The Amazing Race Season 17, Episode 9
There’s a Lot of Nuts and Bullets
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
November 22, 2010

They're reading the music for All Glory to Tebow.

Previously on Amazing Race, we had a very boring episode overall despite an engagement and some minor blowups. Since we’re filling in for Daron tonight, we’ll go ahead and say that this season of The Amazing Race seems to be suffering from the same problem that Survivor does – there’s just no one to root for. We suppose that doctors Nat & Kat can have our vote of confidence. Kiss of death activated.

P.S. We don’t mean to sound bitter, but we’re sitting at home watching The Amazing Race while Daron and his family are at a place billed as The Happiest on Earth. Just wait until Phil Keoghan steps out from behind a corner and tells you about your Speed Bump, Mr. Aldridge.

Our teams are starting this leg in Muscat, Oman, with Chad & Stephanie out of the gate first at 11:10 a.m. They might have overslept last time, but not this week. You’d think with being newly engaged that it might have been the other way around. Our bold prediction: they’re about to join the Mile High Club.

Their clue instructs them that they will be heading to Dhaka, Bangladesh. Once there, they will proceed by plane to Sundarban Square Supermarket, which appears to be some sort of outdoor Sam’s Club. They will then have to use a press, which will squeeze sugarcane into a mug of juice. One of the teammates will have to drink the juice before they can receive their next clue.

Chad & Stephanie note that they know there is a double U-Turn coming up, and say that they have agreed that they will choose to penalize Nat & Kat, who are indeed probably the strongest threat in our opinion.

Next out are Jill & Thomas, who believe that they are the most threatening team and think that Chad & Stephanie would almost certainly U-Turn them given the opportunity. How cute. Of course, then in third place we have the tattooed bikers Nick & Vicki, who also belive…ha. No, they don’t. Obviously, they have to be dumbfounded that they’re still in this thing. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.

Upon arriving at the airport, Chad & Stephanie head straight to a travel agent to book the earliest possible flight. Jill & Thomas walk into the agency shortly thereafter, so we know the teams are pretty closely knotted.

Team HSN Brook & Claire are next out, two and a half hours or so behind Chad & Stephanie. One thing we are learning by watching them as the race goes on is that makeup is very important for Jewelry Television hosts. They’re followed by Nat & Kat in last place. While Jill & Thomas beg for an earlier flight than noon, Chad & Stephanie decide they’d rather just go get a cheeseburger and a blizzard.

Nat & Kat have decided that they will fly to Dubai and see what they can find when they arrive at that airport. Jill & Thomas’s perseverance has paid off, as they have found a flight that will leave at 5 a.m. instead of the noon that the three other teams are on. They celebrate, which clues in Team HSN that there is an earlier flight. It doesn’t matter, though, because they got the only seats available. That might just be a million dollar cheeseburger and blizzard combo for Chad & Stephanie. What a bitch of an exchange rate.

Nick & Vicki are scrambling now, too. They find a flight through Dubai that would land them in Dhaka at 8:40 a.m. The agent tells them there is only one seat, but soon they find out that they have gotten seats after all. So, we have at least two teams ahead of Chad & Stephanie. Also, they take those two seats right out from under Team HSN, who is stuck with Team Almost Married.

When the doctors arrive in Dubai, they’re able to get a flight routed through Mumbai, India that will get them to Dhaka at noon. Worst-case scenario is that they are tied.

So, Jill & Thomas arrive at their prescribed location in an easy first place. They quickly fill up a mug with sugar juice, and Thomas chugs it. The clue sends them to their Detour, which makes them choose between Balanced Meal and Balanced Bricks. Meal makes them carry 30 containers of a snack to the deck of a ship, then return with the empty containers to get the next clue. Bricks instructs them to deliver 100 bricks on top of their head without breaking them. Jill & Thomas choose bricks, which seems harder, but who knows?

Well, she instantly drops her first load, so perhaps it is the tougher choice. It doesn’t matter when you’re that far in the lead, though, and they get their next clue with relative ease. Next, they must go to Dhaka River port,

Nat & Kat are relieved when they see two other teams at their airport, and Team HSN is happy to see them as well. They have a semi-alliance, so everything is back in order and right with the world.

Back over to Jill & Thomas, they arrive at the U-Turn and choose to put Team HSN on the board for the extra task, as they perceive them as the biggest threat. At what, getting watermelon slung in their face? Regardless, we know now that Team HSN, which should be one of the last three teams to arrive, is at a distinct disadvantage. Now the two of them must go on to Nazira Bazaar via rickshaw.

“If they U-Turn us, they are the biggest idiots in the world,” say Brook and Claire. We don’t know; the bikers are still in the game.

