1:23 AM. Bransens. As Wally opens the clue, he notes that the teams with money are getting $87. Just enough for his rocket pack. We revisit what I'm pretty sure are recycled comments from this team last time about how there's tension between the Weavers on one side and the Godlewskis and Linzes on the other, which Wally figures is "probably to [the Bransens'] advantage." Eh, I think that theory can be overrated, particularly when you're dealing with teams that are a lot better than you are. Tension screws up some teams, but the Linzes in particular don't seem to lose focus, no matter how peeved they are. In an interview, Beth says that her team tends to just keep working and not let other teams' behavior bother them. Of course, the girls are too busy dragging their father from place to place on a dolly to get overly invested in personal dramas. Maybe they could get him an electric scooter. Can't you just see Wally zooming down the path and passing some really tired person who's walking along? You know, Sharon Godlewski is panting down some asphalt path, and Wally's like, "[Meep, meeeeep!] Passing on your right!"
1:30 AM. Godlewskis. As they go, we return to Christine's interview about how she hoped at the beginning of the race that she and her sisters would all "get along better." She also doesn't think her sisters should "diss on" her, because it's not "polite." Yeah, unfortunately, pulling out politeness as your argument with this particular group of sisters is only going to be viewed as a sign of weakness. Despite their chirpiness early in the race, this is really the remaining team that's the most likely to cut you. In the car, Michelle snatches the map from Christine wordlessly, sort of like she's done so much talking that she can't talk anymore, so now she just has to grab stuff. She's kind of mean, but she's also tired of arguing, and I can't blame her for trying to avoid endless debate over every point. I get the feeling that navigating Christine's emotional minefield is about as much fun for her sisters as a bikini wax, and there isn't even a soothing lotion at the end.
The Linzes are the first to the high school, where they encounter a clue box with numbers you can pull, so they take the first number. The clue instructs them to "help inflate a hot-air balloon," and it says that they'll then take a ride over the countryside. (This clue was translated in the household where I watched this episode thusly: "Get into the slowest form of transportation known to mankind." ["Second-slowest. Morituri Queens-bound G train salutamos." -- Sars]) Once they land, they'll get another clue. I appreciate the way that they try to make it seem like helping inflate the balloon is some sort of "task," but it's clearly not. More and more, the race planners are just like activities coordinators at a resort. "It's a beautiful day at the Blissful Mountain Lodge. This morning, we will be offering a balloon ride, and then little sandwiches for lunch!" Anyway, beginning at 6:00 AM, shuttles to the balloons will leave every ten minutes. So the upshot is that...they put the Yield on a non-elimination leg, where they followed the end of the leg immediately with a gigantic bunching, thus guaranteeing that there was literally no way the Yield could possibly matter. It's kind of like giving the audience in a whodunit no information at the beginning except, "The killer is no one who's part of the story." They've surgically excised the only possible reason to care. You'd think in the eighth season, they'd have figured out where the drama lies, and that it doesn't lie in spending weeks without an elimination while people drive around and are handed departure times by booth-dwelling park employees.