Blood-spattered teams check in to Transylvania pit stop after Victor takes Tammy for a hike

Last week, it was cake and frosting; this week, teams checked in to The Amazing Race 14‘s mat covered in blood. And it was awesome.

For a Detour task, one option was to drag a coffin down a hill, open its locks, and then take wooden frames from inside it and impale them on stakes, looking for a flag. Besides a flag, those frames also had fake blood, and Brad looked like he had a massive flesh wound because he was soaked in it thanks to his aggressive impaling.

And that’s just another great moment in this excellent, much-improved season. By the way, in a pre-season Variety Q&A, executive producer Bertram van Munster admitted that the editing and music had gotten stale (“He’s 100 percent right. And that’s the reason why we’re changing it. We have the power to change it and we are.”).

Just like the challenges, the new editing and music is significantly better–and this week, so were the mockable moments, which had been missing the past two episodes, but were back in full force:

  • Brad and Victoria got the elimination-predicting Out-of-Place Life Story Moment of the Week, as Brad explained that he’s been sober 25 years. Congrats. Now start counting how many minutes you have left on the show.
  • This has become the season of nonverbal humor, and most of that starts and ends with Luke’s expressiveness. But the others get into the game, too, like when Mel said that Mike’s “work in Hollywood has not gone to his head at all,” and Mike made a face that looked like he was being bitten by a mosquito and/or having a small stroke.
  • At the Roadblock, where one team member had to do gymnastics, Luke insisted, “I’m not wearing that girl’s leotard”–although one reader who knows ASL said he actually signed “women’s clothes,” not “girl’s leotard,” which is what the on-screen caption said. Either way, he did not squeeze his man parts into spandex.
  • Jaime and Kara patted themselves on the back for trying to communicate with a deaf person. “He’s really appreciated the effort to communicate with him,” one of them said, explaining that she writes things on paper. And to think they made a movie about Anne Sullivan and not Jaime and Kara.
  • “Why are we driving on the sidewalk?” Jaime or Kara said, continuing their humanitarian efforts by berating a cab driver in a language they were mad he couldn’t speak.
  • “Yes, this is the marked path. We’re good,” Victor said, and with those eight words began one of the race’s most spectacular screw-ups, which amazingly didn’t hurt them at all in the end. “Those are not our markers,” his sister Tammy insisted, and she was right, as he was looking at trees painted white with red marks. In addition, the markers made no sense, like one that had arrows pointing in two directions. Yet Victor persisted, because he’s a stubborn ass. It seemed like the deeper they got into the woods and the higher up the mountain they went, the more he buried his head in his confidence in his own all-knowing powers. “I honestly think this is right and I think going back right now would be a big mistake,” he said as he pushed through branches, no one else in sight. Tammy said, “This sucks,” but Victor refused to move. “Tammy, we’re not going back down,” he said.
  • Kris lost his fanny pack at the Detour, and amid a group of gypsies, insisted “someone stole it”; as it turned out, he left it behind and a gypsy was watching it for him. More amusingly, he announced he was searching for it by yelling, “I’ve got to find my fanny.” Just look for your head; it’s right inside.
  • When Phil announced that Mel and Mike won a trip to Costa Rica for checking in first, Mel made an excited noise that sounded like “OHOHOOH,” as if he couldn’t wait to go there, but then he said, “that’s his favorite place,” indicating his son. Either he was truly excited for his son, or he didn’t want anyone to know that he’s a closet Costa Rica fan.
  • Mel said that Mike is “one of the very special people I’ve met in my life, and not just because he’s my son, but because he’s special.” Touching, and vaguely insulting.
  • “I think we have to complete what we started,” Victor said. What is that you started, besides being on a quest to belittle your sister while looking like obnoxious ass as you dig under a fence and steal a chainsaw to cut down a tree to make a bridge to cross a river just to prove that you’re right even though you’re not. Before it came to that, Victor finally relented (I’m sure the crew members following them were like, “finally, asshole”), and while Victor broke down and cried, Tammy got sarcastic. “I can now make the decision now that we’ve walked up the whole mountain,” she said. Down at the bottom again, Victor almost lightheartedly pointed out what they’d missed: “Oh, there’s a stupid arrow.” “Oh, it says, ‘to coffins.’” Oh, you’re an ass.
  • Pulling the coffin down the hill, Victor did so with reckless abandon, and said, “I don’t care if I die.” Apparently, he followed the signs directing him to act like a drama queen.
  • In their final interview clips, Victor and Tammy proved that their conflict didn’t exactly leave them on the same wavelength. Victor said they need to behave in a way that is “not what I think is unintentionally hurtful,” while Tammy said she’s going to start being intentionally hurtful: “I need to hurt his feelings a little bit.” That should be fun.
  • Although Tammy and Victor looked beaten, Phil decided to fuck with them anyway, and said, “I’m sorry to tell you”–and he paused dramatically–”you are the second last team to arrive.” Then Phil asked, “Why are you upset, Victor?”

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.