Seasons 14 and 15 of The Amazing Race Now Available on DVD!

After seasons 12 and 13 finally shipped out from Amazon just a couple of weeks ago, seasons 14 and 15 have been quietly released this past week!

It’s a pleasant surprise since I don’t seem to remember any news of the release or any TV commercials during the shows promoting them.

Nonetheless, they’re already available exclusively from Amazon. Check them out here: http://amzn.to/1mpYbqZ

And here are the DVD covers for both seasons:

So be sure to order your copies and enjoy such moments as Luke’s first epic meltdown with surfboards, Jamie & Cara’s horrible taxi luck and every moment with “Team Zebra” Brian & Ericka.

The Amazing Race 15 Season Wrap-up

The Amazing Race 15 Wrap-Up

The milestone 15th season of The Amazing Race has come and gone.  I believe it was the fastest Race ever run, which I can believe since it did feel like it went by very fast.

But it was a good season overall.  It probably won’t be one of my favorites, but it was a lot more enjoyable than a few other seasons.  Of course my opinion of Amazing Race seasons change as times goes by.  Sometimes, I’ll enjoy a season a lot more later on than I did when it first aired.  Other times, I might get bored by a season I had previously loved.  Same for teams.  I could absolutely hate a team while watching the show as it first airs, but later on I might grow to appreciate their contribution to entertainment on the Race.

TAR15 presented some interesting things though.  First to the new Race introduction, the Switchback.  It was fun reminiscing about past seasons and always great when the show calls back to its history.  While this season’s Switchback did provide the hilarious meltdown of Sam & Dan and the only moment of tension between Meghan & Cheyne, it didn’t match the emotion of the first time in TAR6.  Which I think will probably never happen for any Switchback, but we can hope for new classic moments that can be considered for Switchbacks in the future right?

The Amazing Race 15 almost started looking like The Amazing Race Asia with all the penalties being handed out this season!  Including the no travel documents penalty for Zev & Justin, the first 4-hour Road Block penalty since the infamous TAR7 quitting debacle (thanks Romber, ugh), an unseen 24-hour penalty for Maria & Tiffany for not completing the Detour, and their penalty after the first leg when they lost their Japanese tourists.  They remind everyone that this is a game, it is a competition with rules in addition to being a beautiful travelogue.

The Race Course this season seemed to be lacking just a little bit.  Great and beautiful destinations, but I guess I’d love to see some unexpected locations as well as a Race Course not limited to two continents.

The Speed Bumps are getting increasingly pointless.  Sit in a sauna, deliver pho, take a shot.  They can’t be too hard of course, but I do hope they get a little more creative next season.

The Detours and Road Blocks were hit and miss.  The best, most memorable ones (including random tasks) from this season have to be:
-The Wasabi Road Block, Leg 1 in Japan.  What made this Road Block was the atmosphere and the Japanese game show gimmick.  It was crazy fun and it seems like everyone involved enjoyed it (including those of us at home!)
-Guiding Japanese Tourists.  Tasks that have teams directly interacting with the locals is always a win.  And this one was no different.  Being in charge of a huge group of people who may or may not speak English, what could be more fun than that?!  And the cuts of the Japanese lady being so grateful for the Globetrotters, Canaan carrying the lady who couldn’t walk anymore, Meghan & Cheyne’s bathroom break… it was gold.
-The Duck Road Block in Vietnam.  Bertram van Munster attempted this task once before in the first Philippine leg of TAR5.  But it was a Detour then and no one even wanted to attempt it, now he forces the teams to do it and it was hilarious and fun.
-Child’s Play Detour in Vietnam. Anytime random kids are involved in any way on the show, it’s a good thing.  Seeing the kids in the playground  waiting for the huge animals to arrive along with several grown-up holding up balloons randomly in the park… awesomeness.
-The Monkey Road Block in Cambodia. Interesting and fun.
-The Desert Water Road Block in Dubai.  It would’ve been lots more fun if the teams wandered around even longer and the camels had more screen time.
-The Swiss Switchback Road Block.  Provided lots of funny drama, but still paled in comparison to TAR6’s epicness.
-Kafka Road Block.  This was a great task to have at night.  I wish there were more legs where the teams wander around town in the middle of the night.  But this task specifically was great, though more awesome if they had played up the Kafka-isms.  I feel like the glossed over whom Kafka was and what his writings were, which would’ve added a lot to make for a more ominous task.

And so, the 16th season is currently in production.  If you’re spoiler free, well let me say you’re lucky because unlike me, you won’t be cursing at whoever casted this season until March.  Not looking forward to not one but two casting gimmicks TAR has resorted to for TAR16.  Thanks CBS.  Boo.

My expectations are going to be very low for this season because we’ve seen how horrible stunt casting has been for TAR before.  But since this is The Amazing Race, it can never be that bad.  😉  

ALL-TIME RANKINGS
OVERALL SEASONS
1. TAR3
2. TAR5
2. TAR8
4. TAR1
5. TAR11:AS
5. TAR12
5. TAR2
5. TAR6
9. TAR14
10. TAR4
10. TAR15
12. TAR10
13. TAR13
14. TAR9
*huge gap*
15. TAR7

FINALES
(regardless of winner)
1. TAR3
2. TAR12
3. TAR8
4. TAR5
5. TAR2
6. TAR1
7. TAR15
8. TAR14
9. TAR6
10. TAR11: AS
11. TAR9
12. TAR13
13. TAR4
14. TAR10
15. TAR7

GROUP of TEAMS
1. TAR3
2. TAR8
3. TAR5
4. TAR1
5. TAR11: AS
6. TAR2
6. TAR12
8. TAR6
8. TAR4
10. TAR15
11. TAR14
12. TAR13
13. TAR10
14. TAR9
*gap*
15. TAR7

MY ALL-TIME TEAMS
1. Kris & Jon (TAR6)
2. Teri & Ian (TAR3/AS)
3. Ronald & Christina (TAR12)
4. Charla & Mirna (TAR5/AS)
5. The Linz Family (TAR8)
6. John Vito & Jill (TAR3/AS)
7. David & Margaretta (TAR1)
8. Don & Mary Jean (TAR6)
9. Linda & Karen (TAR5)
10. Meredith & Gretchen (TAR7)
11. Erwin & Godwin (TAR10)
12. Brian & Ericka (TAR15)

NON TOP 3 TEAMS THAT SHOULD HAVE GONE FURTHER
1. Teri & Ian (TARAS)
2. John Vito & Jill (TAR3)
3. The Gaghan Family (TAR8)
4. Toni & Dallas (TAR13)
5. Linda & Karen (TAR5)
6. Meredith & Gretchen (TAR7)
7. Charla & Mirna (TAR5)
8. Zev & Justin (TAR15)
9. Joseph & Monica (TAR9)
10. Jim & Marsha (TAR5)
11. Mel & Mike (TAR14)
12. Gary & Matt (TAR15)
13. Garrett & Jessica (TAR15)
14. The Paolo Family (TAR8)
15. The Rogers Family (TAR8)

MOST DESERVING FINAL 3 TEAM (NON-WINNERS)
1. Kris & Jon (TAR6)
2. Teri & Ian (TAR3)
2. Charla & Mirna (TARAS)
2. Ronald & Christina (TAR12)
5. Ken & Gerard (TAR3)
6. Kelly & Jon (TAR4)
7. Dustin & Kandice (TARAS)
8. Eric & Jeremy (TAR9)
9. Nicolas & Donald (TAR12)
10. Frank & Margarita (TAR1)
11. Ken & Tina (TAR13)
12. Brian & Ericka (TAR15)
13. Sam & Dan (TAR15)

WINNERS (as a team)
1. The Linz Family (TAR8)
2. Flo & Zach (TAR3)
3. Rob & Brennan (TAR1)
4. Uchenna & Joyce (TAR7)
5. Tammy & Victor (TAR14)
6. Chris & Alex (TAR2)
6. Chip & Kim (TAR5)
8. Meghan & Cheyne (TAR15)
8. Nick & Starr (TAR13)
8. Tyler & James (TAR10)
*gap*
11. Reichen & Chip (TAR4)
12. Freddy & Kendra (TAR6)
13. BJ & Tyler (TAR9)
14. TK & Rachel (TAR12)
15. Eric & Danielle (TAR11:AS)

WINNERS (with respect to final 3)
&nbsp  &nbsp Winning Team
&nbsp  &nbsp  &nbsp Who I wanted to win
1. Uchenna & Joyce
&nbsp  &nbsp &nbsp Uchenna & Joyce (TAR7)
2. The Linz Family
&nbsp  &nbsp &nbsp The Linz Family (TAR8)
3. Tammy & Victor
&nbsp &nbsp Tammy & Victor (TAR14)
4. Rob & Brennan
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Rob & Brennan or Frank & Margarita (TAR1)
5. Chris & Alex
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Blake & Paige or Chris & Alex (TAR2)
6. Chip & Kim
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Chip & Kim or Brandon & Nicole (TAR5)
7. Tyler & James
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Tyler & James or Lyn & Karlyn (TAR10)
8. Flo & Zach
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Teri & Ian or Ken & Gerard (TAR3)
9. Meghan & Cheyne
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Brian & Ericka (TAR15)
9. Nick & Starr
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Nick & Starr or Ken & Tina (TAR13)
10. Reichen & Chip
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Kelly & Jon (TAR4)
11. Freddy & Kendra
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Kris & Jon (TAR6)
12. BJ & Tyler
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Eric & Jeremy or Ray & Yolanda (TAR9)
13. Eric & Danielle
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Charla & Mirna or Dustin &Kandice (TAR11:AS)
14. TK & Rachel
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Ronald & Christina or Don & Nicolas (TAR12)
My Final Team Rankings

