A word jumble derails one team while Dan and Sam continue their bickering ways
Amazing Race Dan Sam
Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Gregor Samsa, as many of you recall, is the protagonist in Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. He’s a traveling salesman who just wants to provide for his family, until he turns into an insect and everything falls apart. Big Easy had something in common with Gregor Samsa in last night’s kind of awesome episode: He too just wanted to provide for himself and Flight Time. But instead of turning into an insect, he turned into the BIGGEST MORON ON THE PLANET. Seriously, dude? A four-hour penalty because you can’t figure out that 5 letters spell a word? I need a moment to let the rage settle. Let’s focus on something else.

Okay. Phil started the episode by giving a voice-over about how teams had to make it to Prague’s oldest synagogue, and then further explained, ”a Jewish house of prayer.” Thanks for the explanation, Phil. When I saw Brian and Ericka’s picture next to the Speed Bump sign, I was a little nervous about what they were going to have to do. Go into the synagogue and pray? Eat some schmaltz with Manischewitz Extra Heavy Malaga? (I’m Jewish! I can mock my people’s food!) Alas, team by team found the synagogue and got their clue and moved on. Brian and Ericka got there and found out they had to go to the M1 Bar and make absinthe. Phil described absinthe as a drink ”known for its high alcohol content.” Um, way to sugarcoat it, Keoghan. That’s like saying the death penalty is known for being a way to get one last great meal of your choosing. Actually, absinthe was illegal in the U.S. and most of Europe for much of the 20th century and plenty of people still believe it has addictive qualities that make you crazy, psycho, and completely bonkers. Enjoy your speed bump, Brian and Ericka, if you survive! Alas, I’m guessing what they drank was Amstel Light of absinthe since Brian and Ericka managed to get it down pretty quickly and move on. Incidentally, I’m still scarred from seeing that M1 bar with all the Czech women dancing around in bikini tops like they were trying to open a Prague branch of Hogs and Heffers. All I could imagine was an Amazing Race producer going up to pretty women and telling them that if they’d all-but-strip and gyrate on a bar counter they could become famous on American TV. Ericka made some comment to Brian about how he could get in trouble there from looking at all those women, but her tone didn’t really bother me for once. It was a cute and playful and of course, she needn’t worry about Brian. That guy is head over heels in love with his former pageant queen. Oddly enough, I’m starting to understand what he sees in her. Hell, I downright loved Ericka this episode. But we’ll get back to that.

NEXT: Five letters, sounds like…

Let’s get back to the non-speed-bumped racers… and the site of the lamest display of spelling skills imaginable. The teams had to go to the Ekotechnicke Museum where ”one person must enter a Kafka-esque world.” Sadly, this did not mean one person would have to turn into an insect. Rather, one person had to walk into a room full of ringing phones and find the five phones that would deliver a letter that would eventually help spell the word. Meghan (from here on in, let’s call her Skipper) had her animal mnemonic device: Z was for zebra, R was for rabbit. It was, like Meghan, wholesome and sharp, if a little G-rated. She managed to figure out the letter spelled out ”Franz” by the second try.

Things didn’t go so well for Dan and Big Easy. They got big red X stamps over and over from the Czech extras in black suits who looked like they were given the directions, ”Look like a villain from a live-action Disney movie!” All they were missing were mustaches to twirl. ”The supervisors were being the biggest douches ever,” Dan said. Way to keep it classy, dude. And way to blame your moronic brain on said supervising douches.

At this point, I need everyone to channel his or her inner 9th grader because I feel like this detour could have been a program in Mr. Heberling’s math class. You have 5 letters. How many letter combinations can come from them? I vaguely recall some math formula that involves an exclamation point (5!) that would answer this question. Is it possible that the number of letter combinations of those 5 letters equaled 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1? And if so, why weren’t Dan and Big Easy just methodically going through the 120 spelling options? (By the way, it’s entirely possible that my math memory is completely faulty or that Mr. Heberling made up a fabulous-looking math formula involving an exclamation point.) Instead, Big Easy and Dan decided to work together, each spelling one ridiculous word after another. The second I saw the two of them teaming up I knew Dan would screw over his new partner. Sure enough, once he got the word he ditched Big Easy with the ”douches” and deigned to tell him the first letter of the word. Granted, that was probably a good game move, but how evil is that? ”Like I always say, you are who you are,” was Big Easy’s most scathing response. Um, hello? You guys hate each other and that’s all your going to say? Damn, someone must have really given it to you after that elbow incident threat a few weeks back.

By the time Brian got there, Big Easy had been struggling with his five letters for 2 ½ hours. Two and a half hours! After Brian bolted, Big Easy went outside to his gem of a partner and the two decided to take a 4-hour penalty. Flight Time, the most patient man alive, didn’t even seem angry at his idiotic partner. Instead, he tried to make the big lug feel better, saying that he probably wouldn’t have gotten it either. I’m here to say, Flight Time, that yes you would have. In fact, my 2-year-old daughter who thinks Rs are Bs, and Zs are 2s would still have managed to figure out that word was ”Franz.”

