Amazing Race
Race To The Finish, Part I

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Miss Alli: A | Grade It Now!
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The beginning of the end, my friends

11:14 PM. Official Danza departure time. As they step up to the greeter, they are incongruously all smiles, and I suddenly wonder whether they weren't expecting that the audience was going to see what just happened, given that it happened before they started the leg. If you hadn't just seen that fight, you'd never know they had it, because now they're all with the grins and the good feelings. Don't worry -- it won't last. The cheery greeter hands them the clue, which sends them back to Tiantan Park (which they're basically in, or at least at) to look for a kite with a clue attached to it. Hours of operation start at 6:00 AM, so nothing doing in the middle of the night. As they walk off, Frank voices over that he's thought all along that if they work together and communicate, they could win. Otherwise, they'd crash and burn. I definitely think they've been doing a lot better (and certainly been much less annoying to watch) since they've been being a little nicer to each other, so I think his theory has some promise. On the other hand, the fight they just had, as well as the one they had last week, would suggest that it may not turn out the way he's hoping. They snot back and forth as they wait for their cab. Frank, sarcastically: "Oh, look, Margarita, a taxi!" Margarita: "Instead of ridiculing me, like why don't you get your book out and figure out whether you want to stay at a different hotel…" LPFrank: "We got plenty of time!" They glare at each other.

11:25 PM. Esquire. They look a lot more relaxed than usual, and Brennan is giving me a respite from the visor, so that's a good thing. On the other hand, Rob's got on the green marshmallow-man jacket again. Feh. Rob hands over the clue, saying, "Go for it, dude." You know, however much they call each other "dumb-ass," it can't possibly be as much as they call each other "dude," because they do that a lot. Anyway, Brennan reads the clue, and comments that with the operating hours from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM, "that's not gonna work at 11:25 at night." Good point, dude. (Sorry, did I say "point"? Didn't mean to pick the scab about Spanky and the ping-pong.) Rob wants to "find some digs" where they can spend the night. Excuse me, but is Rob a member of the Rat Pack? Maybe he has some kind of tattered Dictionary of Outdated Hepster Slang of various eras, from which he got "digs," "let's rock," "let's boogie," and perhaps some other gems not yet revealed. I wonder if they called the greeter in Italy a "skirt." Anyway, in an interview, Brennan explains that Esquire's "main goal" has been "to finish the race" -- in other words, be in the top three. Now that they've done it and they know they're crossing the finish line, they need to methodically shift their focus to winning. That's Esquire for you. Ruthlessly! Organized! Thinking! They have their taxi waiting. Of course they do. It's the pit-stop homework, you know. They probably have all the relevant pages marked with Post-It notes, and all the entries in the book about important airports are marked up with yellow highlighter. They hop in and direct the driver to take them to Tiantan Hotel. You know, I have to say that Brennan has the same habit Joe has -- he sometimes speaks English to the non-English-speaking with a slight indeterminate accent. I find that so odd.

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Amazing Race

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