Mar 20, 2009, Ep 5: I Said, BRRR, it’s Cold in Here!

The Amazing Race 14 Insider, Episode 5: I Said, BRRR, it’s Cold in Here!

AR14_Ep5Everyone is desperately hoping to get sent to somewhere warm (like Elimination Station) as Siberia proves to be ridiculously cold, but ever-optimistic Mark & Mike (right) are quite at home in these elements. Yet the cold can’t freeze out some alliances, some of which continue to grow ever stronger as seen in this week’s batch of videos. Check ‘em out!

After the Race

A Sample Menu of Cities: Mike reveals that the race has opened his eyes to places around the world he’d never considered coming to before, like Siberia. Siberia’s architecture and people are unbelievable. He wants to bring not only his wife and kids back there, but he’s sure his grandchildren would also love this. I didn’t take Mike to be old enough to be a granddad!

For Mark, his kids have already traveled the world but now that he’s seen places off the beaten path via The Amazing Race, he can’t wait to take his family to these places too. Mike agrees and finds the race to be a preview exploration of cultures and landscapes around the world. It could provide the contents of a fabulous travel buffet to pick and choose from, or perhaps he may just dig deeper into one of these places upon returning.

Florida Girls at Heart: Cara & Jaime are very excited about opening a clue that tells them they’re headed somewhere warm and where a margarita could await them. These last few legs have all proven to be quite chilly. Jaime finds that it’s even hard to breathe in the cold weather and that neither she nor Cara have trained in such conditions. She’s sure none of the teams have, but some teams have probably come from higher or colder locations (like Luke & Margie) so there’s an advantage there.

Well Informed Sisters: Kisha plans ahead for things so when she finds out their destination, she researches all the transportation options out of there. That way, when the clue tells them to perhaps take a plane, she’ll already be aware of where the airport is. Meanwhile, Jen has the most sour look on her face. Kisha believes that any time they have to themselves should be spent researching. Kisha knows that Jen disagrees with this sentiment.

Jen clarifies the disagreement and says there’s a difference between finding out what available airports there are and finding out the airports and then researching all the flights out to Beijing. Kisha laughs but Jen has a point. Kisha tries to explain her way out of Jen’s accusation but Jen isn’t persuaded. While Kisha explains it’s useful to know all the airlines that leave and where they go, Jen wills herself to keep from arguing. Jen used to be very negative when Kisha would do this but Jen now just lets Kisha do her thing. Humorously, Jen mentions she hopes they’re going to Beijing next as they’ll be very prepared for it.

Luke Takes Charge: Margie explains that Luke has taken the lead in their team and she’s happy about it. Luke is much more familiar with the show and about strategizing (playing dirty) than she is. Both are working hard but Luke is definitely the leader in their group.

Stressed Out: Mel tells us that he’s been a paranoid back-seat driver to Mike during their road adventures in Russia. He freely admits he’s been stressing Mike out. Yet Mike sheepishly admits he was snotty in the car to Mel and apologizes, which Mel accepts with a playful jab. Mel knows that Mike has been stressed out because today’s leg was a very tight race. Mel also knows his worrisome comments can’t be helping but Mike reassures him that they are helpful and useful. What a great father and son.

Mike finds that having no food or sleep and being stressed out for days on end definitely doesn’t bring out the best in you. Yet the time comes, usually at the Pit Stop, where you can finally look back on the leg and remember how good the time was. Mel points out that Mike at his most “agro” (worked up) doesn’t even compare to Luke & Margie’s least agro level. Luke is always going-going-going and Mike’s request to Mel to be quiet was a very mature thing and Mel didn’t mind.

Not So Nice: Apparently Jodi & Christie were asked what they thought about Jaime. Christie refers to the axiom that if you have nothing nice to say, then it’s best to say nothing at all. Christie really finds Cara to be sweet and gracious as when Jodi & Christie found out they weren’t eliminated, Cara was friendly. Jaime, on the other hand, just looked away.

