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Another exciting episode of The Amazing Race!  This week, the teams traveled from Poland to Vienna, Austria.   I always like it when The Amazing Race goes to a place I’ve traveled to, and for the first time this season, the teams did this.  I’ve even been to the Opera House (where I saw a show from the standing room only seats) and the Schönbrunn Palace, which is as beautiful as it looks on TV!  Vienna is a very nice place to visit, and I remember the coffee being served in elaborate tall mugs with lots of whipped cream.

OK, back to the racing.  Let’s do an episode tracker, as we can when the teams surged ahead, and which teams fell behind:

Episode 6 Tracker

At the beginning of the episode, all the teams were eventually bunched on the train to Vienna, although, Leo and Jamal and Ally and Ashley (sporting some pretty mean-looking shades) caught up during a stop-over that required a 4 ½ hour wait for the train to Vienna.

Once the teams arrived in Vienna at the Opera House, they had the option for a Fast Forward.  Both Jason and Amy and Travis and Nicole decided to go for it, but Travis and Nicole didn’t like the idea of having to take the risk that the other team would get there first, so they bailed on this idea and went to the Detour.

Jason and Amy persevered, and went to the top of the tower where they were to bungee jump, but high winds prevented a safe jump.  They argued a little, but when the weather didn’t seem to be changing, they found themselves suddenly behind all the other teams.  Arguments over, and focus at finishing the tasks at had ensued.  Nice work getting through the adversity, Jason and Amy!

All teams chose the “Masquerade” detour, and it did not appear difficult, as all teams breezed through it.    In looking at the Tracker, you can see that the Exes, Tim and Marie finished the Detour first, but then had trouble finding a taxi, pushing them toward the bottom of the pack.  This taxi-trouble will come into play later.

The real challenge was the Road Block, where a team member was required to sing a Shubert piece in German with the boy’s choir.  It appeared that the choirmaster doing the judging was holding the racers to a high standard (but probably became more lax as time passed), so this was a long process, and took up most of the episode.  Us viewers benefit by really getting to know that Schubert melody along with some German pronunciation lessons.

While Travis and Nicole lagged at the beginning of the leg, Travis was the most experienced singer of those doing the Road Block, and he finished quickly, although the lessons looked like they were pretty in-depth, and it probably took at least an hour before the first attempt.  The non-Road-Block-performing racers were certainly tense as they had to wait this out, and Nicole jumped up in glee when Travis met the standard of the choirmaster.

But Nicky wasn’t far behind.  When Nicky and Kim went outside, they approached a cab, whose driver promptly took Jason and Amy’s bags out of the trunk.  Apparently, based on the comments of the racers, there is a rule where players are not allowed to take another team’s bags out of the taxi.  Or, I’m supposing, they’re not allowed to touch other teams’ bags, period.  However, the taxi driver, not specifically prompted, took out Jason and Amy’s bags, and put them on the ground.  Nicky and Kim had a funny feeling about all of this, and decided to not mess with the situation, and found their own cab.  It should be noted that, had they taken Jason and Amy’s cab, they might have come in first, because it was very close at the finish line!

But it was Travis and Nicole on top, making it their second victory, and continuing their streak of being in the top tier of teams each week.  And they hold the Express Pass.  Talk about being in control of the race!

Leo and Jamal, who thankfully were not shown referring to any of their other contestants as their wives this week, came in 3rd, based on the strength of Jamal’s unabashed singing style.

In fourth were the now Express Pass-less Tim and Marie.  Tim did a fine job of convincing the choirmaster that he could sing Schubert.  Now they just needed to find a taxi.  While some teams had their taxis stay, for some reason Tim and Marie didn’t have one waiting, and they were already burned earlier in the episode for having trouble finding a taxi.

Marie did add her usual, uh, flair, by promptly taking the cab that was obviously Jason and Amy’s.  She was happy to note that she didn’t touch the bags, and that she would attempt to pin this cab-stealing to Leo and Jamal.  The cab driver, for his part, thought he was taking Jason and Amy, and Marie assured him that it was OK, showing him the blue “Route Info” clue and saying they’re all on the same “blue” team.  This was, indeed, clever, and it’s clear that one of Marie’s, uh, strengths, is perpetuating a web of lies.

Jason and Amy did a good job of fighting back from their weather-related bad luck at the Fast Forward, were not far behind Tim and Marie in finishing the Road Block in solid 5th place.  They were not pleased about having to find a new cab, however.  Upon arriving at the castle, Jason saw their old cab, noted that Tim and Marie’s bags were in it now, and immediately smelled a rat.  This set up an argument at the Pit Stop Mat where the two teams bickered about the ethics of cab stealing, with Jason and Amy having the moral high ground, as they did not steal any teams’ cabs that leg, even when presented the opportunity.

It should be noted that Tim and Marie did not incur a penalty or break any rules, and cab-stealing is a somewhat common occurrence, albeit, usually at the point of obtaining a cab.  Additionally, Jason and Amy caught a bad break by having a cab driver who messed with their bags and created the opportunity for “clean” cab stealing.

The net effect is that these two teams who worked well with each other in prior episodes are now enemies.  And that the greeter who stood next to Phil certainly believes Americans to be boorish and argumentative.  Her many winces at the hurling insults between the two teams were wonderfully captured.

Oh, at the bottom of the pack were Oklahoma Oilmen Tim and Danny and Ally and Ashley.  Tim and Danny’s performance have been merely middling (they’ve place in 9th, 6th, 4th, 6th, and 5th), while Ally and Ashley are riding four consecutive 7th place finishes.

Ally came through with the singing, while Tim struggled the most of all contestants.  The LA Kings Ice Girls snuck away with the 6th place finish, while Tim and Danny didn’t get that million dollars that they need, but at least have the memories of a lifetime, like polka dancing in beautiful costumes.

So the question remains as this season plays out:  When, exactly, will Tim and Marie implode?  Judging from the scenes from next week, it could be coming up rather quickly!

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