Amazing Race
Mark Down

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Bollywood Travolta

Art and JJ make it to the mat and are the third team to arrive, which is clearly better than they thought. "That's the most excited you've ever seen a third-place team in your life, Phil!" Art says. It's certainly the most excited we've ever seen those two about being in anything other than first place. Vanessa and Ralph run up right behind them and are checked in as team number four. I'm going to start calling them Team Penultimate if this keeps up much longer.

Back at the college, with the only team who has yet to reach the mat, or indeed complete a single task of this leg, Bopper asks Mark if he's okay. Mark doesn't know, so Bopper suggests he put the costume back on and give it one more shot for their kids, "Then we'll be out of here." Wait, what? Okay, actually that question I just asked is totally disingenuous. It's not stated or shown, but I think it's pretty clear what's going on here: a decision has been made at some level to give Mark the clue if he can just get through one more attempt, no matter what. And I think Bopper is either privy to that discussion or figured it out on his own, but either isn't allowed to tell Mark or doesn't want to. And Mark is too heat-addled right now to come to a similar conclusion.

Otherwise Bopper's reversal of position makes no sense, five attempts after he started trying to talk Mark out of continuing at all. And I'm actually okay with this. Yes, Bopper got on my nerves early on by being so damn loud and aggressively Southern, but either these two have grown on me or I've realized that they're the only team left in the race that hasn't gotten embroiled in a bunch of ridiculous schoolyard bullshit. Furthermore, someone clearly forgot to tell the director in charge of this challenge that when it comes to dancing tasks on The Amazing Race, close is worth even more than it is in horseshoes. I can't remember the last time anyone had to do more than four tries at a dance, let alone thrice that. Anyway, back in the tent, Bopper chokes out, "Let's take what's been given to us right now." Together, Mark and the choreographer manage to cajole Mark into giving it another try. At least his sweat-soaked pajamas will have cooled off a bit in the minutes since he took them off, so that'll be kind of refreshing, in a completely disgusting way.

In a post-leg interview, Mark says that they might at least make their kids proud that they finished the leg and "didn't quit on nothin'." With that, he goes out for one more try, to great applause from his dance squad, and interviews while staring directly into the camera, "I hope it proves to my kids that their daddy loves them more than anything in this world." In other words: No, Mark Junior, you may not use the car tonight. Or ever. Bopper proudly says from the sidelines, "Glad to see him get back up there. Shake that leg, baby." Mark goes through his twelfth attempt, and while he messes up a step near the end, twelve tries is indeed apparently enough to satisfy the director, who runs up waving the clue. A thirty-person group hug on the stage ensues, and Bopper happily lies, "That boy can dance!" No, my eyes aren't watering, yours are. I'm pretty sure I know exactly what just happened and I don't care.

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Amazing Race

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