Brian & Ericka Brian & Ericka – They were a great team to watch.  Entertaining, sometimes drama-filled and a great couple.  Ericka’s frustration and short temper, while it didn’t come out often during the Race, was big when it did.  A cooler head might have helped them A LOT during the final leg and in a couple of situations during the Race as well, but she was not short of determination and will to finish the Race.  She easily did some things, including conquering some fears, that other teams would probably not even attempt.  And Brian, Mr. Nice Guy, they accumulated lots of great karma during the Race but it seems karma took a day off when they needed it most.  Still, they seem like a great couple and they love each other very much which is definitely more important. 
Gary & Matt Gary & Matt – Always great to have parent/child teams on the Race and these two definitely did not disappoint in representing the other great parent/child teams of the past.  They could’ve gone further and made a run for the million, but as always one simple mistake could cost you the Race.  They had great fun on the Race which is definitely a must for any Racer and they had great teamwork.
Zev & Justin Zev & Justin – Two fun guys, having fun racing around the world.  If you’re going to have all-male teams, have them like Zev & Justin; interesting and funny.  But it was unfortunate for them that they were done in by a lost passport.  If they had had kept better track of their belongings they could have definitely gone a lot further in the Race.  But I hope we do get more teams like them in the future.
Garrett & Jessica Garrett & Jessica – I definitely wish we got to see more of them on the Race.  Great to have the Bay Area represented on the Race as always.  But they could’ve been an interesting team to watch.  Best of luck to them after getting engaged at Elimination Station, but seeing their relationship on the Race, which could’ve been filled with a little bit of drama if their elimination was any indication, and then ending with a Hayden & Aaron (TAR6) type of elimination proposal would’ve been fun to see.  
Marcy & Ronald Marcy & Ronald – We always get the “older team” that seems like they are the ones that can run with the young ones.  But not since TAR3’s Teri & Ian have we really gotten on who could contend.  There was just no hurry-up or sense of urgency when Marcy & Ron raced, especially in their last leg, which was a shame because they did seem very capable to keeping up if they actually tried. 
Herbert & Nathaniel Herbert & Nathaniel – A horrible way for them to go out after running a good Race with great teamwork and having fun.  Though not a perfect Race anyway with some close calls, they had fun and enjoyed every minute of it.  They had excellent teamwork which definitely went a long way, but their quitting the Road Block was just a sad, horrible end to what could have been a great Race for them.
Mika & Canaan Mika & Canaan – They had probably one of the most dramatic eliminations ever.  I still can’t even imagine being so deathly afraid of something that I wouldn’t even attempt to conquer it for a shot at a million dollars.  Mika just giving up was a really crazy move that I probably would never understand unless I was in her position.  It cost them the Race and it seemed their relationship, but at last check they are back together and happy.
Maria & Tiffany Maria & Tiffany – It was an up and down Race for the them defined by very close calls, determination, their lame lie at the start of the Race and lots of luck that ran out for them on their final leg.  They were saved so many times and seemed like a perpetual 2nd to last team.  They showed signs of stepping up their Race and they did in one leg, but it didn’t last.  All the way until their miserable elimination after not being able to complete either Detour.  The hunt for the first all-female American Amazing Race winner continues.
Sam & Dan Sam & Dan – Their short tempers and bickering and spazzing was a problem for them all through the Race and it probably cost them the million in the final leg as well.  It was something they vowed to work on, but never did.  Rarely was the bickering funny if just annoying because they would be an otherwise very strong team.  Despite that, they still did well enough to get them 2nd place overall which is an accomplishment. 
Meghan & Cheyne Meghan & Cheyne – They dominated the entire Race and their win is well deserved, if not predictable, based on their Race performance.  Personality-wise, they weren’t the most interesting teams on the Race, but for them, it’s the million that counts and they got it.  It was their Race to lose and in the end their cool heads (which hasn’t been so cool all the time) helped them cross the Finish Line first.
Lance & Keri Lance & Keri – Lance came off as a loud, annoying douche, but by their last leg he was actually a funny, but very passionate and determined competitor, which would’ve been better to see than his douchy first few legs.  He provided the laughs and the competitive sprit in their last leg, but mistakes kill you and it did them in.
Eric & Lisa Eric & Lisa – Like I said at the start of the season, I wasn’t upset they got eliminated at the Starting Line since I wasn’t really keen on seeing another hippie-ish team on the Race.  (*shudder* at TAR12’s horrible ending)  But I appreciate even less the fact that they quit after they were eliminated, not reaching Elimination Station and therefore not allowed at the Finish Line.  They skipped the Elimination Station and free vacation and went back to their normal lives.  I guess they won’t be bonding with the rest of the TAR15 family any time soon.
Relive The Amazing Race 15!

Click here to go to the archive to see all my recaps from the season and from seasons past!

Also, over 8700! caps, more than 500 from each episode at
xangatheamazingracecaps @ Photobucket

And, check out hours of bonus video including full episodes and the complete season of Elimination Station at CBS.com

Plus download the full episodes on The Amazing Race - The Amazing Race, Season 15 

TAR15’s Big Finale! Plus the Final Three Reflect on the Race

TAR15’s Big Finale! Plus the Final Three Reflect on the Race

The Amazing Race‘s 15th season finished big and overall, the season has done very well.

Sam & Dan talk to AfterElton.com about the Estonian pixelation, what they and three other teams did to their bodies, and about their bickering!

Meghan & Cheyne tell TVGuide.com that they are flattered to be called the best team ever. (Really?)

Meghan & Cheyne tell Reality Wanted about the endless possibilities.

Reality TV World ask Meghan & Cheyne about the specifics of their winning final leg.

TVGuide.com lets Sam & Dan clarify how the editing made things not seem as they were.

And the final three teams on The Early Show with the official check handing ceremony…

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Brian & Ericka Reveal How The Poker Dealer Could’ve Cost Them the Million Dollars!

Brian & Ericka Reveal How The Poker Dealer Could’ve Cost Them the Million Dollars!

In an interview with The Tennessean, Ericka Dunlap explained what really happened at the final task and why we never saw them finish it on the show:

“It’s easy for us to blame her and say it was her fault, but it really was,” Dunlap said. “She was organizing her chips once we laid them on the table, and she put one of the black $500 chips in the same pile in between the blue $100 chips. We were $400 off and it was something really crazy …. When she found out that she had done that, her face was so pale. Oh gosh, she really looked like she had seen a ghost. She looked over at the producers like, ‘What do I do? They were like, ‘Count it again, guys.’ I was like, ‘You’re kidding me, right?”

So if the dealer had not made the mistake, would we have gotten a much different outcome?  We’ll never know, but Ericka tells the Tennessean:  “(Winners) Meghan and Cheyne needed this experience for their life’s journey.  It wasn’t meant for us to win it at all.”

Also, Ericka talks to the Tennessean about now turning her energy and focus towards her music career.

Recap: The Amazing Race 15, Episode 12 – “That finish line, I’m going to run like there’s no common sense in my brain.”


Episode 15.12 – Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound!
Miss the episode or want to watch it again?  Download the episode now on The Amazing Race - The Amazing Race, Season 15



THE LEG
And here we go.  The final leg of The Amazing Race 15.  Meghan & Cheyne leave the Pit Stop first and find out the End City is Las Vegas, Nevada.  There, they will head to the Graceland Wedding Chapel where ‘the King’ will hand them their next clue.  

At the airport, Meghan & Cheyne and Sam & Dan are shocked to see Brian & Ericka as they had expected the Globetrotters to be the third team.  All of them get on the same flight through London and arrive back on American soil and ready to go.

Katy Perry plays, AGAIN!  And the teams run out of the airport with Brian & Ericka in a taxi first.  But the taxis are one after the other and all of them get to the wedding chapel together.  They enter and Elvis is serenading a couple with “Amazing Grace.”  He finishes the song before he begins handing them their clues.  Sam and Meghan get a hand on the first clue but Sam grabs it, then Ericka goes for the 2nd clue but Cheyne grabs that one.


The clue tells them to go to Mandalay Bay.  Brian & Ericka’s taxi takes a shortcut and they get there first.  They find the Road Block, “Who’s ready to climb down the mountain?”  For this Road Block, teams will have to do a face-first rappel down the side of the hotel.  Since Brian is afraid of heights, it’s Ericka’s Road Block.



She gets out on the 62nd floor and gets strapped up and ready to go as Meghan & Cheyne arrive at the hotel.  Ericka is halfway down as Cheyne steps over the side.  Sam & Dan finally arrive as Ericka arrives on solid ground.

Brian & Ericka get the next clue… “This desert only has one mirage.  Go to it.”  They leave for The Mirage hotel.   Brian thinks the karma is finally going to pay off for them as Ericka gives him a big kiss and head out for the taxi.  Ericka lets out a big yell of excitement in the taxi as Sam steps out over the edge and just flies down the side of the building.  Cheyne gets to the bottom and they run off.

