Amazing Race

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Maui, Owie!
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

Previously onThe Amazing Race: the entire season.

In case you haven't heard, Phil reminds us that we're in Beijing, "Capitol of the People's Republic of China, home to an Olympic landmark: the Bird's Nest." Which became the "ultimate world stage," when? When it was the tenth Pit Stop in a race around the world. I'm glad that place finally got the attention it deserves. But before the Race starts again, why not watch Tammy and Victor research their trip to the Galapagos Islands on a certain travel website, with a certain gnome mascot sitting on the table in front of the laptop? How about...because we don't want to? Besides, I like the new "getaway" ad much better than the old gnome-themed ones. Here's hoping that next season's Race will incorporate that into the competition with tasks like making Racers jump into moving cars.

Team Family Law arrived at the Pit Stop at 9:15 AM, so they're leaving at 9:15 PM. A twelve-hour rest period? That's crazy talk! The clue is sending them to their final destination: Maui, Hawaii. And then they'll find their way to a place with the evocative name of "Beach Access 118." Sounds like a Jan and Dean song, doesn't it? As they head over to grab a cab, we see them interview that the other two teams are tough competition. Well, one of them is. At the brilliantly-lit airport (they do hate darkness in Beijing, don't they?), Victor gets on a phone at a kiosk and starts trying to book tickets, in English, while a ticket agent stands next to them for some reason. But all they learn is that they'll have to wait until the airline office opens at 6:00 the next morning. So much for their lead.

Before ripping their clue at 11:24 PM, Luke leans over for a kiss on the cheek from Margie. They're thrilled to be going to Maui. They interview that they started out as the underdogs, but they proved everyone wrong. "We're a very strong team. We'll do anything to win this game." Well, the final leg has new underdogs, so look out for them.

Inside the airport, they meet up with Tammy and Victor, who tell them that there are no tickets or even reservations to be had at this hour. I'm sure Margie and Luke will check into that themselves, even if we don't see it happen. I'm also sure a previous season would have subjected us to some non-intrigue designed to play up some idea that Victor's not to be trusted, but once again, I prefer this season's version of The Amazing Race. More racing, don't you know.

Even Jaime is excited as she and Cara rip their clue at 2:04 AM, whether it's because they're returning to the U.S., where everyone speaks English, or because the Race is almost over. "I really have no idea why it's taken fourteen seasons for a female team to win this race," Jaime interviews. Fourteen and counting, Sunshine. Cara warns us not to underestimate them. Big talk for someone going into the final leg almost five hours behind the leaders.

Next morning, three sets of boarding passes are printed and handed out. Once everyone's on the plane, Victor says he's happy it's the final flight, "But I'm very nervous about the battle that is to come."

The Amazing Red Line bounds halfway across the Pacific as Phil narrates, "All teams are now flying to their final destination: Maui, Hawaii." The subtitle over some spectacular footage of the island reads, "Maui, Hawaii 18 hours later," just in case you might have forgotten where they're going. Wait, where are we again? Let me go back and check. Oh, okay, it's Maui. I'm not sure why it took 18 hours to fly there directly from Beijing, unless they went via slingshot. Team Family Law, Team Go Team, and Margie|Luke all come charging off the plane at a dead run, as though they were the only ones on board. Those rankings hold all the way to the minivan-taxis. When Luke and Margie get there in third and Margie tries to rush the driver along, he protests, "That's illegal, ma'am. We cannot do that." I think they somehow got Jaime and Cara's cabbie.

So now everyone's en route to Beach Access 118. "Once there," Phil explains, "they'll prep a pig for a traditional Hawaii luau by seasoning it with island flavoring." Unfortunately for us, the hard part has been done for them, as we see that these pigs are already dead. They're also to be slung on long bamboo poles, which, as a couple of burly sarong-clad islanders demonstrate, will be used to carry the 145-lb pig 200 yards down the beach to the luau site, where a ukulele trio is waiting to serenade the teams. But they'll still not be done with the task; they'll have to cover the pig with canvas and sand to prepare it for cooking over a stone fire pit. Then they'll get the next clue. At least they won't have to wait around 12 hours for the pig to cook.

"You must put on the provided swimsuits," Victor reads from their clue in the cab. Oh, here we go. Cara and Jaime start changing into matching green bikinis in the back of their taxi-van, promising their driver a big tip if they win. I'd say he's getting a tip already. In fact, it may be peeking out through his zipper.

Tammy (in a blue bikini) and Victor (his baggy swim trunks accessorized with the Amazing Purse slung across his bare chest) reach the beach first, and get right to work on oiling and salting their big old dead pig. "This is disgusting," says the man who two days ago was eating scorpions. Team Go Team arrives next, their butt-cheeks all aflutter, and get started as well. Their seasoning finished, Tammy and Victor run their carrying-pole through their porker's trussed trotters. The cheerleaders are right behind them, and both teams are holding their poles at waist level rather than lifting them up to their shoulders as the locals demonstrated. It's barely keeping their pigs up out of the sand, but none of the three women seem able to raise it any higher. It's easy to mock, but if my calculations are correct, each Racer is responsible for 73 pounds of weight. Plus they're walking on sand. I tend to measure my own maximum carrying capacity in relation to my 65-pound bass amp, which I can't carry more than a block without resting. But then, it's not supposed to rest on my shoulder, either.

As Margie (out of uniform, wearing a pink tank top over a black-and-white floral swimsuit) and Luke arrive and run down to the beach, the other two teams are nearly neck and neck -- that is, until Cara drops her end of the pole and their pig falls in the sand. You know, when Phil said "island flavor," I don't think he meant that the pig was supposed to be flavored with actual, literal island. Margie and Luke season quickly, then become the first team to actually get their pole up on their shoulders. Which will serve them well during the schlep to come. Up ahead, Tammy and Victor have opened up a significant lead, while Jaime exhorts Cara, "Tammy is a weakling! We can pass her." Too bad they have to pass both siblings. Luke and Margie are making steady progress, unlike Tammy, who has to put their pig down in the sand. More island flavor. Team Go Team's pig is also down, and Luke and Margie are catching up quickly. When the cheerleaders try to lift the pole in the crooks of their arms, Cara can't manage it, and the pig hits the ground again. Jaime suppresses her fury by briefly glaring out at the ocean and vibrating like a guitar string. Meanwhile, Margie and Luke pass them. Up ahead, Tammy is also running out of gas, so Margie and Luke pass them as well, not giving them a lot of space as they go half a step up the beach. It's not like the passing team is going to waste a lot of energy going any farther out of their way than they have to. Tammy manages three more steps, and Victor's getting frustrated. But not as much as Jaime, who stresses, "Cara, please pick up the pig." Tammy keeps powering through, with Victor being more encouraging than hectoring, at least syntactically if not in tone. "Do not doubt yourself!" he orders. Cara drops her end of the pole again, and Jaime makes her switch with her. Maybe the other end of the pig is lighter. And look, I know I can't let this sequence go by without making some kind of H1N1 joke, so the following is purely for contractual requirement

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Amazing Race

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