Teams head to the Eternal City to play gladiator for a day, race some chariots, and count a bunch of steps


Last time, we left the seven remaining teams in Sri Lanka as they found out their standings: Country singer duo Caroline and Jennifer lost that leg, but fortunately found themselves in a non-elimination round and got to stay. The losing team wasn’t so lucky this week.

The beginning clue: Go to the Eternal City. Which is Rome, which most teams get right away — except for Rachel, who thinks it’s Ethiopia. Good try, Rach!

Everyone races to travel agents’ offices to get on the next flight to Rome, and they all end up getting on the same direct flight — even Rachel, who eventually figured out that she was wrong, but not before falling on the way into the agents’ office. “Calm down!” Brendon says. Too late for that, bud.

Once they all land in Rome, it’s time to start racing. Everyone but the cowboys, the Globetrotters, and Dave and Connor are in the front of the plane, so they get to exit first and try to use that to their advantage. They all board a shuttle to get from the tarmac to the airport and obnoxiously yell at the driver to go before the others can board. If I were the driver, I would have probably quit right then and there.

Alas, their yelling strategy works and the bus does indeed go on its merry way, leaving the other three teams behind. They get to the challenge first, and find they have two choices: playing gladiator in a sword fight or competing in a chariot race.

Sadly, the chariot race doesn’t involve actual horses and instead consists of robotic, toy race car-like chariots that the team controls with a remote — one person controlling speed and the other, steering. To complete the challenge, they have to make five laps around the track before their chariot fire burns out. Sound easy? It’s not, apparently.

Rachel and Brendon are the first to get to the race track, and have some issues as Rachel cautiously drives the chariot at a slow speed while Brendon pushes her to go faster. Jamal and Leo end up leaving the track once it gets too crowded and head over to the gladiator side while the Globetrotters, Brendon and Rachel, and Dave and Connor duke it out. After some chariot collisions, they all finish and move on.

Meanwhile, Caroline and Jennifer hit a speed bump. It turns out to be the smallest of speed bumps though: All they have to do is head to the Pantheon to retrieve a typewriter, then take that typewriter to a building that looks like typewriters. So many typewriters! Once that’s over with, they choose to race the chariot and find themselves at an empty track, very obviously behind the rest of the teams. They’re surprisingly OK with this though, and vow to just have a good time even if they’re going home that day — when in Rome, right?

The wannabe gladiators are going strong in the other challenge as they learn the ins and outs of sword-fighting. This is easy stuff to John, who claims it comes naturally to him. He took a taekwondo class in college, guys. He’s a pro. After this confessional-bragging, John embarrasses himself a bit when he makes a mistake in his very first round — he holds up a shield to protect himself instead of using the sword like he’s supposed to. Jessica is far better though, and really gets into the fighting, pulling out all her theatrics. John tries his hand again, and again uses the shield at the wrong time. Rookie move, John.

The others have moved on to the next assignment: to go to John Keats’ old digs (and where he died) at the Piazza di Spagna. In this roadblock, teams have to count the number of steps (the widest in Europe!) and then find out the year an obelisk at the top was erected. Problem is, the year it was erected is on the obelisk, but in Roman numerals, which no one seems to know how to read anymore. Once they count the steps and calculate the year, they have to add those two numbers together, convert that number into Roman numerals, and present that number to a happy couple sitting on a moped to find out where to go next.

Somehow, Brendon and Rachel get to the steps first while Jessica and John end up getting taken to John Keats’ road, only to find that it’s just an apartment building…and therefore the wrong place. They decide to ditch the taxi after this detour and attempt to find a hotel where they can use a computer. They eventually find one, and John asks the receptionist if they can use it, saying, “It’s an emergency.” It appears that John does not know what an emergency is.

Dave and Connor arrive at the steps while Rachel is standing guard; they ask where to go. But Rachel’s enjoying being in the front of the pack and doesn’t help them much, simply pointing in the general direction of where they should go. Dave and Connor end up finding their way and once they return, ask Rachel why she didn’t just give them specific directions. But Rachel is all like, “I gave you one direction, you should be thanking me!” Drama!

As for the actual challenge, everyone is struggling, mostly because of the Roman numeral situation. They all end up adopting the same strategy, which is to ask locals (and fellow tourists) for help converting Roman numerals into not-Roman numerals and vice versa — this works out for some people (Brendon and Rachel) and badly for others (the Globetrotters). Leo and Jamal end up giving the final number to the Globetrotters and Jessica and John before they run off to find out their standing. What stand-up guys!

After successfully figuring out the number and getting it approved, teams have to race to the Piazza del Popolo to find out how they fared in the leg. And first place (plus a trip to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef) goes to…

Brendon and Rachel!

2nd: Caroline and Jennifer

3rd: Dave and Connor

4th: Jet and Cord

5th: Leo and Jamal

6th: Flight Time and Big Easy

7th: Jessica and John

What’d you guys think of the episode? Are you happy to see Jessica and John go — or is there some other team you’ve been rooting against?

Episode Recaps


The Amazing Race

Phil Keoghan hosts the globe-trotting adventure series.

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  • CBS
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