The Amazing Race recap: 'You really stirred the pot, Phil!'
Now, that’s a spicy leg. If you thought last week held more personal drama than usual for The Amazing Race, just wait until the TAR queen of drama himself, Phil Keoghan, shows up Ballenberg Community Hall, a.k.a., the Swiss capital of shade.
Really though, Phil dropping the bomb that the teams would be democratically voting for which two teams received the upcoming Double U-Turn doesn’t lead to the yelling matches or tears that last week’s U-Turn paranoia did. It’s mostly just a little needless complaining from Rachel of SisterSister, and some extra cow-centric focus from Team Zen after they’re the two teams chosen to have to complete the U-Turn. Colin and Christie never stood a chance of making it out of this vote alive; even though everyone likes them, they’re the most physically dominant team, they seem to be preternaturally good at everything else like directions and choosing the correct taxi/guide/cow, and also they might be warlocks?
The second spot, however, was less of a sure thing. There were three teams with one vote each — the Afghanimals, Team Vicole, and SisterSister — when it came around to The Odd Couple, the final team to cast their vote. And I think it’s interesting to consider that Chris and Brett are both former Survivor players and they ended up going the personal route, rather than the gameplay route. They straight up said that they just didn’t know Rachel and Elissa very well, but Rachel also took it extremely personally, telling Chris and Brett repeatedly that they just made a million dollar mistake because they should have chosen a stronger team.
And while I get where she’s coming from, Team Vicole and the Afghanimals have both had weak legs in the past too, so would it have really made that much of a difference? Colin and Christie are still going to be in the game almost no matter what, and who knows, it might have been that little bit of vengeance for being excluded from a conversation earlier by the Reilly sisters (Chris assumed it was because he didn’t have enough Instagram followers) that put that extra pep in the Odd Couple’s step to get them their best finish so far this leg.
After the votes have been cast in the famously democratic Switzerland, and the U-Turn decisions made, it’s off to the races. Victor and Nicole have to complete their SPEED BUMP: THE FOLDING OF THE FLAGS since they were saved by a non-elimination leg last week, which Phil repeatedly reminds us was the very last one. They spend their time folding 26 flags arguing about if Victor should or should not have cast their vote for the Afghanimals, but it seems more glaring than ever in this season where they’re discussed so much that personal alliances rarely mean anything this late in the game.
But once they’ve worked through their feelings, it’s on to the DETOUR: MAKE HAY vs. COW FESTIVAL. Not the punniest detour names I’ve ever heard, but they are descriptive. All non-U-Turned teams choose Make Hay, wherein one team member has to cut a large swath of hay with an old-fashioned scythe while the other person rakes up the discarded hay behind them to sort of…drape on a structure at the end. Apparently it’s what the Swiss do in the summer to make sure their animals will have enough hay for the winter, and apparently, it is tailor-made for Becca, who beasts her scything.
But the real happenings are going down over at Cow Festival where Team Zen and SisterSister are in a race for last, knowing that after this, they’ll still have to make their way over to Make Hay because of their shared U-Turn status. But at least Cow Festival isn’t so bad: in Switzerland, there are festivals for the time in the winter months when 350,000 cows come down from the mountains to avoid the cold weather. In that spirit, teams will be making a flower crown for a celebrated cow (naturally) and then leading their chosen cow down a path to their next clue. For Colin and Christie, the choice of cow is very important because, as we have seen flashed back to many times this season, another bovine in the form of an ox is what caused a much younger Colin to once scream, “MY OXE IS BROKEN, THIS BULLS–T!”
And even though there are some slow moments with their chosen cow, Colin and Christie do their normal meditative communing with nature and avoid any outbursts this time. For their part, SisterSister also do quite well, figuring out that they can steer their cow by her butt (“I found the gas pedal!”), and cruising right through to the other Detour which is just straightforward, uncomplicated manual labor.
Which means that the ROADBLOCK: TELL’S TALE winds up being the deciding factor for placement at the mat. In Tell’s Tale, one member of each team has to use a crossbow to shoot an apple off a small scarecrow’s head, as Swiss folk hero William Tell is said to have once done to his son. And let’s hope he was a better shot than most of these racers, who repeatedly—and I mean repeatedly—shoot that scarecrow kid in the face, which hilariously has the effect of also making his arms fall off.
Brett, however, works for the Boston Police Department and is quite the shot, so he hits the apple on his second try. Tyler was a few more tries ahead and also gets his apple impressively quick, putting Team Torey just behind The Odd Couple. After that, Becca struggles quite a bit, allowing all three teams who had U-Turns or Speed Bumps to catch up at the Road Block. As for the Afghanimals, they got turned around, and then turned around again on their way to Tells’ Tale, so by the time Jamal hits his apple, it’s just Rachel left on the shooting range, and she hits her mark mere moments after the Afghanimals take off toward the PIT STOP at GRANDHOTEL GIESSBACH:
1: TEAM TOREY: And it’s Tyler and Korey besting Chris and Brett in a footrace and winning a seven-night luxury river cruise in Vietnam and Cambodia. But my personal prize was hearing Tyler say, “She loves her drama!” to Phil about his democracy shenanigans from earlier.
2: THE ODD COUPLE: They just missed first, but Chris and Brett have been steadily moving on up that mat order. “It just showed we’re not screwing around here.”
3: TEAM ZEN: A top-three finish after a U-Turn? Even Phil has to give a tip of his cargo pants to that.
4: TEAM FUN
5: TEAM VICOLE
ELIMINATED: SISTERSISTER: It seemed like something was always going wrong for Rachel and Elissa, and yet they made it more than halfway through this rrrrace around the world. You don’t have to love em’ but you gotta respect how much they love each other. “I really don’t have anything to complain about,” Rachel says finally after a record-setting 32 legs of The Amazing Race. “I’ve gotten to do this with my sister—she’s my best friend.”