There’s just two episodes left in this edition of The Amazing Race, and it’s still anybody’s game to win.
The Amazing Race 7: Episode 10
The Devil Made Me Do It
By Reagen Sulewski
May 6, 2005
We pick up again in Istanbul, which as Phil helpfully informs us, is the only city in the world on two continents, although I must protest that I’ve never heard of these “Yurp” and “Ehsza” continents he refers to.
Uchenna & Joyce are first out of the gate at 10:53 p.m., and their first clue of the night directs them to the Sirkeci Train Station, where they must find the Whirling Dervishes. You mean that’s a real thing? Is the next clue to find a unicorn? Uchenna’s manly voice bellows for a taxi and they’re on their way to the station, where he then proclaims to know what a Dervish looks like. Sure you do. Well, I suppose I’d know a leprechaun if I saw one, so maybe I’ll cut him some slack.
This is more or less a travel brochure stop, and they pick up their next clue right there. C’mon, make ‘em carry a tray of drinks through them, or something! Opening it, they find out they’re going to London. When they get there, they must then find the crosswalk made famous by a Beatles album cover. It’s the return of the culturally appropriate clues! Even better, it’s not entirely spelled out and the racers have to apply a little mental power to it, something that’s been more or less absent from this season. It’s not that hard, of course, and anyone who’s paid much attention to music should know it's Abbey Road.
However, I must digress for a minute here and have a little chat with Messrs. Bruckheimer and van Munster. The description of the show is a race around the world, n’est pas? We seem to be going backwards here and while we may have gone around in a circle, and ever since a little guy named Columbus, we know that’s not around the world. (Before we get e-mail: yes, yes, I know that’s not what Columbus proved and that we knew the Earth was round all the way back to the Ancient Greeks. I’m making a joke here)
Meredith & Gretchen leave in second, a little over an hour behind. They shed a lot of time in the last leg, but to be fair, no one told them this race would involve moving quickly. As they hail a cab, Gretchen takes on the responsibility of saying “Sirkeci” while Meredith handles “train station”. Now that’s teamwork!
At the Istanbul airport, Uchenna & Joyce are hunting for the fastest way to London and decide to “try Turkish”. I’m not sure what Jason Statham’s character from Snatch. is going to be able to do, but it’s worth a try, I guess. They get on a flight that arrives at 10:30 the next morning. Learning the lesson of last leg, they consider the chance that a connecting flight might be available. However, Joyce vetoes this suggestion, saying that anything can happen to a connection.
Back at the Dervishes, Meredith & Gretchen collect their clue and wonder who these “Be Talls” are. Perhaps they are some of those unkempt youngsters on the phonograph machines they’ve heard about.
Rob & Amber are in third, about two hours back. Reading the first clue, Rob sees letters and words, but has a bit of trouble making out them funny ciphers into complete thoughts. It’s either a “Deverish” or a “Devish” (ooh, so close. One more try, Rob! No? That’s all right, here’s a cookie anyway) that they have to find, according to him. As he and Amber try to decipher what a “Darevish” is (c’mon! Read the letters on the page, dammit!), Rob says the first thing to come to his head, naked women. That’s your answer for everything.
Meanwhile at the airport, Meredith & Gretchen opt for the easy direct flight and are on the same track as Uchenna & Joyce. Now would be the time to break out the brilliant strategery, folks.
Look, it’s Team Poverty! Ron & Kelly are about half an hour behind Rob & Amber in last place, though the airport makes that largely irrelevant. What is relevant is Kelly’s lack of makeup… I mean their lack of funds. The togetherness of this team is illustrated rather quickly as Kelly complains about the rocks they’re walking over being slippery, which Ron responds to with, “not really”. Either he’s angling for her to fall and break her neck, or they’ve reached the stage where he’s disagreeing with her out of spite. Such a healthy relationship they’ve got. I hope they make tons and tons of messed-up children.
Discussing their predicament, Ron addresses the makeup and change-of-clothes-less Kelly (ACK! She’s hideous!) and gets a little Freudian with the comment of, “she’s really surprised me, I think I’ve seen everything I want to see out of her on this race”. I can’t wait for their big Histrionic Breakup Special after this race which I think is scheduled after Rob & Amber’s wedding.
Faced with the need for cab fare, they start begging for cash, and finding no luck with the drunk people they find a couple kindly souls who give them eight million lira. Wow, they can just quit and retire now! Er, wait. Checking exchange rates, that’s… hmm, let’s see… carry the one, and here we go, about six dollars. So the next time you run into a Turkish millionaire, help him out and buy him a meal, he’s obviously starving, OK?
Rob & Amber arrive at the airport and spot the direct flight to London, but do some searching of their own and discover a faster connecting flight through Frankfurt. Unfortunately, it’s full, but Amber makes her contribution for this leg by suggesting they take standby tickets, a huge risk if they don’t pan out. It remains to be seen if Rob has learned his lesson about being cocky as they plan to wave the tickets to the later flight around as if that’s the one they’re taking.
