Season 7 Episode 9: We Got a Gnome! We Got a Gnome!

Previously, Gretchen rode on an elephant that her husband nearly died pulling on the street, some camels misbehaved, and the Fat Fatales got lost and gave the trailing Cannon Fodders enough time to sneak in and cause the bitter fatties to be eliminated from the Race. Forget "how now, brown cow", this was more like "no Lucknow, haw haw". Four Teams are left, who will be taking the hike out of the Race at the end of this episode? And if you think that some Team will be eliminated this week, you must be new to the show - welcome onboard! Any veteran viewers of this show will know that there is a very high chance that this week's episode will be a non-elimination leg episode.

Credits. I give up. I don't think I will ever learn what the Fat Fatales are doing in their clip sequence in the credits.

Philo Koughie steps out to explain that he's at Lucknow right now, a city that he calls "the agricultural center of northwestern India". The Pit Stop of the previous leg of the Race - the Jaswant Thada - was in this very city and it is from here that Teams will depart from at this leg of the Race. Philo wonders whether the GOPs and the Robcouple will still stick together and benefit from their alliance. He wonders whether the Cannon Fodders will ever get out of last place. Hmm, I think he has just spoiled the show. Bad Philo! No more high-waisted pants for that man!

11:24 pm. The IVFs get ready to leave. They learn from their clue that they have to now fly to Istanbul, the capital of Turkey, which Philo explains is more than 4,000 miles from Lucknow. In Istanbul, Teams must take a train to Bosphorus and board a ferry to the island of Kiz Kulesi. Their next clue awaits them in a tower located on the island. As the IVFs move to look for a cab, they talk about how they plan to follow the "let go, let God" principle in the Race, a principle that I hear works very well for both people stricken with constipation and nice people who really need to improve their Racing abilities. Joyce tries to say that it is God's will for her to be bald. Now all they have to do is to convince God that it is His will for them to win a million dollars and let there be enlightenment and better Racing for these two. The IVFs locate a cab. They want to check out a travel agent for flights so it's to the nearest travel agent they go.

11:26 pm. The GOPs and the Robcouple get ready to leave. Oh sheesh, look at the time. Joyce cut her hair for a two-minute lead! The search for the swami must have taken longer than I suspected. Anyway, Sanjay, the guy that helped the Robcouple and the GOPs in the previous episode, is still with them. His hotel must be one of those self-sustaining ones. Those two Teams read the clue. As they and Sanjay look for a cab, Barbie Jane and GI Joe are arguing already, although I really don't know why they are arguing. I don't think they know either. GI Joe tells the camera that the "tension" between him and Barbie Jane is getting in the way of their Race. When there's tension, pay more attention, that's what I always say. She argues and he never even pretends to listen to her, which causes her to argue louder some more, and it goes downhill from there. Like I've said, all that's needed is some attention on the tension. That's all. The Robfather tells the camera that he and Ambore are working with the GOPs but of course they want to win. I've heard that one already last week and the week before that. In their cab, GI Joe brings up Iraq. Whatever. These two Teams are also going to a travel agent.

11:33 pm. The Cannon Fodders get ready to leave. Gretchen says that she can't believe that they made it this far into the Race. Me too. She is now convinced that they may even have a chance at winning the Race! In her dreams, perhaps. Maybe she'll show up at a bank and whine and plead the people there into giving her a million dollars, because that's the only way she will get her hands on a million dollars and it is not on this Race. They count their money - all Teams receive $82 for this leg, as it turns out - and take a cab to the airport. Meredith is concerned that the many religious stickers on the cab's windscreen may hinder the driver's view. Oh no, will they arrive at the airport with all body parts intact? Stupid stickers!

The IVFs wonder whether there will be any travel agent opened at this late hour. They stop by a hotel first to check whether this travel agent is opened. When they learn that it is - make your own joke about India and fleeing politicians because I already did that during season four - they make enquiries through the phone and learn of a 10:20 am flight. Uchenna makes reservations on that flight. The IVFs then reboard their cab to head over to the travel agent.

