The Amazing Race – Season 24 Episode 9: “Accidental Alliance”

We did it! With all the help from boys!

So, remember how in the previous episode, everyone was outraged about Brendon & Rachel u-turning Dave & Connor, because Dave & Connor are such nice people/so kind-hearted/such an all-round class act? Yeah, you can forget all about that: in this episode they form an “accidental alliance” with Leo & Jamal and Caroline & Jennifer (in much the same way that your brother would “accidentally” give you a Chinese burn when you were a kid), based on mutual antipathy towards Brendon & Rachel, and a desire to get them out at any cost. This happens after all the teams end up on the same train, with Brendon and Rachel arriving last and being deliberately excluded by the others, who then sit doing loud, obnoxious and mean-spirited Rachel impressions, presumably in the hope that she’ll hear them, and laughing about how upset she’ll be about none of them wanting to be her friend. So that must be all that class we were hearing so much about, then. (The best part of all of this is that Rachel doesn’t seem particularly upset by any of this, and gives approximately no fucks whether these jerks like her or not. And honestly, if you suck so much that even Rachel Reilly doesn’t crave your approval, then you’ve got problems.) Oh, and if you’re wondering where Jet & Cord fit in to all of this: they got lost on the way to the station and missed the train to Switzerland, so they’re still stuck in Italy until they can get another one. Not that any of this matters, because of course there’s an hours-of-operation bunching point upon arrival that holds the other teams back and gives the Cowboys a chance to catch up.

So, upon arriving in Chiasso, each team gets into a FORD FOCUS (wow, a FORD FOCUS!) and drives to Altdorf in search of the William Tell monument. Brendon & Rachel get lost trying to find the statue, which prompts Caroline to declare to Dave & Connor and the Afghanimals that hey, you guys, we’re like an ACCIDENTAL ALLIANCE because Rachel & Brendon DROVE THEM to unite against them. This, by the way, is after Caroline & Jennifer spent the whole train journey complaining that they couldn’t see why anyone would ever want to U-Turn Connor because he’s got such lovely hair. Honestly, Caroline & Jennifer are really awful in this episode, in just about every way imaginable. Every single time they’re required to drive anywhere (which is quite often, because FORD FOCUS!) they basically just tail Leo & Jamal; they actually say openly at one point how nice it is to have boys doing the navigating for them because boys are just so much better than that. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever felt the absence of Brook & Clair so acutely. Hell, even thinking that Pam & Winnie were on the shortlist and ended up getting bumped for this two is quite painful, because they may not have been the best navigators either but at least they tried.

William Tell arrives at damn and hands out a clue to the assembled teams telling them to go to Chapel Bridge in Lucerne. Brendon & Rachel, who aren’t having the best of luck at the start of this leg, take a wrong turn and end up at the wrong bridge, while the Assidental Alliance all get to the right one and run around cackling that they’re going to BEAT THE BRENCHELS HAHAHAHAHAHAHA, because they’re just that classy. (Also, everyone calls them “the Brenchels” all episode, which is both annoying and inaccurate: they are “Brenchel” together but not individually, so they cannot be “the Brenchels”. You’d need at least two Rachels and two Brendons for that.) Once they’ve collected the clue, everyone drives to the Hotel Switzerland in a FORD FOCUS (wow, a Ford Focus!), where the task is to clean and dress a room to the exacting standards of Helga the room supervisor. There are lots of tiny details in the task, which means that everyone misses at least one thing on their first attempt, and for all that Brendon tells us that Rachel has four years of maiding experience, they don’t seem to make up masses of time on this task.

After that there’s a massive non-task where everyone has to drive (in a FORD FOCUS, natch) to the Swiss Museum of Transport and guess what the big object outside is. It’s basically a big tunneling drill thing, and Jet and Dave already know that (Jet because he saw it on TV once, and Dave because he has mining experience or something like that), while Leo & Jamal and Brendon & Rachel just grab a passer-by to find out the answer. Caroline & Jennifer, on the other hand, just flat-out get told the answer by Leo & Jamal, partly because of the Occidental Alliance and partly because they don’t know how to do a single damn thing for themselves.

The next task (one of these must have been a Detour, surely, but none of them were aired as such) keeps them at the museum, as the teams are tasked with exploring the museum for clues relating to CLASSIC FORD MUSTANGS, which apparently are celebrating 50 years of being Ford Mustang-y this year. Now, I know this show has product placement agreements that it needs to abide by to remain on the air, but I do feel a bit bad for Switzerland since this leg is basically implying that the main items of local interest in the country are hotel rooms and American cars. Basically everyone is given an equation of sorts on their clue, which is “Place X – Place Y = answer”, and what they have to do is look for the corresponding road sign with the distance listed on it and use that to get the number. Jet & Cord finish first, closely followed by Dave & Connor, and with the Afghanimals in turn not far behind them. (Trivia: Jamal revealed on this task that he sells cars for a living. Try to look surprised.) Caroline & Jennifer haven’t got a clue what they’re doing and are still bumbling around when Brendon & Rachel arrive, so Leo & Jamal run back to explain it to them because of the alliance, and also because they’re generally hopeless.

Once that’s out of the way, the teams head to Oberrickenbach for the Roadblock, which basically involves one member of the team travelling up and down the mountain in cable cars and taking milk containers to be filled, then bringing them down to be transported on a wagon pulled by a dog. Not a lot of interest happens on this task because there isn’t much opportunity to make time up, but Brendon uses his time in the cable car constructively by writing “BRENCHEL WINNERS AMAZING RACE 24” in the condensation for Connor to find later, and of course Connor huffs prissily that Brendon’s got a lot of nerve when he does so. Oh, and without boys to help her, Caroline comes completely unstuck, allowing Brendon to overtake her. The Cowboys leave first, followed by Dave & Connor and then the Afghanimals. From there, it’s a mad scramble to the top of Mt Titlis (tee hee) and after a lot of confused running around, Dave & Connor make it to the Pit Stop first, where they’re informed that they have won brand new FORD MUSTANGS of a type that aren’t even available in the rest of the world yet. OH NO HOWEVER WILL WE COPE WITH THE DELA–oh, that’s right, nobody outside of North America particularly gives a shit. With everything that’s happened this race, Phil’s all “so you don’t like the Brenchels, huh?” and Connor’s like “NOPE”. Jet & Cord are close behind them, and Leo & Jamal are close behind them. Brendon & Rachel finish fourth, and when Phil asks about the Ambidextrous Alliance being out for their blood, Rachel & Brendon (correctly) say that they couldn’t give a shit about other people because IT IS A RACE. Caroline & Jennifer stagger in fifth…and it’s a non-elimination leg. Again. Please, just put them out of their misery already. And mine, actually.

NEXT WEEK: A load of bulls.

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