The Gadzookskis are the first to find the guy who does actually turn out to be Ricardo Diaz. Christine (I think) walks up to him and says, "Are you Ricardo Diaz?" "Yes," he says, "I am Ricardo Diaz, and here is your --" But Christine has already snatched the clue away and walked off. Not sure Christine will be getting a Christmas card from Ricardo. Or if she does, it will just say, "Feliz --." They open their clue and decide to ignore the Fast Forward, saying that they "don't need it" because they're in the lead. Therefore, they move on to the Detour. The Detour options this week are Rhythm and Coos. (Boo, punning Detour options. Boooooooooo!) In Rhythm, you take a bus to Casco Viejo, where you go to four locations to collect four musical instruments. You take your instruments to the Take Five Jazz & Wine club, where the bandleader will give you a clue. In Coos (feh), you take your bus to a local park's "rainforest" area where you look with binoculars for wooden replicas of five local birds. Do wooden replicas coo? Anyway, you circle the birds on a chart, and then you turn in your chart to get your clue. The Gadzookskis decide that the birds will take too long, so they decide to do the instruments.
The Paolos are second to find Ricardo, and they do take an interest in the Fast Forward. Phil explains that this is the only Fast Forward on the race, which basically removes all the normal sorts of strategy from the use of the FF. Seems appropriate to the way the season is going, I guess. In this particular Fast Forward, you find a crane and split into pairs to do a tandem bungee jump. The Paolos decide to go for the Fast Forward.
The Weavers find Ricardo and go for the birds. Finally, the Gaghans pull up to the dock in very much last place. Wally and the Tonyas get the clue from Ricardo and choose the birds. The Linzes get the Detour clue and are the first team to go for the musical instruments. When the Gaghans get the clue from Ricardo, they decide to go for the Fast Forward.
You can basically tell from the way that two teams, in second place and last place, went for the Fast Forward that there wasn't a good way to figure out whether to do it or not. Theoretically, if they know there's only one, then the teams in the front should go for it, because there's no reason not to, except that they ruined that by putting the FF very soon after a big bunch, meaning that if you go for it and you get even slightly edged out, you could wind up badly behind. A team in the back like the Gaghans should assume that obviously, plenty of other teams have already gone for it, but as you can see, that didn't actually happen, and they were up against only the Paolos. The FF here operates as just kind of a crapshoot, much like...well, everything else. Without knowing whether it's a non-elimination leg, without knowing who else might go for it, it just...it isn't clear what a single Fast Forward is adding to the race, since it's by far most likely to benefit a lead team, and why does the lead team need a bigger benefit? It was totally different when it was a safety hatch for teams who fell behind -- that legitimately gave people an opportunity to use it strategically and change their fortunes. This is only going to put somebody farther ahead who would already be ahead. Dumb. I am grumpy.