The Robcouple and the GOPs reach the travel agent and learn of the same 10:20 am flight. As the two Teams book tickets on the flight, GI Joe explains that the flight passes through New Delhi and will land at Istanbul at 8:45 am the next day. Sanjay leads the two Teams back to their hotel at Lucknow for some rest. In the cab where all Teams are squeezed together, the Robfather says that it is a good thing that Sanjay is around since his Hindi is, er, on the rusty side. Everyone including Sanjay laughs because that is completely true. Besides, it's not as if anyone else is offering better jokes in that cab.

The Cannon Fodder show up at the same travel agent and bump into the IVFs when they too are booking the 10:20 am flight. It looks like this travel agent may be the only 24-hour one in town. As the Robcouple and the GOPs reach their hotel and say goodbye to Sanjay, who now returns to his hotel to find it taken over by rogue Pakistanis, the IVFs and the Cannon Fodders decide to head back to the hotel too for some rest. The IVFs say that they like to help the Cannon Fodders because those old coots are "really good people". Which is why they will stand back and let the old coots win a million dollars, right? Joyce says no - at the end of the day the Cannon Fodders are still their competitors. Poor Gretchen will no doubt complain about heartless young people if she hears that.

Morning sees the two alliances sharing cabs to the airport. The Old And Bald Alliance (OBA) leave first, with Gretchen telling Joyce that she looks beautiful without hair. Since Joyce sacrificed her locks for a two-minute lead that has currently dissolved into nothing, she has darned well be beautiful or she may as well go Gollum-crazy on everybody. The POW-Survivor Alliance (PSA) leave next. As they leave, the Robfather mutters audibly that he is "so over India". Hey, come on, it's not as if he went to Mumbai or Calcutta, he went to Lucknow, easy and friendly Lucknow. He hasn't earned his "I Was Molested On A Train" badge of honor yet to pooh-pooh India like that!

The OBA reach the airport first and the IVFs wait at the counter to check in. Meanwhile, Gretchen keeps watch for - who else? - the Robcouple and when those two show up, she runs straight to tell the IVFs that the Robcouple are here. I don't know how that information is of use to the OBAs. Maybe they have a plan to run and hide in the toilet to avoid being seen by the Robcouple, I don't know. Later, while Ambore waits at the counter to check in their stuff, the Robfather starts the drama that makes this otherwise boring one-hour Travelocity advertisement of an episode worth watching: he stupidly teases Gretchen by asking her whether she knows about the earlier flight to Istanbul. Gretchen goes "Ooh!" and runs away to blab to the IVFs. The Robfather, who is sometimes too easily amused, chuckles as he moves to Ambore's side and tells her that he just wanted to tease Gretchen a little. He is so sure that there is no earlier flight to Istanbul.

Oh, really? Gretchen tells the IVFs what the Robfather has asked her. Uchenna says that they all "know now" there there is "so obviously" an earlier flight to Turkey. Oh, these people. He manages to borrow a cellphone from a passer-by and calls up a travel agent. Maybe it's the same travel agent, maybe not. As the PSAs get ready to board their flught, Uchenna manages to learn of an Indian Air flight leaving at 8:00 pm from New Delhi that will stop at Dubai. They can connect on a Turkish Air flight that will take them to Istanbul at 6:20 am, some two and a half hours earlier than the 10:20 am flight! Naturally, the IVFs want to be on that flight and they want the Cannon Fodders to be on it too. By happening to be at the right place and the right time, the GOPs, who happen to be standing nearby where this hush-hushed conversation is taking place between Uchenna and a disembodied voice on the phone, manage to overhear parts of this conversation, not all of it but enough to have Barbie Jane telling GI Joe that they have to make that Turkish Air flight in Dubai.

