As Braveheart's dad famously once said -- well, at least in the movie version of history -- "I know you can fight. But it's our wits that make us men." As the final five teams descended on William Wallace's homeland of Scotland, though, they quickly discovered they'd need both brawn and brains if they wanted to remain standing at the end of the 10th leg.
Teams bid auf Wiedersehen to Germany in the wee hours of the morning. Newlyweds Max and Katie, who finished first the last round, were the only team smart enough to figure the airport might be closed and hit the hotel's business center to do flight recon. Flights between countries are often the contest's great equalizer, but not this time. As pairs waited to buy tickets, including the Roller Moms, who slyly left the back of the line and asked the first-class desk to help, the aligned YouTubers and roller moms scored the last seats on the 1 PM and assumed this meant everyone else was on the flight that landed three hours later. They walked off to gloat, do a happy dance, and plan who they were going to U-turn, so they missed the hockey brothers and the singers scrambling and succeeding in booking the flight that landed at 10:30 AM, which the newlyweds found while researching. Boy, were they bummed when the rest of "the sexy six" boarded.
Blow me up, Scotty
After landing in Edinburgh and driving themselves to Gosford House, one player had to learn to play a harmonizing note on the bagpipes and carry the tune for one spin around the marble room at the elegant estate with the Royal Scots band while wearing a kilt. Max, blowhard that he is, excelled at this challenge, and Bates was not far behind. But Caroline immediately started complaining, crying, and failing her first six marches. We were not the only ones who thought her poorly worded frustration would have made her the butt of so many "That's what she said" jokes if Michael Scott was a bystander.
#amazingrace is killing me tonight. LMAO ”My lips are dry, it's hard to keep blowing” - ”I blew that so hard. Not sure I can eat now.”— Rach (@osu_rach) April 29, 2013
Simultaneously, the other two teams arrived, counted the cars, and realized that they weren't so slick or lucky after all and that it would more than likely come down to a duel between what Megan described as "race family." Mona and Meghan "sounded like they were torturing an animal," according to Beth, but despite having played trumpet in high school and feeling confident, Meghan struggled and cried even though she "basically made out with" the instructor, considering the amount of saliva that was on the mouthpiece.
The clue sent them to search the fireplaces at the abandoned stone Craigmillar Castle, where the brothers moved into first place. That clue sent them to the Detour section of the leg.
The brothers immediately picked the feat of strength option, as they have done whenever given a choice. Whiskey Rollin' challenged teams to serve the national drink by rolling eight heavy wood barrels of the hard stuff uphill 200 yards in a cobblestone alley to a dance festival (luckily being held in town that day). When they didn't roll straight, Bates carried a few of them on his back "like a Greek god holding up the world" -- he has, according to Bates, "the same body." It was a move that seemed like it could have earned them a penalty, depending on how technical the producers wanted to be about the clue's wording. More than one viewer felt punishment was in order.
Another just thought it was unfair that after all the heavy lifting, they didn't get to hit the hooch.
Teams who chose Tasty Puddin' instead weren't quite so lucky. They had to head to the local pub and prepare four portions each of the national dish, haggis, using an ox's intestine, seasonings, oats, and assorted ground internal organs. And in case you forgot what hearts, livers, fat, and lungs look like before they're all smashed up, intact examples were on barf-worthy display. The newlyweds chose this task to separate themselves from the brothers. It was a strike of creative genius to have an impersonator of national treasure Robert Burns reciting his poems about the provision. The singers, per usual, flirted with the historical figure and the guy who handled the how-to.
Why is "Amazing Race" the best reality competition? Because: a Robert Burns impersonator reciting poems about haggis. THAT's why.— Andy Ihnatko (@Ihnatko) April 29, 2013
Watching them all sample the sausage divided the Twitterverse into two distinct camps.
You know the contestants on Amazing Race are lying when the say Haggis tastes good.#scotchitterlins— Steve Beste (@stevebeste) April 29, 2013
Haggis looks good! Damn you amazing race I want some now— Gersom (@GerLAmag) April 29, 2013
There will be bowling
Roller moms got their Speed Bump for finishing last in the last nonelimination round before the Detour, and it required them to play skittles, the old-timey Scottish equivalent of the American 10 pin, using balls without finger holes until one of them rolled a strike. It took 16 attempts, but Beth finally did it, and despite having to reset the pins by hand every time they didn't score, they arrived back to case chimneys at the same time as the YouTubers. They were neck and neck, although Joey felt they had an advantage because they were moms who cook, and apparently all he knows how to do is chicken. The moms pulled ahead, only to make their way to the Duddingston Kirk (church) to see their mama mugs on the U-Turn board, courtesy of the newlyweds. They were joined shortly at the barrel roll by the brother's U-Turn pick, the YouTubers.
Scottish High(lands) and lows
As Kevin said, the moms finished that task first as well, and despite getting lost, missing lights, and getting stuck behind a bus (their car karma is brutal!), they arrived on Phil's mat in the Niddry Street South alley before Joey and Meghan. The newlyweds took home $10,000 each for beating the brothers, who also got turned around in downtown's windy streets, to the pit stop. Joey's waterworks started as soon as he saw the greeter's terrible Jekyll and Hyde mask, despite feeling proud because he "grew so much" and "made it a lot farther than [he] thought [they] were going to." Social media reactions to YouTube crashing and who would win next week's finale were so all over the place, you'd think they were debating the merit of "The Sopranos" finale.
If Max and Katie win the #amazingrace I'm going to claw my eyes out and scream at the air. They are the worst.— Matt Marr (@tweetmattmarr) April 29, 2013
"The Amazing Race" airs Sundays at 8 PM on CBS.