Nov 19, 2009, Ep 8: Time to Move On, Guys!

Amazing Race 15 Insider, Episode 8: Time to Move On, Guys!

SamDan_ep8If you haven’t had enough of “the elbow incident,” guess what!?   It’s baaack!  There are reactions from other teams too as well as the post-game wrap-ups by both the Globetrotters and Sam & Dan.  Will you be surprised at who is still holding a grudge?  Check it all out in the recaps within!

After the Race

What Comes Next:  In good spirits, Matt tells us that they’re definitely going to go kayaking as they won kayaks for coming in first place a few legs back.  He also plans on doing lots of activities together with his dad.  Gary is going to make a point of doing things with just Matt and not the whole family so they can continue to connect.  For Matt, the Amazing Race has been his gateway to the world as he’s only otherwise been to Canada for a week.  His perspective of the world has changed dramatically now that he’s seen it for himself.  It’s evolved from an outlook based on fear to something along the lines of understanding and enjoyment.

Gary is happy to hear Matt describe life like that and that Matt’s eyes have been opened.  He’s hopeful that Matt will continue to open doors and seek out new experiences in order to enjoy all that life has to offer.  Gary is heartened that Matt may have a sense of confidence about the world and in succeeding on whatever he puts his mind to.  Gary admits the experience will help him too as his worldview has been expanded as well.  I like it when people realize the world is much bigger than just their neighborhood or the United States.

Better in Front:  For Meghan, it’s a lot easier for her to function when they are in the front of the pack.  When she has to deal with other teams around them and the fact that they aren’t in the front, that is when she doesn’t do well.  Wow, when there’s little to no pressure on her, she does well!  She should write a book with this amazing insight!  Cheyne reinforces Meghan’s declaration when he tells us that she’s always been at the top of her class and the best in sports.  They’re both more comfortable when they’re leading and depending on each others’ intellect without worrying about what the other teams are doing.

Brian & Ericka Break it Down:  Ericka believes that the tension between the Globetrotters and Sam & Dan was because of how close they were at the end.  The competitive juices were in overdrive and they were forced to deal with a small space to try to make a move to pass someone.  Both wanted to finish ahead of the other team and, according to Ericka, that is the ultimate cause of the tension today.  Brian surmises that it all came down to pride and gunning for that second place spot as everyone was well aware that Meghan & Cheyne had already won the leg.

Brian has played sports all of his life so when you factor in two guys who are as big as Big Easy and Flight Time and the cocky voice they each have, he recognizes that the Globetrotters are trying to intimidate the brothers.  He’s amused that the brothers are trying to return the favor.  Brian knows that trash-talking is a huge part in sports so he knows that is where the Globetrotters are coming from.  Ericka laughs as she finds it funny that he hasn’t considered how high the trash-talking bar is when considering beauty pageants.  Ericka isn’t phased by any of the trash-talking going on in the race and actually enjoys it.  If need be, she can bring out her much-longer claws.  The Globetrotters are great at the mental game and if done right, can cause a lot more damage than purely physical assaults.

Globetrotters Explain:  Big Easy explains that if this had been the last leg, they would have run through Sam & Dan.   As it was, they had gone 30 yards the wrong way so when they headed in the right direction, they had a lot of ground to cover.  Then when Flight Time fell, they still managed to catch right up with Sam & Dan.  There really is no issue in terms of who would win a foot race.  So Big Easy understands what Sam & Dan were doing as it was the only thing they could do, which was box the Globetrotters out.  When Flight Time fell, from Big Easy’s vantage point, it looked like Dan had elbowed him so that was why Big Easy seemed to be upset.  He knows now that Dan didn’t elbow him and that Flight Time just got tangled up.  Yet if it was the last leg, he’s sure they would have gone right through them.

For Flight Time, he recognizes that Sam & Dan have about the same number of top three finishes as they do.  There’s respect between the two teams for that accomplishment.  Flight Time had assumed that Matt & Gary were the stronger team because of their navigation skills, but we’ve all seen how well those skills held up recently.  Sam & Dan have run a smart race and it’s gotten them here to the final four teams remaining.  Big Easy has nothing but respect for all the teams that are still there but more importantly, he respects the race itself.  You’re more likely to be competing with yourself than you are with other teams.

Sam & Dan Sound Off:  Sam considers the Globetrotters their rivals at this point.  They’re athletic, another all-male team, and well-traveled so they’re tough competition.  The rivalry also exists because of their accusation that Dan elbowed Flight Time off the wooden path.  Sam is surprised that with them being athletes that they’d make such an accusation.  He’s also annoyed because the accusation was made so passively, with it being “if they’re going to push, then I guess we’re going to have push too.”  Dan finds it ridiculous as you’re not even allowed to push in the race anyway as you get a penalty for aggressive physical contact.

