It's off to France for yummy-looking bread and silly war games for the racers

By Jessica Shaw
Updated March 15, 2010 at 05:28 AM EDT
Monty Brinton/CBS

The Amazing Race

S16 E5
  • TV Show
  • CBS

Wow. Do you think when the teams signed up for this season of Amazing Race they knew they’d be ”shot at” or have to crawl under ”barbed wire” that could tear their skin apart? Holy waiver! No, I’m joking. The family-hour version of World War I looked more like a Nickelodeon take on battle, with really messy piles of dirt blowing everywhere and wire about as dangerous as that Pamela Anderson movie. Which is not to say this week wasn’t a battle because it was.

And kudos to the show because by halfway through the episode I thought we were going to see the exact same results as last week with Jeff and Jordan headed home. But, you never know when that Travelocity gnome will show his dark side and someone will forget to pick up a clue and someone else will get U-turned. Okay, the gnome had nothing to do with it, but he scares me anyway.

Let’s go pre-war when the teams were on a bus headed to a secret location. Joe and Heidi were in the back, Joe’s knee on a vat of ice. ”The race has put a toll on my leg,” he said. ”I’ve been running with one leg.” Um, did he see season 10? Someone named Sarah ring a bell? That’s called running the race with one leg. But I can’t really diss Joe so much because he actually redeemed himself as a decent guy tonight. Not sure why he insisted on being a jerk every other week, but the hobbled knee made him a lot kinder to Heidi. Even Heidi went on about their ”unconditional love and patience toward each other.” Too bad everyone didn’t feel that unconditional love for them. And by everyone I mean Louie and Michael.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Teams got off the bus and headed to Saint Menehould where they had to find a boulangerie and buy a fresh baguette. Okay. Yum. How good did those loaves look? Kind of loved Steve and Allie and their bread banter about which one of them did or did not know what a baguette was. Now that Berty Van M. is actually showing them for more than 1.2 seconds an episode, they’re proving to be one of the most adorable racing couples ever on the show. They’re funny, competent, charming, and supportive. And, by the looks of the past few weeks, they’re going to be around much longer.

A few other teams have a hard time wrapping their heads around the word ”baguette.” It’s not that hard a word to master, guys. Haven’t you ever been to Au Bon Pain? Jet calls it something like ”bay-gou-ette” and I’m instantly understanding why French people don’t like when Americans speak their language.

NEXT: Going under the wire

But when it came to speaking in tongues, the award of the night has to go to Brent and Caite. Brent’s brilliant moment would come later, but when embarking on this leg Caite says, ”We’re doing everything great. We like to think that we know where we’re going when we really don’t so we need to stop being so hard at it.” I have absolutely no idea what that means, but it’s still a notch more coherent than her Miss Teen USA days, so I guess we should applaud her.

Poor Jeff and Jordan left seemingly hours later than the rest of the teams and they didn’t get off to a good start. Jordan couldn’t seem to figure out traffic circles, Jeff couldn’t seem to figure out why Jordan couldn’t figure things out. When they finally made it to the boulangerie, Jeff looked so confused I was worried he’d eat that carbo-clue bite by bite. Thankfully, he figured out the ol’ ”Clue baked in the bread!” concept.

Of course, by this time plenty of the teams are at the detour at Le Main des Massiges. Teams had to decide between ”In the trenches” or ”Under fire.” It’s so obvious that ”Under Fire” (crawl under ”barbed wire” to retrieve a clue, crawl back) is much easier than ”In the trenches” (decode message using Morse Code). Sure enough, all the teams go that route. It looked like it should look kinda scary, with the ”soldiers” flying those cool vintage planes and firing things and sitting in dugouts. But of course, all the people that get to do cool stuff are the paid extras. Crawling to get the clue is just a drag and one that gave Louie quite a hard time. (Maybe Louie is not such a badass cop after all. Michael compared the race to being detectives earlier by saying ”We might get some sleep. We might not. You don’t get to wash your clothes. You go dirty. We live that life every day.” Maybe so Michael, but your buddy almost passed out from a little belly crawl and some dirt in his face.)