Jodi recalls that Cara confessed once that she was afraid of Jaime and did the show only because she was scared of her. Both find Jaime to be very hot and cold, yet this is something they admit that Jaime herself has confessed during rest periods.

Extended Race Footage

Stuck in the Middle Again: Victor & Tammy don’t feel stuck with any of the teams yet they get along well with the Blondes and the Redheads. Unfortunately, it’s obvious the Blondes and Redheads don’t get along. Tammy believes she & Victor can strike the balance between the other two teams. Victor reveals that Margie & Luke think the Blondes are targeting them, as Luke has come to Victor and asked if Victor is working with the Blondes.

Tammy admires Jodi & Christie because of their persistence and fearlessness in approaching total strangers for help. The Blondes’ hard work is an asset to Tammy & Victor and can be trusted because he knows a lot of effort went into getting the information.

No More Couples: As the train trip nears its end, Jodi & Christie and Tammy & Victor realize that all the couples teams have been eliminated. Jodi thinks that now all the all-male teams need to go next, as she applies her morning makeup. Jaime comes by and Victor points out their revelation to her. She already knew that as apparently Luke had already come up with that too. Victor keeps going on about it.

A Tale of Mismatched Boots: To combat boredom until their train leaves, Victor suggests to some of the teams also there that they go for a walk around the train station area. Tammy decides to change boots and Kisha laughingly reminds Tammy to make sure that both boots are the same size. Tammy explains to everyone that yesterday while getting out of the cab, she mistakenly put on one of Victor’s boots. Tammy felt like she had to re-tie her boots and Victor kept yelling at her because she slowed them down with all this shoe-tying. Kisha now notices Victor’s boots, which are not similar at all to Tammy’s, and wonders how Tammy could have mixed them up.

A Partnership of Convenience: At the train station, Mike of Mike & Mel brags that Mark & Mike are working for them because those two are exchanging Mel & Mike’s money in addition to their own. Mike hopes Mark & Mike won’t get them lost again like the last leg, but if they’re lost together, Mike is sure that he & Mel will at least get in front of Mark & Mike. He discloses they have an alliance with Mark & Mike for the day, but they really will ally with whoever they’re standing next to.

Outside in the cold and snow, Mark & Mike are walking to exchange the money. They’re helping Mel & Mike as those two are watching their luggage. Mark recognizes that lots of mini-alliances have sprung up because everybody gets along pretty well. Yet when it comes time to race, it’s anyone’s game as everyone left is strong. He is hopeful that their combined strength with Mel & Mike can help them to catch up and overtake the others. They’re not going to assume anything and will just keep playing the game.

Girl Talk: The night on the train, Luke is excited as he’s never been on a train where he’s also had a bed. Someone comments from off-camera that it’s time for slumber parties, which Luke is okay with. The voice turns out to be Jaime (very friendly, by the way, comments found in other video clips notwithstanding). Jaime explains she’s never been to something like this where a big group of friends is sleeping in the same quarters and just hanging out.

Margie isn’t sure how long she’ll be able to stay awake as she’s pretty tired, but Luke wants to stay up and hang out with the girls… and Mike. Jaime tells us that Luke just wants to stay up and hang out with the girls while Mom goes to sleep. Margie doesn’t blame him but sarcastically tells Luke he’s supposed to tell her that’s not the case at all and he wants to hang out with her. Yet Margie jokes that she & Luke are getting sick of each other, while Luke agrees but charmingly signs “I Love You” to her.

A Question of Speed: In their cab, Mark & Mike offer their different opinions on racing. Mike thinks they should slow down and be more deliberate and careful, while Mark wants to move and think at the same time. Mark is mostly concerned if you stay constantly at a certain pace, other teams will pass you. He then says that Mike would pull up to a bench stop and want to sit down. Mike has had enough at this point and asks Mark when he’s ever said that. Mark persists and says he’d rather always be moving, even if it’s crawling, in order to keep up a pace. Mike tries to clarify and says that they are having problems taking the time to think together and that’s why they’ve been doing poorly lately.

