It’s hard to tell what is more depressing – the biggest slave house in Africa or Jonathon treating Victoria worse than I would treat my dogs. Around Reality TV message boards and forums, Amazing Race fans have been blasting Jonathon and his obvious verbal abuse of his wife, but tonight he actually sunk far below any entertainment value.
Kris and Jon are the first to leave the pit stop in Senegal, Africa at 12:52 AM. They are headed for the the famous La Maison des Esclaves Slave House. Jon and Victoria, tired of just missing coming in first, leave over an hour later. They are followed by Bolo and Lori, and Aaron and Hayden, who admits she wouldn’t want to be in this race with anyone but Aaron. Adam and Rebecca leave the pit stop next with the promise of not following others as much. Don and Mary Jean leave last, with no money after just surviving coming in last, as it was a non-elimination leg. Mary Jean is determined to get some money if they have to sing and dance for it.
Reaching the Slave House, the eight teams are asked to wait until 8:30 AM, to honor all of those that passed over the famous archway, otherwise known as the Door of No Return, that saw so many lives pass through it. They are asked to walk through and leave a single red rose over the archway. Some pray or offer words of wisdom passing through, and Gus and Hera pass through with Gus being overcome with emotion. After, he tells Hera he didn’t want to embarrass her with his tears, noting not even having cried at funerals of loved ones.
The teams will now travel from one historical landmark to another, taking the ferry back and then flying to Berlin, Germany, to the remains of the Eastside Gallery, part of the Berlin Wall that is a memorial of freedom. Don notes leaving Senegal, that it seems odd to go from the affluent area they live in to one of the most poorest of nations, and needing to get money. Just not being able to beg money from these people that need it so desperately, Don and Mary Jean beg from the other racers, all of which oblige. The other teams must not have considered Don and Mary Jean much of a threat to be so willing to share assets with them so easily.
Freddy and Kendra and Hayden and Aaron decide the first team to get to the airport will buy tickets for the other team. Kendra, not understanding how others live, states that everything in this city looks “wretched and disgusting, yet they keep breeding and breeding.” Looking at her face in the mirrors of the cab on the way to the airport, Mary Jean believes she looks like she has aged forty years since the beginning of the race.
At the counter for Air France, Hayden and Aaron and Lori and Bolo tangle when Hayden and Aaron attempt to buy tickets for themselves and Freddy and Kendra, who haven’t arrived yet. Hayden refers to Bolo as a Barbarian, and tells him to lower his testosterone just a bit when he raises his voice. Once Freddy and Kendra catch up to them, they all decide it’s not worth it to argue, and Bolo slides in that he’s not on steroids.
All eight teams end up on the same flight to Berlin. Once they land, they need to get to the half-mile stretch of Eastside Gallery to find their next clue. The teams are being advised by locals to take two different train systems – the S-bahn or U-bahn 2. Adam and Rebecca find themselves following once again as they follow behind Jonathon and Victoria. Jonathon turns around and asks them to stop following. Kendra says she’s happy to be out of the “third world ghetto” and Jonathon says this is such a beautiful city, and that you have to have appreciation for the guys that make Mercedes.
Having found the clue on the wall, they will now have to travel to a partially destroyed church with the Busted Chain Sculpture in front. Reaching the sculpture, the teams find a Detour. They will need to choose either Beer or Brats. In Beer they will need to deliver steins of beer to the tables, and search for coasters with their own picture and names on them. They need to keep delivering more steins till they find all their coasters. In Brats, teams will need to go to a sausage factory, and using a hand-operated machine, make a continuous rope of five sausages, all with a minimum length of seven inches.
Hayden and Aaron, Freddy and Kendra, Kris and Jon and Gus and Hera all choose Beers. Jon earns points from this native Chicagoan turning “Da Beers” into a “Da Bears” chant, recalling the old Saturday Night Live skit. Gus keeps drinking the beer, much to Hera’s disappointment. He even lies and says he needs a moment to pick up his pack, when he’s actually trying to get away with drinking one more beer for the road without Hera’s knowledge.
Interestingly, all the teams that fight – Jonathon and Victoria, Adam and Rebecca, and Bolo and Lori – choose Brats along with Don and Mary Jean, who are very late getting there due to not being able to find the statue. Jonathon feels this will be a breeze after watching Lucy do it on I Love Lucy. They finish quickly, and leave. Bolo and Lori have to remake theirs due to them being too short. Bolo eats the raw pork while making the sausage. Adam says he wants more than seven inches and asks for one of these machines in his home. He then wonders where Jonathon is since he is the biggest wiener of them all. Don and Mary Jean decide seven inches if really big. Notice the restraint I am using to not take it to “that” level discussing the seven inches.
Beer and Brats done, the teams need to travel to the base of Teufelsberg Mountain. Switching backpacks, Victoria realizes Jonathon’s is much lighter than hers. When she pursues this with him, he accuses her of being lazy, and then follows this by saying he never promised her romance when he married her. Bolo and Lori decide to walk instead of talking a cab like everyone else, and Lori is not happy with this decision. They become lost on the confusing train system, trying to move more quickly. Hayden and Aaron’s cabdriver doesn’t know where Teufelsberg is and needs to call for directions.
Once at the mountain, the teams find a Road Block. One member of each team will need to climb the mountain, and ride a soap box derby car down a course, and have to finish within thirty-five seconds. Jonathon will do this Road Block noting his early years driving go carts and currently driving a Ferrarri. I love how he just tosses that little info out there.
All the teams but Bolo and Lori and Don and Mary Jean finish this quickly. Bolo and Lori are now hiking trying to get there, and Don and Mary Jean are still far behind. With Jonathon and Victoria in the lead, everyone drives themselves to the pit stop of Brandenburg Gate. Trying to run to the gate with Freddy and Kendra close behind, Jonathon keeps complaining he can’t do it because his pack is too heavy. He eventually throws off his pack. Victoria feels compelled to pick it up for him and cries as she runs to the gate carrying both packs.
This is no match for the speed of Freddy and Kendra, each only carrying one pack, and they are the first to arrive, winning an exotic Mexican vacation. Jonathon and Victoria run up, and she drops both packs, still crying hysterically. He pushes her, angry that they’re only number two. He announces she’s the one that has to live with this. Phil stares at this whole situation in disbelief, and advises Jonathon to talk to Victoria since she is so upset. Jonathon mutters something about how this is supposed to be a race, and not about compassion.
The other racers all come in quickly – Hayden and Aaron, Kris and Jon (who were nearly non-existent this show), Gus and Hera, and Adam and Rebecca. Lori and Bolo and Don and Mary Jean are left to decide the seventh and eight places. Lori and Bolo come running in, with Lori still upset about walking ten miles, instead of taking a cab like everyone else. Don and Mary Jean show up last, and this time aren’t saved by a non-elimination. They are eliminated, both having much more respect for the other after this race. Too bad the same can’t be said for Jonathon.
The end of the show just isn’t the same. It is not entertaining to watch Victoria be so abused verbally and emotionally. We are left wondering at what point, and if, show producers will put an end to facilitating Victoria’s suffering. We can only hope if they go on to win this million dollars they will be able to afford some good counseling. Food for thought here is how ironic was it that two of the major stops in this race were historical monuments that are symbols of freedom and by the end of the show we see the prison Victoria probably feels she is in every day of her life.
I welcome questions and comments, especially after this episode, at LauraBelle@realityshack.com.