For The Baltimore Sun
8:54 AM EDT, October 28, 2013
Last week was full of fish heads and potential meltdown moments from Marie. Then, Phil was all, “Keep racing, yo.” So we waited all week for closure. Somebody write something poetic about all the waiting we did, please.
One cliffhanger was when Marie was debating handing over an Express Pass to Travis and Nicole in exchange for the Pit Stop location. Last week it looked like Marie said no. This week, Tim steps up and makes the decision to give them the clue. Marie doesn’t physically hand it over yet, though, I wonder if she’ll back out.
Everyone eventually ends up taking a 34-hour boat trip down the Norwegian coast. Tim and Marie meet Travis and Nicole on a windy deck. Marie actually hands over the Express Pass! It’s a secret, though -- don't tell anyone.
Danny is not in touch with his feminine side
So they fly to Gdansk, Poland, and take cabs to Solidarity Square, the site of a civil resistance that eventually led to the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe. It took me longer to type that sentence than the teams take to appreciate the solemnity of Solidarity Square, which is too bad. I hope this isn’t as controversial as the war monument in Vietnam was.
One Detour option is Polka! Teams dress in costume and learn a dance. We’ve seen these tasks before. But we haven’t seen Oklahoma Danny in a dress with a flower headband. He tries to do Rock, Paper, Scissors with Tim to decide who will dress as the woman, but Tim points out that he is bigger and he should be the man. He compliments Danny, calling him narrower and prettier, and then he asks Danny out to dinner. Danny grumbles.
Tim and Danny dance about as well as any untrained male dancers do, which is to say, not well at all. They argue. Danny seems to remember better and tells Tim what to do, but Tim doesn’t follow orders so well. When they get passed by Jason and Amy, Danny wants to quit. But Tim asks their coach if they’re close, and she says yes. “Just believe in us,” Tim pleads to his partner. The sight of dejected Danny wearing flowers is tragicomic. They persevere, though, and finish.
Teams of Lost Cab Failure
Three teams — three!! — are not delivered to the Solidarity Monument. Instead, they are taken to another shipyard, where an angry shipyard worker turns them away. Team Pink Ice, the Afghanimals and the Exes are in a sad caravan.
“Why are we so lost?” wails one Pink Ice.
“Because we’re in Poland and we don’t know where we are,” answers Tim. Shall I call him Tim of Logic? He doesn’t get to do much, ever, so that nickname won’t get a lot of use.
Previously, Overachieving Daters Jason and Amy interviewed that they performed well on tasks, but were cursed with transportation troubles. This week, however, they have won the cab-driver lottery. He knows where to go. He understands that they’re in a race. He lies for them! The Team Beard cab driver calls him, asking for directions to the next location, and the HappyCab Driver basically says, “I can’t help you, bye bye.”
The key to being Neptune is boobs.
The other Detour option is Pose: copy the stance of a historic bronze statue of Neptune and earn a set amount of donations. The costumes are skintight black unitards with some muscles sprayed on, plus a fuzzy wig and beard. They hold a trident in one hand at a certain angle; each foot is balanced on its own pedestal to get the angle right.
The Bunny Wives choose to pose, and they are remarkably good at it. I know I pointed out their frail-looking arms before, but after watching them carry pounds of dried cod and then hold tridents until they shake, I have to admit that those arms are tough. It also helps that the wives are cheerful and personable and flirty. They complete the task quickly.
The Beards also try to pose, but they are no good at working the crowd. They stand and plea for money but they sound desperate and sad. “We need boobs,” says Brandon. They switch Detours.
Double U-Turn of Drama
The Exes choose to pose, but when they get there, no other teams are posing. Either everyone is finished or doing polka. Marie senses a target on her back, so she tells Tim that they should use the Express Pass so that they can get to the U-Turn mat before anyone uses it against them. Tim of Logic sees the logic, and so they use their pass. They try to do it secretly. Unfortunately, for this leg, teams are required to wear their goofy costumes until the Pit Stop. Tim and Marie’s lack of costumes gives them away instantly.
Team Oklahoma U-turns the Afghanimals because they know for certain that they are behind them. For the same reason, the Afghanimals U-turn the Beards.
Afghanimals and Beards both struggle at the polka, but Afghanimals put on a show posing as Neptune. “My wife is Polish, she’s pregnant,” one calls out. Later, they spot a man wearing a BYU football t-shirt. “I went to BYU,” one says. The t-shirt man says he’ll give them money if they can name two quarterbacks. Good show, t-shirt man! But then his very own children take the money out of his hand and put it in the box.
The Beards are back posing, and they are wilting, sadly. They beg loudly, but it still takes a long time to finish.
Doughnuts and good manners
After the Detour, teams are sent to the Falowiec building, the longest apartment building in Poland. It houses 6,000 people and is over half-a-mile long. It is epic. The Roadblock is to visit a list of apartments and taste a paczki, a kind of filled donut, in each one. When they find a doughnut with red filling, they’ll get a clue. Warning: teams may be penalized for bad manners. That was written for Marie, right?
Overachiever Amy and Marie work on it together, since they are the first teams. I think Amy helped Marie out with her manners. Out on the lawn, Jason shows Tim the polka. Marie tweeted after the episode: “By far my favorite roadblock..got to do my 2 fav things: eat donuts and RUN STAIRS!!”
Husband Travis and Bunny Wife Kim also start doing the Roadblock. In a delightful moment, Kim waits for a down elevator while Travis takes the stairs. He hits the call button for the elevator on each floor! So there’s Kim, stopping at every floor, telling the camera that apparently Travis is messing with her.
Even more strategically, Travis finds Amy and Marie and starts following them, since they’ve already visited a number of apartments. They try to run from him, but they can’t shake him, so instead they all split up and work together. Travis points out that the best way to work as a team is to catch up. He then finds the correct apartment and tells the ladies.
Pink Ice gets to the Roadblock before Afghanimals, but they eventually team up and finish it together.
Sadder than sad
The Pit Stop is on the longest wooden pier in Europe, extending more than 1,600 feet into the Baltic Sea. Tim and Marie come in first, earning a trip to Hawaii which they will fight over. The Daters and the Marrieds share the mat with them.
The Bunny Wives come in fourth place, followed by Oklahoma in fifth. Afghanimals and Pink Ice are next. Team Beard gets the Music of Sadness as Adam searches the apartment building for a doughnut. As the shadows grow long over the Baltic Sea, they check in last and are eliminated. They were my favorite team; I need a moment. Maybe a week’s worth of moments.
Next week: the Vienna Boys Choir! And Marie steals a cab.
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