I must begin by thanking Thor, God of Thunder for not visiting this week. The weatherman had predicted a visit, and all day I stared at the sky and my anger would start to rise at the thought of The Amazing Race getting preempted once again for the Doppler screen. I was so sure it was going to happen. Perhaps it’s God’s way of telling me I don’t know it all. Reverse psychology maybe? Except that I really did think it would rain.
I was in the kitchen when the episode started and my kids didn’t even pause it for me. Their reason? “They were just catching us up on what happened last week”.
Silly kids… that’s Phil talking. He could be catching me up on the amount of lint he found in the dryer and I would listen. Rewind.
So Phil recounts the happenings from last week, and I listen like I am getting a first hand account of the burning bush from Moses himself. Since I don’t type like Phil talks, I’ll spare you the details.
This week the four remaining teams learn they will be leaving the Pit Stop and going to Puu Jih Syh Temple to find a small Buddha among thousands. Once they find the Buddha with their names on it, they realize the package has a key which will open a rattan bag revealing the next clue.
Teams must fly to Seoul South Korea. A van will come by the temple every half hour starting at midnight to take teams to the airport. Once in Seoul they need to get to Namsan Park and make their way to the base of the Seoul Tower where the next route marker awaits. The clue in this box will direct teams to Sundam Valley, where the Roadblock directions are found.
The team member choosing to do the roadblock will be the one with the “colder” personality. This will make for a hard decision for Kelly and Jon. The person must swim under the ice for a short distance. Once they get out of the water they must wait for their body temperature to return to normal. Once that happens they can leave.
The clue they receive after their brief swim tells them to find Subway Station 229 back in Seoul. The clue they find there tells them about the Detour. This week the choices are Strong Hands or Strong Stomach. If teams choose strong hands they must break three sets of boards using tae kwon do. If they choose strong Stomach, they must eat a South Korean delicacy know only as live freakin’ squid. A plateful. A moving plateful. I don’t mean that the plate itself moves… just the cut up squid on it. Just a warning here. There are people that make this choice, and my daughter wants to know how I will recap it if I couldn’t even watch it.
Once teams finish the Detour they are told to get to Gyeongbokgung Palace to meet Phil on the Mat at the Pit Stop for this leg of the race.
And away we go…
Reichen and Chip 10:26pm
Has anyone here seen the episode of WKRP where the cop tries to prove how drinking slows your reflexes? The cop tests Johnny Fever’s reflexes, gets him drunk and tests him after every few shots. Johnny’s reflexes get better. I think that’s what’s happening with Chip and Reichen. They are handling themselves well, they’re thinking, and they don’t seem to be letting the stress of the race get to them like they did in earlier episodes. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if they won the whole thing. Of course, since God is out to prove me wrong, we can now guarantee that they will not win. Sorry guys.
They are the first to arrive at the temple, and it doesn’t take them long to find “their” Buddha. They get the key, and realize they have to wait for the prearranged ride to the airport. During this time they could do a few different things. What they decide to do is take some time to really appreciate where it is they are, and the serenity of the temple. I smile as I see Reichen bow his head in prayer. He is truly touched by the spirituality of the temple, and it’s nice to see the team absorb some of the race in a non hectic manor.
The van comes to take them to the airport, and they slip right back into race mode. At the airport they of course, try to get the earliest flight(s) to Seoul. After deciding on a flight to Singapore and a connecting flight to Seoul, they ask the ticket agent to NOT tell anyone else about this great arrangement. The ticket agents stare and nod. I am pretty sure I’ve mentioned in a previous recap that teams should not take the “Yes” head movement that is the nod to actually mean yes. Oh well.
They board the plane to Singapore and later the plane to Seoul, but are worried as they don’t see all the other teams. This concerns them. Still they take the time to find a cab driver that speaks English, and this turns out to be a brilliant idea. They really have learned from past mistakes, and although finding the cabbie takes a few minutes, it’s worth the wait as their cabbie actually gets them to the next point in the race.
At the Roadblock it is decided that Chip has the colder personality and he will perform the task. He strips down to his undies and we get to see more than we bargained for. I have a feeling CBS would have called for the “Blur Dot Sensor Guy” to work his magic, but I’m not sure they had a “Blur Dot” big enough. Honestly, I’m not one to even notice things like that, but…
So Chip dives into the ICEWATER and swims the path to the exit. Have guys been lying about that whole shrinkage thing all these years? Sorry, I really am not one to notice these kids of things but…
So with a little help from some complete strangers, and Reichen, Chip gets dried off and his temperature returns to what it was pre-swim. The two go get their cab and head off for the Subway station. It takes them a while to find the clue, but once they do it doesn’t take long for them to decide that they would do better with the Strong Stomach choice, and they head off for the restaurant.
Once there, they are really surprised at how much of the octopus they are expected to eat. Chip starts to eat a pretty large package… I mean piece… and learns that the octopi suction themselves to his teeth. It is very hard to actually swallow when they are holding on. There is talk of throwing up, and some actual gagging going on, but as I alluded to above, I didn’t actually see any of this.
