Be warned: Not every aspect of the show is reported accurately. Artistic license is a terrible thing to waste.
Previously on The Amazing Race: Rob bragged, Teri sagged, Amber scolded, Joyce folded, Racers mined, Mirna whined, Romber won, Festers done. For a more comprehensive retelling of events, our friend Cygnus X1 wrote last week’s fantastic summary.
Tonight’s episode begins with Phil reintroducing us to the wonders, the desolate and forbidding wonders, of the Atacama Desert. Oh, I forgot arid: desolate, forbidding and arid. Interestingly enough, most deserts of the world can be described thusly. Funny how Phil and I always state the obvious. Note: Tonight’s summary begins with me opening a bottle of Montes Classic Series Cabernet Sauvignon vintage 2005 from the Colchagua Valley, Chile. Aah, very nice.
It’s 11:39 p.m. and Romber, our reigning Duke and Duchess of DAWness, prepares to leave the Pit Stop. Their clue instructs them to drive a whopping 4 miles to San Pedro de Atacama and find the identically named church for their next clue. Rob describes how he and his uber-wife are constantly taking chances and proceeds to demonstrate by driving the entire 4 miles in reverse and blindfolded.
At 12:18 a.m. the Cha-Chas pick up their $37 and directions. In private confessional we hear a tear-jerking tale of how they survived Castro’s Cuba, came to the US with nothing but the life rings around their necks and now drive European sports cars through South Beach. They are currently looking to park those cars over the cold dead bodies of their competition.
Meanwhile, Rob and Amber find the clue box and inform their cameraman and sound guy that they are to fly 800 miles to Puerto Montt, Chile and drive another 30 miles to Metri, home of the world’s most awkwardly laid out fishery. I sense a gross critter challenge. I’m not psychic, I just saw the previews for tonight’s episode.
The Guidos leave the Pit Stop at 12:32 a.m. and consider themselves to be the godfathers of the race; they are tough, fast and ruthless. And, here’s the kicker, they don’t want to be minimized because they are two gay men who live together. AAAAGH! Please, for the love of all that is holy, please stop making the race about the need to create a statement for gay people everywhere! Being gay is not a handicap. This race isn’t about who is or is not gay; it’s about who can or cannot make the right decisions and excel at semi-challenging tasks. And it’s about who can get the fastest cabbie. And it’s about Rob. It’s always about Rob.
The next maddening twosome to begin the leg are Danielle and Eric. It’s 12:33 a.m. Another day begins where Danielle is trying to grasp the concept that there are fundamental differences between men and women. Eric just smiles blankly and pets her hair.
At 12:34 a.m. Joyce and Uchenna, the only racers to taste TAR victory, leave the mat. Actually, I don’t think they leave the mat until 12:37. Joyce takes a few minutes to remind Uchenna that she’s in charge and will not put up with him challenging her authority.
Pop Quiz! Uchenna’s most appropriate response to Joyce’s reminder is . . . A. “Shut up, beeyotch, before I bust a cap in you!” B. “Huh?” C. “Dear, you promised me you wouldn’t do this on national television.” D. “Yes, oh Mistress of my nights and Goddess of my days.”
While Uchenna gets his daily dose of discipline, Eric and Danielle listen in on locals giving the Guidos directions to the church. This peeves Bill just a little bit, and he stands in front of E&D’s car at the church so they can’t drive away and take advantage of his hard work. Whatever! I’m glad they don’t describe themselves as tough, fast, ruthless and mature. It is also during this time that Romber finds an all night travel agency. Gimme a break. This town is in the middle of nowhere, is roughly the size of my backyard and it has an all night travel agency?! Where are people from San Pedro de Atacama going with such frequency and urgency that they need an all night travel agency? My guess is LA or Miami. Yet another example of how Amber and Rob are the two luckiest people on the planet.
The Beauty Queens leave the Pit Stop at 12:48 a.m., followed closely by Teri and Ian. The teams decide to work together until flight schedules separate them. Teri has to explain to Ian that “working together” doesn’t include lewd fringe benefits.
The Girl with the Persecution Complex and her similarly minded cousin leave at 12:54 a.m. And in the words of Forrest Gump, that’s all I have to say about that.
At 12:55 a.m., Dave and Mary, lamenting the absence of the Cho Bros and the presence of the Schmirnas, head out. One question: Are the Kentuckians on this show because of the Rupert Effect? Somewhat weird + Oddly endearing = Ratings bonanza? If you’re filling out a Nielsen Survey in the near future, please suggest that producers stop this terrifying trend.
