The Amazing Race 12 Episode 7
This is Forever, Now
By Reagen Sulewski
January 10, 2008
The Blackberrys awaken with a message from home for the teams, which leads to a little crying from some of the contestants, and a bit of time lost for one team when Grandpa Don can't figure how to operate the thing, since it was invented after 1975.
The various routes the teams took to Empoli start to get interesting, with Nathan & Jennifer's route leading them through some windy, mountainous terrain that seems to be slowing them down. The main pack of three teams hits some heavy traffic in Bologna, and are forced to do some impromptu navigation after their exit is blocked by construction. Meanwhile, TK & Rachel, who have already lost time, are in... Rome. Which is a bit like going from New York to D.C. via Pittsburgh. However, Nicolas & Donald actually decide to wait at that exit until it opens rather than deal with city traffic, so they may not be screwed just yet.
Nathan & Jennifer's trip through the mountains is fruitful, getting them to the airfield in the middle of the night, although it won't open until seven in the morning. Their ability to not get lost or lose clues wasn't all for naught however, as they do get to pick a number for the day's task, when it does open. Stunningly, TK & Rachel have found their way into second place after a horrible first part of the leg for them. That detour in Bologna had to be killer. In fact we see that Ronald & Christina have done not too badly, with "good" Ronald acknowledging that his daughter did something right – Nicolas & Donald are just getting going at 6 a.m., and Kynt & Vyxsin appear to be completely lost.
The first two teams at the airport are the two only teams present when the airport opens, with the clue being the Roadblock. It asks one team member to fly in an ultra light plane, and they will also have to search a six-mile area from the air for the location of their next destination, which we see from the helpful preview of the task, is Vinci. This is semi-diabolical, because it's printed in closely spaced block lettering, and could easily be misinterpreted upside down, or run together. Each team has half an hour to look before the plane has to come in for refueling, at which point they lose their turn if they haven't found it.
Also, the clue envelope has the Fast Forward, the only one of this race. Jennifer tries to convince Nathan to go for it, but with the lead they have on the rest of the teams (although they don't know it), it's really not necessary. They perhaps luck out, as Phil reveals to us that the Fast Forward is a little more dastardly than in seasons past – the team that goes for it will have to get a permanent tattoo of "FF" on their body.
This, personally, is further than I would be willing to go for a Fast Forward (though not, notably, a million dollars), and it's a good play by the producers – make those teams really earn it and make a tough choice. TK & Rachel also pass it up, although it's for tactical reasons, and I imagine they wouldn't have that much of a problem with a tattoo.