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The Amazing Racers Find It Hard To Mask Their Emotions

Venice brings the expected gondolas and fancy masks; teams bring the expected petty bickering over tiny perceived slights.

Whatever Floats Your Boat

Flashback to the start of the previous leg: Michael and Liz, who thought they were getting eliminated, are halfway disappointed still to be in it. Mainly, Michael misses his daughter and can't stand that he can't talk to her. A pep talk from his partner appears to help him get his head back in the game, and for Liz's part, she's starting to feel like the two of them are a real team and not just a couple of strangers thrown together by random chance.

Next stop: Venice. Teams pick up departure times for chartered buses, and over shots of everyone boarding their buses, a few other teams weigh in on their emotional state. Scott voices over that he's tried every kind of reaction to Brooke's negativity, and he's realized that all of them just make it worse, so he's going to stop reacting altogether. Matt and Redmond are mad at themselves for blowing what they believe would have been a couple of sweet first-place finishes.

London and Logan, bringing up the rear, have exactly nine minutes between ripping open their clue and getting on the last bus. "We're going to Venice! What if we get to go on boats?" says London, apparently not realizing that it would be kind of weird if they didn't. And yeah, actually, boats are the first thing everyone does when they disembark, since buses aren't allowed in Venice.

Once off the boat, Team LoLo locates their clue in short order. Michael and Liz (and a few minutes later, Scott and Brooke) have a little more trouble finding the clue, and when they ask for help, London and Logan attempt to hide from them and ultimately escape without helping anyone. It's always hard to tell when this sort of move is going to end up meaning absolutely nothing and when righteous indignation will wind up taking over the entire episode, but LoLo seem prepared for the latter when they ruefully admit to the camera, "We did a bad, bad thing."

Gondola In Sixty Seconds

Yup, it seems like we're going there a little bit, as Scott/Brooke and Liz/Michael both spend a little time telling the camera how "shady" London and Logan are. I'm just as surprised as you are that (a) there's a team called London and Logan and (b) they're actually doing things that matter to the story this week.

But finally, thankfully, we're back to the Detour action. This week, teams are choosing "sing it" (learn and perform a song on a gondola) or "bring it" (deliver a cart full of luggage to a local hotel).

Matt/Redmond, Joey/Tara, and London/Logan all choose the luggage, which is clearly the far less fun task, but even though everyone gets a little lost, drops suitcases all over the place, and is sufficiently challenged, Production was clearly sort of hoping everyone would just do the other one, because people in crazy outfits singing badly is far more fun to watch than a bunch of people in workout gear dropping Samsonite down a flight of stairs. Matt and Redmond crush it and leap into first place by a wide margin, which could mean that it actually is the easier task (or maybe Matt and Redmond are just that good, which is kind of galling since they're the douchiest team left in the race by an equally wide margin).

Over at the singing task, Michael/Liz, Floyd/Becca, and Scott/Brooke are demonstrating why they're all on The Amazing Race and not The Voice. It takes all three teams a couple of tries to get it right, so we get to hear a fair amount of the multi-verse song they're performing (as do the lucky couples they're serenading, who have to pretend to be wowed after every iteration of the song).

Both LoLo and Scott and Brooke run into some trouble finding a taxi, and their respective reactions demonstrate why viewers remember Brooke and Scott but keep forgetting Logan and London are even there. London is slightly perplexed; Logan tells her to take it easy, they'll figure it out. Meanwhile, Scott is shouting about finding a main thoroughfare while Brooke screams that she wishes she'd never met him and threatens to jump into the canal.

And of course since we're in Italy and we're making people wear red and white stripes in a gondola, we've also got to play everyone off with "Tarantella Napoletana." (Props, I guess, for not stooping to "Funiculi, Funicula.")

Paint; Misbehavin'

In this week's Roadblock, teams have to paint masks for a commedia dell'arte troupe. The task itself isn't riveting television, but to Production's credit, they know this, so they've also got a sublimely ridiculous theatrical performance going on in the background, and it's kind of hard to be mad at any task, no matter how boring, when there are actors in the background pulling fake intestines out of each other.

While their partners work on the Roadblock, Michael rants to Joey and Becca about the fact that London and Logan refused to help them. Inside the task, Brooke asks Liz for help, and Liz pretends not to know what she's doing while muttering something under her breath about big girl panties, which I would wager she and Michael would perceive as totally different from the way in which Logan and London were failing to help.

Actually, though, Liz doesn't really know what she's doing, since she didn't actually watch the demonstration, and now she'll have to do it again.

Canal Retentive

Out of nowhere, Brooke somehow manages to get her mask correct on the first try, leaving Liz and London at the Roadblock, and since London's a professional artist, she comes correct. Some indeterminate amount of time later, Liz finally finishes, but even though Scott/Brooke and London/Logan get a little lost, she and Michael still land on the mat in last place, mere seconds behind everyone else.

Good news, though: they're still not out; this is a non-elimination leg! This time, though, instead of praying to be put out of their misery, Liz and Michael are a united front and, they say, a force to be reckoned with.

Verdict

Sure, the show's been to Italy before, and they've even done a lot of tasks that looked a lot like these, but come on, that was years ago, and to Production's credit, they manage to spice up some fairly pedestrian challenges with plenty of background noise and some good old-fashioned drama. A spectacular setting doesn't hurt, either. It's about as much fun as you can expect out of an anticlimactic non-elimination leg.

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