All the teams eventually find their way to the airport. It’s still the middle of the night and, big surprise, all the ticketing agents are home in their beds. Some teams settle down to sleep and one team, one guess who, already has tickets for a flight arriving in Puerto Montt at 12:55 p.m. Joyce and Uchenna, having previously received a million Bruckheimer bucks and wanting more, decide to bail on the ZZZs and find a hotel with internet access. They very generously offer to buy tickets for the Guidos, Cha-Chas and Eric and Danielle. Once the teams hand over their passports and credit card numbers, the Million Dollar Baby Cravers bolt. Uchenna wants to toss all their competitors’ stuff out the window, but Joyce reminds him that she’s in charge and will make the decisions of when and how to sabotage the other teams. As it turns out, U&J can only buy tickets for themselves and the Guidos because the others neglected to write down their credit card security codes. This is little consolation for the Cha-Chas and Eric and Danielle who vow to exact revenge.
Once the ticketing counters open, there is the usual airport shuffle to find the fastest flight. Charla’s shuffle is somewhat different than everyone else’s as it involves actually going behind the ticket counter and running the computer herself. She explains to the Beauty Queens that this is her God-given right as she doesn’t have God-given height. The agents put everyone on the flight arriving at 1:55 p.m. and tell the teams to wait in the Ugly American Lounge. It is stocked with Big Macs and USA Today. Eric drags his feet and whispers to an exasperated female agent, “We hear you’ve got an earlier flight. Any chance a favor or two would put me on it? Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.” She’s not impressed but is disgusted and puts them on the earlier flight in order to distance herself from them just a little bit faster.
All the teams catch the same flight to Santiago then part ways as Romber, Guidos, Past Winners and the Brainless Duo head to their flight. There is a footrace, won spectacularly by Teri and Ian over Charla and Mirna, to the gate for standby. As Teri tries to communicate with the gate agent, Mirna shows a rare display of gumption and interrupts, trying to get her team on standby first. A fracas ensues with Ian calling for security and Mirna shouting “You don’t own the world, Teri!” No, but she does own the counter, so step off, you hag. Ian points out that Mirna is being rude and she counters with “I took lessons from the king of rude. You!” Note to self: Never hire Mirna as attorney. In the end, this is much ado about nothing as no standby tickets are available.
Pop Quiz: The moral lesson we can learn from the airport confrontation is . . . A. pretty is as pretty does. B. two wrongs don’t make a right. C. it is better to give than to receive. D. watching The Amazing Race for moral lessons is an exercise in futility.
The leading teams arrive in Puerto Montt and hop in their cars for the drive to the fish hatchery. Eric and Danielle dwell on the strange behavior of the Guidos, Romber chants positive affirmations, Joyce and Uchenna try to engage the camera crew in rounds of “Hush Little Baby” and the Guidos work themselves into a tizzy about where Romber might be. Joe is the first to recover and reminds Bill that Rob is not Jesus. I guess that kills all hope that Rob can start his own cult if Rob and Amber: Against the Odds fails to get renewed.
The next clue turns out to be a Roadblock. Who can handle a slippery situation? I think the real question is “Who can handle?” Danielle can’t, but she volunteers anyway and we are subjected to excruciating minutes of “Eeek! I hate fish!” Honey, you have known for hours that you’re going to a fish hatchery. Didn’t you anticipate that any task performed there, whether Detour or Roadblock, would involve fish? Have I insulted her intelligence yet? Can I now? Anyway, the task is to transfer 80 fish from a breeding tank to a holding tank down the hill. Once the tank is mostly empty, racers will be able to read the clue painted on the tank’s bottom. Joe, wanting some steamed flounder with Chilean Chardonnay, jumps in, followed by Uchenna who took his cue from a glowering Joyce. Amber also performs the Roadblock, though without the aural torture provided by Danielle.
Pop Quiz: Match the non-participating partner with his/her words of encouragement. A.Rob B.Joyce C.Bill D.Eric 1. Use your gi-normous saline boobies! 2. Meditate the fish into submission! 3. C'mon sweethaht, grab da flounda! 4. I said to put 6, not 5, 6 fish in each load!
The trailing teams have now arrived in Puerto Montt and are making their way to Metri. Unfortunately Dave and Mary get lost in the mass of roadways around the airport and keep circling the terminal. With sped up footage and the Kentuckians getting our and running around the car, it would be almost Pythonesque. The Beauty Queens, along with Teri and Ian, hire a cabbie to lead them to Metri. I hope they outlaw this soon. Shouldn’t racers be expected to read a doggone map?
Eventually, all the teams do arrive at the fish hatchery and many fish are terrorized. Why do I always get the summary for the episodes that are bound to tick off members of PETA? Our poor piscine friends are being manhandled by greedy Americanos and we’re doing nothing about it. Please, give me a moment to mourn. Okay, I’m done.
