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Amazing Race Recap: Gnome Sweet Gnome

Last night's penultimate episode of the Amazing Race kicked off at the Matterhorn, which, according to Zev, is named after the Disney ride. This being Switzerland, it was quite snowy, so Kent and Vyxsin put on extra glitter to match. Apparently team "Pinky" missed the memo that glitter and short-sleeved hoodies patterned with pink skulls don't keep you warm. (Zev wondered if all the snow would wash off their eyebrows.) Of course, they weren't the only team that had some lessons to learn this leg.

Tasks Get Finished Faster When You Don't Yell
After a beautiful helicopter ride over the set of Inception, the leg's first task was a detour of Search (use a beacon to locate a training dummy and dig it up) or Rescue (use a special device to repel down a crevasse and rescue a stranded person). The Globetrotters, Kent/Vyxsin, and Kisha/Jen all went with rescue, which meant three poor Swiss extras had to hang out in the bottom of an icy crevasse for a while. The Globetrotters and Kisha/Jen communicated well and cheered each other on, thus finishing quickly, while Vyxsin didn't listen to Kent's yelled instructions and had to backtrack a bit. Personally, we would have also tried to avoid yelling so much in an area prone to avalanches, but perhaps Vyxsin was so sick of Kent's whining that she just wanted him buried. Also, has Kent always worn those very fake blue contacts?

The Strength Task Always Goes Faster Than the Searching Task
This is a lesson taught during at least one Detour in nearly every season of the Race, but only half our teams seem to have been paying attention. Gary/Mallory and Zev/Justin chose the search half of the detour, which forced them to dig through very snowy winds. It appeared to be a hard task for two people to do, as grunting Gary and Justin ended up doing most of the respective work (and ripping their dummies in half). Justin, who grew a beard of snow, realized that he hadn't been digging correctly, and he and Zev were still digging after all the other teams had headed down the mountain. "We're trying to save the body," Zev explained to the cameras, "but it might already be dead."

Make a Note of Where You Put Your Things
The Travelocity gnome made his cameo of the season during the Road Block, which had the teams make a chocolate gnome using a mold and traditional Swiss chocolate-making techniques. This looked like the most fun challenge yet — Flight Time and Mallory had a great time painting the molds with chocolate, and everyone looked like a proud student showing their work off to the teachers. All the non-painting team members had an even better time, as they got to eat chocolate truffles while they waited. Kent, of course, kept yelling at Vyxsin, imploring her to follow the other teams' leads and alternate mold halves. While this was good advice, hearing him yell at her to put half her mold "in the oven" got tired after the third time or so. As soon as she did listen, Flight Time and Jen had a mix-up over whose mold was whose, and Flight immediately blamed Vyxsin for taking his mold. You'd think the Globetrotters would have remembered the dangers of not knowing what belongs to you after the great fanny pack incident of 2011. While we're not Kent and Vyxsin's biggest fans, it was pretty clear from Kent's complaints that there was no way Vyxsin could have taken Flight's mold, and we did feel bad for her as she cried in the snow.

Seriously, Read the Clue Carefully
It turns out that Swiss chocolate is so good because the molds get cooled in the snow, which is what each team had to do to their gnome. The Globetrotters continued to have fun with the task, cheering and dancing, but Kent wanted none of it and made crazy faces behind Big Easy's back and mocked him. While we had been briefly on Pinky's side, there was really no need to make fun of a team for having fun with this great experience. Despite the mix-up, Kent and Vyxin finished first and headed off to the pit stop, a 300-year-old cabin that had to be reached by foot. And even though they checked the clue many times for the pit stop's name, neither team member read the part of the clue that stated that teams had to go by foot. It didn't seem like a cab was a great idea anyway, as the Globetrotters and Kisha/Jen still reached the pit stop before them. The cab ride cost Kent and Vyxsin a 30-minute penalty, which gave them a full half-hour to fight constantly (literally constantly), and Gary and Mallory came in third place. The 30 minutes was also enough time for Zev and Justin to catch up, knocking the whiniest team in the history of this show off the race, finally.

Next week is the finale, which came up rather quickly! Expect waxing and men dancing half-nakedly in Brazil, followed by a final showdown in the Florida Keys, one of our very favorite places. This might just be the first season where we'd be happy with any winner!

Photo: CBS