The Amazing Race 20, Episode 5: Our Princess Is in Another Castleby Jenn Brasler -- 03/19/2011
Previously on Rachel Tension, eight teams left Paraguay for Turin, Italy, where there was much rappelling. Art & J.J. took the first Fast Forward of the race and won the leg. Rachel & Dave and Rachel R. & Brendon (Radon) had… issues. Mark & Bopper came in last, but got two pieces of good luck: J.J. & Art gave them their prize money, and Phil didn’t eliminate them.
It’s 8:57 a.m., and Art & J.J. are on their way to Ehrwald, Austria, by train. Once there, they need to drive to Bavaria, Germany, and search a restaurant for a gnome. Ahh, the gnome. The guys think their team dynamic is way different from teams made up of couples.
The guys have a huge lead, as the other teams don’t start leaving until three hours later. Danny & Joey are now wearing animal hats; one is a panda and one is a… fish? A fish monster? Ralph tells us he’s been married three times. Man alive! She’s been married once and is now divorced. She thinks all the ups and downs will benefit them. Yeah, the fourth marriage is usually the one that sticks. Radon also thinks their relationship is good. This is just sad.
Kerri & Stacy leave the Pit Stop as the other teams (besides Art & J.J. and Mark & Bopper) board a train together. The cousins are sad to be away from their families. Guys, don’t talk about your families. It means you’re probably going home this week. Or maybe not, because Mark & Bopper don’t leave until almost 6 p.m. I’m guessing there’s about to be a major equalizer.
The trip to Bavaria is ten hours long, and there’s a stopover in Innsbruck, where everyone reunites. So I guess that’s the equalizer. Art & J.J. spent the night in the train station in Ehrwald since the restaurant doesn’t open until 8:30. Everyone’s now driving into Ehrwald to find the restaurant. That’s where J.J. & Art, Danny & Joey, and Rachel & Dave converge before the opening. So Kerri & Stacy, Mark & Bopper, Radon, Nary & Jamie, and Vanessa & Ralph are all together behind them.
At 8:30, the leading three teams start their search for the gnomes. They don’t hide very well. They also contain Detours, the choices of which are Fairy Tale and Champion Male. In Fairy, teams follow a trail of gingerbread to a village, find a “witch’s house,” and use the gingerbread to finish the roof of a gingerbread house. Yes, there is an actual “witch” there. In Champion, teams style a man’s beard in some wacky way. All three teams there choose Champion.
The other teams head into Ehrwald as Dave & Rachel pick a man to style. Dave tells us that Rachel knows hair, so this was a good task for her. She starts moussing up a guy who looks like Santa. Joey & Danny arrive next and make the mistake of picking the hardest design to recreate. They say they’re used to using gel and blow driers. Art & J.J. are next to arrive and get to work with a curling iron.
Stacy & Kerri are somewhere in Bavaria. I wish I could be more specific, but I can’t. Neither can they. They’re also sniping at each other. Back at Champion, Art tells us that J.J. has a backpack full of hair products. Joey & Danny plan to go clubbing with their champ.
And then, amazingly, Mark & Bopper get to the restaurant. But before they can do the Detour, they have to do a Speed Bump: yodel. Oh, and dress up like Von Trapp children. Vanessa & Ralph arrive in the meantime and pick Champion. Mark tells us that he and Bopper didn’t have a choice other than to have fun. How can you not have fun while dressed like that? The yodeling practice doesn’t go that well, but this isn’t American Idol, so I’m sure the task judge is grading on a curve. Though he doesn’t like the guys’ first attempt.
J.J. admits that he’s not ashamed to admit that he’s good at crafting a man’s facial hair. Heh. Indeed, he and Art are so good that they finish the task first. Now they need to go to the Neuschwanstein Castle, the inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty castle. A woman tells them it’s the next village over. The guys are happy that they’re again in position to win the leg.
Also in a good position: Mark & Bopper, who are now done with their Speed Bump. Unfortunately, Nary & Jamie, Radon, and Kerri & Stacy get to the Detour clues before them, so they’re still in last place, but at least they’ve made up time. Rachel & Dave also skip ahead of Joey & Danny, who are struggling to get their guy’s bear right. Ralph & Vanessa arrive and start Champion, with her taking charge.
Rachel R. tells us they’re going to Bolivia. Nice try. Stacy starts, “The weather…,” and Kerri finishes with, “Outside is frightful.” Nice. Those two teams are trying Fairy, as are Bopper & Mark. The first two teams can’t find the gingerbread, but the guys can. Joey & Danny are worried because they’re falling behind. Vanessa & Ralph are doing well, though.
Radon and Kerri & Stacy collect their gingerbread as Nary & Jamie get to Champion. Not long after, Joey & Danny finish up. The guys not having their beards styled are enjoying some beer. Ralph & Vanessa are done and head off for the castle. Meanwhile, the gingerbread has led Mark & Bopper to the witch’s house. They get a little bit of a head start on Radon and Kerri & Stacy. They have to cut some of the pieces to make them fit together on the roof.
