'Amazing Race' Recap: From Top to Stop

Fall TV

The third leg of "The Amazing Race" reminded viewers that a team is sometimes only as good as the help it enlists, and bad luck can bring down even the best of teams.

Ticket to Slide

The NFLers were the first team to depart (almost five hours before the final team to leave the pit stop), and the first to arrive at the travel agency in search of the magic ticket to Lisbon, Portugal. Their agent said she found a flight that landed at 7 a.m. that had only two tickets left.

As she was doing the paperwork, the doctors and the beards arrived at the office. Suddenly, the docs were given two tickets on the promised plane, and the NFLers' agent admitted she'd typed the wrong date and they found themselves arriving at noon instead. Travis said, "Those dudes are pissed."

He had no idea the kind of foreshadowing that turned out to be for Team Big and Cuddly. After they arrived at the airport, the agent called them saying she had booked them on a better flight but with two connections. They decided to "roll the dice" for a five-hour jump on the rest of the teams. She called back again and helped book the beards, who credited Ephraim with being so sweet to her despite her screw-up, on an earlier flight through Madrid, which ended up getting them in two hours earlier than a handful of other teams. Team Boston, ironically, were talking about their bad luck with flights and taxis when the driver of the car they were in rear-ended someone. Luckily, the crashee waved them through, causing almost no delay.

[Related: Get Up to Speed With Our 'Amazing Race' Recaps]

Making Frenemies

The Afghanimals told the Ice Queens about a London flight that landed at noon and tried to rope in Oklahoma in case the flight got delayed so that they wouldn't have to take out their race wives. When Pinkie asked whether they'd found an earlier flight, Oklahoma lied and then Danny, feeling both guilty and suspicious, changed plans. Danny surmised, "They're trying to get us on their flight so it is them against us and trying to bring us in to their little game. Puts us in a bad position. We will U-Turn them." They ended up with a 10 a.m. arrival.

Meanwhile, the baseball wives, who everyone is now maliciously calling the Bunnies, had a stroke of genius (which we admittedly did not think they had in them) and went to the airline's executive lounge while the other teams waited at the unmanned gate and got themselves placed first on the standby list for the earlier connection. They ended up on the same 7 a.m. route as the docs, as did Boston, which really ruffled Pinkie's feathers. "You're dead to me. We hate them right now They pulled a stunt that I would pull and I wasn't expecting it from them. Now it's on." Kim was very proud of herself. "We figured it out. We didn't come here to get kicked off. We came to compete."

Numbers Game

The docs and Boston were the first to reach the tram at Martim Moniz Square, then found the singer wearing race colors at the top of the hill and decided to work together on figuring out that the portrait she gave them of a stagecoach was directing them to the Museu Nacional Dos Coches as well as at the Detour.

They decided to do the miles option, in which teams had to use a giant compass and an in-ground map to measure the distance Magellan sailed to 10 destinations. While they got it on their first try, other teams suffered through the calculations. Oklahoma had a "brainfart" regarding the world being round and forgot to add the zero. The Afghanimals, who arrived confident, promising to give their wives the answer and getting lippy with Fauxgellan, completely overthought the question, bringing up the Panama Canal and wondering if nautical miles were different than land miles.

Puzzled Pieces

They were so far off that both teams changed to the tiles challenge where they had to assemble a standing life-size puzzle made of dozens of fragile ceramic pieces. The baseball wives quickly reverted to their frustrated everything-is-hard selves as expected. Kim whined, "This has a lot of detail." They also returned to the habit of hugging judges and each other as if they'd just survived a war, not a puzzle. They took their supportive squeeze to the next level, giving each other a quick peck on the lips, which their cabbie perved out on through the rear-view.

The Afghanimals tried to psych out Pinkie by telling her they'd been puzzling for hours in an attempt to get her to use the Express Pass. While they kept breaking pieces and Tim seemed to be no help, they did not fall for the trick.

Medieval Times

At the Clube Portugues De Tiro A Chumbo, a clue directed teams to the Roadblock, where one player had to don a suit of armor and land an arrow in a shield 150 feet away using an antique weapon. Doc Travis missed quite a few times while Boston Jason pierced his target on the first attempt. (Beard Adam and Pinkie's Tim were also successful with Arrow 1.)

The docs figured there was no way to catch up to Boston, who had gotten a seven-minute head start to the pit stop at Caselo Dos Mouros, but after some confusing signage sent them the wrong way, the docs found their way to Phil at the 9th-century fortress first, scored a trip to Costa Rica, and felt redeemed for losing the first-leg first place thanks to a misread clue. They were followed by Boston, baseball, Oklahoma, beards, Afghan, ice, and the exes.

Failure to Launch

The poor NFLers had possibly the worst flight luck since Icarus. Every single one of their flights in multiple cities on various airlines (including the last-ditch attempts to backtrack, reroute, and pull off Beekman Boys, Part 2) were delayed for at least an hour and they didn't even land in Lisbon until all of the other teams checked in. Chester lamented, "It is easy to accept things when it is all on you. In the NFL, how hard you work out and train determine how well you play on Sundays. But something like flights and mechanical failures you can't control. Damn flights got us."

They knew they'd gone from one to done the minute they saw Phil sans mat at the airport, yet they maintained the loyal, jovial, level-headed, and witty spark that had us rooting for them. Ephraim turned to the wise Will Ferrell to sum up his feelings: "To quote Ricky Bobby, 'If you ain't first, you're last.' We just got our asses whooped by an airport."

"The Amazing Race" airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on CBS.