Sam & Dan aren’t too far behind and now all teams are on the road towards the Mirage.  The editors get creative with the split screen now with THREE! boxes and Brian & Ericka arriving at the Mirage and find their next clue.



Teams have the chance to join Cirque du Soleil as one team member will be strapped into a bungee cord as the other team member hoists them up to bounce high enough to grab a bouquet of flowers hanging from the ceiling.  They will then hand the bouquet to the flowerchild who will hand them their next clue.  

Ericka chooses to get hoisted up in the air and they are ready to start as Meghan & Cheyne arrive.  That gets Ericka frustrated and then Brian is frustrated as Ericka’s bounces get her just inches away from the bouquet.  Meghan begins and seems to be having an easier time, which gets Ericka and tells Brian he needs to do this since he’s taller.  Sam & Dan arrive and get suited up.

Meghan & Cheyne get their clue which asks “What is the most famous casino in the country of Monaco?”   Teams will have to figure out that casino is the Monte Carlo.  They ask a taxi driver who tells them it is The Venetian and they go.  Sam & Dan easily get the bouquet and it’s go time for Brian & Ericka.  Brian is rigged up and Ericka can hardly pull him down to bounce him up.  They have to switch back.

Sam & Dan catch up to Meghan & Cheyne outside and they end up following them, neither not sure of where they are going.  Still inside, Ericka’s frustration is growing as she can’t seem to push herself enough in her bounce to reach the bouquet.  She gets a hold of some of it, but still can’t get the whole thing.

Sam & Dan make a call and find out they have to go to the Monte Carlo so they turn off while Meghan & Cheyne keep on it in the wrong direction.  One last push off for Ericka and she finally grabs the bouquet.  They get the clue and they know immediately the answer is Monte Carlo.

Sam & Dan are there and find the next clue.  Though labeled a Road Block on-screen, this final task has both team members going to a table full of chips and counting out one million dollars worth.  When they think they have the million dollars, they will have the dealer check and once he or she confirms, they will be handed a special Amazing Race chip and their next clue. 



They head to a table and discover the red chips are the highest denomination of $1000.  They begin collecting those.

Meghan & Cheyne get to the Venetian, but nothing’s there.  The valet tells them Monte Carlo, they go inside, the concierge tells them Monte Carlo.  They go to the Monte Carlo.

Dan starts spazzing out again and Sam is trying to calmly find a good way to make the counting more efficient.  Brian & Ericka arrive at the Monte Carlo and are shocked to see only the brothers there, and are determined to beat ’em out of there.  But Meghan & Cheyne arrive and now all three teams are furiously counting the chips.  



They’re all close and they all end up finishing.  Now it’s up to the dealer to see if any or all of them are correct… Meghan & Cheyne are the only ones who have their million and they get their next clue.  Teams must now Race to the MGM Grand and find the High Rollers Suite where they’ll meet Mr. Las Vegas himself, Wayne Newton who will tell them the location of the Finish Line.  

Meghan & Cheyne are in a good position as they get into their taxi, but Sam & Dan and Brian & Ericka let their stacks get checked a 2nd time.  Sam & Dan are correct and get their next clue, but Brian & Ericka are wrong again.  Ericka’s frustration returns.

Meghan & Cheyne arrive at the suite and there is Wayne Newton himself.  He tells them the Finish Line is his house… that’s all he’s going to give.  They get back on the elevator to go down as Sam & Dan are coming up.  They get to the suite and forget what his name is before he tells them and they are off as well.



Brian & Ericka are still at the Monte Carlo as Meghan & Cheyne and Sam & Dan are looking for Wayne Newton’s home.  Meghan & Cheyne’s taxi driver says they’re at his Ranch, they get out but the gates are locked, though eventually they find the right entrance and find Phil at the Finish Line.

For the first time the teams are all on one side as they greet the winners of The Amazing Race 15, Meghan & Cheyne.  Sam & Dan officially check in 2nd and Brian & Ericka run in 3rd.

Meghan & Cheyne are happy with each other and know they have each other for the rest of their lives.  Sam & Dan are happy to show their families and everyone their story and it doesn’t who they are.  Ericka hopes her family has seen a side of Brian they haven’t had an opportunity to see and that they can finally accept him.





OVERALL
It was a very exciting leg.  Though not the outcome I was personally rooting for, it was exciting throughout and the first leg that allowed for multiple place changes throughout.  

The tasks weren’t especially the most interesting and as a final task, the chip counting pales in comparison to previous final tasks, especially considering last season’s exciting final task and TAR12’s epic final task.  I do prefer the final tasks that not just require Race memory, but something that looks back on their amazing adventure.  The chips felt like a task that could’ve been on any regular leg of the Race.  The rappelling is something we’ve seen before of course.

The Cirque du Soleil task was fun though and really the whole leg was one huge Travelocity ad for Las Vegas.  Nice cameo by Wayne Newton and I guess the Las Vegas promo pays the bills or in this case, save TAR some cash for filming in the city.

The clues proved to be tricky enough which is definitely a positive change for the final leg.  Things like that allow for those game changing moments of clarity.  I’d like to see a final leg that still has teams thinking.

All in all an exciting final leg and a great finish to a good season.

Leg Twelve Itinerary
DEPARTURE
Střelecký Ostrov
Prague, Czech Republic

END CITY
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.

ROUTE MARKERS
Graceland Wedding Chapel
Las Vegas, Nevada

The Mirage
Las Vegas, Nevada

Monte Carlo Resort and Casino
Las Vegas, Nevada

Suite 88 at the MGM Grand
Las Vegas, Nevada

ROAD BLOCK
Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino
Las Vegas, Nevada

PIT STOP
Casa de Shenandoah
Wayne Newton’s Home
Las Vegas, Nevada

Leg 12 Departure Times
Střelecký Ostrov
Prague, Czech Republic

Meghan & Cheyne 11:10am
Sam & Dan 12:08pm
Brian & Ericka 3:15pm
 

Who Did the Detour?

There was no Detour in this Leg of the Race

Road Block Count

In order of completion; Italics indicate who did this week’s Road Block
Who’s ready to go down the mountain?
6 Brian Ericka 6
5 Meghan Cheyne 6
6 Sam Dan 6


6 Herbert Nathaniel 5
4 Gary Matt 5
2 Maria Tiffany 4
1 Mika Canaan 5
3 Lance Keri 2
2 Zev Justin 2
1 Marcy Ronald 2
1 Garrett Jessica 1
0 Eric Lisa 0

Leg 12 Order of Finish
1st Meghan & Cheyne
2nd Sam & Dan
3rd Brian & Ericka


My Team Rankings for Leg 12

Brian & Ericka Brian & Ericka – They were able to have a shot and they made it there on their own, but Ericka’s frustrations and her decision to switch (which ended up pointless) could’ve cost them the Race.  They would’ve probably been able to maintain a good lead or at least a head start going into the final task if they had just kept on it at Cirque du Soleil.  But it looks like karma took a day off which ended up being unlucky for them.
Sam & Dan Sam & Dan – The story for them the entire Race was their short tempers with each other.  They easily and quickly grow frustrated and unlike Brian & Ericka where Brian can be the cooler head to calm his partner down, the brothers both hype themselves and then the other up which is definitely not helpful when a clear head is needed to win the Race.  
Meghan & Cheyne Meghan & Cheyne -   It’s no surprise they were able to pull out the win even with a couple of missteps during the Leg.  They stayed calm which can go a long way especially as everyone else around you crumbles.  It was their Race to lose, though not exciting and very predictable, it was a well deserved win.
Quotes from Episode 15.12
Ericka: “That finish line, I’m going to run like there’s no common sense in my brain.”


Episode Caps



Almost 1000 episode caps from the final Leg now online at xangatheamazingracecaps2

Flight Time & Big Easy Have No Regrets

Flight Time & Big Easy Have No Regrets

Flight Time & Big Easy tell Deadbolt how their height may have been a disadvantage

Reality TV World asks the Globetrotters about their rivalry with Sam & Dan and the Dubai incident with Mika & Canaan.

What was their favorite part of the Race? The Globetrotters tell People.com.

Will Flight Time leap from The Amazing Race to Dancing with the Stars

Recap: The Amazing Race 15, Episode 11 – “Yeah, I do have some American attitude. Touch me and you get punched.”

Episode 15.11 – It Starts With an ‘F’, That’s All I’m Saying
Miss the episode or want to watch it again?  Download the episode now on The Amazing Race - The Amazing Race, Season 15


THE LEG
The penultimate leg of season 15 of The Amazing Race begins.  Meghan & Cheyne leave the Pit Stop first, again, at 9:46pm and get their clue telling them to head to the Spanish Synagogue in Prague for their next clue.  They head over there, find the cluebox (and the Speed Bump)  and open their next clue telling them to go to the Ekotechnické Museum.


Meghan & Cheyne get to the museum just as Sam & Dan and Flight Time & Big Easy leave the Pit Stop.  It’s the Road Block.  In this Road Block, teams will enter “a convoluted, bureaucratic world that many people refer to as Kafkaesque.”  Referring to existential author Franz Kafka, teams will enter an enormous warehouse filled with empty desks and telephones and proceed to find the five phones with someone on the other end of the line.  Those five people will each give the teams a letter, which they will unscramble to spell FRANZ.  They must fill the letters in on a special form and if correct, will be handed their next clue by the supervisor.