The Weathermen: Continuing their walk to exchange money, Mark & Mike explain that Russia hasn’t been all that traumatically cold. Mike has warm comfy clothes while Mark says he’s enjoying the cold because he usually spends four months a year up at his place in the mountains. Why wouldn’t he enjoy this weather? Mark actually hopes it gets colder as he knows how his body will react and can plan ahead for it accordingly. He’s also sure other teams haven’t planned for such cold temps.

Getting to Know Luke: While driving around Siberia, Jaime & Cara think that they’ve made rewarding efforts in getting to know Luke better. Luke has told them how much he appreciates the extra effort the Reds have made to talk to him. Cara is sad other teams haven’t taken the time to meet a good guy. Jaime understands that the sign language barrier is there but it’s just as easy to write things down to communicate.

Jaime explains that getting to know Luke isn’t about strategy but rather that they immediately bonded with Margie & Luke from the beginning. They’d prefer to run the race with people they get along with. Outside of the race, Jaime knows she’d get along with them.

At the Pit Stop

When in Siberia…: Phil asks Jodi & Christie how the rolling suitcases are faring on the race while in Siberia. Despite the snow, the wheels have come in handy as there’s been a lot of concrete and bare floors to run across. Phil’s favorite topic of whether an all-female team can win the race is brought up. Jodi & Christie still feel they have a shot but Jodi believes the last task was ridiculous. Phil reassures her that running in underwear is what the people do here. Jodi is incredulous and believe that means the people here aren’t sane. Phil continues to reassure them and reminds them that when in Siberia, you do what the Siberians do.

Jodi & Christie are somewhat skeptical about this but relate that their experiences with the Siberians thus far have been a little rough. Jodi finds the people nice, but interacting with them is extremely difficult due to the language barrier. Both happily recognize that aid is being offered though, by the nice, yet completely non-understandable, residents. Unfortunately, one of the very helpful folks had them drive 20 minutes out of the city to the wrong church. It was a pretty church, but the wrong one and both Jodi & Christie are sure that contributed to their last place finish.

Sisters State Their Target: Will Phil be awarding Jen & Kisha the million dollars at the end? The sisters respond that’s why they’re still here and are determined to make it to the end. Phil wonders if they’re getting along better now and both assure him that their communication is indeed improving. Kisha is still impressed by Jen’s run and is sure that Jen looks better in her underwear than she does.

What are they looking forward to next? Kisha immediately wishes for warmer weather as well as improving as a team. Phil asks who they’re worried about as a team and would like to see go home. For Kisha it’s easy as the team who needs to go is the team that came in first today. In terms of toughness, Jen considers and thinks that all the teams left are physically resilient so that it really comes down to who’s willing to be the most cutthroat. With that in mind, Jen is ready to get Margie & Luke out in order to break the alliance between Margie & Luke and the Reds.

Phil tries to find out if Jen & Kisha don’t get along with any of the teams but it seems all is good in that regard. Kisha diplomatically responds that even if they get along with everyone, they’re still here to play a game and they’ll get rid of people as needed. Margie & Luke are brought up again and Jen fears Luke mostly because he knows The Amazing Race backwards and forwards. But they never underestimated Luke because of his being deaf.

The Little Engines That Could: Phil asks Mark what it was like to run with the professional runners. Mark wastes no time in bragging about how he was setting a pace that made the pros have to keep up. Phil wonders if Mark & Mike are in their element and for them the cold weather and the snowplows were all part of things they’re comfortable doing. Phil asks if they’re really believing they can make it to the end and says he would believe them more if they put in a first place finish sometime soon. Will it be when it counts or sometime before the end? They’re not sure, but they do know it’ll happen.

