Bellinzona, in the southernmost canton of Ticino, is a World Heritage site, rubbing shoulders with other important places such as the Pyramids in Egypt and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Actually I think it's more a case of standing on the shoulders of giants. Or jumping up and down futilely trying to reach shoulder level, you know, like you're the shortest kid in the basketball team and you're in a line of 7-footers, and the camera has to pan down to see you, down there in all your 5'4" glory. It is also the latest Pitstop of a race around the world.
We haven't been privy to many eat / sleep / mingle moments so far, so the Producers decide to make up for it by showing us an extended sequence. Apparently it's a longer Pitstop than usual. I know they do that sometimes, to fit in flight schedules, to organize the next leg, or if Phil's sick, or for no reason at all.
They're staying at the Swiss version of the Little House on the Prairie, except it's modern and efficient and looks very prosperous [*so, where are the similarities?*]. Their dinner is an absolutely phenomenal buffet spread, even Joyce has a huge plateful of carb-laden food as she explains that she hasn't eaten all day, and is absolutely starving.
Phil voices over about making friends and enemies, we see the oldsters chatting away and some of the YDCs sharing a table. Just like in the school canteen it's not long before a fight breaks out. We don't catch the beginning, but it's between Randy and Riley, so it's not hard to imagine it's because of Randy's attempts to get into Buffy's pants. To her credit, and based on what we see last leg, she hasn't encouraged him at all. He's being stupid all by himself, I think it's time for the Professor to whip his son into place.
The next day we follow the teams as they go sightseeing. Apparently they are allowed out of the Pitstop prison because we see Xander & Anya getting on a leisurely cruise at Locarno while April and Oz (wow, I never realized how similar in height these two are) are using very broken Italian to buy fruit at a market stall. In another scene, Joyce is using her totally fluent Italian to talk to the locals at a shop.
Meanwhile the fight at dinner looms large, Buffy & Riley and Rupert & Randy wait at a bus stop and you can put the entire Pacific Ocean between them, that's how studiously they're avoiding each other.
Willow & Tara, who are in last place, have no money and will receive none, interview on a bus that they are heading into Bellinzona town to beg for money for the next leg. They have $20 from the Moms and Pirates and they're very grateful. I know there's discussion on the forum about racers giving other racers money. No, it's not obligatory, but it's always nice to see some generosity.
Usually racers in their position beg and cajole unsuspecting souls with sob stories, but Tara ends up setting up camp in a piazza and turning portrait painter for the day, how ingenious! And she's good too, sticking to simple charcoal drawings that minimizes work time while maximizing income. Yes they have Lady Luck with them, with the non-Elim and being in a relatively easy location for a little sidewalk business venture. Imagine if they're in the middle of the desert or in a poorer country, but kudos for them to utilize their skills in this way. I mean, if it were Adam & Oz, would they have thought of borrowing a guitar and busking? How much will passers-by give Flutie & Snyder in a display of The Bickersons on Xanax?
Aaaand we're at the start of the Race, and I'm bummed out that the eat / sleep / mingle portion of the show is actually eat and mingle only. Where's the sleeping? I know it's more likely to be loud snoring and armpit scratching, but I'm a true smut bunny, I can use my imagination, can't I? Just give me one smooch, just one. And you know which 2 racers I'd like to see smooch most, right?
4.45am. The Pirates set off, looking better than the dried vegetable look they adopted at the end of the last leg. They are to drive 80 miles to Meiringen and find the statue of the famous character who met his death in the nearby falls. Xander asks the obvious question, "What famous character?" but the clue stays silent. Oh man, the Amazing Producers are good. I've been keeping scores and this team's performance so far is 2-1-4-1, which is very impressive, considering their competition.
5.02am. TallShort read their clue, frown at its incompleteness and run off towards their car. They agree to head towards Meiringen and find a tourist office to try to find more information.
5.15am. Team Efficiency join the "what famous character" train. They figure they will need to find more information once they get to their destination, they aren't going to get anything in Bellinzona. Robin voices over that they are enjoying the race and each other's company so far, he hopes they can continue with their strong streak. Yes, and so do I. So do I. [/Horatio Caine]
5.29am. Goldies, looking tired and tense. Riley looking especially grim, a look that completely doesn't suit him. He interviews that he had a little spat with another racer the night before that change their perspective somewhat. "It's a dirtier game now, and we'll just have to switch on our nasty mode," he seethes. He completes the Evil Cardboard look by wearing a blue polka dot bandana around his head, I shiver in His Evilness' presence. [*not*]
5.41am. R.Randy read the clue. I half expect Rupert to know who the mysterious famous dead character is, and obviously so does he. But he frustrates himself by thinking too hard and he can't remember. Randy gives his Dad a strange, pitying look. Must be the bollocking he got the night before for getting into a fight, which he doesn't mention.
