The Amazing Race 8: Family Edition Episode 2
How Do We Know We're Not Going to Get Shot?
By Reagen Sulewski
October 12, 2005
The Family Edition of The Amazing Race continues its cross-country family vacation from hell, starting off again in Amish country after eliminating the Black family in a close race to the finish of the first leg. Rumor has it that on this leg, we might actually leave the northeastern United States.
The Godlewski family, who have the early lead on the Team Spirit (WOOOO!) Award, are away at 7:57 a.m. on the way to York, Pennsylvania, to a giant shoe house. I see no mention of a little old lady, however. As one of the sisters explains how happy they are to finish first on a leg, I can't help but notice that all three could step in for The Chicken Lady on Kids in the Hall and no one would notice the difference.
The Gaghans are in second, ten minutes behind, with the Weavers just one more minute back. The tight packing of the teams continues with the Rogers only one minute behind them. The foreshadowing fairy makes its first appearance of the episode, with Brock expressing some frustration about his father's domineering leadership style. Soon he will challenge for leadership of the tribe on the field of battle!
A slight separation puts the Schroeders in fifth, 21 minutes behind the lead, but that's clearly nothing, as teams ahead are stopping for gas and corralling some over-energetic children. The Weavers make another appeal to Jesus for help in a reality show, because you know, He's got nothing better to do.
The Paolos, auditioning for Family Feud on opposing sides, take off in sixth, 24 minutes behind. This family even runs passive-aggressively. The Bransens are seventh, another three minutes behind them. They'd be that much further ahead if they weren't all slow talkers. It's easily another five minutes for them to read all their clues.
The Aiellos are eighth, 40 minutes back, and the Linzs round out the pack at 48 minutes back, so not much separation happened on the first day. Legs like this really put pressure on teams not to make any mistakes. Although wearing Cincinnati Bengals gear, the perennial losers of the NFL, is probably not the best omen for the Linzs.
The Gaghans reach the giant shoe first, where finding the clue box involves the arduous task of climbing a flight of stairs. Let no one say they've dumbed it down this time! The Geography Pageant portion of this race continues, with the clue then directing them to Washington, D.C. and the reflecting pool in front of the U.S. Capitol Building. I'm not sure at this point why they bothered to use the world map in the credits.
The Schroeders sneak into second spot at this point with the Godlewskis slipping to third, and the Weavers shortly behind in fourth. They display their mad Geography skillz by wondering aloud if Washington D.C. is in Washington State, causing eighth grade teachers the country over to sink their heads into their hands in disgust.
The Rogers are fifth, with familial tensions rearing their head and leading to a mistake. Overconfident dad tells Brock to turn onto Highway 30 East instead of West (Google Maps makes watching their folly so much easier – how did I ever watch this show without it?). Taking the wrong route is a sure way to ruin your leg, and we'll see if this comes back to haunt them.
The Paolos take time out from bickering to get the next clue, with the Bransens in hot pursuit. The Aiellos and Linzs keep their trailing spots, with one of the Aiello sons-in-law remarking that he lives just outside of D.C., and this should be a cakewalk for him. Personally, I see the old, dreaded over-confidence coming into play, although they probably won't take the entire wrong route.
As the Rogers go off to find the Blair Witch, we get Hot. Exiting. Action. onto the Interstate, and we come back again to the Aiellos, where David says that the Reflecting Pool is between the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial. This is true, if it were the pool that the clue was referring to. The Linzs, unfamiliar with D.C., have found the other, lesser-known reflecting pool on the map (the Capitol Building part of the clue being a giant neon sign), and the over-confidence fairy may strike with a vengeance.
Papa Rogers finally wakes up in the back seat and realizes that I-83 is not going to pop-up anytime soon, and believes that Brock has passed up the exit. Woe is him to have such an incompetent child. Britney then points out that there was no exit in their direction, vindicating Brock, but Denny, while admitting his error, is not quite ready to give up his pride so easily, commenting that "there's only so much one person can do." Hey, it's a team game here.
Once in D.C., the teams split into two large groups; those who can read directions, and those who cannot. Into the first group go the Godlewskis and the Weavers (who, for their total lack of geography knowledge, are running mistake-free so far), with the Gaghans and the Schroeders in the latter. The Weavers find the cluebox first, with it directing them to find a nearby limousine, where they'll be handed an unmarked briefcase by an unseen figure. Insert your own Karl Rove joke here, folks. At this point they have to head over to the Tidal Basin, across town. The Godlewskis move into second at this point.
The Paolos are somehow third, although fuel threatens to become an issue, along with eardrums. The Bransens and the Aiellos (as expected) head to the wild goose chase portion of this leg although the Aiellos realize their mistake quick enough. The Schroeders have also received some help, but play dumb when meeting up with the Gaghans. This kind of behavior has gone both ways on this show in the past – we'll see if karma messes them up like it did Earl Hickey.
For the moment, they slide into fourth place, with the Linzs making up good time in fifth. The Aiellos are up into sixth, with their mistake at the pool not being too costly yet.
