The Amazing Race 25 - Episode 11
Hooping it up
By Daron Aldridge
December 19, 2014

Two wastes of time in a row.

With only two legs left and four teams, the writing is on the wall that this will be an actual elimination. Last week’s non-elimination placed a Speed Bump in the way for Tag Team Brooke & Robbie but will it be an actual obstacle or just an annoying sidetrack that doesn’t impact the Race.

Let’s head back to Manila to find out. With the ripping open of the first clue and news that the teams are given a whopping $1 for this leg, we know that Manila will be their Race home for the next hour of TV.

Misti & Jim head out in first place for the fifth time this season but in a change of fortune, Team Candy Crush’s Amy & Maya are leaving in second. The directions point the teams to a park that they must travel to via jeepney. Not so fast. Apparently, the jeepneys only travel in a loop around town. So if you get aboard on the wrong side of the road, you will face a long delay in travel as you will be going in the exact opposite direction before turning around.

While Team DDS has perfect teeth, Mrs. Dentist sustained a nasty cut on the bottom of one of her feet during the ox plow challenge. She's little bit hobbled now but still determined to Race. Jim also points out that this is the first leg that they actually in danger of elimination because they had the Save for most of the Race and last week there was a non-elimination. Yet he admits they haven’t been as "on point" with their racing the last few legs travel-wise.

As the first two teams rush out of the Pitstop, they get and accept erroneous jeepney travel advice from a local and just like that, they have set themselves up to move from the front to the back. At least they are sharing the transportation, so they know where the nearest competition is.

Next off the mat, surfers Adam & Bethany are about to jump into the first jeep until they realize that it is heading in the wrong direction. Nice catch, newlyweds. You are now leading without even knowing it.

Brooke & Robbie are focused on their one goal since the Race started: “to win a million”…oh wait…“to make the top three”?!?! Because you know that when Olympians are training, it’s always “Go for the Bronze, even though the Gold would be nice too.” Sorry, NO ONE ever says that. Tag Team’s priorities are a bit off. Since they are following in the surfers' footsteps, the dating grapplers are indeed on the right path to the final three.

I think the show has just telegraphed the end result of this leg: a footrace between dentists and scientists, which means the girls will be outpaced and eliminated. Just my prediction.

As the wrong jeep barrels down the road away from the clue, Maya notes that the weather in Manila is very hot and they must remain hydrated.

As expected, Adam & Bethany roll up on the clue first and see that the Speed Bump will hit the wrestlers early in the leg. The actual clue, though, is the Detour: This or That. And that’s all the description the teams get. Well, and the address for each task. The newlyweds eeny meeny miney moe a choice with “That” but when asking where the two are located, they get pointed to “This” and decide to just go with it.

While they head to the Detour, Tag Team shows up and is both dismayed and excited. They're not happy that the Speed Bump is already happening but pleased that it appears no one else has shown up yet. For their Speed Bump, the wrestlers have to go the nearby water’s edge and transfer all of a man’s cargo from his broken cart to a new one. And this guy has a LOT of cargo.

Brooke immediately chimes in that this will be a long speed bump, but Robbie calls her out for being negative and to remember they just started the task. Robbie confesses that Brooke can be a bit of loose cannon, which makes him react in the same way and “two loose cannons don’t win the Race.” At least he recognizes her negativity and they get working.

The surfers have reached “This” and find out that it is a two-on-two basketball challenge. They must score 21 points against a street ball team. The couple quickly comes up with a solid plan of Bethany passing in to Adam who will shoot. Bethany voices a bit of concern over her ability to really help in this task but she is game.

It becomes clear that the challengers are too challenging and Adam shoots decently against them. Unfortunately, in order to get the score of 21 you have to make at least one free throw. Adam declares himself Shaq because he comes up short on the foul line several times much like the pro ball player.

Brooke & Robbie have successfully transferred all the cargo and secured it to cart. Off they go to the “This” Detour, unaware of what it is.

Adam finally sinks a free throw and they get their next clue as Tag Team shows up courtside. Brooke is elated because even though it’s been a while, she spent many years playing basketball when she was growing up. The surfers are now heading to the market and a marked jeepney.

Before the wrestlers hoop it up, let’s check in with the losties. The confidence is still high for the never shrinking violet Jim, who surmises that there is more intelligence in their jeepney between the dentists and the scientists than in the others. And looking for more positive affirmation that they have a steady lead on the others, while the driver stops for gas, they take the “RePhil” sign as a good omen.

Then Maya brings that happy parade to a screeching halt by asking how much farther and they learn they have gone 45 minutes in the wrong direction. Oopsie. Both teams dart across the street to switch to the correct route.

Brooke’s basketball skills may be rusty but Robbie is pulling out all his wrestling theatrics by trying to draw a foul. While they try to score, the surfers have a bit of a setback: Adam has misplaced their clue and can only remember that one of the cross streets for the location is “something Nicholas” or “Nicholas something.” If the other two hadn’t pulled the boneheaded jeepney move, then this could be a damning turn for the newlyweds.

Brooke has shaken off the basketball dust and gone on a tear to finish up the Detour before the others have made it to the clue box.

While Tag Team heads to the market, the trailing teams hit the clue box at long last and opt for "That."