5.42am. Moms. The immaculate sweats and brand new sneakers they were wearing at the beginning of the Race now look well worn in, as do the ladies themselves. Joyce re-affirms my barely functioning memory unit by talking about how great it was to be in Italy again, even though she spent most of her 2 years in Rome and it was her first time in places such as Torino. She adds that she's missing her daughters, Anne and Dawn, but is surprised to find herself acting like a Mom towards the younger racers such as Buffy and Tara.
5.58am. The Principals are the money counters this week, they have $151. Yay! We're back with the palindrome funds. They puzzle over the identity of the unnamed famous character, Flutie even flips the clue over and stare at the pristine white page. Nope, nothing there.
6.09am. AAbot rip the clue, read the clue and are complete floored. Already. Sigh. Andrew postulates that the rest of the clue may be written in invisible ink on the other side. He considers getting a lemon. Boy's got an unhealthy imagination, I tell ya.
6.12am. Lovebirds. I can't believe they're an hour and a half behind the Pirates, must have been a massively wrong turn they took. Tara reads out the part of the clue we already know, that other teams have $151 and one team will receive nothing. "That's us," she says.
"We, or rather, Tara, earned us over CHF 200 during the Pitstop, which works out to be something like $170, I can't believe we actually received more than the other people," Willow recounts in the car. They made that much yesterday? Makes me want to learn how to draw quickly and draw portraits at a Swiss piazza all day too.
Phil explains that teams are heading towards Meiringen in Central Switzerland, which has two claims to fame. The first being the place where dainty meringues were invented and the second is that it's where Sherlock Holmes fell to his death after an epic struggle with his arch-nemesis, Professor Moriarty. So, the racers have to find a statue of a meringue? Oh, right, the Sherlock Holmes statue in front of the Sherlock Holmes Museum at Conan Doyle Place. Silly me. I would have thought they'd name the street 221B Baker Street rather than Conan Doyle Place, but whatever. [*They can't name a street with numbers, right? Elementary, my dear watson. And no, I couldn't help saying that, hee.*]
The road to Meiringen passes through the St Gotthard tunnel which, at more than 10 miles long, held the title of the world's longest car tunnel for 20 years until the Norwegians built a longer one in 2000. Oh the competition. It has single lanes on both sides and cars are separated by a big wodge of air sitting on top of double white lines that seem to stretch on and on and on and on.
"You think it's just a tunnel, no biggie right?" Randy explains while he shakes his head. "The lighting's not too good and there's nothing between you and the cars and trucks that seem to come straight at you on the other side, it's pretty scary. Plus you drive for miles and miles without seeing daylight and soon claustrophobia sets in and you feel the mountain crushing down on you. That's when I almost had an accident."
And we see through the front windscreen how Randy is veering off his lane almost into the path of an oncoming truck. Rupert screams, "Watch out for that truck! You're too close to the line!" and Randy turns the wheel sharply and barely gets out of the way of the giant honking truck. While Randy hasn't come close to setting off my attentionmeter this Race, I've grown fond of Rupert and I don't want him to end up being the filling of a human-steel sandwich. I'm relieved.
Xander & Anya arrive at Meiringen, the sun's almost fully out. It's a small little town with a small population, a few churches, hotels and a tourist information office that is currently closed. Anya notes that the office opens at 8am, Xander barely listens as he pokes around. Anya wrings her hands. Xander continues his wander around the area.
Adam & Oz arrive, they join in the mini-bunch. Robin & Faith arrive, shortly followed by Buffy & Riley, looks like Riley gains them valuable time by driving fast again. They compare notes before agreeing that they have no idea what they are looking for.
