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Sunday, November 26, 2006
The Amazing Race: Come With Me to the Casbah!

The four remaining teams learn that their next destination is Morocco. On the way to the airport, we see that Rob is again having trouble with his rental car; he's always complaining about the cars, but as one of the Gumps remarks later, if it's always you having the problem, maybe you are the problem.

The Beauty Queens get the first flight to Italy, from where they will have a tight connection to Casablanca. The other teams fly to Paris where there is a later flight to Casablanca, but it apparently doesn't matter, because there is only one flight from Casablanca to the town that is the destination, which is something like Ouarsazad. As it works out, the BQs miss their connection, and just barely make it to Casablanca in time.

The teams must travel to the Casbah, where they will receive a good luck charm at a particular store. The Beauty Queens sneak off the flight quickly but Rob & Kimberley and Team Recovery follow them as they follow a cabbie who apparently knows the route but gets lost and stops for directions. Meanwhile, Team Gump did not waste their layover in Paris, spending their time studying maps of the region. Sure enough, they zip past the other teams and find the shop quickly. The next clue takes them to the Atlas Studios where films such as Gladiator were shot. Warning, Yield Ahead!

Unfortunately, the studios are closed until morning, so the Gumps don't get their chance to yield the Beauty Queens, and instead are yielded by them. Oddly, the other two teams arrived at the Yield first and did not choose to yield the BQs. Roadblock: Teams must take part in a chariot race and grab two pennants while they're racing. This does not appear too tough, but Team Recovery misses their first try at a penannt and so must make another lap while the BQs and Rob & Kimberley head off. It appears that the Gumps' time delay is over at about this time as well, and they make it through the chariot race fairly quickly. BTW, guys, they were not "gladiators" they were "charioteers".

Rob & Kimberley are in the lead, but what's this? A flat tire on their vehicle being pointed out before the fact by the Beauty Queens? I'm just a tad suspicious; there seem to be constant flats in TAR. At first, Rob can't find the jack, then he can't get it out of the vehicle. Meanwhile, all three teams (including the yielded Team Gump) have passed them by. Next stop is a Cafe, and I have a sinking feeling that we're going to get one of those "local delicacy" bits. Fortunately I'm wrong and it's a Detour: Throw It or Grind It.

In Throw It, teams must complete two pieces of pottery, while in Grind It, they must grind 77 pounds of olives into a paste. Phil mentions that there are only three stations at each location, so if all four teams choose the same task, one will be forced to wait.

The BQs decide to Grind It (mainly because they know which direction they are going on that task), while Team Recovery opts initially for Throw It, but then decides to Grind It as well. But the BQs make their first major mistake of the race as they drive past the horse ranch where the olive grinders are located. Meanwhile the Gumps have nearly caught up with Team Recovery, and they begin grinding olives at roughly the same time.

Rob & Kimberley flag down a passing car and get help changing the tire. Finally they make it to the cluebox, where they also decide to grind it. Who will get to the horse ranch first?

It turns out that the BQs are left waiting while the other three teams are grinding away at those olives. Bad luck for them, which seems certain to result their being Phil-Liminated, when the next clue (first received by Team Recovery) is the location of the Pit Stop.

Team Recovery has a pretty good lead on Team Gump as they pull into the parking area and dash off towards the mat. But then they realize they've left their Good Luck Charm behind in the car. As they run back, the Gumps are parking. Can they actually pull off a victory?

Uh, no. It's not even really dramatic as we can see that the twentysomething men are only a little behind the thirtysomething women with a fairly long way to go. There's no way they don't win that footrace easily. Still the two black women are obviously proud of overcoming the Yield to take second place. Team Recovery also happened to pick the Luckiest Lucky Charm and get some sort of device where you can watch TV on your cellphone.

The BQs are clearly behind Rob & Kimberley and despite the latter getting lost initially, they arrive at the mat last. Is this the end for our two hotties? Well, I would have sworn it was, since we've already had two non-elimination legs so far this season, but sure enough Phil announces that they've been spared the axe. IIRC this is pretty standard practice for TAR when the teams reach four, but I could have sworn one of the rules was that all but two pitstops would be elimination legs. David and Mary, Team Coalminer, were spared twice this season already.

I'm glad they're still around; to a certain extent they're the villains this season.
My wishes for the winners, in order: Team Gump, Team Recovery, the BQs and Rob & Kimberley. The Gumps because they've done a couple of smart things that have impressed me the last two weeks: studying the Moroccan maps tonight while laying over in Paris, and making up their rap song while driving last week, and it would be a gas to see those moderately out of shape women beat the athletes in the race. I'd pick Team Recovery over the BQs just because they've been more cooperative in the race; the BQs have their game faces on 24/7. Besides, teams that have overcome obstacles are more inspiring than a couple of hot chicks who won beauty contests. I just don't like Rob & Kimberley, although they were not as argumentative tonight as usual.

As always, check out Viking Pundit's excellent recap here.
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