Recap: The Amazing Race 17, Episode 8 – “Ali Baba in a suit?”

Episode 17.08 – Ali Baba in a Suit

Nat & Kat open their clue to find teams must now travel to Muscat, Oman.  Once there, teams will make their way to Burj Al Mubkharah and find a man who will hand them a small ingot with the time they would be allowed to climb the fort’s watchtower the next morning for their next clue.

As all the teams head to the travel agent to book their flights, Chad & Stephanie sleep in and miss their departure time.  

While Nat & Kat and Brook & Claire get tickets getting them into Oman at 8:55pm, the rest of the teams have to settle for getting into Oman at 10:35pm. 

Back at the hotel, an hour and 52 minutes after their departure time, Chad & Stephanie finally wake up and end up at the Mat two hours late.  They end up with tickets getting them into Oman at 10:45pm.

Brook & Claire and Nat & Kat get to Oman and pick up their ingot with a time of 7:30.  Chad & Stephanie catches up with the other teams in Oman before they can all get out of the airport. 

They end up getting the 7:45 ingot with Jill & Thomas while Gary & Mallory and Nick & Vicki have to settle for 8:00.

Teams camp out for the night and the next morning they are all treated to Chad proposing to Stephanie (who accepts) before the Race starts again.

The teams head up the tower and get their clue telling them to drive to Jebel Shams where they’ll find their next clue.

Driving in Oman has never been easy on the Race.  As Gary & Mallory and Nat & Kat take wrong turns, Chad & Stephanie get perfect directions propelling them to first.  Jill & Thomas are right behind.  They find the Road Block.

In this Road Block, teams will have to rappel down the side of the mountain to a narrow ledge where they will search through dozens of magic lamps for Aladdin’s ring.  They will exchange the lamp for their next clue.

Chad finds the ring as Jill just starts and he and Stephanie make their way to the city of Nizwa and a giant Stack of Books for their next clue.

Jill & Thomas leave next just as Nick & Vicki and Brook & Claire arrive.  Meanwhile, Nat & Kat and then Gary & Mallory finally ask to get pointed in the right direction.

At the Stack of Books, Chad & Stephanie find the Detour.
In Water Table, teams make their way to an ancient well where they will pump water into a water truck to deliver to a designated home.  Once they deliver the water, they’ll get their next clue.
In Wedding Table, teams would make their way to an Arab market, buy 25 chickens and other ingredients for a traditional Omani dish called maqbous, and then deliver the dish to a bride and groom who will hand them their next clue.

Chad & Stephanie, Jill & Thomas and later Brook & Claire all choose Water Table.  Back at the Road Block, Nick & Vicki have to deal with a flat tire before heading off and Nat & Kat finally arrive.  Still on the other side of town, Gary & Mallory are already sounding defeated.

Jill & Thomas stumble on a little luck when they run into the cousin of the person they are supposed to deliver water to.  They get their next clue before Chad & Stephanie can find their home and they head to the Muttrah Souq back in Muscat where they will have to search for a store and pick up some frankincense which they would have to deliver to Ali Baba for their next clue.

Chad & Stephanie are close behind, as are Brook & Claire to Nick & Vicki who have passed them again at the well. 

Jill & Thomas get to the Souq and find Ali Baba who hands them the clue telling them to head to the Pit Stop at the Al Alam Palace.  Chad & Stephanie are right behind.

When Jill & Thomas get to the Pit Stop, they are excited to have arrived first, but Phil drops the bad news.  They’ve incurred a 30 minute penalty for paying a taxi driver to lead them (which is against the rules now).  The couple have to step aside and sit and watch newly engaged Chad & Stephanie miraculously finish first after their crazy start to the leg.  Jill & Thomas officially check in 2nd.

Nick & Vicki look for “Ali Baba in a suit” and then cross paths with Brook & Claire who are still hot on their tails.  The dating couple head to the Pit Stop and finish 3rd while B&C take 4th.

Nat & Kat deliver their water and are shocked to cross paths with Gary & Mallory who are ecstatic that they are still in it.  But it wasn’t in the cards.  The doctors are safe in 5th and the father and daughter are eliminated. 