As they travel, Phil explains the That Detour. Both teams have to use a pedal bike with a sidecar to make four laps around a block in less than 17:55. And both teammates on each team must complete two laps. Given Misti's foot injury and Amy's hip trouble this doesn't seem like a "one and done" task for either team. When they arrive, they get the rundown, and Jim and Maya start for their teams. They also quickly see that the bikes are a bit more antiquated than the ones back home, with some questionable steering and even more shoddy brakes.

Cutting back to the market, it's not an understatement to say that the surfers are clueless and wandering aimlessly. The strategy of asking random people where Nicholas street is doesn't quite yield the results they would like. Unbeknownst to them, the wrestlers aren't the clueless one at this juncture, so they pass Adam & Bethany.

At the marked van, it's a Roadblock and Robbie volunteers because it looks like a lot of carrying. The person has to deliver coconut shells and brooms to three different vendors in the market. The physical demands of the task will surely spell doom for Candy Crush, which is what I've feared for a couple legs.

Robbie scoops up a random number of items and goes searching for the "posted list" for deliveries. Shhh...the list is posted on the jeepney, and Robbie is just figuratively clueless now.

Biking through the streets of Manila, Jim has given them a bit of a lead but as Misti points out, they are racing the clock and not the girls. They switch and just how difficult pedaling will be for Misti becomes clear. Amy takes the pedals for her team and they pass the dentists. To her credit, Misti accurately explains that Amy is not hauling a 250 pound baby in her buggy. That is a fair explanation and not just making excuses, in my opinion. Two laps are done when Amy decides to just keep the momentum going and knock out the next lap, but the dentists switch.

As they race, a corner gets the better of Amy and she is unable to steer through the curve. CRASH!! Into the side of a parked van she goes. It looked and sounded much worse that it was.

They both continue on the course but the girls are able to reclaim the lead as Misti struggles with the pedals. But have no fear. Both teams finish on the first attempt and with several minutes to spare. Time to play catch up at the Roadblock.

Back in market, Adam finally decides to stop and check his backpack more thoroughly for the clue. Voila. It was in there. That's not the kind of mistake I would've predicted from a strong team this late in the game, but the backsliding of Team DDS shows that these teams are getting mentally exhausted. Now that they are back on track, they show up and Adam takes the Roadblock. Unfortunately, he does identical thing as Robbie and overlooks the posted list.

All this wandering does give the trailers the chance to make up ground. Jim is the chosen Roadblocker and soon stumbles upon Adam, who is equally as lost. Robbie, on the other hand, has his light bulb moment and realizes that maybe...just maybe...the list is on the van. He backtracks and gets the first address but ignores the designated quantity. Cue the Amazing Race mistake gong.

Amy & Maya have arrived and Amy takes on the task. She is not pleased with the choice but plows on. It feels like she got this one by default but she at least seems to notice the list. Maybe it will be a wash for the teams.

It's a sort of success for Robbie, as he finds the first vendor but doesn't have the right amount of stuff. Instead of carrying it all back with him to the starting point, he has the good idea to ask another local if he could just store it there. Pretty smart but maybe a bit too trusting.

Jim and Adam have realized the oversight and return to the van. As they get their address, Robbie gets back and discreetly gets the number of supplies. He takes off.

As the other two guys make their way through the challenge, it is clear that the Detour for Jim was more draining than basketball was for Adam. The surfer dude pulls away.

Robbie has successfully delivered his first set and it doesn't appear that anyone will be able to overtake them. I guess the one upside to being lost is that he is likely more familiar with the streets, making it easier to find the next spots.

Jim spies a local man with a hand truck and benefits from his generosity. Loading up a dolly makes the task much less taxing. Amy spots this and then procures her own hand truck. It's too little, too late, because Robbie has finished and has the clue in hand.

Off to the Pitstop they go. The rest of the order doesn't seem to be in danger of changing as they are all making the same progress. But Amy is fading pretty fast, and the assumption is that it's likely due to dehydration. Scary that Maya predicted that earlier in the episode.

For the first time, the wrestlers hit the Pitstop in first and Phil congratulates them. But that's not all. What prize do they get? Record scratch...the leg is NOT over!?!

Phil hands them their clue and a Manila (get it?) envelope to be opened when instructed. But they find out they are heading to LA. Away they go.

At the market, Adam & Bethany finish next and head to Phil with the dentists not too far behind. Amy doesn't quit but they are securely in last.

The "dramatic" cab rides paint a nail biter of a finish but it plays out as expected. The surfers get their second and the dentists round out the final three.

By now, Amy's dehydration is abundantly clear and as they stroll up to Phil in last, he summons over the medical team before even talking Race business. I love that his priority is her health and not just the show. After an unspecified time being attended to medically, Amy is given a thumbs up to proceed with the Pitstop.

Phil does tell them that they are the last team but then gives the reprieve that the leg is still going. The girls are beside themselves with excitement but Phil does inform them that one team will be eliminated at some point in the next leg.

So we now have a non-elimination that's not really a non-elimination.

Heading into the last episode, I stand by my prediction that the surfers are the favorite to win with the dentists in second. I do think that the wrestlers could pull a boneheaded move and be the ones eliminated during the last leg. In this episode, it's important to note that Brooke & Robbie did the same thing the cowboys Jet & Cord did by going from non-eliminated team to beating their Speed Bump to getting first place. But let's not forget that the cowboys also never won the Race in three tries.

Let's get it started.