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Scenic Karma – The Amazing Race 8, Episode 9


by Carrie

LauraBelle is away this week, but somehow I think we’d be sharing the same opinions on many things in this latest episode of The Amazing Race, most noticeably the Weavers’ continued downward spiral.

Last time on The Amazing Race, The Bransens survived thanks to a non-elimination leg, and an hour later we had to say goodbye to the Paolos, who proved that, despite their infighting, they are actually a very emotional family and have learned a lot about each other through their experience. We miss you, Paolo family!

The Desperate Housewives, who snuck ahead of Team Linz to finish in first place last time, depart first this week from Lake Powell, Arizona. They must travel by car, 136 miles to Monument Valley, Utah, where they need to find John Ford’s Point to receive their next clue. When they get to their vehicle, they are thrilled to see that there is a camper attached to the back of it. Looks neat, but this means a couple of things; first, they’ll all catch up to each other eventually when they have to actually camp out somewhere, and second, if anyone overshoots their cutoff on the highway, it’s going to be a lot of fun watching them try to turn around. Or not – I’ve been wrong before.

Christine complains privately that she thought she and her sisters would bond over this experience, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Sharon says that Christine talks too much, and adds that she thinks her sister has a word quota that she must fill every single day.

The Linz family is second to depart, and they all start talking about how they need to finish in first place. Tiny alarm bells are going off in my head as I think, “No! Please don’t let this be foreshadowing a major screw-up causing them to finish last!” Because editors are evil like that, as we all know. As Team Linz gets into their vehicle (and also notes the addition of the camper), the Godlewski sisters decide to stop for gas.

Third out of the gate are the Weavers. They give the usual complaints that no one loves them and they don’t understand why everyone is against them. Blah blah blah. Sad thing is that they still won’t get it even after watching themselves on television. In the car, they say that they don’t care what the other teams are doing or thinking. That would be why they keep harping on the issue, right?

Bringing up the rear are the Bransens. Wally says that it’s harder to stay in the race now that they’re down to only four teams. When the race began, they could take their time and be careful as long as there were others who screwed up worse than they did – now, that’s not as likely to happen. They comment on the tension between the Godlewskis/Linzes and the Weavers, and say that they’re remaining neutral. “Like Switzerland,” Wally notes.

Team Linz and the Weavers both pass the exit for John Ford’s Point. Oh goody – we’ll get to watch them turn the campers around. The Desperate Housewives also miss the turn, but they notice it first. Christine gets out voluntarily to help her sister maneuver the vehicle, screaming the entire time. Yeah, she’d get on my nerves too but you have to give her credit for at least pitching in and trying to help.

Now that everyone is turned around (this turning, by the way, was way less interesting than I thought it would be) the procession is led by the Godlewskis, followed now by the Weavers and then the Linzes.

All three teams arrive at John Ford’s Point at roughly the same time. They now have to take a number for a helicopter ride over to Elephant Butte (yeah, I giggled too), a big rock in the middle of what looks like a canyon, where they will retrieve their next clue. The helicopter can take two members of each team, two teams at a time.

The Weavers and the Godlewskis get numbers 1 and 2 respectively, and for some reason they’re all yelling “Hurry! Hurry!” to each other. People, you will all get back at the same time since you’re taking the same helicopter. And you’re tied for first place, so all the Linzes can do is wait for you to return. Take a moment to enjoy the scenery, for goodness sake.

Moving on … the Weavers and the Desperate Housewives return, and on the way out the Godlewskis make an agreement with the Linzes; if there’s a Yield coming up, whoever gets there first will use it on the Weavers.

The next clue tells them to drive 180 miles to Moad, Utah, and find a rock formation called Gemini Bridges. The Weavers take the lead out of the parking lot, annoying the Godlewskis. Meanwhile, the Linzes do their helicopter thing, get their clue, and head out. The Bransens finally arrive, and while Lindsay and Beth travel in the ‘copter, they comment appreciatively on the scenery.

The Weavers, heading for Gemini Bridges, are not as impressed with the scenery however. They comment on how much “empty land” there is, and say that whoever thinks that the world is overpopulated has apparently never been to Utah. The mind boggles.

The Linzes creep up on the Weavers and decide to pass them on the highway. The Weavers complain until Rolly points out that the reason they were overtaken is because Rebecca is driving a mere 51 miles an hour. The Linzes joke about Mrs. Weaver being the Wicked Witch of the East. Hilarity ensues, at least in the Linzmobile.

