Recap: The Amazing Race 18, Episode 9 – “I’ll step on your face. I don’t care.”

Episode 18.09 – We’re Good American People

The Leg
After selling a few more Ford Focuses, Zev & Justin get their clue telling teams to take a train to Feldkirch, Austria where they’ll take a taxi and cross the border into Liechtenstein at Schaanwald.  All teams get onto the same train and as soon as they get into Feldkirch, they scramble for taxis.

Zev & Justin luck out with a “crazy” taxi driver that gets them the lead while Gary & Mallory fall behind with a clueless taxi driver. 

Teams cross the border and arrive in Schaanwald and find the Road Block.
In this Road Block, teams will hop on a motorized bike known as a Solex and with a provided map, measure the length of the entire country of Liechtenstein using an attached odometer.  After riding the bike down 22km from Schaanwald to Balzers, teams must present their guess to Olympic ski racer Marco Büchel who’ll hand them their next clue and point them to Castle Gutenberg up the hill where they’ll reunite with their teammate.   However, if their guess is incorrect, they must ride back to Schaanwald and measure the country again.

As the first five teams head out, Gary & Mallory bring up the rear and before getting the Road Block, must complete the Speed Bump.  For their Speed Bump, Gary & Mallory must figure out the correct mixture of gas and oil to power the Solex using the ratio of 25 parts gas : 1 part oil (or 2 liters of gas).    They finish and Gary sets off.

The ride down Liechtenstein should be straightforward enough, but teams are encountering plenty of problems.  Jet and Flight Time take wrong turns, Jen loses her map, and Vyxsin has no idea what she’s doing. 

Gary catches up to Jet and he decides to follow him.  Jen runs into a lost Justin and she offers to read the map and guide them if he lets her see it.  They get to Marco first.  Justin gives his answer of 22 and he gets the next clue.  Jen asks Justin if the answer is 22, just to make sure and she is right behind him.

Jet arrives 3rd, but has 35km as his answer.  He has to go all the way back.  Gary, whom Jet leaves behind, meets up with Vyxsin and they work together

Justin and Jen collect their partners at the castle and they read their next clue telling to take a bus and train to Zermatt, Switzerland.  They go to wait at the bus stop when Flight Time stops and tells them he doesn’t want to have to go back after getting lost.  They freely give him the correct answer and he drives off.

He runs into Gary and he gives Gary the right answer too.  They and Vyxsin finish the Road Block and head onto the same train together, leaving the Cowboys in last place.  Jet finishes his 2nd ride and meets back up with Cord.

Couple of hours later, Jen & Kisha and Zev & Justin arrive in Zermatt and find the next clue, the Detour.
In Cheese, teams make their way to a restaurant where they’ll have to finish a whole pot of cheese fondue.  When finished, they received an empty pot with their clue printed inside.
In Wheeze, teams will have to walk around Zermatt delivering 20 pieces of luggage from the train station to at least five different hotels, from which they will collect luggage tags which they will present to the porter who’ll hand them their next clue.

Both Jen & Kisha and Zev & Justin choose Cheese first, but Kisha’s stomach isn’t cooperating so they immediately switch.  Justin whines before they even get started but Zev pushes him to stick with it.

The next three teams, Gary & Mallory, Kent & Vyxsin, and the Globetrotters, arrive and all choose the luggage.

As Jet & Cord get to town, Justin whines and hurls himself through the Detour, but they finish first and get the clue telling them to head for Hinterdorf near the Inderbinen-Brunnen for their next clue.  Jen & Kisha are right behind them and there, they find the Double U-Turn.  Neither team decides to use it and they take the next clue telling them to head to the Pit Stop at Moos Restaurant via electric taxi.

Zev & Justin claim another leg win while Kisha & Jen take 2nd.

Kent & Vyxsin finish next, but Kent is exhausted so Vyxsin tells him to get onto the cart so she can pull him.  The Globetrotters think they’re done, but they find they’ve brought two pieces of luggage to the wrong hotel.  They think they’re done again, but they head back to the porter to hand him the tickets, but they only have 18 of the 20.

Kent & Vyxsin and Gary & Mallory choose not to U-Turn anyone and they check in to the Pit Stop 3rd and 4th respectively.  Phil gets a huge laugh from Mallory’s crazy faces.

That leaves the Globetrotters and the Cowboys fighting for last (yes!) and a chance at the U-Turn.  The Globetrotters arrive there first and U-Turn the Cowboys to ensure their safety.

They officially check in 5th leaving the Cowboys in last and officially eliminated.  


Episode Thoughts
It was a very interesting episode.  While I was pleased with the ending, the leg itself was pretty poorly designed.

