Amazing Race

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M. Giant: C | Grade It Now!
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Whine and Punishment

Eventually they make it to Statue Square, where poor Phil and that poor greeter have apparently been waiting all night, although at least now they have an umbrella. He tells them they're the last team to arrive. "I'm sorry to tell you that...this is a non-elimination leg, you are still in the race." Not as sorry as we are to hear it.

Okay, so we knew since the end of last week that this was going to have to be the third non-elimination leg. With two episodes left, they're not going to make the final three teams run two legs in a row. Even so, I really don't think Nick was trying to game the system by counting on a non-elimination leg, even if a guy who doesn't know how Fast Forwards work were savvy enough to make that play. He sincerely just wanted out of the race. Which is just about the nicest thing I can say about him right now. I'm probably the only person not affiliated with the show or the network who actually doesn't mind the non-elimination legs. If my favorite team seems doomed, or if two teams I like are racing for the second-to-last spot on the mat, I can always tell myself that this might be the non-elimination leg. Sure, it usually isn't, and more often it spares a team I don't like (as has just happened for the second time this season, for example), but it's a better way to keep suspense going at the end of a blowout leg than transparently deceptive editing.

That said, I wish there had been a way to ditch it this time. At least now we know why Nick's been getting the villain edit: given the way he fucked up both this episode and the next one, the producers would have been justified in digitally altering his image so that he had swastika-shaped horns and a half-eaten baby. His quitting -- excuse me, his attempt to quit -- is a giant fuck you to them, Vicki, the other teams who never gave up and still went home before him, all the people who tried out for this season and didn't get cast, everyone who will have to compete against him in the next leg, and everyone who watches this show to see people compete. All right, now I'm done defending Nick.

Anyway, Vicki's as blown away as her level of exhaustion will allow her to be, while Nick just stands there looking blank. Phil warns them that there will be a Speed Bump for them in the next leg. Plus there's that six-hour penalty to contend with, which will force them to arrive at the airport only three hours in advance of the flight out of here that everyone else will be taking. Vicki says, 'We're gonna do what we can do. We don't want to quit the race." Nick's looking at her like, "Speak for yourself." She adds that Nick's temper makes everything ten times worse. "But we are a team so we're gonna have to do it together." Nick's just standing there looking like he's waiting for the cameras to shut off so he can ask what it's going to take to get him off this race for good, which is a question I've been asking since October. In a post-leg interview, Vicki says they'll have to do better; "You didn't deal with anything today good." Nick apologizes, saying he wants to be better to Vicki every day. And Vicki actually, at long last, has the backbone to say she needs to see changes rather than more sorries. "I didn't come here to quit," she declares. She may just have brought the wrong partner, then.

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Amazing Race

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