Amazing Race

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But Jill finds her ring in short order, and she and Thomas head back to their car just as Nick and Vicki are arriving. See what I mean about the decision not to follow Gary and Mallory? Vicki reads their clue, trying to keep it away from a hungry goat which eats some other piece of paper right out of her hand instead. Nick isn't down with heights, so Vicki's doing this one. "I'm really honestly not scared of anything but bugs," Vicki interviews. Well, we know she doesn't fear verbal abuse.

Going down, Jill and Thomas pass Team QVC's vehicle, which honks as they pass. Must be a safety thing on these mountain roads. Claire offers to do this Road Block, much to Brook's surprise. Hey, as long as she doesn't have to ascend back up, she'll be fine.

Nat and Kat seem to be at some kind of industrial or construction site when they get directions. "I don't think anybody could be more lost than us," Nat says, as a honking car screams past them on the straight, level road. Okay, maybe it's not just in the mountains.

Nat's reverse-jinx seems to have worked, because Gary and Mallory are indeed more lost than them, and possibly more lost than anyone. Like, in the world. Gary spreads his treacherous map on the hood of his car while a local asks him, "You follow that road? That's not good." Mallory prays (and Jesus is like, "Sure, I'll just tesseract the nation of Oman so you can get to the Road Block. Will that do it for you?") until Gary gets back in and basically says their map is fired. Mallory is just hoping to stay in the race at this point. I know there aren't as many teams as there used to be, but isn't it a bit early in the leg to be talking like that? Unless they're a lot more lost than we realize. I suppose they might be in Syria or something.

Over at Jebel Shams, Nick enjoys the view -- from a distance --- while Vicki lowers herself into the canyon saying, "I feel like Spiderman! Or Spiderwoman, whatever." Well, they're both in my spell check, so we'll go with either one. She reaches the ledge and goes in search of the lamps. Claire comes down next, not so much "rappelling" or even "rappling" as "dangling."

Stephanie is at the wheel of her and Chad's SUV as another honking car Dopplers past, and they're excited to be in first. They find the stack of books with the clue box poking straight up out of the top, and run for it. And Jill and Thomas are right behind them.

Phil waxes poetic about the harsh desert that has sustained its people both physically and spiritually. Hence the Detour, which is a choice between "Water Table" and "Wedding Table." For the former, the teams will pump water -- using gas-powered engines, looks like -- from what Phil overdramatically calls "an ancient well deep below the earth's surface," as though Oman invented underground water. The water will be pumped into a tanker truck, which they'll need to navigate -- but not drive -- as it makes a delivery to a designated house. They'll get their next clue after hooking up the truck's delivery hose to the receiving pipe for the house's storage tank. It's bad enough that running water as a utility isn't a thing in suburban residential Oman; now the people who have to rely on delivery trucks will have to wait for Amazing Racers to find them? That seems like a recipe for water riots.

For the Wedding Table option, they will (or would) go to an Arab market, buy 25 frozen chickens and all manner of other ingredients for "a traditional wedding soup meant to bring health and virility." Then they'll have to cook it, I guess, and present it to a bride and groom for their next clue. Except they won't, because no teams will be doing that Detour. Just as well, because wedding soup isn't as important as water.

Chad and Stephanie pick Water Table -- but you already knew that -- and hurry back to their car, where Chad takes over driving as Jill and Thomas pull up behind them and run for the stack of books, trying to crouch down at the top to stay out of sight. Which doesn't work, because Stephanie sees them anyway, and isn't happy that their lead has gotten so narrow. As for the Detour choice, Jill interviews, "He is just clueless in the kitchen," so Thomas decides to "just follow them." We certainly wouldn't want them to be clueless.

Claire and Vicki are searching together through what Vicki calls "a bazillion lamps." Vicki finds her ring first, but Claire is right behind her. Both teams run for their trucks, but Nick notices that their back left tire has sprung a leak, and it's either hissing audibly or we're supposed to think it is. Team QVC doesn't waste any time jumping into their truck, and even less time worrying about what will become of Nick and Vicki. Of course, any concern would be misplaced, as Nick already has the situation well in hand, putting into effect a two-pronged action plan of being pissed off and disgusted.

After the ads, Nick's at least using all his negative energy to throw jacks and tire irons around, which I suppose is a step in the right direction. On the way down, Brook remarks that they can't afford to get lost with everyone right behind them. She doesn't fully understand the situation, I'm thinking. Nick and Vicki are soon back up and running, although Nick's still pissed off. Vicki says something that sounds like they could have beaten Brook and Claire. "We will," Nick says. Maybe he could shave a few minutes off their time with another judicious deployment of a hissy fit.

Gary and Mallory are trying to get back on track. "I don't know what to say, dad," Mallory says, and then to prove it, she says it again. He says he just wants to be in the race. On the bright side, they're probably getting to see more of Oman than any other team.

The two lead teams arrive where the big blue water trucks are waiting, near a big well (actually a glorified hole in the ground with lots of thick green hoses spilling out of it like a small mechanical Sarlacc) under a highway bridge. They pick a truck and a driver, who shows them how to start the pullcord-style pump motors. Thomas pulls in behind them, and Jill says, "Careful." "Careful what? I'm driving," he snaps at her for no reason. He should probably ask her to marry him so they can get along better for a leg or two. He drafts a driver as Chad gets their pump motor running. Each pump leads to a big pipe over the open hatch on the back of one of the tankers, which rapidly starts filling. Chad and Stephanie work well together to time the shutoff of their pump, not only spilling a minimum of water but also getting a thumbs-up from their driver. Then they climb into the cab with him to get to where the clue tells them to go. "Are you allowed to help us?" Chad asks the driver. He's not, so they'll be stopping somewhere for directions. Jill and Thomas overfill their truck, spilling water all over the place, because as usual Thomas doesn't give a crap about the people he encounters on this race, but they're soon off to their own address. Jill asks him to start by stopping at a gas station at the top of the road. "As fast as you can drive," Thomas adds.

Team QVC gets to the stack of giant books. "Claire and I, we do not cook," Brook interviews, so they're going with Water Table. Plus there's no guarantee that one of the ingredients wouldn't be a watermelon.

Nat and Kat have made it to the top of Jebel Shams, and Kat's doing this Road Block as a result of their longstanding agreement regarding Nat's fear of heights. "It's kind of like a mountain goat," Kat says of one of the mountain goats. Well, she's a doctor, not a zoologist.

Mallory is wiping her eyes with her shirt as Gary talks about not having had a map the whole race. "I'm a pilot, I like maps, I like navigating with maps, and it ended up costing us." They seem to be pretty convinced that they're already doomed to elimination, which isn't exactly ramping up the suspense.

Chad and Stephanie ask a gas station attendant for directions, but he's new. Must be why he's wearing his trucker cap balanced up on the top of his head like that. They get back in the tr

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Amazing Race

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