The Amazing Race 26 Recap
Smells Like a Million Bucks
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
April 13, 2015

Raise your glass if you just joined the mile high club.

Previously on The Amazing Race, the first episode in several weeks felt like it lasted several weeks. Also, we had to look up the team that got eliminated, which says a lot about how much we enjoyed watching them. We’re sure the season will be a lot worse without whatstheirnames.

Oh, right. It was Bergen & Kurt. Even though they won’t gain a million dollars (or a soulmate), at least they don’t have to suffer another moment together. If only Blair were so lucky. You know he’s thinking it.

Speak of the devil! The episode starts with a reminder that Hayley’s crazy outweighs the hot. We find ourselves wondering how many doctors have let patients die rather than spend another second in Hayley’s company. Blair’s extended first date fiasco extends the idea that coffee is the ideal first date. The instant she got like this, he could have paid the check and been out of there in 20 minutes. Instead he’s stuck in Germany with a complete stranger who will NOT SHUT UP.

We cut to a happy team briefly to learn that Steve & Aly will be first to depart at 9 a.m. as they make their way to Monaco. Once there, they apparently will have to be fitted with proper attire (formal, for some reason) for a helicopter flight. They manage to get a flight that will have them arrive an hour and 15 minutes ahead of the other teams.

All of the other teams are bunched closely together other than Mike & Rochelle, who are a full three hours behind the other teams. They’re far enough behind that they’ll be on a flight all by themselves…

But wait.

They notice that the Olympians are getting on a plane, and take a shot that perhaps they can get seats that put them ahead of the clumped teams.

“You never know with this race. You can start last and end up first. You can be first and end up last, so we’re just staying positive. Anything can happen.”

And in fact, anything does happen. They get on the same flight as the Olympians. Seriously, Mike & Rochelle are the team that just won’t die.

We also learn that Matt & Ashley accidentally booked the wrong flight, so instead of being clumped with the remaining group, they’ll be another hour and a half or so behind. They’re pretty glum about it, and are also probably wondering where Mike & Rochelle are.

Apparently we’re not going directly to Monaco, but rather to Nice, France, where the teams will then get into their proper former attire for the trip over to Monaco. As Steve & Aly and Mike & Rochelle are getting fitted for their clothing, the other teams (excluding Matt & Ashley arrive). Needless to say, they’re shocked to see that Mike & Rochelle arrived first.

Notably, Blair thinks Hayley looks hot in her dress. We’re sure that will remain true right up until the moment that she starts sniping at him again. Jeff & Jackie talk about how they get along the best of the blind date couples. The other blind daters roll their eyes at this comment.

Looks like everyone is bunched after all, because the clothing will not be ready until the morning. So much plane drama for nothing.

We learn that Monaco is really the home of the 1%, as the island is home to more millionaires per capita than any other country, even though it’s the second smallest at only one square mile. Once the helicopters land, the clue leads to a Roadblock that asks, “Who wants to treat their partner?” The task will allow the person performing it to spoil their teammate by giving them two romantic gifts – roses and chocolates.

These two items were particular favorites of Grace Kelly (a particular favorite of ours), who was Princess of Monaco. The roses are even named after her. The person doing the roadblock must traipse through the town to a couple of shops, where they’ll find the required items (though if the island is only one square mile, how hard can this really be?). Once they retrieve the items, they’ll go find their partner on a luxury yacht in the Monaco harbor.

Steve and Mike take the task for their team, while Jenny, Hayley and Laura will be doing the wooing for the blind date duos. Steve finds the roses pretty easily, while Mike is complaining about the heat in his suit. Jenny and Laura are teaming up and using a map. Hayley notes that Blair did most of the work for them on the previous leg (not to his face, of course) and complains that her fancy shoes are giving her blisters.

Jackie is performing the Roadblock for her team, while Matt is the final person on the task. That means that all of the dating teams have the guy searching for chocolates and roses, while it’s 100% girls for the blind daters.

Steve is the first person to find his date on the luxury yacht, so he and Aly are now given a clue that sends them to the Casino de Monte Carlo, where they will presumably run into James Bond and Le Chiffre. Or maybe just Sterling Archer.

Amusingly, Jenny admits that when she picked her chocolates, she chose flavors that she would enjoy since she assumed she’d be eating them. Jelani laughs at this good-naturedly. Jackie also chooses the chocolates she’d like to eat.

Mike is struggling to find the yacht, and he goes to the wrong quay. He’s going to have to go to the other side of the island (but again, we’re not talking about a big island). By the time he arrives at the right boat, his chocolates are pretty nasty.

Steve & Aly are at the casino, and they will go to the roulette wheel to determine which side of the Detour they must perform. If it lands on red, they’ll go to “Don’t Slack Off.” Black will send them to “Win by a Nose.” No matter which one they land on, they’ll have to pick up a car of a particular make and model that we will not mention here from the valet. Steve & Aly get “Win by a Nose,” and they are driving to a church.

