The Amazing Race 12 Episode 2
I've Become the Archie Bunker of the Home
By Reagen Sulewski
November 14, 2007

Really, they were just happy to be there.

The second leg of this edition of The Amazing Race keeps our racers in Europe, moving them from the random spot in Ireland they ended up in the last leg to Amsterdam. Will I make pot jokes? Oh you'd better believe I'm making pot jokes.

Azaria (I love him on The Simpsons) and Hendekea were first last leg, and take off at midnight for the airport, closely followed by the Strawberry Shortcake Goths. Kynt makes a comment here about how The Amazing Race tends to leave racers in the dark, which Vyxsin says is their "favorite place in which to dwell". Thankfully, she seems to be about 90% facetious when she's saying this, or I'd have to throw something.

TK and Rachel are next, and are totally my pick for the team most likely to be held up in customs. Stand here for the nice doggies...

Lorena and Jason are next, followed by Nicolas and Donald, the latter of whom doesn't seem to get the "race" part of the show, apparently. This is the team most likely to be seen driving 50 on the Autobahn with the left blinker still going. It certainly doesn't help matters that Donald then drives into a curb, causing a flat tire. It's tough to be Nicolas right now – he knows he's screwed, but can't say a thing about it.

Shana and Jennifer try their hardest to live up to their status as blondes, with Shana not working out how to use the brights on her vehicle. There's a certain level of appropriateness there.

Ronald and Christina are next out with Ronald taking a strangely sharp tone at Christina over a few second delay. I know foreshadowing when I see it. Kate and Pat are next, and earn major brownie points with me by acknowledging that while they're religious, they have no illusions about God caring about who wins the race. Do you hear that, professional sports?!

Marianna and Julia and Nathan and Jennifer bring up the rear, though Marianna and Julia promptly drop to last by taking the wrong route the airport.

Much airport drama ensues, with the parking of cars, lining of lines and clicking of keyboards that entails. This is the stuff Emmys are made of, people! Every team except Marianna and Julia gets on a flight to Dublin, but the fast typing action does actually play into the race, as seats on the connection to Amsterdam are limited and Nicolas and Donald are pushed onto a second flight when Nathan and Jennifer get the final tickets. That's a lot of time they made up, by the by, coming all the way from last back into the lead pack.

Once the teams get to Dublin, the drama shifts to the standby list, as Nicolas and Donald and Ronald and Christina compete for two seats. Nicolas gets a little antsy with the agent – and as a pilot he should know better – but Ronald decides to come over and berate him about how rude he is, and with the rather angry tone he takes, it's akin to the drunk guy at the end of the bar yelling at you about what a disgrace you are. Christina tries to step in and save her embarrassment but Ronald will not be stopped from venting.

In the end, Nicolas and Donald do get the standby ticket and are in the first wave of racers. They're pushed back onto the second group, which includes all the rest of the teams, even Marianna and Julia, who have now caught up.

Meanwhile, the first plane is landing in Amsterdam and Azaria and Hendekea jump into the lead by hitting on the bright idea that they can pay for their train ticket into the city on the train. The rest of the teams are left behind after getting held up at the ticket booth. This gives them about a ten-minute lead and they get to the Detour first. It asks them to choose between hoisting furniture up into a fourth story window with a rope and pulley system. The other choice is the first needle in a haystack challenge of the race, and asks the teams to find two bikes with a matching color sticker. This one's for wusses only, so naturally these two pick it.

Most of the other early teams pick the hoisting task, with Vyxsin providing an amusing rationalization for why she's the ideal choice to stay on the ground and tie knots – she used to macramé, she says, with an embarrassed look. Oh, the guys back at Goth Talk aren't going to let that slide. Lorena and Jason prove to be the fastest at this, and get their clue, sending them to the village of Ransdorp.

The bike Detour ends up being just as hellish and random as it sounds, leading to the teams that choose it wandering around fairly aimlessly among thousands of identical looking bikes. I'm sure this will go in the Dutch tourist brochure.

Kynt and Vyxsin complete the Detour with the use of the extraneous vowel power, and they have a chance to catch up, as Lorena and Jason just miss a bus that would put them way ahead.

Shana and Jennifer also prove surprisingly adept at this task, especially considering Shana's size. Then again, it has a lot more to do with dexterity than strength, so perhaps it's not all that surprising. They, and Nathan and Jennifer catch up to Lorena and Jason, but Kynt and Vyxsin manage to get lost some how and miss the first bus out to Randsorp. They're left to travel with Azaria and Hendekea and Nicolas and Donald, the first two teams to solve the bike Detour.