Joyce & Sheila drive into town and spot the Sporthotel Sherlock Holmes, Sheila remembers about Holmes falling down the falls and suggests that they are looking for the statue of the famous detective. They park their car and spot the waiting teams across the street. They have a short debate about whether to join the others. "We knew we needed the Sherlock Holmes statue, but we weren't sure if the other teams knew. The problem is we didn't have a map so we have to wait with the others for the tourist office to open," Sheila tries to explain. I don't know what her point is. They can just wait with the group, lie their heads off, then when the tourist office opens, just grab the nearest map. I don't understand the hub-bub about nothing.
The Principals roll into town, there is no welcoming party. Boo-hoo, goes Snyder. He can't believe the tourist office isn't open and does another of his signature fumigation act. Listen Snyder, you started the leg over an hour behind the first team, the bunching is to your advantage, so stop with the whining.
R.Randy finally make it, having slipped 2 positions. Randy is still driving, if I were this team, I'd switch as soon as we got out of the Gotthard. But they're not me. Who knows what's on their minds. There's a beautiful shot of their car passing the Sporthotel Sherlock Holmes, and I think if Rupert saw it, he will make the connection immediately, but his head is firmly down, reading a map, at that particular moment. Shame. Or not. [/evil grin]
The tourist office opens and teams pile in, to the obvious shock of the single member of staff who has arrived. The young lady becomes completely flustered and reacts the only way she knows, by stiffening up, making all the teams take a number and waiting in line. Go, tourist office lady! I wonder what her reaction is when she finds out they're all going to ask her the same question? She'll FREAK.
The Moms, once inside, head straight to where the free maps are stacked and snag themselves one. They find the location of the statue quickly. R.Randy do the same, the minute Rupert steps into the tourist office and finds references to Sherlock Holmes everywhere he has a lightbulb moment.
Meanwhile, Team Efficiency is, as per usual, first to the counter and get the address quickly. The Goldies and TallShort approach the hapless lady together and get what they want.
AAbot arrive in town and join in the mad scum that is the tourist office. Lovebirds, on the other hand, are at the Sporthotel, or to be precise, inside the Sporthotel asking for directions. Now why didn't the Moms think about that?
Moms and R.Randy get to the Sherlock Holmes statue together, they rip open the clue which tells them to drive 25 miles to Lauterbrunnen where they are to catch a train/funicular/train combination up to the village of Mürren for the next clue.
Team Efficiency get to the statue and retrieve their clue. More running! More driving!
Goldies and TallShort get their clue. It's funny to see the two tallest and the two shortest people mingling, may be one time they can do a partner swap, you know, like wife swapping. Buffy and Oz will be snuggly like Ewoks and Hobbits [*oookayyy*]. And hey! what about that HoYay! vibe I'm sensing off Riley and Adam. Ewww.
Surprise! It's the Lovebirds. Lady Luck is again walking among them, the mini-bunching at the tourist office coupled with their effective stop at the hotel put them right in the middle again.
In quick succession at the tourist office and the statue: Pirates, Principals and AAbot. Yawn.
Everyone's bunched together again as we see teams buying tickets at the railway station at Lauterbrunnen. I'm too tired to talk about bunching again.
Phil, in a heavy(!) green shirt and pleated(!!) chinos walks and talks down a hillside that looks exactly like it's lifted from a chocolate box. He tells us that Mürren is a car-free village situated on a shelf on one side of the picturesque Lauterbrunnen valley. It offers stunning views across the valley of the mighty triple peaks of Mönch, Eiger and Jungfrau.
Behind Mürren rises the Schilthorn, at 2970m it's impressive by any standards, but is positively dwarfed by the other peaks around it. Nonetheless, it has one feature its neighbors don't have it was featured in a James Bond film.
Which neatly(!) brings us to Xander and Andrew browsing at yet another tourist office. Did we have sponsorship from the Tourist Offices of Switzerland Association? "Man, look at this, 'Enjoy the James Bond breakfast at the highest revolving restaurant in the world, Piz Gloria at the top of the Schilthorn, the setting of the film On Her Majesty's Secret Service', I can totally do with breakfast right now, I'm so hungry I can eat Blofeld's cat," Andrew says to Xander.
"I took an online personality test on which James Bond villain I am and I'm Goldfinger," Xander seems to be, wait a minute, boasting. I roll my eyes.
"Did you take the one on which James Bond gadget are you?" Andrew asks, clearly impressed that Xander is Goldfinger. Even if those online tests are as malleable as Andrew's spine.
