Dec 2, 2009, Ep 10: “Wonderfully Awful Thing”

The Amazing Race 15 Insider, Episode 10:  “Wonderfully Awful Thing”

Is it wonderfully awful that the Globetrotters had such a horrible Roadblock or the fact that they are so darn cool about it all?  Do Brian & Ericka realize they have a lot of ground to make up if they expect to win?  Should Sam have done the Roadblock instead of Dan (hint: yes)?  Are Meghan & Cheyne confident (answer: yes)?  And Mika & Canaan broke up!  What an exciting batch of penultimate insider videos!  Read inside for more!

After the Race

What it Takes to Win:  Sam thinks it’s weird that he & Dan actually made it to the final leg of the race, even though they had hoped and expected to do so.  Dan agrees and thinks that the million dollars is just the icing on an Amazing Race cake.  Sam is concerned that Meghan & Cheyne can’t be beat, as they just don’t mess up.  Sam explains that the only way that you can beat them is to also not make any mistakes and just do better than them.  Oh, so that’s what it takes to win!  He continues that you can’t count on Meghan & Cheyne to mess up because they aren’t going to.  Dan says that winning the race will be icing on the cake (I think someone is hungry for some cake) because their journey has allowed them to see so many beautiful sights.  Also the idea that they, as a 21- and a 23-year-old, would each have a half million dollars is crazy.  Dan thinks they’ll spend it wisely if they win.

Winners Already:  Cheyne lists it out for us:  six wins, two second-place finishes and a fifth- and a sixth-place finish just once or so.  They’ve led the pack most of the time and everyone typically follows their lead.  They’re confident in their game and they’ll do whatever it takes to continue winning.  They’re excited to get to do every challenge and see every country on the race and the money is just a bonus.  Cheyne also lets us know that if you want to know who won the Amazing Race, just tally up all the legs so far.  They’re so far ahead in that ranking that he feels that they’ve already won.  He does admit that they can be beaten, as each leg is its own entity.  There are spots where all the teams will bunch back up and tasks can be either lucky or disastrous for teams.  Yet while he recognizes they can be beaten, they’re going into the last leg with a positive mindset that they won’t be beaten.

Sleepwalking Through Prague:  Ericka admits that she had to have been sleepwalking through a majority of their Detour task.  At one point while walking with her second tray of beers, she remembers her eyes slowly closing then slowly opening, thinking the whole time that none of these people need these beers when they should all be in bed, her included.  So she was a combination of mad, hungry, and tired, which led her to call herself the Seven Dwarves of the Night.  Dopey, Hungry, Sneezy, Sleepy, Grumpy… she was all of it.  Brian didn’t think that the Detour would be so hard, but he reckons it was about two miles between the brewery and the bar.  They had to make three trips and the streets in Prague are not flat.  Also, all the drunks and homeless people are trying to grab the beers, so it was a very challenging task.

Underdogs Are In:  Ericka believes that not only the other two teams but also the viewing audience believes Brian & Ericka are the dunces of the race and that they don’t deserve to be in it.  She thinks that everyone who starts at the starting line deserves to be there, but every leg someone just has to go home.  Like any game, some are going to lose.  She is confident that they do deserve to be there and that they have proven that to themselves.  As long as they believe in themselves, they’ll be good.  Ericka would love to cross the Finish Line as the winners, but even if they don’t, it was then meant for someone else.  Brian agrees and states they are big believers in fate.  Things will and have happened for a reason.  One of their cab drivers was running out of gas.  It seemed like a bad thing at the time, but when the cab driver had to stop, he also got directions as he didn’t know where he was going.  That happened for a reason.  Brian thinks it may already be written who has won the race, and if it’s them, they’ll accept it, and if it it’s not, they’ll have gotten out of the race what they were supposed to.

The Globetrotters Goodbye:  Big Easy is very proud of Flight Time as FT has helped him to be more patient and realize you can wait a bit before jumping to conclusions.  Flight Time’s coolness is something he wants to learn from.  Likewise, Flight Time feels the same way and that they both as a team were able to deal with seemingly unfair situations and move on from them.   He thinks that perhaps it was meant to happen that they were to have a four-hour nap at the Roadblock and then a quick run to the Pit Stop afterward.  They held their heads up high because they successfully ran 11 legs on the race.  Big Easy thinks that they along with some other teams can wake up in the morning and smile.  He can look at himself in the mirror and see a man who has matured, a man who is racing with a best friend and a man who has made some great friends too.  He’s proud that most people on the race like them, even Mika & Canaan.  Big Easy is sure that there won’t be any grudges held against him for the water slide incident and they’ll be able to laugh about it.  Overall, they were there to have a good time and they were successful.  It wasn’t all about the money.