The Linzes get to Gemini Bridges first to find a Detour (which, as we know, is a choice between two tasks). Their choices for this leg are “Ride Down” or “Drop Down”. In Ride Down, teams must ride bicycles six miles down into a canyon. In Drop Down, teams must rappel down the side of the rock, 270 feet into the canyon. Instantly I’m hoping that the Weavers choose the bikes, ’cause we know how good they are in things with wheels.

Team Linz decides to rappel, and as Tommy goes down, his brothers decide that if he falls and dies, the rest of them should turn around and do the bikes. Hee. They all do a pretty good job of it and finish quickly.

The Weavers arrive and choose … bikes! Yippee! It isn’t long before Rebecca is huffing and puffing and walking her bike, prompting Rolly to say that they will never be able to finish this. Rebecca gets back on her bike, but says that even Lance Armstrong couldn’t do this task. I’m thinking he probably could, but that’s just me. They continue to mock the state of Utah, commenting on how ugly it is. Rachel says that if she ever meets anyone from Utah, she will tell them how sorry she is for them. Nice.

The Bransens get there next and choose to rappel. Wally is a bit hesitant since he’s afraid of heights, but says that his daughters really want to have this experience, so he’ll go along with it for them. Sweet man, that Wally. Seeing the bike trail on TV now, after doing the rappelling, I’ll bet he thinks they made the least scary choice after all.

The Linzes get their next clue, which instructs them to head to Green River State Park for the night. Their morning departure time will be assigned according to the order they arrive. Meanwhile, Wally Bransen is braving his fears and rappelling, and he almost seems to be enjoying it. Almost.

The Desperate Housewives finally arrive. In a voiceover, Phil explains that, due to an error in production, their car battery was drained. They received a replacement vehicle, but are now in last place. Hmm. They choose to rappel. As they get suited up, the Weavers finish their bike ride and get their next clue. The Bransens finish up, as the Godlewskis get their rappelling underway. They make good time and now everyone is headed for Green River State Park.

The Linzes arrive first and get a departure time of 7 a.m. The Weavers will follow at 7:15, the Bransens at 7:30, and the Godlewskis at 7:45. They all spend the night in their campers, the Weavers deciding to stay inside and complain about how no one talks to them. Linda says that they’ve tried to talk to the other teams, but they just get ignored and she’s tired of it.

At 7:00, Team Linz heads out. They must drive 20 miles to Heber City and find “Bart”, who will give them their next clue. What they aren’t told is that Bart is an 1,100 pound grizzly bear. On the up side, he shouldn’t be too hard to find. Megan Linz comments on the beauty of a waterfall as the Weavers head out, complaining once again about Utah and how empty it is.

The Godlewskis read their clue and notice that they’re told not to run or yell when they meet Bart. Michelle jokes that those two things being forbidden could work against them. The Linzes and the Weavers both stop to ask for directions.

Each team arrives to meet Bart in the same order they left. The next clue tells them to head 22 miles to Utah Olympic Park, the site of the 2002 Winter Olympics. Oh, and there’s a Yield ahead. The Linzes realize that the Weavers are right behind them, so they have to bust their tails to get to Olympic Park first. As Team Linz heads out, the Weavers are on their way in to see Bart, and the Weavers all duck down in the car so the Linzes won’t see them. Seriously. Because it’s not like the big camper on the back of the car would ever give them away. The Weavers are disappointed that the Linzes didn’t even look at them.

After getting their clue from Bart, the Weavers decide to take a different route to get to Olympic Park. The Bransens and the Godlewskis both take the same route as the Linzes. The road that the Weavers decide will be faster ends up looking like little more than a scenic trail, and since we all know how much they appreciate scenery, this doesn’t go over well with the family.

The linzes get to Olympic Park and promptly Yield the Weavers, saying that it’s because the Weavers are right behind them and they need to put some space between the two teams. Little do they know that the Weavers are in scenery hell at the moment. Phil tells us that this is the second of only two Yields in the entire race. Thanks Phil.

The clue here is actually a Roadblock, which, thanks again to Phil, we know is a task that only one person can perform. Here at Olympic Park in Utah, one team member must suit up and slide down a 60-foot ramp on skis, perform a trick, and land in a pool of water. Cool. I would totally kill myself attempting that, but it really looks like fun.