As the leading teams are winding down the Roadblock, Danny strips down to his hot pink bikinis and jumps into a breeding tank. This causes Oswald to shout “¡Ay Dios Mio!”, which causes the editors, who think we’re all idiots, to run the English caption “Oh, My God!” Alright, who needed the caption to understand? C’mon, raise your hands. Now whack yourselves over the head with a Spanish/English dictionary. Teri, blessedly free of paper undies, also jumps in, as do Kandice, Dave and Mirna. Dave complains that he’s from Kentucky, a state notorious for being free of rivers and lakes, and knows nothing about water or fish. Dude, I’m from Arizona and I could have done this Roadblock. It’s not like there was a test or anything. Mirna, predictably, freaks out and utters her trademark “This is impossible!”TM multiple times. All the other teams risk falling farther behind the leaders just to laugh at her.
Uchenna finishes first and shares the clue with his leader/partner: Find the sign La Maquina along the river before you enter Petrohue. He is closely followed by the semi-literate Joe, Amberzon and Danielle, whose implants may smell salty for some time to come. As Joyce and Uchenna drive off in the direction she chooses, Romber decides to work with Eric and Danielle. Rob would have us believe that it is his strategy to keep another team close to his side in case things end in a footrace. He does know that Eric is fit and Danielle isn’t 70, right? And then there are the Guidos. Joe should have been more careful about writing down his clue, because they ended up getting lost.
Pop Quiz: What exactly were the Guidos looking for as they drove all over Chile? A. La Maquina River near the town of Maquina in Estado Maquina, Chile Maq. B. Bill correctly translated “la maquina” to “the machine” and they were looking for Xeroxes, IBMs or Apples. C. The other half of their clue. D. Another team to bail them out.
Rob and Amber are the first to find the next clue and it is a Detour: Vertical Limit or River Wild. Vertical Limit involves a 40 foot rock climb and rappel. No one chooses it. Everyone goes for River Wild which requires teams to backtrack 2 miles, then whitewater raft 2½ miles. Teams will then receive their clue and a ride back to their cars. Amber is afraid of dying on the river but is dragged along by her husband. E&D and J&U follow suit.
Kandice finishes the Roadblock, quickly followed by Dave. Wow! Dave and Mary have 3 teams behind them. It’s looking good for the Kentuckians despite the fact that they don’t have the Chos to lean on! And then it looks bad again. You know how all of us hate back seat drivers and generally tell them to shut the heck up? Yeah, Dave doesn’t do that. When he passes the road sign to Petrohue, Mary tells him to keep going. He doesn’t challenge her. I guess it’s because he has to live with her. Anyway, it’s at about this point that the Kentuckians should have started to pray for a fan favorite $1 million consolation prize.
Teri is now out of the fish tank. Can I hear a “Hoo-rah!”? I’m a bit shocked at how much I like Teri and Ian this time around. Anyone with me? They are followed by a shivering Danny who is forced to promise Oswald that he will do more cardio at the country club gym. Danny asks, “Who’s Cardio? Is he new?” Mirna, who can no longer hear the snickering of her competitors, realizes that she’s in dead last place. She starts tossing fish into the crate and asking, “Amigo, why you no go into the basketo easy?” It’s so nice to be Mirna. Even the fish are her amigos.
Back to the Guidos. As previously mentioned, Joe neglected to write down the entire clue. They’ve been driving aimlessly and are fortunate to run across the only other team that’s as aimless as they are: Mirna and Charla. Both teams agree to pay a local man for directions ($50 US), but he is pretty aimless too. He leads them to the local policia amigos and they all pretend to take urgent phone calls so as not to deal with the Lost Children of S.U.D.A.N. (Seriously Under-Developed Ability to Navigate). So sad, but then so funny when Mirna clues Joe in that he doesn’t have all the facts. She looks at him like he rides the short bus to school, then you can tell that her brain switches into I’m-such-an-idiot-to-help-the-opposition mode. She figures she’s just not cutthroat enough for this game while the Guidos have an epiphany, decide she’s a godsend and determine to thank Rob at the next available opportunity. Cult back on!
At the Detour, Rob and Amber are already way downstream when the rafting guides get a surprise visit from Misses California and New York. The Beauty Queens are surprised too when they realize that there is no Detour and they apparently have to look for the clue while rafting. Good luck with that. Eric and Danielle, and Past Winners Joyce and Uchenna, also float downstream, but no amount of rowing power is going to help them catch Romber. They are first to finish the Detour, death free, and find the last clue. They are directed 3½ miles to Playa Petrohue and the loving arms of Phil and his Chilean sidekick, who (for those who didn‘t watch the show) is a little person. The last task of the leg is to participate in a responsive poetic reading.
Phil: Rob and Amber, you’re the first to arrive. I give you two gyms to help keep you alive. Rob and Amber: This really is a great gift, you know. But we already won 8 on another show.
