The Amazing Race Recap
By Daron Aldridge, Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
March 12, 2012

You realize we can't just shoot the other contestants, right?

Well, good folks, your regularly scheduled recap will be conducted by David and Kim in my absence this week.

Three weeks of Amazing Racing behind us and we've lost oblivious sisters, clowns who were in over their rainbow-wigged heads and twins who didn't live up to my expectations. Since we've had an elimination each week, I smell a non-elimination coming up.

Before I turn it over to David and Kim for this week's episode, here are my power rankings.

Border Patrol’s Art & JJ: Here is the new team to beat. It is quite possible that Art& JJ will be leaving for the next leg before Vanessa & Ralph finished the previous one. I guess we will find out in the opening minutes of the episode. Back to the praise...they made the highly difficult Stacked Up task look easy, which only heightened the frustration of the others. Two legs in a row with stellar work and they deserve the top spot in the rankings.

Team Big Brother Brendon & Rachel: Writing this maybe the most painful thing I have had to do since deal with kidney stones in 1998...Bad Rachel & Brendon actually did very well on the last two legs. I hate that they haven't imploded as a team and I don't believe the previews for a second that they will quit. Do I still hate them? YES! Do they deserve to be ranked this high? Begrudgingly...yes. Now, do I hate myself for admitting this? Absolutely. Apparently, not-so-nice guys finish second.

Team Un-Fed Nary & Jamie: While not as dominating as their law enforcement brethren Art & JJ, Nary & Jamie are racing smart and continue to play the innocent school teacher role to come across as non-threatening. Like Border Patrol, Team Un-Fed work effortlessly well together. And that is an important part of succeeding on the Race (unless you're Team Big Brother).

Army of Two Rachel & Dave: While task problems plagued them last week, it just proved they weren't invincible on the race. I refuse to write them off after one bad (mind you, REALLY bad) leg. I need a couple of strong or pathetic showings in a row to convince me to make drastic ranking moves. Because I like them, I hope their last fiasco of a leg was just a one-time stumble and now that it's out of their system, they can get back to the task at hand...beating Team Big Brother.

(tie)Bopper & Mark and Joey “Fitness” & Danny: I know, I know...both teams did extremely well on the last leg but that “fish out of water” vibe they gave me earlier is still in the back of my kind. I truly think either one of these teams is one mental or navigational mistake away from elimination.

dating divorcees Vanessa & Ralph: I wanted them to be so much better but alas, they have gone out of their way to prove me wrong. I must cheer for them because our divorcees are hated by Big Brother and that is reason enough. But last week's repetitive failure at the Detour can't be overlooked. They snuck by the twins because Ralph conquered that last Roadblock quickly, meaning that there is still some fight in there. That is the main reason I put them ahead of...

Kerri & Stacy: Why are they here? Because they haven't done anything special on the race to stand out (good or bad) so I put them in last by default. If they were the same unspectacular team but weren't regularly cooling their heels in the back, then it would be different. But that's not the case. They are my bet for next team eliminated or in last place since I think this will be a non-elimination leg.

All right, I will now hand it over to David and Kim for episode four of the Amazing Race 20. -- Daron Aldridge

Since this will be our only recap of the season, and we hate everything about non-elimination legs as a concept, you can pretty much guarantee that tonight’s episode will be a non-elimination leg.

So far, we’re finding ourselves liking the rednecks from Kentucky – much to our surprise. Also, we haven’t watched five minutes of Big Brother in our lives, so we don’t know why everyone hates Brendon & Rachel. We’ve found them annoying at times, but Vanessa of Vanessa & Ralph was deplorable in her behavior towards Rachel last week. We know Daron is applauding her for it, but for people with no experience whatsoever with “Bad” Rachel, it seems needless and catty. That can’t be the person Vanessa wants to be.

We begin our fourth leg with Art & JJ reading a clue that instructs them to fly to Turin, Italy. It’s a 6,000 mile flight, which means that we’re going to see all these teams be bunched together, giving no one an advantage. Once they arrive, they’re instructed to get in their [insert product placement here] and drive to the Lingotto Building, where they’ll get their next clue.