Xander shakes his head. "Couldn't find it on the net," he says dejectedly. "Hey, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, that's the one with the photocopier that cracks safes?" he asks. Andrew nods enthusiastically. The dork brothers share a moment of male-bonding. [*no, no, no! Not bondage, read.the.words!*]
When they return to the train, Andrew shows his booty of brochures to April who does a credible impression of one of those dispensable Bond victims - all blank looks and "huh?". I finally figure out what's up with her, the light's on but nobody's home, I can see right through her skull when the lighting's just so.
Andrew distributes the leaflets and pretty soon it becomes the Amazing Discussion on Who is the Best James Bond. Me? Connery forever, like there's ever any doubt.
Blipvert of the journey up to Mürren and teams running out of the small train station to the cluebox. It's a Roadblock, 'Who wants to experience the ups and downs of being a secret agent?'. The Roadblocker has to run to the other end of the village and pick up number tags for their task.
They figure it's a James Bond type physical challenge, so the young fit males take it (um, except teams that don't have a young, fit male). Hot-bods like Robin and Riley (hey, that sounds like a 70s folk band) make short work of the one main road in the village. The only reason Riley doesn't beat Robin easily is because he spends a few seconds too many shoving Randy out of the way. Anyway they whoop as they read the rest of the clue to discover what they have to do. Each Roadblocker takes a cable car up the Schilthorn, but not quite all the way up because the cable car will stop halfway and they have to bungee jump off the cable car into thin air. Just hearing that is enough to reduce my knees to jello.
But not the Racers, I guess they're made of sterner stuff than jello. [*and that's so difficult*] Even the Moms and Principals are excited. "I knew coming on the Race there'll be chances to do something completely crazy and slightly dangerous, I've always wanted to try bungee jumping but never had the courage, this gave me the perfect opportunity," Sheila says.
Teams go up in groups of three. In quick succession, the Amazing Editors jump [*groan*] through the first three jumps. Robin, Riley and Oz complete their jump with utter manliness and receive the next clue. They are to return to Lauterbrunnen, pick up their cars, drive to Gruyères and find the Knight's Room at the Château St Germain.
More blipverting to Randy, Xander and Willow's jumps. This is a completely different group than before, full of stomach-churning trepidation and anticipation. Randy screams like a girl on the way down and some of his hairgel falls off cos next time we see him he's lost Billy Idol and is embracing Kurt Cobain. Rupert pats his son on the back and they read the part of the clue we don't know, that there's a Yield ahead.
Willow is very nervous as she steps up onto the breech. She asks the jump crew to triple check the chord and fasteners and questions them relentlessly. "How high is the jump and how long is the chord? How much will the chord stretch? What about the differences in people's weights, you're using the same chord. What's the risk of hitting myself on the bottom of cable car on the bounce up?" I want to tell her to chill, but if I were in the same position I'd do the same, probably further. Hell I'll be demanding to see a copy of the crew's insurance certificate. She doesn't scream like a girl, as she disengages the straps she does a backflip on the air mattress before getting a hug from Tara, I have no idea she can do that!
Xander puts on a brave face as he readies to jump. On the ground Anya is not much better, she seems to be near tears with worry, clinging onto Joyce and Tara for comfort. She screams louder than Xander when he does his jump.
Andrew, Flutie and finally Sheila take their turn. "This is stuff that dreams are made of," Andrew says with a grin as wide as the hellmouth as he hurls himself off, but doesn't have the grace of movement as he ends up in a tangle of limbs on the air mattress.
Flutie puts on a brave face. "I never said good-bye to my pigs," he sniffs as the crew gets him hooked up. What is he saying? He has an emotional connection to the pigs that he keeps on his farm? WTF?
Last to jump is Sheila. And also, in my opinion, the bravest. Seeing 8 people jump before her, having time to get completely scared shitless, then going up and taking off with a resolve, that's one strong lady.
"I'm sure I'll have language whiplash by the end of today, we go from Italian to German and now French roadsigns. I now know what an off-ramp is in 3 languages," Robin says as he drives towards Gruyères.
Faith asks him what's that and he asks her back what's what. She wants to know what an Exit sign is in 3 languages. "Uscita, ausgang and sortie," he replies smugly. A gold star for you, Robin Goodfellow, even though your pronunciation sucks.