Art & J.J. are now at the castle, and they take a horse-drawn carriage up to it since it’s safer than driving. Rachel & Dave are fighting somewhere. Vanessa & Ralph are on their way to the castle but not sure which one it is, since there’s more than one in the general vicinity. They meet up with Joey & Danny, who take off walking. Vanessa wants to take a carriage, but Ralph thinks it’s better to walk. This leads to a fight.
Nary & Jamie finish their beard. I think this is the most screen time they’ve gotten all season. Mark tells us he complimented the witch’s beauty even though she was “uglier than a mud rail fence.” Well said. At the castle, Art & J.J. have been delivered to the entrance just like they’re arriving for a ball. Now they need to find the king’s bedroom. It’s pretty awesome. Now they need to drive to a hockey/curling rink.
The roofing projects are going well. Kerri & Stacy promise to trap some children for the witch, who gives them their clue. Joey & Danny pass Art & J.J. Vanessa & Ralph throw a jacket at each other and complain about walking and are just generally not nice to each other. I certainly can’t see any reason why Ralph’s fourth marriage can’t be his best yet. He’s clearly doing something right. He interviews that part of him was laughing, knowing that Vanessa’s legs were hurting.
Joey & Danny get the clue from the bedroom. As soon as Ralph & Vanessa get theirs, he’s all, “Good job, baby.” She’s not in the mood to make nice. He replies that he “could care less,” so she corrects his grammar. Back in a nicer place, Mark & Bopper are done with their gingerbread and leave Radon behind, though not for long.
Dave & Rachel approach the castle… but not the right one. They also have to wait until the next tour starts. Jamie & Nary make the same mistake. Not only are they in the wrong place, but they can’t leave the tour group, so they can’t even go off alone to find out they’re wrong. Also, they paid to get in, so they’re out some money.
At the rink. J.J. & Art find a Roadblock. One of them basically needs to curl with gnomes. Let me repeat that: Curl with gnomes. Curl. With gnomes. TV is a weird thing. Anyway, J.J.’s doing this one. Rachel & Dave and Nary & Jamie finally put on their listening ears and realize they’re not in the right castle. Stacy & Kerri and Mark & Bopper also go to the wrong castle at first, but learn their mistake before going inside.
J.J. curls. There’s a funny moment where he screams at a gnome to slow down. But it also might have worked, and he’s done. He and Art are sent to Landhannes Farm to meet Phil. Third win in a row? Entirely possible.
Either Joey or Danny curls as Kerri & Stacy and Mark & Bopper go to the correct castle. Nary & Jamie and Rachel & Dave are already there. Radon gets their clue. Danny or Joey (I think Danny) finishes the Roadblock as Ralph takes it for his team. Vanessa tells him she’s mad but loves him. It’s not the best timing since he’s about to curl, but at least he kisses her and the tension is broken.
For the third week in a row, Art & J.J. are first to find Phil. This time they get a trip to Thailand. I think this is a prize they won’t be sharing. Phil jokingly asks the guys to withdraw from the race to give the other teams a chance. They say they will if he gives them a million dollars. Heh.
Ralph curls successfully. Joey & Danny (& Gnome) get to Phil in second place. Nice racing by them. Kerri & Stacy are next to find the clue in the castle. Mark & Bopper pause for a minute so Bopper can pray, and also possibly try to breathe without passing out. Nary & Jamie, now in fourth place, get to the Roadblock and Nary takes it. Radon and Rachel & Dave are next with Brendon and Rachel B. agreeing to curl.
Jamie thinks Nary can curl well because she’s good with targets. As a kindergarten teacher, right? Vanessa & Ralph, despite their problems on this leg, are third to the mat. Phil tries to keep them from turning the check-in into a counseling session. Vanessa tells us that if they start fighting again, she’ll just kill him. That would be a race first.
Lots of gnomes are being flung around the rink, and Rachel B. and Brendon finish the Roadblock before Nary. Stacy & Kerri are now at the rink. “Mother of pearls,” Nary swears. She and Vanessa would get along really well. Mark & Bopper are close behind. Now Nary, Kerri, and Mark are all curling. Rachel & Dave are fourth to the mat.
And then! Bopper finishes curling! And he and Mark aren’t in last place anymore! Also, Brendon totally slips in manure on the way to the mat. I won’t say that’s not funny. Nary and Kerri are getting more and more frustrated with their uncooperative gnomes. Kerri gets hers under control first, leaving Nary & Jamie behind in the rink. Nary’s final gnome just barely touches the center of the target, and she gets the okay to be done.
The cousins and federal agents head to the Pit Stop. The ones who have been fighting all night start fighting again. Mark & Bopper reach the mat in sixth place, getting praise from Phil for coming back from last place, even with the Speed Bump. They say they used everything God gave them.
Back to the last two teams… and Jamie & Nary coming in seventh. Kerri & Stacy are out of the race. They blame navigational problems. Stacy shows Phil (and us) a picture of her kids, who are really cute. They know they’re pretty awesome to have made it this far.
Next week: Azerbaijan has fire, water, and something really, really gross that I hope is mud.
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Jenn Brasler, an associate editor of Reality News Online and a writer/book enthusiast/secret spy from Falls Church, Virginia, has e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org),Twitter (@jennb47), and a blog about ‘90s YA books and TV shows (‘90s Flashback). She can’t wait to hear how everyone pronounces Azerbaijan.
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