Call me a sentimental fool. Call me a mama’s boy. Call me somebody who takes my reality television a little too seriously. You’d be right on all counts. But call me the only person who got a little choked up at the end of Sunday night’s edition of The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business, and I’d call you crazy misinformed.
Things kicked off with one last task in Kunming, China, where contestants had to taste a mango-papaya tea before hopping on a plane and heading to Kolkata, India. Mallory hooted and danced after sipping her beverage, then displayed a similar manic enthusiasm navigating huge crowds after disembarking at the Kolkata airport. “I already love India!” she squealed. The funniest moment of the episode came when Mallory delivered a round of playful spankings to her competitors for sending her frantically racing to a nonexistent clue box while the rest of them set up camp for an overnight stay outside the locked town hall gates. “Oh my gosh, we’re like a pack of dogs!” she hooted. In which case, girlfriend is the excitable toy poodle.
The following morning, the teams rushed inside for what was possibly the all-time least effective example of product placement on a network reality show — a Road Block in which players had to wade through thousands of cups of tea to try to identify the mango-papaya flavor they’d sampled in China. Ron and Jet wisely used their olfactory powers to identify the correct cup, but other players weren’t so adept. Reduced to a tea-tasting haze, Flight Time guzzled indiscriminately, repeatedly splattering tea down his chin and all over his t-shirt. A frustrated Zev smashed his mug to the ground after what seemed like Incorrect Guess No. 573. And as the last player left in the room, Luke was reduced to a sobbing mess, crying “it’s too hard” to his supportive mom while a room full of local tea-room employees looked at him as if to say, “Dude, if too much tea is your idea of a hardship…” Still, when Luke eventually cracked the code, everyone in the room joined in the celebration, lifting the hearing-impaired contestant into the air before sending him on to his next task. I don’t know about you all, but the harrowing taste test didn’t exactly get me revved up to try Snapple’s new papaya-mango line extension.
Alas, Luke and Margie were unable to make up any ground at the Detour — where teams had the choice of painting a statue of Ganesha (“We draw on eyebrows every day!” said an excited Kent) or delivering books to a local academy via rickshaw school bus (which left Gary feeling like “a monkey in circus parade”).
When Margie and Luke finally reached the Pit Stop, the latter player fell to the mat, defeated, while his mother hugged him and told him she didn’t blame them for their ouster. Cut to Luke signing the following in his confessional: “Being on The Amazing Race was a big dream for me. I never thought I could be on The Amazing Race. I had a wonderful time racing with my mom.” And I’m not ashamed to admit that in that moment, I was reaching for the Kleenex to dab the corners of my eyes. How about you? Take our poll below, and then sound off on your thoughts on the week’s Race in the comments.