I’m Coming Like Christmas (Episode 9-5)

Luck finally ran out for the perky girls of the Pink team, Dani & Danielle. At the Roadblock, Lake & Michelle Yielded the girls, putting an end to their Amazing Race.

This week’s leg started in Munich, Germany. Frat Guys Eric & Jeremy were the first team to leave at 2:15 a.m. Their clue instructed them to fly to Palermo, Sicily, via Rome. Ticket counters at the airport were closed for the night, but the guys learned from airport information that the first flight to Rome left at 6:35 a.m.

Hippies BJ & Tyler arrived at the airport an hour later, along with Lake & Michelle, who headed immediately for the public internet terminals. The Frats and Hippies killed time racing in wheelchairs through an improvised obstacle course.

After BJ lost his wheelchair race with Eric, the Hippies also researched flights on the internet. Lake and Michelle found themselves frustrated, because the airline’s site was in German. The Hippies, however, figured out how to change the webpage’s language to English, and they booked seats on the 6:35 flight. By the time Lake & Michelle figured out the website, the flight was booked.

The Frats successfully opted for standby tickets on the earliest flight, but Lake & Michelle settled for a flight that left at 9:30. Here’s the order in which all the teams left the airport:

1st Flight to Rome – Hippies, Frats
2nd Flight to Rome – Lake & Michelle, Fran & Barry, MoJo, Nerds
3rd Flight to Rome – Ray & Yolanda, Pinks

1st Flight to Palermo – Hippies (arrived at 10:15 a.m.)
2nd Flight to Palermo – Frats (unknown arrival time)
3rd Flight to Palermo – Fran & Barry, MoJo, Nerds (arrived at 1:15 p.m.)
4th Flight to Palermo – Lake & Michelle, Ray & Yolanda, Pinks (arrived at 2 p.m.)

When teams arrived in Palermo, their first clue instructed them to drive to a seaside village and look for a cluebox along the waterfront. Because the box was incredibly obvious, Fran & Barry walked by it several times before finding it.

The cluebox held a Detour: “Foundry” or “Laundry.” “Foundry” required teams to lug a heavy metal bell up hundreds of stairs to a church. In “Laundry,” teams searched 2400 articles of clothing hanging on lines for one of 16 articles with a red and yellow tag sewn on the inside.

After having luck with the Russian dolls two episodes ago, the Hippies decided to search the laundry. When they found a tagged piece, they affected their best Super Mario Brothers accents: “That-a didn’t take a long-a time.”

The Frats also searched the laundry, observing that one of the items looked like “Phil’s turtleneck.” They succeeded, and the next clue directed them to the site of an ancient amphitheater — which doubled as the site of this season’s first Yield.

Monica & Joseph (MoJo) and Ray & Yolanda were the only teams to choose the “Foundry” Detour. Both teams finished the task rather quickly, with Joseph and Ray doing most of the heavy lifting.

Fran & Barry lost time looking for the cluebox and were still searching laundry when Nerds David & Lori arrived. Fran & Barry finished and moved on, and the Nerds’ patience started to wear thin.

After initially having trouble figuring out their stick shift, the Pinks caught up with the Nerds and with Lake & Michelle, who bled time searching the streets for the laundry. Eventually, the Nerds found a tagged shirt. They were soon followed by Lake & Michelle, which left the Pinks in last place, again.

After teams parked near the old amphitheater, they needed to hike nearly a mile uphill to find the cluebox. There, they had the opportunity to Yield another team, forcing that team to wait a predetermined amount of time before continuing with the task. None of the early teams exercised the Yield option.

The next clue was a Roadblock. One team member had to build a replica of a Greek statue from disassembled pieces. However, there were two extra pieces that didn’t fit with the statue, and were just thrown in to confuse teams. Tyler wasn’t fooled. Upon assembling his statue, he said, “Maybe these extra pieces are just extra pieces!”

Tyler received the team’s final clue of the leg, and he and BJ headed to the Pit Stop. They walked back down the hill to the ruins of an ancient temple. Tyler told Phil he hoped that their prize for coming in first place was “pizza pie.” Phil told them it was actually a digital imaging hardware and software package, eliciting the enthusiastic response, “Whoa! Digital Imaging!”

As Eric assembled the statue for the Frats, Jeremy helpfully offered to remove his shirt and pose as a demonstration model. The statue’s extra pieces didn’t trick Eric either, and the guys finished quickly. But they were disappointed in their second place finish for the leg.

Monica was the first statue builder to get hung up on the extra pieces, although only momentarily. MoJo came in third.

Fran & Barry were next. As they made their way to the Pit Stop, they met up with Lake & Michelle, who had gone to the temple instead of the amphitheater. Lake asked where the cluebox was, and Barry refused to tell him, even though it wouldn’t have hurt his team.

Lake & Michelle eventually found the right path to the amphitheater, and they noticed the Pink team pulling into the parking lot. By then, the Nerds had already arrived, and Lori was assembling her statue. Lake & Michelle, unaware that Ray & Yolanda were also behind them, yielded the Pinks.

Lake decided to tackle the puzzle because, in his words, “I’m a dentist. I’m good with my hands.” He quickly assembled the statue, as Lori — convinced that the two extra pieces were required — started to melt down. Only after taking her statue apart several times and breaking down in tears did she realize the pieces were red herrings.

Lori wasn’t the only one in tears. As the Pinks waited out their Yield, they welled up, too. When it was finally time for the Pinks to start their puzzle, they realized that they weren’t in last place. That dishonor belonged to Ray & Yolanda, who were finally arriving at the amphitheater, after having some major navigation issues on the road.

Danielle was well on her way to assembling her statue by the time Ray started on his. But as Ray made up time, he started to trash-talk her, good-naturedly: “Uh oh. It’s getting close, Danielle. I’m coming like Christmas.”

Ray finished first, and he and his speedy girlfriend, Yolanda, raced down the hill to the Pit Stop. Danielle soon completed her statue, but she and Dani had no hope of catching up to Ray & Yolanda. The Pinks were eliminated, breaking the Frat Guys’ hearts.

1 – BJ & Tyler
2 – Eric & Jeremy
3 – Monica & Joseph
4 – Fran & Barry
5 – Lake & Michelle
6 – David & Lori
7 – Ray & Yolanda
8 – Dani & Danielle (eliminated)

Next week, teams have to sell fish to the Sicilians, and Monica suffers the emotional breakdown of the week.