This Is Where Thinking Began (Episode 9-7)

Going into the last 15 minutes of this week’s Amazing Race,
the only question was whether or not the Hippies would be spared by a
non-elimination leg, after falling hours behind the other teams. Their
salvation came from another source — as a lost Lake & Michelle
were eliminated.

All six remaining teams left the Pit Stop
within three hours of each other, and bunched up at the Siracusa train
station. Teams rode the same train to Rome, where they made their way
to Trevi Fountain, the landmark made famous by the deodorant commercial
in which the crazy girl from Invasion pretends she doesn’t understand Italian in order to meet guys.

The fountain’s marketability didn’t escape the producers of the film version of The DaVinci Code. Teams received a clue and half of a DaVinci-related
puzzle from a guy on a scooter. Their clues led them to the second half
of the puzzle, which was at the nearby Spanish Steps.

The puzzle
was as absurdly simple as any of the mysteries in the original book —
like when the genius main characters took forever to figure out that
the best way to read backwards writing is to hold it in front of a
mirror. All the racers had to do with their puzzle was lay one piece of
vellum on top of another to reveal a secret message, which told them
that the first team to bring the puzzle to Phil would win a prize.

Their
clue instructed teams to fly to Athens, Greece, and everyone traveled
on the same flight. Upon arrival, Monica gushed, “This is where
thinking began!” Of Monica, Yolanda said, “I’m not sure there’s a lot
going on there.”

At an ancient marketplace, teams were given the
option to follow their clue or pursue the first of two Fast Forwards on
the race. In order to complete the Fast Forward and proceed directly to
the Pit Stop, teams needed to smash plates at a nearby restaurant to
find a small red and yellow flag within the plate.

Luck
continued to favor Frat Guys Eric & Jeremy, who found the flag
before MoJo and Fran & Barry. The Frats celebrated by breaking the
rest of the plates in the restaurant. They drove to the Pit Stop at the
Fortress of Rion, where Phil informed them that their prize was a pair
of tickets to the Hollywood premiere of The DaVinci Code.

Having
elected not to try the Fast Forward, the Hippies, Ray & Yolanda,
and Lake & Michelle got on an early train from Corinth. But they
got off at the wrong station, violating the rules of the clue. While
they were able to take a bus to the correct station, each team would be
assessed a 15-minute penalty upon reaching the Pit Stop.

MoJo
and Fran & Barry sulked on their train, 45 minutes behind the other
teams. Joseph tried to motivate Monica in his own sage way: “Lift your
spirit up before I get pissed.”

At the Isthmos Station, the five
teams still racing met up and reached a Roadblock: bungee jumping. Ray,
Tyler, Michelle, Monica, and Fran took the plunge for their teams.

A
Detour followed, offering teams the choice of “Herculean Effort” or
“It’s All Greek to Me.” In “Herculean Effort,” teams competed in three
ancient Olympic sports: discus, javelin, and wrestling. MoJo finished
their events just ahead of Ray & Yolanda, and headed for the Pit
Stop.

In “It’s All Greek to Me,” teams collected tiles with nine
Greek letters. Guys dressed in togas translated the letters into
English, and teams rearranged the letters to form the name of a town on
a map of Greece.

Because it was the more tedious option, Fran
& Barry elected to rearrange the letters. Lake & Michelle
stumbled upon the task while trying to find “Herculean Effort,” but
decided to just rearrange letters as well. They finished just after
Fran & Barry.

On their way to the Detour, Tyler navigated
the Hippies in the wrong direction, putting them over an hour behind
the other teams. When they arrived, long after the other teams had
departed for the Pit Stop, they decided to have fun with the Olympic
games. Tyler took off his shirt and got body slammed by a Greek
wrestler multiple times before they finally completed the task.

Luckily
for the hippies, all of the teams had trouble with directions to the
Pit Stop, the Fortress of Rion, which was over 100 miles away. What
made the difference was whether teams asked for directions early into
the trip or later.

Ray & Yolanda arrived at the Pit Stop in
second place, but the penalty they were assessed for illegally riding a
bus allowed MoJo to catch up. Because MoJo were not penalized, they
were awarded second place behind the Frat Guys, putting Ray &
Yolanda in third.

Fran & Barry, the other team not
penalized, arrived in fourth place. Perhaps they’ll be awarded less
money at the start of the next leg to pay for the back window that
Barry broke when he backed his SUV into a tree along the way.

BJ
& Tyler arrived in fifth place. Evidently, Lake & Michelle had
driven around for a while before asking for help, getting them more
lost than other teams. BJ & Tyler endured their penalty and were
awarded fifth place.

When Lake & Michelle finally arrived,
it seemed that this would be a non-elimination week, as show editors
hadn’t made much of a deal over the team getting lost and falling
behind the hippies. But instead of asking for all their possessions,
Phil told Lake & Michelle that they’d been eliminated from the race.

Maintaining
her stalwart exterior, Michelle explained that she was aware that her
marriage may seem dysfunctional to outside viewers. But, she said, it
works for them, and they’ve got two great kids to prove it.

Leaderboard:
1 – Eric & Jeremy
2 – Monica & Joseph
3 – Ray & Yolanda
4 – Fran & Barry
5 – BJ & Tyler
6 – Lake & Michelle

Next
week, Ray takes over Lake’s role and starts bickering with Yolanda.
Teams travel to the Middle East, where BJ fights heat exhaustion in an
effort to dig his team out of last place.

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