It's really tough to keep a good Bunny down. That's been the lesson imparted by "The Amazing Race" for the past few weeks.
Baseball Wives Nicky & Kim finished last in the season's fourth Leg, which ended up at a Viking lodge in Norway, but it was a Keep On Racing Leg.
Then they finished last again in the seventh Leg, falling behind in Abu Dhabi, but it was a Non-Elimination Leg.
What would it take to actually knock the Baseball Wives out?
A full recap of Sunday (November 16) night's relatively fun, albeit entirely suspense-less, episode of "The Amazing Race" after the break…
It turns out that the answer for how to get Nicky & Kim out of the Race was really simple:
First: Have them start out 52 minutes behind the leaders and nine minutes behind the team in second-to-last, Ice Queens Ally & Ashley.
Second: Burning out a clutch in a sand-buggy.
Third Putting a Double U-Turn after a Non-Elimination Leg is hardly unheard of on "The Amazing Race," but assuming that if the two Legs are in the same location, without any Equalizers, that's a real challenge. U-Turns are easy to screw up if you can't keep track of which teams are in front of you and which are behind you, but if you know that there's a team that finished last, but still survived and that they'll also have to face a Speed Bump later? That's just making the decision easy.
Fourth: As mentioned above, the non-eliminated team faced a Speed Bump and even if the task looked like a lot of fun to me, it produced predictable complications for the Baseball Wives, especially given the pre-established fears that Kim has mentioned to us several times this season.
So really, ditching the Bunnies was as easy as 1-2-3-4, as "The Amazing Race" ditched a group of same-sex friends for the fifth consecutive elimination, though we ended our string of male-male buddy eliminations, which was necessary since, as I've said before, there weren't anymore left. I'll miss the Baseball Wives a little since they were enthusiastic, pretty and one of them kept doing things for her son Spidey. And even though Kim kept talking about her various phobias and kept seeming to be right on the verge of tears (and sometimes over-the-verge), she keep doing whatever tasks fell to her, which only minimal delays.
And, as I've said, it took many different steps to do away with the Bunnies. Wait. Not bunnies.
"We're not bunnies anymore. We're ninjas," Nicky said at the top of the Leg, which initially asked teams to go out to the dunes and sand buggy to clue. Through this, we learned that the Afghanimals are pretty good at driving a buggy, as is Ice Queen Ally, who gave a shout-out to her experiences in Pismo Dunes. Travis & Nicole got stuck in the sand, but were only slightly delayed, while Nicky & Kim, who had briefly moved ahead of the Ice Queens, fell back when they burnt out their clutch getting stuck and had to get a replacement buggy. Oh well.
Am I wrong or did Phil Keoghan not introduce this week's Detour as the choice between two tasks, Wedding Guests or Beauty Contest? It felt presentationally different. Neither task was hugely difficult or frustrating, nor did either task really reward any particular skills, which is a minor disappointment in an episode with a U-Turn forcing a team to go through both. But both were still amusing.
Well, Beauty Contest was amusing. In that task, teams received a checklist of camel attributes for a camel beauty contest. They had to select camels that conformed to certain aspirational attributes, pretty them up with accessories and then parade them in front of a group of judges.
Or at least people's reactions to Beauty Contest were amusing.
"I competed in beauty pageants for 13 years, so if I can't dress up my contestant, I've got some serious issues," Amy observed, unaware of the species her contestant would be.
I loved how quickly Marie took to aesthetic evaluations of camels, noticing eye-lash length, hoof cleanliness as more.
"He's all busted. You don't want to take him to a beauty contest," she observed of one contender.
Tim seemed to catch on, eying one prospect and gushing, "He knows it, too. He knows he's hot!"
That camera proved too hot-to-trot and even kicked Tim, leaving him looking for recourse.
"What was I going to do about it at that point? I just got kicked in the shin by a camel. Scratch it off my bucket list and move on," Tim said.
Marie, we assume, would have kicked back.
It probably should have been a harder task than it was, however. Tim & Marie's shin-kicker failed his initially inspection. I don't know why. I'm not sure they knew why. But they found a new camel and passed on the second shot. Jason & Amy's camel did a stop-drop-and-roll before his first judging and had to be re-prepared, but he passed on the second shot. Everybody else seemed to finish in just one try. That's disappointing.
