You know it’s been a good episode of The Amazing Race when the entire second half of the show is devoted to a Detour. I love when teams get screwed up with maps and directions, and I’m even happier when they wind up with a nutso cabbie, but nothing compares to the hectic mania that comes from a well executed Detour. With so many variables going haywire all at once, it’s always manna from reality heaven when a bunch of teams wind up running around foreign markets and crowded streets, shouting random things like “Rapido! Rapido!” and “Cook! Cook! Cook!” Luckily for me, that’s exactly what tonight’s installment provided. Who knew grocery shopping could be so exciting?As usual, the episode began with Phil introducing the first place team; in this case, Debbie and Bianca. The latter quickly became this season’s “Rebecker” as Phil transformed her name into “Beeyankeh.” The lifelong friends/possible lesbians ripped open the first clue which had them packing for “The White City.” No, this didn’t mean grabbing a flight to The Ozarks. Instead, the duo headed off to Arequipa, a city known for its use of white volcanic rock… and, well, for its love of Clay Aiken, but that’s purely coincidental.
Debbie and Bianca babbled a bit about how they really wanted to be the show’s first all female team and after a few more pipe dreams, we returned to the next team, Susan and Patrick. This crafty mother and son duo warned other teams not to underestimate them, which was all great and everything, but I couldn’t help getting distracted with the notion that Susan might just be the older, suburban version of Webby from Ducktales. Ironically, Susan’s last name is Vanderquack too.
A few teams later, brothers Brian and Greg jogged away from the Pitstop wearing nearly matching vintage jackets. Well, they were either vintage or the two raided some Peruvian Urban Outfitters earlier that day. Yeah, that’s probably what happened. I was happy to see that both brothers tied their mandanas to their backpacks. Wouldn’t want to pack those. What if there were some unforeseen mandana emergency? You know, like an open casting call for a Target commercial?
Bursting out of the gate last were POW Ron and his beauty queen girlfriend Kelly. She stumbled along as she tried to keep up with her athletic boyfriend but inevitably trailed behind. That’s okay though. Ron understood. “I’m a very gritty, down and dirty type person. That’s what you get being in the military,” he explained, adding “Man, the military kind of reminds me of this time when I was in the military. We were singing this song called ‘Military.’ I don’t remember the lyrics, but I think it was something like ‘Military military military.’ Yeah, that’s it.”
Anyway, the teams all wound up at a local bus station, and while they waited for the first bus to depart, Rob quietly discovered that a later bus would actually arrive at The White City earlier. Rob immediately let Uchenna, Joyce, Ray, and Deana in on the secret and then paid off the tipster to ensure that he wouldn’t spill the beans to the other teams. Luckily, the local kept to his word, but unfortunately, the guy’s improvisational skills were, well, worse than Ashlee Simpson’s. When someone asked him if there was a better bus, the guy said that he was not supposed to say. He then did a little jig, blamed his band, and confessed to having acid reflux disease. Turns out the man was Ashlee Simpson after all. WEIRD.
With Ramber’s cover blown, the teams quickly confronted the reality vets, accusing them of lying. Lynn and Alex took the first swing at the two, asking if Rob had paid the local man to lie to them. Rob flat out denied the allegation, causing the gay couple to respond with some uninspired passive aggression. “That’s funny,” said Alex. Lynn topped that by saying, uh, “That’s funny” too. Yeah, they could really do better. Bianca switched up her tactics, however, opting for the more direct “Your lying makes me nauseous” approach. Silly people. Don’t they know you can never lose your cool with Rob? He’ll just spin it right back at you.
“It makes me nauseous to have to have you call me a liar, and it wasn’t even what transpired,” he replied, unwittingly calling upon his secret weapon of iambic pentameter. I personally enjoyed Rob’s thickheaded stance. Did he really expect people to believe that a random man (well, technically, he was a security guard) would accuse Rob of issuing a gag order out of thin air? Well, the argument eventually died down with Lynn quipping Ramber was lucky no one gets voted off on the Amazing Race. Yeah, because Rob and Amber did so badly with the voting on Survivor…
Eventually all the teams boarded the same bus, and while they took a ten hour tour of the Peruvian high lands, Greg and Brian quickly bonded with Megan and Heidi. Who would have thunk it? I wonder what the connection was? Maybe they all liked lemon meringue? Or maybe Greg and Brian just wanted to jump the girls’ bones. Yeah, that was probably it.
