The Amazing Race Season 26 Recap - Episode 7
Back in Business
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
April 20, 2015

Phil is giving us the Non-Elimination Leg eyebrow.

Previously on The Amazing Race, the only blind dating team that seemed to like each other was eliminated. That really doesn’t look good for the premise of the show this season.

Before the leg begins, we begin the leg with the only blind dating team whose members aren’t actively trying to harm one another. However, the closest they come to physical contact is clinking wine glasses.

Only 23 minutes separate first place from last place, which means that no bunching is necessary. It happened organically. Hayley & Blair are first out, and their clue sends them to Windhoek, Namibia, home to the oldest desert in the world. Once they arrive, they’ll sign up for one of six bush flights. The duo is creepily nice to each other. If Hayley isn’t the face of evil for a second consecutive leg, we’ll have to reevaluate her placement on the Disney Villainess Hall of Fame.

With everyone leaving at the same time, the producers of the show don’t bother with any airport drama. It’s an uneventful several minutes as the teams get their tickets, banter, and sleep.

Tyler mentions that of the remaining six teams, three of them were existing couples, while three are blind dates. Whether it’s related to the casting or simply coincidence, this really has been one of the most competitive seasons the show has ever had.

AND at the eight-minute mark of the show, Hayley returns to being Hayley. She berates Blair for having the audacity to pick seats she didn’t like on the plane. All joking aside, Blair is on the world’s worst blind date in history because it has lasted two weeks already and he can’t get away.

However, we learn that Hayley has a huge crush on Hagen, who is identified onscreen as “handsome bush pilot” (don’t make it dirty). Maybe Blair will get lucky and Hayley will get lucky and run of with Hagen, or maybe the plane will crash. Either way, he’ll be out of his misery.

You know how the teams are always trying to pass each other in taxis? Well, today they’re trying to do that in bush planes, which probably will have a tendency to be a bit more combustible. How small are the planes? One of the pilots (Handsome Hagen) appears to be navigating his plane using an iPhone. Seriously.

Once the teams have landed, they must drive themselves to a bushman village. On the way there, they have to pick up a salt lick. Amusingly, Tyler & Laura get the date night reward again.

When they arrive at the bushman village, the clue is written on an egg in a nest. It asks, “Who’s feeling grassy?” Aly takes the Roadblock for her team, and she gets her instructions by breaking open her egg. It tells her to help the bushmen build a grass hut, following all their instructions and being as helpful as possible. She gripes that Steve would have been better at the task and even tells him she hates him for making her do it.

Jelani and Matt take the task for their team. Aly is still complaining, saying that she doesn’t dig holes very often, which makes us wonder what Steve’s hobbies are.

More of the tiny planes are landing, which means it’s time for Mike & Rochelle to remind us that they really don’t know how to drive a stick shift. Again, how do you agree to be on The Amazing Race and not learn this skill? He can’t even get the car started. This team has always just skated by and this feels like the day that seals their doom at last. But it will probably be a non-elimination or double leg, so they’ll be fine.

Hayley & Blair, who know how to drive a shift, pass them easily. Tyler has now joined the hut-builders. Except…whoopsie. Tyler & Laura forgot to get a salt lick, and so did Hayley & Blair. They all leave the Roadblock task to go pick up their salt licks. With that error remedied, Blair & Hayley are now working on the hut. Mike & Rochelle arrive at the hut area, but it appears they neglected to pick up their salt lick.

While Blair builds the hut, Hayley plays with the children of the bushmen. They seem fascinated by her, or perhaps they’ve never seen anyone so evil before.

Tyler is the first to finish the task, and the next clue instructs the teams to drive to Ranger Headquarters. There, a ranger will give them yet another clue. Matt, Aly and Jelani are right behind them.

The next activity is a Detour, which gives teams the option to choose between Track or Pack. For Track, they will use telemetric technology to locate an elephant. For Pack, they will prepare a meaty wildebeest meal and then go feed it to the wild dogs in the area.

Tyler & Laura, Matt & Ashley and Jenny & Jelani all choose “Pack,” and the teams are informed that they need to be sure that they don’t leave any bones in the meat when they butcher it. Also, Jenny & Jelani consider using their Express Pass, but figure they’re in a good enough position that they don’t need it. We’d honestly forgotten they even had an Express Pass, and isn’t it refreshing that they don’t mention it every five minues?

By the time Steve & Aly arrive at the Detour, only Track is available as an option. They’re off to find some elephants.

Blair finally finishes the hut task, which means Mike & Rochelle are at the back of the pack once again. Rochelle claims that the sticks are hurting her hands, but she’s still not as whiny about it as Aly was.

Ashley is gagging from the smell of the wildebeest meat, while Hayley & Blair have begun the tracking task. She asks him 17 times if he knows how to use the radio. He says yes (17 times).

The bushmen are doing a dance to cheer Rochelle on in the hut-building task, which is a really touching moment..

Aly is having a really bad leg. She complains through the tracking exercise and loses focus constantly.

It’s time to feed the dogs, and they are totally adorable – and very excited about their wildebeest feast. All three of the “Pack” teams get a clue that sends them to the Pitstop at Spitzkoppe, which is an ancient landmark made of gold granite.

Because the other three teams have finished the task, Mike & Rochelle are able to do the Pack detour. Rochelle mentions that she is a vegetarian, so she’s entirely grossed out by the meat.

Hayley is annoyed because Blair is doing all the work on the Detour. Mike & Rochelle have finished the Pack task, which means that they have moved up to fourth. Steve & Aly find their elephant soon after, so it’s looking to be yet another tight race for the finish. Not that it matters, of course, because we know that since this is a two-hour episode, no one’s getting eliminated here.

When Tyler & Laura pause to look at their map, it freaks out Matt & Ashley, who reverse to try to figure out what’s going on. This bunches the first three teams again.

Aly will be playing the role of Hayley tonight, as she bitches at Steve about his driving and how close he is to the side of the road. He offers to let her drive, but she keeps right on harping at him. Eventually, he hits something, which causes a serious flat tire. She sobs that she doesn’t know how to change a flat, but Steve says he does. Hayley & Blair pass them.

Mike & Rochelle are lost. Again. Somehow, so are Jenny & Jelani.

Once the two leading teams reach Spitzkoppe, Tyler & Laura struggle to find their way to the top of the rock. This allows Matt & Ashley to win the leg, which means they’re awarded $5,000 apiece. Tyler & Laura are second.

Oddly enough, Hayley & Blair pull off the third place finish. They bicker in front of Phil, but it’s (mostly) good-natured. Jenny & Jelani are fourth, and Phil encourages them to hug it out.

The editing makes us believe that Mike & Rochelle should finish last, but in fact they come in fifth place, which means that Steve & Aly are the last team to arrive. As expected, it doesn’t matter, because it’s a non-elimination leg, the worst invention ever on The Amazing Race. Phil tells us to stay tuned for the second hour, and we curse his name.