Extra Race Footage

Globetrotters Together Forever:  On their cab ride to the Pit Stop, Big Easy explains that it was important for them to stay together.  They work together back in their real lives, and it’s essential the Globetrotter bond isn’t broken as they have more than just the race at stake.  He is confident that on the race they practiced what they preached and have come across to everyone accurately.  Big Easy admits they would liked to have won, but at the same time, they accomplished a lot and ran a great race.  Having barely survived the fifth leg of the race (with the Mika water slide incident), all the legs since then have been a gift.  Flight Time agrees with Big Easy and states that they wanted to make it to the end.  They’ll even be among the teams to touch every mat, which is true, although in my mind, that’s more of a “technically” true statement.  Flight Time reiterates Big Easy’s assertion about representing the Globetrotters and the fact that they are being themselves, unlike some who get a camera pointed at them and change.

Flight Time’s Positive Attitude:  The cacophany of ringing telephones immediately lets you know that we’re seeing Flight Time outside the Kafka (FRANZ!) Roadblock.  He explains that no one should think that they don’t want to win the million dollars.  They’re both competitors.  They had a few goals for their time on the race.  The first was to make it past the first leg, which they did.  They also wanted to make it past the halfway point.  They did that too.  After that, it became much more fun.  They since realized it would be fun to win, so that became their latest goal.  Flight Time doesn’t think they should be counted out yet, especially considering that in Dubai, they were certainly coming in last place.  He figures that since they’ve been good on the entire race, there’s no reason to give up on the hope that something may still save them.  I hate to break it to you, but this isn’t the Amazing Karma Race.  Flight Time reassures us that he’s not frustrated at all and is actually as relaxed as he can be.  During the first few legs, he was a lot more nervous than he is now.

Flight Time’s First Time in Prague:  Flight Time, still at the Kafka Roadblock, tells us this is the first time he’s been in Prague.  Over the course of the previous leg, he marveled at all the beautiful places they were running through.  It’s astonishing to think about the people who constructed all the gorgeous buildings and all the work and sacrifice it required.  He thinks it’s a great time to be in Prague as the weather is nice and cool.  Wow, he really is a positive person who is finding that silver lining, however small it may be!  The telephones ring on…

Sam Makes it Look Easy:  As they ride in their cab away from the Kafka Roadblock, Sam looks at the letters and after thinking about it a few seconds, he asks if it was F-R-A-N-Z.  Dan looks at him and affirms it with a somewhat annoyed look that gradually devolves into a bit of sheepish embarrassment.  As he tries to explain what happened, Sam is openly mocking him that it took that long to get “Franz.”  Dan even admits that he realized while in there that Sam should have done this challenge.  He then exclaims that he’s a freakin’ idiot.  Agreed!  Dan hates the word Franz and never wants to hear it again.  I think it would be supreme irony (hopefully that’s the right use of the word irony) if he ended up dating someone named Franz.  Sam tells Dan that it’s an extremely common name and he even went to elementary school with a Franz.

Ericka Lets Go:  Outside the Kafka Roadblock, Ericka explains that as far as Sam & Dan’s taxi theft goes, she’s had to bless it and release it.  If what they did is on their conscience, that’s for them to deal with.  If it’s not, then that’s also something they’ll need to come to terms with.  If they end up winning the million dollars, she hopes they spend it… and are completely miserable.  She grins and laughs that then they’ll be completely broke.  Ericka understands that desperate people will take desperate measures, but you can’t live in the past.

Ericka thinks Prague is amazing.  It’s her new favorite city, although at this point she hasn’t schlepped trays of beers over 6 miles!  She wants nothing more than to come back and explore he beautiful landmarks and architecture and actually enjoy the experience.  Besides the Speed Bump, they haven’t really had a chance to have fun in Prague.