Sam didn’t like that the Globetrotters were accusing them but still trying to come across as the good guys.  Dan didn’t like that the Globetrotters wouldn’t just admit that Sam & Dan beat them.  Dan admits that Big Easy did admit that they thought they were running for first place, as did Sam & Dan at the time.  But upon realization that it wasn’t for first place while up on the mat, both teams agreed that it was good to just still be in the race.  Sam continues to harp on it and Dan interrupts him and tries to get him to calm down about it.  Sam ignores Dan and proceeds anyway.  He thinks it’s ironic that Big Easy would accuse Dan of elbowing others when Big Easy was throwing elbows while running up stairs in Vietnam.  Sam considers it hypocritical.

Sam also thinks that the Globetrotters are supposed to present an image of good-natured fun and optimism.  Yet he thinks they’ve failed in that objective by their accusation of Dan.  Personally, I think Sam just needs to take a big deep breath and look at the big picture.  I’m sure today he has to be over it but with the stress of the race, it probably wasn’t something he could process rationally.  There’s a million dollars at stake, Sam!  Get over it and just race.  Anyway, back to Sam’s rant.  They both believe that the Globetrotters were just upset that they had been beat, even if it was only for second place.  Sam found it inappropriate and not very tasteful.

Extra Race Footage

Gary & Matt Unpack:  Gary & Matt get settled in their room on the ferry that will take them to Estonia.  I have taken a long-distance ferry ride myself (from Washington to Haines, Alaska) and can relate as Matt is trying to help keep the place livable while suggesting to leave one of the foldaway beds stowed to keep some room open.  Gary looks through the bathroom and Matt humorously notices there’s no hair dryer.  Gary laughs as that’s what he was actually looking for too!  Gary lets us know that they’ve got a 16-hour ferry ride ahead of them so they’re getting comfortable.  It’s Matt’s first cruise and he mentions this trip has had lots of firsts, including his first subway ride.

Brian & Ericka Get Settled:  In Brian & Ericka’s ferry stateroom, Brian realizes that if he’s sleeping on the top bed, he needs to be extra careful when waking up as the ceiling is right over him.  He lies on the bed and we see that he is far taller than the bed is long as his feet hang over the edge.  I have to wonder if the Globetrotters even bothered to try to sleep on those beds!  As Brian realizes he can change the TV channels with his feet, Ericka comments on how disgusting that is and realizes they’ve been alone together a long time.

Brian notices that the ferry has a scheduled class that discusses the history of the city of Tellin.  He figures no one else is bound to show up so they’ll have the opportunity to ask questions.  Ericka warns they better not fall asleep too hard.  She then comments her feet smell really bad too.  I wonder if she didn’t hear Brian properly when he mentioned he could change the channel of the TV with his feet.  She certainly had a strange reaction to that comment as if he had something more obscene or gross.

A Second Honeymoon:  While hanging out on the Lido deck of the ferry to Estonia, Ericka observes that this experience has been a second honeymoon for them.  She thinks they’ve managed to rekindle their relationship, then thinks about it and comments that they weren’t “unkindled” before.  She just knows that they’ve had a lot of fun so far as all the teams should be.  Brian comments that their first honeymoon suffered because they had to finance their wedding by themselves.  So the Amazing Race has become their second honeymoon, even though Ericka humorously laments that it’s too bad she’s received bruises and scratches on this honeymoon.  Brian points out she got bruises and scratches on the first honeymoon too!

Meghan & Cheyne in Estonia:  In Meghan & Cheyne’s stateroom, Cheyne informs us that they’ve acquired a map from one of the information guides on the ferry.  They’re sure they’ve located their destination on a map and it looks like they can walk to the Brotherhood hall.  Meghan plans on reading up even more on Estonia to learn its history.  Cheyne figures that everyone else has probably figured out the location already too.  He’s not planning on sharing any information with them but he’ll happily listen if the other teams want to share with them.  But now, they’re both ready to crash and get some good rest as they want to race hard tomorrow.

Back to Water:  As the ferry cruises away from Sweden, Gary remarks how beautiful the country is.  He loves all the water.  They’ve gone from schooners to boats and figure the boat business is a good one to be in.  Earlier in his life, Gary was in Minnesota where there’s tons of water.  Now they live in Montana and it’s the extreme opposite, so being here in this country with so much water is refreshing.  Gary would choose to live on the water if he had the opportunity.  Matt wants to buy a houseboat with the million.

Brothers Use Time Wisely:  On the lifeboat deck of the ferry, Sam explains that they’ve already got their Estonia strategy mapped out.  First, they are going to camp out at the exit doors two hours before docking so they can stake out the pole position.  Second, they’ve researched exactly where they have to go upon arrival.  Dan tells us that they met one guy who lives in Estonia and has given them information.  The guy gave them an invite to come back to his room… as he has internet and a computer.  Dan, I bet there was more to that invitation.  But I digress.  Sam resumes his strategy talk and actually concludes that they’ve done all the planning they need to for now.  He’d like to relax now and interact with the other teams in a non-competitive manner and actually have some fun.

