Amazing Race

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Kafka'ed Up

Sam and Dan are leaving at 10:13 PM, reading the clue in unison like they're the Wonder Twins or something. Sam interviews that they're probably seen as the villains, since everyone was playing really nice up until the cab-stealing controversy of the previous leg. We even get a long, black-and-white flashback of said controversy, and then they say they don't care; it's not going to stop them from making it to the final three. Yeah, I don't know if Brian and Ericka have forgiven them, but I have. And I think "villains" is kind of a strong word. I'm not sure I'd refer to them (or any of the rest of the teams, for that matter) by anything harsher than "those guys."

Meghan and Cheyne find the dismal little courtyard outside the museum, and Cheyne reads the Road Block question: "In order to obtain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd." Whoa, trippy. That's not even a question. Just that intro is enough to freak Meghan out. And then, over a shot of Prague's statue of Kafka, Phil narrates, "The existential author Franz Kafka rejected technology and questioned the meaning of life." And then Phil's inside what I hope is not the museum's main hall, because it's a dreary, dusty, depressing cavern packed with scores of small tables, each table holding at least three old-timey black rotary phones. It looks like a call center for the Iron Curtain. Phil says, "To complete the Road Block, one person must enter a convoluted, bureaucratic world that many people refer to as Kafkaesque." In fact, "Kafkaesque" is the name of the Road Block. As Phil vanishes and the phones all start ringing, he voice-overs that the person doing the Road Block will have to search for what Phil calls "the five phones that actually have someone else on the end of the line." Each of those phones will state one of the letters in the word "Franz." Once they have all five letters and have unscrambled the word, they have to go into the supervisor's office. There, two humorless judges in black turn-of-the-century suits with high shirt collars will have them fill out a form. At the bottom of each form are five big boxes, one for each letter in "Franz." Then the "supervisor" will give them their next clue, but not before loudly stamping the form with a giant black KAFKA. Cheyne thinks Meghan can do it, even though neither of them knows what "it" is yet. Oh, who are we kidding, there's no reason not to think that.

She goes inside to get started and is pretty clearly overwhelmed by the noisy scene before her, but she seems to take her own advice from last week, systematically picking up receivers and listening one at a time, working her way through every phone on every desk and bookcase. There must be hundreds of them. Hearing the racket outside, Cheyne calmly says, "It sounds like mayhem in there...But I've got a lot of confidence in her. She's going to make it happen." Really going out on a limb there. Over one of the phones, Meghan hears a mechanical voice saying, "R," and she repeats it back as though someone's actually there. "R as in rabbit," she reminds herself loudly and repeatedly as she continues answering phones. Soon she's got a Z for zebra to go with it, and an F as in Ferret. I'm not sure what she'll do if another racer catches up to her while she's still reciting letters to herself, but then I don't know what she'd do if the earth were to suddenly lose all its gravity and atmosphere, which seems about as likely.

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Amazing Race

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