'The Amazing Race' recap: Uglier Than a Mud Rail Fence

amazing-race-20-cast.jpgThe racers take trains to Bavaria, Germany, with about an eight-hour difference between the first-place Border Patrol agents and last-place Team Kentucky. But most of the trailing teams end up together anyway, and catch up with Art and JJ at the German restaurant that opens at 8:30 in the morning. Once inside, they get gnomes bearing clues for the Detour, which is a choice between a complicated quest to the fairy-tale village of Oberammergau or styling some championship beards. Most lead teams opt for the facial sculpture, while Bopper and Mark have to yodel to complete their Speed Bump, with what is, fortunately for them, a very forgiving band. After using some of JJ's own hairspray to finish the Detour, he and Art are back in the lead and en route to Sleeping Beauty's castle in the next village. Team Big Brother and Kerri and Stacy, meanwhile, find themselves lost in the snow on the way to Oberammergau, and end up getting passed up by Team Kentucky before finding the trail. Thus Mark and Bopper are the first team to find the "witch's" cottage, where they have to glue the hunks of gingerbread they gathered along the way onto gingerbread houses. The palace turns out to be a way station to the next destination, a hockey and curling arena. But both Other Rachel & Dave and Nary & Jamie go to the wrong castle and wait through a whole tour of it before realizing they're in the wrong place, and Kerri and Stacy and Bopper and Mark make a similar mistake, although the latter teams realize it faster. Meanwhile, Ralph and Vanessa fall to bickering, while Brendon and Rachel spend some quality time in last place and avoid a meltdown for once.

At the ice arena, the Roadblock requires racers to participate in a form of ice-bound shuffleboard with their gnome. Art and JJ hold onto their lead and win their third leg in a row, meeting Phil in a cow barn whose humility fails to rub off on them. Joey "Fitness" and Danny come in second, with Vanessa and Ralph patching things up in time to come in third. Other Rachel and Dave come in fourth, and Brendon and Rachel fifth, although Brendon totally wipes out at the mat. Bopper and Mark, after also falling to last during the castle fiasco and exceeding Bopper's seemingly inexhaustible lung capacity, pass the two all-female teams at the Roadblock and make it in as the sixth-place team. Kerri finishes the Roadblock before Nary does, but she and Stacy predictably get lost on the way to the Pit Stop. They're Philiminated, but I still think a team made up of two Stacys would have done a lot better.