As the bus neared its destination, Rob, Uchenna, Ray, and Ron all chipped in to bribe the driver not to open the rear doors for the other teams. Well, Uchenna, Ryan, and Ron at least chipped in. Rob privately boasted that he had pocketed his piece of the bribe. Later, I’m sure he told Amba that he had just save five wicked awesome dollars.
The door trick seemed like a silly move, but it did manage to place a decent amount of distance between the first four teams and the last six. At the next clue, teams received a Roadblock which eagerly asked “Who likes shoes?” Amazingly, Payless spokeswoman Star Jones did not burst through the wall like the Kool-Aid man. Instead, teams had to don a shoeshine uniform and polish five different shoes on the street. Ron became immediately excited, noting “I’ve done military shoes all my life.” He then turned to Kelly and said “By the way, I’ve already named our first two daughters: Milly and Terry.” Seriously though, you all should know he was a POW.
Soon enough, all the teams were in the thick of a shoeshine war. There wasn’t too much that was noteworthy during this five minute explosion of dusting and polish. Debbie managed to cause about twelve wet dreams when she bestowed a kiss on a local teen. Sadly, she thought he was Bianca. Joyce meanwhile could hardly get a customer for her makeshift shoeshine business. Maybe that’s because she was standing in one place and waiting for people to come to her. Eventually, Ron finished the roadblock and discovered that the next clue was in fact tickets to Santiago, Chile. Even better for him, the first five teams to finish the Roadblock were placed on a flight arriving forty five minutes earlier than the second plane.
Joining Ron on the first flight were Ramber, Ray and Deana, Susan and Patrick, and AARP members Meredith and Gretchen. Everyone else was stuck on flight #2, causing Lynn to remark “We’re good at pullin’ up the rear!” PUN INTENDED. By the way, around this time we caught a glimpse of Patrick with a large, unsightly bandage across his forehead. What exactly happened? Until we find out more information, I’ll simply spread the rumor that he got caught in a domestic melee with his mom and Launchpad McQuack.
With the Roadblock over, the teams strolled onto their marathon flights which seemed to have had layovers in every South American country. Upon landing in Santiago, racers had to take a funicular up to a Virgin Mary statue to receive their next clue. Unsurprisingly, Rob and Amber found the funicular first (alliteration unintended, but surely welcomed). Last week we speculated that CBS might be helping Ramber along. This week, a rumor’s surfaced that CBS actually ensured Rob and Amber’s non-elimination through the first four episodes. It’s hard to say whether or not the conspiracy is true, but we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled.
To be fair, Ron and Kelly quickly caught up to Ramber on the funicular, and as the two teams ascended up the mountain, I was surprised Ron didn’t say, “This kind of reminds of being in a Black Hawk in Iraq. I was a POW, you know.”
At the top of the mountain, teams received their Detour: Shop or Schlepp. “Schlepp”? I personally would have gone with “Schvitz”, but hey, this isn’t Fiddler on the Race. Anyway, in Shop, teams had to visit a restaurant, then spend their own money on five different ingredients found scattered around a local market. In Schlepp (oy, my back!), teams had to travel two miles to a bookstore and haul 180 books eight blocks to the Library of Congress. Unsurprisingly, Ramber and the POW opted for schlepp.
Meanwhile, down at the bottom of the mountain, Gretchen and Meredith were putting the fun in funicular. “All aboard!” chanted a giddy Gretchen as they waited for Susan and Patrick to purchase their tickets. Unfortunately, the mother and son team ran into a major setback when they discovered they didn’t have enough local currency. “I don’t got no more,” said Susan, employing her rarely used hood voice. She then added “Give me a ticket bitch before I bust a cap in yo’ ass.”
Alas, Susan and Patrick were left to beg for money while Rob and Amber tackled the bookstore in downtown Santiago. As the duo organized books onto a dolly, Rob informed us that he works in construction and that if you’ve got a tall stack, you’ve got to load it a certain way to make it stable. Oh really? So I shouldn’t put my small items under my large items? Wow. It makes so much more sense now! And to think, all I needed was a background in construction… or, well, a grasp of basic physics.
