'The Amazing Race: All Stars' Recap: The Allied Powers Declare War on Brenchel
'The Amazing Race: All Stars' Recap: The Allied Powers Declare War on Brenchel
Justin Sedgwick
Justin Sedgwick
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
In war, great victories are birthed from great alliances. Just as the United States would have never been able to topple the Axis powers in World War II without the good ole UK and Russians on their side, so did Dave and Connor, the Afghanimals and the Singers find that their efforts were better utilized together to defeat the maniacal Brenchel than alone. Three may be a crowd, but it's certainly a better alternative than having no company when you come in last. 

Stunningly, this iteration of The Amazing Race has seen very little backstabbing or coercion by team members compared to past seasons. While some teams pledged to be nice no matter what cost, it was those who chose backstabbing allegiance that survived. Whether this globetrotting triumvirate makes it to the final leg together remains to be seen. But just in their mere grouping, these teams' battle hopes are significantly stronger no matter what axis of the Earth they're racing on.

"Why Would You U-Turn Someone with Such Great Hair?"

The ninth leg kicks off with Brenchel heading to Chiasso, Switzerland. They have created some bad blood from the other teams for U-Turning Dave and Connor, which Rachel half-heartedly justifies even though it's painstakingly clear she's distraught over becoming the outcast team. But as the Cowboys become lost when trying to find the train station, Dave and Connor, the Afghanimals and the Singers end up forming an alliance over their shared distaste of Brenchel's poor decision-making. It seems rather childish on the alliance's part to talk so negatively about Brenchel, considering that they were playing the game to survive. Unfortunately, high school cliques seem to exist on every corner on the world.

This leaves Jet and Cord in an interesting position. They aren't truly a part of the "accidental alliance," but they're still considered in good favor with every other team including Brenchel. If the Afghanimals, Dave and Connor and the Singers are the Allied Powers and Brenchel is Nazi Germany, then Jet and Cord truly are Switzerland, beloved by all of the world but refusing to step in anyone else's cow sh*t. The accidental alliance may try to hitch Jet and Cord on their race wagon. Unfortunately for them, these Cowboys ride solo.

The teams arrive in Altdorf and find the statue of Wilhelm Tell, where they're forced to wait until the next morning for Mr. Tell to show up. The Cowboys get there late, but everyone's in the same place again. "Who needs friends?" beckons Rachel in the blistering cold of the Switzerland night, as the other teams happily sit at the popular alliance lunch table, banishing team Brenchel to sit on their own. Rachel is talking about how she's used to having no friends so this isn't a problem. But she does seem hurt that she didn't get the Facebook invite to hang out with her race peers.

Rockstar Rehab

Once Wilhelm Tell finally shows up in the wee hours of the morn, the teams then drive to Schweizerhof Hotel for their Rockstar Rehab challenge where they're required to clean a trashed hotel room. The accidental alliance plus the Cowboys arrive at the hotel first with Brenchel in last, finding that their dirty laundry is itching them in unexpected places. 

The teams dress in proper maid attire and begin cleaning. The actual task of cleaning the hotel room itself isn't that difficult, it's making sure that their room 100% matches the example room in all fashions. The Cowboys think they have the room completed first, but brash and stern hotel staff member Helga dishonors their race reservation as their room is too unkempt. Team after team calls for Helga, desperately hoping their maid duties suitably impress the hotel maiden. The Cowboys compare the experience to nervously being sent to the principal's office. But no race detention is needed as the Cowboys' room is cleared, roping themselves to first place and the next stop to the Swiss Museum of Transport.

When Brenchel arrive at the hotel, Rachel begins talking about how she was a hotel maid for four years and this challenge is right up her alley. It's pretty interesting to consider how many of this race's challenges have been some sort of career or job that Rachel has had in the past, like her cocktail waitressing for the Kuala Lumpur night club. But her extensive work experience doesn't help promote her team, as the Afghanimals', Mormons' and Singers' room resumes get the job done and ahead to the next challenge.

