Filed under: Recaps & Reviews
I am very, very excited about this episode, because as you can see from the title, we're going to New Zealand. And the reason this is exciting is because I have actually been there, unlike pretty much everywhere else they go on the race. And it's even more exciting because the show hasn't gone to New Zealand since the fifth season, and the fifth season's Kiwi adventure played a big part in my wanting to go to New Zealand (uh, the other main reason was, of course, The Lord of the Rings, because I'm predictable like that), and in what I did when I was there – I sledged the very river they did on the show, and I also got to Zorb, which is the coolest thing ever and you should probably do it.
But enough about me! There is a show to be recapped here!
Teams are sent from Bolivia (where we're assured Kelly & Christy are still very much angry at Nick & Starr) to Auckland, New Zeeeeee-land (for that is how all the teams pronounce it, except for Andrew, who got it more along the lines of how they say it there, kind of like New Zilland). Dan reminds us Phil is from New Zealand and that there are a lot of kiwis there.
Everyone gets on the same flight, arriving in Auckland at 3:55 a.m. Once there, they drive themselves (on the left side of the road, remember) to Gulf Harbour, where they are to look for a Gordian Knot, which basically looks like a head-sized ball of rope. They must unravel the whole thing to find a clue right at the centre.
Ty & Aja set the tone for their storyline this episode with a fight in the airport, and things don't look much better for them when Ty pops a tire driving to the first New Zealandian task. Right after Aja and her Stupid Red Tights tell him he's doing a good job driving, too.
The clue inside the knot sends teams to the summit of Mount Eden, a dormant volcano and Auckland's highest natural point. Ken & Tina are the first to get their clue, which also comes with a Fast Forward, of which, as you probably know, there are only two on the entire race and you can only use it once, so teams must decide when it's most advantageous to go for it. (Thanks, Phil.) This particular Fast Forward involves climbing from the Skydeck on the Auckland Skytower to the tiptop of the actual tower, where you'll find a Travelocity gnome. Three cheers for product placement. This task looks both incredibly scary and incredibly cool. Ken & Tina decide to go for it, and perhaps ill-advisedly, so do Andrew & Dan.
Ken & Tina get there first, and when the Rat Boys arrive a short while later and see another car already in the parkade, they cut their losses and head off to do the tasks, the first of which is...
Roadblock: Match Maori Tattoo
The Roadblocking teammate has to match a pattern they select from a box to the patterns painted on the faces of a group of Maori warriors, who of course are beating their chests and waggling their tongues and stomping and generally being very fierce. (If you have seen Whale Rider, you know what I mean. If you have not seen Whale Rider... What are you waiting for?) If they get it wrong, the warrior steals their pattern card and runs away. If they get it right, they get a clue, and maybe a gentle nose-to-nose Maori greeting if they're lucky. Phil says the word Maori so prettily.
The best part is how when they're at the box where they pick their pattern, there's a particularly fierce-acting warrior there to intimidate them, and Terence, when he goes to choose his, is totally terrified. He's all "OH MY GOD DUDE" right in the guy's face. Hahaha, moron. Way to be respectful. He strikes out with the first warrior he guesses and he hollers that it's ridiculous! Just ridiculous! Because he sucks at it, you see? I bet he is an exceptionally motivating running coach. Anyway, he gets his next try and says it was the craziest thing he's ever done. Terence lives large, people!
The clue tells them to find the City Life Hotel in downtown Auckland and head up to the roof. Speaking of roofs, over at the Fast Forward, Tina is all, "HELLS BELLS." She is afraid of heights and yet she is scaling the SkyTower. Which is really quite tall. Well, I'm impressed.
Ok, over at the Roadblock, some weird stuff is happening, and I really feel like I should share it with you. If you're just in this for the bare-bones details, you can skip the next two paragraphs.
So Kelly & Christy can't figure out where or how to drive up to the summit, so they park and decide to walk up. Dallas & Toni totally drive right past them, but not before there's this incredibly weird sequence of shots where Dallas is driving through the gate thanking the gatekeeper, and the sun is barely creeping over the mountain. Then we cut to Toni waving thank you to someone – presumably also the gatekeeper – from the backseat, and it's broad (and I mean broad) daylight. It's totally incongruous and completely unnecessary. Why did we need the throwaway shot of Toni waving anyway? Especially since it's obviously not from the right moment! WHAT IS THE POINT? I need answers.
And then, awesomely, the Rat Boys also pass Kelly & Christy, and on their way by, Andrew shouts out the window, "Why are you running? It says 'drive up to the summit.'" Kelly & Christiy snot back, "We decided to walk." Andrew: "Uh... uh, ok, cool?" And the guys drive off, laughing incredulously: "They... decided... to walk?"
Back to your regularly scheduled recap, Toni takes the Roadblock and gets it on the first try, and Terence & Sarah are already at the hotel starting the next task, which is to use binoculars to scan the surrounding area to spot Travelocity gnomes doing New Zealand "wish list activities." After all this time, the Belles are finally arriving at the very first task with the knot. They're so far behind it's not even funny, and they have no clue what this mythical knot they're looking for even looks like, so they keep walking by it sitting on the dock. Sigh.
