The Amazing Race, Season 23, Episode 3: “King Arthur Style”
Aired Sundays at 8pm (ET) on CBS
From winning last leg, Chester and Ephraim depart first from Chile, and find out they have to go to Portugal. This is a challenge for them, though, because usually they have “people” to book everything and line it up for them, and now they must find a flight themselves–an awful reminder for us that these people are already millionaires.
We get some characterizing time. The Afghanimals are excited because Jamal can use his Portuguese; also because they’re always excited. Nicole does the obnoxious exposition parrot routine she so enjoys: “We are HUSBAND AND WIFE… PHYSICIANS.” It’s nails on a chalkboard.
The flight becomes a complicated mission because some people go straight to the airport, while some go to a travel agent. The Afghanimals choose airport and do Australian accents, which I guess means they’re going through London. But Nicole and Travis head to travel agency, and luck out because the other two teams ahead of them had incompetent service. They get the first flight out at 7 am, while the Football Teammates and the Bearded Friends friends will arrive at 12 pm, 5 hours later.
In the airport, however, a twist of fate occurs, and the distressed travel agent who messed up earlier calls Chester and Ephraim with a flight that also gets there at 7am… but with two connections. Taking the absurd gamble, the teammates interview insanely that it’ll be a good thing to be separate from the pack.
Meanwhile, the Afghanimals do a plan for the exact opposite. They don’t want to be alone on a flight with the Ice Team, forcing them to compete with their “race wives,” so they try to rope Team Oklahoma onto their connection through London as well. At first they agree, but one starts panicking that they’re being played. The Oklahomans are clearly not as dumb as they’re perceived by the other teams. They get a flight through Madrid instead that lands them in the middle of the pack, along with the Bearded Friends, who struck a much saner deal with their travel agent than Chester and Ephraim did.
Baseball Wives, Exes, and Dating Couple, aka the back leg, worry that they’re in trouble. They can jump to the front if they get on Nicole and Travis’ connecting flight, though. They all wait for standby to open up, but the Baseball Wives are the only ones to head to the executive lounge and get on the list first. Marie fumes. That’s a move she’d pull! Baseball Wives humorously note that it’s “so awkward.” A one-episode alliance is broken.
Time and Marie get pushed back. Dating, Married, and Baseball Wives head to first. Especially Dating and Married, who form a new alliance and follow the clues to the Coach Museum, and do the Detour together, which seems crazy that we are only finally getting to now. It’s Tiles or Miles. Tiles is a typical puzzle, while Miles hinges on remembering that the world is round. They do, and are rewarded for their 1st grade knowledge.
Next, Roadblock: Married and Dating sling some arrows “King Arthur style,” and it’s a friendly, neck-and-neck race for first. Dating leaves ahead of Married, but they get turned around. Married hustles and gets to the castle Pit Stop first, winning a trip to Costa Rica (to a resort I’ve actually stayed at!), and redemption for their penalty that cost them the first leg.
During Tiles, amid a sea of broken pieces, Marie and Tim worry that they’re last, and debate using their express pass, but Marie holds firm, with little to go on. She miraculously ends up being right to do so, though, as Chester and Ephraim are still not even in Portugal. Tim and Marie come second to last. Chester and Ephraim are last. Phil meets them at the airport after a cavalcade of delayed flights and tells them they are eliminated. They go off to their mansions at home, a very little bit wiser.
The Amazing Race, Season 23, Episode 4: “Beards in the Wind”
Aired Sundays at 8pm (ET) on CBS
Portugal! Miniature Great Wall of China! Excitement! And oh… Nicole and Travis…
No, actually they are not so bad this time. Instead of just repeating their occupations and marital status for once, Nicole gives us a bigger nugget—that she’s from Brooklyn and knows how to hustle! Travis also says she is surprised at his own wife’s toughness so far in the competition. She flashes a genuinely off-putting smile that makes you wonder.
Just as they become more intriguing, Jason and Amy interview that they really look up to Nicole and Travis as a couple just starting out, which signals an easygoing opening. We catch up with some of the teams’ stories, including the Bearded Friends, who are going to catch some fish on the ferry they have to go on, because they are all outdoorsy, etc. Marie also catches us up on her express pass thoughts. Afghanimals and Ice Team will never get it, but Nicole and Travis might. Boy, they are really having a good episode!
And so after last episode’s constant airline drama, all teams mercifully fly together at a leisurely pace to Bodo, Norway, in the Arctic Circle, and come to a Detour: Hang Your Heads or Hammer of the Cods. Hang Your Heads means stringing fish heads together and transporting them to a hanging station. Amy hates the Afghanimals, or as she calls them, “Assanimals,” but is proud of her “little fisherman” Jason. Although everyone’s thrown off by the midnight sun, it definitely seems the easier challenge.
Only the Oklahoma boys and the Baseball Wives pick Hammer of the Cods, which seems seriously painful and impossible. But by the commercial break it’s the Assanimals who are off to a bad start, wheelbarrowing their fishheads just fine… until they get a flat tire.
So, Tim and Marie are first, ready to hang their heads. But the camera shows us they didn’t pick a marked pole. Jason and Amy come by and become first place by seeing the flags. For the second time this episode they help Nicole and Travis, telling them about the trick. Not exactly a sound strategy. Even if Tim and Marie remain last for a while, they can always use the express pass, so I’m not sure what they’re thinking except just being caught in the moment, a common sight so far in the competition.
What has also become a common sight is watching the Baseball Wives struggle. It’s easy to get invested in them, though. They always pick the hardest challenge that’s not right for them and then persevere anyway. Why they would pick something that involves hammering jerky over stringing cod heads is outside of my comprehension, but good for them. Meanwhile, Tim and Marie figure out their mistake, and end up wheelbarrowing with everyone else, leaving the Assanimals to their dark horse status. But they eventually make it up as well.
Bearded Friends make it first to a bridge, where there is a Roadblock–one must jump off, plunge into the cold water, and swim to the clue. Jason and Amy are close behind, and eventually everyone makes it and learns they need to chain up a boulder to a Ford pick-up to find their next clue. And this is the part where JASON TURNS BOSTONIAN ON US. “There’s a c-clasp theah there’s a c-clasp theah and theah theah theah” he intones. Then they product place about how effortless it was with the Ford cah.
Tim and Marie find it effortless as well but make their second big mistake of the day when they leave the clue behind, and drive off randomly without a destination. And so it all culminates in Nicole proving her Brooklyn roots. She will exchange Marie the clue for the express pass. But Marie hesitates, and Nicole drives off, leaving her in the dust. To Be Continued!