Episode Thoughts
I don’t know if I really enjoyed this episode.  Mainly because the three teams I dislike the most were leading the whole way through while the three teams I’m rooting for were struggling the entire leg.

And also, they’re in Oman, yet no sign of a camel?  That’s a big fail right there.

Seriously though, the tasks were a little too simple and uninspired.  Rappelling plus needle in a haystack Road Block is nothing new, neither was the shopping at a market Detour which has been done before.  The water reserve Detour was interesting and a nice look into Omani daily life, but I feel like they wasted a leg with opportunities for some great tasks.

This was also the first leg where the teams had to extensively drive themselves, or at least the first leg where getting good directions actually mattered.  Oman’s been known to be difficult for teams in the past in terms of driving.

So, for me, just a so-so episode.  It could have much more enjoyable even with the less than desirable outcome.

Leg Eight Itinerary
Peter and Paul Fortress
St. Petersburg, Russia

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Muscat, Oman

Burj Al Mubkharah
Muscat, Oman

Riyam Park – Burj Al Mubkharah
Muscat, Oman

Stack of Books
Nizwa, Oman

Muttrah Souq
Muttrah, Oman

Jebel Shams
Al Hamra, Oman

Aswat Al Eid
Nizwa, Oman

Al Alam Palace
Muscat, Oman

Departure Times

Peter and Paul Fortress
St. Petersburg, Russia

Nat & Kat 1:06am
Brook & Claire 1:28am
Nick & Vicki 1:29am
Gary & Mallory 1:46am
Jill & Thomas 1:53am
Chad & Stephanie 2:45am 4:45am

Who Did the Detour?
In order of completion


No teams chose this Detour

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

Who wants to add a little magic to their life?
5 Chad Stephanie 3
4 Jill Thomas 4
5 Nick Vicki 3
4 Brook Claire 4
3 Nat Kat 4
4 Gary Mallory 4

3 Michael Kevin 4
3 Katie Rachel 2
4 Connor Jonathan 0
0 Andie Jenna 2
1 Ron Tony 0

Order of Finish
1st Chad & Stephanie (+5)
2nd Jill & Thomas (+3)
3rd Nick & Vicki (=)
4th Brook & Claire (-2)
5th Nat & Kat (-4)
Eliminated Gary & Mallory (-2)
My Subjective Team Rankings for Leg 8

Brook & Claire Brook & Claire – Not a good leg for them, but not as a bad as it could have been.  The good thing, and it bears repeating, is they kept their calm even in bad situations and that will always help on the Race.  They might have hit a speed bump, but they’re still on track for a final 3 finish.  
Nat & Kat Nat & Kat – Like B&C, not a particularly good leg for the doctors.  But we’ve seen them be able to bounce back before.  They could just as easily get back in the Race and after seeing how they’ve Raced so far, I don’t doubt they will.
Gary & Mallory Gary & Mallory – The frustration finally set in for Gary & Mallory.  And while it was necessarily 100% their fault, I didn’t see the sense of urgency to pick themselves up and get back in the Race.  This is a leg where their usual upbeat attitude could have helped and driven them to get back in it, but it was absent and they’re done.  Too bad.  It’s about time a parent-child team wins the Race.
Chad & Stephanie Chad & Stephanie – They were definitely the stars of this episode.  I wonder how they worked that out.  First off, we can excuse TAR2’s Peggy & Claire for sleeping in (because they’re sweet old ladies), but Chad & Stephanie oversleeping?  Nope.  That’s horrible.  What must they have been doing to be that tired?  Then, the marriage proposal.  And then the first place finish.  They couldn’t have had a better leg if they had planned it all.   
Nick & Vicki Nick & Vicki – They’re staying in the Race.  I don’t know how, but they are.  They’re still one second away from elimination though.  Because unlike other teams, they have not shown they can bounce back and get themselves back to the top. Mainly because they haven’t been at the top yet.
Jill & Thomas Jill & Thomas – I just really hope they don’t win.  I might not hate them like I have teams in the past, but I really hope they don’t win.  And Jill can thank Notre Dame-educated Thomas for that.  And can someone tell Thomas to stop playing with his tongue?
Quotes from Episode 17.08

Nick & Vicki: “Ali Baba in a suit?”

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