The Amazing Race recap: Stamp of Approval
The final four teams continue their race through China -- whether they like it or not
What a night of surprises! No, not that Brent and Caite would act inappropriately and rudely toward their host country, silly! But surely you all couldn’t have predicted who would come in first…or last, for that matter. Before I give any more away, let’s recap…
Jet and Cord left the pit stop first to find the ”Garden Bridge” which is apparently something so drastically different in Chinese that even English speakers in Shanghai have no idea what it is. We learned a little more about these adorable cowboys when Cord calmly recalled how in 2001 he ”caught the end of a hoof in the side of the head.” His skull was crushed and he didn’t know if he was going to live or die. If that happened to me, I’d burst into tears just saying the word ”hoof” and I certainly would have milked it for sympathy throughout the race. ”Um, taxi driver? I took a hoof to the head. Go faster!” But not our Cord. He’s just grateful to be alive, and it shows. He and Jet have joyously run this race from the beginning, and it’s impossible not to root for them going into the end. And boys? I hereby apologize for making fun of ”oh my gravy.” You’ve earned the right to overuse your ridiculous little saying.
Brent and Caite left second, though it’s amazing they were able to move an inch with that giant chip on Caite’s shoulder. ”I still get people every single day making negative comments,” she said of those who’ve mocked her legendary Miss Teen USA comments. She’s been running this race to prove to the world that she’s no idiot. And you have to give it to her: She’s lasted longer than a lot of teams, so she’s definitely got something. And this week, what she had was the smarts to ask some teenager with a wireless device to find out what the Garden Bridge was. With that move of the night, their lead was set.
NEXT: Brent and Caite, you two deserve each other
Dan and Jordan left third. ”I hate China. I will never be back,” Dan said. Those kind of proclamations never end well for a team. You put the hate out into the ether, and it comes back to haunt you — almost always in the form of a taxi driver. Two hours after leaving the pit stop, they were still trying to find out what on earth this alleged ”Garden Bridge” was. Of course, they weren’t exactly using their brains, frustratingly spelling ”B-R-I-D-G-E” to the nearest Chinese person. Um, guys? I don’t think spelling was the issue. Their decision to find Louie and Michael back near the pit stop was a curious one, but one that paid off. Michael immediately went into detective mode, whipping out the binoculars and proclaiming ”I catch everything. I know I can find this.” I’m not sure what he expected to see through the lenses — beautiful trees and flowers strewn about a bridge? Good thing he didn’t have to find the George Washington Bridge. I could see him wandering up to pedestrian after pedestrian asking, ”Are you George Washington?” Louie wasn’t much better, confidently saying, ”I got a good feeling we’re in the right area.” At this point I was wishing Dan and Jordan were still spelling out English words to non-native-English speakers. Things went from embarrassing to I-can’t-watch-this-horrifying when Michael saw a couple of abandoned jackets and surmised that the clue could be in them. Why exactly? Because so many clues have been hidden in articles of clothing throughout the race?
Amazingly, the teams eventually got the information by calling a hotline to explain English to taxi drivers. Hello? Why didn’t they try that in the first place? Anyway, instead of Louie and Michael’s driver explaining to the brothers’ driver where they were going, the plan became that the brothers would follow Louie and Michael. Bad move. A slow cabbie and a few traffic lights later, Dan was about to lose it. ”I want to hit someone!” he said. That’s not the kind of lovey dovey brotherly love we’ve come to expect from these two!
Back to Brent and Caite who picked up their clue and used the moment to let the chip rear its ugly head again. Once on a bus to Longhua Temple, the road block location, Caite exclaimed, ”Obviously I know how to read maps because I’m pretty damn good at figuring out where we are and where we’re going. In China! So people you can go screw yourselves.” Well, okay then. Let’s hear it for sportsmanship! ”Hell yeah,” Brent replied. These two really are perfect for each other.
