It’s a Festivus miracle! After a few of us falsely believed that there would be no non-elimination legs this season, Phil decided to prove us wrong by springing one on us tonight. Guess you can’t believe everything you read on the Internets after all. Rumor has it that this was all clearly explained in the very first episode, but some bad elf has spiked my eggnog tonight and I can’t remember that far back. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! *ahem* Anyhow, let’s see how the Airing of Grievances and the Feats of Strength went down on this fine evening...
Will Ronald continue to let Christina take charge? Will Nate and Jen be able to repair their craptastic relationship before it’s too late? These are the burning questions that Phil asks as we start the show from last week’s Pit Stop. Except that we all know the answers to both of those questions: a big fat resounding NO. After a rest period of twelve hours, Ron and Christina get to drag their behinds out of bed at 2:19 am and learn that they must proceed by bus to the city of Split, Croatia and then take a ferry to Ancona, Italy. “Woohoo!” seems to be the general consensus of the teams after learning their next destination. I’m jealous. Ron and Christina discuss whether “prego” is an actual Italian term or just a spaghetti sauce. I only know curse words, so I’m of no help there.
“The pink and black attack,” so called by Vyxsin, is doing just fine in both of their opinions. Kynt believes that Italy is a bastion of high fashion and coolness, and that they’ll fit right in. Nate and Jen admit that they totally sucked at the rowing yesterday, and Jen confesses that once they both get to ripping on each other, it’s almost impossible to stop. She doesn’t even sound sure that they’ll be together at the end of the Race. Here’s your Couple of the Year, people. Cast your votes now.
Of course, once the first three teams arrive at the bus station in Split, they find out that it doesn’t open until 5 am and the teams are bunched like Jen’s undies. This is good news for them, however, since the last two teams won’t be leaving the last Pit Stop until after 5, so they’ll miss the first bus. While they wait, Christina snarks on the Goths, saying it’s like watching a performance every time she sees them, and Ronald says it’s like Kabuki theater. TK and Rachel and Don and Nick catch the next bus. No big deal, it turns out, as all teams end up on the same ferry to Ancona.
Kynt Don’t Know Stick
Whilst the other teams play cards and have fun on the long ferry ride, Kynt painstakingly spackles another layer of makeup on, wanting his lipcolor to be just so for the arrival in Italy. Even Vyxsin looks extra glittery as she warns Kynt that they’re really going to have to step it up and hit the ground running. Said while she puts another layer of Goth Black on her nails, of course.
And run they all do once they land - right past the barriers with the clues stuck on them. Duh. Rachel is the only one who spies the clues, whispering to TK, but Nick and Don hear them tear the clue off and come running back, as do the others. They should have let them all get out of hearing range and then took the thing off. Grr! They tear open the clue to find that they must drive themselves to Empoli, then find Campo di volo Silvano Poli in Comune di Cortenuova. Oh, and each team gets a Blackberry, but it’s only to receive a message later on. They can’t use it for anything else, like checking email or downloading porn during the long 200 mile drive. Sorry, Don.
The teams hop in their stick shift cars (here we go again...) and immediately begin hunting down locals for the best way to get to Empoli. Kynt, being a “freshman” in the school of stick shift driving according to Vyxsin, is relegated to the backseat while Vyxsin drives. Teams get different advice on the best route to Empoli. Nate and Jen are sent through Forli, while TK and Rachel are told to go through Rome. TK and Rachel also absent-mindedly leave their clue behind at the café where they asked for help, and have to backtrack to retrieve it after tearing the car apart in search of the paper. TK, ever the laid-back hippie, doesn’t get flustered. “This is probably the worst thing that’s happened yet,” he deadpans. That, and the time his roommate smoked up all his stash.
The Blackberry messages come in, and they’re from family members. Nate’s mom and dad send one that says “You better win or don’t come home. Just kidding!” It probably said “don’t come home with Jen,” but Jen conveniently left that part out. Vyxsin gets one from her mom, causing her to cry a bit and ruin her makeup. Even Ron starts sniffling when they get a message from his other daughter, cheering them on. Don’s son tells him not to embarrass him. Too late! I think we cleared that hurdle back when he stripped down to his drawers in the mud a few weeks ago.
Nick and Don, the Goths, and Ron and Christina are all headed to Bologna, and run into a huge roadblock. No, not an official one, it looks like an accident has the main road closed down and they must find another way around. This is going to cause them hours of extra driving. At night. On dark, twisty roads. Not a good thing.