Pit Stop

Gaining Confidence:  Phil points out that Meghan & Cheyne have made it through nine legs as well as through a bog.  He recalls that they both already play volleyball.  Meghan played in high school and was relieved that it was in the mud as she would have an excuse if she didn’t play that great.  Obviously Cheyne is much more familiar with volleyball as he discusses that they had a strategy of “shooting it short” which he explains is to hit the ball and get it just over the net.  Because the other side would have to move (unsuccessfully) to get to the ball, it was their best strategy to take to get through it fast.

Phil recognizes that they have a lot more confidence and that they’re basically shining in front of him.  Meghan explains that at the beginning they wanted to keep under the radar but now that it’s near the end, they are unapologetic in racing hard.  They also can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Now they can also see the Final Three, which has been their main goal from the start.  The million dollars would be icing on the cake but it was the race and journey itself that they really wanted to fully complete.

Phil brings up their first-place cedar sauna prize and both give a polite “it’s awesome” response.  Based on Phil’s reaction, I’m pretty sure he wants this more than anyone else.  Cheyne explains they just don’t have the house to put a sauna in, so Phil suggests they build a house around the sauna.  And a million dollars will go a long way towards building that house.  Listing their other prizes they’ve won so far, Cheyne is excited about their ski trip to Vail & Aspen and Meghan is excited about the Jamaica trip and jet skis.  Both of them can’t believe that it’s really happening.

The Showdown Continues:  Phil asks if the tension between the Globetrotters and Sam & Dan stemmed from having to share the cab together earlier in the leg.  Big Easy lets Phil know that he’s not mad but Phil notices that Flight Time isn’t saying anything.  Sam chimes in with something along the lines of that the Globetrotters can’t say that they’re mad based on earlier things that happened in Vietnam, and Dan immediately tries to keep him from continuing.  Phil runs interference and asks for Sam to continue.  Sam believes Flight Time thinks Dan elbowed him on the path, which Dan denies doing.  According to Dan, Flight Time tried to get around Dan and slipped while doing so.  Big Easy is calm about it and says there’s no angry feelings about the situation.  He just knows now that the race is on and that they’re still in the race at second and third place.  It’s all good.  It just may get a little more physical.

Phil loves that there’s a competitive tension and thinks if there’s no hunger to win, you shouldn’t be in the race.  Big Easy keeps repeating that he knows there’s nothing personal about it and that Dan did what he’s supposed to do, which is block someone out from passing you.  Flight Time recognizes if the roles had been reversed, he would have done the same thing as Dan.  The Globetrotters also understand that they shouldn’t have gone the wrong way after finishing the volleyball Detour, so they have themselves to blame for now being in third place.

Now Phil gives his million dollar pep-talk and asks who is going to win the race.  Big Easy doesn’t know and points out that winning the twelfth leg is the only leg that counts.  They’re taking each leg one at a time and just avoid being last place.  They’re living the dream right now so even if they lose the Amazing Race, they still have amazing jobs to go back to.  Flight Time agrees.  Phil wonders if Sam & Dan contemplate the Finish Line and crossing it as the winners.  Sam thinks that if you focus only on that, you’re going to miss out on everything else that comes before it.  Phil reiterates that he’s glad to see some true competitive spirit as it’s important to have people fighting to win.  Big Easy wisely points out that if they should be mad at anyone, it should be directed at Meghan & Cheyne as they’re in first place.

Dan believes that at this point in the race, no one is really going to lose as all the teams have now managed to travel around the world to over nine countries.  They hadn’t even left the United States before this experience.  Dan then claps his hand on Flight Time’s shoulder and apologizes for the incident even happening.  Flight Time waves his hand and says it’s all good, but I tend to think it’s not.  Guess we’ll see this next episode.

Gaining Focus:  Phil tells Ericka that he’s seen the entire range of emotions from them.  In Holland there were tears and lots of stress.  Brian comments they’re still crying because of the blisters incurred from those hated wooden clogs.  The blisters are actually a good thing though as they are a reminder and a way to stay focused.  At this point they’re the most focused they’ve been during the entire race.  They want in the Final Three.

Phil compliments Ericka because he thinks she looks better now than she did when the race started.  She laughs and takes his back-handed compliment.  He’s genuine though and thinks she’s wearing the race well.  Ericka is just going to attack the race with positivity as much as she can.  Brian points out that the Amazing Race is the best diet plan ever.  He’s lost around 12 pounds and has noticed Ericka has lost weight too.  It’s just a tad stressful and emotional a way to lose weight but better than surgery.