50 Years of Mustang

The Cowboys arrive at the Swiss Museum of Transport, where they're required to identify what the massive circular artifact standing outside was used for. Jet immediately flies to the right answer, identifying the artifact as a drill bit used for building a tunnel, and they're granted first passage to the 50 Years of Mustang challenge. Dave and Connor arrive and Dave too automatically knows that it's a drill bit from his engineering days. They tell the Afghanimals and Singers the right answer so all teams can proceed to the challenge, hoping to put the brakes on a comeback from Brenchel.

The 50 Years of Mustang challenge requires teams to use a formula and numbers on roadmap signs to determine what year particular classic Ford Mustangs were built. The teams run around haphazardly searching for correct numbers. They help each other out, hoping to keep the accidental alliance in cruise control while keeping Brenchel in the dust. The Cowboys finish first, then the Mormons, then the Afghanimals.

The Cowboys have realized that the best way to proceed is to pretend they're part of this accidental alliance while still cozying up to Brenchel. Just as nobody knows whether their home state of Oklahoma is actually a Southern, Western or Mid-Western state, the Cowboys' lack of identified allegiance will help them achieve geographic victory. 

In a celebratory gesture to their new alliance, the Afghanimals help out the struggling Singers with the correct answer. It's great to see such model race diplomacy in such a grueling time of war. But by this time, Brenchel have finally shown up to the challenge but are getting no directions from their other team peers. Brenchel finish right behind the Singers, and it seems that this might be the first usurping of the accidental alliance's race empire.

Don't Cry Over Spilt Milk

Jet and Cord drive themselves to Oberrickenbach for the Don't Cry Over Spilt Milk Roadblock. This challenge requires teams to carry two large empty jugs of milk on a gondola, exchange them for much heavier full jugs and bring them back down the mountain to be carried by panting sled dogs to their next clue, all without spilling. Connor picks out his dog, a small but spirited animal as Cord opts for the much heavier canine. Leo and Jamal arrive in third, Brenchel in fourth and the Singers in last.

Connor gets to the gondola zone first, but begins to feel fatigued after the weight of the full milk jugs weakens his bones. The Mormon boy has a slight lead over Cord, but the Cowboys' dog picks up the pace and finishes ahead of Connor's misguided mutt. The Afghanimals are third and Brenchel is fourth, while Caroline is having immense difficult carrying her jugs up the mountain and her barrels of milk too.

The Mormons, Cowboys and Afghanimals are nearly neck and neck as they approach the Mount Titlis Pit Stop, The teams are required to take the gondola to the top of the mountain, but Dave and Connor test their faith by getting off too soon. The Cowboys make the same mistake, allowing the Afghanimals to catch up for a three-team footrace.

The accidental alliance seems to have eroded, as each of these teams is ready to fight independently in this race D-Day. As the gondola doors swing open, the Cowboys and Afghanimals blitzkrieg ahead with Dave and Connor treading slowly behind. But their quick speed shoots them in the foot, as the Cowboys and Afghanimals get lost in the winding halls of Mt. Titlis.

Dave discovers an elevator, and through its safe metal walls, the father/son duo gain the necessary armor to claim victory over their peers for first place. The Cowboys and Afghanimals finish second and third, but all of these teams are essentially in the same spot, stuck in an awkward race Cold War amongst the chilly Switzerland landscape.

Brendon finished the milk challenge relatively quickly, and they climb Mt. Titlis for fourth place ahead of the Singers. It seems Caroline has completely succumbed to defeat, awkwardly carrying the milk jugs as the rest of her alliance goes on without her. But the reveal of a non-ellimination leg ensures that the Singers suffer minimal race casualties.

History's greatest evils were defeated by the grouping of hesitant but dedicated allies. And just as their alliance was accidental, these teams may have made a big mistake by ordering premature acts of war on team Brenchel. 

The Amazing Race: All-Stars airs Sundays at 8pm on CBS.

(Image courtesy of CBS)