Welcome back to The Amazing Race. Based upon the way this season has shaped up, this show is on the verge of being false advertising by labeling it “Amazing” but “The Lackluster Race” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it. Eighty percent of teams remaining have been mediocre to middling so far but this may be the leg where they dazzle us.
The Amazing Race 22: Episode 9
The Amazing Race 22: Episode 9
By Daron Aldridge
April 22, 2013
Let’s leave the snowy peaks of Switzerland for streets of Deutschland. That’s right. The teams will be heading to the land that adores Hasselhoff.
It’s 2:50 a.m. and Bates & Anthony rip into their clue first, just as they have done the previous two legs. They are heading to Dresden, Germany, via train. Once there, they must jaunt on over to the Ministry of Finance and pick up a marked car that’s waiting for them.
The guys’ lead was not as significant as the editing implied last week because second place Sock ‘er Moms Mona & Beth leave less than ten minutes later at 2:57 a.m. And they join the hockey brothers at a nearby cab stand to wait for a ride to the train station.
For the first time yet this season, someone finally acknowledges Team Slapshot’s dominating presence. The roller derby mothers point out that Caroline & Jennifer are insistent upon keeping around these “Supermen” and they don’t understand this since Bates & Anthony are the strongest competition. The answer is simple - the country songbirds are letting the Race double as a dating show. They apparently think it should be called The Amazing Courtship. This revelation by the moms makes me a bit nervous for our frontrunner brothers. I fear that this is the editor’s way of telegraphing a fall from grace for Bates & Anthony.
A few minutes later Max & Katie leave the mat. Max explains that while their expectation to win most of legs on the Race hasn’t even come close to being a reality, they are still confident that they can win the whole thing. I give them credit for self-confidence but that’s about all I will give them credit for because they haven’t done anything to deserve more credit than that.
The newlyweds join the first two teams as they wait for a cab but all have decided to just hoof it to the train station rather than just do nothing by waiting.
Nearly 40 minutes after the brothers officially kicked off this leg, the other part of their flirtatious alliance leaves the mat. The girls happily profess that they want to go to the final three with Bates & Anthony and even call them their “Race boyfriends.” If these relationships extend beyond the Race, then Phil is already a better matchmaker than Chris Harrison and the folks over at The Bachelor/Bachelorette.
As the Amazing walkers get to the train station first, they are expectedly put off by the fact that the next train leaves at 5:26 a.m., which means all the teams will be traveling together. It’s like these people have never seen the show. Hey, Future Amazing Race teams: If you are starting a leg or reach your destination in the wee hours of the morning and/or are at an airport or train station, the playing field will be leveled almost every time as you wait for said place to open or for the first plane/train to leave the next morning. It’s just part of the Race…expect it.
Joey & Meghan are channeling Team Cape Fear with a similar refrain that their consistent poor performance doesn’t quite reflect how good they really are. Sadly, Team YouTube, if that were true then I wouldn’t have been able to put the word “consistent” in that last sentence. There comes a point when you must accept your mediocrity in some areas.
While the teams are catching some shut eye on the train ride, Bates wakes up and realizes that his backpack is missing. He has a pretty good attitude about it. He clearly didn’t want to pull a Zev & Justin, so he had his passport on him in the Race-provided fanny pack. The loss of his bag is more of an annoyance than a setback but does give Jennifer the chance to up the flirting and offer him some of her clothes if he needed it. Specifically, her underwear. Wow…not sure her grandpa John Wayne would approve of that offer.
The dash from the train station puts all the teams in route to the Ministry of Finance via taxi with no real leader. It’s more of just a mass of teams...
...that is, until Max & Katie get to the clue first. It directs them to get in their Ford and use its fancy pants onboard computer to answer three Race-inspired questions to get their next destination.
The first question: Which U.S. president said tear down this wall? Max immediately jumps the gun and spouts off JFK. He embarrasses himself in front of his conservative brethren and corrects it to Reagan, who he claims is his favorite president. Surprisingly Katie doesn’t point out that she knew it even though she wasn’t even alive when the Berlin Wall was still in place.
The next question: Which leader did Reagan say it to? Gorbachev is Max’s answer and it’s right.
Final question: Where did Reagan say it? Max goes two for three on first guesses when he correctly chooses the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. That is their destination and it is a nice 100-mile drive for the teams.
Now we get to see if any of the other teams stumble on the trivia portion of the Amazing Race.
God bless multiple choices. Otherwise Team YouTube and Caroline & Jennifer would still be sitting in that parking lot. Here’s a sample of their guesses: Was it Roosevelt?...Maybe Bill Clinton?...Was it in the '80s?...The Great Wall of China???
