Welcome back, oh Amazing watchers, to week three of "The Amazing Race." Nine teams are heading for Christchurch, New Zealand, after a hospital stop for Dave and Connor, the Utah dad-and-lad team, to get a diagnosis for Dave, who pulled something on his sprint to the mat last time. The California surfers hand off their second express pass to the pair, figuring they can use all the help they can get at this point.
Dave discovers that he has torn both his Achilles tendon and its muscle. He's fitted with a special boot but man, that must hurt like crazy. "We'll keep going till we can't," Dave tells the others when they meet up at the Papeete airport where a typical bunch-up has occurred.
New Zealand Detour
Three flights finally take off with besties Pam and Winnie on the first; the surfers, YouTubes, dad-lad, the honeymooners and roller derby moms on the second; and the country singers and hockey bros on the third. Mr. Taxidermy and his wife are on the fourth flight, which leaves a full two and a half hours after the first flight. Given the way this race typically goes, though, they'll bunch up again soon, waiting somewhere in the dark for something or other to open.
In Christchurch, the racers drive themselves to the Rakaia River Gorge as a gorgeous green landscape unfolds, dotted with woolly sheep. "Wouldn't it be great to get some fresh lamb for dinner?" Dave says. "I heard it's not baaaad," his son
Bunch time! Green dome tents are lined up at the riverside, where the jet boats don't leave till morning. Everyone grabs a number and sleeping bags. Chuck and Wynona finally arrive and grab the ninth place ticket for what will turn out to be an incredible scenic ride to the clue box in the morning.
This leg's detour involves two choices: Rev it up or reel it in. In rev it up, racers must drive a muscle car through a slalom course in 83 seconds or less per team. In reel it in, they have to catch a fish that measures 12 or more inches. Dave, who has already waded from his jet boat to shore -- on crutches, with a blue plastic bag wrapped around his boot -- soon discovers the cars are manual transmission. Dave can't feel his foot, let alone handle a clutch, so they retrace their steps to go fish.
"Let's give it 5 minutes fishing," Connor says. They end up using the express pass to get to the next stop.
At rev it up, the other teams start racing.
"Why are you fishtailing?" newlywed Katie yells at her husband. "Who would have thought, you're the albatross at this." Max runs over three cones on his fourth attempt. "You're killing us," his beloved tells him. "He sucks," she tells the staffers. It takes them six passes -- and gallons of bile -- to finish the challenge.
Roadblock: The Shemozzle
At Mt. Hutt Station, one member of each team will be competing in the Shemozzle, a muddy obstacle course run while wearing a burlap sack and gum boots. They'll be covered in molasses and feathers, collect a dozen chicken eggs and race -- with a dog -- through a demented course that involves feather-filled tubes, a giant slip-and-slide, haybales and a pond that smells like manure. This is awesome! Please please please let newlywed Katie be the one to do this.
"I have feathers coming out of every orifice in my body," Connor says, as he finishes in first place and heads for the pit stop at Terrace Downs with his father. Their prize? A trip for two to Bangkok -- and the next clue. It's a not-over-yet leg, to be continued next time.
Next time: A surfboard memory challenge in Thailand and -- we hope -- the spectacle of Katie covered in molasses and feathers, looking like an albatross.