Amazing Race Recap
I'm Not Wearing That Girl's Leotard!
By Kim Hollis
March 1, 2009

Well, all the older couples have been eliminated now...

Previously on the Amazing Race, the Academy Awards were on! Therefore, the producers at CBS are confident you may not have watched. This is the reason they blend highlights from both of the first two episodes to bring you up to speed. We don't think this shows a lot of confidence in the product.

Last week's winners, and the dominant team to date, siblings Victor & Tammy are first off at 10:13 a.m., and they are instructed to fly to Bucharest, Romania. Once there, they'll proceed to a gymnastics hall where Nadia Cominici trained as a girl. Mel & Mike are next out at 12:01 p.m. What this means is that if there is bunching (as Amazing Race is wont to do), it's a huge hit to Victory & Tammy, as they have an hour and a half lead over second place. They're actually able to get on a plane by themselves, so they have a presumptive major advantage.

Luke & Margie are out next, a half hour later, and Luke signs to the camera that he doesn't want to be relying on his mom all the time for communication. He'd like to be able to chat with teams himself.

Brad & Victoria are the next to depart, about 20 minutes after Luke & Margie. We learn at this point that Brad is a recovered alcoholic and drug addict who has been sober for more than 25 years. They're hoping that the race will instill in them what is important in life. We presume this means pies to the face and rolling huge slabs of cheese down the hill.

Luke's crushes, Jaime and Cara, and they're about an hour and 15 minutes behind second place. Basically, there's some bunching between second and the rest of the teams. The result is that a lot of teams are on the same train to the airport, with Amanda & Kris and Brad & Victoria getting some help from some locals. Of course, each team reacts differently to the advice they receive. Amanda & Kris are told they can't make it from the train station to their airport gate in time to depart, but think that because they're really really really fast, they can overcome this obstacle. Brad & Victoria receive the same information from their helpful friends, and decide to try to book a later flight. This is actually a pretty big deal because there is a five-hour difference between the two. If Amanda & Kris can make it, they'll have a significant lead - again, assuming no bunching occurs once they arrive in Bucharest.

Kisha & Jen are out about three and a half hours behind the leaders. Mark & Michael are a few minutes behind them, but Christie & Jodi are more than four hours behind the first place team. It's really going to be a travesty if the producers do allow them to all be bunched together. We've heard there will be less of this in Season 14, but we're not buying it until it actually happens.

We soon learn that Amanda & Kris can run really, really fast, as they are able to get tickets for the earlier flight along with Mel & Mike and Margie & Luke. Also, remember when we mentioned that Victor & Tammy had gotten out on a super early flight? Well, they are in the air when they learn that their plane is having mechanical issues and that they will have to turn around and go back to the Munich airport. Sometimes it just doesn't pay to be dominant on the Amazing Race.

Brad & Victoria do in fact learn that they are too late for that 4:45 flight, but they do find a helpful ticket agent who is able to swing them to an airline that will have them landing in Bucharest at midnight. They're hoping this puts them ahead of some teams who might only be able to catch the late flight.

Back to Victor & Tammy, and they're waiting to be allowed to leave their faulty airplane. They are hoping to be able to get on the 4:45 flight, but sadly, they do not get to leave quickly enough and are left behind. As Homer Simpson would say, the lesson here is "Can't win, don't try."

The 9:30 p.m. flight is therefore made up of Kisha & Jen, Mark & Michael, Christie & Jodi, Jaime & Cara and Victor & Tammy. But it's bad news for Brad & Victoria, as their flight from Munich to Amsterdam arrives late and they miss their connecting flight to Bucharest. Even worse, the flight that they were booked on is the last flight to Bucharest of the day. There will be no more flights at all out of Amsterdam due to foggy conditions. Their new flight to Bucharest departs at 9:15 a.m. the next day, which puts them way, way, way, way behind the other teams. Unless something miraculous happens, we're pretty confident this is going to be too much of an obstacle to overcome.

After 15 full minutes of airport drama, teams are finally landing in Bucharest, where it's time for a Road Block at the aforementioned gymnastics training facility. Each participant must learn a couple of gymnastics moves and successfully execute them in order to receive their next clue. Luke signs to his mother that there is no way he's wearing a leotard, so Margie will complete this event for their team. Meanwhile Amanda is doing a fine job with the task, and has gotten their team out to first place. Mike is the choice for their team, mainly because he doesn't have a groin injury.

Now that Amanda & Kris have completed the gymnastics task, they must go to Brasov in Transylvania, where they will be forced to conquer Dracula. We wish. No, they'll actually be headed to a Biserica Neagra, which translates to "Black Church", which is where they will find their next clue.

Margie isn't super great at the gymnastics task, but it's good enough to keep them in second place. And lo and behold, when they make their way to the train station, we learn that there will in fact be bunching as the first departure isn't until first thing in the morning. What this means is that any team that gets to the gymnastics facility quickly enough will be bunched with the rest of the group and it will be a free-for-all in the morning as they all board the train. This means that the rest of the Road Block is pretty dull. The only thing worth mentioning is that Tammy has a very tough time with the gymnastics challenge, and Victor gets sort of irritated with her about it. This makes her cry and claim she doesn't listen to her ideas. She believes that Victor sees her as the baby sister who needs protecting. This has been a small problem in earlier legs, but with real failure on their hands, some cracks are beginning to show.