Now all Teams get ready for their flights to New Delhi. Remember, it is only in New Delhi that the fun begins. Uchenna is happy because he believes that he has somehow caught up with the Robcouple whom he believes will be on this flight. How quaint. In New Delhi, the Robcouple are the first to leave the airport and they hop into a cab, determined to head over to a travel agent to locate better flights to Istanbul. The Robfather says that it is time the Robcouple ditch the GOPs whom he says only slow him and Ambore down. The OBAs head over to a travel agent to collect their tickets on The Flight That Shouldn't Exist If You Are The Robfather. The GOPs finally emerge from the airport only to learn that they have been ditched by the Robcouple. Still, they have more important concerns in their mind. In their cab, the both of them argue about their relationship. He wants to do more things before he settles down with Barbie Jane (read: he wants to sleep with more women) and she is not going to wait any longer for him. So, so tedious, the two of them. She and he argue about him not being able to commit himself to anything. He says that he is committed to the army. He then leaves himself open by wondering how he got out of the army. She moves in for the kill: she says that he got out of the army by being a POW. "I was… what I did is I crashed myself, I went through hell and torture, so that I could get out of the Army early. I almost died, but I knew I was getting out of the Army early if I survived it!" he says after making a humorless chuckle and tells her that he's tired of fighting with her.

Much column inches have been generated about how nasty and mean Barbie Jane is to say such things to GI Joe but to me, I am inclined to be more charitable towards her. That's not to say that I like her, mind you, but I believe that she must be hurt to realize that her boyfriend is telling the TV cameras that he wants to experience life (which, come on, we ladies all know is a guy's way of saying that he wants to sleep around some more) and he is not ready to commit to her. We all say stupid things to hurt other people when we are hurt ourselves. It happens. And this is exactly what is happening, I believe, in this scene, with Barbie Jane lashing out as a retaliation to her being hurt emotionally by GI Joe. It is unfortunate that this scene takes place on TV instead of just between the two of them. Does her being hurt make her words less harsh and unkind? No. But I can understand why she says those things and I'm not going to give her a hard time about things that are said in the heat of the moment. When I take into account that her brother is a soldier, I don't think she really means that GI Joe deliberately gotten himself caught by the Iraqis just to get out of the army. Come on, nobody is that crazy to believe that he did just that to get out of the army, surely!

The Robcouple arrive at a travel agent where they are told there their flight is the earliest to Istanbul. The Robfather specifically asks for flights that go to Istanbul via connections at other cities, but they assure him that there aren't any other flights. The Robfather tells Ambore that they will try other travel agents in New Delhi.

The happy OBAs collect their tickets for the Flight That Shouldn't Exist. On they go to the airport.

The Robcouple bump into the GOPs at the airport and I guess they put aside their differences once more as they approach the Turkish Airlines counter in one united front and make enquiries on possible flights to Istanbul. Barbie Jane mentions the 3:30 pm flight that she overheard earlier at the Lucknow airport but because she isn't aware that the flight leaves from Dubai, the ticket agent correctly tells her that no such flight leaving from New Delhi exists in the itinerary. The Robfather asks her where she learns of that flight. She tells him that she overhears it from Uchenna. The Robfather declares that Uchenna has no idea what he is talking about. Uchenna really had no idea, I must say, until the Robfather inadvertently gave him the idea, heh. He thinks that their flight is the best. The GOPs and Ambore have no reasons to disagree with him so they head off to the airport.

The OBAs board their flight. They're nervous when they realize that the PSAs are not on board with them. Still, they can only hope for the best! Meanwhile, back at the airport, the PSAs realize that the OBAs are missing. The Robfather assures the others that the OBAs can't be doing anything sneaky... like getting an earlier flight. Because there is none! Right? The Robfather tells them that without the Fat Fatales to tell them what to do, the Cannon Fodders and the IVFs are lost. These two Teams are like, in his words, "blind leading the blind". "You'd think at 65, 70 years old, they'd have a clue, but they don't," he tells the others dismissively about the Cannon Fodders.

Now, as arrogant and even nasty as the Robfather sounds, let's face it: he's right. The IVFs and the Cannon Fodders are like blind leading the blind. But the bigger picture here is how sometimes pride comes before a fall, and for the Robfather, the fall is a long way down because it is he, in his arrogance, engineered the OBAs' getting on early flight. The Robfather doesn't need an Iago in his personal epic saga, he can hang himself if you just give him enough rope sometimes. The Robfather makes a dismissive sound and concludes that the IVFs and the Cannon Fodders are "stupid". There is nothing I can say to disagree with him about that stupidity thing, especially where the Cannon Fodders are concerned, but in this case, oh dear. Oh dear. They board their flight and the Robfather says that he's "completely confident" that the PSAs are in the lead. Okay, I like that guy, but in this, he's on his own when it comes to fending off the lynch mob.

