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Sunday, November 12, 2006
The Amazing Race: Nice Guys Finnish Last?

Some memorable quotes this episode. The teams are instructed to go to Helsinki, Finland. They are given tickets to Paris, where they may find connections, but the plane doesn't leave until that evening. The teams realize that by flying to South Africa, they can make a connection to Frankfurt and thence to Finland, where people wear wooden shoes (according to the Beauty Queens). At first it appears that Team Gump will get left behind, but they manage to wheedle their way onto the plane.

In Helsinki, teams get their next clue at an internet cafe, delivered by family members in a video. They must then find a school where the next cluebox is. Next they are to take a train and then catch a cab to another school, where they must find the cluebox on the grounds.

Team Recovery and the Beauty Queens snag the available cabs. Rob & Kimberley jump the queue, as does Team Gump. The Chos, however, are too polite, and one of them muses "Being polite sucks sometimes."

However, Rob & Kimberley get lost and so the five teams are pretty tight when they come to the Detour: Swamp This or Swamp That. In Swamp This, teams must use cross-country skis to make it across a swamp. in Swamp That, they have to run through a swamp, completing a number of tasks along the way (like crawling and carrying each other.

Team Recovery finishes first, followed by the Beauty Queens. Rob & Kimberley almost get caught by the Chos but then the brothers slip back again, and are in last. Next stop the train station again. The Beauty Queens and Team Recovery manage to make the first train, while Rob & Kimberley just miss. Rob is angry and upset: "Just let me have my moment!" Now that Peter is gone, he's the designated jerk.

When they get off the train, cars are waiting. Teams must make their way to a limestone mine. Team Recovery gloats as the Beauty Queens completely miss the marker on a doorway. They hop into the mine car and find the clue: Roadblock.

One member of each team must ride a mountain bike down a shaft and get a piece of limestone, then bike back uphill to crack open the limestone for the next clue. Of course, as always my heart pumps a little faster at the biking opportunity. I know I would have beaten all of the contestants in that phase of the challenge; for one thing they all went fairly slow downhill, except for Rob, who was in last place at that point.

As it works out, Team Recovery and the Beauty Queens are in the lead, followed by Rob & Kimberley & the Cho Brothers. The next clue leads teams to the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki, but what's this? No Pit Stop mention and warning that the last team may be eliminated? This is a pretty obvious sign that the teams will have to keep racing at the end of tonight's show.

At the Olympic Stadium, Team Recovery rushes inside expecting to see Phil, and miss a little marker in a doorway. Eventually they find it and go up to the top of the stadium, where they must rappel down; not so tough until you realize they want the contestants to do it face first. In a cool bit one of the guys does a reverse Batman routine, walking down the side of the tower.

The Beauty Queens arrive followed by the three other teams all racing madly. Unbelievably, Rob & Kimberley make a wrong turn yet again, while the Chos and Team Gump find the cluebox. About this time the second member of Team Recovery makes it down the face and receives the clue that has been obvious for awhile now: "You're still racing."

As usual, check out Viking Pundit's excellent recap as well.
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