TK Gets High
Nate and Jen and TK and Rachel find the airfield in Empoli first, and it opens at 7 am. The other teams are still driving, and have been all night. Nate opens the clue to reveal a Roadblock and this season’s only Fast Forward, which he refuses to do even though Jen thinks they should. And we all know that Jen is always right. The Roadblock consists of a ride on an ultralight over six miles of acreage, where the team member must search the ground for the name of their next destination. They only get 30 minutes at a time, then the ultralight must land for refueling.
Ron and Christina and Nick and Don roll up as Nate and TK are in the air, enjoying their flights. Nick and Don decide to try the Fast Forward, not knowing exactly what it is. Jen pouts to Rachel, saying that they should have taken the Fast Forward, and that she’s tired of not winning a leg. Christina decides to do the flight after some waffling and a tirade from Ron that disgusts Rachel. “I haven’t heard him yell at her yet. I have no forgiveness or respect for the way Ron talks to his daughter,” she says.
While Nate and Christina spot the name on their first try (Vinci, home of Leonardo), an exasperated TK is just starting one of four trips he takes up after not seeing anything. Meanwhile, Vyxsin is exhausted and freaking out, feeling like they’re lost. “It’s been 30 hours since I’ve slept and I’m so stressed out!” she cries as Kynt takes over. They actually make it to the airfield as TK is on his third flight, and Vyxsin finds the clue on her first try. TK finally gets it on his fourth flight, and they’re now in last place.
Nick and Don find the Fabio Studio, and their jaws hit the floor when they find out what the Fast Forward involves: getting a tattoo. Nick looks terrified, and even grandpa is hesitant - heck, I figured Don would already have a naked lady tattooed somewhere. The idea of getting eliminated scares them worse than getting the two little “F’s” (for Fast Forward, har har) tattooed on their bodies, so they sit down to get inked. They both get it on their shoulder. “This is forever, now,” says Don. Don gripes about the person who thought the Fast Forward up as they head to the Pit Stop, the Boboli Gardens.
Nate and Jen discover the Detour, Invention or Tradition. Invention involves putting together one of Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions (a wooden crane) piece by piece, and Tradition is learning a flag routine. They choose the flags, and Jen plays Drill Sargent to Nate. They flub the first try, but get it right on the second. Ron and Christina choose the flags also, because Ron remembers how complicated some of da Vinci’s drawings are.
Kynt and Vyxsin choose Invention, until they see the pile of parts needed to assemble the crane, then they hightail it back to learn the flag routine. Vyxsin drives, and goes to make a U-turn in a narrow street until Kynt tells her she can’t. She sighs and floors the gas pedal, sending Kynt into a rage. “Stop this car! Stop this car now, Vyxsin! You’re not capable!” he screeches with all the authority of a six year old girl. She pulls over as he gets in the driver’s seat, reprimanding her for throwing a tantrum. I don’t know who pissed in his Goth flakes that morning, but I’d have let him jump out of the car like he threatened to do.
TK and Rachel choose to assemble the crane while the non-stick-shift-driving Kynt has managed to screw up the transmission in the car. Vyxsin parks the broken vehicle while Kynt bitchily tells her to shut up, and they jog to the flag location instead of waiting on their replacement car. And, I have to add, poor Vyxsin is carrying both of their backpacks. What a punk he is. TK and Rachel are overjoyed to drive by the jogging Goths, happy to know that they’re no longer in last place - until their tire blows out. TK changes it as the Goths complete their flag routine, and they all head to the Pit Stop, coming in as follows....
1st - Nick and Don, winning a five night trip to a Cancun spa (spar, in Phil-speak). Don reiterates that he got a “permanent” tattoo. As opposed to the stick on kind, I guess.
2nd - Nate and Jen, not getting first place yet again. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.
3rd - Ron and Christina
4th - TK and Rachel. I don’t know what happened, but Phil looks very displeased with them.
Last, but not eliminated - Kynt and Vyxsin
Yes, the Goths were saved by a non-elimination leg. Phil warns them that they will encounter a new twist in the game next time: a Speedbump. This is an extra task that only they must complete - they won’t know when it’s coming, and they’ll have to work hard to keep up with the others. They might even have to chill on the makeup routine. *gasp* Vyxsin breaks down after the rotten day they’ve had, but they vow to Race hard. And not let Kynt drive a stick.
Next week - Kynt and Vyxsin play dirty to get ahead, and Ron shows his ass yet again. Shocker.