The Amazing Race Recap
Gorilla? Gorilla? Gorilla?
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
March 29, 2009

Yes, we still want to throttle the one on the right for Nacho Libre.

Previously on the Amazing Race: The worst team was eliminated, and it was about damn time. With Christie & Jodi gone, nature abhors a vacuum, so someone else will have to become grossly inept in their absence. Our vote is for the stuntmen.

As we start today's leg, the only thing that is certain is that Tammy & Victor are the class of this season. One unfortunate evening in Transylvania aside, they have been dominant, finishing in the top three in five out of six legs thus far. The only other rock solid team has been the mother/son combination of Margie & Luke, who have never finished lower than fourth in a leg. All of the other remaining teams are suspect to some degree. Let's just say that if there was an Amazing Race bracket, Tammy & Victor would be all four one seeds rolled up into one.

Meanwhile, the stuntmen would be in the NIT and their scouting report would say that they lack height. Oh, come on. We hadn't made that joke all year. You have to give us one.

Tammy & Victor are first out 10:21 a.m. and are instructed to fly almost 2,000 miles to Phuket, Thailand. Once there, they must use a photo of what appears to be a King Kong statue to try to figure out where they're supposed to go next. (Remember when Peter Jackson made that movie and everyone was excited about it?) Depending on what time the flight or various flights depart, the producers may have a difficult time bunching teams this leg. We like the idea of the gorilla photo as an additional element of puzzle solving. Phil tells us that the players will discover this clue at the Phuket Zoo, making us wonder how many if any teams will immediately guess that. Our first guess would have been to look for Universal Studios: Thailand.

In a random turn of events, Tammy reveals that she has vacationed in Phuket, Thailand. She was sheltered on the trip, though, as her parents wouldn't let her out of their sight.

Out in second place are father/son team Mel & Mike, and they depart at 10:50 a.m., about a half hour behind the leaders. We go back to visit Victor & Tammy as they go to buy their airplane tickets to Phuket, and they are informed that the earliest flight will arrive at 8:50 a.m. the following morning. Uh, yeah. There's gonna be bunching.

The other four times of departure are 11:02 a.m. for sisters Kisha & Jen, 11:03 a.m. for mother/son tandem Margie & Luke, 11:04 a.m. for cheerleaders Jaime & Cara, and then 11:11 a.m. for Mark & Michael. It pains us to admit this, but given these times, it's clear that the flight attendants would have finished at least third if not second in the last leg if they weren't required to do the speed bump.

And as we figured, every single team is on the same flight into Phuket. So now it's a real race for them to determine what the heck is up with the gorilla and make their way to the zoo. The immediate impact of the bunching is that the last place team is the first one out of the airport in Phuket. This irks us to no end, because they suck. It would be like resetting the NBA standings today and having only the next few games determine who gets in the playoffs.

The show takes this opportunity to remind us how vile Jaime & Cara can be. First, they belittle everyone on the planet who has the audacity to speak a language other than English, then Jaime decides that she will teach their cab driver, Sak, what a "race" means. To her, a foreigner driving a taxi could not possibly understand such high level concepts. We're a little bit disappointed that she doesn't break out a portable DVD player and show him The Fast and the Furious, just to clarify.

Tammy & Victor's taxi situation is quite a bit better. Their driver's name is Mr. Bandit, who presumably has a long way to go and a short time to get there. Mel & Mike, meanwhile, have a fair amount of trouble even hailing a cab.

Answering our earlier questions, absolutely no teams are able to guess the clue on their own, so they're forced to turn to the locals to determine where they might find a gorilla. We're a bit disappointed no one directs them to a government building. All of the teams except Mel & Mike learn that the zoo is their destination, while the father/son team is headed off on their own to some beach, hoping beyond hope that they've made the right call.

Once at the zoo, teams must have their photo taken with a tiger, then they are instructed to go lay on the ground while elephants walk and squat over them. Amusingly, the tiger trainer is missing an arm, which a few of the teams notice with some consternation.

Having watched Bachelor Party too many times, we can't help but bust out laughing as one of the elephants in the elephant show makes Michael his girlfriend. It serves him right for presenting. The video is sooooooo much worse than that vastly overrated wardrobe malfunction. It's like a real-life furry convention. We fully expect Kevin Smith to use this in his next film.