Meghan heads in to do the Road Block.  She decides to say the words out loud and associate them with animals to remember the letters.  When she gets all five letters, she goes to the supervisor who hands her a form asking for her name and various other information before allowing them to fill in the boxes at the bottom.  Meghan has no idea what word to spell on first try but gets it on the second.  She is handed the clue and reads it with Cheyne outside.  Teams will now make their way to Kryocentrum for the next clue.

Sam & Dan arrive and Meghan & Cheyne plan to take their taxi, but the brothers tell the driver not to go with them.  Cheyne yells to the boys to tell the driver it’s okay for them to take it, but no luck.  Dan heads into the Road Block.  Meghan & Cheyne wait for a taxi as Brian & Ericka finally leave the Pit Stop.

The Globetrotters arrive and Big Easy heads inside just as Dan finishes and fills out his form, but his guess is wrong.
Meanwhile, Meghan & Cheyne get to the Kryocentrum and must now strip to their underwear and enter a cryothearpy room which is kept at -180°C where they must stay for 2 minutes.  After experience therapy used by Czech athletes, teams will get their next clue.  They strip, put on some gloves, socks, an ear warmer, and a sanitary mask and head down into the ice.




Brian & Ericka get to the Speed Bump.  They must find the M1 Lounge and complete a complicated three-step process to prepare absinthe, a drink known for its high alcohol content.  They’ll drink one shot and proceed with the Race.  They find the pub and there’s hot girls everywhere, even some dancing on the bar.  They mix their drinks and take the shot.  WOW is their reaction, the girls applaud and cheer and they are back on the Race.

Back at the Road Block, Dan is having trouble unscrambling the letters, allowing Big Easy to catch up.  Now both of them are filling out forms and both eventually agree to work together.  They make their guesses until Dan finally guesses correctly.  Big Easy asks what he tried, but Dan says “It starts with an ‘F'” and that’s all he’s going to say.  Big Easy has a “Are you serious?” look on his face and Dan leaves.  Big Easy continues to try and figure it out but Brian & Ericka arrive and Brian gets started on the Road Block.


Meghan & Cheyne finish their two minutes and head to their next clue at the Charles Bridge where they find the Detour, Legend or Lager.
In Legend, teams will build a golem by cover a wooden golem skeleton with wet clay.  Then they must transport the figure across town to the Old New Synagogue, the golem’s ancient home.  If the Rabbi is satisfied, he’ll hand them their next clue.
In Lager, teams will deliver 30 glasses of beer from a brewery to a bar filled with soccer hooligans.  After delivering all the beers, the bartender will hand them their next clue. 
Meghan & Cheyne decide on Legend.



As Sam & Dan get frozen, back at the Road Block, Brian has collected all his letters and starts the forms as Big Easy continues to struggle.  After a few tries, Brian spells out FRANZ and he and Ericka are off leaving the Globetrotters in last.  They decide to take the four hour penalty so they sit and wait it out.

Meghan & Cheyne finish mudding the golem and Cheyne tries to roll it on his own but it is too heavy.  Both he and Meghan have to do it together and they make their way to the Synagogue just as Sam & Dan arrive and choose to do Legend as well.  They start plopping on the mud and when Sam leaves to get some mud, Dan inadvertently pushes it over.  The golem’s arm breaks, but Sam says it’s fine though Dan is already thinking about quitting.



Brian & Ericka finish up at the Kryocentrum and head to the Charles Bridge.  They choose Lager and ask some blurry-faced guy on the street where to go but he tells them he’s lost too (and drunk, Ericka adds) so they run off and find a taxi who points them in the right direction.

Sam & Dan are arguing about leaving the golem in the middle of the street and going to find the synagogue first and then drag the golem there instead of getting lost and having to lug it around.  They find a taxi and get pointed in the right direction.

Brian & Ericka get to the brewery and get try with a couple of glasses each.  They walk outside and a bunch of drunken soccer hooligans start messing with them.  

Meanwhile, Meghan & Cheyne finish the Detour and head to the Pit Stop, Střelecký Ostrov, a small island next to the Charles Bridge, where they check in first,,, AGAIN!  And are officially the first of the final three teams racing for the million.  Not only that, they’ve each won a 52″ LCD.



Sam & Dan stop again as Dan can’t handle holding up the golem.  Sam’s fine with it until Dan starts yelling which then prompts him to start yelling at Dan.
Flight Time & Big Easy continue to wait out their four hours with still a little under 3 hours to go.

And Brian & Ericka are walking the dark streets of Prague each holding a tray of beer.  They decide to rest a little bit, but Brian drops a glass or two as he is setting his tray down which then somehow makes Ericka drop every single one of hers.  She is not willing to make this Detour work and wants to do the other one instead.  Brian tells her to finish it, not to give up on this one.  He gives her two glasses and they continue on but the drunks are everywhere and some are even trying to grab some of their beer!  But neither of them’ll have it.

The Globetrotters are waiting around as Sam & Dan continue bickering all the way to the Pit Stop.  They are officially the 2nd team in the final leg.

The sun rises and the Globetrotters penalty is over and they make their way to the Kryocentrum.
Brian & Ericka are finally on their last trip and the drunks are all gone and the bartender is sleeping outside the bar.  They hand over the beer and they get their clue telling them to go to the Pit Stop.  Phil gives them the good news, they are the 3rd and final team racing for the million.

The Globetrotters get to the Kryocentrum and get that dubious Pit Stop clue in the middle of the leg and they are officially the last eliminated team of TAR15.




Overall
Lots of great stuff this leg.  

First off, it’s been a while since there’s been an all-night leg and I’d love to see more!  It is always fun seeing teams running around in the middle of the night and it looks like TAR really planned this leg for the darkness.

And I guess the tasks this leg were best at night, the Kafka Road Block and then the drunks!
Thank goodness I studied Franz Kafka in high school and college.  The dark warehouse full of ringing telephones would probably be something Kafka would’ve employed in his torture techniques.  I wish the whole thing could’ve been more trippy and eerie than it was, but it was great.

The Lager side of the Detour seems so simple, yet I don’t know if TAR had expected all the drunks to be thinking the teams were roaming bartenders.  “That was insane” as Ericka said.  That was fun, but that fun could’ve been employed on the Legend side of the Detour too.  Have some drunk hooligans harassing two people struggling to hold up a huge golem?  Should’ve been hilarious!  Especially with Sam & Dan already providing some laughs with their brotherly bickering.

Overall a great great leg, but more importantly, we have our final 3.  A good final three I think.  Definitely the two dominant teams and the underdog.  Should be exciting next week!

Leg Eleven Itinerary
DEPARTURE
Prague Castle
Prague, Czech Republic

CASH
$113

ROUTE MARKERS
Spanish Synagogue
Prague

SPEED BUMP
M1 Lounge
Prague

ROAD BLOCK
Ekotechnické Museum
Prague

DETOUR
Charles Bridge
Old New Synagogue
Prague

PIT STOP
Střelecký Ostrov
Prague, Czech Republic

Leg 11 Departure Times
Prague Castle
Prague, Czech Republic

Meghan & Cheyne 9:46pm
Sam & Dan 10:13pm
Flight Time & Big Easy 10:17pm
Brian & Ericka 11:40pm
 

Who Did the Detour?
In order of completion

LEGEND


LAGER

DID NOT ATTEMPT A DETOUR

Road Block Count

In order of completion; Italics indicate who did this week’s Road Block
Kafka-esque
5 Meghan Cheyne 5
6 Sam Dan 5
6 Brian Ericka 5
6 Herbert Nathaniel 5*
*Big Easy attempted the Road Block, but opted to take a 4-hour penalty.

4 Gary Matt 5
2 Maria Tiffany 4
1 Mika Canaan 5
3 Lance Keri 2
2 Zev Justin 2
1 Marcy Ronald 2
1 Garrett Jessica 1
0 Eric Lisa 0

Leg 11 Order of Finish
1st Meghan & Cheyne
2nd Sam & Dan
3rd Brian & Ericka
Philiminated Flight Time & Big Easy


My Team Rankings for Leg 11

Brian & Ericka Brian & Ericka – They were lots of fun this week, lots of hilarity.  But they held on to make it to the final 3.  Still haven’t seen that little extra push they need to win, but hopefully they’re saved up all that energy for the final leg.  They’re definitely the underdogs, so they’ll have to work extra hard.
Sam & Dan Sam & Dan – If they’re going to fight, at least they’re going to make you laugh.  Hilarious banter from them during the Detour.  But more importantly, they and Meghan & Cheyne have been dominating, so they are tough competition for both teams.
Meghan & Cheyne Meghan & Cheyne -   It’s their Race to lose.  Which means, it’s anyone’s Race.  We only have to look at last season and see a dominant team can just crumble or get a case of bad luck just like that.  But if their cooler heads prevail, they’ve got it in the bag.
Herbert & Nathaniel Herbert & Nathaniel – After a Race of them having fun, doing well, enjoying everything around them, it ends like this.  Not the best way to go out and surprising they’d actually take the penalty.  But considering their troubles with the simpler thinking tasks over the season, I guess you can’t blame them.  Still, quitting is always frowned upon on the Race.  So it really is a sad way for them to go out.
Quotes from Episode 15.11
Brian: “You’re going to get me in trouble in here.”
Ericka: “You get yourself in trouble.”

