed to step outside). NFL buddies Chester Pitts and Ephraim Salaam didn’t even get to participate in the third leg. I was begging Phil to announce a non-elimination leg to save two of the friendliest racers of the season. But Phil didn’t listen.
The footballers, who started first (!!!), were thwarted by a unique (read: “cursed”) flight plan from Santiago, Chile to Lisbon, Portugal with two terrible connections instead of one. They should have had Nicole and Travis’ spots on the first flight into Lisbon at 7 a.m., but a kindly, very apologetic booking agent named Natalia had entered the wrong date into her computer. Natalia felt so guilty that she not only arranged the ill-fated two-connection goose chase for Chester and Ephraim, but helped out another team — Brandon and Adam, who along with Danny and Tim would arrive in Lisbon at 10 a.m.
Threatening gong sound as Pink Hair skulks around the Santiago Airport! Marie keeps reminding teams to give her any useful information, and she’ll give them the Express Pass. She’s conveniently omitting the next announcement in the sequence, which is “I will not actually give you the Express Pass.” Kudos to Danny for withholding flight information from Marie, even though he later feels guilty about it. Danny and Tim also make the wise choice to turn down an offer of sketchy-seeming camaraderie from Leo and Jamal, who want the Oklahoma boys to blindly follow them along with their “race wives” Ally and Ashley on a flight that would arrive at 11. Leo and Jamal’s icky vibes irk Danny so much that he vows in the Santiago airport that he and Tim will U-Turn the “Afghanimals” if given the chance.
The boldest flight-plan move, though, comes from Nicky and Kim, who sneak away from the others In the Sao Paulo airport to secure the first spot on the standby list for Nicole and Travis’ earlier flight to Lisbon. All they had to do was find a human being and interact with that human instead of gaping helplessly at the departure screens. (Not a ton of action this episode. I can’t even pretend that it was at all exciting.) This bold move from Nicky and Kim prompts El Pink Hair Diablo Marie to declare, “The bunnies are dead to me.” Where are these bunnies she’s hallucinating? I only see two strong, independent women with their own personalities, who just whupped Pinky’s ass! Hug hug hug hug hug. Go Nicky and Kim.
NEXT: Magellan spits on your invocation of the Panama CanalAs the Beards and the Oklahomies (yay/nay?) arrive for their connection in Madrid and the four fake-married racers (Leo, Jamal, Ally and Ashley) have a romantic layover in London, ER docs Nicole and Travis, babies Jason and Amy, and the Baseball Wive$ land in Lisbon first and make their way to Martim Moniz Square, where a singing lady in a red dress (who looks a lot like the flamenco dancer emoji) is so committed to her craft that she won’t stop wailing as she hands the contestants their giant prints of old-fashioned coaches.
To the National Coach Museum, racers! It’s almost too easy; the local Portuguese know and love their coaches. In a DETOUR, teams must choose between Tiles and Miles. In Miles, under the spiteful gaze of a Ferdinand Magellan impersonator who should get a major raise for playing the role with such unexpected and hilarious contempt, teams must use a giant navigation instrument to measure the total distance the surly explorer sailed to 10 destinations.
Nicole, Travis, Jason, and Amy work together as onlookers crowd the map. It’s a little like the ’90s TV series Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego, except if The Chief were on hand in Lisbon, she’d have instantly cleared the map of pesky world-blockers with just a few carefully chosen stern words delivered from her desk. Magellan, however, is not deterring the riff raff at all. He’d probably invited them, to help distract the wobbly Americans who were sullying up his pristine sea routes. But the first four smarties have no problem doing simple math and remembering that the Earth was round, even all those years ago. They move on.
Tim and Danny overcome an initial “brain fart,” the evil gaze of Magellan, and a dang forgotten zero to very impressively win their next clue. Magellan has to pause and recalibrate himself over the course of a painfully long blink, so wounded is he by the general stupidity of others.
But Magellan has zero tolerance for the “Afghanimals,” eventually ripping up more than one of his own papers in sheer disgust after they’d wondered aloud “Do you think he might have gone through the Panama Canal?” and offering an absurdly high mile count to the long-suffering explorer. Magellan didn’t have time for that bullish*t. He didn’t know what the Panama Canal even was.
NEXT: Another handsome knight kneels down for Pinky’s torture Over at Tiles, Nicky and Kim, the first to finish piecing together a puzzle of fragile decorative pieces, hilariously do not see the sneaky white-shirted clue-master even though he was standing RIGHT NEXT TO THEM in a huge open room. Later, once Leo, Jamal, Ally and Ashley have switched tasks, the guys try goading Marie and Tim, who show up last, into using their Express Pass, lying that the puzzle has already taken them two hours and took Ally and Ashley three hours before that. They could’ve just stopped at the two-hour lie; that’d have been much more believable. I’m a tiny bit surprised Marie and Tim don’t Express themselves here. Shouldn’t they suspect they’re pretty close to last place? I guess they assume they’ll make up for lost time during the Roadblock.
But forget about strategy — Pinky is too busy destructively knocking tiles off the easel thing and coming up with new ways to belittle her punching bag. “I’m trying to not make you look like a bitch,” she explained. “I want the people at home to think I don’t think you’re that terrible of a partner.” Ugh, gross. Maybe she should have just let things play out, as Tim nailed the upcoming Roadblock in one shot. “I was born in this era,” he muttered to King Arthur’s sunburned court. Perhaps this helps explain his fondness for enduring the medieval torture involved in associating with Marie.
To spice things up a bit, the “landing shot” at the Lisbon Airport creates the illusion that all the planes are about to crash into a series of yellow structures. It’s a wild and crazy episode!
ROADBLOCK: Who has the hands for slings and arrows? No one seems to have any devastating trouble with this archery challenge — dress up as a knight, hunker down on a giant ballista, and shoot a shield 150 feet away. Jason gets it on the first try. Danny does this Roadblock because he’s Native American. (Whatever works!) And Ally’s grandpa was born in Portugal (“My race wife is Portuguese,” Leo helpfully clarified) and had taught her archery at a young age. If you’re not hitting the target, then you need to adjust something, Ally informs us. Is anyone still awake?
The teams race to the pit stop at Castelo dos Mouros, a hilltop medieval castle. “I will kill myself if we’re last,” announces Marie. I better cut it out with this paragraph before I say something garish!
Nicole and Travis redeem themselves from Leg 1, in which they failed to read the rule, took a taxi instead of traveling on foot, and ceded first place to Tim and Marie. The married ER docs win a trip for two to Costa Rica which includes golfing, a sunset sail, and a couples massage potentially administered by the Travelocity gnome. Perhaps the gnome is in their thoughts as Nicole and Travis share a gratuitously slow-motion kiss on the mat.
2nd place: Jason and Amy
3rd place: Nicky and Kim
4th place: Tim and Danny
5th place: Brandon and Adam
6th place: Leo and Jamal
7th place: Ally and Ashley
8th place: Pink Hair and her Punching Bag (nice “last team to arrive” fakeout from Phil, though!)
Then a costumed local beside Phil had to go and ruin everything. “Can she trade him for me?” he asked in front of Pink Hair and her Punching Bag — meaning can he switch places with P.B.? Maybe he meant that, as an armored knight, he’d be better equipped to field incoming blows from Pinky. But I’m pretty sure he just liked her hair and…tremendous spirit.
NEXT WEEK: The teams plunge into the Arctic, and Nicole makes a power play for the Express Pass. Will emergency medicine be involved? Will “Ice-ganimals” stick as a nickname for the married quartet? Are you upset about Chester and Ephraim?