“The Amazing Race” Recap: Getting Nude in the Netherlands!

Never has Photoshopping a couple of red Xes been so tinged with sorrow.

Previously on The Amazing Race, teams continued in Moscow where they faced math problems, a dance challenge and a room full of Russian ruler impersonators. Jaymes & James secured their first win with Trey & Lexi right behind them. The twins held in 3rd and the inexplicably joined-at-the-hip Ryan & Abbie and Brent & Josh finished 4th and 5th, respectively. James & Abba were unable to locate or replace their missing travel documents and sadly, Team Headbang was Philiminated.

In tonight’s Leg Racers flew from Moscow to Amsterdam where they faced the return of a past Roadblock as a “Switchback”. But first came the Detour, with the choice of “Back in Time” and “Organ to Grind”. For “Back in Time” teams had to use live models and themselves to recreate Rembrandt’s painting The Night Watch.

“Organ to Grind” required one teammate to operate one of three giant crank organs while the other Racer gathered 30 euros in tips. The Roadblock required one member of each team to vault over a muddy ditch to retrieve a pair of wooden shoes with the Pit Stop location printed on them. A flashback to muddy Grandpa Donald vaulting the ditch in his saggy black man-panties in season 12 triggers an actual flashback for me. Seriously, that was traumatizing.

Nightmare fuel. You’re welcome.

There was also a Fast Forward, a task which allows the team who completes it to skip the remaining tasks for the Leg and go directly to the Pit Stop.

Natalie & Nadiya

The thieving twins rip their clue in third place at 9:15 PM and pull out a miniature Netherlands flag. They think they’re flying to France. Much as I would love to see them fly to the entirely wrong country, an Internet search twigs them to the correct destination. Initially the ticket seller refuses to sell them the flight they want because of the short layover time in Rome but the twins harangue her mercilessly until she gives in, probably hoping as I am that they do miss their connection. At the airport they hatch an honest-to-god evil scheme. Whichever team arrives at the U-Turn first will U-Turn Ryan & Abbie. Whoever arrives second will U-Turn the team that’s already passed so the option won’t be available to Team No-nickname. That…is genius. That’s genius enough to spell the end of the Double U-Turn.

Unfortunately they make their connection and are the first to land in Amsterdam. They rip the clue for the Fast Forward. To claim it they must ride a party bus into a canal and eat five herring each before the bus returns to dry land. After squealing about the amphibious bus (I am less impressed since I have the Ducks in my back yard) they scarf their herring and head for the Pit Stop in 1st place.

Serving fishy realness

And hey, look at that, they also dodged having to be a part of their own evil scheme! How convenient for them. They win $5,000 each. I wonder if they’ll send $100 to James & Abba.


Jaymes & James

Team Chippendale rips its clue first at 7:32 PM and figure out that they’re on their way to Holland. Once on the ground in Amsterdam they consider trying for the Fast Forward but when the bus arrives back they learn the twins have already snagged it. With that foreclosed they follow the clue to a poffertjesboot (pancake boat…seriously) and the Detour. Unsurprisingly they choose the option with the word “grind” right in the name and head for the organs. Tips are slow in coming until the boys whip off their shirts and whip out their collars and cuffs. That brings in the euros, even though they are coins and not bills and are dropped in a cup and not tucked in a thong.

Off they go to the Roadblock, but before they can get there they have to decide whether to implement the first phase of the twins’ evil scheme. Jaymes especially agonizes about it, unable for the length of an entire commercial break to decide whether they want to keep a friendship or actually use the tools of the Race as they are intended. Moral crisis addressed, they U-Turn Ryan & Abbie and make for the ditch, where James vaults it in one. Phil checks them in at the Amazing Mat as team number two and Jaymes emotionally reminds us that he’s Racing so that his dad with cancer can retire.

Trey & Lexi

Team Longhorn is the second to rip its clue at 7:49 PM and head for the airport convinced they’re headed to Paris. They run into Team Chippendale who prevent an embarrassing situation by tipping them to the correct country. I wouldn’t have. They touch down in Amsterdam and find the poffertjesboot. As they decide on their Detour option, drifting down the canal, the Amazing Cameraman zooms in on a note on their clue requiring they travel to the Detour site on foot. I thought it would be significant; it’s wasn’t. They choose “Organ to Grind” and Trey grinds while Lexi terrorizes passers-by into paying her to shut up.