Chip somehow finishes his plate, then comes up with a great idea for Reichen. He reminds him of the oyster shooters that they had at their wedding, and proceeds to cut up the octopi into smaller pieces, put them in a mug of water and have Reichen down them like they were shooters. This method works well for them, and they are able to finish their dinner, and receive the next clue directing them to the impossible to spell palace which serves as this weeks Pit Stop. They arrive…
Jon and Al 12:56am
Knowing that Reichen and chip left the night before (yes, technically they did) didn’t seem to deter the clowns. When I mentioned above that Reichen and Chip have calmed and mellowed in spite of the race, Jon and Al never had to mellow. They have remained calm throughout, and in my opinion are the only team that seems to have had fun the entire time. They are a pleasure to watch.
They arrive at the temple and seem to have no problem locating the Buddha statue with their names. While they wait for their van, they see another team coming, and of course greet them heartily.
At the airport they see Reichen and Chip speaking with some ticket agents, then see the ticket agents nod. When it is their turn they learn… I’m not positive they had to ask… that Reichen and Chip got a flight to Singapore, then Seoul. The clowns get the same flight.
Once in Singapore, they realize they have 4 hours in which they could find an earlier flight. They find themselves on stand by for an earlier flight.
I have to wonder how stand by works, because they seem to get on with no problem, and of course it’s not just them but the camera guy and sound guy too.
Arriving a little earlier in Seoul puts them in a good place. After getting to the tower and receiving the next clue they learn that they need to get to the Sundam Valley, not far from the North Korean Border.
They spot another team, and the four racers decide to share a cab to the valley. Unfortunately they get a cabbie that does not speak English. It still surprises me that so many people (Americans) think that people in other countries should speak English.
So anyhoo, off they go. Shortly after their trip begins we start to see tanks. Then more tanks. Then soldiers with rifles, then a bridge which prompts one of the races to yell “Hey, isn’t that the bridge we were told NOT to cross”.. the sentence takes him so long that they are crossing the bridge halfway through it.
This is a tense situation. I really do not think I could put in writing how I think they must have felt. Eek. Scary situation. I kept thinking about Andre and Damon from last year.
They manage to get themselves back on track and arrive at the Roadblock where it’s up to Al to perform the swim.
Perhaps the best part of the show was the three seconds of “relaxation” dance we got to see the clowns perform. Yay Jon and Al, you never cease to make me smile.
The ice is so thick that the “changing” tents and all the people are standing on the ice hanging out. It looks so cold to me and I know this is the point in the race where cali would wuss out. Al puts his feet in the water, takes a second to gather his thoughts and plunges in. He swims quickly to the exit ladder where people are waiting with towels to dry him off and warm him up.
After his body temperature rises he and Jon head off to the top of the little hill to find their cab. There is a tense couple of moments as it looks like the cab is gone. Luckily it’s still there and the clowns are able to return to Seoul and find the subway station.
After reading the two choices for the Detour these two opt for “strong hands” and head off for the Tea Kwon Do studio. I am disappointed that we are not let in on the secret to how to break the boards. The editing makes it look like the team wasn’t even spoken too, that they walked into the studio to encounter a man holing the boards up to be punched.
The two look like pros as they smash the boards and are handed the next clue. They learn they must get themselves to the palace, and after bowing to the sansei (hell if I know how to spell it), they head off for the Pit Stop, arriving…
David and Jeff 1:11am
I realize we, and by we I mean, I have joked about never seeing these guys, but I feel the need to mention that when they were leaving the Pit Stop to get to the temple my daughter, in all seriousness, said “Who are they?” I had to laugh. Even with the team numbers diminishing as they are, she still doesn’t know them.
They get to the Temple and find both the Buddha and the rattan basket with the clue, and find themselves waiting with another team for the taxi-van to arrive. Of course when the first van gets there we leave David and Jeff and I have no idea what they do while waiting the extra 30 minutes for the next van.
In order to extend their paragraph I will just insert the following speculation:
David and Jeff take this time to reflect upon the beauty of the temple. They converse about how they are having such a great time, but had no idea how much they would miss their families. After deep thought provoking conversations about their proximity to North Korea once they get to Seoul the van comes and they go to the airport.
Once they arrive, they too find the blabbermouth ticket agents, and find themselves sharing the flight plan with the others.
Like Jon and Al, these two took a few minutes to find the time to get themselves an earlier flight to Seoul. Since they are with Jon and Al the foursome decide it would be better to share a cab to the next point. This of course means that David and Jeff are with the clowns when they approach the Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea. I am pretty sure it was one of these guys that yelled about the bridge I mentioned in Jon and Al’s paragraph, but you know they don’t have any airtime, so we didn’t see the face that the words came out of.
I think this trip left a truly lasting impression on these guys. To see the tanks and the soldiers up close like that was a scary site, one that is not seen in the US, unless you happen to live in DC or NYC, where the streets pretty much looked like that for a while after 9/11.
