Last week: Steve and Linda were Philiminated in an ending that we could all see a mile away. Much like that clearly marked mountain trail that poor Linda got lost on. Fear not, Linda, you’re not the only Racer who can’t spot the glaringly obvious red and yellow markers on a path. More on that later. For now, we’re off to Romania: land of gymnastics, vampires, and gypsies. At least according to the TAR editors. Stereotype much?
For whatever reason, we get a supersized intro for this eppy, going all the way back to the first show. The Luke Show! Groin pulls! Clueless stewardesses! And, weirdly, a preview of Victor and Tammy falling to pieces. Does this mean they’re toast tonight? Since when do we get previews in our recaps? Stop confusing me, Phil.
Our teams discover that they’ll be scooting off to Munich by train, then to Bucharest, Romania. There, they will discover the joys of gymnastics in the very same gym that Nadia Comaneci trained. And we’ll get to discover a bit more than I’d like to know about our Racers' preferred choice of undergarments, because those leotards sure don’t cover much. Today wasn't a good day to wear a thong, girls. Oy.
Confessionals on the way: Mike hasn’t let his Hollywood fame go to his head, says Mel. Brad is a recovering addict. Luke signs that he’d like to be able to communicate with the other teams and know what they’re talking about. Margie thought Bucharest was in Hungary (no, that’s Budapest). And Victor really, really doesn’t like to be wrong, according to his sister. Well, that attitude will come back to bite him in his bossy little behind later on.
The journey to Bucharest is a total mess. Tammy and Victor left with an almost two hour lead over the others, but their early flight had to turn around and go back due to technical problems. So much for that lead. They still had a shot at catching the next flight at 4:45pm - unfortunately, they got stuck on the tarmac and watched helplessly as the flight left without them, but with Mel and Mike, Margie and Luke, and Amanda and Kris on board. Sucks to be Tammy and Vic today.
Everyone that's left has to settle for the 9:30pm flight. Or, do they? Brad and Victoria have the bright idea to take another earlier flight that connects through Amsterdam. They decide to take this flight even though they knew it would be delayed, leaving them only 30 minutes to make the connection in Amsterdam. Victoria says it’ll be tight, but she’s not going to freak out over it.
Oh, but they should have. When they finally land in Amsterdam, they find out that the connecting flight has already left. To make matters worse, the next available flight doesn’t leave until 9:15 the next morning. Brad and Victoria hug, resigned to the fact that they’re screwed and can’t do a thing about it. Of all the places in the world for a recovering addict to be stranded for the night. Amsterdam.
Fortunately, the rest of the teams have found their way to the gym, and discover the Roadblock du jour. One teamie must perform three gymnastics moves: balance beam, parallel bars, and floor exercises. And they must do them somewhat correctly, they can’t just flop about like a fish out of water on the mat or hang on for dear life on the balance beam and expect to get the next clue. But they will, just for our entertainment.
Amanda, Margie, and Mike donned leotards and tackled the routines first. Amanda and Mike did pretty damn good, but Margie? Well, let’s just say Margie had some issues, falling off the balance beam and struggling with the parallel bars. Luke cheered her on from the sidelines as best he could. Mike snarked that he “wanted his fricking medal” when he was done. Heh.
Super sibs Tammy and Victor continue their fall from grace as they not only have trouble finding the entrance to the gym, but Tammy fails spectacularly at the gymnastics routine. Girlfriend can’t even do a simple cartwheel or somersault! She struggles while Victor grows increasingly irritated, barking instructions at her. Because screaming at an already upset person is always so helpful. Twit. The instructors take pity upon her and give Tammy the next clue, and she apologizes to her pissy brother for taking so long. He snottily replies “It’s okay, I think your brain just froze.” To her credit, she doesn’t sock him in the nose and sits quietly fuming, tears in her eyes.