Ken & Tina have arrived at their gnome, and once safely back on the ground, they read their Fast Forward clue, which sends them on a helicopter ride straight to the Pit Stop, a sheep farm called Summerhill, where they are welcomed by none other than PHIL'S DAD!!!! Their gnome has won them a week-long trip to Rio de Janeiro for Carnaval.
Various people take the Roadblock and nothing terribly interesting happens. This depth of excitement continues through the gnome-spotting task, and first to get their next clue are Terence & Sarah. The clue tells them to drive a local landmark called Kiwi 360. It looks like a giant kiwi sliced in half. Here, we have, you guessed it...
Detour: Matter of Time or Matter of Skill
In Matter of Time, teams must squish twelve quarts of juice out of a bin of kiwis with their bare feet. Then they each have to DRINK A GLASS OF IT OMG EW. That's disgusting.
In Matter of Skill, teams assemble two blokarts (that's like blow + cart, and you should check out the site because they're very proud to have been on The Amazing Race) and "sail" them around a track three times.
Terence & Sarah and Dallas & Toni both pick the kiwis. They start stomping around and find it's not much fun, because their feet are getting cut up by both the kiwis and what are apparently rocks at the bottom of the tanks. Kiwi-blood juice, yum yum. Nonetheless, Terence & Sarah finish in short order and head to the Pit Stop in second place. Phil's dad is so proud to be Phil's dad.
Dallas & Toni, meanwhile, switch detours, and as they're leaving, the Rat Boys show up. Everyone keeps heading there, but teams are dropping like flies. The Rat Boys discover the rocks at the bottom and Dan's getting frustrated, hollering, "WHY DID I WEAR PANTS TODAY?" which, if you ask me, would have been a much better episode title. They drop out and as they're heading off, I wonder why Dan didn't just roll his pant legs up. Fool. Nick & Starr also switch, but Kelly & Christy have an easy time with the kiwis, saying they're exfoliating their legs (mmm, kiwi-dead-skin juice) and massaging their feet and it's totally so fun and refreshing. Curious.
Meanwhile, at the other detour option, Dallas & Toni have assembled their karts and head out on the track. They don't seem like they're particularly easy to control, though the only person who ends up in massive trouble is Starr, who wipes out twice and the second time is all, "I broke my aaarrrrrmmmm." And even when the racetrack guy asks her if she's ok, she's like, "Yes. I think I broke my aaarrrrrmmmm, but I'm fine, I have to keep going." Oh, I am so sure. Such a martyr, that Starr. So tough. Willing to practically die to get her team ahead in the race.
The really great part is that she cries the whole time about her arm, and when they finish and get in the car to drive to the Pit Stop, she is driving. Why? WHY?? In the notes I took as I was watching, I was all freaking out like, "CAN NICK NOT DRIVE? DO THEY SERIOUSLY HAVE ONLY ONE TEAM MEMBER WITH A DRIVER'S LICENSE?" But then after she whined long enough, he finally offers to switch, like... duh. Seriously.
Anyway, enough about them; they come in fifth, after Dallas & Toni. The Rats check in and they're in sixth. Somehow, they totally thought they were last, so they're basically losing it from excitement. Dan hugs Phil's dad and he's like, "I love you, Phil's dad! You're my dad too!" Phil's dad is so nice he doesn't even mind. Poor Dan. He's had a hard day. First his pants got all covered in kiwi juice. Then Andrew was totally better than him at assembling blokarts so he totally can't even treat him like crap anymore. AND he thought he was getting kicked off the race. Phew, someone needs a nap.
It appears, even comparing the amount of daylight left in each set of shots, that Ty & Aja (at the karts) and the Belles (at the kiwis) are in a dead heat for last. Ty & Aja can't get one of their knots tied right (and their kart guy – they have a title that's all official, but he's in a hoodie so he's just a guy as far as I'm concerned – keeps telling them it's in the wrong "posushion." Yes, they really do talk like that, "fush and chups" and all), but the Belles aren't having any trouble squishing the kiwis and seem to be in good spirits. The sun's very nearly down as they're both finishing up, so who knows what's going on anymore.
We wait in suspense at the Pit Stop, and The Phils look a little cold. Ty & Aja make it there first and are told they're seventh to arrive and still in the race. Some time later, Marisa & Brooke run up crying and Phil's dad is crying too and the Belles are last and they're eliminated. Phil's dad gives them a big hug because they are sad. Aw, no wonder Phil seems like such a kind man.
Next week: I don't know! They didn't tell me! Jerks.
Haha, you're right. Why didn't I wear pants today is totally a better title.
I dunno, the Belles just seemed to have absolutely no sense of hurry today, so they kind of deserved to go home.
But Phil's dad, amazing! And how cute was he with the crying and the hugging!?!
I've always though Zorbing looked amazing. That is so awesome that youve done it.