October 17, 2010 – Nine teams continue on the Amazing Race, since last week’s episode was a non-elimination leg. Michael and Kevin, who arrived last, must complete a Speed Bump, a task only they must do, in the course of this leg of the race. Connor and Jonathan, who arrived at the pit stop first last week, get to leave Africa first and head for the Arctic Circle to continue The Amazing Race.
After the teams spent a day helping to paint and renovate the Asebi Primary School in Ghana, they head for Kiruna, known as Swedish Lapland. Nick tells the cab driver to take them to the Arctic circle and Vicki gently reminds him that they have to go to the airport first. Some of the teams are delighted to be leaving the heat of Africa while others dread the cold and ice. Jonathan and Connor, who are missing their graduation from Princeton, urge their cab driver to go faster. “You need to take your time,” he tells them, unaware of the irony of the statement.
Each team is given tickets, but don’t have to use them if they can do better. Kevin and Michael are the first to find a better flight, and confide in Mallory and Gary. Mallory quietly asks an airport employee about the flight, and he gets them all tickets on it. “I’m so glad I have blond hair,” exults Mallory. Soon Claire and Brooke, dressed in pink, black and zebra stripes, are told about the earlier flight as well, by the doctors Nat and Kat. Connor and Jonathan and Rachel and Katie are aware of the earlier flight, but it is booked before they are able to take advantage of it. The earlier teams have only an hour to make their connecting flight, and Michael and Kevin struggle to make it, but do by a hair. The other five teams are on a flight that arrives three hours later.
Once on the ground, the teams must go to an Ice Hotel and find the storage building where the furniture and fixtures are stored for the summer. Here Kevin and Michael, who are in fourth position, find their Speed Bump, which is to sit for ten minutes on the frozen ice chairs. Wearing their soccer shorts, they find the task uncomfortable, but Michael quickly discovers a “one bun at a time” strategy that works for him. Once their ten minutes is up, they pick up their clue, frozen in a large block of ice, and Kevin remarks ruefully that they should have brought gloves and butt pads.
The Amazing Race teams are all able to find locals to translate their large, icy clues, and take off through the woods, where Claire begins telling Brooke an axe murderer tale. The teams must find a summer training camp with dogs and sleds for mushing. In this Roadblock, one team member must choose a dog team, then mush down a marked trail, grabbing flags at intervals as they go. If they miss a flag, they must take a penalty lap. If they get all their flags, they exchange them for pelts and then exchange the pelts for their next clue. By some miracle, Kevin and Michael end up arriving first, and Michael thoroughly enjoys driving the dog team over the ice, getting his flags, pelt and clue, unfazed by a “fake bear” that spooks the dogs. Claire enjoys the task too, having grown up on a ranch and worked with animals in the past. She makes sure to kiss the pelt guy, whom she calls a Swedish Chief, as she tries to keep up with Brooke’s kissing count. Mallory is too short to grab the flags, but stands up high on the sled and is able to get four of her five, costing her a penalty lap.
Michael and Kevin are the first to drive through the Swedish countryside to the Bassijaure Train Station for their next clue on the Amazing Race. Meanwhile, the other five teams are arriving at the dog sled camp en masse. Jill and Thomas bring up the rear, and then head off at a dead run in the wrong direction once they arrive. Finally they find the right spot and debate whether or not to use their Express Pass, knowing they are in last place. They decide to hold off on that.
Meanwhile Kevin and Michael find a Detour, where they must choose between two tasks dubbed Sleds or Beds. They choose Beds, and make their way to an encampment of some descendants of the earliest Scandinavian nomads. They must build a kind of tent called a goahti and furnish it with furs, branches and a special fire with rocks in a pattern around it. At first they have a bit of trouble getting the tent up, but finally do, furnish it perfectly and they are on their way to the pit stop.
Nat and Kat, meanwhile, choose Sled. They are very happy gliding along on the ski lift with the “intense landscape” below them, but then they arrive at the sledding site. They find they must each choose a an extreme sports-type sled, called a Techsled. They then must sled down the mountain on an icy, fast course with a time below one minute fifty eight seconds. If they take longer, they must do it again. Nat made it in time, but Kat was nowhere to be seen. Someone finally went and checked on her, and she’d crashed in to the fence, stuck fast, and had to be helped out. Mallory, meanwhile, made the run in exactly 1:58, but found she had to beat the time, not match it. Brooke and Claire had no trouble, as Brooke hilariously demonstrated in a sound-effects heavy interview later.
Chad was pumped about the sledding, but Stephanie was nervous since she’d never done anything like it before. Chad kept trying to wait for her instead of just doing his run, which might have been ok, except he was angry at her and made it excruciatingly clear. Her first crash was because he was going too slowly in front of her, as a matter of fact. She literally went downhill from there, crashed left and right and very painfully, and got more panicky as Chad got more disparaging. Finally a tearful Stephanie told Chad to forget it, she simply could not do it. She is scared and hurt from having the sled land on top of her at one point, and though Chad is stunned, he probably could have avoided this outcome by being encouraging, or nice, or even just going down on his run and leaving her alone. Instead they switch tasks, and do pretty well on the Bed task, restoring Chad’s good humor and earning Stephanie a sort of apology from him.
Connor and Jonathan are a comedy of errors on the sledding course, but finally Connor gets the hang of it, leaving him to laugh at Jonathan as he lurched from crash to wreck to disaster on his many runs down the hill. Realizing that Jonathan was not only getting considerably slower with each run, mentioning at one time that he was afraid he’d end up in Norway, but was also in some serious pain, they too switched tasks. Katie and Rachel can’t even hold on to their sleds, and they switch tasks as well, while Nick and Vicki, who, as she says, are “more physical then mental,” excel at the sledding task.
Katie and Rachel do pretty badly at the Bed task too, needing numerous rulings from the judge before they get the task right. Jill and Thomas finally decide to use the Express Pass, which was probably a wise choice, but as badly as the other teams began doing, might not have been necessary after all.
In the end, Nat and Kat make it to the pit stop at the Norwegian border first, and win a trip for two to the Windy Hill Resort in the foothills of Belize, from Travelocity. Mallory and Gary come in second, and Claire and Brooke are third. Michael and Kevin are thrilled to come in fourth after their loss the week before, and Jill and Thomas only come in at number five despite their Express Pass. Nick and Vicki were team number six, and Chad and Stephanie make seventh. Katie and Rachel squeak in at number eight.
Connor and Jonathan, the Princeton grads and a cappella singers, sing their way to the pit stop with “Pomp and Circumstance,” where they are ninth and are eliminated from The Amazing Race. They graciously compare their Princeton graduation that day with their having “graduated from The Amazing Race on the same day.” After serenading Phil and the television audience with an original Amazing Race themed song, they clicked their heels together and went out in style.
Tune in next week when the teams travel to Norway!
Source: Personal Experience watching The Amazing Race on CBS