Phil: Joyce and Uchenna, you’re in second place. I give you this child to enjoy after the race. Joyce and Uchenna: Phil, you dolt, he’s a man fully grown. We want flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone.
Phil: Eric and Danielle, rejoice in placing third. I think you are vulgar and I flip you the bird. Eric and Danielle: When we see that gesture, we rarely mind. However, today we respond in kind.
Meanwhile, the Cha-Chas are followed by Teri and Ian to the rafting starting point. After suiting up in protective gear, their guide tells the older duo that if they do fall in the river, they are not to panic. Foreshadowing alert! Of course Teri ends up falling off the raft and spending some quality time contemplating death. She is rescued, after a truly terrifying commercial break, and she and Ian head off to the Pit Stop.
Pop Quiz: Upon reflection, Teri states that falling out of the boat was exciting, then adds . . . A. until my paper undies started making spit balls between my thighs. B. but it would have been more exciting if I was holding Mirna under the boat. C. look what I’m married to. I need a little excitement! D. now I know the freedom that those poor flounder never will know. I’m calling PETA!
Right about now, more teams begin pouring into the Pit Stop.
Phil: Dustin and Kandice, you’re missing a clue. Have we ever had racers as stupid as you? Dustin and Kandice: Try running this race without your stylists, hack! We’ll fetch the clue, we’ll be right back.
Phil: Dustin and Kandice, you’ve lost no time. You’ll be in 4th place after this rhyme. Dustin and Kandice: Thanks for nothing. Now get bent. If you want us later, we’ll be in our tent.
Phil: Oswald and Danny, your placement is five. Over whom will you park those sports cars you drive? Oswald and Danny: We think eliminating the Guidos will take us far. We want to be the Kings of the Queens of TAR!
Phil: Teri and Ian, you are in sixth place now. It is time to relax and grab some chow. Teri and Ian: We cannot relax, not even with lots of booze. We’ll take some downtime when Mirna and Charla lose.
Charla and Mirna are now racing the Guidos, trying to avoid the “E” word. The cousins manage to beat the older guys into a boat and finish the detour ahead of them. There are some very awkward moments while Charla and Mirna apologize to the local amigo about being in their bathing suits. What’s even more awkward is that Mirna has lost the car keys and must now search out Chile’s criminal element to hot-wire the car. During the confusion, the Guidos gleefully zip out of the parking lot, cracking open a bottle of bubbly and their back fender as they go.
What neither team knows, is that the Kentucky Kouple drove halfway home before turning around and choosing to finish the race. They debate the detour, and though Mary isn’t thrilled with the idea of drowning in Chile (though from Dave's smile at this, you know he wouldn't mind), they take the River Wild. Mary must be sedated by her river guide after she goes through a psychotic episode and attacks him with her oar. The tranquilizer quickly takes effect and she limply bounces down the Class 3 and 4 rapids, strapped as she is to the prow of the raft.
Phil: Coming into seventh place are the intrepid Guidos. There’s a lake behind me. Are you wearing Speedos? Joe and Bill: Phil, you naughty boy, we’ll never tell. Now we must thank Rob, or we’ll burn in hell.
And now we’re down to it. The obligatory cliffhanging, who-will-make-it-in-the-nick-of-time montage. I don’t know why Bruckheimer insists on doing this. He never surprises anyone who has remained lucid during the previous 59 minutes of television, minus commercials of course. We always know who comes in next-to-last and, by deduction, who “may be eliminated from the race”.
Phil: Charla and Mirna, you’re lucky number eight. You have an amazing talent for inspiring hate. Charla and Mirna: We don’t know what you’re talking about, amigo. We remain pure-hearted and kind wherever we go.
Phil: Dave and Mary, I’m delighted to tell you you’re last. The chance for $1 million now is past. Dave and Mary: I’ll speak for Mary as she’s high-flyin’. We love our hillbilly family and I ain’t lyin’.
Aww, now isn’t that sweet. I’m really torn about the elimination of Dave and Mary. The sensitive side of me wishes they could have won because there is no other team that needs the cash as much as these two do. On the other hand, the side of me that relies on my sense of hearing is greatly relieved that thick Kentucky accents will no longer be a part of my viewing experience.
Next time on The Amazing Race: Charla and Mirna get into a fight over a cab with Rob and Amber. I bet no one saw this coming when All-Stars casting was announced. And Phil promises that there will be an ending that everyone will be talking about. But I don’t feel like talking about it. And that’s all she wrote . . . Maybe Katie Couric should try out that line at the end of CBS Evening News. It might boost ratings. But I won’t make any money off the idea. So, let’s try it again. “And that’s all she wrote . . .”TM