The Flight That Shouldn't Exist lands in Istanbul at 6:27 am. Onto a train go the IVFs and the Cannon Fodders, where Joyce talks about how lovely the city is and how great that she is sharing the adventure with Uchenna, and then it's onto a ferry they go to the lighthouse-like tower in the island of Kiz Kulesi. The two Teams board separate ferries, by the way. Maybe it's stated in the clue that they can't share a ferry. Anyway, Uchenna spots the tower and says happily, "It's on!" Some trivia, if you are interested: "Kiz Kulesi" means "Maiden's Tower" because legends spoke of a father who locked her daughter in there to protect her from the world. Most likely, historians say, it was a tollbooth of sorts during the Byzantine era when ships passing through Bosphorus had to stop there to pay their levy.

The Flight That Should Be The Earliest But Isn't lands in Istanbul at 8:24 am. The two Teams leave but as usual the GOPs always seem to trail behind when it comes to clearing the customs. Maybe GI Joe makes the mistake of mentioning that he is a POW to those customs officers or something. Doesn't he know that a US POW need not necessarily be viewed in a positive light by people in other countries? Especially in Turkey? Hmmph. The Robcouple manages to board a train to Bosphorus and it leaves just as the GOPs show up at the station. "Dang!" goes GI Joe. He's not really doing his best to portray ex-POWs on TV as romantic, dashing, and capable, is he?

It turns out that the tower in Kiz Kulesi is really a lighthouse like I wondered earlier. Hey, don't look at me, I've never been there myself. Anyway, the IVFs reach the Kiz Kulesi first and realize from their clue that they must locate one of the four gnomes hidden all around the lighthouse grounds. Why a gnome, since Turkish mythology isn't exactly overflowing with them? Hubby asks, "Rumpelstiltskin isn't Turkish?" No, I don't think Rumpelstiltskin is even a gnome in the first place. Anyway, all is answered when I remember that the mascot for the show's major sponsor Travelocity is a gnome. Philo explains that the Teams don't know this but at the foot of each gnome is a picture of a mode of transporation. The Team with the gnome bearing a picture of a plane will win a fabulous reward. Once the Team has their gnome (which they must keep with them until the end of the leg), they must head some twelve miles to the Galata Kulesi, once a prison and a defense tower from way back in the fourteenth century, where they will receive their next clue. The Cannon Fodders show up next and are happy to realize that, from counting the number of clue envelopes left in the clue stand box, they are actually leading instead of being behind the PSAs.

Both Teams look for gnomes. Gretchen finds the first gnome hidden among the wall of the lighthouse and hollers happily. Since she has been pretty quiet so far in this episode, I'll let that pass. The IVFs soon find theirs hidden in a shallow crevice among the rocks. Joyce happily says in a very Gollum-like manner to Uchenna, "Wegotagnome! Wegotagnome!" Altogether now: Preciousssss... Back onto the ferries and once in the city, it's into cabs they go, onwards to Galata Kulesi. If you can't tell by now, "Kulesi" means "Tower" in Turkish.

On the train to Bophorus, the Robfather feels "at home on the T" (heh; T for train as well as Turkey - geddit?) because Istanbul doesn't look as bad as parts of India that he has just left. He really shouldn't knock India until he's been to Mumbai, I must say. In the next train, GI Joe hopes that the IVFs and the Cannon Fodders are trailing behind so that the GOPs won't be last. Hope springs eternal, eh?

At the Galata Kulesi, the IVFs hop out of their cab and learn that it's time for a Detour. Philo steps out to explain that Teams must choose between "Kilos" and "Columns". In "Kilos", Teams must look for a specific man in the town square and he will hand them a scale. Teams must use this scale to weigh people - Philo says that people in Istanbul do this for fun all the time so there's really no worry about men in white coats coming to lock the Teams away - until they have weighed enough people to get a combined total weight of 2,500 kilos. In "Columns", Teams must head over to an "ancient well", where they will have to first locate four columns using coordinates that are indicated in a map given to them. On each of these four columns is a number. Teams must use the four numbers to come up with possible combinations, one of which will unlock a box that they will pull out from the well. Inside the box is of course their next clue. The IVFs decide to pile on the kilos.

