Amazing Race
Back in the Saddle

Episode Report Card
M. Giant: B | 81 USERS: B
Mulligan Stew

And we travel back in time once again, but this time just to the night before, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Bopper is in an exam room, being thumped and prodded by a white-coated doctor while Mark looks on with concern. Bopper interviews in daylight that he had a pancreas attack the night before and he's just waiting to get cleared to race. Which is odd, because by the next day he's already heard the news. Then we're back to the evening before, when Mark & Bopper sat across from the doctor's desk while Phil perched on the file cabinet next to the window. Phil gravely tells Bopper that according to Dr. Horowitz, Bopper isn't healthy enough to do the race. Mark drops his head, and Bopper blows out his breath like he's been gut-punched, which in a sense he has. Calmly, Bopper says this is devastating, and the race doctor pipes up to tell Bopper that his inflamed pancreas could kill him if it goes bad. I'm not sure Bopper is willing to let that stop him. Both of them are starting to well up, possible due to the health news as well as the race news. As for Phil, he has Philiminated an awful lot of people over the years, sometimes in some pretty unusual places, but this must be the first time he's had to do it in a doctor's office, before the race even started. He tells Mark there's good news, but Mark can't imagine what that could be. Phil says that if Mark still wants to race, they can find him a new partner. "You would be doing it for Bopper. And we will team you up with somebody so you get the opportunity to go around the world and race. And you still have a chance to go and win that million dollars." But who could they find on such short notice, unless an alternate is standing by (alternates are always standing by)? Mark is clearly torn up about this, even as Bopper gives his blessing: "You can not not do it." Mark says this is the hardest decision he's ever had to make. Mark has made a lot of easy decisions in his life, then.

Back to the starting line, where the other racers are reacting with shock (and in Rachel's case tears, because camera hog). Phil goes on to say that Mark's new teammate has Bopper's blessing, and will also be representing Kentucky. "Here she is," he says, pointing up at the bleachers behind them. And who should come running into view with a backpack on but Mallory, the 5 Hour Energy-sized ex-Miss Kentucky who ran with her dad Gary in TAR 17 and then made it to the final leg in TAR 18. It's a little weird to see her doing a joint interview with Mark, promising to make their state proud. "In Kentucky, we got each other's back." Yes, that's what I've heard from people who watch < a href="" target="blank">Justified. She joins Bopper & Mark for an emotional three-way hug. As Bopper presents Mallory with a headband signed by his daughter that he wants her to wear, he's crying, and so is she, and so is Mark as he hugs Bopper again. And Rachel comes rushing over for a hug as well, because camera hog. Bopper interviews that Mallory's a tiger and they'll do great. Mallory has certainly completed more legs of the race than Mark has, and unlike Mark she has collapsed on none of them.

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Amazing Race




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