On the way back to the Pit Stop, the indifferently-cleaned cheerleaders are so sure they're out of it that Jaime's even letting Cara drive. Half-dressed, they jog to the mat in the rain, and Phil says to them, "Jaime and Cara?" Cara finishes, "You are the last team to arrive and you have been eliminated." Phil tells them they're "incorrect" -- team number nine, and still in the race. They're overwhelmed. "Shut the front door," Cara says. In their post-leg interview, Jaime points to a big lump of dried mud on the top of Cara's head and says that's "a big giant lump of panda poo," which was is somehow good luck for them. Probably should have put it on before they landed in Hong Kong.
Mel and Mike finally reach the mat, and Mel even jumps on it with a jaunty little hop. It's not like he's ever going to get to be on one of these mats again. Phil tells them, "After a valiant effort today, I'm sorry to tell you you are the last team to arrive, and that you've both been eliminated from the race." Mike says that after running it twice, it's really about the experience with his dad. That's good that he sees that, because winning was never going to happen. "I'm proud of him and I'm grateful for the experience." Mel adds that they're closer than ever. He interviews that Mike knew he'd lose by calling him out of the mud pit, but did it anyway. "He cared more about me than he cared about the race. And it felt good." Mike just chuckles, like what is he going to say? He comes up with, "My dad, he will never give up. And that's why sometimes you have to give up for him." Oh, now I get it. Back at the mat, holding the umbrella, Mel tells Phil, "At eighty I'll be back on my walker." "You got it," Phil says. Of course, when Mel's eighty, The Amazing Race will be twenty, which in TV years is 150. But I don't really want to think about a world without either one of them, do you?
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.