Season 23: Episode 7 - Speed Dating Is The Worst
Posted on Nov 10, 2013 11:00pm


In Abu Dhabi, UAE, Leo & Jamal set the pace at a Formula One Roadblock as the cousins sped to victory while baseball wives Nicky & Kim came in last.


Departing the Pit Stop in first place at 12:03pm, married ER doctors Nicole & Travis ripped open their clue instructing them to fly to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. When they landed, they had to make their way to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the world that was built as a monument to unite Islamic culture. Cousins Leo & Jamal, hoping Middle Eastern heritage would be an advantage in this leg, ran off the mat jokingly shouting, “To the motherland!” Doing some quick research on a computer, the cousins found an Austrian Air flight that would land in Abu Dhabi at 5:50am. Wasting no time, the Afghanimals went straight to the Austrian Air counter at the airport and bought the last two seats on the 5:50am flight, sealing the transaction with a kiss for Leo from the ticket agent. The remaining five teams all booked seats on an Air Berlin flight scheduled to land in Abu Dhabi (or as Ally & Ashley called it “Abu Dubai”) at 6:00am. While baseball wives Nicky & Kim vowed to stop their “dilly-dallying” this leg and race with urgency, they fell into a familiar pattern in the airport when they asked the ticket agent if they would be on a nice plane and if they would get “delicious snacks.” Annoyed to listen to them, Marie said, “They’re always stretching, sipping tea, or putting on makeup.” After having a war of words on the mat at the end of the last leg over a stolen taxi, the relationship between dating couple Jason & Amy and exes Tim & Marie thawed somewhat at the start of this leg. Jason and Tim had a brief but cordial exchange at the airport because according to Tim “guys don’t fight for longer than ten minutes.” For her part, Amy wanted to play nice because “there’s no point in making enemies. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”


With no delays for either flight, cousins Leo & Jamal maintained their ten-minute lead on the other five teams as everyone landed in Abu Dhabi and headed to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. Arriving at the architectural marvel constructed from white stone and marble, the cousins walked along a path that led through the mosque’s entrance into an expansive courtyard. As the cousins entered the ornately designed main prayer hall, Leo commented, “The mosque is breathtaking. You could see how clean it was, how pristine it was.” After receiving their next clue sending them to the Irani Souk, the cousins took a moment to say a prayer before exiting the mosque just as other teams began to arrive. Entering the mosque, the other five teams had a wide array of reactions as they walked to the prayer room. Jason admitted he never had any intentions of visiting the Middle East and felt “out of sorts being an American.” In contrast, NHL ice crew members Ally & Ashley gasped in awe of the mosque’s magnificence, calling it one of the favorite places they had been in the Race. Baseball wives Nicky & Kim, wearing black robes that covered their heads and arms according to Muslim culture, fully embraced the experience and in return felt “welcomed with open arms.” ER doctor Travis called his walk through the mosque an “awe inspiring moment.” In the biggest surprise, Marie felt a sense of calm and serenity in the mosque prompting Tim to joke, “Can we continue the Race in mosques only?”


Arriving at the Irani Souk in first place, cousins Leo & Jamal ripped open their clue to find a Detour having to choose between Sort It Out or Sew It Up. Sort It Out required teams to sort through an overwhelming variety of dates, pick out the right ones, and assemble an elaborate display based on an example. Sew It Up required teams to assemble a traditional fishing net. Running over to the date market, Leo & Jamal chose a workstation with an empty platter and stopped in shock when they entered a store to look at the finished example, a plate filled with hundreds of dates of every color and texture. While Leo initially appeared overwhelmed by the task, he quickly came up with a game plan for the cousins to start their search with the outside row and work their way into the middle. Growing up, Leo watched his mother create elaborate trays of food for weddings and engagement ceremonies so now he relied on his Afghani heritage for this task. Within no time, the cousins completed their outer ring comprised of red dates, but they soon hit a snag as they continued when they couldn’t find a specific colored date from the tables in the market. They failed to notice another table further down that contained the additional variety of dates needed to complete the arrangement, so they just used incorrect dates that approximated the color and texture instead.