Meredith repays some charity from earlier in the race by handing Ron & Kelly some cash and Kelly bums some lipstick off a ticket agent, for you know, some crucial mid-race refueling. They take the direct flight, but then Kelly spots a sign and wonders if Frankfurt is on the way to London. I’m betting it wasn’t a Geography Pageant she won. They discover the same thing as Rob & Amber, that the flight is sold out, but keep with the “Do whatever Romber does!” strategy.
After they’re gone, Uchenna & Joyce and Meredith & Gretchen are left to wonder why they’re all alone in the airport, and Meredith comments that “on this flight, one in the hand is worth two in the bush”. I… I don’t quite understand what that means here.
In the Frankfurt airport, it’s a race to the train shuttle and then to the standby counter for both Ron & Kelly and Rob & Amber, however, as all these airport races tend to be, it’s ultimately pointless. Rob crows about the possibility of leaving Ron & Kelly in their wake, but both teams make it. We’ve now flipped the order of the two groups of teams from last week, as the two from the faster flight were left behind previously.
Arriving, as required by TV law, to a jaunty rendition of Hail Brittania, Rob & Amber and Ron & Kelly get on their way to figuring out where Abbey Road is. Romber accomplish this faster and get on an earlier train, picking up a guide as they’re on it. Apparently they’re good at finding people who have nothing else to do all day. This delay gives Ron & Kelly a chance to beg for some more cash, however.
Now for tonight’s Ugly American comment, straight from Ron: “Thank God we’re in a country where people actually speak English”. Yes, because your language barrier has been so difficult so far in that only 95% of the people you’ve interacted with have spoken it.
With their guide leading the way, Rob & Amber quickly find Abbey Road and are off to their next clue, at The London Eye, a giant Ferris wheel, where they’ll have to scan the skyline for their next clue. Meredith & Gretchen are so screwed.
Having pulled away a little from Ron & Kelly, Rob & Amber have a bit of a cushion, but the task might prove difficult due to the notorious London Fog. Of course, Ron & Kelly commence to bickering about where the ticket booth is to the Eye, with Ron shoving the clue at Kelly. Not helping, dude. Then again, there’s Kelly saying, “I’ll take this side… after I get my apology”, which is just as pointless. It’s really time for these two to decide what is more important, trading zingers, or winning a million dollars.
Following a shot of Rob leaning on a “Do Not Lean on Doors” sign, he spots the next clue, a huge show banner on a hotel across the river. Ron stops pouting long enough to see it himself, although it’s a slow ride back down.
Done with all the touristy bits, the next clue finally gets the teams down to business with the Detour. It’s either solve a series of riddles, or haul a bunch of boats out of the water. Which sounds more fun to you?
Rob & Amber, shockingly, choose Brains over Brawn, though they are dragging a local with them. The first riddle is to go to the Left Luggage department at the Underground station they were just at. Not so tough so far. The riddle they receive there has them going to find the “Three Naked Men of Hammersmith”, which could become kind of interesting if they have to ask around.
Meanwhile, the slowpokes are just catching up, and are informed at the express train station from Heathrow that they’re about two hours behind. Meredith says it’s “do or die”, but in his case that may be literal. As they drive past Buckingham Palace, I will attempt to resist making European Vacation jokes.
Ron & Kelly have chosen the riddle task and are themselves looking for the three “nekkid” men. Comedy ensues as they ask some Londoners about this – you can’t jut go around saying “Naked” to British people - they only discovered sex when Benny Hill came along!
Rob & Amber have found them - *yawn* it’s a statue – and pull down a Holmesian hat with a clue written in tiny tiny type hidden in a pipe. Aha! So that’s what the magnifying glass was for. The answer is, well, elementary, and they’re off to 221B Baker Street, the home of Sherlock Holmes Museum. Amber mugs for the camera wearing the hat and pipe and marching with the magnifying glass. Okay, that’s cute. Ron & Kelly aren’t far behind, having just reached the statue themselves. Alright, the riddles weren’t that hard, but they made them work for it a little, at least.
The next clue is at the Millennium Dome, one of London’s great boondoggles, and containing the last of the Yields for the race. Rob correctly deduces that if they aren’t first to the Yield, they will get delayed by the other teams.
Ron & Kelly fatefully decide to take a taxi to the Dome instead of the Underground, believing it will catch them up, but as Rob & Amber’s guide told them, there’s a stop right by the Dome, so this looks like a mistake.
Reaching the Detour, Uchenna & Joyce choose Brawn, as do, inexplicably, Meredith & Gretchen. It’s the Return of the Mysterious Accent, as Uchenna asks a nearby doorman to “summon a cab” for them, to which I’m sure he’s thinking, “right, I’ll just snap my fingers and get on that – we’re all like Mary Poppins here”.
As we get to the next clue box and the Yield, it is Rob & Amber who make it there first, and now the debate is on as to who gets yielded. Yielding Meredith & Gretchen is like stopping water from flowing up hill, so it’s between Ron & Kelly and Uchenna & Joyce, who are Amber’s pick. Rob suggests that Ron & Kelly are their biggest competitors, and should be yielded and he gets his way. They’re their biggest pain at the moment, yes, but Rob isn’t thinking far enough ahead here. Yielding Uchenna & Joyce could put them behind Meredith & Gretchen and eliminate them, while it’s unlikely to do the same for Ron & Kelly. It’s a classic case of the blinders, as this is pretty much the only team they’ve seen all day.