In their cab to Galata Kulesi, Meredith asks Gretchen what they should call their gnome. Gretchen, looking weary, answers curtly, "A gnome." Undeterred, he decides to call the gnome Jerome. Oh, and say hi to their children Ron the Son and Heather the Daughter while we're at it, people!

The Robcouple hop off the train and get onto a ferry. The GOPs are still on the train. "I think we've got a big enough lead right now. We don't want to overdo it!" says the Robfather to Ambore. I guess he's lucky that he doesn't decide to sit down and take a long nap while he's at it, because, after all, those tortoises will never catch up with the rabbits. Never!

After collecting the scale from the Scaly Guy In The Town Square, the IVFs start to hound people in the square to try out their amazing spanking new scale. Most people look at the IVFs as if they are crazy, which makes me wonder just how truthful Philo was being when he said that the people of Istanbul weigh each other all the time. One guy steps up to be weighed and starts taking off his coat. Uchenna stops him because in this case, it is better if the man weighs more. That way, the IVFs can hit the 2,500 kilos mark faster. The IVFs begin writing down the weights of the people they round up in this Detour.

The Cannon Fodders reach the Galata Kulesi. The clue stand is right by the entrance of the tower, as the camera will later zooms in for the benefit of the audience, but those two silly coots decide to head inside and go up the tower. They reach the top, can't see any clue box, and decide to go back down. Meredith complains that "this" is hard. I know, thinking can be so hard when one is a fool.

The IVFs finally weigh enough people to hit the 2,500 kilos mark. The Scaly Guy hands the happy Team their next clue. Teams must now head over about ten miles to the Rumeli Hisari. This was the fortress built by Sultan Mehmet II back in the 1400s, and it played a key role as a base in the Sultan's conquest of Istanbul.

"Why do we have so much trouble with things like this?" whines Gretchen as the Cannon Fodders go back up the Galata Kulesi again because they can't locate the clue stand. The camera zooms in on the clue stand one more time - it's right there in the open by the entrance. I don't think Gretchen really wants to know the answer to her question. Inside the tower, they come by what looks like a banquet room and Meredith actually lifts a tray to check if the sneaky show people have stuffed the clues inside a turkey or something. Maybe he should try peering into the toilet bowls in the men's room next, just in case. They get into an elevator to head back to the top of the tower. "Why don't we see things?" whines Gretchen as the elevator doors close on them. She is complaining and whining as they look around at the world below, because non-stop whining will always get the job done faster. Finally, they spot the clue stand mocking them from the world below and have to head back down. "What a waste of time!" exclaims Gretchen. Okay, she can shut up now. I've heard enough from her. They read their clue and decide to pile on the kilos. After all, who can resist Gretchen whining at them to step on the scale?

The GOPs' train pulls up at Bosphorus. Ahead, the Robfather casually asks the ferry driver on their way to Kiz Kulesi whether any Team has passed them and is shocked to learn that the IVFs and the Cannon Fodders have already passed here. Ambore is dismayed that they are wrong in thinking that they are in the lead. "Unbelievable!" says the Robfather. I know. He should have kept his big mouth shut back at Lucknow, bwahahaha! Still, being behind only makes this Team more determined so they make their way to the lighthouse once the ferry reaches Kiz Kulesi. When they read their clue, the Robfather asks Ambore what a gnome is. Luckily enough, she knows what to look for and they quickly find one located pretty much out there in the open. As the Robcouple leaves in their ferry, the Robfather spots the GOPs arriving at the island using his binoculars and tells Ambore that they need to stay ahead of this Team for the rest of the leg. The GOPs quickly locate their gnome too. The race is on.

