Heights, Bikes, and Fights on 'The Amazing Race'
Heights, Bikes, and Fights on 'The Amazing Race'
For their first "challenge" tonight, the Amazing Race teams will go to Narvik and ride a gondola. It's more fun than challenging, but I have a feeling things will get much worse for the Amazing Racers. It's the fifth leg of the race, and somehow Brook is still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Good news for us, though, Thomas is starting to lose his cool (and tonight he mentions proudly that he went to Notre Dame, yet still ended up with Jill somehow).

Nat and Kat encounter a Fast-Forward where they will participate in a "traditional Norwegian Christmas ritual," which is eating a roasted sheep's head. Where the gondola ride made Nat nervous, this Fast-Forward will pose problems for Kat, who is a vegetarian. The other teams choose to skip the Fast-Forward and go to a bridge, where they will take on a Road Block. The gondolas are making everyone incredibly impatient.

Nat and Kat rip into the sheep's head as it watches them. Gamely, Kat chooses to swallow down her half of sheep's head saying, "tastes like money." Meanwhile, at the bridge, the teams receive a Road Block that requires one of them to repel off the edge of a bridge, signal a boat to retrieve a clue, then ascend back up 130 feet. It looks really hard, so obviously Michael's not doing it. Gary elects to do it while Brook nominates Claire to do it using what is quickly becoming her catchphrase: "you got this!"

The doctors finish their last bites of roasted sheep's head, hand the skull to a guy in chainmail, who grimly tells them, "looks good." Nat and Kat continue on to meet Phil at the Pit Stop and check in first. Katie and Rachel keep telling themselves that there's plenty of time to catch up, although it doesn't look like the ranks are changing much yet. Fortunately, Katie and Rachel still have Nick and Vicki around to make incredibly perplexing mistakes. Nick and Vicki choose to do the Fast-Foward, proving again that they don't really think about things. Once they arrive, the sign says "Fast Forward Taken," and Nick and Vicki can not, for the life of them, figure it out. Vicki thought there might be someone in there, or perhaps they should wait. Wisely, they choose not to wait around in the middle of a race. 

As Claire struggles back up toward the bridge, Thomas gets frustrated with Jill. Gary and Kevin join their teammates to continue on toward the next Detour in Harvika. Claire uses the memory of her spicy grandma to pull herself the final feet toward a "good job, chica" from Brook. Vicki chooses to do the Road Block and she is astoundingly good at it. Chad chooses to do the Road Block, arguing, "it says strength" to Stephanie.

For the Detour, teams will choose Bike or Boat. For "Bike," the teams will ride mountain bikes up to a sign with a combination for their lock to memorize and unlock to reveal their next clue. For "Boat," the teams will use a map to direct a boat to shore, where they will carry a chainsaw and two large cod (yes!) up to a cabin in exchange for a clue. Michael and Kevin choose "Boat," while Gary and Mallory and Jill and Thomas choose "Bike." When Phil said the bike course was "grueling," he was not kidding! Brook and Claire choose "Boat," and for reasons unknown, Brook is wearing a bright orange life-diaper.

Two large cod and a chainsaw later, Michael and Kevin are on their way to the Pit Stop at Ankenes Marina, just behind Gary and Mallory. Jill and Thomas get lost along the way as Gary and Mallory check in second, Nick and Vicki arrive at the Detour and choose "Bike." Nick brags that he has "always been active with bikes," and has ridden dirt bikes competitively since he was 12. In a delightful twist, Nick is terrible at riding the bike, while Vicki, who should be tired from climbing that rope, is great. A slam dunk for the Amazing Race editing team.

Chad and Stephanie choose "Boat," as Jill and Thomas embarrassingly drive right by Katie and Rachel on the bridge. Thomas announces to Jill that "we've just totally ruined ourselves," but on the bright side they also totally ruined Michael and Kevin, who were following them. Jill and Thomas check in third, followed closely by Michael and Kevin in fourth. Brook and Claire get out of the car at Ankenes Marina and Claire cuts her eye with the car door. Still, they finish in fifth.

Chad and Stephanie pass the Volleyball girls on the "Boat" Detour, and Chad wishes them a swift elimination. Nick, who seems to have forgotten that whole staggered start thing earlier in the day, is convinced he and Vicki are in second. They're not. They finish sixth. In a cruel twist of fate, Chad and Stephanie stop to ask for directions from a guy with a really terrible stutter (or maybe he was just really cold). By the skin of their teeth, Chad and Stephanie land in seventh and narrowly avoid elimination. Katie and Rachel are not so lucky, arriving last and receiving a farewell from Phil. In their final moments, they show a brief flash of vulnerability. Next week the Race is going to Russia and it looks like it will be Amazing.

Which Detour would you have chosen? What questions do you have for Katie and Rachel? Post them in the comments below, I'll be asking them questions tomorrow!

(image courtesy of CBS)