Amazing Race Nov. 8 – It’s Flight Time’s Birthday, and Matt’s Dad is Superman.

We start this episode in Holland, somewhere north of Amsterdam, with the five remaining teams heading by plane to Stockholm, Sweden. Sam and Dan were the first to depart, and the first to start yelling at each other for this leg.

Meghan and Cheyne think that their success in the race so far is a good omen for their relationship, and talk about future wedding plans after four years of dating. Could this be our old friend ironic foreshadowing making an appearance?

Flight Time and Big Easy contemplate swinging by the Amsterdam’s “red light district” on their way to the airport. They also speculate that this leg will end on Flight Time’s birthday, and that they’d like to finish in first place to start their birthday celebration.

Gary mentions that as the oldest contestant left he wants to keep up the pace. Matt mentions that he has a hard time keeping up with his dad, and thinks age isn’t holding back Gary at all.

Brian and Ericka said that a motivating factor for going on the race is to show their families that they are a compatible couple, as Ericka’s mom is not too wild about their marriage. Then they notice they are driving past the same spot where they walked in wooden clogs the day before (when they should have been biking), and we get some clips reminding us of their “compatibility.”

Planes, Trains, and Amusement Park Rides?

All the teams are trying to get on the 6:55 flight to Stockholm. Matt and Gary and Ericka and Brian (and their respective camera crews) have to catch the later flight that departs two hours later. If it comes down to a footrace, we may find out if an old farmer can outrun a beauty queen.

In Stockholm, the first three sets of teams jump on the train, which Flight Time and Big Easy miss while having a hard time with the ticket machine. Sam and Dan and Meghan and Cheyne are on the first train, which takes them to a boat ride. The boat takes them to an amusement park, where the teams need to send one member of the team up a “tower of terror” type of ride where they need to look for an arrow before the ride drops them really fast. Reminds me of the scene in Zombieland where the girls are on that type of ride, kicking zombies off which they bob up and down.

Sam (or Dan, I honestly can’t tell them apart) and Cheyne are sitting next to each other on the ride and work together to spot the arrow, which points them to a location in the amusement park. They go together to the arrow, which points to a ring toss game. Once you manage to get a ring on a cone, you will get your next clue if the cone contains the Travelosity traveling gnome. I hate product placements as much as your next recapper, but I do love that gnome and never mind finding him. This is the easiest ring toss ever made for any carnival, as I’ve wasted more coins than reasonable in ring tosses that are simply impossible, but this one the teams seemed to get on their first try.

Too Bad Jimmy Walker Wasn’t Available to Announce This Dy-no-mite Detour

For the Detour, the teams get to pick between Dynamite and Vikings. We hear some history about Albert Nobel, the inventor of gunpowder and person who started the Nobel prizes. For this Detour, the teams get to blow something up. Very cool.

The other challenge involves translating Viking rune alphabet symbols, which my hubby would probably like to do as he does have a bunch of them tattooed on his arm. It’s a Minnesota thing I guess. But he’d also like to blow stuff up. There are no “losers” in this challenge I guess. All of the teams picked the dynamite Detour, so we never got to see what the Viking detour required. Maybe it will make an appearance in a future season. What, you say, they never recycle challenges? Oh just you wait, as an old favorite will be making an appearance later this episode.

Flight Time and Big Easy arrive at the amusement park, and the clue indicates that people over 6 foot 4 inches can’t ride the tower of terror. Flight Time needs to do it, as Big Easy is the only person in the race who is taller than that. It’s peculiar that this amusement ride challenge required one member of each team to ride, but wasn’t a Road Block that is a challenge designated for just one member of the team. I was wondering why they specified only one member of each team should ride until the Globetrotters got there and we find out that Big Easy is just too tall to ride this ride. I guess that makes it more fair than if the other teams were able to help out their partners locate the arrow.

Flight Time declares the ride “no joke” but looks happier than he was while eating the herring last week. They don’t find the gnome with their first several ring tosses, and end up having a discussion about their respective shooting skills.

The “B” Team Has Arrived

Meanwhile the later flight has arrived. Brian and Ericka make the first train, but Matt and Gary did not. Oh darn, I didn’t want to see Pinky and The Brain fall behind, but the previews indicated the dreaded “unrolling the hay bales” challenge which could possibly take someone forever, so I’m not giving up hope yet, especially because Matt and Gary have more experience than anyone else in the race with hay bales.

The leading teams are on their way to the next location. Dan and Sam are wondering whether the Globetrotters have caught up. The Globetrotters are trying to come up with a good name for their gnome, with Flight Time rejecting Big Easy’s choice as “too ghetto.”

Ericka rides the tower of terror for her team, and she also gets the ring toss. Brian complains that “the guy is supposed to win something for his girl at the fair, not the other way around, but oh well.” It’s sweet that he wanted to win something for her.

Matt rides the tower of terror, and Gary whines that he wanted to ride the tower as well. They seem to quickly receive their gnome, it looked to be not too much of a challenge.