For the Roadblock, Jill & Thomas will need to assemble a rickshaw using the parts provided. Jill bitches about being sweaty, but seems to handle the task pretty well.

Remember Nick & Vicki? They’ve arrived at the sugarcane portion of the leg, and Nick, true to form, complains about stinky people, the difficulty of the task, and the horrible taste of the sugarcane juice.

Over at the rickshaw building camp, Jill has everything done except for the chain, and has to figure out what she’s done wrong.

Nick & Vicki are choosing Balanced Meal for the Detour, and complain more about the odor of the area. Nick is pretty much this pleasant all the time.

Jill has figured out that it was the chain that was missing, and she and Thomas are now headed for the Pitstop of Lalbagh Fort. This has been an incredibly dominant performance for the two of them, with a surprising lack of arguing between the two of them. For their efforts, they receive congratulations from Phil, along with a $15,000 Discover gift card, which seems pretty appropriate given their fabulous work this leg.

The sugarcane task has the three tailing teams neck and neck, so they’re all in a hurry to get to the next task with the hope of being first to U-Turn someone else.

Nick & Vicki have unloaded all their containers of snacks, and are now lowering their containers back to the boat. Nick tells Vicki to be sure to count them, and her mood continues to be outstanding. In fact, it carries over to their arrival at the U-Turn, where she and Nick discuss who to stall. In the end, she decides that they’re already far enough in the lead that this isn’t necessary. Nick grudgingly agrees, but even he is impacted by her positive spirit.

Nat & Kat are delivering food, and note that they had packed some contraptions in their packs, including some straps, which they use to link up their containers to get them in and out of the boat more quickly. While they do this, Team HSN arrives on the scene for the same task.

In a drop from first to last, Chad & Stephanie went the wrong way and are now lost. Nick is assembling the rickshaw, which does seem like it should be right in his wheelhouse. Let’s see if he kills it or if he finds himself frustrated by an obscure detail. In fact, he misses the chain, just like Jill, but figures it out after a little encouragement from Vicki.

Nat & Kat have blown through their task and are now are their way forward. They U-Turn Chad & Stephanie, who will now be stuck fighting it out with Team HSN as they will both have to complete an extra task. Team HSN is pretty pissed at Jill & Thomas for, you know, playing the game. They’re off to complete the Bricks portion of the Detour, while Chad & Stephanie appear to have forgotten the second part of the Balanced Meal challenge, which is to return to the original location with the empty containers.

Nick & Vicki arrive at the Pitstop mat second, and are proving to be far more formidable than we would ever have expected. Vicki notes that being nice pays off, and Nick glumly agrees. The good news is that Chad & Stephanie, his choice for the U-Turn, has been U-Turned anyway.

Over at the rickshaw station, Nat is building her rickshaw, saying that she’s crafty and smart, and that the task is like assembling something from IKEA.

Team HSN is working the Brick challenge, and Chad & Stephanie are lost. They arrive at the U-Turn station, where Chad says, “Yeah, Brook and Claire!” upon seeing that team’s picture. Then…he sees his face plastered up there as well. The two of them realize they’re in some trouble.

Both teams argue through the Bricks challenge, with the frustration of realizing they might be eliminated getting the better of them. Chad yells at Stephanie, and she tells him to “shut the hell up.” I’m sure that’s what she envisioned saying on the day after their engagement, wondering what their wedding will be like.

Brook & Claire get to the rickshaw station and Nat & Kat are still there. The wheels are missing from the doctors’ rickshaw when Chad & Stephanie arrive on the scene. Chad yells over to Nat, “How’s that PhD helping you?”

“For the record, I have an MD. I do not have a PhD,” says Nat in her confessional.

She gets her wheels completed, and tells the other teams “Good luck.”

It’s down to the last two teams, who are actually really close in the rickshaw competition. Stephanie is struggling with the seat, while Brook or Claire (we’re not sure which one is which, honestly) is unable to fit the bell to the contraption. They finish at virtually the same time, if editing isn’t misleading us, so it’s a genuine footrace to the end. And in fact, they see each other on the street, so it will actually come down to whoever can run the fastest.

Nat & Kat arrive on the mat, where Phil quizzes them about the U-Turn. They say they have no regrets, and they shouldn’t, because doing so might just have kept them from being eliminated.

Ultimately, Brook & Claire arrive at the mat first, just beating out Chad & Stephanie, who seem resigned to their fate. Phil informs them that they have been eliminated, and asks if they were surprised by the U-Turn. They say they knew it was a possibility, but Chad at least comments how happy they are to have come away from the race as a stronger couple – and future husband and wife. The moral of the story? Never stop for a cheeseburger and a blizzard. It’s not worth it.