Brian Uses His Outside Voice:  Brian & Ericka are crossing a street and they both notice what they hope is an approaching taxi.  Brian calls out to the taxi and Ericka immediately shushes him as it is late at night.   Nonplussed, Brian excitedly exclaims that it is a taxi.  They rush into it as it pulls up.  In the cab, Ericka is annoyed as she hates it when Brian is screaming for taxis and waving his light around.  She finds it inappropriate here or in the United States and thinks you need to be strategic when hailing a cab.  Brian explains that he was trying to find someone who could tell them where the Charles Bridge was so they weren’t wandering all around the Czech Republic.  Ericka isn’t swayed as she points out it is still two in the morning.  He also isn’t dissuaded as he has learned that all around the world, people are very helpful.  Ericka still thinks it’s key to be strategic and not wake up and disturb a neighborhood that may call the cops on the crazy Americans.  Bravely, Brian says that he thinks Ericka needs to go back into the ice chamber for five minutes to cool off.  She is most definitely not amused by that and mutters that his breath needs to cool off.

Pit Stop

Meghan’s Motivation:  Meghan & Cheyne’s first-place Pit Stops are getting to be tedious.  Let’s see how they can put a twist on “we work hard, we like to be in front, we’re aggressive” this time.  So Phil asks Meghan what she admires about Cheyne.  She tells him that Cheyne keeps her calm, even if it may not seem like it.  He always pushes her, in a positive way, to continue even when she wants to quit.   He’s a good person and a good motivator.  She gets a little choked up and they do a side hug.  Awww.

Cheyne responds with kindness and tells Phil that he’s always believed in Meghan and that she’s a driven go-getter.  He believes that is why she does so well on the race, as she never hesitates to get something done.  She’s the best partner he could ever ask for.  Phil asks what it would mean for them to win the Amazing Race.  Meghan thinks it would be the most amazing thing in the world.  Cheyne doesn’t think it will make that big of a difference in their lives, except that life will be more comfortable, they can do things for their friends and family, can travel, can not stress about money… (Doesn’t that basically change everything?)  Cheyne continues that the money will just allow them to live in the now.  It won’t change them or their lives, it will just make it more fun.  All the first-place prizes are also a huge bonus.  They are also excited to have been able to do the entire race.   It’s a dream come true for both of them.

Sam & Dan’s New Math:  Sam is sure that everyone watching thinks that Sam & Dan are so mean to each other.  But they really do love each other, it’s just that as brothers, sometimes you have to yell the loudest to get your point across.  Phil asks who yells the loudest and both agree that Dan wins that competition.  He was yelling the most during this leg because he wanted to check out where the synagogue was first before dragging the golem all around the city.  Dan wants to have the situation 100% scoped out while he thinks that Sam is more about “let’s just try it this way.”  Phil starts to laugh as he can’t get over ridiculous the brothers look all covered in clay.  They are absolutely covered in clay and I have to wonder if they get time to do laundry and if it’s paid for by the producers.  Phil asks how gay can they be if they’re that comfortable in mud.  Gay isn’t all about being prissy, Phil.  C’mon.

Phil now wants to get serious with the brothers and asks them to think about what is about to happen now that they’re going to be racing the final leg.  Dan can’t believe it and remembers that at the beginning when they saw the other 11 teams, they figured they were going to be eliminated quick.  They were young and hadn’t traveled outside of North America so they thought that would hinder them.  Every leg they would continue thinking that and Dan thinks that helped motivate them to race harder.  Sam mentions that if you call yourself a lion but end up eliminated and in eighth place (slam, Lance!), modesty may be the best policy.  Phil adds to the Lance slam by saying that Lance never got to eat the prey.  Phil points out that now Sam & Dan are the predators and Dan agrees that Meghan & Cheyne are the prey.  Dan is confident they can be beat as Sam & Dan have bested them twice before, so it can be done again.  Sam attributes two of their wins to the Fast Forward, so the win total is really only four to two in Meghan & Cheyne’s favor.  Phil is amused by that math.

Ericka’s Bittersweet Moment:  Through tears, Ericka explains to Phil that she is frustrated, happy, and excited, and all these emotions are overwhelming.  It’s the most “wonderfully awful thing” to have ever happened to her.  She is happy to have made it to the final three.  Brian knows that the Globetrotters are fighters and are probably right around the corner.  Both tell Phil how much they love the Globetrotters and that they’re like brothers to them.  They’re sad they can’t run the last leg with them.  Brian tells Phil that their goal was to make it to the final three (imagine that!) and that Ericka is tenacious.  Once she has her mind on getting something done, it’s going to get done.  She’s motivated Brian throughout this race and she is the best wife he could have ever asked for.   So when she said they’re going to make final three, he knew that they would because of her determination.

