Amazing Race

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Champagne-ful

Steven and Allie are lost trying to get to Leclerc Briant, so there goes their lead, as the brothers follow the detectives right to the place. Inside, both teams open the Road Block clue at about the same time and read the question, "Who's ready to cave in?" Spelunking?

Now here's Phil, standing at a table and telling us about champagne, "the centerpiece for countless rituals of celebration. And today, teams must learn how to party like it's 1799." First, they'll "rappel" down a narrow, hundred-foot-deep airshaft into the winery caverns below, if by "rappel" you mean "be lowered like a sack of flour." Then they'll have to search among thousands of bottles in racks to look for one that is "specially marked," which in this case describes an Amazing Flag that's just the right size to be attached to a toothpick. When do we get to the 1799 part? Oh, here we go: "Then, in a tradition established by the soldiers in Napoleon's army," Phil continues, "they'll celebrate their victory by using a saber to slice the cork off the bottle." So when Napoleon was running amok in Europe, all he really wanted was a corkscrew? "When they do," Phil says, "the pressure will cause the champagne to shoot out, along with their next clue." And then they just have to risk being run over as they run out into the street to get it.

Somehow Dan and Jordan are in first place, and the latter is doing this one for the brothers, while Louie's doing it for the detectives. "I'm gonna fricking pee myself," Jordan says has he gets into his harness at the mouth of the hole. He interviews that Dan has done three Road Blocks in comparison to his one, so he was gung-ho to do this. He sits on the edge of the airshaft -- which is illuminated with light cords running down each of the four corners -- and a bespectacled greybeard who will apparently be joining him on the ride down assures him, "No problem, no problem." Which will turn out to be true, as the racers who have to "rappel" won't actually be called upon to do anything other than not flip shit. They start getting lowered down. "I am rappelling down a freaking wine cellar right now," Jordan marvels. Please see previous definition of "rappelling."

Steve and Allie arrive belatedly in third place. "Steve, this is your kind of place," Dan greets them. Someone already has a reputation as a tippler, it seems. He'll be doing this one. Jordan has just reached the bottom, and now has to begin his search. This is no small task, because the catacombs are lined with champagne racks shaped like inverted Vs. Each rack contains sixty bottles on a side, and they have two sides, and the racks are lined up in pairs. So that's 240 bottles per row, and these rows stretch down the curved hallway as far as the camera can see, with side hallways branching off. It's like if Neo said in The Matrix, "We need champagne. Lots of champagne." "Okay, this is a little bit trickier than I thought," Jordan confesses as he snoops among the bottles.

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Amazing Race

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