They both correctly pick Reagan from the choices and move on to the next chance to embarrass the American education system. They both just throw a WAG out there for the last two questions and get it correct. Team Slapshot and the Sock ‘er Moms are sprinting up to the cars before the others are able to get out of the parking lot. Barring any massive navigation issue, all the teams should be fairly tight together. If someone does get lost, my money’s on Joey & Meghan but I am still uneasy about Bates & Anthony being near the back right now.
On the drive, Max & Katie are already looking ahead and theorizing that first place this leg will also win two of these cars. She is also quick to point out that the honeymoon has been stressful and tense but if they don’t kill each other on the Race, then they can survive anything. Oh, the love.
Speaking of young love, each team in the lovebird alliance acknowledges that they are happy to Race with the other but they know that this is the competition. Jennifer seems less convicted about this cutthroat attitude. She is clearly more smitten with Bates than Caroline is with Anthony. Or maybe Caroline can just separate the friendship (or more) from the Race.
First at the Brandenburg Gate is Cape Fear and they are pointed to the Park Inn Hotel.
On the streets of Berlin in second-ish, the singers and brothers get directions from a local. Anthony offers to lead and promptly gets separated from the girls. To make it worse, it appears that the girls didn’t bother to write down the directions and just left it to the guys to guide them. Of course, each has a different version of the events: Jennifer blames the guys for leaving them and Anthony pinpoints that when he went right at a light, they didn’t follow. The fact that Anthony actually knows where they split gives more credibility to his side of the story.
Max & Katie are at the hotel and both of them must "base fly" 37 stories back to the ground level. Basically, they are doing a tethered freefall off the side of a building…face first. There is not much of a chance to "not look down" with this task.
At Brandenburg Gate, Team YouTube is in second place followed by the Sock ‘er Moms. As the moms are leaving, Bates & Anthony are running up and they ask where the clue is. They were probably not expecting an answer, but the ladies point them to it. Then they say to each other that “they better pay us back for that.” Don’t hold your breath on that one.
Caroline & Jennifer are the last to get the clue but there doesn’t seem to be much time or distance separating them from the others.
With only a tinge of hesitation, Katie goes first on the "base fly" and Max follows suit. If I am being honest here, this type of task would probably be my downfall on the race. Unfortunately, I can imagine the feeling of my stomach being in knots at the idea of stepping off the edge of a 37th floor building.
The newlyweds’ next clue is a Detour: Train Trials or Font Follies. For Train, they must go to a Berlin transportation museum and use all the pieces provided to assemble a toy train track on a designated space. The train must successfully complete one trip around the track to get the clue. It looks like the space is about 12’ x 12’, so it’s not as simple as the description conveys, I suspect. For Follies, they go to a local square and retrieve two large light-box letters (think about 5 feet tall and similar to what you would see attached to a shopping center). Then they have to carry them on foot to Berlin’s Museum of Letters without damaging them. Max & Katie choose Follies.
Amazingly, Joey & Meghan are the second team to arrive at the base fly. A succession of squeals later, Team YouTube has their clue and is heading to Train Trials. One-by-one the teams are tackling the base fly in the same order they got their clue at the Gate. Mona & Beth will be joining Cape Fear at Font Follies this Detour.
Max & Katie point out that the clue tells them that once they choose a letter, they cannot switch. They go with a "b" and an "o" so they can carry it on their shoulders with their heads through the openings. Pretty sound strategy in theory, but we’ll see what the reality is.
While Joey & Meghan are trying to get their bearings about the location of Train Trials, Mona & Beth take off on foot to the letters and see Cape Fear run by.
The lovebird alliance is reunited and finishes the base fly. Reluctantly, the girls agree to go with the brothers to the Font Follies Detour. Caroline is very hesitant because if they are in the back of the pack and it comes down to a footrace then they will lose to Bates & Anthony. If this is how it plays out, then the Sock ‘er Moms might have a future as psychics because that is virtually what they predicted at the beginning of this leg.
On the way to the letter museum, Max & Katie have stopped at a hotel for some direction because they appear to be just wandering the streets of Berlin. Mona & Beth have their letters and have opted for "u" and "n".
Branching out from the rest of the teams are Joey & Meghan, who have finally arrived at their Detour choice. They are having more fun than the other teams but it’s too early to tell if "fun" equals "easy" on this task.
The allied teams have retrieved their letters and while the brothers go with the smaller "v" and "r", for some reason the girls choose the more cumbersome "s" and "k". The looming question now is if any of the teams will have to repeat the task due to damage to their cargo.
Cape Fear drops off their letters first and is now on their way to the Salon Zur Wilden Renate. Thanks to two years of German in high school, I can tell you that means…who am I kidding? That was over 20 years ago and I can barely remember how to count to ten in German. It doesn’t matter what it means, it just matters that the teams get there quickly.
