The Amazing Race recap: 'Thinly Sliced Anchovies'
The Dentists get a serving of humble TAR pie while the Cyclists cruise through Copenhagen.
Well, for those of you who were rubbed the wrong way last week by Mr. and Mrs. Dentist’s over-confidence (I believe that’s, uh, everyone), justice was served tonight in the form of one supremely humbling flower pot. Flower pot—we thank you. Unfortunately, even in her all her seven-pedaled power, the flower pot could not completely take the Dentists out, for their teeth were too strong, their eyes too piercing, and their Save too powerful.
Actually no, it wasn’t even their coveted Save card that kept them safe, but the fact that their total team breakdown came on a non-elimination leg.
C’mon Phil, cut us a break, we know you have the power! It’s still not totally clear if the Save will ultimately function as a non-elimination, or if it will bump out the second-to-last team when Misti and Jim employ it, but after tonight, it appears to be the former. That’s probably for the best for the Dentists, who have few enough fans without their Save resulting in the elimination of say, the Cyclists or the College Sweethearts (who will forevermore me called T&T, as they were referred to on tonight’s episode).
Still, there’s nothing like a good TAR redemption story, and Misti and Jim might just be on the precipice of getting a mean-jock to hearts-of-gold makeover (I don’t watch a lot of movies, that’s a normal makeover arc, right?). In fact, tonight saw almost a complete reversal of last week’s finishing lineup. I’m torn between a last-shall-be-first biblical reference and an if-you’re-not-first-you’re-last Talladega Nights reference, but I think we can just settle on the lesson that the worst thing you can do in Amazing Race is be over-confident…there is simply no mastering TAR.
Yes, from the beautiful hills of the Shetland Islands, to the cityscapes and pollution-free air of Copenhagen, the transition from Leg 3 to Leg 4 threw everyone for a bit of a loop. TAR has brought out all the stops for its Silver Anniversary Detours and Road Blocks. I guess you’ve got to put in the extra effort in this day and age when 50 percent of reality TV shows end in cancellation. And Phil knows just how to keep things hot: extra focus on sustainability!
Setting out from the Shetland Islands, the teams had to take a 13-hour ferry ride back to Aberdeen and fly to Copenhagen, Denmark where they would find their next
product placement clue waiting on a Ford C-Max. Once again, there’s no real advantage to the first-finishing teams getting to leave early because the first ferry isn’t available for five more hours. But the Dentists take advantage of their extra time by going on a fun, carefree pub crawl! Just kidding, you guys, they went to a library. They’re planning to get a jump on the other teams by booking their flight in advance instead of waiting to get to the airport or travel agent in Aberden and they simply Could. Not. Be more pleased with themselves.
Even though they say they’re “sittin’ pretty in first place, that’s where we like to stay,” it’s actually the Cyclists—who some of you rightly pointed out were a little too self-congratulatory about their cool chick pub crawl last week—who get the first flight to Copenhagen simply by running the fastest from the ferry to the airport. Everyone else gets slightly later flights at the airport or travel agency, where there’ this wonderful exchange.
Maya: What’s your name?!?!?!!?!?
Maya: Are you ready for us Steeeeeeephen?!
Stephen: I’m not sure
Any touch of smugness from the Cyclists last week is totally overshadowed by their complete domination of Leg 4 of the rrrrace around
the world Europe as they take off to Copenhagen at least an hour before anyone else. The Dentists are next with the following attitude: “Until Phil tells us we’re second, we’re racing for the win.”
NEXT: I wonder how they feel about eighth…
As the Cyclists run toward their Fords they scream, “That’s Phil!” and indeed, that is Phil, continuing his Season 25 trend of creepily not making eye contact with the contestants as he explains a Detour right beside them. Next up, Phil tells us as Kym and Alli silently will him to get out of the way of their car, the teams have to drive their C-Max Hybrids just 20 miles to Sweden only using one-tenth of a tank of gas. If they use more, they have to track down a couple of high school students and answer their geography question.
The key is to use efficient driving techniques, but you will never learn what those efficient techniques are, only that the Cyclists make it in one-hundreth of a gallon, while most of the other teams go way over their limit (a few clock in at .09-ish) and have to answer the capitals of the Scandinavian countries. While most of the teams badger someone with a smart phone until they look the answer up for them, Te Jay of T&T looks like he has been waiting all his life for someone to ask him to name the capital of each Scandinavian country. He nails all three, and now it’s back across the bridge to Copenhagen for the Detour, which feels especially not eco-friendly or gas efficient.
To be fair, these Detours were particularly Denmark-centric: Parking Space or Wedding Cake. In Wedding Cake, the teams must assemble a traditional Danish cake at a bakery, deliver it in one piece to a restaurant via a bullet-bike, which is kind of like a bike with a cargo-lift in front of it, and then bike back to the bakery for their next clue.
Guess who picks the biking challenge: the Cyclists. But even they know it’s going to be tough; you see, Kym recently tried out a cargo bike at the Cycle Messenger World Championships—as you do—and said it was incredibly difficult. Turns out, these women are so smart it wouldn’t have even mattered if they were professional cyclists. As they head out to their bikes after assembling their towering skinny-pyramid of a cake (“it’s like Jenga with sweets!”), one of the Cyclists asks if they can take the icing with them, so that while one of them steers the bike, the other can hold the cake in two pieces in the front, making the bike ride 50 percent easier, and with no starting over. Then when they arrived at the restaurant, they just reassembled the cake with their icing. I was floored.