As all the teams are shown completing the task, a quick edit verifies that Mel & Mike are still lost. We think they're as much as an hour behind already and will have to work hard to avoid elimination, presuming this isn't a useless non-elimination round. We're not really sure how they got in this predicament. They saw the other teams headed to the zoo and chose to go the other way. Even if the other teams turned out to be wrong, they would have guaranteed that they'd be with the pack.

With this task completed, teams must make their way to a herb shop, where they have to choose random drawers of herbs in hopes that their next clue will be there. There's an element of memory involved, as it's important to keep track of which numbered drawer has already been selected. Karma is in full effect during this Price Is Right-esque game. Jaime's ill will for all foreigners gets her into trouble when she starts screaming at the man in charge of the store, demonstrating no composure whatsoever as she berates him. This causes the man to be paranoid about making sure he picks the correct drawer for her. She wanted him to be more decisive, but her behavior has led to the opposite effect. Despite being the first team to arrive at the herb shop, they are the fifth team to find their clue, getting passed (in order) by Mark & Michael, Kisha & Jen, Margie & Luke and then Tammy & Victor. Through no skill of their own, Mel & Mike have just shaved a few minutes out of their time deficit.

The Detour has teams choose between either pumping up the wheel on a rickshaw and then pulling a teammate through the streets to a park or going to a boat and hefting up some barrels and filling them with water. Mark & Michael actually do something fairly tricksy here, as they put all of the repair equipment in one box in an effort to make the challenge more difficult for the teams that are behind them. In fact, this action causes the other teams to *miss* the repair portion of the challenge entirely, for some reason. The stunt men also decide that they'll have their cab driver lead them to the park with the next clue, especially since they're paying him regardless. Along with Mark & Michael, Victor & Tammy, Jaime & Cara and Margie & Luke choose the rickshaw challenge. Kisha & Jen select the fish stacking, and presumably Mel & Mike are doing the same now that they have finally found their clue at the herb shop. Once teams finish these challenges, they are to go to the Pit Stop.

Remember what we said about Mark & Michael being tricksy? Yeah, about that. The stuntmen arrive at the Pit Stop in first place, but are informed by Phil that they will incur two 30 minute penalties. The first is for tampering with the repair equipment and hiding it from the other teams (oops!) and the second is for paying their cab driver to help them (oops again!). Seriously, though, you couldn't expect these guys to actually win this leg that easily! Their bumbling had to come into play at some point. They're master bumblers, after all. They've had the goofy music in past episodes to prove it and their favorite movie is The Pink Panther. They think it's autobiographical.

If we were Victor & Tammy, we'd mail them a box of wrenches and bicycle pumps as a thank you/gloat gift. Mark & Michael's error(s) mean that the brother/sister team is able to finish in first place (again), and they are awarded a trip to Oahu. The best part is that Mark & Michael only had about fourminutes of penalty time left. Ha ha ha!

And then, with a minute left on their penalty clock, Jaime & Cara arrive at the Pit Stop mat. This means that Mark & Michael are team number three. As you can probably surmise from the information we've given you here, the top three teams have less than five minutes dividing them. Margie & Luke aren't too far behind, either.

Speaking of Margie & Luke, Margie is in terrible shape. After commenting that Thailand is the hottest place she's ever been, she begs for water when she arrives at the Pit Stop. What does this mean? It means that it takes Phil as long as possible to sign that they have finished in fourth place, which allows Margie to go deeper into her heat stroke. In fact, she all but passes out once he tells them their placement, and it's a pretty scary situation. It allows us to be irritated with someone besides the stuntmen for a couple of moments.

We go back to the boat where Kisha & Jen and Mel & Mike are battling for fifth place, but frankly we don't care. We really just want to know that Margie's okay. Kisha & Jen finish the task first and there is some editing to try to make us think that Mel & Mike aren't the last place team, but we aren't buying it. At least the father/son team kept up some great spirits in their journey to the end. Their positive attitude was refreshing, but they were still annoying.

Meanwhile, as far as we know, Margie is dead. They never bothered to show us what happened after her scary incident. It's okay, though. We're informed that The 44th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards show will pre-empt The Amazing Race next week, leaving us to wonder about her welfare for awhile. The good news for us is that it keeps us from having to watch Mark & Michael be stupid for 14 whole days! God bless you, Rascal Flatts.