Recap: The Amazing Race (24) All-Stars 2, Episode 7 – “The Gladiators Are Here!”
It’s afternoon and teams open the first cryptic clue of the Leg telling them to fly to the Eternal City and find Hadrian’s Bridge. Some teams know what the Eternal City is, others don’t. Rachel thinks it’s in Ethiopia.
But all teams end up on the same direct flight from Sri Lanka to Rome, Italy departing later that night.
Arriving in Rome the next morning, Brendon & Rachel, Caroline & Jennifer, Leo & Jamal and Jessica & John manage to leave the airport first having been able to sit in the front of the plane and able to take the first shuttle bus to the terminal. The Globetrotters, Cowboys and Dave & Connor get left behind.
Jessica & John are the first to arrive at the bridge, Ponte Sant’Angelo where they find the Detour.
In Gladiator, teams will learn a gladiator routine and then perform it by fighting a seasoned gladiator. Once they’ve impressed the Emperor, they’ll get the next clue.
In Charioteer, teams will race motorized Roman chariots around a course by completing five full laps before the light in the cauldron burns out (1 minute and 30 seconds). One team member will control the speed and the other steers.
Jessica & John choose Gladiator while Brendon & Rachel and Leo & Jamal choose Charioteer.
Caroline & Jennifer get to the bridge, but before getting to the clue box, they find their Speed Bump.
For their Speed Bump, Caroline & Jennifer must head to the Pantheon where they will pick up an Olivetti typewriter from an antique dealer and deliver it to the building it resembles, the Altare della Patria or locally known as The Typewriter. Once they’ve set it on the pedestal outside, they can continue Racing.
Brendon & Rachel get started on the chariots. They are sad to see they won’t be racing real chariots, but they slowly try and get the hang of the task. They are a few seconds short of finishing within the time when Leo & Jamal join them.
Jessica & John take their gladiator lessons and then try it out against the gladiator… a BIG gladiator. There are two sequences. In the first attack, teams can only use their swords to defend themselves. In the second attack, they can also use their shields. John ends up using his shield in the first sequence, so they have to start over. After a refresher, Jessica decides to go first against the gladiator this time and she finishes her routine, no problem. But when it’s John’s term, he repeats his same mistake.
Back at the races, Brendon & Rachel and Leo & Jamal crash into each other and then are too slow. Leo & Jamal decide to switch Detours when they see Dave & Connor and the Globetrotters come in.
The three teams head out for a heat and Dave & Connor are just about to finish, but Brendon & Rachel’s chariot goes flying and stops Dave & Connor’s before crossing the finish line.
Now the Cowboys have arrived and join them and it makes the task more difficult and chaotic.
While Caroline & Jennifer finish their Speed Bump, Jessica & John are having another go and they finally finish. They open the next clue telling them to head to “the piazza of John Keats’ unhappy Roman Holiday.” They will need to figure out that they must make their way to the Piazza di Spagna, the location of John Keats’ former home.
Jessica & John tell their taxi driver they need to go to the piazza, but the driver insists it is a street.
Brendon & Rachel are close behind as they finish the chariot Detour first. They hop into a taxi and the driver knows immediately they need to go to the Spanish Steps.
Jet & Cord and Dave & Connor finish the Detour next just as Caroline & Jennifer arrive. On the other side, Leo & Jamal finish gladiator training, but fail on their first attempt against the pro.
The Globetrotters finish the next run after the others leave, but their and Jet & Cord’s taxis don’t know a John Keats Plaza, only a street.
Jessica & John are there, Via John Keats. But it definitely does not look right. And the locals also only know a John Keats Road. No plaza.
Brendon & Rachel arrive at the correct plaza and retrieve the next clue from a chestnut vendor revealing the Road Block.
In this Road Block, teams must count the Spanish Steps (135) and add that number to the year the obelisk at the top was erected (1789) which they must convert from Roman numerals (M-DCC-LXXXVIIII). Once they get the total, 1924, they will convert that back into Roman numerals (MCMXXIV) and write it on a postcard which they will hand to a happy couple on a scooter in exchange for the next clue.
Brendon gets started on the Road Block and he decides to go up to the obelisk first. He asks an older gentlemen about the date and the man explains the Roman numerals to him. Once Brendon has the year, he runs back down to count the steps.
Both Dave & Connor and Caroline & Jennifer use their drivers’ cell phones to Google the location they need to go to. But Jessica & John decide they need to ditch their driver and find a hotel to get information
Dave & Connor arrive at the Spanish Steps and ask Rachel where the clue is. She doesn’t specifically tell them, but she points in the general vicinity. Dave & Connor are not happy about her “screwing with” them.
Dave starts the Road Block and Connor asks why Rachel didn’t tell them where the clue was. I did, she says. “Do you want me to tell you, hold your hand? Come on.”
Brendon counts the steps and has his final number. He asks the same old man to help convert it back to Roman numerals and he goes to the happy couple for the next clue.