We’ve been impressed with Art & JJ so far, but then they start talking about how no one else has the intellect to beat them and blah blah blah. It’s like a condensed version of Lebron James’s The Decision. The fact that the guys are surprised they’re going to be bunched tells us all we need to know about that mighty intellect. In their defense, if we had a five-hour lead this early in the race, we wouldn’t’ want bunching, either.

Brendon & Rachel are excited when they get their clue. They’ve been planning their wedding, and say that this could be a preview of their honeymoon. Remember those prophetic words, folks.

FYI: Joey “Fitness” & Danny like women. They spend several moments describing the types of women they like. It’s a long list. There are few exclusions.

Bopper & Mark are excited to be going somewhere “tropical.” Yes, nothing says “the tropics” like the home of the 2006 Winter Olympics. Of course, we feel like jerks when Bopper talks about how he’s running this race because his winnings will help him to fund medicine for his daughter, who has damaged lungs from a coal processing plant near their home. So, uh, go Team Justified!

Fake teachers Nary & Jamie are next out, followed by Dave & Rachel. Kerri & Stacy are right on their heels. All of these teams are within an hour of second place, so the only team truly damaged by the bunching is the Border Agent team.

Team Justified arrives at the airport, not realizing that they were supposed to have gone to a travel agent first to get their tickets. Seeing as how it’s nighttime and the plane doesn’t depart until morning, we think they’re fine, particularly since Art & JJ tell them that they need to go back. It’s a decent move from a couple of guys who had determined last week that they wouldn’t be that nice moving forward.

Vanessa & Ralph are last to depart, and they’re over seven hours behind the first place team. Vanessa continues the snark as she makes snide remarks about Bad Rachel’s attire for the day – a sparkly miniskirt that definitely is strange but not out of character.

Team Justified’s error in not going to the Travel Agent first has definitely impacted them, though, because their flight now arrives in Italy about an hour and 20 minutes later. They get on standby for the earlier flight, but this could be a tough break for them. Fortunately for them, we know this is a non-elimination leg, so everything will be all right for Bopper, Mark and Bopper’s sweet daughter. Right, you jerks at CBS?

“Now I know why Italians hate Americans. We’re idiots.” – Bad Rachel, upon observing Brendon and others attempt to traverse the streets of Italy in their [insert automobile product placement here].

The workout warriors take this opportunity to discuss trust issues in their relationships. One states that he dated an Italian woman and couldn’t trust her, which to his mind means that a population of 60 million people is completely unreliable. His ally (recognizing that this sequence is being filmed), mentions that his girlfriend is also Italian and he trusts her, thereby making sure that he’ll be able to continue having sex with her once this episode airs. Now we know why one of them is single and one is not. However, we still do not know which one is Joey “Fitness” and which one is Danny.

Once the teams arrive at their destination, they have to run up a place that looks like parking garage with several floors, but it’s not that. Apparently, it’s a track to the roof of a building where the Fast Forward task is to land a helicopter on a building. Somewhere, Marcus Pollard just got a chill. Fortunately, this does not involve real aircraft, but rather model copters. Basically, this will turn the contestants into those annoying people you see at the mall kiosks.

Art & JJ immediately go to the Fast Forward. The way the things have been going for them, this helicopter may as well be on autopilot.

Thus, everyone else is doing the Road Block, which requires one person from each team to rappel down the walls of the building and retrieve the clue, then get down to their partner. The catch? The clue has to be retrieved within two minutes. If it is not, they have to climb back to the top and start over.

Interestingly enough, Bad Rachel handles the task easily for Team Big Brother, and Danny (we think) is right alongside her. The clue they grab tells them that they need to find the Museo Nazionale Dell’Automobile. Once there, they must park using the Active Park Assist feature on their [insert product placement here]. They show a sample car parallel parking, and we are betting they had to do 20 takes to get it right.

