'The Amazing Race' recap, 'The Gladiators are Here!'

The Baltimore Sun

Episode 7 of the All-Star season took the teams from Sri Lanka to the Eternal City, which the contestants had to figure out meant Rome. They all knew that - eventually. Rachel's first thought was Ethiopia. 

After another non-elimination leg, the second one in three episodes, and a one-week TV hiatus, the teams were back in action. And we mean action. The leg ended with yet another footrace to the Pit Stop -- we've never seen as many as we have this season. This time, the race was not for first place, but to keep from coming in last.

The Globetrotters hopped onto the landing pad just seconds before John and Jessica, who were eliminated, and looked especially disappointed and shocked.

But as kind Phil Koegan reassured the engaged couple, this is a tough, tough season. John and Jessica didn't do anything terribly wrong in Rome.

They were slow, perhaps, in picking up on a tricky John Keats riddle embedded in the clue directing them from the Detour to the Roadblock. It wasn't via Keats they should have been looking for, but a plaza associated with John Keats.

That was rough. But at least John and Jessica weren't eliminated with an Express Pass in their pocket, like they were in Season 22. There's that.

Elsewhere, it was a charming episode that made good use of two of Rome's most popular tourist venues -- the Colosseum and the Spanish Steps.

Of the two Detour options teams had to pick from, "Gladiator," which was basically a matter of learning choreography, turned out to be the better option than "Charioteer," in which teams had to maneuver radio-controlled mini-chariots around a course.

The Afghanimals, to their credit, saw quickly how tricky the chariots were, and switched tasks. That was good for them, and good for us, because Leo and Jamal were so funny grunting and fake-dying at the Gladiator challenge.

The Roadblock could have been a race-ending disaster for The Globetrotters - Flight Time was about as far from figuring out the challenge's clue as he could be. But Leo generously -- too generously? -- gave him, as well as John, the answer to the riddle of the Spanish Steps.

Leo extracted a promise from Flight Time and John not to U-Turn his team. But Leo did so assuming that the Country Singers were the team headed for elimination. There's a Double U-Turn coming next leg, and we'll see if Leo's gesture was wasted or not.

These are the six remaining teams, in order of their Episode 7 finish:

Brendon and Rachel -- They had a great leg in Rome, with Brendon very impressive on the Spanish Steps. He is a smarty for sure. But Team Brenchel still seems like the most obvious target of a U-Turn.

The Country Singers -- The plucky team recovered nicely from last leg's last-place finish, and was the second team to arrive at this leg's Pit Stop. They've also been quietly making alliances with other teams, but unofficial ones that don't hold them hostage. Well played. 

Dave and Connor -- They have never reached the Pit Stop in lower than 4th place. They still seem headed for the finale.

The Cowboys -- They got very little screen time this week. They're predictably competent. They only finished fourth, but they still have an Express Pass in their pocket. 

Leo and Jamal -- Switching Detour tasks has paid off for them so far. And they seem incapable of panic.

The Globetrotters -- They still haven't finished a leg higher than 6th. There are only six teams left.  

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