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CBS's 'The Amazing Race 7' Indian leg ends with unfinished business


By Andrea Sellers, 04/13/2005 

The Amazing Race viewers have gotten used to a formula during the past seven seasons of the series. The typical episode ends with teams being greeted at the finish line by host Phil Keoghan and a local. At least until last night's CBS broadcast of The Amazing Race 7's eighth episode.

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The Amazing Race 7's eighth leg began in Botswana, with all remaining five teams signing up for the same charter flight to Francistown, despite a 3-hour difference in start times between leaders Rob Mariano and Amber Brkich and last place team Meredith and Gretchen Smith. Departing the Pit Stop, the teams were told that the show's pre-arranged flight reservations would get them as far as Mumbai, India (also known as Bombay), but that the team's themselves would be responsible for arranging their travel to their ultimate destination of Lucknow.

Arriving in Francistown, the team's pounced on the airport's sole ticket agent -- only to have the overwhelmed woman tell them that she'd need an hour to issue their pre-arranged tickets. While waiting outside, Alex Ali and Lynn Warren managed to borrow a cell phone and arrange Lucknow flights for themselves, Meredith and Gretchen, and Uchenna and Joyce Agu, but not the "frontrunning" teams of Rob and Amber or Ron Young and Kelly McCorkle. Asked by Meredith why he was willing to book flights for other teams, Lynn explained that he wanted them to be in the finals together.

Witnessing Alex booking tickets via telephone, Rob and Ron headed back into the airport, where Rob persuaded the agent to book their Lucknow tickets prior calling all of the other teams back inside for their Mumbai tickets. Rob's strategy once again worked, resulting in the foursome managing to find a flight that was scheduled to arrive in Lucknow five minutes before the flight that Alex had booked.

After purchasing their tickets, Ron lamented that his team's decision to ally with "Romber" would likely affect their friendships with the other racers. Feeling that the alliance was going to "make them a target" of the three other teams, Ron suggested to Kelly that "we gotta cut it off and quit talkin' to them." However Kelly disagreed, telling Ron that "you have to keep your enemies closer."

Both flights arrived in Lucknow within 10 minutes of each other, leaving the racers to haggle for prepaid cabs to take them to the temple where they had to search for their next clue. Rob and Amber’s good luck held as Ron and Kelly’s cab stopped for gas, allowing the former Survivor contestants to regain first place. Meanwhile, among the three teams on the later flight, Uchenna and Joyce gained a slight advantage over the other two by negotiating their cab fare inside the airport and avoiding the chaotic scene outside the airport. After donning head coverings and walking through the temple grounds to Bouli, the teams found the clue instructing them to travel three miles by horse-drawn tonga to the Korinoor Steel Emporium.

Once they arrived at the Steel Emporium, teams encountered the second of The Amazing Race 7's three Yields. Each team has the option of using the yield once during the race to force a team behind them to wait at the designated spot for a predetermined length of time before continuing with the competition. Ron and Kelly barely beat Rob and Amber to the Yield, only to surprise their opponents by asking them whether or not they should actually use it. Hiding his astonishment well, Rob managed to save his team from a yield by convincing Ron that this is going to be a non-elimination leg and that he should not waste it. In the end, just as in the Yield's first appearance of the season, the team's strategy discussions on who to yield and who might use the yield ended up being nothing more than broadcast filler, with none of the teams deciding use their yield option. In confessional, Rob gleefully exulted that Ron and Kelly did not yield them, while Lynn was amazed to reach the yield and see that Rob and Amber did not yield them.

After the teams were done not yielding each other, they completed the Roadblock, a task that required a "patient member" of each team had to search through 600 tin boxes of various sizes to find one of ten clues hidden inside the boxes. Amber quickly completed the task for her team, leading Kelly and Ron to once again lament their luck as they finished second once more. Alex did a little dance as he quickly completed the Roadblock, but Uchenna managed to stay close behind, keeping her team in fourth place. Only Gretchen struggled with the task, wandering through the maze of boxes for some time and reaching out to Meredith for comfort and support before finally opening the right box and getting a clue.

Once through the Roadblock, teams were told to take bicycle rickshaws to Aishbah. Reflecting back at their earlier decisions during their rickshaw rides, Ron muttered to Kelly how in retrospect, they should have yielded "Romber," while up ahead, Rob laughed at Ron and Kelly’s failure to use the Yield.

Arriving in Aishbah, the team's discovered that the next clue was a Detour, with the teams given the choice between hauling 175 pounds of coal or searching out and delivering tea to five employees in a busy office building in exchange for business cards. While viewers struggled to stay awake during the fascinating task of finding the real "Sharpie," the teams all choose to deliver the tea.

After delivering the tea cart and business cards to the Sharma Tea Center, teams were told to "make [their] way to Phil and the mat" on the roof of Charbaugh Multi Story Flats, causing Amber to comment on how this clue was worded differently from the race's previous Pit Stop clues. Meanwhile, Ron and Kelly’s smooth teamwork once again became unraveled as they disagreed on the appropriate mode of travel, with Ron finally convincing Kelly to get back on the bicycle rickshaw -- only to see them revert to their squabbling ways when Rob and Amber passed them in a taxi. Back in last place, Meredith and Gretchen finally made it to the office building to deliver their tea, with the couple initially handing a tea cup to the wrong man, then taking it back with a "shame on you" reaction after realizing their mistake.

After beating Ron and Kelly to the mat first, Amber's hunch turned out to be correct when she and Rob didn't hear Phil welcome them to the leg's Pit Stop and shower them with yet another first place prize. Instead, their relief turned to astonishment as Phil pulled out a clue and told them "this leg is not over" -- and "to be continued" during next week's broadcast.

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