The Rising Reds: Phil brings up the fact that Cara was walking during the 1.5 mile run and wonders what was up with that. Cara explains that she’s had a bad cough lately along with it being really cold. Jaime changes the subject and brings up that this is the first time they’ve been up in the top tier. Phil reminds them about no all-female team winning the race yet and Jaime promises they’ll crawl and work their way up to the top. Cara continues to cough.

Phil can’t believe that through it all they both still look so glamorous. Cara isn’t convinced she looks that glamorous in her current state of underwear, especially with all of the laughing she received while running by Siberians. Yet Jaime reveals the secret was having spent 12 hours on the train there. Good sleep and spare time allowed them to look their best.

Siblings Back on Track: Phil gives Tammy & Victor props for doing so well but Tammy reveals she wants to go back and cheer Cara on as she promised she’d run with her. Unfortunately, Cara started walking. Tammy believes Cara started walking because she doesn’t like to run. Still, Tammy wants to throw on a coat and cheer Cara on to the finish. It’s cold outside!

Victor & Tammy are all smiles because they’re finally having fun again on the race. Victor explains that they’re doing well again and the element of fun has returned. They’re also seeing things they’d never have seen before otherwise. Phil wonders if they’ll see tears from them ever and all I can recall is the death march in the Romanian mountains. How soon Phil forgets! Tammy keeps a level head and recognizes they’ll probably have to come from behind again and that will require good teamwork on their part. She sees that Victor is doing a fantastic job in improving his communication.

Elimination Station

Episode 5: Another day, another monsoon. That means the folks are hanging out indoors or under cover. So Preston & Steve are playing paper football at the table while Jennifer looks on, utterly bored. Cue the Elimination Station intro!

Ah, the sun has returned and the rain has fled. It’s apparently massage time as a few Thai masseuses set up out by the pool. Jennifer, Brad, and Victoria are relishing it and are pretty certain the remaining racers are suffering in comparison. Brad admits it’s nice but he’d still rather be racing. Under the canopy, Steve is getting massaged but the expression on his face makes it appear as if he’s getting tortured. To Steve, it actually was quite painful.

The next day, the gang boards a truck and heads to a zip-line adventure. Linda is very excited as she had hoped to do something dangerous and something to do with heights, so now she’s getting her chance. She’s still scared to death. Wisely, Linda makes a last-minute trip to the bathroom to prevent any accidents on the zip-line.

The group rides the zip-line and are having a blast. Finally it’s Linda & Steve’s turn and Linda has Steve go first so he can be waiting for her at the end. She’s very excited to get to have her dangerous moment too. As she rides across the zip-line, Linda screams quite sincerely. Near the end of the line, her grip on the line slows her down so she actually has to get pulled in the rest of the way. She got through her fear by pretending she was on the race and would get eliminated if she didn’t finish. Hey, whatever works!

Phil’s Video Diary

Siberia: This diary session jumps a little earlier in time back to when the teams were having to stack wood and build shutters. They’ve been traveling 24 hours. Phil is walking with his interpreter, Mary, through the village street where eventually shutters will have to be installed in a Detour. Phil is impressed by the colorful shutters and Mary laughs at him as really Phil needs to notice the picturesque mountains, not the shutters. Phil laughs.

Near the river, Phil notices that everyone seems to have a dog. Mary clarifies that it’s not a dog, it’s a security system. At the wood stacking area, it seems Phil has arrived early enough to see Russians dismantling one of the walls and preparing the wood piles for the teams who are arriving tonight. Phil explains the wood-stacking challenge and finds out from one of the challenge coordinators that the Detour is requiring some changes. They had wanted to have teams stack up against each other but realized if one of the walls fell, it would unfairly knock out the other team.

Phil finds it hard to describe how cold it is. But then he finds an example of the coldness when it’s clear that some of the wood has frozen to the ground. Yes, that is indeed cold. As the woodstacks are finalized, it looks like even the “experts” have problems stacking as one of the woodstacks has collapsed. So for certain, this challenge will not be easy – as indeed we saw it wasn’t.

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