Amazing Race

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Light a Candle, Don't Curse the Dimness

It's an overnight voyage, of course, and the next morning, as the ship docks, all the passengers are gathered waiting for the doors to open. Sometimes I wonder why we never see them spend any time going through customs, and this is one of those times. When the doors are unlocked and opened, they find themselves running on another one of those skyways, which is much longer than they expected. "Y'all getting' tired, huh? We still jogging!" Big Easy crows as he and Flight Time pass them all. He interviews that his strategy is to make everybody want to beat them. Which I don't get, but I guess that either way, someone will be happy.

Outside the ferry terminal, Meghan and Cheyne are the first to cab up and get on their way, with Sam and Dan right behind them and Brian and Ericka securing the third taxi, even though Brian thinks they might be first. Gary and Matt land fourth, with the Globetrotters bringing up the rear. Maybe they should have stopped jogging sooner.

Meghan and Cheyne's cabbie drops them at the end of an alley in picturesque downtown Tallinn and directs them to the third house on the left, and they hop out just as the brothers are pulling up behind them. Both teams end up at the ornate green door at about the same time, although Meghan loses precious seconds being distracted by the sign for Gary and Matt's Speed Bump. But then she's the one who finds the "keyhole," a tiny gouge in the stone surrounding the door, and puts Cheyne to work doing trial-and-error with the key ring they got back in Sweden. As Brian and Ericka approach, Cheyne finds the right key, which triggers a loud alarm, but also opens the door. So this "hideout" emits a piercing shriek every time someone enters or exits? This is the worst secret society ever. The four of them rush inside, Meghan telling the brothers to close it behind them as she and Cheyne hurry across the entryway to the clue box.

Gary and Matt's cabbie apparently gets to take them farther than the other teams' did, because it catches up with the still-jogging Americas on the approach to Mustpeade. Meanwhile, inside, the two lead teams open envelopes announcing a Road Block.

Suddenly we're at a banquet for the Estonian chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism, with dudes in medieval hoods and robes boisterously raising goblets of mead or whatnot around a long table. This must be the Brotherhood of the Black Heads, whose name at first made me think of some people I went to high school with. Seeing these guys now just makes me think of those same people even more. Phil narrates, "The Brotherhood of the Black Heads is a secret society of merchants that has existed in Estonia for at least six hundred years." Which must be why no one seems to object that their logo is a cartoonish profile of a dark-skinned man. Although it's not really clear how they've lasted this long, since they seem rather prone to swordfighting each other for no apparent reason. But on to the Road Block, in which Phil claims "One person will join the ranks of the Brotherhood to uncover a mystery." Which is some bold overstatement, even for Phil. What they really have to do is head down to the cellar, find a candelabra with a room number hanging from it, and then find the room in the house that corresponds to that number. There, they'll receive a scroll that looks blank, but will reveal the next clue if held over a candle flame. Or it will burn down this priceless, historically significant six-hundred-year-old building, one of the two. Sam is taking this one, and Meghan rushes Cheyne into joining him. Both men head inside, past a woman in period costume playing a recorder at the head of the stairs, and down to the basement. Because this episode has a few points where things get a bit dada, I should probably clarify that when I say "period costume," I mean that the recorder player is wearing a fifteenth-century dress and not a giant tampon suit.

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Amazing Race

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