The eight remaining teams on The Amazing Race leave the Swedish Lapland in the Land of the Midnight Sun and travel to Narvik, Norway across the border. Nat and Kat, who say they feel more like sisters than just friends, leave first and drive to the Gondola Station, taking the gondola to the top of the mountain. Meanwhile Gary and Mallory enjoy time together as father and daughter, Kevin and Michael have a scare when Michael can’t find the clue, and Jill, who went to cosmetology school, is trying to prove her intelligence to Thomas, the Notre Dame grad. Rachel and Katie, who tell each other it isn’t amazing friends, it is The Amazing Race, hope that Nat is having a panic attack in the gondola.
She is indeed, but Kat talks her through it and when they make it to the top, they are the first to have a chance at the Fast Forward, which only one team can complete, giving them the right to go straight to the pit stop. They decide to take advantage of it, joking that they hope it isn’t an eating challenge. Kat mentions being a vegetarian for over twenty years, as they head to the little Viking lodge to take part in a traditional Norwegian Christmas ritual.
They arrive and take note of the soft lighting, dim music, and oops, small glass of water, which Kat says always spells trouble. Sure enough, they must each eat half of a roasted sheep’s head, which would be disgusting beyond belief even if you weren’t a vegetarian. They decide to cut it in little pieces so they can pretend not to know what it is. The eyeballs make that difficult, but Nat says the eyeballs are crunchy, so Kat decides they are cucumbers or romaine lettuce. Both girls decide it “tastes like a million dollars,” and choke it down, winning the Fast Forward and proceeding directly to the pit stop at Ankenes Marina. “Do you want to get sick now?” inquires Nat politely, but Kat says they should just go to the pit stop and “take care of that later.”
Nat and Kat arrive at the Amazing Race pit stop first and win a trip for two from Travelocity to Costa Rica, staying within view of the rain forest and the ocean, riding ATV’s and going white water rafting.
Meanwhile, the other teams have to find the Skjomen Suspension Bridge near Narvik, Norway. Then they must perform a Roadblock, where only one team member, the one with strength, stamina and guts, must rappel down a rope 135 feet to a boat, get their clue, and ascend back up the rope to the top of the bridge where their teammate waits. Kevin is the first to descend after Michael declares he has none of the three requirements. Kevin does well but admits it was really hard. Gary goes when Kevin does, and then Claire, urged firmly by Brooke, is the next to descend. She does okay going down, but going back up becomes a problem. She barely has the strength to get off the boat, and is very, very slow in her ascent, while being chided by Brooke until she finally tells her to shut up! Finally Brooke brings up Claire’s recently deceased grandmother, who apparently had strength, stamina and guts in spades, and Claire is able to draw from her memory to complete the task. Thomas has no trouble since he grew up in the mountains and did a lot of rappelling.
Nick and Vicki decide to try for the Fast Forward, and when they get there and discover that “the Fast Forward has been taken,” don’t know whether that means they should wait for a turn, or whether it has been accomplished. They leave, and find the rappelling task, where Vicki shines, smoking everyone else with a big smile on her face.
The clue directs everyone to find Harvika, a remote field that holds the next Amazing Race clue. Michael and Kevin arrive first, discovering a Detour. They must choose between bikes or boats. Michael and Kevin choose boats, because on the boat, someone else does all the work. They must direct the captain to their destination with the help of a map, climb up the steep bank and deliver two heavy codfish and a chainsaw to a man who lives in a cabin up the mountain. Brooke and Claire also choose the boats, and Brooke’s life jacket has a tail of some type, which Claire ties up between Brooke’s legs like a big orange diaper. Later, running up the trail with two giant codfish flapping against her rear, she looks pretty hilarious. She and Claire quiz the poor old guy in the cottage, then kiss him. “The kiss count is up to seven,” exults Brooke, skipping down the trail.
Several teams choose the bike challenge, which entails riding mountain bikes on a rough trail, finding a board with their bike lock combination to memorize, ride back, open the bike lock and retrieve their clue. Nick brags about his competitive racing on dirt bikes since he was twelve years old. But as it turns out, Vicki gleefully rides circles around him while he ends up having to get off and push his bike.
Jill and Thomas head for the Ankenes Marina, an old military stronghold from WWII, but they get lost and Gary and Mallory come in second, with Jill and Thomas arriving in time to be third. Michael and Kevin were team number four, and Brooke and Claire were fifth. Brooke cut her eyelid on the car door, but impressed Phil with her calm demeanor in spite of her bleeding eye. Nick and Vicki, despite Nick’s assurances that they were second, came in sixth, and Chad and Stephanie squeaked in at seventh.
Katie and Rachel were in last place and were eliminated from the Amazing Race. They tried to talk about their friendship through their tears, and admitted they would have liked to race forever.
Tune in next week when the Amazing Race teams go to Russia to emerge themselves in culture in the form of music, cinema and babushkas!
Personal Experience watching The Amazing Race on CBS
Wikipedia, Skjomen Bridge