While "The Amazing Race" stayed put in Chile for leg two of Season 23, the teams were all over the map emotionally — grumpy, competitive, exhausted to tears, bossy, aggressive, snarky, sad, confused, disappointed, and ultimately (for nine pairs anyway) extremely thrilled. Sadly, we had to say goodbye to one of the wittiest and most likable duos of the season.
Here's how it all went down:
Stay in Line: As the winners of the last leg, the Exes, Tim and Marie, got to push off from the pit stop first at 2:52 a.m. to look for the Museo Corbeta Esmeralda, a re-created floating War of the Pacific relic on whose deck the day's officer would post the next clue. Typical of wee-hours-of-the-morning starts, they arrived to a closed attraction, and as their competitors showed up, Marie took it upon herself to start barking orders about forming a line in arrival order. "We have a backpack system. No one is jumping in front of us." The others did not take kindly to her demands; Jamal told the camera, "Someone made Pinky and No Brain the captain of the line." NFLer Ephraim's choice words had to be bleeped out when they butted heads, but his basic premise was "You don't make the rules."
When the time came, it was chaos as they ran to the poster that explained they'd have to repeat in Spanish the phrase Chilean national hero Arturo Prat uttered before the Esmeralda sank. The Beards, playing much smarter than on the first episode, used their Spanish skills to ask a local and were the first off the ship after reciting, "Charge the ship, men!" Marie, very upset over having lost the lead and taking it out on her partner already, dangled the extra Express Pass at the Beards so they told her to ask someone out front, which became the go-to strategy.
Uneasy as Riding a Bike: The clue instructed racers to head to the Irlanda Salt Mines, the world's largest supplier of the spice, where they had to hop on bikes and pedal out to the Detour. Sound easy? Several players, including Boston Amy, ice queen Ashley, and bingo queen Rowan had issues, but none more so than doc Nicole. NFL gave her gear tips, and her husband tried to steady her, but the birthday girl still took at least one nasty spill. Doc Travis encouragingly said, "Just 'cause you're turning 40 doesn't mean you can be an old lady."
Rock for Ages: The Detour choice was mining or brining. Mining required racers to stake and sledgehammer through giant chunks of the white salt until they freed a clue. In brining, teams had to fill freshwater pools with enough heavy bags of salt until they could comfortably float and read the paper. The Beards were the first to Hulk-smash their way to Detour completion, even though they feared the NFLers could "break it over their knee" or "bite it open."
Boston Strong, despite being cold and choosing to wear undies that were part codpiece and part bike shorts, floated to the first finish at brining. Marie scoffed at girls who were carting one bag at a time and then bought back some of the lead by carrying two or three at a time. She also took the opportunity to scold Tim for being stupid some more. And yet again baseball wife Kim was pushed to her limits, crying and in need of a hug.
League of Their Own: Next up was a 1,000-mile bus ride to Santiago to search for the next clue in the Plaza de Armas. A handful of teams scored tickets for the bus at 1:30 p.m., while others were forced on the 2 p.m., which took 24 hours and made a ton of stops. When the Afghanimals tried to use their Spanish skills to secure their "race wives," the ice queens, tickets on the earlier bus, Pinky (aka Marie) pounced once again. While on bus two, Kim and Tim deduced he'd played college ball with her husband, and a spoken Express Pass deal left them grinning from ear to ear. Marie felt safe making a deal with a team she knew they could beat and added the caveat "unless someone else saves our lives, which I don't think they're going to because everyone hates us."
Storage Wars: One member had to perform an acceptable shoeshine, collect all the pieces, pack up the portable stand the correct way, and then return it to the boss down the street for the Road Block. It was harder than it looked, as items constantly fell off and were heavy, players regularly crashed into pedestrians, and Marie looked like she might kill her unhappy customer. Afghanimal Leo and NFLer Chester were neck and neck, but Chester repacked the cart correctly and received the first clue to the pit stop at an Andes nature resort.
Animal Detraction: The Afghanimals found their way to Phil first, but because they couldn't be checked in until they settled their taxi bill, the NFLers slid into first and won a VIP trip to the Turks & Caicos. Jamal blamed Leo and threw shade on his alma mater. "C'mon USC brains, calculate the local currency. Be a man. Let's hope we can learn from this." Phil seemed taken aback by the fire behind Jamal's outburst, as the local welcomer, who looked like he was the Beards' long-lost brother, was probably thanking his lucky stars for the language barrier.
Unlucky Be the Ladies: It was just not the bingo queens' day. Their taxi got lost and made them the last to arrive at the salt mines. There was a mix-up when buying bus tickets. They'd thought they'd found a faster Santiago bus and made a big production to not arouse suspicion. Unfortunately, incorrect information led to them arriving about 20 minutes after the bus two patrons. When they encountered the rest of the teams in the shoeshine area, it looked like they could still get back in it. But when Baseball Nicky left the mat behind and Marie refused to hand over the pass because she thought, "What do I gain? Nothing that they had to offer helped," there was hope once again. That too was dashed when Rowan asked to borrow a non-race-affiliated shiner's kit and walk him to the return.
By the time he'd finished the task correctly, they were the last to arrive on Phil's mat. He did work in a few snarky comments about Marie, like calling her "El Diablo," before being Philiminated. They are to be commended for walking away arm in arm and having a generally pleasing attitude about losing. Shane said, "You can't have great success without great failure."
"The Amazing Race" airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on CBS.
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