Previously on Hit the Ball, Drag Flo: Vietnam proved to be Flo's undoing, to whatever degree she wasn't already undone. The choo-choo chew-chewed her up and spit-spit her out, the bikes knocked the Schwinn out of her, and the boats presented a Titanic challenge. (Oh, shut up, it could be worse. There was originally a "her life is a living hull" joke in that sentence, so thank your lucky stars you escaped with your life.) Come harpy or high water, however, Zen-like Zach persevered and managed to get them to the end of the leg, albeit in last place. Teri and Ian snapped and spit and sputtered along the way, but they ultimately sped into first place and spoke of their love for each other at the pit stop in a way that was right on the borderline between endearing and just plain unsettling. You know, it's surprising how fine that line really is. Ken and Gerard struggled with yet another flat tire and a few more issues relating to gravity and the proximity of one's nose to the floor, but they held on to their usual good humor and finished second. And they hit each other in the head, but we're pretty sure they didn't mean it.
No credits. Who took the [BOMP] from the [BOMP]-sh-[BOMP]...oh, forget it. You get the idea. (It's a good thing there aren't any more trivia requirements, because I was so tired of research that I was about to be reduced to looking around my apartment for things I could tell you about. There are thirty-five slats on my vertical blinds, for instance, and I own forty-five chick movies, not counting the musicals.)
It's time to eat, sleep, and mingle again, and it appears that somebody has become addicted to room service, because yet again, all the teams are in a nice hotel to rest up for the big finish. I think this is the first race where they're going to come home with backpacks full of terrycloth robes and little bottles of complimentary shampoos with those strange half-institutional, half-dreamy names like "Luxurious Host" and "Residence Moonlight." My first complaint regarding this season's final leg? Not rank enough. I want more stinking! Seriously, there should be green squiggly lines leading away from your body at this point. I want to see people so tired they can't summon the energy to comb their hair. I want to see spines that are twisted into Mobius strips from too many nights spent sleeping on benches and concrete floors. I want to see dirt under the fingernails. Seriously? More stinking.
5:35 AM. Asshat. They open the clue, and it tells them to scout out a route marker at the Guang Minh Temple in Da Nang. The temple features a very large stone Buddha, as well as some amiable-looking cows. Teri and Ian take off, and Ian once again offers his indignant voice-over about how the other teams all underestimated him and Teri simply because they continually finished near the back of the pack. He seems to chalk this up to unjustified failure to take the old people seriously, but I would point out that of all the reasons to suspect a team of sucking, the fact that they keep narrowly avoiding elimination is one of the more merit-based. At any rate, they grab their cab. As usual, he snaps at the cabbie to go faster. "You gotta go! Go fast, go fast!" Just once, I'd like to see the cabbie put the pedal to the floor and see Ian and Teri pressed back into their seats with their cheeks folded back over their ears as the cab screams forward, leaving their teeth floating above the street like the little puff of smoke that's left when Wile E. Coyote falls off a cliff.