Too many long train trips in one leg caused unnecessary equalizers.  The Road Block measuring Liechtenstein was great, fun and creative.  But having to hop on another train to the next destination eliminated a lot of excitement.  This leg was probably a good example of when equalizers are not executed well.

That left the U-Turn at the END of the leg which eliminates any possibility of the U-Turned team from catching up and ensures their elimination. 

The Speed Bump too seems to have reached new lows of irrelevance.  TAR may have to go back to the drawing board to come up with a new non-elimination penalty otherwise just go to the double/super legs/virtual Pit Stops instead.

It was fun however to see the teams Racing around at night.  TAR needs more running around in the middle of the night legs.  How about a Finish Line at night?

And about the Road Block.  It has always been annoying when teams find ways around actually finishing a task or finding a way around the actual directions.  Not sure about penalties needing to be assessed, but TAR does need to take a look at how to enforce the directions and rules they set out.

Leg Nine Itinerary
DEPARTURE
Villa Trapp
Salzburg, Austria

CONNECTIONS
Feldkirch, Vorarlberg, Austria
ROUTE MARKERS
Schaanwald, Liechtenstein

Castle Gutenberg
Balzers, Liechtenstein

ROAD BLOCK
Liechtenstein

DETOUR
Zermatt, Switzerland

Walliserkanne Restaurant
Zermatt, Switzerland

ROUTE MARKER
Hinterdorf near the Inderbinen-Brunnen
Zermatt, Switzerland
PIT STOP
Bergrestaurant-Moos
Zermatt, Switzerland

Departure Times

Villa Trapp
Salzburg, Austria

Zev & Justin 3:14am
Flight Time & Big Easy 3:25am
Kent & Vyxsin 3:39am
Kisha & Jen 3:49am
Jet & Cord 3:50am
Gary & Mallory 4:36am

Who Did the Detour?
In order of completion

CHEESE

WHEEZE
*



* Teams switched Detours

Road Block Count
In order of completion; Italics indicate who did this week’s Road Block

Who’s better at giving a measured response?
3 Zev Justin 5
4 Kisha Jen 4
4 Flight Time Big Easy 4
5 Gary Mallory 3
4 Kent Vyxsin 4
5 Jet Cord 3

3 Ron Christina 3
2 Margie Luke 3
2 Jaime Cara 2
1 Mel Mike 1
1 Amanda Kris 0

Order of Finish
1st Zev & Justin (+1)
2nd Kisha & Jen (+2)
3rd Kent & Vyxsin =)
4th Gary & Mallory (+2)
5th Flight Time & Big Easy (-3)
Eliminated Jet & Cord (-1)

My Subjective Team Rankings for Leg 9

Kent & Vyxsin Kent & Vyxsin – The hilarity continues.  And in a week when other teams lost a couple of points for basically not doing the Road Block, bouts of hilarious insanity will be very welcome.  And Kent & Vyxsin definitely provided the random laughs.  Race-wise, they are continuing to fall forwards into the final three.  They aren’t screwing themselves like teams can do, but they aren’t exactly dominating.  But you don’t really have to dominate to make it to the end.
Gary & Mallory Gary & Mallory – They fall behind even before that ridiculously easy Speed Bump.   They were pretty relaxed for someone who was behind with a Speed Bump.  And if it wasn’t for them taking part in playing telephone, they might have just fallen to their Omani mistakes.  Mallory’s face contortions weren’t enough to make up for their lack of urgency.  They were lucky this leg.
GAP
Kisha & Jen Kisha & Jen – Another good leg for them,  but very quiet.  The train flirting was very forced and could get old very quick.  But otherwise, they’re staying the course, though unexcitingly.
Zev & Justin Zev & Justin –  The frustration returns for them but this time it was Zev who stepped up for a whining Justin.  So far this Race, they’ve made the right decisions at the right time and have been just as lucky.  They can go all the way if they can keep it up.  But luck can always run out.
Jet & Cord Jet & Cord –  Well, can’t say I’m sad about them being eliminated.  It almost seemed like TAR was intentionally editing out possible Seychelles-level childish behavior from them in their last couple moments on the Race.  Oh well.  It was their own doing.  Maybe they would’ve gotten some help from other teams if they had a better attitude.  But kudos for actually finishing the Road Block.
Herb & Nathaniel Flight Time & Big Easy – With Jet & Cord gone, the Globetrotters own the annoying team slot all their own.  Please let them be next.
Quotes from Episode 18.09
Kent:  “I’ll step on your face.  I don’t care.”
Vyxsin:  “I’ll kick you in the head.”

Kent:  “Look, there’s a special man!  Let’s go visit him.”

Vyxsin: “I just need you to quit acting like a chick.”

Vyxsin: “If we get eliminated today, I swear to God, I’m never speaking to you again.”

Episode Caps

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The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business - The Amazing Race

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