The Amazing Race: Family Edition - Episode 8

How's That Face Feel

By Reagen Sulewski

January 30, 2006

Must be those dreadful Weavers we've been reading so much about.

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The longest family vacation in history starts off again at Lake Powell, with the Godlewskis, winners of the last leg, off first at 5:45 am. Their clue sends them to Monument Valley, Utah, where they'll have to find John Ford's Point. The source of this teams annoying nature is distilled into Christine, who starts shrieking almost immediately for them to move. Uh, you've got a boat ride ahead of you, just chill. In what can only be an ill omen for this team this leg, Christine says that she's disappointed in her experience as she thought there'd be bonding time for her sisters. There might be, if you let anyone talk! This show has now turned into RV Adventures, with one waiting in the parking lot for each time. When in Rome...

The Linzs are right behind as before, clearly bummed that they, as the jocks, have not been successfully able to beat the nerds and make them quit. Still, spirits remain high, which is more than you can say for some other teams in the race. They're able to take over first spot when, through poor planning, the Godlewskis have to stop for gas. This means that a meteorite is due to hit the Linzs' vehicle any second now.

The Weavers are third, leaving at 6:06 a.m. Here we're treated to such gems as "We didn't come into this race to be ignorant," and "It's against our beliefs to be treated so rudely." I don't think I could really add anything here.

The Bransens are out in fourth at 6:27 a.m., which thanks to the collapse of the Paolos, puts them in last. They've resolved to be more aggressive, which for Wally probably means driving two miles above the speed limit.

Mistake-free racing proves elusive for all teams, with the Linzs taking a wrong turn, and both the Godlewskis and Weavers missing their turn. Apparently "Monument Valley Visitors' Center" is just too obscure a wording to get to the visitors' center. After a particularly inept attempt at turning around their vehicle (hint: it usually involves ending up in the opposite direction as you were going), the Godlewskis are left in third spot.

Strategic thinking bites the Linzs in the ass here, as they take the time to maneuver their huge convoy around to face the exit before heading to the clue box; however, this lets the Weavers get ahead of them and the Godlewskis catch up. The Weavers get to the clue box first, where they have to both take a number and then board a helicopter for a ride to the top of Elephant Butte, one of Utah's many big-ass rocks. The helicopter holds two teams, and when the Linzs get to the clue box, they forget to take a number. This opens the door for the Godlewskis, giving this see-saw battle yet another turn. Is it possible for no one to win?

With the Linzs sitting and stewing, they lend truth to the saying of "just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not after you", forming an informal alliance with the remaining Godlewski sisters to Yield the Weavers if at all possible for the rest of the race. This is what not making friends gets you, Linda!

The first two teams now return from their helicopter ride, with their clue sending them to a formation known as the Gemini Bridges near Moab, Utah. Meanwhile, Nick and Alex have had their speech devolved into whoops and hollers as they go up in their helicopter ride. They're just a little overstimulated now, but we'll just get some beer into them and then straight to bed. The Bransens are still bringing up the rear at this point, but the field has definitely come back to them.

Now it's time for our weekly demonstration of why the Weavers should never have been allowed to leave Florida; after using Utah as an example of why the world isn't overpopulated, Rolly then declares that God must have spent less time on Utah than the rest of the world. Of course, you could also read something into the fact that Florida gets nailed by several hurricanes every year. Just sayin'.

Pointless drama on the highway ensues, as the Linzs manage to pass the Weavers and get into first; they do a little victory cry as they go past, further enraging the Weavers. No one told them it would actually be a race. It's times like this I almost begin to feel for them, as they clearly want to participate in the smack talk, but just don't have the vocabulary for it, and have to resort to grade school-level taunts.

The Linzs are the first to the clue box, which is the Detour. It's a choice between a six-mile bike ride or a 270-foot rappel down a mountain side. Being the daredevils they are, they instantly choose the rappel.

Meanwhile, the Weavers are making their way in, but still find time to put in a little display of ignorance. Rachel says that she's never heard anything about Utah - apparently, this is Utah's fault - to which Linda adds that she knows one thing; it's the Mormon state. This is possibly the most shocking thing Rachel's ever heard, as she reacts as if she's been told there are real, live elves running around. Bear in mind that this woman is these children's teacher, then realize that you might have to deal with them in the future. Now despair. Now where was I? Oh right, the race - they decide to take the bike riding task, which sadly enough proves to be too much for Rebecca. See those little things on the handle bars? Those are gears, Rebecca! I swear, these people are culturally seven years old. Her next brilliant comment: "I don't think Lance Armstrong could make it through this." I'm not sure if she's talking about the whole six miles of dirt track or being in their company.

The Bransens have moved into third place somehow, leaving us to wonder if the Godlewskis imploded in a giant ball of sibling rivalry. It's also possible they've killed Christine and are trying to figure out where to bury her body. Anyway, the Bransens have boldly chosen the rappelling task, which makes me wonder if Wally's daughters aren't actively trying to kill him.

At this point, the Linzs have finished their detour and receive their next clue, which is to go to Green River State Park for a family camp-out. So we go from jumping off a cliff, to doing... nothing, in the span of one task. Well thought out, Amazing Race producers!

And now we're back to the incredibly pathetic bike ride, where Rebecca and Rachel are still unable to figure out that down shifting their gears might be helpful on a bike ride. Instead, they take out their stupidity on Utah, with Rachel declaring, "If anyone says they're from Utah, I'll say, 'I'm sorry'." I'm pretty sure that all the other states are now chipping in to make sure you never have to leave yours again.

