Filed under: Recaps & Reviews
Teams are heading from Dubrovnik, Croatia to Ancona, Italy by bus and ferry. There is some scrambling with the buses, but everyone ends up on the same ferry. The big question is: Will they get turkey dinner?
When teams arrive in Italy, they are instructed to drive to the town of Empoli and are given a Blackberry but told not to attempt to use it for racing purposes.
Everyone gets directions and maps out routes, but TK & Rachel manage to leave their clue behind at a café where they were gathering directions. As everyone else except Nate & Jenn is heading through Bologna (B-O-L-O-G-N-A, as Nic reminds us), TK & Rachel are freaking out because they can't find their clue in the car anywhere. Well, freaking out as they do it, which is not really freaking out at all. Their tension is very subdued and no one throws blame around. NATE AND JENN.
TK even tells us he's "too mellow to handle this," heh. At any rate, they find their clue at the café and are very excited.
Everyone receives messages from home on their Blackberrys (Blackberries?), and we learn, much to my surprise, that TK stands for Thomas Kyle. I was totally leaning toward Theodore Kenneth.
Only Nate & Jenn (who took a different route and didn't experience the same delays as the Bologna-bound group) and a shocked TK & Rachel manage to arrive before sunup and when the place opens at 7 a.m., they grab the Roadblock clue, instructing one team member to fly passenger in an ultralight aircraft searching for a word on the ground indicating the location of their next destination. There is a half hour limit per flight, after which you must refuel before going back up.
Here also we have the Fast Forward, the one and only for this whole race. And what is it? Oh, you just have to get the letters "FF" tattooed on your body is all. It is a total toss-up to me over which is worse between this and shaving your head. Permanent and semi-permanent bodily changes dictated by other people are so not okay with me. Neither of these two teams are going for the FF, so TK & Nate will be in the sky. As Nate takes off, Jenn tells him she loves him. Oh, make up your friggin' mind, lady.
Ron & Christina and Nic & Gramps arrive at the Roadblock/Fast Forward clue, and Nic & Gramps opt for the FF. Ha! And in other news, the Lipsticks are totally lost. This will be a bit of a theme throughout this episode.
Nate spots the word on the ground, which is "Vinci." TK heads back for gas. Christina goes up. Nic & Gramps arrive at the tattoo parlour. Nic is down for tattooing, but Gramps needs a little convincing. He caves and both their tattoos go on their upper left arms.
Christina sees the word. Nic & Gramps are sent to the Pit Stop, the Boboli Gardens in Florence. Nate & Jenn arrive at the Detour. Choices: Invention or Tradition. Invention involves assembling a crane resembling something Leonardo da Vinci designed, then using it to lift a heavy stone just off the ground and reading the clue on the bottom of the stone with a mirror. In Tradition, teams must learn a traditional local flag routine and execute it correctly.
Over in Roadblock land, TK is back for gas again. The Lipsticks arrive. Nic & Gramps hit the Pit Stop in first and win a trip to Mexico. They seem to be intact emotionally, despite the tattoos.
Nate & Jenn and Ron & Chris are doing the flags. I think that's kind of stupid, but maybe the crane one is harder than it looks. Anyway, Ron thinks da Vinci was a complicated guy and his designs would be too hard to figure out. Alright.
Lipstick Girl sees the word. TK does not and is back for gas again, some more. His fourth time up, he finally spots the word. This does not, sadly, redeem the ugly shorts he is wearing.
Nate & Jenn hit the pit stop in second. They are seriously never going to get first, unless they prove to have the obnoxious kind of luck so prevalent in this game and get first right when it counts, and once again a bickering couple win the race. Ugh. Knock on wood. Although, I have to admit, I think Nate is pretty cute, and Jenn is such a nag I can't say I fully blame him for cheating on her. But that might be the Christmas vodka-cran in my hand talking.
I have to mention two things here. One, there is this totally adorable Italian judge at the Tradition detour. He cues a drummer every time he's about to announce whether a team has successfully completed the routine, and then after the drumroll, gives a hearty but simple "NO!" or "SI!" to determine their fate. It is beautiful, and if you didn't see it, I am sorry. Two, Lipstick Boy acts like Lipstick Girl's little sister. She helps him up curbs and everything.
Speaking of them, they choose Invention but decide it's too hard and switch to the flags. TK & Rachel choose Invention because it's right there (Tradition involves a bit of a drive), and stick to it. They build the crane, adorably, while the Lipsticks have an unadorable meltdown in their car and eventually abandon it to walk to the flag place while their replacement car is delivered. I'm not sure what happened to the car exactly, but I'm pretty sure Lipstick Boy's attempts to drive in neutral didn't help any.
Ron & Christina arrive at the pit stop in third place. TK & Rachel finish their detour but blow a tire on their way to the pit stop. Oh noes! It is all very tense as they rush to fix it (remarkably calmly, as always) and the Lipsticks finish the flag routine and head for the pit stop. Rachel looks super cute in her glasses, by the way.
But now, in fourth, it's... TK & Rachel! YAY!!!! The Lipsticks finally arrive in fifth, but finally, finally it's a non-elimination leg, and they are spared. Phil springs a new twist on them called a Speed Bump, which will occur at some point in the following leg. It's an extra task that only the non-eliminated team must perform, so it could conceivably slow them down quite a bit.
Hrmmm. I have to go have Christmas now.
Tags: The Amazing Race