This means that Azaria and Hendekea have completely shed that advantage they got by being craft on the train. However, while that task sucked, there's no guarantee they wouldn't have ended up like TK and Rachel, who are the last of the teams from the first flight to leave any Detour. TK is being very un-dude like as he struggles with knot tying – perhaps he'll get a chance to go visit some kind of store here that can sell him something to relax. Finally, Rachel takes over for him, and the girl half his size kicks his butt at this task.

The teams on the first bus reach the next clue box, which contains a Roadblock. It asks one team member to compete in a local "sport" called ditch vaulting, requiring them to, get this, vault a ditch. It's a sport in the same way that throwing rocks at cans is a sport, but when you live in the Dutch countryside, this apparently passes for entertainment.

The ditch they have to travel over is filled with muddy water, which foretells some misery for teams that aren't that good at this. Lorena and Jason continue their strong leg as Jason leaps across the ditch with ease. He comes back with the clue, which sends them to the Pit Stop, which they need to get to by a bicycle with a big basket on the front.

Around this time, the final trainload of teams is arriving in Amsterdam. A lot of The Amazing Race is about the roles that people fall into. Someone always ends playing the role of Jackass, to varying degrees. Rarely has someone volunteered for this role as fast as Ronald does right here. While all three of the trailing teams choose the bicycle Detour, Ronald manages to delay his team behind all of them by undermining Christina's desire to trying the hoisting Detour. To top this off, when Christina finally gives in, Ronald decides that he needs to explain the task, and how difficult it will be to find the bikes, and what they should look for on the way. Just go, you idiot! It's a masterful job of passive-aggressiveness, as he forces Christina into his choice of task and then foists the responsibility of its success onto her. Yeah, I can believe this guy's in sales.

Back to the Pit Stop, and we see the first busload of Roadblockers checking in with Phil. Lorena and Jason hold onto their lead, and are rewarded with a pair of off-road vehicles for their first place finish. The two teams with Jennifers are next, with all three of these lead teams having run very strong physical legs.

Marianna and Julia actually do a pretty good job with the bike Detour, while Pat and Kate and Ronald and Christina struggling with it. In Ronald's case, it's more to do with him taking time out to lecture his daughter about the proper method of looking for bikes and how people suck and how positive attitudes are dumb. Right at this moment, Christina is probably realizing that she preferred his half-assed under-parenting to his half-assed over-parenting.

The second busful of racers reaches the Roadblock although not without some confusion. Kynt, using his infinite deduction abilities, concludes that it must have something to do with the sheep in the field nearby. Given that the clue asks which team member is an acrobat, and he volunteers for it, I can only wonder at exactly what he thinks that involves. The other team members that take this on are Rachel, Hendekea, and fatefully, Donald.

After they reach the bus stop to take them to the Roadblock, Ronald decides that it's a good time for an after-action report on the day so far. His conclusion: his daughter is a big disappointment and makes bad decisions. He's apparently completely forgotten about him not wanting to do the hoisting Detour, and also that this is being filmed. Christina does well not to burst into tears at this haranguing.

Kate and Pat made a comment earlier in this leg about not being the fastest team but they would try being the smartest. Well, fast is nice too, as they dilly-dally just long enough to miss the bus that Marianna and Julia and Ronald and Christina get on, throwing them well back in last place.

At the Roadblock, Rachel and Kynt get across the ditch relatively unscathed for their teams, and start moving towards the Pit Stop. While TK and Rachel have the initial lead, they ride right past the drop off point for their bike, which allows Kynt and Vyxsin to sneak in for fourth. Not only that, but Azaria and Hendekea slip in for fifth, pushing TK and Rachel back to sixth. This is exactly the sort of thing that gets you eliminated as the legs go on.

Donald, meanwhile, has decided that his clothes are too waterlogged and he has to strip down. Like, right to his underwear. Haven't the Dutch suffered enough? I'm pretty sure this qualifies as elder abuse on some level as well. Finally he gets across, to the relief of all.

Marianna and Julia recover from a bad initial leg to sneak by those two into seventh spot, as they outclass the trailing teams in athleticism by a country mile. They're going to have to step up their navigation skills, however. This leaves Nicolas and Donald back in eighth, who are just going to have to keep their clothes on, please.

The emotional harassment of Christina continues at the Roadblock, as Ronald Just. Keeps. Talking. and explaining the task to her. Would you ever want to take instruction in anything from this guy? Imagine how stupid he must think everyone else is. Mercifully, Christina gets over on the third try, ending this task for them, but then Ronald decides that she's getting too confident and as they're getting on the bike, tells her she needs to lose weight and promptly dumps her over on the ground. Let's close the balloting for Father of the Year, shall we? Does he have some sort of mental impairment or something?

They reach the mat in ninth, although it might be better for the both of them just to go home. However, this time it's Kate and Pat's turn to leave, as they just couldn't show any hustle at all in the race. While I'm sure they had a lot of fun, they simply couldn't stroll their way to victory.