Phil asks if they can believe they’re actually where they are.  He asks if they know what it is they’ve been running around in… it’s “decomposing material.”  They both are thrilled to hear that as they love decomposing material.  Phil wonders if they’ve seen all the bugs too, which Ericka obviously hasn’t.  He mentions they bite and immediately Ericka jumps in pain as she is sure she just got bit.  Brian tells Phil that she isn’t wearing her lucky socks today.  Phil describes the bugs as about an inch long and black and had noticed some earlier on the mat.  Ericka is now looking around in a bit of a panic and Phil soothes her by saying they only give just a little bite.  Brian is not deterred and if told there were snakes up on the mat, they’d still be up here.

Gary & Matt’s Last Chat:  Phil asks if Gary was able to bust any preconceived notions he had of Matt during the race.  Gary had wondered if Matt would be able to “gut it out,” and he’s thrilled that Matt indeed did.  Gary anticipated more problems and they didn’t happen as Matt stepped up and raced hard.  He wouldn’t want to race with anyone else.  He’s super proud of him.  As for Matt, his preconceived notion of Gary was that he would be egotistical and have the mindset of “it’s my way or the highway.”  Yet that didn’t happen and they worked as a team.  This was a different side of Gary that Matt saw and it was very nice.

Phil wonders what the folks back home are thinking about them having watched them on the race.  Their first assessment is of Mom, who Matt thinks will be overcome with tears of joy.  She’s waited all of Matt’s life for this bonding to occur.  She has been the mediator up until this point between father and son.  She will be thrilled that the disconnect between them is gone.  Matt lets Phil know that he’s proud of his dad.  As a kid, Matt remembered thinking that your parents knew everything and could handle it all.  Then when you finally recognize that your parents are not perfect and they aren’t always able to figure out how to connect with you, it hurts.  It hurts especially when you think your parents don’t want to connect with you.  That leads to Matt getting a little emotional.  Phil hopes that Matt can put a lot of that hurt behind him now.

Elimination Station

While looking out at the ocean, Marcy explains to us that when she was young, she saw a man drown.  Since then, she’s been afraid of the ocean.  Today Garrett was body-surfing in the waves and offered to take Marcy out with him.  She thinks it could be a good idea as Garrett is strong and looks like a lifeguard.  Plus, she came on the race to expand her horizons so why not conquer a fear too?  Out at the beach, Garrett gives Marcy a crash course on how to deal with the waves when they break on you.  He promises he’ll be there with her the whole time.  Ron loves Marcy for her embracing of life.

Garrett asks if Marcy is ready and after she says yes, they wade out into the somewhat churning ocean.  Seriously, the waves are breaking quite frequently there at the Vietnam beach.  Garrett holds her hand as they plow through the first few waves.  Then they get to a spot where the waves are constantly crashing on them.  To the casual observer, it looks like Marcy is getting pummeled by the water.  But she gamely keeps going underwater for the wave crash, then getting back up to prepare for the next one.  It’s just that here, the waves are coming fast!  Marcy gets the hang of it by the end and is ducking under waves like a pro.

Back on the beach, Garrett & Marcy return to where Ron is waiting.  Garrett is proud of Marcy as she’s a very good student.  She is very excited and recounts to Ron about how the waves seemed to be ten feet high and she’d scream as each one would come down on her.  But Garrett would constantly remind her of what to do and she’d survive.

Later that day, the group is crowded around the phone awaiting a call from whomever will be eliminated next.  Keri wants to make an announcement:  Brian & Ericka are going to be eliminated tonight.  Ah, Keri, wrong again.  In a disconcerting cutaway, Keri is viewed by a fish-eye lens where she states her prediction that Brian & Ericka are next.  Apparently it must be a new thing for Elimination Station, as Lance also agrees with Keri and believes that Ericka will be a liability.  Zev & Justin are on the record for it being Gary & Matt next (ding, ding, ding – we have a winner!).

The phone rings and Jessica answers.  They hear the sound of Gary’s voice but don’t place it until he announces who it is.  The whole group collectively goes “ohhhh!”  They ask where Matt & Gary are and what happened on their leg to result in their elimination.  Gary fills them in on all the details and Matt lets them know that it’s been a mad dash these past few legs, as they were only a few minutes behind the other teams.  Matt tells them that up next for them will be a journey to End City.  Lance asks who they think will win now and Gary gives the diplomatic answer of “it could be any one of the teams left.”

After the phone call ends, Canaan is sad that Gary & Matt were eliminated as they were good people.  Canaan observes that everyone was bummed to see Gary & Matt gone except for Zev & Justin.  Back in Zev & Justin’s room, Justin explains that they like everyone that was left, but they just were certain Matt & Gary were going to lose.  Canaan is excited about seeing everyone again at End City especially because this experience is a unique one amongst this select group of people.  There are special bonds of friendship that have formed that will last a long time.

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 hobiewan76@gmail.com.

 

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