At the road block teams had to count 523 gold statues in a room. It was slightly disturbing watching teams race through and counting Buddhas while others were bowing and praying to those very statues. Again, Brent told us how smart Caite is. ”She’s got it upstairs. She’s not as dumb as everyone thinks,” he said. Stop telling us how smart Caite is! Let it go! I think the only person obsessed with Caite’s alleged stupidity is Caite. Sorry, one more person: Brent. If only it didn’t take her four tries to get the right answer Brent might have gone off again on her Mensa-quality brain.
And right when Caite finished her fourth try, Jet got it on his first try.
NEXT: The final four become the final three
Both teams sped off on really cool motorcycles to the Yuyuan Gardens, where they would hit the detour. Once there, Caite couldn’t hide her disdain. ”Want to buy this? Want to buy this?” she said, impersonating the locals. ”It’s like, no! Go away!” Yes, Caite, let’s never forget that Shanghai is your city and these people are just nuisances. The teams had to choose between Pork Chops (searching an inventory of stamps for ones bearing an image of a pig and their name) or Pork Dumplings (delivering dumplings to 10 people… I’d go into more detail, but no one chose it so who cares?) Brent, Caite, Jet, and Cord all found themselves doing Pork Chops. But Brent was distracted by an intense need to pee. It got quite awkward watching Caite tell him to hold it, and I was half-expecting his bladder to explode all over those stamps. Eventually he put his foot down and they left the challenge to find a bathroom. ”You’re so annoying,” Caite said. ”Shut up,” Brent replied. Clearly, the break paid off because Brent returned with spring in his step and high school-boy-level humor. ”How big is it?” Caite asked him about the stamp. ”It’s huge. Just like everything else,” replied Brent. And all hail an empty bladder because they found their stamps quickly enough and Brent and Caite left first for the pit stop.
By this point, Dan, Jordan, Louie, and Michael had miraculously found their way to count the gold Buddhas. But first, Louie and Michael had to perform a speed bump, otherwise known as the quickest, lamest speed bump ever on Amazing Race. They had to toss a little coin into a opening. ”That’s easy,” Michael said, before missing several times. Still, they finished so quickly I can’t help but wonder if the producers gave them a ridiculously easy speed bump because they wanted them in the finale. They soon joined Dan and Jordan in counting.
Dan got the right number on his first try, proclaiming, ”In this team, I’m the closer.” Um, what? You almost got out of a cab in the middle of Shanghai. Also, that’s not very gracious toward the person you’ve been running a race with for the past weeks. I feel like I have to speak on behalf of his mama and say, ”boys, play nice.” Things only got worse when they got into the motorcycle and Dan said ”Jordan rode bitch. Ah ha!” Really? He rode ”bitch”? Poor Louie, meanwhile, was struggling. Luckily, he got the right number on his second try. And once again, in the Pork Chop room, these two teams went head to head. Michael decided it was a good idea to use a flashlight. Was it dark in there? No. Would a flashlight negate the need to turn over each stamp? No. Did it look cool? No. Needless to say, Dan and Jordan left first, nearly grabbing a woman to lead them to the nearest taxi.
Over at the pit stop, Phil waited with the world’s tallest man. Not surprisingly, he wasn’t chain smoking like out little friend last week. First place was up for grabs with both Brent and Caite and Jet and Cord seeming to arrive within minutes of each other. But in the end, Brent and Caite managed to score the plum spot. And they also scored a trip to coastal Spain where hopefully it’s not so crowded with local people. Jet and Cord came in second, seeming to laugh at themselves for not being able to find the pit stop mat quickly enough. Team three was up for grabs. Michael said their only prayer was Dan and Jordan having a bad cab ride and I was starting to think God was rooting for Michael. But in the end Dan and Jordan’s bad taxi karma went away and they found Phil in time to earn a racing spot in the finale. I don’t think they have a shot in hell of winning the whole thing, but I’m happy to see these two mensches in the finale. That being said, I’ll miss Michael’s Inspector Gadget tendencies, but he and Louie finished strong. And, more importantly, graciously and with huge smiles on their faces.
Who do you think will win next week? Can anyone catch Jet and Cord? Will $1 million exorcise the ”I’m an idiot” demon that seems to inhabit Caite?