The clue is the Roadblock, which involved piloting a double-decker bus through a marked course without hitting a cone. Patty & Selma Bouvier are working for the show now, apparently. Rob gets assigned the task for his team, which could be difficult, as the bus is gigantic and doesn’t have power steering. After hitting a cone on his first try, the official looks like he’s about to haul him off to jail, but Rob isn’t done yet. Amber hopes they don’t have to deal with Ron & Kelly again today, but they appear stuck in traffic.
Off to the Brawn part of the Detour, which combines all the fun of pushing things and then stacking them in a neat pile. Uchenna & Joyce make short work of their five boats, although Meredith & Gretchen are struggling with theirs.
At the Roadblock, Rob has finally passed his driving test after four tries, and gets to leave. It’s their final clue of the day, and it’s to get them to Potter’s Field Park, near the Tower Bridge. Amazingly, they leave without Ron & Kelly showing up, although it took them about an hour according to Rob. They finally make it after the slowest cab ride ever, and realize they’ve been yielded. Ron calls it “the final nail in the coffin”, which seems a bit dramatic to me. It must be Clichéd Saying Day.
Uchenna starts to help Meredith & Gretchen with their Detour, but is waved off by them, as they aren’t allowed to accept help from other teams. Full marks for decency, Uchenna, but there’s such a thing as being too helpful, okay? They really lack that killer instinct.
A rather helpful cabbie tells Uchenna & Joyce not to bother taking a cab to the Millennium Dome, and to take the Underground instead, ensuring they won’t make the same mistake as Ron & Kelly. However, with the slightly tricky London Underground system and their tendency to wander off after butterflies, this may not be the sure thing the cabbie thought.
Meredith & Gretchen decide to take a cab, sounding completely dispirited. All is not lost, however, as the aforementioned navigational difficulties strike Uchenna & Joyce, who see a train go zipping past them. Their first clue probably should have been that they were not in fact underground. Another helpful Londoner points them in the right direction and they’re off again, and hopefully won’t end up in Manchester or something.
Kelly shows a glimmer of personality by coloring in the faces of Rob & Amber on the Yield sign, giving Rob a little goatee and Amber glasses (but then, we just saw Amber with glasses during the search from the London Eye. Joke’s on you, Kelly!). Their Yield timer runs out and they head to the Roadblock. Since Ron only has one Roadblock left to perform, Kelly gets to drive the bus.
Over at the Pit Stop, Rob & Amber are greeted by an extra from… oh, pick your own stereotypical British movie (I’m going with A Clockwork Orange). As expected, they’re the first to arrive, and win a JVC entertainment system. They’ve really cleaned up on the prizes so far. We’ll see if the Survivor car rule, where the person that wins the car never wins the million, carries over. Amber says they might be the luckiest team so far, but on behalf of Meredith & Gretchen, I must protest.
Uchenna & Joyce have made up a lot of ground due to Ron & Kelly’s adventures in the cab and their subsequent Yield penalty, and arrive at the Dome about this time. That lack of killer instinct kicks in again, as they don’t Yield Meredith & Gretchen. (I’m assuming that it’s a possibility here – it may not although it’s never been made clear). Joyce takes the Roadblock for her team. Amazingly, Meredith & Gretchen have just arrived, and clearly caught a fast cab, so any of the three teams could get out of there first at this point.
I’m not even going to attempt to do justice to the sequence of these three teams trying to navigate through the marked course, except to say that it’s better edited than most movies. It might be the funniest sequence in the history of the show.
Finally, we get back to reality on Kelly’s seventh trip through the course, as it seems she’s made it through. Ron campaigns for Misogynist of the Year by insulting women drivers – he’s slowly turning into John Rocker – and then turning into Ron The Caveman. A sample: ”UGH! Me make fire and fly helicopter! Master of fire and manual transmission! Grab Kelly by hair back to cave and do… dunno. Not figure that part out yet.” Honestly dude, stop digging and stop trying to score points when she’s obviously upset. He plays the Army card, but Kelly points out that her brother is in the Army as well, which you would hope would shut him up, but yet… still with the talking.
In contrast, Uchenna has figured out that shutting up makes Joyce drive faster, and she gets through on her fifth attempt. Of course, they then have to find the Pit Stop, and directions continue to be a problem for them. Meredith finished the Roadblock on his seventh attempt, but will it be in time to catch third place?
Ron & Kelly make it to the Pit Stop in second place, and comment on their frustrating day. Really, would you leave it at “day” at this point?
The race for third shows a shocking lack of hustle, with both teams just sort of strolling around the general area of the park where the Pit Stop is. Uchenna & Joyce finally find it, and lock up third place.
Phil greets Meredith & Gretchen with a wooden stake and some Holy water and finally eliminates them. You have to admire their determination, but in the end, they simply didn’t have the speed to be a challenger for the million. Next week: The double episode that finally ends this season of The Amazing Race!