After a supremely challenging leg, it’s only fair that the six remaining teams get treated to some Dalmatian puppies, a breed native to Croatia, at the Pit Stop. Because at any given point in the leg, the order in which those six teams hit that Pit Stop mat seemed like it could have gone in every given direction. Last week, the concept of a “live tribal” was borrowed from Survivor to describe the new democratic U-Turn vote, but I’d wager to say this week’s leg felt much more live with the possibility of a twist.
It all started with the teams having to book their own flights from Switzerland to Split, Croatia, a variable that feels like it hasn’t been at play in…seasons. It certainly made for an exciting leg to have the six remaining teams arriving on three different flights. Team Torey and The Odd Couple departed Brienz, Switzerland, first, so they were able to get on an earlier train to the Zurich Airport and grab the last spots for a flight arriving at 11:20 a.m. The other four teams left on the same train, but the Afghanimals and Team Zen made it to the booking counter first, earning them a spot on the next flight arriving at 12:30. Team Vicole got the counter area next, but they lined up behind the Afganimals, whereas Team Fun arrived last but lined up behind a non-TAR pair of flyers, and was able to get to an agent first, which Nicole later called “cutting,” but under grade school laws, was not technically “cutting” as much as “lucky”…
OR SO WE THOUGHT!
Nicole and Victor thought they were doomed when there were no spots left on the 12:30 flight, so they decided they might as well risk doing standby for a different already full flight that arrived at 11:30 a.m., just 10 minutes after the first flight—and they got it!
It was a bit of TAR flight excitement (flightcitement? exflightment?) we haven’t had in a while, and seeing the shock on Tyler and Korey’s face when Victor and Nicole crossed paths with them very soon after landing in Croatia had to feel good for Team Vicole who everyone had been counting out. But sometimes those are the odds that really propel you in the race, whereas statements like, “If we have a mistake-free run, we’re coming in first, no doubt about it,” are what doom you (which I simply can’t believe the Odd Couple didn’t find some Croatian wood to knock on after saying).
And there was a lot of room for mistakes in this leg. First, teams headed to Kasjuni Beach in Split to deliver some drinks and pick up their Travelocity Gnome to tote along for the remainder of the leg. From there, they went to Marjan Cave Church to pulley the Gnome up to a cave and drop off a loaf of bread with a monk for their next clue.
Finally, that clue led to the DETOUR: POETRY IN MOTION vs. WASH IN FROM THE OCEAN. The Odd Couple was the very first team to arrive and they chose Wash in from the Ocean, where teams had to use snorkel gear and an underwater metal detector to search the Adriatic Sea for five ancient coins and a golden goblet. Sounds easy enough, except the stretch of shallow water that they were searching was quite large, the metal detectors were small, and well…it just seemed hard! The Odd Couple spent quite a long time not finding anything, and when Team Torey realized that after arriving second, they high tailed it out of there almost the moment their snorkels hit the water, and headed over to…
Poetry in Motion, which wasn’t much easier, but at least had a bit of a learning curve that could eventually be conquered. Teams had to memorize a fairly lengthy rhyming poem with a number of tricky words in it, and here comes the twist—they had to memorize it while being pulled through the water on a huge tube behind a speeding boat. And when I say speeding, I mean these people were flying all over the place. They were atop a huge tube, but for some of the air they caught, I couldn’t believe no one ever fell off, especially considering that they were trying to read a poem while riding. I guess it’s no wonder that it took a minimum of four spins around the Adriatic Sea for teams like Team Torey and Team Fun, and up to nine tries for teams like…
Well, let’s back up. You remember how the Odd Couple proclaimed that if they had a mistake-less leg, they’d get first place, no problem? Well…they made just about every mistake in the TAR handbook, starting with one that wasn’t totally in their control: picking the wrong Detour. Treasure hunting was clearly just a lot more difficult and time-consuming than the poetry detour, which is why Brett and Chris deserted it after not being able to find their final two coins. As for why they went back to it after not getting the poem on the first try—well, they said it was because they had warmed their bodies back up and were now prepared to find their final two coins, but…
They were wrong. After searching for a long time, and seeing Team Zen also high-tail it out of there after a few minutes to switch to the poetry detour, Chris and Brett made the decision to switch detours…again. And the worst part is, even though it took them nine tries on the poem, if they had stuck with it when they switched originally, they could have stayed in the game. Because Team Zen made a mistake too—they forgot their gnome on the way to the ROADBLOCK: WHO’S READY TO GET THEIR MARCHING ORDERS?
Colin and Christie had to turn all the way around to go back to the Detour and get their gnome, departing for the Road Block for the second time only moments before Chris and Brett finally finished the Detour. But for the memory-based roadblock, wherein one member of each team had to watch a bunch of soldiers scramble themselves around and then identify where the five soldiers with ribbons on their helmets ended up after they’d ducked under their shields, pairing up with another competing team was imperative in moving along quickly. Only Floyd was able to do it on his own, incredibly on his very first try, because he is a lifelong marching band leader, so he’s been trained to see tiny details in a moving mass of people.
Korey struggled to identify the soldiers on his own, until Nicole came along and they were able to split the board and get it done faster, and the same went for Leo and Christie. Brett was in good spirits as he completed the Roadblock on his own, but the Odd Couple already knew how they’d be finishing at the PIT STOP at SPLIT HARBOR…
1: TEAM TOREY: A fourth consecutive first-place win with a double U-Turn on the horizon? That’s a yikes, because I am not yet ready to lose Tyler the quote machine (“Croatia, I hardly know her,” “Four tickets to…Broatia.”
2: TEAM VICOLE: “We thought there was no chance, but as we found out, everything is possible on The Amazing Race.” That’s right!
3: TEAM FUN
4: TEAM ZEN
5: THE AGHANIMALS
ELIMINATED: THE ODD COUPLE—Well, these two turned out to be just delightful, didn’t they? Always positive, always simultaneously ragging on each other and professing their love for one another, and always ready with a bro-pun. “Broatia kicked our butts,” Chris says after the rough leg. “But the bromance is still alive,” Brett confirms. Adding finally, as they have been for the whole race: “And the bromance is ready for some beers.”
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