No one else realized this possibility and after nearly swerving directly into a few cars, the Surfers and Survivors jumped ship to Parking Spot. To the Wrestlers’ credit, they made it all the way to the restaurant without turning around, with Mrs. Wrestler holding the cake the whole time. That thing must have weighed 20-pounds, on a 20-minute bike ride with Mr. Wrestler swinging her all over the place. They may be mostly muscle—“we’re out of Denmark and in Sweden…is that a different country?”—but I gained new respect for their team this week. I also appreciate Mr. Wrestler going 0-2 on trying to eat the cake at each location.
Over at Parking Spot, the Dentists were finding that attention to tooth detail and attention to flower pot detail are two very different arenas. Here in Denmark they’re reeeeeal big on sustainability, so they like to repurpose their parking spots into “parklets,” like a tiny little hangout spot that looks like a garden or a living room. I actually have two friends that do this with their apartment parking spot, but they mostly just drink beer there—I’ll suggest a flower pot to mix things up.
For the Detour, the teams must look at a picture of a parklet and then use the provided supplies to arrange a parking space exactly like the picture in 30 minutes; if they can’t get it in 30 minutes, they have to move everything to another parking space and start over. This sounds easy enough—especially compared to my dirty little secret favorite reality show, MTV’s The Challenge, where they sometimes have to just look at an arrangement and recreate it by memory (and let me tell you, those teams are not packing Candy Scientists brains)—but there’s one detail that keeps tripping the Dentists up: There’s a flower pot with two flowers painted on opposite sides of each other, one with seven petals and the other with eight, and the eight-side is supposed to face outward. They never catch on
NEXT: First rule of The Amazing Race: Never call something easy on The Amazing Race...
Defeated by a flower pot, the Dentists head to the Cake challenge, which they assume must be the easy one; Jim even says, “Gah, that was way freakin’ easy,” after assembling the cake without even getting to the bikes yet. The editors ensure that that line is immediately followed by Jim falling off the bike. Once at the restaurant, they’re rejected because they dropped one of their flags and have to do it all over again.
Everyone else has made their way to the Road Block—it’s back!—at Ida Davidsen sandwiches where one member of each team must take an order of four sandwiches, listed by number on the menu of 280, and then memorize the ingredients of those sandwiches, and give the order, number, ingredients, and all, to Ina herself. Kym cruised through it in two tries approximately 15 hours ago, giving kisses to everyone as she and Alli made their way to the Pit Stop. The Wrestlers are worried about their chances in a memory game, as they’ve taken a few head hits in their day, and while Mr. Wrestler has to take multiple turns with Ina, he’s got delivery for days: “Sandwich 128 — a Bombay sandwich, which is DE-licious. It has macaroni, curried giblets in mayonnaise, and smoked salmon – yeah, I know – and horseradish.” Ina: “That is incorrect.” But doesn’t that sandwich sound, just delicious? Yeah. I know.
“I’m a phenomenal waitress.” – Mr. Wrestler.
Once again, Te Jay is thrilled out of his mind to get the chance to memorize some crazy ingredient combos (he’s a server), and everyone else gets it in 2-3 tries… except Misti who has been going back and forth singing—yes, singing—the same list of ingredients for about six turns. Eventually, she re-reads the directions and realizes she’s been leaving out the sandwich number and sings the correct answer to Ina. “I’ve been in here for an hour singing for these people without the sandwich number—it was a fatal mistake.” That might just be the most bizarre sentence ever uttered on this show, but she’s almost correct.
Shelley and Nici were the Dentists’ only hope not to lose, until Nici got the sandwich order in one shot. On a more negative note, Nici and Shelley have been mother/daughter bickering for the entire leg. Things come to a #teenangst head in the C-Max on the way to the Pit Stop: Shelley’s not giving good directions! Nici’s not listening! Shelley isn’t going to talk to her if Nici is going to be so bossy! Are you serious right now?! Go to your room! I was already going! GOOD!
1: Cyclists, who win their very own Ford C-Max Hybrids. We know they know how to drive them effciently, although they might be trading those sucker in because they’re, y’know, professional cyclists who live in Manhattan.
2: Wrestlers, surely not parking in any “handyman” spaces
3: Nashville, who seemed to be much kinder to each other after their little call out from Phil last week
4: Scientists – “He’s almost as big as I am!” Maya, about the Great Dane standing with Phil who is, indeed, almost as big as she is; Amy and Phil have an eyebrow-off. It’s terrifying.
5: T&T – “Oh, he loves you!” “I think it’s mating season,” Tim and Phil, having different opinions on the meaning of said Great Dane jumping all over Phil
6: Shelley and Nici, the latter of whom has a straight-up tantrum when they get to the mat, storming off and saying she can’t do this anymore, causing Phil to go into Dad-mode: “Nici come back here! This is the point where you have to be a grown up and come here and talk this out.” Listen, we’ve all been there, but these are the kinds of things you figure out off the Pit Stop mat. Have some respect.
7: Surfers, who got lost on their way to the Pit Stop – “There’s no need for tears guys.” Phil is so paternal today.
8: The Dentists, who turn over their Save card only to have it handed back to them because tonight is a non-elimination leg.
“It’s humbling to have Detours and Road Blocks that do match up with our skill set and then we just screw them up.” – Jim, with his eyes bugged 60 to 65 percent out of his sockets.
“We got our teeth kicked in today.” – Misti, with a smile covering 60-65% of her face.
For now, the Dentists and their Save are still with us. Do you think they’ll be able to get back on top? And if they were truly humbled, might they become more bearable in the coming weeks? TAR historians, are there any other teams who you remember disliking for their cockiness but coming around to as the Race progressed? And I could barely even keep up with who was doing what wrong in the Shelly/Nici face-off, so please fill me in on who’s side I should be taking.