Triumvirate One reach Gruyères, yet another picturesque car-free Swiss village, with one main street sloping up from the village entrance towards the medieval castle on a crag at the top. It really is extremely pretty, with a fountain and balconies full of flowers and ornate signs. How do the Swiss do it? I expect Heidi to show up any minute now, with her goats and the sounds of cowbells in the air.
But instead of Heidi I get Riley. He really is the Michael Schumacher of this TAR, with the aggressive driving and all. You know what I'd like to see some of? Buffy driving. May be she doesn't have a license. May be Golden Farmboy loves his phallic symbol too much to let her. Whatever.
Faith & Robin and Adam & Oz arrive.
The peace and quiet of the village is shattered as they stomp through the cobblestoned street. A great shot of a dog lifting his head from his napping position as he follows these stupid humans running crazily onto his territory, clearly up to no good. He yawns. What a smart doggie.
Up by the fountain is a honking green sign that says Yield. Phil takes the opportunity to tell us how the Yield works, like 3 in this Race, can only use it once but can be yielded more than once. They take turns stepping on the mat and making the completely cheesy declaration that they choose not to Yield anyone. Then they continue their peace-disturbing run up the village.
Riley confesses at a pitstop interview that because of the "misunderstanding" (and he uses his hands to indicate the quotation marks) between himself and Randy, he was tempted to use the Yield on Rupert & Randy, but decided to be professional and not use this for personal revenge. He then grins at the camera expecting some sort of acknowledgement of how big-hearted he is. I feel close to throwing up. It's fine if he doesn't want to turn this into a grudge match, but I get completely turned off by his self-satisfied grin.
At the cluebox they discover this is a Detour called Local or Exotic. In Local, you help the local cheesemaker in one aspect of the cheesemaking process. In Exotic, you go to the Giger museum next to the Château and assemble a robot.
Goldies choose the cheese, as do Team Efficiency. They race off towards the cheese factory at the bottom of the hill, and discover a clean, modern, fully automated facility. What? You expected Heidi churning the cheese by hand in wooden tubs? Tsk, tsk. While normally done by machines, in this Detour teams have to flip a dozen gruyere cheese wheels by hand, no small task considering each wheel is wider than an armspan and weighs over 80 pounds. Both make a good start, working together as a team. This is actually a golden opportunity to observe the two most physically fit teams at work. While Riley is taller than Robin, Robin doesn't seem to be losing out in the bulk factor. Similarly Buffy and Faith seem to even out.
TallShort has meanwhile entered the Giger museum. Remember when TAR went to the Catacombs in Paris and that set the creep-o-meter to maximum? The Giger museum RAISES THE BAR on creepiness, the fact that it's located at the pretty and quiet surroundings of a small mountain village adds to the spook factor.
Giger is this Swiss guy who designed the Alien, and won an Oscar for it. He creates worlds where people, aliens and machines are connected in grotesque and macabre ways and incorporates heavy sadomasochistic, sexual and horrific overtones to his paintings and sculptures, which are generally looming and large. I feel like his work comes from a place outside the imagination of a normal human brain.
The task in this part of the Detour is to assemble the alien from individual parts. The pieces are gruesome and you need to be very focused not to imagine a wet, menacing Mother Alien threatening you in the starring role as poor Ripley. It suits the stoic pair of Adam & Oz though. "Giger has a reputation in the music world, he designed the album cover for Debbie Harry's Koo Koo album, it's very dark and some people say disturbing. But it's just a model robot, we're not affected," says Adam.
Triumvirate Two arrive, they too choose not to Yield anyone. R.Randy chooses the cheese, "We think a physical task is better for us at this point," says Rupert. Lovebirds and Pirates choose the alien for their own reasons, "Man-handling 80lbs of cheese is too much for us," explains Anya. "We're good at puzzles and art," grins Willow.
When R.Randy arrive at the cheese factory, Efficiency and Goldies are neck in neck, having successfully turned over 3 wheels each. The Goldies are using brut strength, mostly Riley's, while Efficiency are using the shelves and floor as leverage, they finish the fourth slightly in front. Riley shoots Randy a dirty look as R.Randy get started.
TallShort alien construction camp. Oz is working on assembling the head while Adam works on the legs. Ah, rare banter! "Top 5 movie taglines," says Adam. Heh, a High Fidelity moment!
Oz ponders as he continues to put the robot head together. "In Space no one can hear you scream of course, which is fitting for this occasion. A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away. And taglines for sequels that follow the original, like They're Here and They're Back."
