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'The Amazing Race' recap, 'Beards in the Wind'

Auto RacingThe Amazing Race (tv program)

Hasn’t it been a long week? Do you even remember Team NFL getting trapped in airports for a day and Phil eliminating them before they could even breathe the fresh open air of Portugal? Those were bad times. Let’s have some fishy times!

Everyone travels to Norway on the same flight. That’s so simplistic and anticlimactic after all the airplane drama from last week, right? Then they take a three-hour ferry ride. It’s cold (Arctic cold!), but the teams make time to do some dramatic Titanic poses on the deck as the boat races through the evening.

And now is the time on "The Amazing Race" when everyone loses their minds, because it’s 11:05 p.m. and the sun is still up. First up is a Detour: either they string bundles of fish heads and transport them to drying racks, or they collect 15 pairs of dried cod from 30-foot high drying racks and pound them with a wooden mallet to make one kilo of jerky. Either way, they’re doing abusive things to fish in the middle of the night.

First Battle for Quote of the Week

Team Beard explains that they are good at physical tasks in the outdoors. Adam says, “At one point, we were both Boy Scouts. We are no longer Boy Scouts. Now we’re Man Scouts.”

The Exes are the first to start stringing fish, but then the Beards walk in. Marie tells Tim, “They’re going to be good at this, they eat gross stuff and do gross stuff all the time.”

As the Afghanimals string fish, one says, “We don’t really fish. The closest I get to water is the shower.”

One Pink Ice separates the bigger fish heads from the smaller ones, because, “Stabbing the baby heads was really depressing.”

Possible Beginning of Marie’s Possible Downfall

Marie is abrasive and grating, but she knows this. She’s one of the most self-aware Racers out there. She’s still dangling the extra Express Pass in front of anyone who might help her. She and Tim string the fish and wheelbarrow them down a road to the drying racks. But she makes a rookie mistake (just like Team Bingo did two weeks ago): she doesn’t hang the fish heads on a marked rack.

The Overachieving Daters and the Beards hang fish on the correct racks, while Marie freaks out because the clue-giver isn’t giving her a clue. She asks the Beards for help, mentioning the Express Pass, but they don’t bite. “Why is this happening to me,” she fake-laments, “I’m nice to everyone!”

When the Daters leave, they pass their alliance buddies, Team Married. The Daters tell Marrieds to look for a marked pole, which they do.

Marie tells Tim, “Figure out what’s wrong in 30 seconds or we use the Express Pass.” But then she looks at the Married pole and finally sees the Race flag, so she discovers the problem and they soon pass the challenge.

Dried cod are heavier than they look

Team OK and Team Bunny Baseball Wives choose the other half of the Detour. One partner climbs the drying racks to get a pair of fish from the top, then brings them down to the waiting partner. I think they were specifically instructed to not let any fish hit the ground, because they aren’t throwing fish around. The waiting partners loop the fish around their necks and arms to keep them from falling. It’s…challenging.

Then they have to walk the fish down the road, one partner carrying most of the fish while the other partner carries some fish and both backpacks. Team OK manages OK (heh), although their arms are sore. Team Bunny Wives are tougher than I thought. The one holding more fish gets mosquito bites on her forehead while she waits, but does not freak out.

While the Wives walk with fish, one tries to take fish from the other, so she puts her notebook in her mouth to free up a hand. Moments later, she panics because she can’t find her notebook. If you’ve never done something like that, then she looks pretty stupid. But if you have (and I have), you totally get it. After she locates her notebook, she tells her friend, “Your arms look so strong! She’s like the Cod Queen!”

Second Battle for Quote of the Week, plus Homework

When Team OK turns in their cod jerky, Tim says, “You know how to beat that meat, Danny.” Danny gets bashful and says, “Whatever. You’re the beat meater.” Even if he’d said it correctly it would still be hilarious.

The next challenge is a Roadblock: one partner jumps off a bridge, dangles on a rope, then releases the rope to “splash into the frigid Arctic Ocean” and swim for a clue. 

Beard Brandon takes the Roadblock. Adam is the most supportive best friend ever. As Brandon swims, Adam cheers, “This was made for him! He can swim like a seal! Like a shark! Like a…seal shark! That’s my boy, seal shark!” 

At some point this week I want each of you to call your best friend either a beat meater or a seal shark.

The point in every season when we shout, “Why didn’t you learn to drive a stick?” at our televisions

After the bridge jumping, teams must use a pickup truck to pull a giant boulder a few feet, far enough so that they can find a clue and a bag of coins that are underneath. The truck is a stick shift.

People who totally know what they’re doing: the Beards and Overachieving Dater Jason. People who totally don’t know: Pink Ice. People who muddle through: everyone else.

Pink Ice can’t figure out how to get their truck into reverse so that they can position it in front of their boulder. Luckily, Team OK shows up and saves the day by guiding them. Then, as the girls try to hook up their boulder, they bonk their helmeted heads together. “We are literally putting our heads together on this one,” says one, and I award her 5,000 points for the correct use of the word literally.

Possible Continuation of Marie’s Possible Downfall

After Team Exes move their boulder, they find the bag of coins but do not grab the scrap of fabric with the clue on it! The clue that tells them where the Pit Stop is! They think the coins must be the clue! I’m worried about Marie; this is the second time she’s missed something. I think the midnight sun is really messing with her brain.

They hop in their truck and drive off, assuming they’ll either figure it out or find someone wandering the streets at 3 a.m. who will guide them.

Now, Team Married passes the Exes. Nicole tells us that she saw desperation in their faces. She rolls down her window and says that she will tell them what they need to know if Marie hands over the Express Pass.

Ooh, Nicole just stepped up to play Marie’s game! And Marie does not know what to do. She is desperate, but that Express Pass is the only thing in the Race that she can control. We all know how much Marie loves to control things, so she can’t bring herself to accept Nicole’s offer. She just sits there with her mouth open in indecision. Nicole calls her bluff and they drive off. That was excellent.

Pit Stop shenanigans

The Pit Stop is a Viking longhouse, a reconstruction of a type of house that dates back to 500 A.D. Inside, the locals are having a loud Viking celebration. 

Team Beard, you are Team Number One! Phil shouts it because he has to match the energy of the Viking King greeter. He awards them $5,000 each, which Brandon says will help him finish his house. Adam says he can live off of it for a year.

Then, do you know what happens? Phil pulls out a clue. “You’re still racing. Rip it, read it, keep on racing.” 

You know how some teams hear that and they’re so tired that they’re dejected? That is not Team Beard. They love racing. They whoop and holler and run off.

Then, do you know what happens? Neither do I, because it’s To Be Continued! At least we know that the Baseball Bunny Wives won’t get eliminated just yet. They did not carry dried cod in vain.

Then, do you know what happens? Over the credits, they play the song “Fish Heads.” This show is awesome. 

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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