The Amazing Race Season 26 - Episode 9
Can I Get a Hot Tub?
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
April 27, 2015

Ugh. Non-elimination legs.

Previously on The Amazing Race, Steve & Aly were unable to overcome the lead that the other teams had on them, particularly because they had to perform a Speed Bump and were then U-Turned. So far this season, both non-elimination rounds have been utterly unnecessary and achieved nothing other than dragging out the misery of Jonathan & Harley and now Steve & Aly for an extra leg. And based on the calendar and the finale date of the show, we’re likely to have at least one more non-elimination round. Sigh.

A modest proposal: Three more teams each season and zero non-elimination legs. It’s just crazy enough to work.

The teams are still in Africa, and they’re spending yet another night camping in tents. All the teams share dinner together, and Matt tells Jelani & Jen, “No hard feelings about the U-Turn, right?” Yeah, about that. Jelani isn’t really holding a grudge, but it’s not him that Matt & Ashley need to worry about. Jenny is pissed and she notes that the hairstylists wasted their U-Turn, because she and Jelani are still in the game. Also, they still have a U-Turn they can use if it comes up again. Guess who they’ll plan to use it on?

At 12:19 p.m., Laura & Tyler are the first team to depart. They are directed to go to Amsterdam, where teams will take a taxi to a place called Jagershuis, where they will find their next clue.

This Amazing Race is sending the teams on a really odd route. They’ve already been to Europe, and now they’re headed back. It’s an unusual approach to routing this season.

Matt & Ashley are next out, just one minute behind the blind-dating (but really just friends) Laura & Tyler. Matt has a beard, and says that he’s not shaving until they win the million dollars. We sort of hope they get eliminated tonight just to see what happens.

Only about 15 minutes behind the two leading teams are Hayley & Blair. Blair notes that they are headed to the airport where Hayley “fell in love” with their rugged pilot. She notes that Handsome Pilot Man wasn’t wearing a ring, but Blair teases her that he was most likely married.

Ultimately, we really didn’t need to see any departure times, because all teams are boarding the same plane. Ugh, why did we even waste our time on the last four paragraphs? It’s probably going to be a non-elimination leg, too. Wasteful paragraphs all around! So, is there anything else you’d like to talk about this recap? Game of Thrones, maybe? The opening weekend for Avengers: Age of Ultron?

At last, the teams have arrived at the clue box, which means it’s time for a Roadblock. The teams must decide “who’s got a nice set of klompen?” Klompen are the wooden shoes that the Dutch have been known for wearing for more than 800 years now. In this challenge, the person finding the “klompen” must find a shoe that matches the specific one being kept by a cobbler. This task is harder than it looks, because there are minute details that make it difficult to determine which shoes go together. They will then hand the correct shoes to the cobbler, who will give them their next clue.

Jenny & Jelani get the “date night” reward in their clue, and Jenny takes the task for their team. She is joined by Tyler, and they both discover that they’ll need to change into a costume.

Ashley tells Matt that he has a nice “klompen,” while Rochelle and Blair will search for shoes on behalf of their teams. Tyler turns in a shoe but is sent back to search again. Jenny gets hers right on the first try, and she and Jelani must ride bikes to the Munttoren.

As they pedal away, Matt gets his first try wrong, but Tyler has figured it out. Both of the biking teams seem to be having the time of their lives.

Matt misses another one, but Blair finds the proper shoe (despite constant prattle from Hayley, who tells him to hurryuphurryuphurryuphurryup). Jelani & Jenny have taken a ferry so that they don’t have to overexert themselves. When they get off, they have to ask for directions to the right place, which allows Tyler & Laura to catch up.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Matt gets another one wrong. Rochelle gets hers correct, so they’re off and leaving the hairstylists in their dust. Matt tries again. Matt fails again. Ashley insists that he’s great with detail, but we see no evidence that this is true.

Apparently, Jenny & Jelani didn’t get the greatest directions, because Tyler & Laura arrive at the next cluebox first. It’s a Detour, and the choices this time are “Soak” or “Shuffle.” For “Soak,” they will drive an electric-powered hot tub (you read that right) through the canals of Amsterdam. They’ll look for signs with clues along the way that will give them a rebus to solve.

“Shuffle” involves a game of shuffleboard, a game that dates back to the 15th century. Teams will play a Dutch version of the game, which Phil calls “frustrating.” If a team can score 51 points, they’ll move on.