Just when we thought this Detour was going to be the battle of the book couriers, our plucky old couple opted to shop for ingredients. In fact, by the end of the episode, the shoppers and the schleppers were pretty evenly matched. After emitting a series of “Oooooh!” and “Uhhhhhh!” sounds, Gretchen and Meredith finally made their way down to the marketplace where they were instructed to purchase, among other things, a three kilogram fish. “Three kilograms! Oh my gosh!” exclaimed Meredith. Yes, the metric system is THAT crazy.
Meanwhile, Rob and Amber finished up their Detour super quickly and headed to the Pitstop where they checked in first. Thankfully, they didn’t win $10,000 but instead a Travelocity trip to Atlantis in the Bahamas. So Rob and Amber are going to spend time on a tropical island? That’s good. For a moment I thought they’d never get to experience that… AGAIN.
Back at the market, Meredith and Gretchen soon discovered that they didn’t have enough money to purchase their fish. Go figure. I knew they shouldn’t have paid for those novelty caricatures in the airport. The drawings didn’t even look like them:
Who knew Meredith loved tennis and miniature donkeys so much?
While Meredith and Gretchen bargained for cheaper fish, Susan and Patrick — newly solvent — sought out directions to the restaurant. Susan tooted “Cook? Cook? Cook?” several times before someone finally realized she was actually asking for help, not making vague tugboat sounds. Somewhere, choo choo Charla was proud.
As more teams descended on the Detour, the show became increasingly hectic. Everyone seemed to be running around like chickens with their heads chopped off. Whether they were delivering books to the library or scouring the market for ingredients, the Detour proved to be a migraine inducing affair for the teams. At one point Gretchen wound up yelling “Chica Lolo!” (or something like that) so loudly that all the other merchants joined in, perhaps confusing her lunacy for some sort of battle cry.
There was minor controversy as Meredith, Gretchen, Lynn and Alex’s fish each weighed in at less than three kilograms. The old couple managed to swap out for a heftier fish fairly easily, but Lynn encountered a rowdy group of fishmongers who booed and jeered the West Hollywood duo out of the market. Luckily, the two found a friendlier fish peddler, and as they finally received their next clue, Lynn remarked at how everyone had “hated on” them. He then likened it to the time he accidentally wore an Xtina t-shirt to a Britney concert. Awkward!
The good news for Lynn and Alex was that the fish debacle didn’t seem to hinder them too badly. They wound up placing fifth, behind Ron and Kelly, Ray and Deana, and Uchenna and Joyce. Gretchen and Meredith would have taken their spot, but they engaged in the time-honored senior citizen tradition of getting lost and confused directly in front of the next route marker, which in this case was the Pitstop. As a result, Debbie and Bianca slipped in at sixth place, and while the elderly couple clocked in at seventh, at least they looked good doing it. After all, Gretchen was sure to command Meredith to “Fix your hair. Pat it down!” Jeff Probst has got to be a little jealous. None of the Survivors clean up all purdy for him. Lastly, Susan and her son filled out eighth place, and as they hugged in front of Phil, Patrick warned that “It’s gonna be this dramatic each time.” Rob then appeared out of nowhere and snickered “Not for me, fruit loop.” He then pulled down his pants and mooned Susan and Patrick with his CBS underwear.
It’s a wonderful day to be Phil.
With the mother and son checking in eighth, only the bros or the hos were left to vie for the last spot. I guess that bus ride alliance worked out real well. Turns out these last two teams had fallen way behind the pack due to some confused cab drivers early on. In a predictable parsing of the genders, the ladies chose to shop while the guys elected to schlepp. The two teams were neck and neck, with both arriving at the Pitstop simultaneously, but in the end, the brothers beat out the blondies in the foot race, effectively eliminating their alliance/potential booty call. It’s too bad. Heidi and Megan were certainly lovely eye candy, and to their credit, they didn’t seem to have one complaint the entire time. Oh well. Time for spread in Playboy.
Hey, it’s Zach Braff and Scott Foley!
What do you think? Were you happy to see Heidi and Megan go or would you have preferred another team?