As the Bransens make their way down the cliff side, we finally get an explanation for where the Godlewskis have been; the camera crew drained their battery. Although they were given a new vehicle, they're not given a time credit. I would seriously like to see the footage as they realized what happened; there are probably bits and pieces of the camera crew strewn about the Utah desert. They're in good spirits still and quickly make their way to the cliff task.

The Weavers are finally through the tougher-than-the-Tour de France bicycle task (and not, unfortunately eaten by coyotes). A quick lucky-rabbit's-foot Jesus prayer (presumably to save them from the Mormons) and they're on their way to the next spot. As the Bransens and Godlewskis putter through the task and make their way to the next rest spot, the pecking order for tomorrow is set. The Linzs are off at 7 a.m., with the Weavers, the Bransens and the Godlewskis at 15 minutes intervals thereafter. It's also time for more woe-is-me whining from the Weavers, who are holed up in their camper wondering why no one is their friend. I get the feeling this is exactly what they do back in Florida, along with planning the day that everyone else will pay. Oh yes, they'll pay.

The next morning, the Linzs get the first clue of the day, which sends them off to Heber City, Utah, where they have to find Bart. This turns out to be an 1100-pound trained Grizzly bear, who is holding their clue. Did Timothy Treadwell or Werner Herzog design this task? A short study in attitudes: The Linzs, when driving through the Utah mountains, are in awe of the scenery, where the Weavers compare the surroundings to a pimple. Honestly, if you're not having fun, just go home. We'd be happier, you'd be happier. Everyone would be happier.

Next out are the Bransens and the Godlewskis, with the latter making special note of the last line of the clue: no yelling or running on the grounds. That's all they do!

Despite one wrong turn, the Linzs are first to Heber City and find Bart first. They avoid becoming scat and are next on their way to Park City and Utah Olympic Park. On the way back through town they pass by the Weavers, who inexplicably duck their heads in some sort of stealth attempt. You're still towing that giant camper, you idiots. With a Yield noted ahead, Megan Linz makes the astute comment that there can be none of their typical bonehead mistakes in driving, especially with the Weavers potentially right behind them.

Although they have no trouble finding Bart (learning the valuable lesson there that bears are friendly), they amusingly miss what appears to be on Google Maps the most direct possible route between the two cities. I can't even find the highway they take. While passing a cyclist on the tiny mountain road, Rolly shouts out "You wish you were Lance Armstrong!" OK, one: they didn't hear your sister's dumb comment of earlier today, since they were, you know, hundreds of miles away, and two: this doesn't make sense even if they were. It's like a Pee Wee Herman-level of insult.


The afterthoughts of today's plot-line, the Bransens and the Godlewskis, escape with all limbs intact from their bear encounter (c'mon, I wasn't the only one hoping for a little malfunction, was I?), though the Godlewskis are setting up another storyline with their constant and quite frankly cruel belittling of Christine, shrill as she may be.

As the route that the Weavers took turns into a single lane windy road through the forest, they start to realize that they may have made a bit of a mistake back there. Nothing gets by them.

The Linzs have successfully avoided driving off a mountain curve and are in Park City first, and eagerly race to the Yield. If only they knew they didn't need it. But still, it's cathartic, and the Weavers are placed one step closer to their ultimate breakdown. They then proceed to their clue box, which contains the Roadblock. One team member has to ride down a ski jump into a giant pool, with points added for style. Or at least they would be if I were running this thing. Nick gets the call for the Linzs, who very well could be in showoff mode. An ill-executed attempt at a back flip works out badly for him, as he does a complete face plant, much to the delight of the rest of his siblings. All it was missing was the Goofy Yell. For that, his reward is the clue, which is, mercifully, the pit stop. It's yet another exciting destination, the Salt Lake City Public Library. Note for the Linz boys: a library is a place that has books.

The Weavers scenic tour of "ugly Utah" (sweet, sweet karma) has let the Bransens get into second place, with Lindsay getting the call for them. The Godlewskis have gained back time As well, and are arriving in the park as the Linzs are leaving it.

Back to Lindsay Bransen, who is making her way up the ski jump, where the tech attempts to scare the bejeezus out of her. She's also getting hit on, and I'm pretty sure it's by a girl (hawt!). I believe the move she does in the air is called The Wounded Duck, while Christine Godlewski performs the Water Buffalo in Flight. Both are on their way to the pit stop, leaving just the Weavers to come.

With the realization that they're almost certainly last, the Weavers have actually stopped for McDonalds, putting them in an even deeper whole to catch up. As an aside, is anyone shocked this family medicates with junk food? No? Didn't think so. Then, suffering from what I'm sure is mild dementia, they race to the Yield and cheer. Linda's really starting to snap, looking like a raccoon that's been put through the spin cycle and says, "I've never been in a situation where I've ever been unliked." Yes, and I'm sure your social circle is incredibly diverse, too.

Back to Salt Lake City and the great Search for the Library. The Linzs have corrected their mistake-prone ways and are first to the mat, greeted by Miss Latin Utah, whom they can't quite hide their pleasure in seeing, and an impish Phil, who after giving them first place, tries to tell them there's no prize. Oh you prankster, Phil! There is one, of course, but it's a little underwhelming by race standards: a trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It's no Bermuda, that's for sure.

The order from the Olympic Park holds for the next two teams, with the Bransens and Godlewskis taking second and third this leg. Try and do something controversial next time, OK guys?

Rolly gets the call for the Weavers at the ski jump, and after finishing the Roadblock, they head off to Salt Lake City (or into the heart of Mormonville! Oh no! Hope they brought their extra big Bibles) with all the joy of a funeral procession. They are, of course last, and seem ready to go home or quit, until Phil cruelly (for us) informs them that it is a non-elimination leg. We're ironically going to need Holy Water to kill off this team.



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