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'The Amazing Race' recap, 'Accidental Alliance'

By Richard Gorelick, Chris Waldmann and Melissa Wilson

The Baltimore Sun

9:37 AM EDT, April 28, 2014

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Episode 9 of the All-Star season took the five teams from Rome into Switzerland.

You said you wanted more snowy scenery, right? And you pleaded for gondolas, Bernese Mountain Dogs and references to Wilhelm Tell. You got all of them in Episode 9, which turned out to be another non-elimination leg.

That was very good news for the Country Singers, who reached this week's Pit Stop well after the other four teams did. This was the second such reprieve for Caroline and Jennifer, who at least had the good sense to acknowledge how lucky they were.

The most development this week was the formation of the "Accidental Alliance," a name coined by The Country Singers for their three-team alliance with Dave & Connor and The Afghanimals. The sole purpose of this alliance apparently is to work against Brendon and Rachel, who enraged the other teams on the last leg by using the U-Turn on Dave & Connor, the father-son cancer survivors.

The three of us in Apartment 81 have mixed feelings about Team Brenchel, but none of us blames them for using the U-Turn the way they did. It's not like Brendon and Rachel made up a new vicious rule. They were just playing the game. 

It's hard to tell how the show itself feels about this late-in-the-season dramatic development.

These were some of our favorite moments on this episode, which was also notable for not having a Detour challenge:

These are the five remaining teams, in order of their Episode 9 finish:

Dave and Connor -- The father-and-son ran a hard, crafty leg. Headed into the final weeks, they look poised to reach the all-important final 3. have the support of two other teams

The Cowboys -- They've been putting together a string of 2nd and 3rd place finishes. It's hard to imagine them not making the final 3 but it's also hard to see them winning the whole thing.

Leo and Jamal --Somehow, they don't seem entirely comfortable in the Accidental Alliance.

Brendon and Rachel -- They are definitely targets. Their best strategy at this point might be working against the weakest team. 

The Country Singers -- They are the weakest team at this point. If Phil told them they would have to perform a Speed Bump penalty next leg, we missed it. But we assume they will have to.