Amazing Race

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We Are No Longer in the Bible Belt
search of Kaiser Wilhelm. Jet and Cord are just getting off their train. They jog for it, while the cabs carrying Joe|Heidi and Steve|Allie are dropping them off right there at the foot of the drive. Yet somehow the Cowboys get there ahead of the others. They're off in second, with Steve|Allie in third and Joe|Heidi in fourth. All three teams are opting for soccer.

The two Think Tank teams are reunited, and true to their name, they board a train to find Kaiser Wilhelm. But then the 75% Alliance is only just now figuring out how to do the same despite Dandy getting back sooner, so maybe I should rethink a few things.

Michael and Louie climb out of their cab at the bar. The instructions clearly aren't in the clue -- they need to find the little sign by one of the tiny tables that reads, "Welcome to Hamburg. Share a boot of beer. Trade your empty boot for a clue." This is going to be mostly on Louie, as Michael is not a beer drinker. Wow, you think you know someone.

Steve and Allie are the first to reach the soccer stadium, and Steve seems overly concerned with the locker room arrangements. It's okay, Steve, I think she's old enough to go in by herself. They get changed into matching warm-up suits and cleats, and run out onto the field to find five soccer balls set up on tees in front of each goal with its targets. Steve and Allie each take a few kicks before Allie perforates her first target, which causes five little target symbols to appear at the bottom of the screen, one with a big red X through it. Heidi takes a shot, then Joe, but he can't get any air under it because of his bad knee. Or, as he keeps saying in an unfortunate choice of words, "I can't get it up in the air." Steve and Allie score a second target, while Joe continues to fail to get it up. I kind of suspected he was compensating for something.

Jordan and Jeff find Kaiser Wilhelm in fifth place, and decide to do Sauerkraut, while Brent and Caite opt for Soccer. Jordan has her doubts they can do this, but Jeff convinces her. I try to remember if they were among those limited to sauerkraut that one week during their stay in the Big Brother house, but then I remind myself these two are already making me think more about that show in the off-season than I normally like to. "You better shove it down like nobody's business," he warns her in the cab to the restaurant. I'm just going to leave that one there for you guys. That one's all yours. My gift to you.

Steve gets his and Allie's fourth target, while Joe continues to struggle. Steve also gets the last one. "Nice job, Steve," Joe calls over, possibly unaware that Allie got at least one of them. They have their clue sending them to Haifisch Bar. They change and are heading off back in front of the bleachers while Joe and Heidi are realizing it's going to take them a while to get five at this rate. I don't know how long they've been there, but if we were to take any length of time, divide it by the number of targets they have, and multiply that by five, we could have an estimate of how long it'll take them to finish. And since they still have none, that estimate comes out to infinity millennia. They tell the departing father/daughter team they're going to switch. "Go to first place, dude," Joe tells them. Leave us! Save yourselves! We're done for!

Steve and Allie get in their cab just as the Cowboys pull up. Once Jet and Cord have changed and are out on the field the Heroic Cowboy Theme plays as they walk with the coach, who asks Cord if he's ever kicked a ball. "What I've seen on TV's all I know," Cord says. I don't know if not wearing their cowboy boots here is going to be an advantage or a hindrance to them. They interview that they basically learned how to steer the ball by trial and error, but they get two out of five on the first round of kicking. Two of them roll clear off the field for Jet to retrieve. "You got a nice pair of balls there, let's go," Cord says as Jet brings a couple of them back. God, Cord, that's so immature. Besides, I was going to make that joke.

Jeff asks their driver if they're close, and he assures them it's going to be a few minutes. "I hope he's going the right way," Jeff says.

It's a good thing Louie's doing most of the beer drinking, because he's burping and backwashing into that boot like the River Thames. They interview about how they covered each other's weaknesses this leg. Which, since those weaknesses were largely gustatory, is not as magical as it sounds. Then they get their next clue from the barmaid, still in first place. Phil says they're now off to "Beatles Plotz," so named for its historical significance as the site where John Lennon and Paul McCartney had such an emotional falling out that they spontaneously lapsed into Yiddish. Oh, wait, no, it's actually Beatles-Platz, a monument honoring the Beatles. Who, as Phil reminds us, "began their rise to fame playing American pop songs in Hamburg." The "monument" is basically strips of aluminum bent into life-sized silhouettes of the Fab Four performing. From there, the racers will head through the red-light district to find a club called Indra. Inside the place, with a Beatles tribute band kicking up a racket onstage behind him, Phil hollers, "This tiny bar is the first place the Beatles played in the city of Hamburg, and it's the Pit Stop for this leg of the race." The last team to check in may be Pete Best.

The 75% Alliance has arrived at the Kaiser Wilhelm statue, and the guys do Soccer while the ladies do Sauerkraut. Boy, can those women bellow for a cab. I think they just stopped every taxi in Western Europe.

Caite is yelling at Brent, "Baby baby baby baby, I don't wanna get lost. Let's ask now." Which was one of the Beatles' showstoppers in their Hamburg days, if memory serves.

Speaking of lost, Jordan and Jeff's cab driver assures them that they're only a few minutes away. But the view out the window is not encouraging, with towers looming over the street and hardly a single light visible in any window. They seem to be in the business district, in the middle of the night, on a weekend, during a recession, after a biological holocaust, expecting the Langoliers at any moment. "Either we're eating hamburgers or somebody's eating us on this dark road," Jeff snarks. He looks at the driver's GPS screen, which is not encouraging. "We are in he middle of nowhere," Jeff says as they take an exit marked "Ausfahrt." "We're done," Jordan declares fatalistically. But hey, look on the bright side: now you can say you've been to Ausfahrt!

Heh, "Ausfahrt."

After the ads, Jeff comes up a with a plan: "This dude's gotta get a grip on reality." The driver seems to finally figure out how to program his GPS, which he's clearly not had long enough to realize you can't always trust those things. Now they're heading back into Hamburg. "We should've just done the soccer thing," Jordan says, as though that would have made a difference. Jeff correctly points out, "This guy would have typed it in his GPS, we'd have ended up in Switzerland," displaying a geographical acumen I wouldn't have expected of him.

Edga is telling the Detectives about the local red light district they've just arrived in, locally, known as the Reeperbahn: "Pubs, discos, and sex shops." She points out the silver Beatles as they drive past them, and drops them off as close as she can. Now they have to take the long walk down what looks like the whole length of a German version of Bourbon Street before finding the big red "Indra" sign way at the end. Inside, Phil stands behind the mat with his arms folded while that tribute band plays, I guess because he's more of a Stones guy. The Not-Beatles are performing "Please, Mr. Postman," because the real Beatles weren't playing many original songs back in the day. And even if they had been, CBS spent so much money commissioning the Heroic Cowboy Theme (which is why we hear it five times a week) that there wasn'

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Amazing Race

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