Sam: “My ass is too big for these.”

Brian: “Oh my gosh!  And I did it drunk too!”

Sam: “You can’t have the dirt Dan!  Otherwise the Rabbi’s gonna be pissed.”

Blurry-faced Drunk Dude: “I’m lost also.”
Ericka: “Yes.”
Brian: “You’re lost.”
Ericka: “And drunk.”

Blurry-faced Drunk Woman: “For me?  For me?”
Brian: “No No NO!!!”
Ericka: “Move out the way girl.  MOVE OUT THE DAMN WAY!”
Brian: “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?”
Ericka: “She is about to get her ass beat.  Swear to God.”
Another drunk person: “Damn, that’s some American attitude right there.”
Ericka: “Yeah, I do have some American attitude.  Touch me and you get punched.”


Episode Caps



Almost 800 episode caps from Leg 11 now online at xangatheamazingracecaps2

Recap: The Amazing Race 15, Episode 10 – “This is ridonkulous.”

Episode 15.10 –  We’re Not Working with Anybody, Ever, Anymore
Miss the episode or want to watch it again?  Download the episode now on The Amazing Race - The Amazing Race, Season 15



THE LEG
Tenth leg of the Race and the teams head for Prague in the Czech Republic.  Once there, they must make their way to the Old Town Square and locate a man in a vintage Praga, which the teams must figure out is a classic car.  The man will hand them their next clue.  With zero dollars for this leg of the Race, all teams catch the same flights through Riga, Latvia on Air Baltic to Prague. 

Meghan & Cheyne, Sam & Dan, and Flight Time & Big Easy easily head out of the airport in their taxis, but Brian & Ericka, based on a trip from a passenger on the plane, take a shuttle to the subway, which they believe is faster.

Meghan & Cheyne arrive at the square first and immediately see the car.  Sam & Dan are right behind and follow Meghan & Cheyne right to the clue since they had no idea what a Praga was.  They get their next clue telling them to make their way to Kayaky Troja.  

The Globetrotters get their clue and are off, but Brian & Ericka’s bus is stuck in horrible traffic.  They finally decide to just take a taxi.  Brian concludes their gamble didn’t pay off.  Ericka was unsure about it in the first place. 


Meghan & Cheyne and Sam & Dan arrive at Kayaky Troja and find the Detour.
In Fast & Furious, teams will ride down the man-made white water rafting course and grab two ribbons with their next clue on it.  If they tip over, they must start the course over.
In Slow & Steady, teams instead will pull themselves on a grueling aerial ropes course, at the end of which, they will each grab a ribbon with their next clue.

Sam & Dan decide to kayak, but Meghan & Cheyne decide on the ropes course.  The Globetrotters are close behind and choose Slow & Steady as well.  Meanwhile, Brian & Ericka are at the square looking for the Praga.  They realize it’s the car, they get their clue, and rush to the Detour.

As Meghan & Cheyne and the Globetrotters start pulling themselves across the line, Sam & Dan are having trouble with the white water rafting.  Their quick frustration is kicking in once again and they flip over several times.  Up top, Big Easy is having trouble pulling himself up while Flight Time passes Meghan & Cheyne. 



Big Easy is still on the ropes, but the rope guides ask the three of them to go down.  Flight Time takes his time climbing down as he’s tired, but Meghan & Cheyne suggest he’s going slow on purpose to keep them from getting ahead.  They get frustrated and want to go ahead, but can’t. 

They get down, Flight Time tells Meghan he wasn’t slowing them down, but when they accused him of doing so, he decided why not slow them down, especially as Cheyne started yelling.  Thanks for the idea.   Meghan says it’s not like that, no big deal and she and Cheyne run off.

They have their clues, Stavoski Divodla which refers to the Estates Theater, where they’ll search for their next clue.  The two teams leave as Sam & Dan capsize again.  Brian & Ericka finally arrive and catch up.  Sam & Dan decide to switch Detours.  And now both Sam & Dan and Brian & Ericka do the ropes. 

Meghan & Cheyne learn they can take the tram to the theatre and Meghan decides to just work with the Globetrotters despite Cheyne being against it.  Since the Globetrotters were going to follow them anyway, they welcomed the invite.  

Sam & Dan get on the ropes and Brian reminds us of Ericka’s fear of water and his fear of heights.  But he’ll do the higher Detour just for Ericka.



Meghan & Cheyne and the Globetotters get to the train stop and they ask a lady for directions.  She writes them down on Meghan & Cheyne’s little notebook, but Cheyne sees a taxi and tells Meghan to come.  He grabs the notebook from the confused lady and runs to the taxi.  Meghan feels he’s being very rude.  The Globetrotters get the lady to write the directions for them instead.  Meghan & Cheyne speed off, Meghan upset that Cheyne has to be to rude to the Globetrotters after they agreed to work together.  Cheyne thinks that’s crazy at this point of the Race.  The Globetrotters, left behind, decide to take the train that’s just arriving and on their way out see the brothers and Brian & Ericka still on the ropes.

Ericka is far behind and Brian is trying to tell her technique, but she tells him to stop, she’s trying and she’s getting there.  Meanwhile Sam is having his own trouble with Dan far ahead of him.


Meghan & Cheyne get to the theatre and find the Road Block, Who can remain composed under pressure?
This is the Estates Theatre, the historic opera house where Mozart premiered his legendary opera Don Giovanni.  For this Road Block, teams will have to search the theatre’s 600+ seats for one of several tiny mandolins.  When they find one, they must bring it to Don Giovani himself who will give them their next clue.

Cheyne does the Road Block.  He heads up to the balcony rooms and finds a large instrument and brings it to Don Giovanni, but he just laughs and says “No!”  The Globetrotters get to the subway and get off at their stop for the theatre.  Big Easy decides to do the Road Block and Flight Time takes a seat next to Meghan.



At the Detour, Sam & Dan finish and Ericka is slowly getting herself up to the platform.  The brothers see Brian & Ericka’s taxi and tell the driver they’ll pay extra if he can drive them instead of waiting for Brian & Ericka.  Brian tells Ericka, use this as motivation: the brothers are trying to steal our taxi!  They yell to the driver to wait for them but the driver decides to go with the brothers.  They leave.  Ericka says the fire’s been lit and she powers through the rest of the line.  They now have to find a taxi.

The brothers get to the theatre and Dan decides to do the Road Block.  They are all searching the theatre and find some big instruments and other small things but all get laughs from Don Giovanni.  Cheyne finds a small mandolin case with a small mandolin inside, takes it to Don Giovanni and is handed the next clue: Teams must now head to the Pit Stop, Prague Castle, the largest ancient castle in the world.

Brian & Ericka get to the clue box and read the clue, Who can remain composed under pressure?  Ericka laughs, but Brian answers “My baby.”  Ericka gives a “Huh?” expression but agrees to do the Road Block if he thinks she can.   They head inside just as Dan exchanges the mandolin for the clue.  The brother make a point to avoid eye contact as Ericka reminds Brian not to say anything to them.



Meghan & Cheyne arrive at the Mat and officially check in 1st, again. 
Sam & Dan are having trouble finding a taxi and the Globetrotters finish and catch up to them on the streets.  They get taxis at the same time and arrive at the Pit Stop at about the same time.  Sam & Dan find Phil first and take 2nd. The Globetrotters want to crash the party and Phil happily welcomes them in 3rd.  Sam & Dan tell Phil they aren’t worried about Brian & Ericka and the Globetrotters tell Phil about drama with taxi stealing and they aren’t going to get in the middle of it.

At the theatre, Don Giovanni starts eating a McMuffin or something waiting for Ericka to find the mandolin.  She finally finds one under a chair and she and Brian head for the Pit Stop.  They arrive at the Mat and Phil tells them they are last.  Brian says they’ve had a rough morning and that angels have been with them every leg of the Race.  Phil tells them they have one more angel as this is a Non-Elimination Leg and they are still in it.  He tells them they’ve got to give it their all, they’ve still got a chance for Final 3 and if they want, the $1 million.


OVERALL
This was an all right leg.  The tasks weren’t all too exciting.  We’ve seen ropes courses and white water rafting tons of times and though the theatre was beautiful, the needle in a haystack/luck tasks are always tedious at best. 

The taxi drama, it’s sneaky to do but sometimes that is what it takes to stay in the Race.  It isn’t nice at all, but it’s hard to fault someone for playing the game.  Cheyne’s actions at the train stop were very uncomfortable.  Him grabbing that notepad from the lady who had a WTF look on her face as he ran off with Meghan calling after him.  He could’ve said something instead of just running off like that, to both the lady and the Globetrotters.  Still, no matter how cliché, karma still plays a big part in the Race. 

This leg being non-elimination was not a surprise, especially considering there are only two episodes left this season.  Next week the final three will be decided and the week after is the final leg and the Race home!