At the Rumeli Hisari, the IVFs realize that it's now time for a Roadblock. "Is climbing your forte?" asks the clue. Joyce says that climbing is definitely not her forte so Uchenna is going to be performing this Roadblock. Philo explains that in this Roadblock, the Team member must "storm" the fortress. By "storm", he means that the Team member must climb a rope ladder up a wall to the top and then locate a key at the roof. Once he or she has the key, this person will rappel down another wall. Once on the ground, this person must use the key to unlock a book - yes, a book - and read the clue written inside the book. This person will then unlock open the door - which is barred on the person's side - and let the other Team member through to join the person inside the fortress. Sounds cool, doesn't it, this Roadblock?

As Uchenna climbs, Joyce makes a show of whispering, definitely Gollum-style, that climbing is not her forte and she is glad that Uchenna is climbing up the wall instead of she. Uchenna has not much difficulties reaching the top and now he starts to look around for the key.

At the town square near Galata Kulesi, the Cannon Fodders are looking for the Scaly Man. They go round and round the place, passing the Scaly Man at least twice while they're at it, with Gretchen moaning to God all this time. Good heavens, why can't these two just get eliminated already? They are pathetic.

Back at the Rumeli Hisari, Uchenna locates the key, rappels down, and unlocks a book. He learns that the Pit Stop of this leg of the Race is right here in the tower, at one of the outposts. He goes to unbar the door, calling while he's at it, "Where's my princess?" The door opens and the guard at the door steps back to let Joyce through. The IVFs run to look for the Pit Stop. Up the path they run. There's Philo! There's the VIP! Philo welcomes them as team number one. Alas, their gnome doesn't have an airplane picture so they don't win anything on this leg of the Race. But they are feeling confident about their abilities to win so it's all good for them.

Gretchen's mouth is working in full swing as she asks "grande people" to step up on the Cannon Fodders' scale. Yes, it looks like they finally located the Scaly Guy. Maybe the Scaly Guy became tired of waiting for them and pushed a scale into Meredith's hands. People step up to be weighed mainly because, I suspect, they want Gretchen to shut up. Elsewhere, the Robcouple and the GOPs are on their way to Galata Kulesi now. Back to the Cannon Fodders, they finally complete the Detour. Thank heavens. Gretchen will shut up now for next twenty seconds and I will take what respite I can get from that woman.

The Robcouple decide to pile on the kilos but they get lost looking for the town square until a passerby points them to the right direction. The town square is revealed to be about a kilometre from Galata Kulesi. Ambore wants to take a cab but the Robfather is already walking ahead as he tells her to follow him and walk to the town square. The GOPs show up at Galata Kulesi and head straight up to the tower, just like the Cannon Fodders did, and then argue at the top about whose fault it is that they made this mistake. They spot the clue stand below and continue sniping at each other as they make their way down. GI Joe declares that he will just Race by himself from now on. Hey, it worked well for the Mumbler who dragged Flodungka to the finish line in Season Three. The GOPs decide to play with "Columns". In their cab to the "ancient well", GI Joe worries about trailing behind the Robcouple while Barbie Jane looks like she can't give a damn anymore because she is too busy hating on GI Joe.

Meredith in their cab crows that he has not seen the Robcouple or the GOPs since he landed in Turkey. For someone whose Team has committed some major boo-boos despite being in the lead, he's one confident guy indeed. Speaking of the Robcouple, Ambore is telling the Robfather unhappily that they should have taken a cab because it turns out that a kilometre is indeed a long distance to walk if you are rushing. The Robcouple easily locate the Scaly Guy and as he begins calling people to step up, circus ringmaster style (and funnily enough, people seem to quickly gather around more willingly this time - maybe they just want these funny Americans to just go away quickly) and as people step on the scale, he assures Ambore that they will be okay.

Meanwhile, the GOPs frostily decide that they are not angry with each other and cement their mutual denial with a kiss that can freeze their blood if they are not careful. At the "ancient well", which looks more like some artificial night club with too many fluorescent tubes if you ask me, GI Joe pretty much locates all four columns on his own. Then they head over to the well to pull the locked box up.

As their cab approaches the Rumeli Hisari, Gretchen spots the rope ladder and her mouth starts moving again. "Oh my God! This will be hard!" she will go. Her mouth doesn't stop as Meredith asks her to perform this Roadblock and her mouth is still moving as she starts climbing the ladder. I love the mute button on my TV remote control. I hope the fellow who invented it got a big raise for his or her effort.