And barely anybody even tried Wedding Guests, which just required that teams do prep work for a dish including chicken, lots of chopped vegetables and little else. The Afghanimals initially tried that Detour, left after the lost Tim & Marie psyched them into trying the other task, but then when they were U-Turned, Leo & Jamal had already started and just had to finish, making it as efficient a U-Turning as one could ever hope to have. Nicky & Kim did Wedding Guests first and finished it fast. Is there any chance that a team like Danny & Tim might have struggled and illustrated traditionally ascribed gender roles? Maybe. As it stood, though, the only way time was gained or lost on the Detour was because of the U-Turn.
Travis & Nicole used their Express Pass, presumably because this Leg was their last opportunity to use it, and they got to the U-Turn mat first and they U-Turned the Afghanimals because the Afghanimals lied to them about U-Turning Adam & Brandon. A little white lie in a race for a million bucks seems like a petty reason to U-Turn another team, but I guess it was an easier justification than, "Nobody likes the Afghanimals." Having used the U-Turn to save themselves when they were previously U-Turned, the Afghanimals weren't able to U-Turn anybody and, thus, saved another Dan Fienberg rant about the broken Double U-Turn system. Instead, Tim & Marie effectively eliminated Kim & Nicky by sticking them with the other U-Turn. And why? Because Marie is/was still convinced that Kim & Nicky did something shady to get ahead of them in an earlier travel-heavy episode, when really the only "shady" thing they did was look for a place to get tickets other than the main ticket counter. Yeah, Marie sounded a tiny bit bitter in U-Turning the Baseball Wives for such a silly, misread slight, when really she could have just said, "I know they're behind us, so we might as well eliminate them."
That's really all it was.
The Roadblock was pure fun. One player from each pair had to, with a guide, navigate the world's longest man-made rapids and collect three flags. The task was slightly harder if you were short, but otherwise, even if it took a couple shots, it wasn't that bad. Mostly, the participants enjoyed it, which was nice for them.
Before doing the Roadblock, though, Kim & Nicky had to do a Speed Bump, which involved swimming across a wave-generating pool and climbing a ladder to get out. If you didn't like heights, the initial jump was a bit inconvenient and if you weren't a strong swimmer, the task probably took some effort. Kim hesitated for a while, but did it for Spidey. As you do.
Although Kim & Nicky were right with the pack at the Detour, by the end of the Speed Bump, the other teams had completed the Roadblock and we only saw Nicky wipe out once before they popped up on the mat and Phil sent them home. They were all smiles, particularly Kim, who faced some of her fears.
They departed noting "I don't like being a ninja." "Maybe we can go back to being bunnies."
Some quick thoughts on this Leg:
*** This was a big win for Travis & Nicole. The season's dominant team won their third Leg and haven't finished worse than fourth in eight Legs. And they picked the right Leg to get an Express Pass-aided win, since their prize was a pair of Ford automobiles, which is always the best of the Leg prizes.
*** Jason & Amy finished second for the fifth time, but still haven't won a Leg. However, they've finished inside the Top 3 more times than Travis & Nicole have, not that that matters.
*** Ally & Ashley finished in second-to-last and they will now be starting, by my count, their third Leg out of the last five at the back of the pack.
*** Tim & Marie spent another Leg bickering and they wandered their way from first to second because of inexplicable difficulties finding the next route marker. [Do we assume Jason & Amy didn't U-Turn Tim & Marie because they didn't see the couple wandering lost and assumed they'd already passed the U-Turn ahead of them?] Abusive Marie highlights included "God, I could punch you in the face right now" and "Ha. He almost died." I don't need to be told that were this a male contestant talking about a female partner, we'd be horrified by the level of verbal abuse.
*** Resolving Chekhov's Viking Coins: The inscriptions on the coins were part of the clue to unlock the door of their Fords for this Leg. Amy had already cracked the code without knowing what it was for, but nobody had all that much trouble. Oh well.
That's about it. Thoughts on this Leg? Are you gonna miss the Bunnies?