TV Show
S25 E8
November 22, 2014 at 02:30 AM EST

My friends, my friends, it’s been too long—our final six teams have been stuck in beautiful Palermo for the last two weeks. I hope everyone made good use of their extra free time last Friday. Perhaps you put together a neighborhood game of ġostra or took some time to polish your silver.

I feel certain you didn’t spend your time pouring over the remaining six teams, trying to figure out the Final 3, because if tonight’s leg cemented anything, it’s that Season 25’s Final 3 has been written in stone since Leg 1…and it’s not a bad lineup. But because the top athletic teams were predictable from so early on, it’s limited the spectator sport aspect of this season. Instead of guessing whose place at the finish line will rise and fall each week, it’s been more of a challenge of who will be most and least likable with each new leg.

There were the first ill words spoken against the Cyclists in the comments last week, a little turn around on finding the Dentists more palatable (and yeah, OK, they still have some enemies), and some interesting talk of what merits high intensity bickering regarding T&T. Final result: T&T are mild-level bickerers, the Dentists have not nearly fulfilled the villain promise they showed in the first few episodes, and the Cyclists…well, we may have to put that back up to a vote after tonight’s leg.

The episode begins with the Dentists departing Palermo first to the island of Malta. All of the teams (and a few recappers) are a little confused about where Malta is, but they do know that after they arrive by boat, they’ll head to The Bridge Bar where they’re to collect two wine glasses and a glass bottle which they must carry up St. Ursula’s Staircase to the Knights of Malta. On the boat over, things take an interesting turn—evidently, everyone is n’t as fond of the Cyclists as we are! The Wrestlers are mostly leading the negativity charge, but it turns out that the Cyclists like to keep to themselves a lot, which rubs some people the wrong way. So far in the wrong direction, in fact, that the other teams take their together time on the boat to plot out a double U-turn plan of attack. We don’t get to see it play out this week, but next week might be a doozy for Kym and Alli.

While I find the Cyclists worthy candidates for the Season 25 win, it is always interesting to observe that on a game like TAR, where alliances aren’t necessarily important, making personal bonds still is. Teaming up with another pair won’t get you too far (although the Country Singers might beg to differ), but being public enemy number one can definitely set you back. The Wrestlers are the only ones who seem to have a problem with the Cyclists personally, though; everyone else just wants them to win less. And while that is valid, I might recommend that Viper and Sniper consider that ol’ Molar and Cuspid have a Save up their sleeve that expires next week.

But it’s the other team on top, the Surfers, who make it out of the boat and into a taxi first, leading the pack at The Bridge Bar. They’re told that not only do they have to carry a bunch of glass up hundreds of stone steps, they have to carry it all on a tray which they must balance on their fingertips, and if they drop any glass, they have to go back to the bar for a broom, go clean up the glass, and then return for their glasses and trays to carry back up again. At first, the task seems no problem at all for the Surfer extraordinaires, who float up the steps on their cloud of positivity and sheer athleticism, but just as they’ve reached the Knights, Bethany’s glasses go tumbling…which means running all the way back down the stairs for a broom, all the way back up to clean the glass, all the way back down for more glasses, and all the way back up again for the clue.

NEXT: Dream a little dream of ground…

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Phil Keoghan hosts the globe-trotting adventure series.
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