What do you get with some marital conflict, product placement, joking around and weepy, back-slapping man hugs? "The Amazing Race"in Italy, obviously.
I finally get to use the word hamartia in a recap to show off my knowledge of old terminology from Greek literature! Check that off my bucket list! It means fatal flaw, and it frequently points its hamartanein finger at pride.
Ralph and JJ, the Border Patrol Agents, are full of pride (or hubris, if we are still flinging fancy words around). They claim to have the intellect and strength to win everything, all the time. It's like they want us to hate them. But whither is the fall that their pride precedes? Spoiler alert – no fall yet.
Because they are not stupid and can navigate in Italy, the BPAs are the first to get the Fast Forward clue. It requires one partner to fly a little remote controlled helicopter and land it on a model of building. That model happens to be attached to a helmet that the other partner wears. It probably took them over an hour, and we got to enjoy many shots of a helicopter crashing, but eventually they succeeded. Off to the Pit Stop with you guys. Here, have first place again. Here, have $10,000. Now get out of here.
To Deal or Not to Deal, a How To Guide
This leg was pretty simple. Fly to Italy. Drive to a building. Do a relatively simple Roadblock. Drive to another building. Find and decipher a clue. Drive to another building. Detour. The End. Now let's personalize it.
Not dealing: Army Dave and his wife are having a bad day/week/who knows how long. He's a bad backseat driver, so she pulls over and makes him drive. They argue sarcastically about trying the Fast Forward, knowing that the BPAs are trying it but not knowing if they succeeded. When they get directions from a local, he doesn't follow them and she berates him. We get this: "Baby, as soon as I drive, it's logged into my mind…. Do you want to be supportive, or do you want to continue to be the way you've been this whole leg?" She calls him testy.
Dealing: The delightful Southern Cousins, meanwhile, have trouble driving their car and get lost. They lose about an hour. What happens? From the back seat, "I'm just trying to keep it positive. On the inside I'm puking but on the outside I'm trying to still be cutesy."
Dealing: Now, the Detour options were "Clean That Statue" or "Name That Salami." Either scrub down and pressure wash a statue of a lovely woman in a toga, or taste fourteen different kinds of salami and then walk to a separate location and identify them all.
Did you make a dirty joke in your head during the previous paragraph? Congratulations, you can be friends with Ralph and Vanessa, or even Joey Fitness and Danny. I didn't copy any of their quotes because I wasn't sure how far to push this recap, so just make up your own lines. Again, washing a curvy statue and tasting salami. Go!
They are So Not Dealing They Haven't Even Unwrapped the Deck of Cards
I think it's time to talk about Team Big Brother. He's a PhD student and seems to have a mellow personality. She's an emotional roller coaster. Rachel literally zipped through the Roadblock, rappelling 120 feet down the inside of a parking garage. When she's on, she's on. But then…
They're driving these Fords with an auto-park button that will make the car practically parallel park itself. Sure, it's product placement, but who wouldn't love to push a button for parking? Every team loves the button, perhaps even more than they're supposed to. And yet, somehow, Brendon raises his voice to Rachel while the car is parking itself, and suddenly she's screaming and crying and yelling at him. The car is parking itself! Use those thirty seconds to do some deep breathing, or imagine how many hamsters are under the hood turning the wheels, or make out with each other, because it's thirty seconds of magic that have been gifted to you by leprechauns! How can you get upset?
Rachel is immune to the car magic, though. She runs from Brendon every time he tries to call a truce. She says their [future] marriage is doomed. She thinks they should quit the Race because it's not "fun and good." They Taste That Salami and she's crying and quitting the whole time. I can see why the internet is tired of her. They finish mid-pack, so gear up for them next week.
Deus ex Machina
Bopper and Mark didn't stop at a travel agency for airplane tickets like everyone else did. Team BPA told them of their mistake, but by the time TeamBop bought tickets, the first flight to Italy was full. They were alone on the second flight, over an hour behind. Then their Kentucky accents didn't translate Italian very well, so they had a little trouble navigating. But otherwise they sailed through the tasks.
TeamBop didn't get a lot of screen time, but they did enjoy washing the statue. They said it was the "funnest" time they had on the Race. Bopper even pressure-washed Mark a little bit at the end. The clue attendant asked if they were engaged, and Bopper quickly replied, "I wouldn't be engaged to someone that ugly!"
Then Slow Country Music of Sadness played as Bopper and Mark walked to the Pit Stop after dark. Phil told them they were the last team to arrive, and then he let them talk about their experience. Bopper has a daughter who takes seven different respiratory medications, and he wanted to win the money for her health. They're crying, but accept their fate.
But then! The BPAs walk out and offer to split their $10,000 with Bopper. Dang it! You know I want to hate those guys, but I can't do it now! They're all friends for life now, with back slapping and weeping.
But then! Phil pipes up that it's a non-elimination leg. They're saved! JJ rubs Mark's bald head. Tinkly saloon piano music plays us out. I think we all needed that happy ending, after the ugly that we had to endure from other teams. We can be doubly happy that the non-elimination saved TeamBop, rather than have it wasted on BB, right?
Next week, TeamBop is still in it, so let's party in Bavaria! There will be gingerbread houses, yodeling, and beard styling. I'm feeling warm and cozy just thinking about it.