NEXT: Frozen assets

While those two were lying around to the unbelievably annoying sound of phones ringing, the rest of the teams were freezing their gloved and masked bodies off in the Kyrocentrum. We’re informed that Czech athletes have been using this holistic treatment of going into a 180-degrees-below chamber for a long time. I’m finally starting to understand why Ivan Lendl’s face always seemed to look frozen. Anyway, once again the teams had to strip down to their skivvies to complete the challenge. Is it me or has this season showed more skin than all other seasons combined? It seems like every week someone’s an article shy of naked. Phil et al, let me just say that we don’t need to see these people in the buff. Frankly, I hated Dan enough before I was forced to hate him even more tonight when I saw his bad chest-waxing job. At least the brothers were self-aware enough to know they shouldn’t be overly psyched about stripping. ”My ass is too big for these,” Sam said about his shorts. There are many mean things I could say about Sam, but his ass actually looked fine. And that concludes the ”I’m going to be nice to Sam or Dan” portion of this recap. Meanwhile, ”I feel bad for polar bears,” was the most creative thing the Spikey Ken doll named Cheyne could come up with. Animal mnemonic devices and polar bear jokes? Ugh. Could Meghan and Cheyne be any more annoyingly wholesome? When Ericka and Brian got there, Ericka said ”My ankles are freezing!” which may have been my favorite comment of the night. Your ankles? Way to be in touch with your body, Ericka. Or completely delusional by thinking that your ankles can feel temperature.

It’s no shock that Meghan and Cheyne zoomed through the detour, building a ”golem” by slathering mud onto a straw and clay creature. I think Cheyne was trying to be cute when he said ”He’s a fat ass” about his golem. I wonder if using too much gel to spike up your blond hair makes your brain think you’re an unfunny frat boy. Even Skipper seemed annoyed with him, though her reasoning had something to do with him being rude. What is up with her and rudeness? Nonetheless, Meghan and Cheyne delivered their best ”Shalom” before delivering the golem to the rabbis (who were wearing hats that looked like they were bought at a ”Hats R Us” store in the Prague airport). And of course, they made it to Phil and the finish line first and won a pair of TVs that, presumably, they can watch after going into their saunas while vacationing at the Four Seasons in Hawaii.

NEXT: Ericka gets her back up

Places two and three didn’t really seem up for grabs considering Flight Time and Big Easy’s cop-out, but the producers did their best making us think the order was still up in the air. The brothers decided to deliver the golem to the rabbis as well, but managed to sweat about 5 billion gallons more than Meghan and Cheyne. The transcript of their shlepping the golem went something like this: ”Shut up! Dang it! Stop being a baby! Shut up! Dang it! Shut up! The rabbi is going to be pissed!” Unfortunately, the rabbi wasn’t pissed when he saw this broken-armed golem and he didn’t even react when they asked for a blessing. How about this: Baruch Atah You’re a D—head? Amen! And with that, the brothers went on to be team number 2.

Brian and Ericka decided they weren’t going near the Golem and instead they’d carry 30 beers to a bar. The first trip was a disaster, with Ericka dropping all of her glasses and insisting that they give up and go for the Golem. Brian, ever the patient and loving husband, encouraged her to continue and carry as few glasses as she needed to finish the task. Meanwhile, drunken Czech bar-goers (and by ”drunken Czech bar-goers” I mean ”paid extras”) were taunting these two as they carried their glasses, bringing back Ericka’s inner bitch. ”Yeah, I do have some American attitude. Touch me and you’ll get punched” she said to a few of them. I hate when Ericka yells at Brian, but yelling at extras paid to be annoying? Hell, yeah! Apparently it worked because the taunting stopped. Well, either it worked or the sun came up and the extras had to go home to sleep. While these two were racing to Phil, Ericka commented about how beautiful the Charles Bridge was. With so much stress about making it into the final three, Ericka still managed to find the beauty in her surroundings. It seems like the other teams were so focused on winning that they couldn’t stop to look around, even for a split second. So for the first time, I was actually happy that Brian and Ericka weren’t eliminated.

What is there left to say about Flight Time and Big Easy? Not much. Clearly, the producers were over them too considering we didn’t even get to see them finish their tasks. Did they do Legend (Golem) or Lager (beer carrying)? I almost wonder if they even finished those tasks. They didn’t look all that dirty or tired by the time they got to Phil. ”We ran across the finish line with our heads held high,” Big Easy said. Really? Whatever you say. Let’s just hope the Globetrotters never insist the players must be able to complete a Jumble.

Are you sad the Globetrotters are gone? Has Ericka grown on you too? Who do you want to win?

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The Amazing Race

Phil Keoghan hosts the globe-trotting adventure series.

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