Amazing Race

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We Are No Longer in the Bible Belt

What's this? Why, this, as Phil says, is Patagonia, "the rugged grasslands of Southern Argentina." He compares it to the American West, a "boundless prairie...scattered with livestock and ranches." One of these, Estancia Fortin Chacabuco, was the third Pit Stop. All twenty square miles of it? Even the giant finish line mat isn't that big. Jet and Cord, the first to arrive, won the privilege of appearing in this season's on-air Travelocity commercial at the beginning of the episode where they get online to research the trip they won. "Might have to take our new cowboy friend with us," Cord adds, putting his hat on the gnome. At first I thought he said "cowboyfriend," which would have been like an entirely different thing. Anyway, they get to leave at 10:57 PM, which may or may not have any relation at all to their arrival time. "Make your way to Hamburg, Germany," Jet reads from the clue. Phil says that's an 8,000 mile flight (and their first one since arriving in Santiago in the opening leg) to Frankfurt, followed by a train ride to Hamburg. Frankfurters and Hamburgers in one day. Then they'll have to walk to Jungfernsteig Street to find their next clue. And not to give anything away, but the clue box seems to be indicating an Intersection. Banjo music accompanies the Cowboys' departure from the ranch, as Jet points out city lights in the distance. Cord assures him that says there are cities all over the world. "We're country, if you can't tell," Cord reminds us, even as the LED headlamp clamped on the front of his cowboy hat makes him look somehow like he's in the sci-fi movie Westworld. They drive into town -- Bariloche, I assume -- looking for someone to get directions from. For some reason they pass the first pair of prostitutes they see, missing the chance to learn about these streets from women who walk them every night. Instead, the Cowboys get out and walk themselves, until they find a travel agency. The agent tells them the first flight is at 11:10 the following morning. As they leave, Jet remarks alliteratively, "It's gonna be a footrace in Frankfurt." On to the airport.

No more departure times for you this week, as we next catch up with everyone else when they're already at the airport. Louie and Michael are starting to notice that they haven't been doing as well as they might have boasted in their pre-race interview. "But we're gonna stay positive," Michael interviews. Brandy interviews that she and Carol were "very wound up" on the last leg, which is a nice way of putting it. They've decided that their word for the day is "respectful." No indication on what the word will be for tomorrow, when they'll actually be arriving in Germany to run the leg. He-Jordan interviews, "Dan does not love traveling." So why'd he go on the damn race, then? Almost as if the Amazing Editors can hear us asking that question, they play us a clip of Dan explaining to us that he did it for Jordan. "He said it's the only thing he ever wanted to do." He's just helping make his brother's dream come true. This interview is the kind of thing you normally hear from a team at the beginning of its last leg in the race. I'm just saying.

And although there was no airport jockeying shown this week, we're going to spend a lot of time going over who's on which flights. Everyone's flying together from Bariloche to Buenos Aires, after which the Cowboys and the Detectives will proceed to Frankfurt through Paris. Carol|Brandy and Dan|Jordan are flying directly to Frankfurt. Joe|Heidi, Steve|Allie, Brent|Caite, and Jeff||Jordan are transferring in Sao Paolo. The Amazing Red line is certainly getting a workout. But it's up to it, which I guess is what makes it so Amazing.

The first flight arrives in Frankfurt at 2:35 PM, and the Cowboys and the Detectives go in search of train tickets. They're able to secure passage to Hamburg on a 3:37 train. They make their way through the massive airport/train station to the platform, and Cord says he just saw a woman fall onto the tracks in a movie and now it makes him nervous. Cord saw State of Play? Michael and Louie join them on the platform to wait. Nobody falls onto the tracks.

The second flight lands at 3:00 PM, and Carol|Brandy already know the train schedules when they land. Even so, they know it's gong to be a scramble for them (and their temporary hangers-on, Dan and Jordan) to catch the 3:37. So scrambling duly ensues. Down on the platform, the lead two teams get on the train, which pulls away as the second pair of teams are just coming down the stairs. They take it pretty hard, and Brandy even cries. "I'm over it," she lies. The Amazing Editors clearly think a commercial should go here, even though it doesn't.

The third and final flight lands at 3:40 PM, and all those teams catch up with the 75% gay alliance made up by Carol|Brandy and Dan|Jordan. Dan and Jordan are even glad to see them catch up. "It's always good to have the other teams in sight," Dan interviews. Yes, so much so that he doesn't even like to have to look behind himself to be able to see them.

I don't know how long a train ride this is, but it's twilight in Hamburg by the time the two lead teams arrive. Cord comes off the train sporting the ever-dashing hat-in-a-plastic-bag look, but has the bag off again as they walk up the street until they find Jungfernsteig. Now to find the clue box. Which they quickly do, and are "Currently in 1st Place," as usual. As previously mentioned, it's an Intersection. Phil explains they "must mutually join forces with another team to complete the next challenge." The Cowboys let out a whoop in the direction of the lagging Detectives, who they might normally try to stay out of the sight of so as not to draw their attention to the clue box, but obviously they need each other now. They both act all excited about being each other's first choice. With that settled, they get to open the actual clue, which is for a Road Block. "Who's ready to reach new heights?" the clue asks, which would make me think this is another bungee jump, but there's nothing new about that on this show. In either case, Jet and Michael are doing it. Phil tells us, "For the first time ever, two people from different teams must work together to complete a daring Road Block." They have to take a train to Hamburg Harbor and do a 150-foot bungee jump. "In the middle of the city!" Phil adds, manfully struggling to make this seem fresh. They'll get their next clue after the jump. Jet and Michael set out, Michael acting as the navigator since Jet is not familiar with the use of the word "Metro" to describe a train system. He's more used to it as a word describing everything he's not. "City and country's gonna work together today," Michael says as they get on the train. Yes, the cowboy and the cop. If there were also teams made up of Indians and robbers, this would be perfect.

The other six teams show up in Hamburg, by which time it looks completely dark outside. Joe and Heidi are the first of this group to find the designated street and the clue box. Cord and Louie are sitting off to the side, waiting for their partners. Wonder what those two have to talk about to each other? Steve spots the clue box next, and Joe and Heidi want to work with them. "They come from a good family," Heidi interviews. "It's just good people sticking together." Which tells you what she thinks of Carol and Brandy, who got their clue before Steve and Allie did. Joe and Allie are doing this, and Joe rather bossily orders the local they've found, Klaus, to take them there. He must have heard somewhere that Germans respond well to powerful authority figures. That leaves the 75% Alliance to pair off together and Dan's going with Brandy, because as He-Jordan interviews, they've got some weird connection. Dan actually calls Carol "the lesbian aunt that I never had." Brandy interviews that they did a bungee jump to prepare for the race, and never ("ever, ever, ever, ever") wa

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