The other teams seemed to fare better than Louie (except for relentless gripers Brandy and Carol). Joe had no problem assuming the position because of past experience. ”At home, I play horsey with the kids so that’s the position I’m in a lot.” And now, let’s all thank the heavens the phrase ”with the kids” was in that sentence. Jordan got into role-playing, even asking some extra if he’s okay, as if they’re in battle together, and Caite seemed psyched for the ab workout.

When Louie and Michael easily finished first, they didn’t seem to think twice about using the blind U-turn (which is totally not blind because they were the first team so it was obvious who was doing it). ”I didn’t come here to make friends,” Michael said. Sure enough, he put up Joe and Heidi’s sticker (after debating whether to U-turn Steve and Allie) and we were given a flashback of Joe saying he wasn’t threatened by the other teams.

NEXT: Going for some old-timey fun

As predicted, the Morse code challenge was really damn hard and Joe and Heidi, who now had to complete their second detour, kept getting the stern soldier’s ”no” when they came up with ”vive la liberty” (which, hello, is half English and half French) and ”Vive la victoire.” Things were looking bleak.

But, oh yeah, there was still Jeff and Jordan. And never overestimate the intelligence of Brent and Caite!

Jeff and Jordan completed their ”Speed Bump” which was basically fixing up part of the trench, a task they seemed to complete in 3.2 seconds. As they were finishing, I was saying out loud to my TV, ”Don’t do the Morse code! Don’t do the Morse code!” I got even more worried when Jeff told Jordan it was up to her to choose which detour task they’d do. Thankfully, she went for ”under fire” and we were treated to Jeff’s awesome instruction of how to climb under ”barbed wire.” ”Put your boobs on the ground and drag ‘em over to here.” Hear that, women of the military? When they finally finished the task Jeff had my favorite line of the night when he said, ”Is the war over cause of this message or cause it took us so long to get here?” I was starting to give up hope that Jeff and Jordan were going to make it to the finals. She just didn’t seem to want it as badly as Jeff did. She’s the Dan of the couple and Jeff is the Jordan. Boy, Jordan. Sorry, that was confusing.

But let’s pause for a moment for a line of idiocy from Brent who was trying to figure out what it meant to ”walk south,” as it was written on the clue. ”I wonder if they meant just south like a direction or just south as in like go that direction.” Um, what?

Eventually, all teams stuck on their faux mustaches, put on their awesome turn-of-the-century gear, and got on their 1903-esque bikes (except for poor Joe and Heidi who were huddled in a little nook holding each other and crying as if they just lost their entire battalion) to ride to the pit stop. I could’ve done without the crotch shot of Louie getting into his biking gear, but you have to admit that he and Michael ran a great race this week and they deserved to come in first. ”We’re representing law enforcement all around the world,” Michael said, which is admirable, except that he had a fake mustache hanging off his face.

Steve and Allie stayed strong, coming in second. Jet and Cord arrived third because Jordan and Dan didn’t hustle. Carol and Brandy miraculously arrived fifth and brainiacs Brent and Caite came in sixth.

I can’t deny that I’m happy that Jeff and Jordan have lived to see another week. But I did feel bad when Joe and Heidi couldn’t even finish their task. At least there’s dignity in finishing the leg but coming in too late to earn a spot on the next leg. There’s little to cheer about when Phil has to come to you, long after the sun has set, to tell you that you’ve been booted because you can’t tell your dashes from your dots.

What did you think of last night’s episode? Will Jeff and Jordan make it to the finals? Will Louie and Michael pay for the U-turn? Are you loving Steve and Allie as much as I am?

Episode Recaps

The Amazing Race

Phil Keoghan hosts the globe-trotting adventure series.
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  • CBS
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