But Kerri and Stacy get their before them, and Phil grimly tells them they're team number seven. That circle they're tracing around the drain is getting narrower. On the way to the Pit Stop, Mark says it sucks to come in last, but he feels good about what they accomplished. By which he seems to mean being in Italy. They haul their backpacks out of the trunk and run to the mat, where Phil tells them, "Bopper and Mark, you know the news is not good. I'm sorry to tell you that you're the last team to arrive." Bopper looks particularly disappointed, even as Phil tells him his daughter would be proud of him. Bopper says he hopes so and talks about his friendship with Mark, with whom he shakes hands as he gets choked up.
Now here's something unexpected: Phil calls over Art and JJ, who apparently have been waiting for their arrival and who I thought I wouldn't have to see again until next week. In an interview, JJ reminds us that he and Art won $5000 each for coming in first this leg and on the mat, JJ tells an emotional Bopper that they're going to split the money with him for his daughter. Bopper says they don't have to, but the Border Patrol guys want to. "You're a good man and you're working hard for your daughter," JJ insists. "We're friends for life." Shit, now I can't hate either of these teams. Fuckers. Art and JJ both shake Bopper's hand and embrace him while Phil watches with an oddly severe expression on his face, like, "Check that shit out." Bopper remains emotional, talking about what this means to him. Phil says he has something else to add -- you'll notice that he hasn't Philiminated anyone yet, and sure enough this is a non-elimination leg. More tears from Bopper and Art and JJ smile, happy for them and completely unsurprised. So clearly they weren't just sharing their windfall as a consolation prize, either. Bopper says they can compete with the other teams, but, "Everybody's got their weak spot. And today was our weak spot." I wish my only weak spot was Paraguayan chicks in shorts. Mark says they're in to win, "And they better have their game face on." Now that the mood at the mat is a little happier, Phil warns the Border Patrol agents to be careful. "You handed over some money and now you gotta race against them." Bopper assures Phil that they know he'll return the favor. Just probably not in a footrace to the mat.
M. Giant is a Minneapolis-based writer with a wife, a son, and a number of cats that seems to have settled at around two. Learn waaaay too much about him at Velcrometer, follow him on Twitter, or just e-mail him at M.Giant[at]gmail.com.