And we’re back! Phil once again reminds us of Erin’s claustrophobia, Rachel’s money-counting problems, and Darius and Cameron’s Race-ending mistake. On with the Race!
As we kick off with a little recap, Kurt and Brodie mention how rarely they see some of the back-of-the-pack teams, specifically Blair. Because specifically Brodie has a specific crush on Blair, and would like to spend a little more Eat/Sleep/Mingle time with her. Which has apparently been gossiped about by every single team, because while the Racers have been more friendly and cooperative, that just means their gossip takes the form of matchmaking between the unattached Racers. D’awww!
Everyone gets their clue and sets off for Geneva, Switzerland, and I’d give the team order but it doesn’t matter because there is only one flight and all nine teams are on it. Which means, of course, that Brodie and Blair get their respective wishes. And everyone else is very excited to play Cupid for “Blodie”, which is Tyler and Korey’s name for the new Race power couple. Naturally, despite the romantic string music they play over their meeting, it’s only about as intimate as an airport meeting can be, especially with everyone involved being mobbed by selfie and autograph-seeking tourists. (Seriously, if this season does nothing else, it should make you re-evaluate Internet Famousness.)
Once they land, everyone goes hunting for a chocolate shop with pre-arranged departure time tickets, because the Race has been big into staggering its bunches lately instead of having everyone just go go go. Burnie and Ashley get the first ticket, and helpfully steer the Clevver Girls to the second, because if this episode has a theme, it’s “gosh, these people are big on cooperation”! Erin and Joslyn then steer a big pack of teams to the subsequent tickets, so there’s a bit of a scrum, and all you readily see is that Kurt and Brodie are in second-to-last and Scott and Blair are last.
Everyone then beds down for the night in a sort of modified cuddlepile, and we do see a bit more of Blair and Brodie flirting, if that’s really what you tuned into the Race to see. If it wasn’t, teams wake up in the morning to choose their Detour options, “Workbench” or “Benchwork”.
“Workbench” is simple in principle, complex in execution. Teams have to assemble a Swiss Army knife. This is fiddly and difficult. “Benchwork” is slightly less simple in principle–teams have to measure the longest wooden bench in the world by sitting down side-by-side with their newspapers touching and then alternating seats until they have a number of newspaper lengths. It’s tricky because a) small errors in technique can add up to big mistakes, and b) the production team hasn’t cleared out the area for filming, so if someone is sitting there you have to ask them to move.
Burnie and Ashley take Benchwork, as do the Clevver Girls and Sheri and Cole (who grabbed the third ticket). Zach and Rachel go for the Swiss Army knife in fourth, and mention that only three teams can work on knives at a time (which may explain why so many teams went for the bench). Tyler and Korey go Army in fifth (beat Navy!), Dana and Matt go for the bench in sixth, the models go for the knives in seventh, Brodie and Kurt go for the bench in eighth, and Scott and Blair go for the knives in ninth. That’s four knife teams.
Burnie and Ashley get to the bench, and Ashley takes off her gloves so she can a) hold the newspaper better, and b) deliver an alternate title that is much better than this week’s actual title, “The gloves are coming off!” They have to ask some chess-playing locals, some dog-walking locals, and generally just a lot of locals in general, to move so they can do their sitting thing. These men are going to be pissed as fuck by the end of the episode.
Zach and Rachel start on their knife, as do Tyler and Korey. Unsurprisingly, there are a lot of tiny parts that have to be assembled with exacting precision, because it’s a SWISS ARMY KNIFE. Nonetheless, they get underway.
The models get lost, but bump into Sheri and Cole on their way to the bench. They decide to switch Detours, which is probably just as well for somebody as it means there are now only three knife teams and three stations. (It appears that Scott and Blair would have been displaced, which would probably have completely changed the outcome of the episode, but we’ll obviously never know.)
This means that there’s what should be a big bunch at the bench…yes, I know how that sounds…but for the fact that it’s like, 240 feet long, so there’s not. There is, however, a lot of asking the chess players to move, which they do with increasingly bad grace as the episode moves on. Unfortunately, Team Bravo and the models are not a part of this bunch, as they’re still lost on the mean streets of Geneva. Will the commercial break once again herald a miraculous solution to their seemingly intractable problem?
Wow, it’s like magic! They get to the bench just as Burnie and Ashley finish, guessing 217. A helpful caption tells us, but not them, that the answer is between 190 and 197. (They are nice enough to account for a little variation, but not much.) They start over, after helpfully informing the others that 217 is wrong, wrong, wrong. Because again, cooperation.
