Previously on the Race: Did we mention the new 2015 Ford Focus enough yet? Yes? Well too FREAKING bad. Oh yes, and Kurt and Bergen failed harder than 95% of the contestants ever.
Before we even begin, we get some new footage of Blair and Hayley arguing in Munich, as if the editors are saying, “We got motherfuckin’ hours of this shit, man. You have no goddamn idea.” Then everyone sets out for Nice, France, from whence they shall get dressed all fancy. They all give a little capsule description of where they think they are in the Race and their respective relationships, and there’s a sort of vague sense of gods getting their thunderbolts out and ready for smiting. The Olympians set out first and actually make good use of their lead, getting on the earliest flight to Nice at 5:05 PM. Matt and Ashley get what they think is the next fastest flight, but they actually get a pretty sucky flight that comes in at 6:15. Jeff and Jackie, Hayley and Blair, Laura and Tyler, and Jelani and Jenny all wind up on a 5:55 PM flight. Mike and Rochelle, who were a good four hours off of the head of the pack, get a disaster of an 8:45 PM flight…
And then they go and see if they can get in on standby on the 5:05 flight the Olympians are taking. And it works! Why more people don’t try for standby, I will never know. It has happened before–“Boston” Rob snagged a standby flight or two and it made a big difference for him and Amber. It’s a tactic that has very little downside and very big upside, and it might have saved Mike and Rochelle’s bacon this time out. There is a bit of bunching to come, but these two have needed help staying out of last. Playing smart like this helps themselves.
Once they get to Nice, everyone dolls up. Steve (of the Olympians) looks like he’s getting into a Miami Vice cosplay, while Rochelle looks like she’s in the last act of one of those “ugly duckling becomes a beautiful swan” high school movies like ’10 Things I Hate About You’. Jeff and Jackie commit the cardinal sin of admitting that they like each other, which is apparently violating the new blind date code, and Laura and Tyler break out the Word of the Day, “bougie”. If you did not watch this episode, it is physically impossible for you to conceive of how sick you would have gotten of hearing this word.
In the morning, everyone gets into their new fancy clothes and gets on a helicopter in the following order to go to Monaco: Aly and Steve, Mike and Rochelle, Jelani and Jenny, Laura and Tyler, Hayley and Blair, Jeff and Jackie, Matt and Ashley. None of them get lost and wind up in Morocco, more’s the pity. Once they arrive, they get this week’s Roadblock: “Roses and Chocolates”. Basically, they have to run all over the damn country (okay, it’s only about a square mile, but still) and pick up fancy roses and chocolates, of the sort which Grace Kelly would have approved, and bring them back to their partner. Steve and Mike take this for their respective teams, followed in relatively short order by Jenny and Laura.
Hayley jumps in to give Blair a romantic gesture (as opposed to the other kinds of gestures she was giving last episode, most of which were blurred by CBS) but by this point Mike and Steve are already in possession of their roses and off to the chocolaterie. Meanwhile, everyone else is kicking back on a yacht waiting for their teammates to show up, and Tyler shows that he is born to be a rich douchebag. It’s only the “rich” part he’s been missing up until now. Jackie takes the Roadblock for her team, and Matt brings up the rear. The episode makes a big deal about people potentially getting lost and panicking and the chance for epic Fail Gongs, but the teams leave in much the same order they arrived in.
Then it’s off to the Detour, which is decided this time by a spin of the roulette wheel instead of team choice. I wouldn’t want to see this as a regular thing; strategizing about Detours is half the fun of the Race, especially when people freak out and switch and then switch back and switch one more time and then get U-Turned anyway. But as a one-time thing, especially in Monte Carlo, it’s hard to resist. Much like the word “bougie”. (Although, seriously: TRY HARDER, RACERS.)
The Olympians, the Truckstoppers, Laura and Tyler, Prescription for Hate (who are actually pretty mellow to each other this episode–maybe the production team snuck some prescription Valium into their food) land on black and get “Win By a Nose”. They have to mix chemicals to make their very own signature perfume and cologne, complicated slightly by the fact that some of the scents are numbered instead of named.
The lawyers, Jeff and Jackie and Matt and Ashley wind up on red, with “Don’t Slack Off”. It’s a zipline down, tightrope back type of thing that the Race does all the time. Rule Number Three of the Race: They will get your damn ass a few stories off the ground at least once a season, so you better get ready for it now. (Rule Number One is “Read the Clue”. Rule Number Two: Ask Bergen and Kurt what Rule Number Two is.)
But first, everyone needs to get good and lost! There are a lot of scenes of people driving around and getting very nervous, and we get this episode’s “Good girl!” as Aly figures out how to get to the Detour. Then he spanks her lightly and promises to tie her up later. It doesn’t stop them from getting to the Detour after Mike and Rochelle. They have a little difficulty with the numbered scents, though, leading to the first tension between the two we’ve seen all Race. It is roughly as much irritation as Blair and Hayley showed to each other last week over how high the windows should be rolled up.
This week, though, they’re riding high. They both had to take some chemistry to get into med school, and they dose people with medicine on a daily basis in their regular job, so “mix things with precise measurements” is pretty much the easiest thing they’ve done since the Race started. (It’s also the most chemistry they’ve shown since the Race started.) They’re extremely quiet and collected as they work, unlike Laura and Tyler and the Truckstoppers, both of whom screw up their first attempts.
But Jelani and Jenny get out of the Slack Detour even quicker. In fact, Slack seems to be the far luckier option to wind up with; it’s nasty scary, but it’s quick and you can’t do it wrong. (Well, you can’t do it wrong twice, at least. And if you do it wrong once, you won’t care about it for long.) All three of the Slack teams come out of the Detour as the first, second and third before anyone finishes with their perfume, and are on their way to the Pit Stop.
The Olympians come out of their perfumes in fourth and Laura and Tyler pop out in fifth, with Tyler and Blair not far behind in sixth and Mike and Rochelle close behind them (although they’re more than a little miffed about starting first and finishing last). But they’re only seconds behind Laura and Tyler and Hayley and Blair, so it’s very a tight race to the pit stop.
How tight? Well, it’s basically tight enough to decide the entire leg. Between trying to ask for directions in English from native French speakers, confusing road signs, vague maps, helpful joggers, and dead ends, there’s a complete change-up in the racer order. (And in psychological dynamics: Hayley and Blair are congratulating each other on their respective performances, while Jenny is frustrated and looking for someone to take it out on. And guess what: There’s only one other person in the car.)
Believe it or not, Hayley and Blair come in first and get a trip for two that they’ll probably cash in. The Olympians come in right behind them in second, and Mike and Rochelle come in third. Phil takes the opportunity to once again unleash his inner Yiddish grandmother and ask if Hayley and Blair might be on the road to romance, but nobody’s buying it.
Matt and Ashley take fourth, and Jelani and Jenny take fifth. Laura and Tyler unfortunately take sixth, but at least none of them respond to Phil’s exhortations to start acting cuter to each other. (“Please! It’s our season gimmick! I NEED this!”) Even more unfortunately, Jeff and Jackie, the only blind date couple who could stand each other, get eliminated despite Jeff’s stirring Matt Smith cosplay. Jackie’s heartbroken, but she does admit that she wants to give Jeff her number. And really, isn’t that what the Race is all about?
Oh. Apparently it is not. Oh well.
Next week, we get two hours of the Race, with hyena feeding and zebra wrangling and…cross-country skiing? This I gotta see.