The Robcouple weigh 2,500 kilos worth of people bulk and they are off to the fortress. Finishing soon after are the GOPs. The editing suggests that they quickly guess correctly the combination of numbers to unlock the box.

Gretchen's mouth is still moving. To pass the time, hubby and I speculate on what she is saying since we've muted the TV. At one point, judging from the way her mouth is moving, she seems to be saying, "My perforated ovaries are leaking green oil all over!" She is nearing the top when the ladder - and her - are dragged up so that she can quickly get over the climbing. Normally I would say that this is shady but I think even the supervisors of this Roadblock cannot bear to listen to Gretchen any longer. Thinking that it is now safe to switch the sound back on, I do so only to hear Gretchen moaning to the camera about how she must now look for the key. She is one of those annoying creatures who believe that they must narrate everything they are doing to the camera in case I miss out something. As the trailing two Teams approach the fortress, Gretchen is calling out - yes, calling out - to the key. "Here, key! Key, key!" she goes. When she finds the key, she realizes that she must now rappel down the wall. Her mouth, which has momentarily paused in its sound pollution in order for her to catch some breath, resumes moving with a vengeance. "Oh, my God, I have to rappel down this!" says she and it's downhill from there. Moan, whine, moan she goes until she finally reaches the ground. When she unlocks the door, Meredith calls her "a sight for sore eyes". Yeah? Tell that to my eardrums.

They check in with Philo as team number two, don't win anything because their gnome has a picture saying "STFU Gretchen!" (kidding) instead of a plane, and Gretchen congratulates herself and her husband because she thinks that they made it this far on this leg all on their own. After all, they learned of the early flight all on their own! STFU, Gretchen.

The Robcouple arrive at the Rumeli Hisari and the Robfather takes this Roadblock. "I'll meet you at the door," Ambore tells him as he makes his way to the wall that he has to climb. The Robfather climbs up the ladder pretty quickly. As Ambore waits, she sees the GOPs coming up to the fortress. She hopes that the GOPs have "dropped their gnome somewhere" as she waits for the Robfather. Barbie Jane calls out to GI Joe to catch up with the Robfather as GI Joe begins to climb. The Robfather, in the meantime, starts looking for his key. The editing seems to suggest that he spots the key almost right away. Barbie Jane and Ambore try not to even acknowledge each other as Barbie Jane keeps yelling for GI Joe to go faster and beat the Robfather. That won't happen, not today anyway, as the Robfather quickly rappels down the wall while GI Joe is hunting for his key. The Robfather unlocks the book, unbars the door, and, as GI Joe watches from the rooftop in dismay, runs with Ambore towards the Pit Stop. "We just barely escaped!" he tells her before they step onto the mat as team number three. Philo seems amused that he can still see GI Joe standing at the roof of the tower, still keyless, watching the Robcouple in frustration. Anyway, the Robcouple don't have the correct gnome so they too don't win any prizes today. The Robfather tells the camera that "they" (read: he) made a "stupid mistake" today but next time, the Robcouple will not miss "that flight". Point taken. He knows that he has been stupid and he won't be so cocky again. And while he deserves a kick in the pants in this episode, at the same time a Robfather determined not to repeat any of his mistakes may prove to be even more dangerous to the other Teams. I'll see.

And finally, here come the GOPs. If these two aren't so dire to watch, I may appreciate more the fact that GI Joe is still wearing those harnesses around his leg that make his crotch bulge out most charmingly. The GOPs are the last Team to arrive but they are not - surprise - eliminated as this is a non-elimination leg. After surrendering everything other than the clothes on their back and their passports, the GOPs learn that they have collected the prize-winning gnome. They will receive $20,000 to spend on Travelocity - in other words, they have a $20,000 Travelocity gift voucher, which won't be of much use unless the GOPs travel sixty times a year - as well as a stay at a suite of five-star Four Seasons Hotel. The predictable relationship-in-danger we-want-to-win chatter ensues and the show is done. In a show where the Robfather inadvertently hands over a bonus to the IVFs and the Cannon Fodders, it seems apt to end with the last-place Team winning a prize when the first Team doesn't. Only on The Amazing Race, I tell you.