Amazing Race

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M. Giant: B | Grade It Now!
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…And the Horse That Rode in on You
's first shot, he takes his sweet time getting off the horse while Dan goes on ahead. "I like it," he explains. Must be hard for him to climb down off that much wood once he's mounted it.

Jordan and Jeff finally reach the railway station. The head bandit, satisfied with the coordinates on their bag, whistles over one of his minions who are waiting nearby on horseback. He hands it off as the guy rides past, smacking the horse into a gallop, then gives Jordan and Jeff their cut -- a clue in the form of a gold coin reading "Estancia Fortin Chacabuco," and goes back to holding down his rocking chair. Clearly he is a desperate criminal.

Dan and Jordan are not doing well at the polo challenge, and have to start over. Meanwhile, Joe and Heidi jump onto the mat in fourth place. Dan and Jordan take a second try, and their ball keeps going into the divots, which makes it pretty hard to hit. Brent and Caite have found their Detour clue, and decide on Horse Power. And Louie and Michael become the latest team to give up Horse Sense in favor of Horse Power after finding another wrong bag. "Too many variables," Michael explains. One of which is that God only knows what happens to the bags after teams pull out the wrong ones. Monique and Shawne are going straight to the polo course. And they, as well as the other two lagging teams, arrive at the practice field just in time to see Dan hurl his mallet angrily after his last failed shot. That doesn't seem to make the ball go any farther.

After the ads, the brothers get set up for their third attempt at this task as the other three teams get started. Michael asks for Louie's help in not toppling the horse as he climbs aboard. "I do weigh more than the average cowboy," he admits. Now it's a four-way race for last, but at least he-Jordan seems to have figured out how to hit the ball. They get their clue in sixth place. "This has just been kicking our ass," Jordan says in the car on the way to the Pit Stop. But at least we don't see them stalling out again.

Jordan and Jeff are the fifth team to arrive. Jordan remarks to Phil, "I can never read yew. You scare me." "I scare me too," Phil admits. Jordan says she tries to read his face, but he's just blank. Phil looks at her like, "You're just now picking up on that part of my shtick?" It shouldn't be surprising that Phil's face holds so many mysteries for Jordan, because so does that of a clock.

The Detectives and Monique|Shawne are not having much success, and Miss Team USA don't have much energy. Finally, on a second attempt, Michael and Louis figure out to hit the ball with the flat of the mallet-head instead of the point. "Poor kid from Providence never dreamed of playing polo," Michael says, dismounting for Louie's turn, "but I'm back!" Big talk coming from a guy whose noble steed came from Home Depot. Caite and Brent are closing in, and are the next to finish the polo task as Monique and Shawne are dragging their pony back to the starting line, having failed in their first attempt. Louie and Michael aren't far behind "Spartaaaaahh!" Michael bellows victoriously. Monique and Shawne, firmly back in last place, are now on their third attempt, and the day is getting on, as the valley's clearly in shadow. Sometimes a team hits a leg where they find themselves getting really unlucky, and these two just had the bad luck of being really bad at both the Road Block and the Detour.

Dan and Jordan are team number six. Monique and Shawne, fearing back injuries, become the first team to switch Detours from Horse Power to Horse Sense rather than the other way around. Up ahead, Brent and Caite arrive at the Pit Stop as team number seven. "That's all we wanted to hear," Brent says, after facing the possibility this morning of not being able to continue the race at all. As though they didn't arrive in Bariloche at the same time as five other teams, and fell behind again by getting lost. Unless they threw up their sense of direction along with everything else, the illness excuse doesn't really fly.

Monique and Shawne are counting out their steps on the treasure field as Louie and Michael arrive at the Pit Stop as team number eight. "I want to say I love you, but..." Louis begins. "I don't want to hear that," Phil says as he shakes their hands. We certainly wouldn't want anyone to think that he-Jordan might have somehow given them the ghey.

Monique and Shawne find their moneybag, and thank the Lord as they interview about being an example to their kids and to other mothers. "Pursue your dreams and don't give up." The lead bandit accepts their cash and sends it off, then sends them off to the Pit Stop. I do have to give them credit for being one of only two teams who successfully completed the Horse Sense Detour out of six teams that attempted it -- and the only team who managed it without receiving inadvertent help from another team. It's just right around sunset when they reach the mat, so it couldn't even have taken them all that long. Phil tells them they're the last to arrive, and have been eliminated. "We did our best and that's all we could do," Shawne says. Monique gets teary as she interviews that they're proud of the way they represented moms, and Shawne compliments her on not having an ugly cry. Which is coming in handy right about now.

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

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Amazing Race

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