The Amazing Race Update: What's a Grecian Urn?
Oh, about forty drachmas an hour.
The race starts out in Syracuse. Teams must travel by train and ferry (I suspect the order was reversed) to Rome. Once there they must make their way to the Trevi fountain. The train doesn't leave until 8:30 AM, so all the teams get bunched. There's some question as to whether to take a cab or the metro to the fountain; as usual the cabs are better than mass transit.
Product placement alert! The teams must put one piece of paper over another to assemble the Da Vinci Code, or some such nonsense. Next stop: Athens! So we get the second bunching of the evening, as everybody gets the same flight. In Athens they must visit the Agora, famed among crossword puzzle fans (and which features yet another bunching, since there is an opening time), where they get the option of the Fast Forward.
In this Fast Forward, teams must break plates and look for the one plate that has a TAR patch baked inside. Three teams choose it, but the frat boys score the winner and zip ahead to win the prize for the night--a chance to walk on the red carpet at the grand opening of The Da Vinci Code.
The other teams have to continue racing, this time to a town called Isthmus. But in a classic stupid move, the three teams that had the lead all get off at the wrong station, then compound their mistake by disobeying the clue, which required them to take the train by taking a bus the rest of the way. (Actually this may not have been a compounding since it's unlikely they would have caught another train within the 15 minute penalty).
The roadblock is a bungee jump. Fran's talking all along about how she can't handle it, but it's the usual drama before the commercial routine and when we come back she handles it fine.
Detour! Teams must choose between Hercules or, um, puzzle-solving. By appearances the puzzle-solving thing certainly seems easier, but several teams choose Herculean and do okay, so it's unclear what's best.
In Hercules the teams compete in three different Olympic events--discus, javelin and wrestling. In the first two events, the players are separated--Yolander does the discus while Ray does the javelin (badly). But in the final event the teams must wrestle a "professional wrestler" out of a 25-foot ring, which seems obviously extremely hard.
In the puzzle solving option, teams must find nine pieces of pottery with letters on them. Then they must present them to Greeks to obtain translations into English letters. There is an element of knowledge in this particular part of the game as Sigma is S and the delta triangle is D, so that if you knew that you could get an advantage. The final part of the task is to find a town with all the letters as translated on a map of Greece.
Amazingly, the Hippies, who had always seemed to be one step ahead of everybody, have totally spaced somehow and headed in the wrong direction. They seem to be completely out of it, arriving at the Detour after all the other teams have left. Can anything save them?
Well, yeah, Lake and Michelle. This was a really ugly episode, so bad that I would have sworn that they were safe. One of the other blogs (I forget which) called Lake Captain Redneck and he is that. Constantly berating your wife is no way to go through life, son.
They somehow get on the wrong road despite being apparently well out in front of the Hippies and are Phil-liminated at the mat to the relief of all. The only drama is provided by the 15-minute penalty assessed for the screwup at Isthmus but even there if you'd been paying attention you'd know that Lake and Michelle were going to get docked for that even if they'd come up those steps before the penalty for the Hippies elapsed.
Viking Pundit has his recap here