Leg Ten Itinerary
DEPARTURE
Keava Raba Outlook Tower
Rapla County, Estonia

CASH
$0

STOP OVER CITY
Riga, Latvia

DESTINATION CITY
Prague, Czech Republic

ROUTE MARKERS
Old Town Square
Prague

DETOUR
Kayaky Troja Along the Vltava
Prague

ROAD BLOCK
Estates Theatre
Prague

PIT STOP
Prague Castle
Prague, Czech Republic

Leg 10 Departure Times
Keava Raba Outlook Tower
Rapla County, Estonia

Meghan & Cheyne 12:00am
Sam & Dan 12:19am
Flight Time & Big Easy 12:20am
Brian & Ericka 12:22am 

Who Did the Detour?
In order of completion

FAST & FURIOUS
Sam & Dan attempted this Detour but switched.

SLOW & STEADY




Road Block Count

In order of completion; Italics indicate who did this week’s Road Block
Who Can Remain Composed Under Pressure?
4 Meghan Cheyne 5
6 Sam Dan 4
6 Herbert Nathaniel 4
5 Brian Ericka 5

4 Gary Matt 5
2 Maria Tiffany 4
1 Mika Canaan 5
3 Lance Keri 2
2 Zev Justin 2
1 Marcy Ronald 2
1 Garrett Jessica 1
0 Eric Lisa 0

Leg 10 Order of Finish
1st Meghan & Cheyne
2nd Sam & Dan
3rd Flight Time & Big Easy
4th Brian & Ericka


My Team Rankings for Leg 10

Brian & Ericka Brian & Ericka -  Not a good decision by Brian to start off the leg and that one decision, like it usually does, almost cost them the Race.  Still, despite them playing catch up the entire leg, neither broke down and Ericka, not surprisingly, stayed calm throughout.  I think they’ve realized that frustration leads nowhere and they stayed positive for the most part.  Other people would’ve just stopped in the middle of that Detour and started crying, but Ericka  soldiered through.  We’ll  see if they can kick it into high gear next week to get themselves into that final 3.
Herbert & Nathaniel Herbert & Nathaniel – The drama with the brothers behind them, they concentrate on their own game as they always do.  But when their game half of the time is following other teams, that may not be the best thing to do.  When there are only four teams left, a neck and neck Race with one other team could help or really hurt you.  So they’ve gotta step it up on their own or be careful with who they tag-along with. 
Sam & Dan Sam & Dan – Nothing new from the brothers this week.  More frustrated yelling at each other and the game move of stealing the taxi.  They must hope that doesn’t bite them in the butt next leg.    
Meghan & Cheyne Meghan & Cheyne -   It seems to be back and forth with these two.  One week Cheyne is the tolerable one, another week Meghan.  This week it was Meghan’s turn as Cheyne just came out with bursts of mid-level doucheiness through the leg.  It would be foolish to bet against them  making the final 3, but at the same time, that’s probably a good reason to bet against them.  This is The Amazing Race after all.
Quotes from Episode 15.10
Sam: “PRAGUE!
Dan: “What’s that?  Do they speak Spanish there?”
Sam: “No.”
Dan: “Where is it?”
Sam: “Prague?  It’s a country.”

Ericka: “I shouldn’t have to look under every single chair to find this.  This is ridonkulous.”


Episode Caps



680+ episode caps from Leg 10 now online at xangatheamazingracecaps2

Recap: The Amazing Race 15, Episode 9 – We’re Not Meant for the Swamp

Episode 15.09 – We’re Not Meant for the Swamp!
Miss the episode or want to watch it again?  Download the episode now on The Amazing Race - The Amazing Race, Season 15

THE LEG
The 9th leg of The Amazing Race is about to begin.  Phil reminds us the last Pit Stop was in Sweden, the birthplace of dynamite, the Nobel Peace Prize, and… ABBA!

The leg gets underway as the Globetrotters are the first to leave at 2 in the morning.  Teams will cross the Baltic Sea on a ferry to Tallinn, Estonia.  There, they will have to find Mustpeade, the secret building of the Brotherhood of the Blackheads.  Using the keys given to them at the Mat, teams will have to find the right key to open the door and find their clue inside.

The Globetrotters head to the ferry terminal and find out the first boat to Tallinn leaves at 17:45 or 5:45pm later in the day.  That allows all the other teams to catch up to them.  The Globetrotters sleep in their Mercedes as the other teams arrive one by one at the terminal.

They board the ferry, settle into their overnight sleepers and float towards Tallinn.  The sun rises and the teams arrive, ready to Race.  They run out into the terminal and rush to find taxis.

Meghan & Cheyne and Sam & Dan arrive first at Mustpeade.  Cheyne tries his keys but nothing happens until Dan tries one of his.  An alarm sounds and the door opens just as Brian & Ericka get out of their taxi and run.  The first two teams close the door before Brian & Ericka can get in.


Inside, the teams find the Road Block.  Phil explains the Brotherhood of the Blackheads is a secret society of merchants that has existed in Estonia for at least 600 years.  In this Road Block, teams will join the ranks of the Brotherhood to uncover a mystery.  Teams will descend into the cellar and find a candelabra with a room number attached.  They must find the room where they will then be given what appears to be a blank piece of paper.  They will have to figure out that they must hold the paper over the candle to reveal their next clue.  

Sam and Cheyne decide to do the Road Block. 


Outside, Ericka is at work with the keys as Gary & Matt arrive and see the Speed Bump, “It’s time to sweat the small stuff.”  For their Speed Bump, Gary & Matt must find a Saunabuss and take a 5 minute sauna with Estonian strangers.  Afterwards, they can get their next clue. 

Gary & Matt run to the Saunabuss, strip, and get into the sauna with a couple and a pretty Estonian girl.  Matt is uncomfortable next to the Estonian girl, she was very pretty.  Gary tells stories of Minnesota.

The Globetrotters arrive at Mustpeade just as Ericka opens the door and the head in.  Ericka and Flight Time decide to do the Road Block and head down to the cellar to get their candelabra.  They head back upstairs to find the room and Flight Time finds it first.  He goes inside to find a man there with a scroll.  He thinks there’s a crayon attached so he starts scraping at the paper with it in the hopes of revealing the secret message.  He doesn’t see anything and lays it on the piano.  The cameraman sees it though, very easily in fact.

Cheyne finds his room and “immediately” knows to hold it up to the light.  Ericka does the same as Sam finds his room as well.

Both Cheyne and Ericka discover the clue at the same time, Pikk Hermann Tower Garden, and they head off.  Gary & Matt finish their Speed Bump and go inside the Mustpeade.  Matt chooses to do the Road Block and goes down to the cellar, but he has no idea what a candelabra is.

Sam finally sees the clue… “Pikk Hermann Tover Garden”.  And Flight Time finally figure his out as well.  They are off, leaving Gary & Matt.  Matt asks a minstrel player or something if he’s a candelabra.  He gives him a funny look.  Matt realizes, hmm, maybe it’s a candle and sees the one on the table.  He takes it and goes.


Brian & Ericka and Meghan & Cheyne find the tower and their next clue, the Detour.
In this Detour, teams will make their way to the bogs of Estonia.
In Serve, teams will play volleyball in the mud against a local team, in their underwear, and they will have to score 5 points to get their next clue.
In Sling, teams will ground themselves in the bogs and fire assorted vegetables at a moose target which will make the table collapse, letting the cabbages and their clue fall to the ground.

Both teams choose Serve.  They continue running side by side and both see a taxi up ahead, but Brian lets Meghan & Cheyne have it.  Cheyne (I think) asks the taxi driver to call for another one.  Ericka is surprised Brian actually gives up the taxi to them, his heart of gold strikes again!  Meghan & Cheyne tell their driver to hurry, but he asks, what about the other guys? “No!” Cheyne says.  “Just go!  We don’t care about the other team!  Forget about the other taxi. Just forget the other taxi.” Meghan exclaims.
Meanwhile, the Globetrotters stay on Sam & Dan’s collective ass all the way to the garden and the clue.  Both teams also choose Serve and rush to find a taxi.  Sam & Dan find a taxi with someone in it and they asks if they can have the taxi, but she says she can’t walk. 

A taxi van comes right behind and both teams run to it.  Both teams get in.  Sam & Dan are frustrated the Globetrotters have stayed on their asses, now literally.

Matt sees Pikk Hermann Tower and they run to find the tower, not realizing they have to find the garden.  They run around the tower, trying to find a way in.

The Globetrotters follow Sam & Dan to the clue and both teams choose Serve too.
Gary & Matt finally find the cluebox and choose the slingshot.  They get in a taxi who actually calls the taxi driver of Meghan & Cheyne, possibly asking where the place is.  Meghan & Cheyne’s driver tells the guy he doesn’t know.  Meghan & Cheyne are happy lucky kids.

They arrive at the Detour and they strip, choose a pair and start playing.  They score points pretty quickly but have trouble finishing as the Globetrotters and Sam & Dan catch up to Brian & Ericka arriving at the Detour.   The three teams cannot find the marked path and run all over the place into the forest.  This gives Meghan & Cheyne lots of time to finish and get their next clue.

Teams must now run through the bogs to Keava Raba Overlook Tower for this leg’s Pit Stop.
Meghan & Cheyne finish first again.  They win a red cedar sauna.

