In a significant change from previous seasons, the Race course turns back to the West and heads from Turkey to London. Rob and Amber and Ron and Kelly beat the first direct flight by two hours when they find a connection through Frankfurt, so those who fell behind last week are ahead this week. In London, a trip to Abbey Road leads in turn to a Detour that presents a choice between riddle-solving and boat-dragging. Surprisingly enough, both of the lead teams choose the riddles, and they both execute them without difficulty -- Rob and Amber with the help of a cute Brit they locate along the way. Following that, there's a bus-driving Roadblock that challenges everyone's steering capabilities, and it takes everyone who tries it several attempts. But Rob and Amber finish up the leg in first place -- again -- and pile on with an ill-conceived decision to Yield Ron and Kelly. Despite the Yield, Ron and Kelly finish in second place, and Uchenna and Joyce and Meredith and Gretchen fight it out for last. After the trailing teams weirdly choose the physical Detour option, Meredith and Gretchen fall somewhat behind at the Detour and even possibly even farther behind at the Roadblock, and when they find themselves in last place again, there are no more chances and they get the boot at last. They were nice people, but that was overdue. So the final three are Ron and Kelly, Rob and Amber, and Uchenna and Joyce, which isn't a bad result, in terms of narrowing it down to the strong performers. Next week: the two-hour finale, complete with screaming and hollering.
Credits. Look, it's the Travelocity sunset! And the Travelocity glacier! And the Travelocity monkey! [TRAVELOCITOMP.]
Commercials. Things I didn't know: (1) The Blade Trinity is available on DVD. (2) There is a Blade Trinity.
We return to Istanbul, Turkey, which Phil reminds us lies on the border of Europe and Asia. And outside Istanbul, we are at the pit stop, at a 550-year-old fortress where Phil has found himself some decent clothes. He reminds us about the non-elimination as we look at Ron and Kelly and wonder whether Ron gets to keep the harness as part of the "clothes on his back." Hey, beauty queens get as kinky as anyone else, and don't let them tell you different. What do you think all that fire-baton shit is about? Anyway, Phil wonders aloud whether the loss of their money and possessions will do in Ron and Kelly, given that they didn't seem to have that far to fall anyway, and whether the Underestimated Alliance of Uchenna and Joyce and Meredith and Gretchen will hold onto its newfound lead. Well, it will if Rob doesn't shut his yap.
10:53 PM. Uchenna and Joyce. They excitedly (as usual) rip open their clue to find that it sends them ten miles to the Sirkeci Train Station, where they will find a room full of dervishes. Phil explains that these are the "whirling dervishes" with which you may be familiar in a figurative sense, who in a literal sense are a religious sect that performs a ritual in which its members spin to show devotion. In the room of dervishes, you'll find your next clue. Joyce also rattles off that the teams who are getting money will have $477 for the leg. Pretty hefty -- plenty enough to buy all the magazines with your own pictures on them! (Where applicable.) Uchenna hollers for a taxi, which shows up immediately (heh), and they hop in and ask for the train station. Joyce voices over that in their regular lives, they have a tendency to go in different directions (you'll have to take their word for it), so the race has brought them together. They show up at the train station, and when they find what they believe to be the right room, they're escorted inside.
In the dervish room, there are indeed five people spinning in a large, otherwise basically empty space. They wear white robes with full…well, "skirts"…that billow out as the dervishes spin. The posture involves the head tipped to one side, the arms held out, and the remarkable ability to spin in one spot without gradually working your way across the floor like an unbalanced washing machine. Uchenna declares it "beautiful," which…I don't know if I'd call it "beautiful." I'd certainly call it "interesting." The expressionless faces, however, make me a little uneasy. The clue box just inside the door of the room beckons, and when Uchenna and Joyce read the clue, it instructs them to fly to London. Phil explains that this is about 2000 miles, but doesn't mention what's really noteworthy about it, which is that this is apparently the first time the teams will not actually continue east all the way around the world, but will double back, doing more like a north-south tour. I understand normal people don't care, but obsessive race-trivia freaks such as myself? We care a great deal. The clue instructs them, once they get to London, to find the crosswalk made famous on a Beatles album cover. They'll have to figure out that they need Abbey Road, and then that's where the next clue is. They take one more look at the dervishes and leave. In the cab, Uchenna comes up with Abbey Road, and Joyce thinks that sounds right.