Meanwhile, the Godlewskis have made it across town to the next clue box, which is the Roadblock. This one requires them to find one of the ten out of 50 "spies" carrying an identical briefcase and use the code phrase, the oh so clever, "The sky is blue", to which the correct response will be "but the sea is green". I tell ya, Robert Ludlum couldn't do better.
The Godlewskis make quick work of the Roadblock, and the next clue is to head to Middleburg, Virginia and an antebellum house known as Welbourne Manor. Meanwhile, the Paolos do their best to fall apart under stress yet again. DJ takes a curious strategy at first, not actually using the code phrase and looking for some secret mark on the case, or something. Maybe he's not sure this person is a part of it, in which case, he could legitimately expect to get smacked. I'm all for this, by the way.
The Weavers pass the Paolos here to move into second, and Rebecca fails the secret, SD-5 initiation portion of this leg by screaming at the top of her voice once she's found the clue. The Schroeders come in to the Roadblock in fourth, which prompts Papa Paolo to say, "don't say nothing." What, just what secret are you holding here? The cluebox is right there. You haven't been out on the course with DJ, so you have no help or hurt to provide here. In any case, DJ finally finds a spy and overcompensates with some "cool".
The Gaghans and the Bransens are still searching fruitlessly at the Reflecting Pool, when the physical toll of walking around starts to weigh on Papa Bransen, which I don't mind saying is sort of pathetic.
The Aiellos and Linzs arrive more or less simultaneously at the Roadblock clue box, with David and Nick taking the tasks respectively. This becomes a race between these super competitive teams.
An earlier decision to not buy gas starts to bite back on the Paolos as they take a nice detour through Virginia looking for a gas station. This enables Mama Paolo to lay on her guilt trip nice and thick, although this does nothing about the valuable time being lost.
David beats Nick to a spy, getting the Aiellos up into fifth place on the way to the next clue box. Meanwhile, the Rogers (remember them?) are just now getting into D.C. and unfortunately for them, make another crucial mistake by going to the wrong reflecting pool. Luckily, the Gaghans and Bransens, almost two hours later, are still stuck. In short order, all three teams have figured out their error and are on their way.
Nick finally finds a spy, with the Gaghans catching up very quickly for sixth spot, just seconds ahead of the Linzs. The Paolos are still wandering around in Virginia looking for gas, so it's still anyone's race at this point, especially since they have managed to go back in the wrong direction again.
The Weavers have gotten out ahead on the highway, which proves crucial, as a traffic jam slows down all the teams behind them. Alternate routes are frantically being planned by all and sundry and quick thinking will likely win the day here. In eighth spot, we now have the Bransens, while the Rogers have gotten lost yet again, and are deep in last place.
Reaching the clue box, the Weavers find the Detour of the leg, having to choose between carrying five soldiers off the field of a mock Civil War battle, or rolling a barrel of oil up a hill, filling twenty lanterns and lighting them. The Weavers choose the less physical of the two tasks, with the oil. They manage to wander off the path, opening the door for the Godlewski sisters, who choose to carry soldiers off the field on a stretcher. They seem a little confused about the concept of a mock battle, making the comment "we're gonna die doing this". Yes, they've really sent you out into the middle of a real battle with live ammo. The show's lawyers made a fuss, but they made you sign a waiver, so it's all nice and legal.
The Linzs made up a lot of time on side roads apparently, and are now third. As one of the stronger teams, they choose the stretcher option. The Schroeders, Aiellos and Bransens arrive in a convoy, with the Schroeders picking the oil option and the Bransens and Aiellos going for the stretchers.
Although the Linzs speed through their task, the Weavers have too much of a lead, and take first on this leg, with a bonus prize of a trip for four to Bermuda. The Godlewskis complete their second straight top three finish in this leg, and are running error-free so far, if showing a bit of weakness in the physical tasks.
Speaking of which, Wally Bransen is showing some quit on the stretchers after just two soldiers. You're at most being asked to carry about 50 pounds worth here, which makes this far from an impressive showing.
The Gaghans show up around this time, with the Schroeders on to the lamp lighting portion of their task. Surprisingly, the Gaghans choose the stretcher task, with Carissa and Billy not able to help much. Billy decides that now is a good time to foster some sibling rivalry, pointing out she's not doing much – she's nine, you dummy. A flurry of finishes comes up, with the Schroeders, Aiellos, Bransens and Gaghans coming in fourth through seventh.
It's now a race for the final spot, between the constantly fighting Paolos and the perennially lost Rogers. The Paolos have an early lead, but are shorthanded some as Mama Paolo isn't quite up to the physical task of carrying a laden stretcher. The Rogers start out with this task, but it proves to much for the mother of this clan, and they switch to the oil task. Switching tasks is a luxury usually afforded only to teams in the front or middle of the pack, and this is definitely not the case here. Brock throws his headband in disgust at this wasted time.
While I entertain thoughts of the mother of the Paolo family's pink shirt serving as a target on the battle field, the race is on between the two remaining teams. Ultimately, the head start of the Paolos proves too much for the Rogers to catch up, although this is a case where both teams made so many mistakes that either could have gone. It's a little shocking when the mother of the Rogers appears on camera and gets to speak – she was in this? – and the mistakes of the day seem to have opened a few fractures among these four.