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With the tearful elimination of David and Mary last week in the seemingly lemur-less country of Madagascar, the six-pack alliance is no more. Unless you want to call the remaining teams the ‘four-pack,’ which doesn’t quite have the same effect. Plus, it sounds silly. The only thing I can think of that comes in a four pack are wine coolers, and wine coolers are nasty tasting concoctions, at least in this writer’s opinion. Though not as nasty as the cow lips from last week’s show, I’m sure. But I digress. Let’s get on with this recap and see what surprises are in store for our remaining five teams, shall we?

It’s Tough Being Us
Beauty queens Dustin and Kandice are the first to leave at 2:56am, and open their envelope to read the clue: fly over 6000 miles (jet-lag, anyone?) to Helsinki, Finland. They must then find a coffee shop where they will log on to their AOL accounts to find a “surprise.” No, the surprise isn’t how much product placement we’ll get shoved down our throats. More on the surprise later. For now, we get to hear Dustin opine on how hard it’s been for them, because everyone thinks that just because they’re blonde and pretty they get everything handed to them on a silver platter. Not so, she says! “We do work hard. We sweat, we cry, we fight to win!” Dustin then wonders aloud if they wear wooden shoes in Finland. I always thought that was Holland, but whatever. Because of limited flights out of Madagascar, the teams are being provided with tickets to Paris, France, where they will make their own way to Helsinki.

Next out of the gate are pretty boys Tyler and James. Tyler tells us that he has to get on James’ case once in a while to get him moving, but it comes from a “loving place.” Insert your own joke here. Rob and Kimberly leave soon after the models, followed by Erwin and Godwin, who are wearing David and Mary’s “Friends in low places” mining t-shirts (aww). They tell us that they’re running the rest of the race in their friend’s honor. I just wish they’d run the damn race for themselves for once, before they get booted out right behind their friends. The blondes and the models have made it to the ticket counter, and Tyler admits that they’re all using each other: “We don’t know who’s going to stab who first.” Lovely. They manage to find a flight that departs at 5am to Johannesburg, which isn’t going to leave much time for Lyn and Karlyn to make it on the plane, since they are the last team to leave at 3:55am. The ‘Bama moms are wearing David and Mary’s hats, and I wonder if those two took any clothes home with them.

Two Seats in No Class, Please
The first four teams have already gotten their tickets as the moms arrive at the airport, and the Cho brothers give them a heads up as to where they need to go to get tickets. Running to the counter, Lyn and Karlyn are informed that check in is closed - no tickets can be bought for that flight. They plead their case to some guy with authority, and he tells them that it would be too much trouble to add meals to the flight, etc. “We don’t care about the meals!” say the moms. I don’t blame them - the last dinner I had on a flight tasted like old shoe leather. The guy finally concedes, and lets them buy the tickets. With only minutes to spare, the moms board the plane, much to everyone’s surprise. After stops in Ethiopia and Germany, the teams all land in Helsinki and rush to find the coffee shop.

On the way, the usual stuff happens: Rob and Kim argue over stupid things, the blondes are in the lead, and Lyn and Karlyn bitch about the “Barbies.” They seem to be upset that the blondes are using their looks and bodies to get ahead - “They usually come out of the airport with their boobs hanging out!” Psst, moms: you’ve got boobs too. There’s nothing saying you can’t let your girls out to be seen just like the blondes do. Quit your bitchin’, ladies. If you've got it, flaunt it.

Hop On Board The Vain Train
Dustin, Kandice, James and Tyler are the first to get to the coffee shop and log on to their AOL accounts. They’re greeted with happy/mushy messages from family members, and are told that the next clue can be gotten from the owner of the coffee shop: travel 150 miles by train and taxi to the Soppeenharjun Koulu (say that three times fast!), follow the marked path and search the school grounds for the next clue. The other three teams find the shop and get their messages, with Lyn and Karlyn bursting into tears at the sight of their kids. Everyone gets to the train station and buys tickets for the same train, bunching the teams up again. Goody.

On the train, we’re treated to the sight of Tyler’s facial moisturizing regimen as Kandice watches him slather a bunch of goop on his face. I don't use that much lotion on my entire body. Kandice admits that she goes to him for nail clippers and hair conditioner, and I wonder what kind of pageant girl forgets to bring such necessities. I think she really has them, but she’s just trying to flirt. Or, she's just really dingy.

The train arrives, and there is an obvious lack of taxis in this town. The blondes and the models nab the first two, but the other teams are left to wait in a long line for a taxi to wander their way. Unless you want to beg, like Rob and Kimberly do. They manage to plead their way to the front of the line, and hop in the next cab. At least they do thank the people who let them get in front. Erwin and Godwin get in line like good boys, while Lyn and Karlyn say screw this and cut to the front of the line. Mind you, they didn't bother to ask like Rob and Kim. A gentleman kindly tries to tell them that there is a queue, and would they mind getting their behinds in line, but they ignore him and hop in the next taxi, pretty much pushing the guy out of the way. Still standing at the end of the line, the Cho brothers say “Being polite sucks sometimes.” These guys are just too nice for their own good.