Meanwhile, back at the knife fight, Zach and Rachel bemoan the complexity of the assemblage process, but this is the nice season so they don’t argue. Scott assembles the knife, while Blair stands there and says encouraging things. I don’t want to suggest that her role in the Race is purely decorative, but it would be nice to see her do a bit more. On the other hand, at least they’re being friendly, unlike Dana, who’s already telling Matt to shut up again.
Zach and Rachel finish, but miss a blade and have to go back in and fix their mistakes. This would give one of the bench teams a chance to get in first, but Dana and Matt guess 203 and the Clevver Girls go with 240. So it’s Kurt and Brodie, at 190, who get out in first! …and then tell Burnie and Ashley the answer so they can get out in second. Cooperation cooperation cooperation! (Oh, and Dana and Matt knock over the chess set. It’s a lucky thing they’re several miles away from the knives.)
Tyler and Korey get their knife right first try, and get out in third. The models are guessing 163, so they go back for more, but Sheri and Cole get it right with 194 and leave in fourth. Dana and Matt leave in fifth, and The Clevver Girls beg the chess players for mercy so they can get out in sixth with a 197 guess while everyone else heads to the train station to head to the Broken Chair and the Palace of Nations.
Zach and Rachel get out in seventh, with Scott and Blair leaving in eighth. Everyone descends on the Palace, where they get the Roadblock for the episode–teams have a book of flags, and they have to select the ones that correspond to the founding members of the UN (Turkey, Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Liberia, Ethiopia, India, Belarus, Costa Rica, Uruguay). This isn’t as hard as it sounds, because there’s a map of the grounds that shows which flags are which and which flags are the founding flags…so all you have to do if you don’t know is run all over the damn grounds, one flag at a time, until you find the ones you need. (Oh, and the map is stationary. You can’t carry it with you.)
The models finally get out, right as the first group of teams gets to the Roadblock. Korey takes it for his team, followed in short order by Kurt, Cole, and Burnie. It takes everyone a while to figure out that the map is actually a map, and not simply a list of countries (although Cole is convinced that his FIFA-playing skills are a major advantage) but Korey finally figures it out around the time Matt gets there to take it for his team. And at that point…cooperation, folks! Matt and Korey work together to find their flags.
Rachel arrives in sixth to take it for her team, around the time Korey turns in his flags and shares the secret with Burnie. He gets the first few wrong, though, because he was cooperating with Burnie and Cole who had guessed wrong, so they have to recheck their work, which gives Burnie (who redid everything as soon as he figured out the map) the chance to scoot past into first! And the next stop is the Pit Stop, at Chamonix in France.
Blair and Josyln take the challenge in seventh and eighth and immediately start working with Rachel (cooperation!), while Kurt turns in his clue in second and Cole in third. The models finally get to the challenge, with Jessica taking it…but it’s about here that everyone figures out that you can’t cooperate with everyone for the entire leg, not if you want to avoid a footrace for last, and the other teams freeze Jessica out of the cooperation party. It’s strictly business, but nonetheless…ouch.
Matt gets his clue in fourth and Korey in fifth, and they start for the train station to go to Chamonix. Jessica feels a little hurt about being left out, which is understandable because everyone else leaves in sixth, seventh and eighth and abandons her to the tender whims of fate. And the tender whims of the commercial break.
The teams all board a train to Martigny to connect to Chamonix, but there’s an hour long layover which provides one last big bunch. Everyone suddenly panics at the thought that this might, in fact, give the models the chance to catch up and turn the whole thing into one last sprint for the Pit Stop anyway…and that panic leads them to quite literally crouch down in the aisles hoping that the models won’t see them and won’t realize that the train they’re on is the right train. Except for Scott, who stares at them with a face that’s more or less, “I am too old for that shit.”
Luckily for everyone else, the models decide to take a slow saunter towards the train that they absolutely cannot miss under any circumstances if they want to stay in the Race, and the train pulls out less than a minute before they get to it. Which means that in Chamonix, eight teams sprint for the Pit Stop simultaneously. Kurt and Brodie get in first, and everyone else gets in second through eighth with literally less than a minute separating them. Apparently only the second time in the Race this has happened.
And much, much later, Brittany and Ashley show up and are eliminated. Naturally, they wouldn’t have passed up the chance to Race together for anything. I think they got demoralized a little too soon, but it’s easy to judge from the living room.
And next time, we have paragliding and clue dropping in the Alps! See you then!