Laura and Jenny have found the yacht and Jelani and Tyler bow before them and say, “We’re not worthy.” Jenny humorously thrusts the “treats” at Jelani and says, “Here’s your damn roses and here’s your chocolates!” Blair isn’t far behind, and it looks like Matt will almost catch up to Jackie.

Mike & Rochelle spin the roulette wheel and get “”Win by a Nose., as do Tyler and Laura (who has Jenny’s map)” Jenny & Jelani get “Don’t Slack Off. Mike has basically sweated through his suit, but he and Rochelle get directions to their next location and are on their way. She proclaims the chocolates to be the best she’s ever had.

Realizing that their map is missing, Jenny quizzes Jelani over where it could be, which leads Tyler & Laura to go inside so they can look at the map covertly. Jelani has trouble driving the stick shift, so Jenny takes over.

Hayley & Blair get “Win by a Nose,” while Steve & Aly are lost and also stuck in traffic. A nice police officer tells them that they’re not far from the church, so they park in something that presumably is a parking spot and hoof it.

Back at the casino, Jeff & Jackie and Matt & Ashley both spin the roulette wheel and receive “Don’t Slack Off” as their Detour assignment.

It’s bad news for Steve & Aly, as they are at the wrong church. They return to their car and try to get back on track. Mike & Rochelle will be first to arrive at their “Win by a Nose” Detour, which requires them to formulate a signature perfume and cologne under the guidance of Fragonard Parfumeur. They have to use 12 essences per fragrance in order to match the original recipe as closely as possible. Once they’ve done this to the satisfaction of the designated “smeller,” they will receive their next clue.

Jelani & Jenny find their location next. For “Don’t Slack Off,” the teams will have to be daredevils, ziplining 2,000 feet above the city. They then have to move the slack line back again. Matt & Ashley are also pulling in to the zipline location.

Over at the church, Laura & Tyler and Hayley & Blair are all performing the “scent” task. Hayley & Blair are feeling really good about this one because they were both chemistry minors in college. They are getting along shockingly well this leg. The task is challenging for other racers, because some of the scents are unlabeled and they’re having to distinguish which one is which purely with their noses. All the odors are running together for people like Mike & Rochelle and Laura & Tyler.

Jenny & Jelani have thoroughly enjoyed their zipline task and receive a clue sending them to the Pitstop at the Plage de Passable.

Back over at the Parfumeur, Mike & Rochelle get one of their concoctions correct, but the other one is wrong. Tyler & Laura get theirs wrong (after calling Mike & Rochelle a really weak team, by the way).

We have another team headed to the Pitstop. This time, it’s Matt & Ashley, which means that so far, the zipline task seems to be much faster than the perfume one. Although Jeff is terrified of the walk back across the line, Jackie is shockingly speedy. They’re on their way to the Pitstop now as well.

Finally, the sniffer at the perfume challenge has something to smile about, because Steve & Aly have gotten their perfume and cologne correct, and Tyler & Laura, Hayley & Blair and Mike & Rochelle are all right behind them.

On their way down the hill, both Hayley & Blair and Mike & Rochelle stop to ask for directions to the Plage de Passable. Jenny & Jelani consult their map. Basically, this is a mad dash between all the teams, who are all in their cars and rushing to the Plage.

Although Jelani & Jenny used their map, apparently they took a wrong turn somewhere and are forced to ask a human being for directions. Jenny gripes at him until she finally tells Jelani that she needs to focus and they can discuss it later (which is code for “I have to figure out how you were wrong and I wasn’t).

Finally, it’s Pitstop time, and the first team to arrive is… Hayley & Blair. Is it a coincidence that they win the leg where she’s not picking at him the entire time? Their prize is a trip for two to South Africa. We hope for Blair’s sake that they’re not required to take it together.

Moments behind in second place are Steve & Aly and Mike & Rochelle. Phil, hopeful for an interesting story from their blind date teams, asks the two dating couples if there is love between Hayley & Blair. Aly replies that they “look good” together, and Hayley says that they have “friendship chemistry.”

It’s actually one of those rare editing jobs where we really don’t know who’s going to finish last. The teams are all that close. Matt & Ashley take fourth place, followed by Jelani & Jenny and Laura & Tyler. The latter team receives the date night, which gives Phil more opportunity to ask about sparks. The two blind date teams are evasive in their reply, though.

That means that Jackie & Jeff get the sad music as they arrive in last place. Surprisingly, it’s not a non-elimination leg (no, The Amazing Race is apparently going to reserve those for teams that are a million years behind). Jackie cries, but they are full of compliments for each other. She says, “I’m gonna give him my number.” It’s not the sauciest thing she’s given him.