Teams can now make their way to the Pit Stop at the Piazza del Popolo.
Brendon & Rachel stay in the lead and step on the Mat to officially finish as Team #1. Phil tells an excited Rachel and Brendon that they won a trip to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Back at the Spanish Steps, Caroline & Jennifer arrive and Jennifer and Dave decide to work together, sorta. Also with help from the locals, they get their numbers and compare. Jen asks Dave where the happy couple is while Dave waits to see if Jen’s answer is correct before submitting his guess.
They both get it right and they head off as the Cowboys just arrive.
Dave & Connor let Caroline & Jennifer step on the Mat first, so the Country Singers are officially Team #2 while Dave & Connor are Team #3. Jet & Cord hurry in as Team #4.
Flight Time is doing the Road Block and he merely asks the people there how many steps there are. He writes down the number of steps on the postcard and of course he gets the thumbs down every time.
Leo & Jamal arrive. Jamal does the Road Block and happens to clue Flight Time in on the date part of the task. Jessica & John arrive and John quickly gets to it.
Jamal gets the necessary info from the tourists and he gets the correct answer and the next clue.
Jessica asks if they want to help John and Leo & Jamal say sure. But with one condition, neither Jessica & John or Flight Time & Big Easy U-Turn them in the future. They agree and Jamal hands them his postcard to copy.
The Afghanimals leave Flight Time is able to head up immediately, but John has to go get a fresh postcard. Though they all think Caroline & Jennifer are behind them.
Leo & Jamal step on the Mat, but Phil points behind them. It’s a footrace between Flight Time & Big Easy and Jessica & John. Big Easy drops his backpack and he and Flight Time step on the Mat before Jessica & John.
Phil delivers the shocking news. Leo & Jamal are Team #5. Flight Time & Big Easy are Team #6 and Jessica & John are last and eliminated.
This was an alright episode. Not a exciting as the last one, but beautiful Rome definitely made up for whatever was lacking in this Leg.
It was a pretty Linear Leg, but the cryptic clues were awesome. It helped to provide that drama and excitement that seemed to be missing from the tasks themselves. The Road Block was an absolutely failure. Most teams asked a local or tourist for the answers while others just got it off another team. It sucks when a task that looks great on paper ends up horrible in real life. It sucks when the original intent of a task is completely trashed and not done the way it was intended to be done.
The Detour was okay. Both sides had their moments. But the toy chariots seems really underwhelming and lazy considering they’re in Rome. They couldn’t have done something else?
The Speed Bump was okay too. Definitely not one of the worst ones ever done.
It sucks though that bad taxis affected the Leg too much. It would’ve been great to have the teams do the entire Leg on foot with the same kind of thinking clues so it’s all on them and their Google skills, not on taxi drivers who teams need to put all their faith in.
Overall, an okay Leg. But probably one of the weaker episodes of the season.
My Subjective Team Rankings
A great Leg for Brendon & Rachel. They Raced well and provided plenty of hilarity as well. Rachel’s faceplant was one of the funniest things on TAR in recent memory. Kudos to Rachel sabotaging Dave & Connor’s chariot then not wanting to hold Dave & Connor’s hand at the Spanish Steps. This is The Amazing Race, not The Amazing Friends.
It sucked that Jessica & John were not only done in by the worst taxi driver of the Leg, but also that they had to be eliminated by seconds. Considering they’ve done pretty well this Race and have been shockingly one of the more tolerable teams this season, it’s sad to see them go. Jessica especially has been a great Racer who has actually proven that, yes, woman can run the Race and not have to whine or complain about little things.
Leo & Jamal again showed how they hoot and holler and play up to the cameras when they think they’re safe and then calm the frak down when they realize, oh yeah, they have to Race. They can be such great and enjoyable Racers if they didn’t camwhore so much and try too hard to be a personality. They’re fine with the simple jokes and lines, no need to be over the top which is obviously forced.
Flight Time & Big Easy have been miserable Racers this season. Such a horrible performance from one of the most experienced teams. At least they didn’t feel the urge to relieve themselves on the Spanish Steps, but they are bound to get eliminated sooner or later the way they’ve been Racing. Just horrible.
Caroline & Jen were pretty innocuous this week. Jen did fine at the Road Block actually and even had Dave leech of her in the task. Same for Jet & Cord. I guess the less we see of them, the more tolerable they are. But when their theme music kicked in at the Detour, UGH.
And finally Dave & Connor. Wow, you’ve got to have done something to get below the Cowboys! And they did. They’ve been on a downward trajectory in my book this season. After their forced and boring confessionals and exposition comments in-Race, their sense of entitlement has quickly come to the forefront. No Dave & Connor, Jessica & John don’t have to let you beat them to the Mat. No Dave & Connor, the other teams don’t have to let you get in front of them in the gas line at the Road Block. No Dave & Connor, Rachel doesn’t need to point you in the right direction if she doesn’t want to. They are really starting to grate and judging from the promo for next week, it doesn’t look like that’s going to subside any time soon.
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