Once at the Detour these two decide that David would be better suited for the challenge. He strips down to his skivvies and jumps into the icy cold water. Jeff and the clowns cheer him on, and like the others before him he is dried off b a bunch of strangers.
His body temperature gets itself up to it’s pre swim number, and they are given the next clue.
They reach the taxi, and realize that it might not have been a good idea to share a cab, as now they really have no choice but to go on with out the clowns.
Or wait for them and lose some time. Ultimately they decide that the clowns deserve to be waited for, and this is why there was a brief moment when the clowns couldn’t see the cab.
Once they get into the city, they drive the cab to another cab, and the four slit up.
David and Jeff have a hard time finding the right subway station but finally get themselves to the box containing the clue, and for some reason they decide that they would have better luck trying the Strong Stomach and head off for the restaurant.
Now, if you’ve been paying attention you will know that the chances of me recapping the eating portion are pretty slim. I watch the first plate being put on the table, but then they start talking about hearing the cleaver chopping in the kitchen, and I avert my eyes, but still catch a glimpse of the chef chopping away, and bits of live squid trying to “pull a Terminator II” and reform itself to it’s prior state. If the squid were silver, and looked like mercury rolling across the cutting board, the illusion would be complete.
David and Jeff realize that their stomachs are not quite as strong as they thought, and decide to “pull and Ken and Gerard” and change detours halfway through. They decide to head off for the Dojo and seem to have no problem punching through the boards. I am grateful as I realize I will be able to recap this part. My elation quickly fades as I realize the editors won’t really be showing much here. They punch and they receive directions to the Pit Stop where they arrive…
Kelly and Jon 3:42am
I give these two the hardest time out of all the teams. I feel the need to announce that I am not so gullible to believe that what I see on television is really the person. I understand that they are characters developed in order to make a compelling television program.
Having said that I stand by my previous statement of “You can’t edit in a bad personality"
So with what I’ve seen of these two, they never fail to get on my nerves. I will continue to give them the hardest time, and if I ever meet them and they turn out to be wonderful people I will happily come announce that to the masses here. Honestly.
God, if you love me, please make sure I never meet them
They leave the Pit Stop and I swear I hear Kelly say that their strategy is to relax. I honestly wonder when they plan on implementing this strategy.
Once at the temple, they seem to have no problem locating their Buddha. I seem to think Buddha himself was throwing the statue at them, along with the key, the rattan basket, and the clue. Anything to get them out of the temple. I could be wrong.
At his point I begin to think that there was only one possible flight to Seoul, as these two wound up on the same flight as the others. Once at the airport in Singapore, they thought time would be better used for a rest so they kept the original flight plan and landed in Seoul an hour after the two leading teams.
Luckily for them they happened to get a cabbie that could get them where they were going. No trip to the Demilitarized Zone for them. Darn.
So, one guess as to which one performs the road block? Did you guess Kelly? HA! It was Jon. It was his turn though seeing as he has only done the masquerade party, Bungee jump, eel transfer, Palai fish carry, bull racing, and the ladder climb. Come on Jon, this is a team, start doing your part would ya?
Thankfully we get no close up shots of “the package” ( I wonder what Kelly calls it? Éclair perhaps?). Actually maybe we did and I just didn’t notice.
He seems to have some trouble getting his body temperature up to normal after the swim, which surprises me because I thought cold blooded reptilian like creatures had some kind of inner thermometer for the cold water. Oh well.
So the two get the next clue and head off in a taxi to find the subway station. Kelly. (Please remember their strategy for the game) starts to go off on Jon. She tells him they should be riding the subway to get to the subway station. He is stupid for insisting that they remain in the cab. She hope he gets eliminated to prove what a stupid ass he is. I guess I should be thankful that she doesn’t have Flo’s voice.
The cab gets them directly to the clue box and immediately Kelly realizes they need to choose the Strong Hands detour. John seems to punch through the boards quickly, and honestly, even though he gets on my nerves, I have to admit that it sounded to me that he was really trying to encourage Kelly. With just a few syllables out of his mouth she yells at him to shut his pie hole. She has trouble with the first few attempts, and winds up with some small cuts on her fingers, but she does complete the task and runs out of the building.
Without the clue.
Sadly, Jon yells for her to return, and they receive the directions to the Pit Stop where they are greeted by Phil.
Pit Stop at Gyeongbokgung Palace
There’s Phil. Ahhhhhhhhhhh.
Sorry. Here they come:
1. Kelly and Jon and a stupid Caribbean vacation
2. Reichen and Chip
3. Jon and Al
4. David and Jeff.
As many of us discussed before the show aired, this was indeed another non-elimination round meaning we might actually have a chance to get to know David and Jeff. Tune in next week when Kelly gets eaten by a shark. Yes, I know they make it look like Reichen (or Chip) are in trouble, but they never show what really happens, so I’m going to enjoy my week thinking that Kelly gets eaten!
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