The Bransens show up, and both teams are surprised and thrilled that the Weavers are AWOL. Lindsay decides to do the task as Nick Linz attempts his trick, landing face first into the water. Ouch. His siblings have a good laugh and they get their next clue, as Lindsay deals with an Olympic Park employee who is hitting on her. As she starts her glide down the ramp, he shouts, “If you live let’s go out!”

Team Linz gets their final clue for this leg of the race, instructing them to head for the pit stop on the roof of the Salt Lake City Public Library. They pass Team Godlewski on the way out, and tell them that they’ve yielded the Weavers, but they haven’t arrived yet. Everyone cheers, including me. Woot.

Christine does her ski jump for the Desperate Housewives and they head out, while Team Weaver is still nowhere in sight. Cut to the Weavers, who are still battling their bad scenic karma, and whining about it along the way. Linda tells them not to cave, that they’re in last place and they have to accept that they’re going to be eliminated. Rachel says that “the last nice family” in the race is about to be eliminated. Uh, what? Nice? If by “nice” you mean hypocritical and annoying, then yes, the last nice team is risking elimination. Rachel adds that whoever wins the money will probably spend it on boob jobs. See Rachel, sarcasm is only effective if it makes sense.

Meanwhile, the Linzes wonder out loud if Bart ate the Weavers. Ha! Nick thinks that maybe a house fell on Linda. The Godlewskis are disappointed that they didn’t get to see the looks on the faces of the Weavers when they saw that they’d been Yielded again.

Back in the Weavermobile, Rolly is eating what looks like a McFlurry, and Linda says that ice cream is good for the soul. Well finally, something I can agree with. They get to Olympic Park carrying a sack of McDonald’s food, get to the mat to see they’ve been Yielded, and laugh, sit down, and start eating. They say that they knew this was coming, since two of the other teams hate them. Linda can’t understand why the other teams don’t like her – she’s never met anyone in her life who didn’t like her. There are just too many comments rolling around in my head to pick just one here.

The Linzes have reached the library, and thanks to creative editing it looks like the Bransens are right on their tail. There’s no foot race to the roof, however, as Team Linz easily takes first place. Yay, good for them. The boys are enthusiastic about being greeted by Miss Latin Utah, and Phil jokes that there’s no prize for coming in first on this leg. All kidding aside, they’ve won a trip for four to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, courtesy of Travelocity. Wyoming? Really? The Linzes seem happy though, so good on them.

The Bransens take second place, and are thrilled. The Desperate Housewives come in third, and are just happy to still be in the race after the difficulty they had with the car battery. Why was that not filmed, by the way? Phil asks about Christine’s incessant talking (okay, so he worded it a bit nicer), and Michelle says that she doesn’t think Christine has hit her word quota yet for the day. Christine says privately that she wants her team to win, so if that means she has to talk a bit less then she’s fine with it – she can do it.

Back at Olympic Park, the Weavers are finished their picnic and the hourglass runs out. Rolly does the Roadblock and they’re once again on the road. In the car, they all agree that they’re ready to go. Try to imagine how the viewers feel.

The get to the mat, where Phil tells them … no!!! … that this in a non-elimination leg. Rats. The Weavers looks about as annoyed as I am, and Phil comments that he’s never seen anyone so unenthusiastic about the opportunity to stay in the race. They whine a bit about how no one likes them. Phil takes their cash and tells them that they also have to give up all of their possessions, but they truly don’t seem to care.

Phil gives the Weavers a pep talk, telling them that people have faced this before and gone on to win the race. The family confesses later that Phil really helped them to see that they shouldn’t give up – that they’re ready to get back in it and win the whole thing. Please, no, don’t let that happen.

Next week on The Amazing Race, Team Bransen and Team Linz collide in the air in hot air balloons. Linda Weaver decides to confront the Linzes over their use of the Yield, asking them if they regret using it. (They don’t.)

Okay, on a side note, who is voting in the popularity polls at CBS.com? The Weavers are in third place, behind only the Gaghans and the Linzes. Granted, they only have 16% of the vote, but third place? Where are the Weaver fans? Everyone I’ve spoken to, with no exceptions, has said that they can’t stand the Weavers. What’s your take on the polls? Drop me a line at carrie@realityshack.com.


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