We made a bit of fun of Luke last week for his claim that he really likes the cheerleaders, Jaime & Cara, because they're really nice and communicate well with him. We believed he liked...other things about them. But when we see them genuinely making a strong effort to sign with him, we can see why he might want to hang out with them. The cheerleaders are really making an effort and it's a genuine one, at that. Hell, it's even going to be hard to hate them for a little while.

It's Detour time. The choice is between Gypsy Moves or Vampire Remains. For the gypsy challenge, they have to load a gypsy cart full of all of a family's earthly belonging and navigate to a new camp, where they will unload the crap. As for the vampire challenge (Dracula lives after all!), they have to do everything you've ever seen in a bad horror film. They go to a scary place in the woods, drag a coffin, unlock the chains around it, and get the frames that are inside it. Then, in true Vlad the Impaler form, they must "stake" the frames in an effort to find a clue. The frames even seem to bleed. All that's missing is a little Holy Water, some garlic and Robert Pattinson. Vampire Remains seems easier, but it probably depends on the length of the woodsy walk and how complicated each task is.

Hey, remember Brad & Victoria? They're just arriving in Bucharest. They're ridiculously far behind at this point and probably aren't going to be shown until they're eliminated from the race.

Mel & Mike decide to do the gypsy challenge, which is significant because if you'll recall, Mel has injured his groin. We know this because he's mentioned it around 500 times. He complains that this might not have been the best choice, but slow and steady might work out for them as Amanda & Kris get out to an early lead, but see all their crap start to fall off the cart.

Speaking of the gypsy challenge, it really seems like the worst example of stereotyping we've ever seen on this show. It doesn't really feel like we're celebrating a different culture so much as we're saying, "Look at the homeless, ugly people and their garbage!" When an exhaust pipe falls off the cart, we cringe.

Victor & Tammy and Christie & Jodi both choose the vampire challenge, and we see more problems for the brother/sister team as Victor leads the way to a trail is not a trail. Taking a lead from Linda, who got miserably lost in last week's challenge, he just trudges blindly on, even though Tammy tries to tell him that in the earlier leg, the path was marked with a yellow and red arrow. People like this are the ones that kept Dracula fed through the 19th century.

On a side note, when you see a sign post up ahead and the choices are "To Coffins" and "To Impaling", we recommend that you turn around and go home.

Once teams have completed the Detour, they will make their way to the Pit Stop, which is located at a place called Vila Panoramic, a small inn that overlooks the castle associated with Dracula. Amanda & Kris and Mel & Mike appear to be in a race to finish first. Or they would be if Amanda & Kris hadn't lost their fanny pack with all their supplies, including passports and cash.

As for the teams doing the vampire challenge, it does prove to be difficult, as the coffins are quite heavy and it's kind of a puzzle to solve the "frames". Also, Victor & Tammy remain quite lost, and he will not listen to his younger sister. In fact, he's a little bit patronizing as he tells her that he's sorry they're going with what he thinks is right instead of what she thinks is right. What he doesn't know is that it's a good thing Brad & Victoria are so significantly behind them, because if not for that, he'd be putting them in real jeopardy of finishing last. Men and directions just don't mix. They don't turn back and they don't ask for help, dammit!

Amanda & Kris find their fanny pack, but not quickly enough to put them ahead of Mel & Mike, who win the leg. Of course, they have to climb up a hill to get to Phil, which has Mel clutching at his heart. We're a bit concerned about his well-being in the coming weeks. They do win a trip for two to Costa Rica, which is apparently Mike's favorite places.

Kisha & Jen take off and look like their headed to third place. And next we're back to Victor & Tammy, as he is actually breaking down and crying over their plight. It seems as though he's almost as upset to admit Tammy might be right as he is that they're falling so far behind in the race.

Margie & Luke finish in fourth place while Victor & Tammy make their way back down the mountain, where there is - surprise! - a red and yellow arrow. Victor doesn't give Tammy the satisfaction of knowing she was right, and he's a little bit of a drama queen while they do the vampire challenge.

Mark & Michael, Christie & Jodi and Jaime & Cara are the next to arrive, which means that unless Brad & Victoria have made up a ton of time, they will finish in eighth place. Phil puts a little salt in the wound as he tells them, "I am sorry to inform you that you are the second to last team to arrive. He cries a little bit more and notes that he doesn't think the big brother/younger sister dynamic is a good one for the race. Needless to say, they are extremely discouraged.

Surprisingly, Brad & Victoria are allowed to finish out the leg, and they've had plenty of time to come to grips with the fact that they're being eliminated. They're also covered in blood from the stupid staking of the frames, which makes the scene look like something from Wrong Turn. Or perhaps they plan to feed the team to vampires as punishment for their terrible performance.

So far, we've had three legs and three teams that have been soundly eliminated. The editors haven't even bothered to make it look exciting. Surely things will change next week, right? Right?!!!!