Once they have parked, they will need to search for a 1916 Tin Lizzie to find their next clue. If you really feel like it, you can Google to find out who makes the Tin Lizzie so you know which product placement you’re missing.

Dave & Rachel arrive to do some rappelling and Dave wonders if maybe they should try the Fast Forward since he is a helicopter pilot and all. Rachel obnoxiously asks him if he really thinks that he’ll be landing a real helicopter and not a toy one. We do not think that distance has made the heart grow fonder for these two. He dismisses her with a wave and goes down to the bottom to wait for her.

Vanessa is just ahead of some other competitors, but she’s having a very tough time getting down the rope. She misses the time limit so she’s got to go back up to the top. The same thing happens to either Nary or Jamie (we don’t know which one of these two is which, either). Rachel uses this opportunity to jump ahead of them, which hopefully will cheer Dave up a little bit. He’s pretty frustrated with her right now, and rightly so.

Joey “Fitness” and Danny are easy to amuse, because they’re thrilled with the ease with which the car helps them to park. Bad Rachel and Brendon are not similarly joyous, because they’re bitching at each other through the whole parking job. It doesn’t seem to take much to set her off, but then again, that just seems to be her personality.

Art & JJ are still having lots of trouble back at the Fast Forward. It’s not so easy to land a helicopter on someone’s head, it seems. Honestly, though, this probably says as much about the design of the helicopter as it does the guy driving it. This should not be a tough challenge, but it seems purposely difficult.

Back at the rappelling line, Jamie (that’s who it is!) has gotten her clue, and though Vanessa has some trouble, she also finishes. Meanwhile, Art & JJ are off to the Pitstop.

Kerri & Stacy have gotten themselves quite a ways behind the other teams, and they’re just now arriving for the Road Block. It seems that Bopper and Mark are not that far behind them, but that could be a function of editing. Either way, it doesn’t matter who finishes in last place, because we know already that this will be a non-elimination round.

Kerri & Stacy are quickly through the Road Block, but Bopper and Mark are lost. It’s probably not a good sign that they now have some goofy music to accompany their escapades.

Bad Rachel is the first person to find the Tin Lizzie, and the clue that they receive for their trouble is a penny. They will need to decipher from a picture on that penny that their next destination is the Mole Antonelianna, where they’ll ride an elevator to the top of the building to find their next clue.

Amusingly, Rachel & Brendon are trying to figure out if they insert the penny in the car somehow, or if there’s a way to release the clue. Brendon takes this opportunity to tell us that he has Bachelors and Masters degrees in Physics, and he’s studying for his PhD in Physics as well. We wait for the punchline, but there’s not one forthcoming. Someone check his LinkedIn page, stat!

“Good” Rachel (and Daron has coined that term, but we truly are using that term loosely here) is the first one to figure out that the penny refers to a landmark. She and Dave get directions and then they fight about the best way to go down a one-way road. Her snotty attitude is really unpleasant, though to be fair he’s also incredibly grumpy and letting things get to him more than they should.

Brendon & Rachel are discussing calling it quits, both on the race and with their engagement. We have a feeling they go through these extremes all the time. She’s…dramatic. Then again, she’s not the one who immediately tosses out the notion of quitting. That’s all Brendon. Basically, anyone who has a Rachel on their team is not getting along at this moment.

Bopper takes on the Road Block, but they are way, way behind right now. Good thing they don't have to worry about finishing last this leg, what with this being a non-elimination and all.

JJ & Art arrive at the Pitstop, and probably got their five-hour lead back. They win $5,000 apiece. With the disintegration of some of the other teams, they’re really looking like the domination.

Joey “Fitness” & Danny are getting along fine, though, and they get to the Mole Antonelianna first. They love the elevator ride and the ladies on the elevator. Maybe they’ll love the Detour, too, which lets them choose between “Clean That Statue” or “Name That Salami.” “Clean That Statue” requires them to…well, clean some statues to the point that some dude says they’re okay. For “Name That Salami,” they must taste 14 distinct salamis, and then travel to a market stand to finish the task by naming their meats.