Arriving at the school with the name I can’t pronounce, the blondes and models follow the path to find their next clue:
  • Detour: Swamp This or Swamp That. Teams must choose one of two messy games played by athletes during the warmer months. In Swamp This, teams must trudge through a one mile mud course on cross-country skis. In Swamp That, teams must go through an obstacle course in the mud.

I’d Rather Mud-Wrestle With Phil
The blondes and the ‘Bama moms choose This, and Tyler and James choose That. Strapping on their skis, the blondes go slopping through the muddy field as Tyler and James hop right into the muck, getting stuck a few times in the hip-deep mud as they crawl, climb, and carry each other through the obstacle course. Dustin tries to daintily jump over a fence in the mud, but falls on her butt and cries “It’s going to look like I pooped my pants!” I was hoping for a good face-plant in the mud by one of them, myself. Oh well.

Rob and Kim and the Cho brothers arrive, both choosing the obstacle course. I must admit, I took great pleasure in seeing Kim and Rob crawling in the mud. Too bad there wasn’t some quicksand thrown in for good measure. Dustin and Kandice make it to the end amazingly clean-looking, but a mud-covered Tyler and James beat them to the clue box, opening their envelope to read: Teams must travel 104 miles to the city of Turku, then drive 78 miles to find the Tytyrin Limestone mine to find their next clue. Tyler and James stupidly decide to change clothes before getting in their cab, losing precious time and allowing the blondes to catch up to them. Smooth move, guys. Rob and Kim beat the Cho brothers to the taxis, and Rob comments that he didn’t think he’d be able to carry Kimberly as easily as he did. “What, do you think I’m fat?” she retorts. Such a nice couple, these two.

Someone Forgot Their Meds
The blondes and the models manage to hit the train station right before the train takes off, and get onboard right as it pulls away, leaving an upset Rob and Kim on the platform. Rob throws a fit and Kim tries to calm him, but he’s not having any of it. “Just let me have my moment!” he says. Drama queen. Seriously, I’d like to roll up a newspaper and beat him over the head with it. The other three teams get on the next train, but there’s no love lost between Rob and Kim and the ‘Bama moms. I don’t know why they dislike each other so much, but it’s obvious that they do.

The “stinkin’ boys” get to the mine first, complains Dustin, and the girls must wait because there’s only one tram going into the mine. Tyler and James realize that wearing shorts wasn’t such a smart idea, as it’s cold enough to cause some major shrinkage down in the mine shaft. Hee. They reach their destination and open their clue:
  • Roadblock. One member of each team must ride a bike more than a mile into a dark mine shaft, retrieve a block of limestone, strap it onto the bike and make their way back up the mine shaft. They must then use some tools to break open the block to find the next clue embedded inside.

Dustin and Kandice have way too much fun riding the tram down the mine shaft, comparing it to a roller coaster at Disney World. They think it’s a shame that David isn’t there, because he’d “love” this challenge. If they say so. James flies down the dark tunnel on his bike, as does Kandice, but they both must walk the bikes back up because of the steep hill. My legs are killing me just watching them. James hammers his block of limestone open to find that they must drive back into Helsinki and find the Olympic Stadium for their next clue. Off they go, with the blondes not far behind.

Lyn and Karlyn and the Cho brothers find the mine easily, but Rob and Kimberly manage to get lost again. “We’re frickin’ lost, dude!” whines Rob. Godwin and Karlyn ride the bikes down together, encountering a psychotic-looking Rob barreling down the mine shaft at them, yelling the whole way. Something is wrong with this guy. Godwin makes it back up, and Karlyn’s struggling the whole way, having been beat by Rob. The three teams all ride the tram back up to the top as the Cho’s give a high five to Karlyn. Right over Rob’s shoulder. It wasn’t a particularly nice thing to do, but Rob and Kim haven’t particularly endeared themselves to me, either.

The five teams find their way to the Stadium, and find out what their next task will be: they must go to the top of the 236 foot tower and rappel down it - face first. This doesn’t go over well with James, who is deathly afraid of heights. Tyler does it with no problem, but he has to coach James, who loses his footing. Hell, I’d be losing my lunch. As the last three teams have a footrace to the Stadium entrance, Tyler opens their envelope to read: Keep racing!

So, no eliminations this time around. Psych! We leave the teams at the Olympic Stadium and get a preview of next week’s show: the teams get to drive tanks through a “battle zone” (now this looks like fun!) and the Chos gets disgusted with Lyn and Karlyn. Join the club, guys.

I vote that the guys finish the race shirtless. Anybody with me? waywyrd@fansofrealitytv.com