It looks like all of the teams, including the two from the later flight, are all en route to the Detours. Meghan, Cheyne, Sam and Dan are still getting on their safety gear and instructions at the Dy-no-mite Detour when Flight Time and Big Easy show up and join the fun. Dan (or Sam) make some snide comment about whether their fans helped them catch up, and Big Easy remarks, you joke, we’re going to blow you up. Don’t try to out trash talk professional athletes. The teams need to fill dirt bags to build a shelter before setting off their explosives.

Maybe They Should Have Headed Towards The Sound Of Dynamite Explosions

Meanwhile we see Matt and Gary driving around lost, and Brian sending Ericka to ask a cab driver to lead them there. Sam and Dan finish the Detour first, as they need to find a metal box in their blast zone.

Flight Time and Big Easy set off their dynamite, locate the box, and head to the next location. Cheyne and Meghan are fighting about how to fill bags, how to stack bags, and pretty much everything. They finish the Detour, and Meghan harps on Cheyne about not listening to her, as he tries not to listen to her.

Meanwhile, Matt and Gary are still lost.

Brian and Ericka also pick the dynamite Detour and are filling dirt bags, which Ericka thinks is not glamorous enough for her standards, but they forge on.

Like a Needle in a Haystack

The teams are running towards the clue box on the farm, the location of the infamous Road Block that Lena and Christy spent almost 10 hours unrolling 100 hay bales without finding their clue. Phil tells us that they are re-doing the same Road Block. Sam starts the Road Block for the brothers, but Dan apparently remembers watching Lena do it for eight hours. I know it is Sam because he calls his brother “Dan” (as well as “bitch” and other unkind words) while Dan explains that he needs cut the binding and unroll them.

Cheyne and Meghan can’t decide who is going to do it. Apparently they didn’t see the prior season, or they would know it is physically demanding and would have had Cheyne do it. Cheyne seemed rather passive aggressive in not offering to do it when Meghan was asking, so she finally volunteered.

Big Easy arrives and starts rolling in the hay, while Flight Time asks Meghan and Sam not to find their clues until after Big Easy finds his, for Flight Time’s birthday. Flight Time has mentioned his birthday about a dozen times.

Sam and Dan are screaming at each other, fighting about just how much Sam should be picking through the unrolled bales, and how fast he should move on to the next bale.

Big Easy finds the first clue, Flight Time screams “it’s my birthday” and they run off to the Pit Stop, where a Swedish folk band greets them and they win a trip for 2 to Turks and Caciques. Phil wishes Flight Time a happy birthday.

Sam and Meghan are out in the field, whining and crying, when Brian and Gary join in.

Having Bales Of Fun

Ericka make a wise choice in having Brian do it, as Meghan is having a total meltdown, crying about how she’s been doing it for more than 2 hours by now. In an “after the fact” interview, Dan apologizes for ragging on Sam.

Matt tells Ericka that in the prior season, one team did hay bales for over 8 hours, and she can’t believe it. She is however happy to be watching rather than rolling bales. I’m not sure why Matt didn’t volunteer to step in and give his dad a break, as he is obviously familiar with the challenge from the prior season. Maybe Matt really does think his dad is in better shape than he is, which is sad if true. Come on, Pinky, start working the cardio so you can keep up with your dad.

Meghan got one, and then decides to play a trick on Cheyne. She limps over, telling him that she can’t do it any more, falling into a ditch on the way. Then she pulls the ticket out of her pocket and they skip off to the Pit Stop. Um, ok. I guess it is a lot easier for them to be a happy couple when they are doing really well on the race.

Brian finds the next clue. Sam is very disheartened to still be trying, while Gary is hoping his connection to the hay will pull him through. Gary kicks through the lose hay, saying “one million dollars, one million dollars, come on baby.”

Pushing On, Hoping for a Non-Elimination Leg

Now it is a race between just Gary and Sam. Sam takes a little break in hay. Not as much fun as a roll in the hay, but he’s exhausted. We get side by side shots of the two guys unrolling bales. Sam is in a very thick pile of hay, and finally finds one.

Gary and Matt are still looking when Sam and Dan run off. Dan starts crying, apologizing to Sam for yelling at him. As if we hadn’t seen enough amusement park rides this episodes, these brothers are on an emotional roller coaster. Buckle your seatbelts, they are gushing and yelling and calling each other names all at the same time. Someone get these boys a shot of testosterone, stat.

We see Gary keep unrolling bale after bale, and after about 3 hours of rolling, he finds one. Is it a non-elimination leg? They didn’t give up, and Matt is duly proud of his dad. Phil gives them a hard time, by saying “you are the last team to arrive, and I’m sorry to tell you . . . that the next leg will be hard for you. It’s a non-elimination leg, so you are not eliminated, but you will be the only team that needs to do a “Speed bump” challenge in the next leg.

Phil asks: “Matt, what do you have to say about your dad?” Matt’s response: “My dad is Superman.” Let’s hope so, as they are going to need super-human skills to make it through the next leg.