May 03, 2005

"She's doing way better with my mouth shut."

Doesn't it seem like we were just talking about the start of this race, and here it is, the penultimate episode already? Time can actually fly while you're waiting for your sabbatical to start! (Yes, I'm sure that some of you are either: a) tired of hearing about my stupid sabbatical already; or b) don't know what I'm talking about anyway. But that's just tough, because it's my time off and I'll beat it into the ground if I want to!)

So, tonight's episode found us back in Istanbul, waiting to see which of the remaining four teams was going to get Philiminated. To acclimate the teams to once again hearing their native tongue before returning home for the finale, they found themselves heading off to London. But first they had a cultural encounter of the Turkish kind by going to the train station to find a room full of dervishes. In a truly Bolo-worthy moment, Rob managed to mispronounce that, not once but twice, while reading the clue and of course had no idea what it was. It was an eerie but interesting spectacle, though the racers had no contact with the dancers whatsoever and just edged around them to get to the clue box.

We then had the usual airport hijinks, where although Joychenna and Gretchedith got to the airport first, they settled for the first direct flight they found and didn't look for any connections that would get them in to London earlier. RA/RK were having none of that, however, after coming in at the end of the pack the previous leg. RA were very proactive and started researching alternatives immediately, booking something through Frankfurt, then going to the ticketing booth for the direct flight and booking that flight as well, playing it off as though that was the flight they were on. (Does anyone else wonder what kind of arrangement the show has with all these airlines in order to make that work without costing them a fortune?) RK, on the other hand, more or less stumbled onto the connection option and they both managed to get an hour and a half lead on the other two teams, much to Rob's consternation.

Eventually, all the teams were on their way to merry olde England, where the teams started off by having to find the famous crosswalk on Abbey Road from the Beatles album cover, though not a single team took so much as a moment to appreciate where they were. Heathens! Then it was more or less a subway-a-thon for the rest of the race. RA found a local (and cute) guy to help direct them through the maze that is the London Underground, and this was a real boon to them because he stayed with them for quite a while playing guide.

The Detour, found from on high in a giant Ferris wheel, was a choice between Brains and Brawn, with RA/RK taking Brains and having to solve riddles and take the subway to various places connected with Sherlock Holmes, and the other two tackling Brawn and hauling boats around then stacking them up. This was a real physical challenge for Gretchedith and they lost a lot of time.

Then it was on to the Millenium Dome (did anyone else think that the London Tourist Bureau gave the show some sort of discount for them to hit these less-popular tourist attractions instead of places like the Tower of London or Big Ben and the like?) where both the Roadblock and a Yield awaited. Not surprisingly, RA were determined to get there first because they knew RK would Yield them if they didn't, and they had a pretty good lead after their guide expertly navigated the subway for them, so they were able to yield RK instead. That stopped Kelly in her makeup-less tracks and she spent much of the time doodling horns and the like on RA's picture. Thankfully for RA, they finished the Roadblock and got out of there to finish first before RK even showed up. I'll bet there were some cold looks at the Pit Stop that night, though.

The Roadblock required one racer to drive a double-decker bus through a course without so much as touching any of the cones or they had to start all over. Easier said than done and, except for Rob (believe it or not), all those doing the driving were flipping out with frustration. But even with the Yield, RK had enough of a lead over the others that they were a solid second place.

It was down to Joyce's and Meredith's driving skills then and, as much as many of us have enjoyed watching Gretchedith bumble along this far, I was glad to see Joyce pull it off...once Uchenna stopped trying to "help" her from the sidelines, as illustrated by today's title, that is. In a complete flip-flop of the previous leg's result, they came in third and Meredith and Gretchen brought up the rear and were eliminated from the Race.

Next week is, of course, the big two-hour finale. (After which the person who has been dying to tell me who wins because he knows can stop feeling tortured.) However, I do not know for sure whether I will have Internet access at that point because I'll be on the road. I'm just hoping I get to watch it that night as one of the places I'm staying doesn't have a TV. (Yikes.) So if there is no final recap here next Tuesday night, please, no spoilers in the comments! Believe me, once I've seen it and can post, I'll be here to talk about it.