As Nicky & Kim, Tim & Marie, and Ally & Ashley joined Leo & Jamal at the date market, Jason & Amy and Nicole & Travis arrived at Fisherman’s Harbor to build a fishing trap. The trap consisted of two parts that needed assembling: a flat circular base and a dome that fit over it. Travis and Jason each began assembling the base for their team while Nicole and Amy worked on the dome. The biggest challenge for both teams in the early going was enduring the intense sunlight and sweltering heat. With sweat dripping off of him, Jason called the weather “unbearable” and had problems with perspiring hands as he tied knots to secure metal framework onto the mesh base. Travis noted that while it got hot in Atlanta, “this is a different hot.” At the date market, the fighting between Tim & Marie took center stage as other teams tried to tune them out. When the exes’ disagreement escalated over what type of date they needed in their arrangement and where to place them, the volume of their battling increased as well. Ally said, “I think the fighting is ridiculous. It’s kind of annoying.” Nicky added, “It’s just embarrassing as a fellow American. You’re going into these people’s workplace. It’s just inappropriate.” At one point, Tim muttered about Marie, “This girl’s got serious, serious mental problems.” However, even with the fighting, the exes made progress on their date arrangement. Tim later commented, “We’ll yell back and forth but we kind of trust each other. So far it’s been working.”


At Fisherman’s Harbor, while Jason & Amy continued to make progress on their net using minimal but effective communication between them, Nicole & Travis had plenty of problems with both their net and one another. When Travis noticed that Nicole had incorrectly tied two metal poles to the base, he grumbled and grew frustrated with his wife as he began undoing her shoddy work. Trying to shut the conversation down, Nicole responded, “You can tell me how careless I was later.” Then, when Travis finished his work fixing the base, he noticed that Nicole accomplished next to nothing on the dome, telling her, “It looks like where we started. That’s crazy.” Nicole didn’t put up a fight and instead apologize to Travis, knowing she hadn’t done a satisfactory job. She later commented, “Sometimes you’re going to have a bad day. That’s what life is about.” Their stress and worry about finishing the task in the blazing sun only escalated when they watched Jason & Amy deliver their completed fishing trap to boat captain who handed the dating couple their next clue instructing them to take a luxury cruise from the Al Bandar Marina to the Yaz Marina.


At the date market, none of the teams could figure out where to find a specific date to complete their platters failing to notice a table in the distance. After looking at the example tray in the store, baseball wives Nicky & Kim knew they had to explore elsewhere in the market and spotted the table with the dates they needed. Not wanting to draw attention to themselves and tip off other teams, the baseball wives quickly and quietly got the dates from the table and returned to their workstation. When cousins Leo & Jamal had their display rejected by the judge, they walked past Nicky & Kim’s platter and saw the correct dates, wondering where the baseball wives found them. When the cousins outright asked Nicky & Kim for help, the baseball wives deflected the question telling them they were in the middle of counting. However, the biggest fear of the baseball wives came to pass when the cousins found the other table of dates and loudly announced its presence to the other teams. The small advantage Nicky & Kim had vanished instantly. With the new dates in their arrangement, Leo & Jamal promptly received their next clue.


As Leo & Jamal and Jason & Amy met up at Al Bandar Marina and took the first luxury cruise together to Yaz Marina, the remaining four teams all hurried to complete their Detour. With Travis taking over Nicole’s work on the dome, the married ER doctors joined it to the base to finish their net. When they presented their work to the boat captain in third place, a weary and defeated Nicole once again apologized to Travis for her performance. Meanwhile, at the date market, in an ironic twist, Nicky & Kim, the first team shrewd enough to spot the other table, kept getting their arrangement rejected because they didn’t have some correct dates. Seeing Tim & Marie and Ally & Ashley get their clue ahead of them, the baseball wives fell into last place before they finally fixed their errors and presented a winning platter. With luxury yachts departing every fifteen minutes from Al Bandar Marina, married ER doctors Nicole & Travis relaxed on their very own through the harbor because no other teams arrived in time to join them. Exes Tim & Marie and NHL ice crew members Ally & Ashley together boarded the next yacht scheduled to leave in three minutes. As the two teams anxiously awaited countdown until the captain untied the ropes from the docks, they spotted Nicky & Kim in the distance arriving at the marina. The baseball wives saw the teams on the yacht and ran with more urgency than usual, but it wasn’t enough. Just as Nicky & Kim reached the end of the dock, the yacht pulled away without them. The two teams on the yacht celebrated while the baseball wives now contemplated a fifteen-minute deficit in last place but tried to remain positive.


Reaching the docks at Yaz Marina, dating couple Jason & Amy and cousins Leo & Jamal ran off the yacht and opened their clue to find a Roadblock. In it, one team member had to drop almost 200 feet off the Yaz Viceroy Hotel and get into a Le Mans prototype Formula One racecar with a professional driver. While taking a gut- wrenching lap around the circuit team members had to keep their eyes peeled for the name of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix record holder and his record time. When they delivered that information to the pit crew chief he would hand them their next clue. Filled with some anxiety and fear, Jason and Leo ran to the rooftop of the Yaz Viceroy Hotel, put on racing suits, a helmet and gear as they mentally prepared for the 200-foot drop. Jason asked himself, “Why is it me that has to keep jumping off stuff?” Waiting to begin the zipline from the hotel to directly over the speedway, Leo called it “nerve wracking.” The two competitors both stepped off the ledge and let momentum take over as they ziplined out to the center of the track. Then, when each hit a red button above them, the line released sending them into a rappel, rapidly descending to the ground below. Both racers’ fears turned to cheers as they reveled in the exhilarating rush of the drop. At the bottom Leo admitted, “That wasn’t that bad.”