Joey & Meghan have laid the track but have failed a couple of times to complete it.
Meanwhile, Max & Katie are at the clue box and it’s a Roadblock. After Phil labels Berlin “arguably the hippest city in the world,” he explains that the teams have to tell the door man who said, “Ich bin ein Berliner.” And then they will proceed through a labyrinth beneath the club to find a white room. It looks like a psychedelic haunted house with strobe lights and bizarre décor but not the expected monsters around every corner.
Katie chooses to do it and correctly tells the doorman it was JFK. He then creepily hands her a coin that will open the door to the maze. And in she goes.
While the Caroline is talking to a local about looking up the location for the museum on his phone, the wind catches Anthony’s "v" and it breaks. The guys now have to head back to get another letter. Thus, my biggest fear is being realized. I hope they rebound and aren’t eliminated because if not, the remaining legs will be tortuous with no one to really root for.
The guys decide to flag down a cab and switch to the other Detour to avoid having to walk all the way back to the starting point. They fear the worst, just as I do.
After many nerve-racking minutes wandering the labyrinth, Katie finally reaches the clue and is able to leave. They are now heading to the Pit Stop in the middle of what Phil calls “the Fifth Avenue of Berlin.”
On attempt #7 at the train, Joey & Meghan have their next clue, as do the Sock ‘er Moms who successfully reached the letter museum. Not far behind them at all are Caroline & Jennifer, who have made up ground quite nicely.
On the other hand, Team Slapshot is just now starting the Train Trials. Even though there is still a Roadblock ahead, I am quickly resigned to the fact that this episode will spell disappointment for me, just as Prague was a huge disappointment when the Globetrotters were eliminated.
In first place, Max & Katie gleefully jump on the mat…well, Max is gleeful. Katie is her usual stone-faced self, even after Phil tells them that they also won the cars as they predicted. Like McKayla Maroney, Katie is just unimpressed with pretty much anything.
Mona & Beth are lost and intimidated by the bustling streets of Berlin. This confusion is enough time for Joey & Meghan to get to the Roadblock first. Joey hesitantly accepts the task. While Katie was a bundle of nerves and anxiety with the Roadblock, Joey declares is the best Roadblock in Amazing Race history.
YouTube’s Train Trials peers are struggling just as they were. Bates & Anthony are already four failed attempts into the Detour.
One team’s being lost is another team’s gain as Caroline & Jennifer pass up the still aimlessly wandering Mona & Beth. With even more hesitancy than Katie, Jennifer opts to do the Roadblock. I think that we are only minutes away from an on-camera nervous breakdown once she actually enters the labyrinth.
Outdoing Joey & Meghan on the failed attempts, Bates & Anthony finally have their clue on the ninth time around the track. Without much in the optimism department, Bates declares they need a miracle. The producers take this chance to cut to Mona & Beth recreating the scene from European Vacation in the roundabout. “Hey look, kids, Big Ben.” Despite that, I am not falling for their trickery and still think that the brothers are going home.
The moms finally ask for directions and tell themselves that even if they are last, they will finish as strong as they started out.
Caroline has navigated the labyrinth and heading to Phil, who has just checked Joey & Meghan in as team number two.
It appears that I wisely didn’t buy the producers subterfuge about how lost the Sock ‘er Moms are because they have reached the Roadblock before Bates & Anthony. Beth goes for it for her team. The time it takes for her to correctly right answer "Kennedy" was enough to allow the brothers to show up, with Anthony entering the labyrinth for them. They are separated by only minutes. This one may actually come down to who doesn’t get lost finding Phil.
Caroline & Jennifer are officially number three.
In the labyrinth, Beth is happy to see Anthony because of it helps her not feel so lost and he is happy to help her, because he is exhausted from the long day and it means they still have a chance.
They both get their clues and the guys decide to follow the moms so they can beat them in a footrace. They must be unaware of how incredibly lost the ladies were just a short while ago.
Phil is in sight and the footrace ends as they expected. The Sock ‘er Moms are rightfully angry with themselves for leading them right to the mat where they are outrun by the brothers. Fortunately for my interest level in this season, Bates & Anthony are number four but unfortunately for me as well, this is a non-elimination leg, so Mona & Beth are still racing. It’s not that I don’t want them around because they are my second favorite team, but I really am tired of nonelimination legs.
Next week takes the teams to Scotland and the land of haggis and bagpipes. Plus, a double U-Turn is on the table and they tease us with the idea that Joey & Meghan and Mona & Beth get a sizable three-hour lead on the other teams at the airport.
Until next time, when HOPEFULLY someone will be eliminated, have a good week.