Not a bad episode overall. Teams fly from the US Virgin Islands and head over to London. Shame that I've never been to that town; gotta fix that one year. Anyway, there are two flights, one leaving one hour and 40 minutes after the first. Only six teams on the first flight, four on the second. A bunch of teams including the Surfers, the Dentists. Sorry I don't have all the teams memorized yet and at this point, I'm not researching them. Second plane also includes the Wrestlers, the Firefighter, the Flight Attendents (I think) and someone else. Again, I don't know all the teams yet and I'm not going back to research.
Once in London, teams have to take a taxi to the Tower Bridge and find the Pearly King and Queen. Really easy stuff just to get a clue to the next task. It's a Detour, About Face or Pancake Race. Man, the worse Detour titles ever. But the tasks are okay, although About Face, where you have to learn and then complete a changing of the guard routine instead of make a pancake and race around a track, flipping said pancake before 75 seconds are up, seems to be the harder one. Although I just made and flipped over 15 pancakes. But I'm pretty sure Gord would be with me on this one. Gord doesn't run but he's 6'7" or more. It hard to keep up when we're just walking cause of his huge steps so he'd be able to cover that ground pretty fast without running. A flipping pancakes; well, he's a stay at home dad like me so no problemo.
Anyway, a bunch of the teams take on the marching. They find an instructor, dress up and fail after their first tries. I loved the Sergeant Major judge on this; his disapproving comments and attitude were hilarious. And I bet he wasn't even acting. But one of the top teams, the Surfers take the pancake route. No doubt Bethany has had much practice doing basic daily livings tasks with her one arm so they are done quite fast. Grab a train to Oxford and find the boathouse near some bridge.
Not so with the Marching.Many teams fail time after time, so much so that the teams on the second plane catch while some first flight teams are still there. This puts a lot of pressure on those first teams, although the Dentists figure out the marching pretty quick. They had to Paddington Station to grab a train but the Surfers manage to get a train that leaves pretty quickly and they are pretty far ahead. The Flight Attendents are also military vets and feel they can do the marching task pretty good. But quickly learn, British Marching techniques are different than US one.
A couple of the other teams, Nashville, The Daters and the Firefighters are at the Pancake. both Nashville and the Daters try and fail the run while the Firefighters (at least Scott) can't even make a decent pancake). And when they do, Scott drops the pancake. And we also hear how the Daters are super fans and trained so hard once they realized they were on the race. But when the cross the finish line in their first fail, they are completely out of breath. Obviously the training wasn't enough. However, over time they move on and head to Paddington station leaving the Firefighters behind. One time the Firefighters beat the clock but Scott wasn't flipping his pancake enough and they have to do it again. Over at the march, most of the teams move through leaving the Wrestlers behind.
Meanwhile at Oxford the next task is classically British: punt a boat around short river system. I've punted before and while it looks easy, it's pretty hard. The trick is to be smooth and keep your momentum going, using the angle of the pole to help steer. And always punt from the back so you steer easier. Takes awhile to figure that out though. And for this task one team member must punt from the Cambridge end while the to other must stand and wave a flag on the Oxford. Wisely, Adam takes the punting and they move relatively quickly through the task. These two are used to moving flat board craft through the water. They get going pretty quick but the Dentists arrive and move pretty quick as well. The Surfers get done and are told to find Christ Church College. The Dentists get done although Jim is not only punting from the front, he's also on the Oxford end. They are told they have to do the task again, giving the Surfers plenty of time to get farther ahead.
Over time, teams take the train and arrive at the boathouse and then the fun begins. Some teams really get this punting, but others have a lot of trouble. They take so long figuring out how to do this that all the teams catch up. The Wrestlers finally get the march and the Scott finally runs fast enough and doesn't lose his pancakes and they catch the same train as the Wrestlers. They arrive at the boathouse and move through the punting relatively quickly.
And even though some teams have difficulty, it's the Daters and the Flight Attendants who struggle the most. One of the Flight Attendants has the need to pee so bad that she pulls a Tyson (named after the Amazing Race Australian contestant who had to pee all the time) and squats at the side of the boat and pees in the water. Although we don't see it, we do see the reaction from a bunch of British dudes who had a front row seat to the action. Some great reaction shots there. And one wonders why she squatted in that way. The water wasn't that deep and it would have made more sense just to jump in the water, drop your pants under the water so you're not mooning a bunch of teenaged British lads, and pee that way. Aim your pee down the current and you're fine.
But enough pee, let's see what the leaders are doing. The Surfers arrive at Christchurch and are each given an umbrella and derby. They were told to tip their derby to find their next clue, which was written on the inside of the hat. Find Churchill's birthplace which is the pitstop. However, they were also told to open their umbrellas. In that was another clue: find the Bear pub and the first team to arrive there, gets an Express Pass. Then move to the pitstop Wisely again, the Surfers forget about racing to the pitstop and becoming first and go in search of the Express Pass. They are far enough ahead that even if one or two teams pass them, they are still in the race. And with an Express Pass.
But the Surfers are so far ahead that they find the pub, get the Express Pass and make it to the mat in first place. They get a trip to Sweden. Of course, if Gord and I were in their place, we would have stopped at the pub after getting the Express and down a pint before heading to the pitstop. The Dentists arrive at Christchurch but they know that the Surfers are smart enough to forgo the Express Pass search and head straight for the pitstop. A decent second but Jim wanted to be first. That kind of pressure's gonna kill you Jim, enjoy the moment.
Over time, more teams finish the punting, good to see Kym and Ali coming in third again. They are the quietly strong team out there, doing tasks well with as little as fuss as necessary and seem to be having a good time. Could be the dark horse team for this Season. Also watch out for Tim and Te Jay. They are small but they have easily beat the seemingly so-called physical teams such as The Firefighters and the Wrestlers. These two though make up good time on the punting and pass a bunch of teams. And in the end, we're stuck with the Daters and the Flight Attendants bringing up the rear.
And then the histrionics begin. Sure, I'm a super fan like them and sure I would love to be on the race (Like many others) but breaking down and freaking out when facing elimination is not a great idea. It just makes finishing the task that much harder. Which is why they were left behind. Instead of focusing on the task, they fell apart and struggled. And then had to race to not be last. In the end, the Flight Attendants make it while the Daters are last. And they are disappointed because they trained so hard, planned so much, thought about how to play the game but were the second team eliminated. Which is an example to folks about to go on the race. Sure you can plan and train but the best way to play the Amazing Race game is to have fun, not overthink everything and try to live in the moment. If you overplan, overthink, over strategize, the race will knock you on your ass.
Next week, the teams head to the Shetland Islands, north of Scotland and I'm totally excited about that. The Shetlands Islands is where Eramus Arthurson was born several centuries ago and the islands he left in order to come to Canada. That dude and the Cree woman he married were progenitors of all the Arthursons in Canada, including me.