After putting on racing helmet and gloves, Leo and Jason each jumped into a Le Mans prototype Formula One racecar as their drivers both hit the accelerator making the powerful engines roar to life. While Leo and Jason both enjoyed their maiden ride in a racecar, because of the high speeds and being jostled from the turns they had difficulties trying to read the ten to twelve signs, each with a different driver name and time, on the side of the track. On his first lap, Leo couldn’t concentrate on each sign long enough, so he only had an incorrect time, 1:40.367, without a name when his driver pulled into the pit forcing him to take a second lap. Meanwhile, Jason didn’t perform much better, spotting the same incorrect sign as Leo, but at least Jason remembered the driver’s name, Lewis Hamilton, even if he transposed the time to 01:40.637. On the second lap around the circuit, both racers spotted the correct sign, Sebastian Vettel, but only Leo remembered the correct time of 1:40.279 while Jason guessed 1:40.267. As Jason went around the circuit for a third time with Travis joining him on the track, cousins Leo & Jamal made their way to the Champion’s Podium, the Pit Stop for this leg of the Race. Running up the stairs and onto the mat, the excited cousins hugged each other as Phil told them they won the leg along with a trip for two from Travelocity to Paris, France. On the victory, Jamal said, “Anything less here in Abu Dhabi would’ve been disappointing.” With Jason & Amy taking second place (for the 4th finishing third after their difficult day together, Marie and Ally took their thrilling plunges onto the racetrack and jumped into Formula One cars with their drivers. In the first lap around the track Marie made the same mistake as Leo and Jason did by guessing Lewis Hamilton while Ally didn’t even know she had to remember a name and inexplicably guessed 351. On her second try, Marie spotted the Sebastian Vettel sign giving her and Tim a fourth place finish as Ally this time at least guessed a driver, Lewis Hamilton, even though she got his time wrong.


The pressure for Ally to concentrate and remember the track’s record time and driver only intensified when last place Kim, who had to overcome a fear of heights and a fear of racecars, joined her on the circuit. With Ashley and Nicky nervously watching their partners and lamenting the potential loss of an all-female team, neither Kim nor Ally could remember the name or time given how fast they sped around the track. However, having had a few more laps than Kim, ultimately Ally committed Sebastian Vettel’s name and time to memory ahead of the baseball wife. At the Champion’s Podium, the NHL ice crew members cheered and hugged on the mat with Phil in fifth place. Looking completely distraught, baseball wives Nicky & Kim stepped on the mat in last place. With tears in her eyes, Kim told Phil, “I’m a mom. I don’t get to do stuff like this with my friends.” At the thought of her Race ending, Kim broke down crying, needing a hug from partner and friend Nicky. When Phil told the baseball wives this was a non-elimination leg, the relieved and overjoyed friends hugged ready to battle back. Nicky later commented, “We’re really happy that we’re still here, but disappointed in ourselves. We need to get a little more fire under our butts and figure out how we can get to the front of the pack again.”


Detour: A Detour is a choice between two tasks. In this Detour, teams had to choose between Sort It Out and Sew It Up. Sort It Out required teams to sort through an overwhelming variety of dates, pick out the right ones, and assemble an elaborate display based on an example. Sew It Up required teams to assemble a traditional fishing net.

Sort It Out: Leo/Jamal, Ally/Ashley, Nicky/Kim, Tim/Marie Sew It Up: Jason/Amy, Nicole/Travis

Roadblock: A Roadblock is a task that only one person can perform. In this Roadblock, that person had to drop almost 200 feet off the Yaz Viceroy Hotel and get into a Le Mans prototype Formula One racecar with a professional driver. While taking a gut-wrenching lap around the circuit team members had to keep their eyes peeled for the name of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix record holder and his record time. When they delivered that information to the pit crew chief he would hand them their next clue.

Performed Roadblock: Jason, Leo, Travis, Marie, Ally, Kim

Order of Finish: 1. Leo & Jamal 2. Jason & Amy 3. Nicole & Travis 4. Tim & Marie 5. Ally & Ashley 6. Nicky & Kim