"Poltergeist, yes," Adam intones. "Though this started originally with Garbo Talks! and Garbo Laughs!. I went through a classics phase when I was in college."
"I'm partial to Every father's daughter is a virgin myself," Oz muses.
"Which one is that?"
"You're a sensitive guy, Oz."
"Huh." From the guy who once played a young Woody Allen, I dare say sensitive is, well, fitting.
They finish the monstrosity and get the next clue, which tells them to make their way to Zermatt, the Pitstop for this leg of the Race. My goodness we're doing a Switzerland is soooo Beautiful tour, can it be that the Amazing Producers are preparing teams for, gasp, hardship, ahead? I mean, Zermatt, dude, the Matterhorn.
As they drive off, Triumvirate Three arrive. AAbot, naturally, goes for Exotic, as do the Moms and Principals, even though everyone in that group whose name isn't Andrew make a face when they see the interior of the museum. Andrew himself is almost peeing in his pants when he sees the alien, "Oh my god, first a James Bond adventure, now it's Alien, this is my utopia," he sighs dreamily. Feels like famous last words, don't they?
Back at the cheese factory, Team Efficiency finish the last wheel, looking like they've run a marathon. They get the clue and the relieved look on Faith's face when she learns it's a Pitstop, I feel for her. Of course, she is all sweaty and flushed in a tight tank top and ... I just went to another place.
Goldies finish, Riley roars. Is that for a task finished or directed towards Randy? He's possessive alright, that Farmboy. "I admit I want to get to know Buffy better, she's a nice girl and deserves more than Captain Cardboard," Randy confesses. "I know this is wrong, but I can't help it," he sighs. I'd offer him an ounce of sympathy, if I'm vaguely convinced he's better for her than Riley, but he isn't, so he gets nothing from me.
Back at the robot construction facility, Lovebirds slot the last piece into place and are off, with a little wave to the Pirates. "I can't imagine what's in the mind of someone who created this, I know I certainly can't," Tara comments. "I'm just happy we're not last, but there's still more driving to come, we have to be careful honey," Willow adds.
Xander & Anya don't seem to be doing too badly. "It's just like building a prefab house," he says to his wife. In the other corner, Andrew still has a ridiculous grin as he fits the pieces in easily, he's so twelve. April does pretty much nothing, but when they finish I see that the Moms' and Principals' robots aren't even halfway done. I've dissed AAbot from the beginning, at last they're showing a little ability.
Snyder snarls at the model. "If I see something like this at my school, it's straight to detention, it's disgusting." Flutie rebukes that it could be educational, teaching kids to put models together, it helps their puzzle-solving skills. Snyder waves his hand off-handedly at this, clearly not agreeing. STFU, Snyder.
The Moms are totally struggling. "This is too much, I don't know which part is which," they groan.
Over at the cheese factory, R.Randy finishes.
We're in Efficiency's car. They seem to have stopped at a waiting area full of cars and trucks. "We looked at the map and there's a shortcut through the mountains, even though it's a smaller road. We saw the tunnel on the map but didn't realize it's a car-train, I've never seen anything like it," Robin explains.
They're at the Kandersteg-Goppenstein car-train tunnel, yet another Swiss engineering wonder, where you drive your car onto open wagons of a train and it whizzes you through a tunnel over 9 miles long to the other side of the mountains. Is there anything those Swiss can't do? The ride itself is eerie, as you sit in almost complete darkness inside your own car, with just the sounds of the train chugging and the wind coming through your windows. Robin does what every person in that situation will do, he stretches out his hands and amusingly proclaims that he can't see his fingers. You can almost see his grin. Well, it's 15 minutes of smooching time with your girlfriend, bro, make good use of it.
Goldies and TallShort seem to have taken the long way and are stuck in traffic. "We're heading towards Visp, where we'll have to change to a train for Zermatt, but now we're in Montreux and there seems to be some sort of festival going on," Buffy says, looking frustrated.
We cut to an equally frustrated Joyce & Sheila. The oh my god's that proliferate from their mouths like some sort of swear words. "I wish I had a son, do your daughters ever play with monsters or models because mine didn't," Sheila says to Joyce. They look forlorn, and even more so when the Principals finish. "I never want to see anything like this ever again," Snyder says angrily.