Joey “Fitness” & Danny and Dave & Rachel both choose the statue task, which sounds like the better way to go to us, too. Vanessa & Ralph follow suit. Brendon & Rachel also are on hand, but they’re still fighting for some reason. Brendon asks her why she even wanted to come on the show, at which point she starts speaking in a tone that we think only dogs can hear.

There’s one thing that can bring the two of them back together, though, and that’s the real enemy. That’s right, they run into “the ogre and the triflin’ ho,” and realize that they should be working together against this force of evil (Ralph & Vanessa) rather than fighting with each other.

Vanessa confidently says, “I bet the green team eats the salami.” O-kay.

The problem with the statue task is that it is nearly impossible to find. Meanwhile, Brendon & Rachel are already at the salami task, tasting that meat. Okay, so the triflin’ ho was right, but at least Brendon & Rachel are working on a task, so they’ve got that going for them, which is nice. Vanessa realizes that they’ve just passed the street where the salami challenge is supposed to be, and wonders if they shouldn’t try it instead.

Dave & Rachel arrive at the statues, followed closely by Vanessa & Ralph and Joey “Fitness” & Danny”. Ralph knocks his statue’s head off, marking the first decapitation in the show’s history. Years after the fact, we find ourselves feeling vaguely disappointed with Rob & Amber.

Moments later, Nary & Jamie get us our second decapitation in the show’s history. If two more heads get knocked off, this show will qualify as an honorary Quentin Tarantino film.

Rachel & Brendon are doing okay on the salami challenge, but since there are so many to get right, they inevitably have to run back to the original store and do some more tasting. They should finish this task fairly quickly, though.

Kerri & Stacy continue their proud tradition of barely being shown on the race. They get their penny. Bopper & Mark are still having a blast. They also find their penny. Neither team has to worry about being eliminated, because as we all know, this is a non-elimination round.

Dave & Rachel finish the statue task and are off to Piazza Castello, which houses today’s Pitstop. For Brendon & Rachel, all of the salami is starting to look alike.

Joey “Fitness” & Danny finish their task, with Vanessa & Ralph close behind.

We now see Dave & Rachel hit the mat in second, which makes Dave happy since he thinks they had a terrible leg. He’s hoping their communication improves, by which he means he hopes Rachel won’t be such a snotty bitch.

Kerri & Stacy arrive for the salami tasting, which thoroughly discourages Rachel. This puts her in freak out mode, and she cries while she tastes the salami. She says she can’t do the race anymore, and Brendon tells her that’s fine. Guys, didn’t you hear? It’s a non-elimination leg. It doesn’t matter where you finish!

Joey “Fitness” & Danny are the third team to arrive, followed by Ralph & Vanessa. We would definitely have agreed with Daron that Joey “Fitness” & Danny don’t seem like they should be any good, but at least they work well together.

Brendon & Rachel finally pull it together and get the salami task done. Nary & Jamie, meanwhile, arrive at the Pitstop as Team #5. Brendon & Rachel get sixth place. That leaves Kerri & Stacy for seventh spot, no matter what some phony editing might try to tell us.

Bopper & Mark are having a blast, even with the knowledge that they’re in last place. They walk up to the mat with tears in their eyes, and tell Phil how much fun they’ve had even though they’re in last place. At this point, JJ & Art walk up and tell them that they’re giving half the money they earned today to Bopper to help his daughter. Bopper loses it at this point, and honestly, this makes us think even more highly of the Border Patrol Agents. We already thought they were pretty fantastic. They tell Bopper & Mark that they’re friends for life.

Of course, Phil also makes the inevitable announcement that today’s leg was a non-elimination leg. This is possibly the least surprising thing to happen in the history of our recapping the show. In fact, we’re not sure if there has ever been an elimination in an episode that we have recapped. Regardless, we’re glad that Bopper & Mark are still around, and we’re also glad that JJ & Art are so dominant. At least there are two teams who are well worth rooting for.