The three teams finally find the marked path.  The Globetrotters think the Estonians will be scared of two big black, good looking, athletic guys and Sam & Dan appreciate the “hottie Estonian guys.”  Since there’s only two courts available, Brian & Ericka decide they might as well start the Sling Detour.

Sam & Dan’s crotches are blurred, but that doesn’t help them score any points.  The Globetrotters aren’t doing so well either.  Gary & Matt, meanwhile are still a ways away from the bogs.

Brian & Ericka continue to work on the slighshots while it seems as if the hottie Estonians are just letting the two teams win now.  The Globetrotters finish first, but take their time putting their clothes back on and then walking the wrong way.  Sam & Dan finish and head off in the right direction before the Globetrotters realize it.  They chase after the brothers.

On the pathway, something happens and Flight Time and Dan go down.  “That’s messed up,” the Globetrotters say.  Sam & Dan arrive at the Mat and Phil waits for the Globetrotters to arrive before officially checking them in 2nd and 3rd respectively.  Phil says “Big Easy looks like he’s ready to kick some butt right now.”  They each give their own version of the story, both teams know its awn.

Brian & Ericka finish up the Detour and slog through the mud back to the path and make their way to Phil and the Mat.  They officially finish 4th.

And finally, Gary & Matt do the slingshots as well and make their way to the Mat where they are Eliminated.

OVERALL
This was an unusually quick leg I thought.  It went by very fast.  Not to say it wasn’t enjoyable, because it was, but definitely not the strongest episode of the season for sure.

Sad to see Gary & Matt go though.  But like is always said, little mistakes can cost you.

I just realized three more episodes left!  Next week is probably the final non-elimination leg and then we have the last two after that!  

Leg Nine Itinerary
DEPARTURE
Bögs Gård Farm
Häggvik, Sollentuna, Sweden

DESTINATION CITY
Tallinn, Estona

ROAD BLOCK
Mustpeade Maja
Tallinn

SPEED BUMP
Saunabuss
Tallinn

ROUTE MARKERS
Pikk Hermann Tower Garden
Tallinn

DETOUR & PIT STOP
Keava Raba and Outlook Tower
Rapla County, Estonia

Leg 9 Departure Times
Bögs Gård Farm
Häggvik, Sollentuna, Sweden

Flight Time & Big Easy 2:23am
Meghan & Cheyne 4:12am
Brian & Ericka 4:37am
Sam & Dan 5:04am
Gary & Matt 6:29am 

Who Did the Detour?
In order of completion

SERVE


SLING

Road Block Count

In order of completion; Italics indicate who did this week’s Road Block
Who Can Solve a Medieval Mystery?
4 Meghan Cheyne 4
5 Brian Ericka 4
6 Sam Dan 3
5 Herbert Nathaniel 4
4 Gary Matt 5

2 Maria Tiffany 4
1 Mika Canaan 5
3 Lance Keri 2
2 Zev Justin 2
1 Marcy Ronald 2
1 Garrett Jessica 1
0 Eric Lisa 0

Leg 9 Order of Finish
1st Meghan & Cheyne
2nd Sam & Dan
3rd Flight Time & Big Easy
4th Brian & Ericka
Eliminated Gary & Matt

My Team Rankings for Leg 9

Brian & Ericka Brian & Ericka –  After Gary & Matt’s Philimination, Brian & Ericka are now my favorite team to win.  I hope they can get out of their perpetual middle/back of the pack standing to get themselves into the final 3.  They have two legs to step it up, I hope they do.
Gary & Matt Gary & Matt – They ran a respectable Race.  A good team with a great relationship, it is always nice to have a parent-child team on the Race.  Sad to see them go, but congrats to them on making it this far.
Herbert & Nathaniel Herbert & Nathaniel – Again, strong and fun.  A  good combination, but the little things is what’s going to get them if they don’t look out.  Their strength and positive energy have made up for their little missteps along the way, but luck can only go so far. 
Sam & Dan Sam & Dan – It’s probably expected that they will make the final 3 and they’ve done pretty well save for the yelling at each other.    
Meghan & Cheyne Meghan & Cheyne –  They are dominating, no question.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they won the whole Race.  Excited about it? No.  Not surprised? Definitely.  They’re just not an exciting team for me.  They’re likeable most of the time (read: Meghan’s bitching), but I just can’t get excited about them.
Quotes from Episode 15.09
🙁

Episode Caps

750+ episode caps from Leg 9 now online at xangatheamazingracecaps2

Recap: The Amazing Race 15, Episode 8 – “Where did that big black man come from in that red shirt?”

Episode 15.08 – This is the Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Done in My Life
Miss the episode or want to watch it again?  Watch the full episode at CBS.com!


THE LEG
It’s still light out, though it’s already 9:33pm as Sam & Dan get their first clue of the 8th leg at the Mat.  Teams will now fly to Stockholm, Sweden and once there must take a train and a ferry to amusement park, Tivoli Gröna Lund where they will find their next clue at the Fritt Fall ride.  

The teams leave the Pit Stop one by one.  Sam & Dan have 21 years of sibling rivalry, Meghan & Cheyne have done well in the Race, which is of course a sign of good compatibility for marriage, It’s Flight Time’s birthday and he wants to get first place for his gift, Gary wants to keep up with the youngins, and Brian wants to show Ericka’s mom that her marrying a white guy is okay.

KLM ticketing opens at 5:30am, so the teams spend a few hours in the airport.  When they get to the counter in the morning, Sam & Dan, Meghan & Cheyne, and Flight Time & Big Easy manage to get on the 6:55am flight.  Gary & Matt and Brian & Ericka get the bad news that the flight is booked and have to instead get on a 9:25am flight.



The first flight touches down at Stockholm-Arlanda and the teams run for the train.  Flight Time & Big Easy get left behind at the platform.  Sam & Dan and Meghan & Cheyne get to the ferry and arrive at the cluebox in the park.  One team member must ride the Fritt Fall and while on it, look for an arrow on a rooftop in the park pointing them in the direction of their next clue.  

Cheyne and Sam go up and then down fast and they head to the next clue.  Now teams will have to play Roaming Gnome Ring Toss.  When they’ve landed a ring on one of the giant hats covering a Roaming Gnome, the attendant will hand it to them and will find their next clue underneath.  And as always, they must keep the Travelocity Roaming Gnome until they reach the Pit Stop.


They get the Gnome and find the Detour.
In this Detour, teams will have to choose between two of Sweden’s most notable historic figures.
In Nobel Dynamite, teams will fill sandbags to create a protective bunker in a rock quarry.  Once they’re protected, they’ll set off “an enormous explosion” that will unearth a box containing their next clue. 
In Viking Alphabet teams will decode a secret message using the Viking alphabet.  The message tells them to “Find the Strong Viking” who will give them their next clue.

Both teams choose Nobel Dynamite and head off as the Globetrotters arrive at the amusement park.  No one taller than 6’4″ can ride the ride, so Big Easy is out.  Flight Time goes up to search for the arrow.  They get to the Gnomes and decide on Nobel Dynamite as well.



And as they finish, Gary & Matt and Brian & Ericka arrive in Sweden.  Brian & Ericka get their tickets and get on the train, but Gary & Matt just miss it and are left behind.  15 minutes until the next one.

 The Globetrotters want to name their Gnome.  Flight Time suggests “Sweet Pea” (“Naaww, that’s dunb.”).  Big Easy says “Louisiana Shorty” (“That’s gettho!”).  Then he says “Harlem Gnome” (“Harlem Gnome!?!?!”)

Brian & Ericka get to the park and find the clue.  Brian is scared of heights so it’s up to Ericka to find the arrow.  She has fun and they head to the Gnomes.  Ericka gets it on first try.  Gary & Matt get to the park and Matt goes up, even though Gary wanted to have fun too.  They get the Gnome and all the teams are now on their way to the Dynamite.

The first three teams all meet up and start the Detour.  Sam & Dan use their hands to fill the sandbags which was faster.  Meanwhile, Meghan suggests she and Cheyne work together by having one person hold the bag open and another shoveling in the dirt.  He won’t have it.  (“Cheyne! Encourage me please, help me!”)

Still on their way, Brian & Ericka hire a taxi to lead them while Gary & Matt are confusing themselves with Swedish street names.



Sam & Dan finish their bunker and blow s—t up.  They find the clue, telling them to drive themselves to Bögs Gård Farm, the site of one of the most infamous and daunting challenges in Amazing Race history (I just got chills).  There teams will find their next clue. 

The Globetrotters are next and Meghan & Cheyne finish last of the three.  Meghan is frustrated Cheyne didn’t listen and was so uncooperative with her.  

Brian & Ericka arrive at the dynamite.  Gary & Matt get pointed in the right direction.  The Globetrotters get lost and Sam & Dan arrive near the farm.  Meghan & Cheyne are right behind and it’s a 0.2km jog to the farm.


Sam & Dan get to the cluebox and *dun*dun*dun*, it’s a Road Block.
Phil reminds us that nine seasons ago, this was the site of one of the most unforgettable Road Blocks in Amazing Race history.  Simple enough, Phil says (yeah sure).  We get a flashback to Lena & Kristy’s unlucky afternoon turned night.  Lena, almost 10 hours unrolling hay bales and she found not one clue.  Now, in an “Amazing Race Switchback,” teams will face the same challenge. This time teams will have to search 186 bales of hay for 1 of only 7 Race flags.  Also, the farm is the Pit Stop for this leg, so teams will have to work even harder to avoid possible elimination.