We are now up to Matt’s 31st attempt… and he gets it wrong. Both Tyler & Laura and Jenny & Jelani choose “Soak.” Matt strips down to his boxers, and the two of them, er, mention that this challenge is like Date Night. So maybe they’re not as just friends-y as we thought.

Hayley & Blair and Mike & Rochelle are pretty close at this point, and they choose the do the “Soak” and “Shuffle” tasks, respectively.

On his 43rd attempt, Matt finally finds the right shoes. It really would have been quicker to just line up all the shoes and hand them in one by one… even if there was a forced one-minute delay.

Tyler & Laura are puzzling through the rebus (she asks if the square root of 64 is six), and Tyler quickly ascertains that the second clue refers to skating. The first clue (which is five letter I’s) is still elusive to them. Then they see “R” + a thing that looks like a splat, but Tyler gets that it’s ink. So it’s I’s and a skating rink, whatever that means. Jenny & Jelani wonder how Tyler & Laura got in the hot tubs so fast.

It’s time for a Hayley bitchfest, because she and Blair have gotten turned around. She tells Blair that she totally told him which street was the right one. What she doesn’t realize is that people tune her out because she never shuts up.

Their confusion has allowed Mike & Rochelle to get to the “Shuffle” task first. Remember, they have to get to 51 points. Rochelle gets 34 in her first round and Mike gets… three.

Eventually, Tyler determines that the I’s refer to ice. So, the teams will now be looking for an ice skating rink. At least Steve & Aly aren’t in the game anymore, but depending what happens, are we really going to have two challenges where they would have dominated?

The two of them give the answer to the hot tub proprietor, and he gives them the next clue. They’ll head to the Museumplein Ice Skating Rink, where someone is going to be checked in as Team #1 (and it’s looking like that team will be Tyler & Laura again).

The “Shuffle” task is indeed difficult, because Mike & Rochelle wind up with 50, which puts them just short of the 51 they need. It sounds like they have to start from scratch, which is just brutal.

At the Pitstop, Tyler & Laura meet a 15-year-old hockey player who Phil says may be the next Gretzky of the Netherlands (there was already a Gretzky of the Netherlands?) and once again, they are checked in as team number one. Their prize for this leg is a trip to Seoul, South Korea. Phil tries to force the “love” issue again, but Tyler says that they just “share a love for the Race.” Nice try there, Keoghan.

Jenny & Jelani get the “skating rink” portion of the rebus, but have no idea what the five I’s mean. They go back around for another look, or perhaps ask Hayley & Blair if they know the answer.

They do, because Hayley is really terrific at these puzzles even if Blair is not.

On their second try at shuffleboard, Mike & Rochelle are even worse than the first round. Time to try again.

Remember Matt & Ashley? They’re still riding their bikes and are finally arriving in the heart of Amsterdam.

Hayley & Blair play confused when they pass Jelani & Jenny, who figure they’re overthinking the “I” clue. The latter team wonders if maybe it’s a Roman Skating Rink, which… isn’t a thing, but you never know what you’ll come across in foreign lands.

At last, Mike & Rochelle have finished the “shuffle” task, which means that they are (probably) racing Hayley & Blair to the Pitstop. We say “probably” because Hayley & Blair are next shown arriving at the mat to be checked in as Team #2.

Matt & Ashley are doing the Shuffleboard challenge, and he is really, really good at it. He gets 42 points. Ashley isn’t as strong, but Matt is terrific at encouraging her and giving her instruction.

Jenny & Jelani are trying to figure out the rebus, and The Amazing Race is trying to make us think that it’s close between these two final teams. BUT, Ashley can’t quite get her nine points, so they’re going again.

After heading in the wrong direction, Mike & Rochelle must turn around. This means that Jenny & Jelani are the third team to check in with Phil, because they have finally figured out that there is no such thing as a Roman Skating Rink (they have a friendly local help them to solve the puzzle). Phil points out that the first three teams are all blind-dating couples. Interesting, yes, but it’s not really because these couples get along better than the others. It’s mostly circumstance.

Of course, Mike & Rochelle are the fourth place team, which means that once again they’ve finished one away from the bottom. Matt & Ashley talk like it’s the end of the race for them, but we all know better, don’t we? It is indeed a non-elimination leg, which means they’re still in the Race and will also have to perform a Speed Bump in the next leg. They’d better hope there’s not a U-Turn, too.