In this season's least eventful leg yet, Team NFL come back from behind after a misplaced clue undoes the Siblings

By Lanford Beard
Updated November 07, 2011 at 05:00 AM EST
Sonja Flemming/CBS

The Amazing Race

S19 E7
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This week’s Amazing Race brought to you by the Foundation for Equalizer Awareness. Seriously. Another one. It’s getting to be a farce. On the upside, we had the first true Pit Stop nail biter this leg, the result of which I’m sure delighted fans of the Olympians (Andy and Tommy)… not to mention those who don’t care for Team OCD (Ernie and Cindy). To be fair to Team OCD, I’m beginning to suspect there isn’t room left to hate them in anyone’s heart given how continually obnoxious, cutthroat, and generally unlikable Team Dad and Lad’s Laurence has been. Karma is going to have a field day with him one day. Perhaps not in front of cameras and millions of viewers (though a girl can dream!)… but there will be comeuppance.

This leg began after the teams slept overnight in Malawi’s remote Kumbali Village. The spread was less than 40 minutes between the Olympians and Team NFL (Marcus and Amani), all of which mattered not one bit because everyone boarded the same bus to their next destination: Salima. As they made their way there, Team OCD admitted frustration at the continued mistakes that have landed them once again in the middle of the pack, adding that they’re seriously considering using their Express Pass this leg. We also got a little bit of back story from Team Sibling Rivalry, namely that Justin chose Jennifer as the first person to whom he would come out of the closet. At which point I began to worry for the Siblings. Not unlike Showgirl Kaylani’s revelation she was a single mom and the Twins’ discussion of their father’s passing, this shoehorned personal info reeked of the Loser Edit, no?

Once the teams arrived in Salima, Amani had to complete a Speed Bump slide puzzle, arranging the pieces to match Malawi’s flag. For puzzle people, this would have been a breeze, but for Amani it was a definite challenge. As she labored, one team after another finished the Road Block, which involved transporting a person and a fish on a bike taxi to one of three locations, then trading their earnings for the next clue. Of course we saw this week’s requisite Cathi Falls Down shot, but the most notable lowlight came when Cindy insultingly called the villagers “primitive,” wondered why the kids weren’t in school, and groused that, for a country whose national language was English, no one seemed to speak it. Entitlement yikes! Despite the seemingly straightforward task, most of the teams had a lot of problems. Olympian Andy’s pedals both fell off, and he lost time getting his bike repaired. Laurence and Team Divorcees’ Sandy, oddly, decided to work together, and Sandy called it “the blind leading the blind.”

Despite her comments, Cindy had no major problems and finished first. Andy and Cathi followed. Jennifer was on track to put the Siblings in fourth place when she realized she’d left her clue with Justin and didn’t know whether she needed to complete more steps before returning the starting point. She stood at the drop-off paralyzed by indecision and hoping to tag along with another team. As she paced around looking like a lost child, all the other teams, including NFL, finished without passing her. Showing how far the Siblings have come from their bickering beginnings, Justin was more concerned for his sister’s safety than anything else. Eventually, Jennifer picked a direction and biked back to Justin, angry with herself. On the plus side, she wasn’t dead!

NEXT: Canoe caterwauling

The teams moved on to the Detour, a choice between Dugout (a canoe race) or Lugout (several round trips between dry land and a floating ferry to unload the boat’s cargo, including eight passengers). OCD arrived at their canoe first with the Olympians on their tail. They quickly realized it was going to be tough work to beat the Olympians at anything water-related and handed in their Express Pass. Alas, they squandered their entire lead looking for the next clue at the Jamaica Shop, which was just a bit down the beach. Both teams set out for the Pit Stop — Sunbird Livingstonia Beach — and it ended in a dead sprint between OCD and the Olympians. The Olympians proved their athleticism and determination by running OCD down and landing first on the finish mat. For their trouble, they won $15,000. After Cindy finished gasping and writhing around in the sand from exhaustion, she and Ernie were understandably irritated that they biffed this win and used their Express Pass for nothing.

Meanwhile, the rest of the teams struggled mightily to steer their canoes. For all their fancy sailor speak, Dad and Lad couldn’t synchronize themselves. (Have you noticed how routinely awful they are at everything they should ace? And how it doesn’t even put a ding in Laurence’s superiority complex?) The paddling was just as taxing for the Divorcees as Sandy proved unable to maneuver their vessel — even with Jeremy’s oh-so-helpful squawking at her. Imagine that! Both Dad and Lad and the Divorcees were lapped by Ma & Pa (Cathi and Bill). The Divorcees couldn’t help but stand in awe of the old timers for working so well together. To be fair, admitted Ma & Pa, they’ve had almost 50 years to fine-tune their teamwork.

As the other teams paddled and puttered, Team NFL made up time on the exhausting Lugout Detour. Highlight: Marcus, who was carrying the passengers to land on his shoulders, asked “Y’all ain’t got no babies on there?” Despite the physical toll, they made up lost time, which proved invaluable when the next clue was also the site of a Double U-Turn. Wouldn’t you know who was the only team to employ the U-Turn? Dad and Lad, ding ding! They nominated Team NFL, but the cutthroat move was ultimately meaningless since NFL had already passed through.

In fact, all the teams had completed the Detour by the time the Siblings even got started. Ma & Pa hit the Pit Stop in third place, followed by Team NFL and Dad and Lad. The conclusion was so foregone the editors didn’t even attempt to build up suspense as to whether the Divorcees would secure another week and take sixth place. They did, and the Siblings’ elimination was relatively quick and painless.

So, what did you think, Race cases? Are you happy the Olympians scored another first place? Do you think Team OCD’s close second was instant karma for Cindy’s remarks about the Malawian villagers? Did the U-Turn seal your distaste for Dad and Lad (or at least Dad), or were they just playing the game? Were you sad to see the Siblings go? Was it a case of bad luck, or did they deserve it because of Jennifer’s oversight? As we get closer to the finals, who do you desperately want to see eliminated next? And how excited are you for next week’s bunny obstacle course?!

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The Amazing Race

Phil Keoghan hosts the globe-trotting adventure series.
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