Sam decides to do the Road Block.  At the start, Dan starts yelling which Sam is not liking.  Frustration already starting and they don’t even know the half of what this Road Block can be.  Meghan & Cheyne arrive.  Meghan asks Cheyne which one of them should do it.  He is silent… and silent… until Meghan says she’ll do it.  Hmm…

The Globetrotters arrive.  Big Easy gets out into the field.  Dan continues yelling at Sam.  Sam continues yelling back at him to shut up.  Meghan wants encouragement.

At the rock quarry, Brian & Ericka are finishing up their bunker, scooping the sand with the hands when Gary & Matt arrive.  They put on one last row, Ericka goes to protect their gnome and the blast the cluebox out of the ground.  They leave for the farm with Gary & Matt not too far behind.

 

Dan continues yelling at Sam.  Sam flips him the bird.  Meghan says “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life” a 2nd time.  Flight Time tells Big Easy to find that flag first for his birthday.  “Screw you!” Sam yells after Dan criticizes his hay rolling technique.

Brian & Ericka and Gary & Matt are running towards the field as Big Easy finally finds a flag.  Sam proclaims the Globetrotters as “the luckiest team ever on the Race” as the two friends run towards Phil and the Mat.  They claim 1st and win a trip to Turks and Caicos.  

Sam says he hates Big Easy.  Brian & Ericka and Gary & Matt arrive at the field and all teams are now at the Road Block.  After some hesitation, Brian & Ericka decide Brian will do it and Gary chooses to do it for his team.  Meghan is in tears, she’s been there for TWO HOURS!  (Oh my goodness!  Go cry to Lena and Kristy).  Sam is going to kills his brother.



Another WTF are you doing? to Sam prompts Brian to tell Dan, hey man, it’s harder than it looks.  Dan finally shuts up.  Sam says they’ve only been doing this for an hour and a half!Matt says it’s a little easier for them and Brian & Ericka since the other teams have already rolled out a lot of the bales.

Meghan finally finds a flag and wants to surprise Cheyne.  She pretends she’s giving up, but FAIL! she trips and falls in a hole.  Ericka points and laughs, and Cheyne slaps Meghan’s ass and they run off to the Mat to claim 2nd.  

Three teams left.  Ericka praying Brian finds it next.  He does.  He flips over a bale and they run to the Mat to the finish 3rd.

Dan now starts encouraging Sam, sympathizing with him.  Matt says his dad’s worked with hay all his life, he can do this.  Finally, Sam finds a flag.  They head to the Mat and claim 4th.  Phil says… almost forced, “Wow… that was like a… replay of season 6.” (No Phil… it was not.)  Dan puts on the waterworks, though really he’s only got one tear running down his face. Phil doesn’t look impressed (haha).

An hour and 56 minutes have passed… Two hours and 45 minutes… finally Gary finds a flag.  He didn’t want to give up and it paid off.  They run to the Mat and Phil tells them, he’s sorry to tell them… next leg will be a tough one.  This is a non-elimination leg.  Speed Bump next week.

 


OVERALL
It was a great leg. First of all, why didn’t the Roaming Gnome have his own safety gear?  I loved last season’s Gnome leg when he got his own costumes and stuff throughout the leg.  

And the Switchback.  While many TAR fans were speculating/reporting that the Switchback was some U-Turn/Yield type of power, it was basically just TAR recreating a past task.  

And what a task to go back to.  I admit, my eyes began to water seeing TAR6’s Aaron and Jon rolling those hay bales and then I really started tearing up seeing Lena & Kristy and Lena powering through those hay bales for 8 hours+.  

Showing Lena’s toughness from TAR6 (5 years ago! Can you believe it?) and comparing it to the big babies from this week’s leg… wow.   Though Sam’s frustration was aggravated by Dan’s unhelpful yells, he and Meghan’s Woe is me after just an hour or two?  Come on!  TAR6’s Don could roll those hay bales faster than them.



But going around the TAR message boards got me thinking too about how much the Race has changed since then.  Has it gotten easier?  Harder?  Honestly though, I must agree with some fans saying teams these days probably couldn’t handle some of the things they’ve done in the past.  The TAR6 Senegal salt Road Block comes to mind.  The women powered through that one, while Adam, the only guy to do the Road Block struggled!  And Mary Jean, so awesome in the Road Block, it brought husband Don to tears.

Which reminds me… about how the placement of the clueboxes right next to the Road Block defeats the purpose.  The Road Block is (was?) supposed to throw the teams for a loop, that’s why they are only given a cryptic one-line clue as to what the task is before they find out what they’re actually supposed to do.  But lately, the clueboxes are placed right next to the task which allows the teams to choose based on what they see and in most cases seeing other teams already doing the task.  TAR6’s Senegal salt Road Block was perfect because the cluebox was hidden behind a huge mountain of salt and the teams had no idea what the clue meant, automatically assuming it was something female-geared.  

The Switchback… well, it’s cool and fun especially for TAR fans who’ve been there from the beginning to see some of the most classic Detours and Road Blocks recreated.  But like this week showed, it just paled in comparison and the teams seem so weak now! especially when you look at these teams going at it for not even 2 hours and crying, Lena did it for 8 hours+ and would’ve kept going had Phil not come out to them.  Of course, future Switchbacks could produce some unforgettable moments as well, so we’ll have to wait and see.

Well, there’s a lot of things we can dissect and change about TAR and hopefully for TAR16, Bertram and Co. can make some fresh changes, but for now, TAR15 is getting into gear and hopefully gets even more exciting now that we’re in the final stretch.

Leg Eight Itinerary
DEPARTURE
Zoutkamp Harbor, De Marne
Groningen, The Netherlands

CASH
$220

DESTINATION CITY
Stockholm, Sweden

ROUTE MARKERS
Tivoli Gröna Lund
Stockholm

ROAD BLOCK & PIT STOP
Bögs Gård Farm
Häggvik, Sollentuna, Sweden

Leg 8 Departure Times
Dolphin Bay Beach
Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
Sam & Dan 9:33pm
Meghan & Cheyne 9:48pm
Flight Time & Big Easy 10:32pm
Gary & Matt 11:08pm
Brian & Ericka 1:38am
 

Who Did the Detour?
In order of completion

NOBEL DYNAMITE





VIKING ALPHABET
No teams chose this Detour

Road Block Count

In order of completion; Italics indicate who did this week’s Road Block
Who thinks they can spot a needle in a haystack?
4 Herbert Nathaniel 4
4 Meghan Cheyne 3
5 Brian Ericka 3
5 Sam Dan 3
4 Gary Matt 4

2 Maria Tiffany 4
1 Mika Canaan 5
3 Lance Keri 2
2 Zev Justin 2
1 Marcy Ronald 2
1 Garrett Jessica 1
0 Eric Lisa 0

Leg 8 Order of Finish
1st Flight Time & Big Easy
2nd Meghan & Cheyne
3rd Brian & Ericka
4th Sam & Dan
5th Gary & Matt
Non-Elimination Leg


My Team Rankings for Leg 8

Brian & Ericka Brian & Ericka -  After last week’s rough leg, Brian & Ericka seem to have bounced back nicely.  Though a bit of bad luck with the plane at the start of the leg, they had a much calmer and smoother leg which should help them regain the drive and the positive vibes to keep going.  They had fun.  Up that morale! 
Gary & Matt Gary & Matt – Much kudos to Gary for completing the Road Block. Hard work on the farm probably helped, but good for him because I was surprised Matt didn’t choose to do the Road Block.  Great to see them saved by a non-elimination though because I feel like they could do a Nicolas and Don (TAR12) and go to the final three.  One leg of bad plane luck can easily be recovered from.
Herbert & Nathaniel Herbert & Nathaniel – Looks like Sam & Dan aren’t just frustrated with each other, but also with the good luck the Globetrotters seem to have every week.  Really, the Globetrotters have the right combination of fun, skill, teamwork, and luck that gets them through each week.  The Globetrotters probably don’t care what Sam & Dan think, and why should they.  They’re doing perfectly fine on their own.  Another good leg for them. 
Sam & Dan Sam & Dan – The big things a little encouragement can do.  Looks like Sam and Dan’s impatience will be a recurring theme, regardless of how much they say they will change, though Dan put on the waterworks at the Mat pretty well.  Again, keep those short fuses in check, calm down, and they’re good to go.
Meghan & Cheyne Meghan & Cheyne -  They finish well, but a tough leg for their communication skills.  Meghan actually made sense for the first time in the midst of her frustration.  Cheyne wasn’t having any of it at the Detour and his silence at the Road Block prompting Meghan to do it was mind-boggling.  This isn’t a good sign if they want to make it to the end. They should be careful with that or it’ll catch up with them sooner or later.
Quotes from Episode 15.08
Brian: “The guy is supposed to win his girl something at the fair, not the other way around!  But hey…”
Ericka: “It’s 2009!!”

Big Easy: “Where did that big black man come from in that red shirt?”
Flight Time: “Big black, ugly man too!”
Big Easy: “You talking about you”


Episode Caps



800+ episode caps from Leg 8 now online at xangatheamazingracecaps2