Amazing Race has its most intense foot race ever at the end of the world

There is one rational, intelligent response to the conclusion of last night’s episode of The Amazing Race 11: HOLY FUCKING SHIT. The hour ended with a foot race that seemed to be created mostly by the editors–the two teams were at least a few minutes apart–but they did a masterful job, and it was crazy suspenseful.

Those few minutes were especially intense because the race was between last-place teams Rob and Amber and Charla and Mirna, the most physical team versus the least physical team. I am so glad I didn’t read the spoiler list, because it correctly identified this week’s elimination, and knowing that would have made the conclusion far less satisfying. First, though, there was drama along the way:

  • Rob said, “I’m not trying to be arrogant or cockey, I’m just saying’, like, I know I believe in us. I believe that we’re the strongest team here.” Amber said, “I almost feel that we’re peaking,” and Rob immediately dismissed that: “I’m not peaking. I’m not even close to my prime.” I love a little foreshadowing in the evening.
  • “I’m treating her pretty much like a guy, except she has nicer boobs,” Eric said of Danielle. Is anyone surprised he’s comparing his girlfriend to a guy?
  • Mirna told us, “Charla obviously wants to contribute, but I do more than any one single person has probably ever had to do on the race…” If you mean that you do more bitching, you’re absolutely right.
  • Actually, Mirna finished the sentence with “…to compensate for any shortcomings that we have.” Oh, a height joke. Mirna, Mirna.
  • Rob gleefully showed us “a little note that the stewardess gave me when I came out of the bathroom. … what can I say, she handed over the directions right to me. Thanks, Uchenna.” Uchenna explained that “Rob comes in and steals” the directions he’d requested from the flight attendant. Reason number 5,124 why I can’t stand Romber: They pretend as though they don’t need other teams and are amazing by themselves, but so much of their success comes at the expense of others. Maybe that’s great game play; they just lie about it constantly.
  • Rob spelled “Philippines” as “Phillipeans,” causing them to be delayed at the Detour, and then said, “It better not be a spelling thing.” I’m totally over seeing Rob on TV, but I’d pay to see him get his ass kicked on Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?
  • Romber switched tasks, and teamed up with the blondes. “I know where we’re going,” Rob said, and then took them to the wrong place. “It’s like one of the first times in the race Amber and I aren’t a the head of the pack. It’s a little frustrating,” he said, his internal organs liquefying.
  • Charla and Mirna had yet another meltdown, this time carrying supplies up stairs. “What do you want me to do?” Charla screamed. But the best part was when Mirna picked up a big wooden box of supplies, and Charla tried to reprise her glory days carrying a side of meat through the streets of Uruguay, telling Mirna to “put it on my shoulders.”
  • “I don’t need to be comforted,” Rob told Amber when they arrived second-to-last at the airport. “He’s full of crap,” Amber said to the camera. “He wants to finish first; I know he does. Because he’s deeply upset we’re not on the first plane. It just makes me mad because he lies. Admit that you want to be in first.” Amber’s kind of growing on me.
  • At the end of the world, literally, the Detour forced one team member to search through 1,600 pieces of mail to find one of two letters addressed to them. “What they don’t know is that the letter was written by a team on the first season of The Amazing Race,” Phil explained. About half of these had nice content; the others were hysterically rude. For example, Susan and Patrick wrote to Rob and Amber, “Hopefully this letter finds you broke, lost, hungry, in last place,” prompting Rob to say, “this is just insulting.” And deserved.
  • “We don’t have to come in first every time,” Amber said. “We still might be able to,” Rob said as they traveled in cab, in second-to-last place.
  • Oswald and Danny checked in first. “We made it to the end of the world for you; please say something nice,” Oswald pleaded with Phil.
  • “Got it,” Amber told Charla and Mirna, as Rob held an old clue. “They actually believed me telling them that the clue was down there. That’s just dumb.” Later Amber lied to Charla about misleading her, saying, “I didn’t talk to you guys, I was talking to him.” Okay, now I hate Amber again.
  • Charla and Mirna left the Roadblock just before Rob and Amber, because they were luckier and Mirna found her letter first. Still, that led to a foot race to the finish line. Between Rob and Amber and Charla and Mirna. “We can definitely beat Charla and Mirna in a footrace any day,” Amber said as Charla and Mirna left, saying over their shoulders, “Lying bitch.”
  • As they ran, Rob and Amber in pursuit, Mirna encouraged her cousin. “I’m trying, I’m trying,” Charla said, and then fell flat on her face.
  • Charla and Mirna made it to the mat first, high-fiving Uchenna and Joyce. That led to the best 20 words in the English language: “Rob and Amber, you’re the last team to arrive. I’m sorry to tell you you have been eliminated from the race,” Phil said. Rob said something about being lucky because he has a good wife and life, but whatever, he lost. Time to retire from TV forever. That said, they did manage to easily come in first place three weeks in a row, and they are good competitors, even if they are jerkheads.

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.