Lovebirds and Pirate cars get onto the car-train. AAbot, on the other hand, are at the side of the road, trying to make sense of the map. "I don't think these two roads connect," Andrew whispers. "See here? The road carries on towards the left, and that line on the right belongs to another road. The car can't jump between non-connecting roads, Babe."
"Oh," says April. I think April, who I presume is navigating, made a common mistake. Her eyes roamed over two small roads and made a connection between them that doesn't exist, maps are 2-dimensional, and it's sometimes hard to "read" it properly to discern the actual conditions. Another example of how this team is not up to scratch as racers, I continue to marvel at their continual survival.
Efficiency get on a train with large windows and are excited at going to Zermatt. "I can't believe we're still in Switzerland," says Faith. "I've never seen such a beautiful and efficient country." She says the name of her team!
They disembark at yet another car-free village in search of the Church Square. Phil is waiting there with a grizzly mountaineer, he does his Point Over Yonder act again. "Welcome to Zermatt!" the grizzly mountaineer booms.
Team Efficiency, you're team number one, and have won a spa retreat holiday. They grin at the grizzly mountaineer, then at Phil, then at each other. Completely deserving too, don't think they put a foot wrong today. I don't usually bet more than $1 on anything, but I'm willing to put in a bigger stake, these two are my hot favorites to win.
Goldies and TallShort seem to have shrugged off the traffic, they're the next teams to arrive, the sight of the Amazing Bathmat in front of a church stirs something undefinable inside my one and only religious cell. Welcome, teams number two and three.
The Moms finish, looking totally beaten. "Let's hope someone had a puncture," Sheila says. "Or an aneurysm," says Joyce. Oh, first sign of nastiness, Joyce-Mom. Too little too late.
Lovebirds and Pirates arrive as a group. I think they deliberately drive the whole way together, after last leg's disaster the Lovebirds probably want to hang onto another team. They step on the bathmat all holding hands and are checked in as teams number four. "We've formed an alliance with Willow and Tara, we get along well and we want to work together to get ahead of the other teams. Our aim is to go into the final three together and I think we have a good chance of that," Anya interviews.
R.Randy step on the bathmat as team number six. I keep thinking they ought to do better, their relationship with each other seems to be improving, although Randy's tussle with Riley and his attention on Buffy is dragging them back. Get over it, Randy.
AAbot run up to Phil. "Give it to us," Andrew pants. Phil asks them how they think they're doing and they tell him they got lost in the mountains and are willing to live with the outcome. Phil tells them that they're team number seven and they're like, get out of here. "We're struggling, I don't know how we can do better," April says. Okay team, this is the highest placing you've reached, but seven is not your lucky number. You'll have to pull a miracle out of a hat to have a chance at the final three.
Principals on the train towards Zermatt, looking like the Irritable Brothers. They're arguing about whether they should have parked at Visp or Täsch, with Snyder again berating Flutie for making him drive all the way up a narrow winding road when they could have taken the train. "We're not last, Joyce & Shelia were nowhere near finishing when we left, we're safe. Why are you yelling at me like this, I don't like it when you yell at me all the time," Flutie whines. If you don't want your team-mate to yell at you all the time, get a backbone, Flutie. Snyder impatiently says that every minute counts when they leave in the morning, it can be the difference between getting on or missing a train. He has a point, but not the way to treat your team-mate, old man. They're not talking to each other when they step on the mat as team number eight.
It's almost sundown when the Moms arrive, they have hardly any energy or emotion to hear themselves Philminated. Killer Fatigue strikes again! "We proud of our achievement, our children will think so too," Joyce says.
If I think about it, team distribution at the end depended largely on one event, the 3/4 mile run at Mürren between the train station and the cable car. The enforced bunching into 3 separate groups pretty much sealed the fate of the last 3 teams. There weren't sufficient chances later in the leg to catch up. Andrew's skills at robot assembly moved him up one position but they lost it when they took the wrong turn. I don't like this type of bunching, it doesn't make for good TV, let's hope the Amazing Producers do better, there's an Emmy at stake here you know.
Teaser for Episode 6
Next episode, money seems to be an issue.
"They charged you $100 for a visa?" asks Faith.
"Are you kidding me? You're charging me 20 times what it's worth," Anya exclaims.
And teams face a big challenge.
"Oh my god I need a hospital," says April.
A yellow clue envelope lie on the ground while other people trample on it.
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