Phil tells them that while they are going to be racing for the Finish Line, they have a lot of catching up to do as they are in the back of the pack.  He admits that crazier things have happened.  Brian agrees and says that they’ve been fighting from the bottom most of the race so they’re used to it by now.  They’ve had to struggle then and Brian is confident they’ll come out on top.  He considers themselves the underdogs and likes to be in that position going in to the final leg.

Elimination Station

Vegas, baby, Vegas!  A Southwest jet lands at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas and there are our eliminated friends picking up their luggage.  Everyone is excited about being in Las Vegas as we see their van drive up Paradise Road (I used to live in Vegas for a few years).  Ron hasn’t been in Vegas before while Lance is excited to be there as this is where the race is ending and Vegas is all about gaming and competition.  From the brief glimpse of hotel exterior, it looks like they’re staying at the MGM Grand.

Up in his room, Canaan tells us that he took Mika to Las Vegas two weeks before the race started, so there’s lots of happy memories here, even though they broke up (huh?  You miss one Elimination Station and you miss the most important one!  They broke up!?).  In Mika’s room, she also remembers that but is mostly frustrated as she thinks Canaan is confused and doesn’t know what he wants.  She thinks he could be stressed over the race.  She makes the best of it and is happy to have an extra bed to put her stuff on.  Wow.  Who knew?  In Jessica & Garrett’s room, Jessica admits that because they’re in Las Vegas, she would entertain the idea of getting married then and there.  Garrett promises that they can be very spontaneous.

Later on, Lance, Garrett, Ron and Canaan are playing poker.  Garrett asks the guys if he should get married now or if he should wait.  Lance thinks getting married could be a positive ending to what was generally a negative experience.  In the girls’ room, they think spontaneity would be cool.  Mika agrees that it would be cool to get married in Vegas and that it would be a good story to tell their kids.  She concludes that she’s nowhere near getting married though, so she may not be the best person to ask.  Awwww.  The two room scenes are then edited together with both Mika & Canaan giving generally the same talk about making sure that both Garrett & Jessica actually want this.  Jessica thinks Garrett would be okay with it as his parents eloped.  Actually together, Mika & Canaan agree that this could be quite a twist to the whole situation.

It’s now time for the traditional phone call from the most recently eliminated team.  Jessica thinks Brian & Ericka will be calling them.  Canaan believes that they have been skating through the last few rounds.  Lance also agrees that it will be Brian & Ericka.  All of these people would be right if the Globetrotters hadn’t messed up so horribly.  Marcy admits that a picture came to her and that the Globetrotters will be calling.  She swears she gets visions.  The Blackberry finally rings and Jessica answers nervously and we hear Flight Time greet everyone.  All are shocked and probably a little spooked as some look Marcy’s way.  The Globetrotters tell them that they got held up at a Roadblock after a ten-hour rest period from the leg before where they came in third.  They jokingly tell them they’re now headed into the loser’s bracket.  Flight Time asks if anyone was surprised to hear from them and Justin admits he was as he & Zev picked the Globetrotters to win.

The group ask the Globetrotters who they think will win.  Flight Time believes that if Meghan & Cheyne have any kind of lead, they’re going to win it.  Canaan admits that maybe Meghan isn’t as weak as they all thought she was.  Big Easy thinks that it’s purely about not coming in last, and Meghan & Cheyne have managed to do that.  I don’t know, I think it’s just that Meghan & Cheyne are very good racers.  As they wrap up the call, I can see that the Globetrotters’ beds look suspiciously similar to what the losers’ room looks like.  Will there be a surprise in-person reunion in store?

Everyone is shocked that it was the Globetrotters but then everyone goes right to Marcy and her visions.  They ask who she sees as the winner.  Marcy sees Meghan & Cheyne.  Kerri is excited to see the end of the race just to see who wins.  Garrett believes it’s anyone’s race at this point.  Jessica predicts the brothers in first, Brian & Ericka in second, and Meghan & Cheyne last.  I heartily disagree with that prediction.  Ron is thrilled to see the culmination of twelve teams’ efforts (really only eleven – I still have to look away on the opening credits when Eric & Lisa show up – so unfair to be eliminated before even reaching a Pit Stop!).  With that, everyone begins cheering Lance on to drink.  Ah, Vegas.

Hobie Barnes works in NYC at 30 Rock (the building, not the show). While not conquering Midtown (and crushing slightly on Sam), he might be found watching DVR’d reality TV or getting lost on the subway. He can be reached at


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