By Janell Sutherland
7:03 AM EST, March 4, 2013
You guys know Phil Keoghan is from Christchurch, New Zealand, right? Well, this week's episode takes place in his hometown, and no one is more excited about it than him.
The tasks are all Things People Do in New Zealand Because They're Outnumbered by Sheep. Phil's friends are handing out clues. His tweets are hilarious. Let's jump right in to this hour of Phil.
But first, business. Remember Father/Son racing to the Pit Stop last week, and Father cried out that he ruptured his Achilles? The most scenic, romantic island in Bali doesn't have a hospital to give him a sonogram, but when they stop in Tahiti he gets it examined. There's a tear in his tendon and muscle, so Father straps on a boot, grabs some crutches, and hobbles on as best he can.
Team J&J, owners of the second Express Pass, stick to their alliance and hand the Pass to Fa/Son at the airport, so they can race for another leg, hopefully.
Alliances of love and hate
While spending the night in an airport, Team Hockey and Team Singers get cozy on some cardboard-box beds. They don't talk about it too much, so let's just assume there's lots of mushy love talk going on.
Hockey, by the way, thinks J&J are the shadiest team, and they do a fine impression of John by smiling with lots of teeth.
J&J aren't too fond of Hockey, either, so they form an alliance with YouTube and the Roller Moms. The main objective of this alliance is to take out Hockey, so we'll see how that goes.
Chuck: airport strategist
Team Mullet has never been out of the country, unless you count Niagara Falls. Just like that, they've offended Canada.
Chuck's first big move is to work a counter agent, requesting the same flight as the other teams. Good work!
His next move, in the Auckland airport, is to stand in a long line and ask people if they'll let him cut because he's on a race. They don't. Oh well, they wait in the long line. When they get to the front, they find out that it's not a ticket-buying line. Oops.
Chuck tries to recover. He's directed to buy tickets over an airport phone, which he does! He and Wynona congratulate themselves for skipping another line. Then they realize that there are no other teams in the airport and they've bought tickets for the last flight. Aw, Chuck.
Phil's hometown! Phil's hometown!
"Ah, when I see the braided rivers of Christchurch, the wonder of green patchwork fields... #homesick."
The teams must drive to the Rakaia River gorge and pull a number off a sign to reserve a jetboat to drive them upriver. Jetboats are a Kiwi invention to deal with the shallow rivers. The wonderful thing is that the boats leave the following morning, so everyone gets to camp on the beach.
Father has his boot wrapped in a plastic bag and he executes a deft hop/run over the river rocks. They pull the first number. Not too shabby for a team with only three legs.
As the day goes on, J&J, YouTube, Newlyweds, Fearless Friends, and the Roller Moms all arrive. The Singers and Hockey, in their Alliance of Love, have meandered the wrong way down a scenic highway so they arrive when it's nearly dark. Then the singers walk past the sign with numbers, almost letting their beloved Hockey playmates get ahead, but they catch their mistake just in time. Mullet rolls in late, but they made it!
New Zealand mud, part 1
One half of the Detour is to race a "modified vintage car" through a set of cones in a combined time under 83 seconds. Cars in New Zealand have steering wheels on the wrong side, and these vintage cars are stick shifts, so it's not easy for anyone.
Phil? "Tried it on the DL when cameras were off, 30.8 seconds." Yeah, he's bragging. Also, he "used to race cars like this #BackInTheDay, loser had to eat a meat pie plus big glass of milk, not good if you're slow." That doesn't sound like the worst punishment a Kiwi could come up with. Probably the meat pie was raw and the milk was sour, but Phil just didn't have room to tweet that.
The honeymoon phase, if it ever existed, is over
Max and Katie, the Newlyweds, are driving. When he drives, she criticizes him. Katie just learned to drive stick before the Race, and I have to give her credit for that because it's the best way to prepare for the Race. Her new skills are pretty good, and she has less trouble than Max.
Somewhere before their sixth run, Katie supportively tells Max, "You're killin' us." Then she tells a timekeeper that he sucks. Yay, Katie! But wait, there's more.
While driving to the next spot, she tells Max to turn around. They argue until they see a sign that seems to indicate Max was right. So she totally apologizes, with maybe a glance.
However, as they drive up into hobbit-infested foggy mountains, they flag down another car and get directions. Katie was right after all.
Here's how Max puts it: "I'm warm-blooded Italian, she's cold German, she think’s she's always right."
Here's how Katie puts it: "I'm 24 and I've had my doctorate and I'm a pharmacist. I'm pretty much always right."
I have a friend who is a pharmacist and I checked with her when I heard this. She confirmed that pharmacists are always right, so I'll remember to listen to Katie from now on. I hope Max learned this same lesson.
The honeymoon phase never ended
The other Detour option is to catch a fish! Fa/Son choose this option because Father can't drive a clutch with his boot. They try for about five minutes, then use the Express Pass to get out of there.
Chuck and Wynona choose the fishing straight off because Chuck is a real life fisherman. Wynona? "I go on the boat a lot, I watch him fish." If you’ve never watched your spouse fish then you may not realize this, but that's true love.
I guess it takes a while to catch fish because most of the other teams finish racing cars while Mullet is still fishing. Oh, Phil said, "All my friends loved Chuck's mullet ... he looks so at home fishing."
Did I mention that half of the locals on this leg are Phil's friends? Scratch that, I bet all of them are, the town isn't that big!
Chuck and Wynona land fish at the same time, and they finish the Detour in 8th place.
New Zealand Mud, Part II
Roadblock, you guys! It’s an obstacle course called a Shemozzle, because it's New Zealand and things have funny names! One team member has to dress in gum boots, shorts, and a burlap sack for a shirt, and right away you're thinking, "Stop it, I've got to do this." But wait.
Next, they choose a shepherd and a farm dog to guide them through the course, where they will get covered in molasses and feathers while collecting chicken eggs! Once they deliver a dozen unbroken eggs to the finish line, they pass.
So there's a giant box like a chicken coop, coated in molasses, then there's a tube full of feathers to crawl through, then a hay bale tower, then an innertube ride down a hill created out of hay bales into a manure pond.
"Trust me," tweets Phil, "you do not want to know what's in that water. Ignorance is bliss."
Son's legs look awesome as he runs this course. It takes him three tries to collect enough eggs, luckily it's a cumulative egg count. He and Father make it to the Pit Stop in first place, so, yay!
Then other teams get to the Roadblock and an orchestra of chaos breaks out on the peaceful New Zealand pasture. Singer Jennifer takes it, and her teammate shouts out, "you are just leaving Beverly Hills behind today!"
Chuck passes a few people on the course because he's having fun! And there is nothing in the world like watching that mullet innertube down a hill into a manure pit.
By the way, "the clue giver in this challenge is my mate Cage…RIP Shrek the Sheep." Doesn't that make you wonder about Shrek? What shenanigans were Phil and Cage and Shrek the Sheep up to that would warrant this shout-out?
If you would like to know more about Phil's crazy past, "#BackInTheDay in my early days of tv [I] worked on a show with dogs and sheep." Of course he did. Who wouldn't love to watch Phil and dogs and sheep? Oh, you're more interested in this show that I'm recapping? Well guess what?
About that recovery period you were hoping for ...
Phil hands Fa/Son a clue at the mat and tells them that they're still racing. Oh man, after spending one night in an airport and the next night in a tent, and with Connor all tarred and feathered, they're still racing. Father is on crutches and he wonders whether they should drop out, but ...
To be continued.
That sound you heard was everyone in the land yelling at their televisions, mostly because they wanted to see more footage of Chuck running the Shemozzle. Hopefully next week.
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