Amazing Race

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Light a Candle, Don't Curse the Dimness

"This is Stockholm, Sweden," Phil informs us from the railing of a pedestrian bridge with a big tacky gold crown on the railing behind him. "The birthplace of dynamite, the Nobel Peace Prize, and supergroup ABBA." And most people tend to think the third thing probably should be introduced to either one or the other of the first two. Except the Pit Stop was way out in the sticks at Bögs Gård farm, so who knows what we're doing back in the capital?

Okay, now we're back at the farm. I'm going to get whiplash. With only five teams left, Flight Time and Big Easy, who arrived first, are seen using a laptop to check out the trip they won on the previous leg. This is actually what I hate most about the gnome-toting legs: the following episode always has this irritating scene in it. But Flight Time almost redeems this one by saying, "I hope we have double beds," which brings to mind any number of alternate scenarios, all of them amusing. Anyway, now they get to leave the Pit Stop at 2:23 AM. "Cross the Baltic Sea to Tallinn, Estonia," Flight Time reads from their clue. The Amazing Red Line, making sure it doesn't get left out again this week, jumps the gun by showing the ferry's route across the Baltic, which Phil says is a 236-mile voyage. Then they'll have to "figure out" how to open a door to a building called Mustpeade, which is "the secret lair of the Brotherhood of the Black Heads." Not so secret any more now, is it? That's where the next clue will be found.

But first comes the issue of how to get there, and where to find the ferry. "I'm thinking downtown Stockholm," Flight Time suggests as they walk to the car they drove to the farm in the previous leg. They interview that they're hoping to widen their lead against the brothers, who they describe as "a tough team." When they reach the outskirts of Stockholm, they get someone to lead them through the city to the ferry terminal. Which is closed, and the sign on the locked door doesn't give a departure time. Fortunately, there's an intercom button. Unfortunately, the voice at the other end tells them the next boat is at 17:45. Yes, that's 5:45 PM, more than 15 hours after their departure time. No way of knowing what time it is now, but the eastern sky is beginning to lighten. "So much for our lead," Big Easy says. As if we should expect anything else at this point. I admire his competitive spirit, though; at this point in the race, if I had to leave my bed at two in the morning only to face a half-day wait for a boat to leave, I'd be more upset about the sleep I'd lost. Hell, I'm more upset about that now, on their behalf.

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Amazing Race

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