Next stop: Brasov, Transylvania where teams have to locate the Biserica Neagra, aka the “Black Church,” for the next clue. Brad and Victoria’s flight is just leaving as the other eight teams are bunched up as they arrive in Brasov. A little mini-alliance seems to be forming between Luke and Margie and Jaime and Cara, who have made an extra effort to communicate with Luke by writing on a pad. The girls think Luke really appreciates this. Probably so, but I think he appreciates a few of their other, er...attributes...as well.
The Black Church? Wow. I’d love to see it in person. Here they run across the Detour for this leg: Gypsy Moves or Vampire Remains. Teams can either make their way to a gypsy camp, load up a pile of
junk“belongings” into a cart and navigate it to a new camp, or drag a coffin down a hill to a clearing, unlock a series of chains and impale the frames found inside on a stake until they find a hidden flag.
Well I know what I’d choose. And it’s not the gypsy camp, which is what Mel and Mike, Amanda and Kris, Mark and Michael, and Jen and Kisha choose to do. What a cluster. Gypsies are dancing, music is playing, and stuff is falling everywhere as the teams try to load it on the horse-drawn carts. I’m talking old tires, rusted car frames, furniture, barrels...junk! Just when they finally get everything offloaded to the new camp, Amanda and Kris happily hop in a taxi only to discover that they’ve lost their fanny packs. Kris freaks. “It had our passports, money, everything! This is terrible!” Why would you even take this thing off? They frantically search for their packs.
And find it. In some gypsy dude’s stuff. Things that make you go hmmm...
Over at vamp mountain, Victor and Tammy, the blondes, the redheads, and Margie and Luke are doing the coffin thing. And yes, until I can tell these women apart I’m calling them the blondes and the redheads. They need nametags, for Pete’s sake. The four teams come up on a marked path, with the typical red and yellow TAR sign pointing one way to coffins, one way to impaling. Off they go to drag a coffin down the leaf-covered hill. Except for Victor, who drags his little sister off on some other path marked with red and white signs.
Tammy tries to point this out to him, but Victor’s not listening. Off he trudges, up the mountain. Up, and up. Huffing and puffing. No coffins in sight. If I could reach through the tv to smack him, I would. Tammy insists that something is wrong, they argue, Vic’s voice gets all squeaky, and 20 miles up some Transylvanian mountain, Victor finally gives in. He sits and cries, wasting even more time. Showing incredible patience (I'd have flung him off the mountain 15 miles ago), Tammy convinces her doofus brother to head back down. If I could give an evil Phil Eyebrow, I’d do it here.
Meanwhile, the others are busily stabbing their frames on stakes to find the flags, fake blood spurting all over. This is after the chains and locks kicked their collective behinds. The Grim Reaper stands in the background, waiting to hand out clues to the bloody Racers. Nice touch, guys! I appreciate the little things.
But wait - Vic and Tammy aren’t done screwing up yet! They finally find a coffin to drag down the hill as the others are running to the Pit Stop. When they get it to the field, they discover that one of their keys has fallen out. Somewhere on the hill. In the leaves. And it’s getting dark. Oh, brother. Will this give Brad and Victoria the chance to catch up?
Alas, no. Teams hit the Amazing Bathmat in this order, with a flautist playing a pan flute by Phil’s side:
1st - Mel and Mike, winning a trip to Costa Rica. Take that, groin pull!
2nd - Amanda and Kris
3rd - Jen and Kisha
4th - Margie and Luke
5th - Mark and Michael, beating the blondes in a footrace. Hilarious.
6th - Christie and Jodi
7th - Jaime and Cara
8th - Tammy and Victor. He cries again.
Philiminated: Brad and Victoria.
*sniff* There goes one of my favorite teams. Try as they might, they never could make up for that missed connecting flight. A blood covered Brad and Victoria comment on how awesome the adventure was. Two rules for future Racers: leave plenty of time for connecting flights no matter how fast you think you are, and don't leave your stuff laying around a gypsy camp. Seriously.
Next week: Siberia, where the teams stack firewood. Or build walls with it. Either way, they suck and the logs fall everywhere. And Luke gets attitude again when he has trouble with a task. See you then!