At Avignon, something wonderful happens. The imperiled Dave and Margaretta, America's Grandparents, get off the train. Across the viewing world, whoops of gratitude are heard from all those who agonized over the preview all week. I don't know how they knew to get off the train, but they're pretty smart cookies, and they've previously shown the sense to look at maps and ask for help, so I'm betting that came in handy.
Frank refuses to look at the stunning view out of the cab as they approach the pit stop, lest his concentration be disturbed. I guess he's in Show Mode (tm Sports Night). Thanks, Mr. Non-Appreciator Of Natural Beauty.
Team Esquire climbs to the top, as do Team Danza and Team Guido. "How'd they get here so fast?" a Guido whines. Welcome, Frank and Margarita! You are number two. (Frank, weirdly, smiles and hugs his wife affectionately, even politely introducing her to the mayor. I think he's lightheaded from the altitude.) Welcome, Rob and Brennan! You are number three.
Here's my highlight. Team Guido come running up and step (a bit more carefully than last time) on the yellow mat. "Welcome," intones the mayor. "You are --" Joe breaks in. "We're team number three!" "You are team number four," the mayor corrects. Joe's face crumples in this way that's just…entirely too funny for me to adequately describe. It's like he just got a telegram that Guido the dog has come down with heartworm. Bill looks sick. I laugh and laugh.
Dave and Margaretta hold hands in the cab. At Marseilles, the Underdogs disembark. Together, they get cabs. Amie is being so pleasant, I swear it's like her body's been taken over by aliens. Where's the Amie of "you're a fat bitch" fame?
Here are my darlings, Dave and Margaretta, making their way to the top. "You are team number five," says the mayor, the greeter with my favorite accent yet. Team Ensure is thrilled -- THRILLED -- at the news. "Five? Wow, we made up some time!" Davey rejoices. (Remember, they got dumped back to eighth this morning because of the rules violation.) They embrace happily, and I think Margaretta says either "hit me one" or "give me one," and they have a big smooch. The MBTV Amazing Race community sends a big bouquet of flowers to tell them that our cup runneth over with love.
The Underdogs seem pretty convinced that they can all arrive safely, which means they either know very well or not well enough what the positions of the other teams are. They climb the hill together. "Come on, Nance," Paul encourages. And what's with Paul all of a sudden? Is this just the result of making some friends and getting to talk to some people besides Amie? Is it the result of doing better in the game? What's the deal? When Paul is told that he and Amie are sixth, it's clear that his first thought is to make sure that's far up enough that the other Underdogs are okay. "We're sixth, so we're good," he calls back to them. Lenny and Karyn are just behind them in seventh, and then Nancy and Emily are eighth. "You're okay, Nance," Paul reassures as Nancy seems to struggle with the last few steps.