Arriving at the Double U-Turn they complete phase two of the twins’ evil scheme, U-Turning Jaymes & James. Trey takes the Roadblock and they arrive at the Pit Stop in 3rd place.

Ryan & Abbie

Team No-nickname rips its clue at 5:28 AM the next day, ten hours behind the 3rd place team and after the lead three teams have already landed in Amsterdam. Ryan recognizes the Netherlands flag and they head to the airport. They are shellshocked at the notion of connecting through Frankfurt, where they and the Beekmans were stranded overnight when they gambled on a tight connection. They book it along with a backup connecting flight. I did not think teams could do that. The Frankfurt Curse strikes again as they miss the first connection and the second has mechanical problems so severe they have to change planes.

If you listen closely you can actually hear their souls die.

They land in Amsterdam and are surprised to run into…

Brent & Josh

Team Beekman rips its clue at 8:11 AM, meaning they made up more than two hours on Ryan & Abbie. They head to the airport and make it to Amsterdam with no problems, where they are shocked to have the chance to rejoin forces with…

Ryan & Abbie and Brent & Josh

The teams astonishingly decide to team up again for this Leg, Ryan being of the opinion that the Beekmans are so non-competitive that working with them has no downside. They locate the poffertjesboot and enjoy their Dutch treats on the way to the Detour. They select “Back in Time” and have little problem completing the tableaux.

The alliance reach the U-Turn where Team No-nickname is stunned that Jaymes & James have U-Turned them. They dejectedly head for the organs and Brent & Josh shockingly discuss the possibility of going to the organs with them. This is some new strain of Killer Fatigue the likes of which I have never seen.

Brent reminds Josh that one of the two teams has to step on the Amazing Mat first and Ryan & Abbie certainly wouldn’t step aside for them. Josh agrees and they head for the Roadblock. Josh takes it despite being a non-sports gay homosexual and, even with face-planting in the field and turning his ankle, makes the vault in one attempt. They reach the Pit Stop and Phil observes they are less than thrilled to still be in it as team number four. He offers to Philiminate them in place of Team No-nickname but they decline.

Foot traffic has dwindled to nearly nothing by the time Ryan & Abbie reach the organs. A kindly grandmother takes pity on them and gives them enough to finish the task. As they repeatedly voiceover about being betrayed by the Chippendales and mourning the loss of two million dollars that was never actually theirs to begin with, Abbie watches as Ryan biffs the Roadblock a few times before making it across, claiming the shoes and traveling to the Pit Stop. The amount of voiceover makes the stink of a Non-Elimination Leg start to waft up but when they arrive at the Amazing Mat they are in fact Philiminated as a lone owl plaintively hoots.


The Amazing Metrics

Philiminated with Extreme Prejudice: Ryan & Abbie. They weren’t the best team but they certainly weren’t the worst and I never really got why Ryan was the subject of such vitriol, especially from the psycho twins.

Hopelessly Lost but Making Good Time: Brent & Josh. They’ve largely been fairly competent Racers and their biggest setback was missing their connection to Moscow. But their willingness to potentially sacrifice themselves over the last couple of Legs by allying with Ryan & Abbie is not the stuff of Race champions.

Don’t Make Me Come Back There: Ryan & Abbie. As I said, I really don’t get the nastiness that some of the other teams directed at them although Ryan did have a tendency to occasionally go all Assy McGee on us. But the griping this Leg about how Jaymes & James destroyed them and cost them the prize money and their continuing the lamentable pattern of viewing a legitimate tool of the Race as an arbiter of morality was repugnant and made me more than happy to see them go.

Cruising: The twins. Ugh.

Not a bad Leg, but not a particularly great one either. The challenges weren’t particularly challenging although they were visually interesting. Most of the drama came again from the bizarre alliance between the two trailing teams and how willing they were to sacrifice themselves for the other. The rest came from the evil U-Turn scheme. As with every other appearance of the U-Turn (and the Yield before it) too many of the teams looked at it not as a Racing tool but a morality test. In the history of this device there has been exactly one team, Dustin & Kandice from season 10, that used it purely as a strategic tool and no team has ever failed to condemn their U-Turners as cowards and sneaks and all-around bad people. I would almost rather see the U-Turn eliminated, except whatever they come up with as a replacement would get turned into the same morals test. The episode rates just Three Phlying Phils.

Bonus Shots