The Amazing Race 17 Secret Scenes, Episode 7: “Are We Done?”
Is this Kevin (pictured with Michael) talking to Phil because he is just that frustrated with losing? Is it us the viewer wondering if the matter of the missing Speed Bump is over (short answer: it is over)? Is this Chad & Stephanie after still not besting Brook & Claire? Or is it CrankyPants McGee (aka Nick) because they can’t get a taxi? Read on to find out!
At the Pit Stop
Featured Teams: Brook & Claire, Nick & Vicki (second and third place)
Some Tough Women: Phil asks what Vicki thinks of Brook’s battle-scarred face, which refers to her cut eye area. Vicki thinks it makes Brook look bad ass. Phil salutes the fact that there are very strong women on the race this year and there’s a chance that an old female team could win the race. At least that’s what Claire hears him say, which almost brings out some attitude. After Phil quickly restates what he said, Brook & Claire are excited but don’t want to jinx the fact that indeed the top two slots on this leg are the two female teams. They also brink Vicki into the love fest and praise how in shape she is.
Phil wants to know who they would like to see eliminated but everyone defers from answering. Brook explains that every leg the circumstances are different so depending on who is in front or is behind them, their answer may change. Vicki agrees and alludes that because the game tosses the standings around so much, it’s tough to target a team.
As for their surroundings, Phil wonders if they’ve had a chance to actually take in the fact that they’re in beautiful St. Petersburg. Brook pledges to come back and take a proper vacation as she’s fallen in love with Russia. Vicki has noticed how sexy the city is with everyone drinking vodka and looking attractive. Brook agrees as she can’t believe how gorgeous and tall all the Russian women are.
Featured Team: Michael & Kevin (last place)
A Disappointed Kevin: Kevin hopes to learn how to smile like his dad even when the situation is difficult such as being told you are eliminated. Phil asks Michael where he got his optimistic disposition from. Michael tells him he’s just a happy-go-lucky guy. Phil does his best to cheer Kevin up by telling him how good an achievement it was that they got so far on the race working together on the team. Kevin’s face shows no happiness while Michael puts his arm around Kevin and laughs to try to get him to do so. Phil isn’t put off and eventually gets Kevin to smile, although it’s a reluctant one.
Phil figures that Kevin needs to take pride in their finish but he’s probably tired. Kevin tells Phil that isn’t the case at all and it’s more that he doesn’t want to go. It’s clear to see that Kevin wants to scream and cry or something but he doesn’t want to hurt his dad’s feelings. Michael tries to relate some of Kevin’s own advice back to him, but Kevin isn’t having it. He looks at Phil and asks him “are we done?” Kevin & Michael shake Phil’s hand and Phil just wants Kevin to cheer up. He’s going to miss them both and their smiles.
Featured Team: Chad & Stephanie (sixth place)
Chad & Stephanie Grow: Stephanie is in tears and Phil asks what is wrong. She tells him that they arrived at the Roadblock ahead of a few teams but she chose to do it and they ended up getting passed. She got discouraged and she ended up being the last one to finish. Phil recognizes she’s pretty tough on herself and asks what Chad was saying to her. Chad knew that they may be eliminated but kept telling her throughout the leg that it was a good run and that they had fun and they still have each other. Phil shows a little skepticism that Chad was so supportive but Stephanie vouches for him. Chad admits it was tough to watch Stephanie struggle but he just kept cheering her on so she wouldn’t lose heart.
Featured Team: Nat & Kat (first place)
On the Doctor’s List: Phil informs the doctors that this leg marks the official halfway point of the race. He also knows that they are shooting to be the first all-female team to win but that they are making quite a target on their backs with their multiple wins. Are they worried about it? Kat figures there may be a target but if they don’t race as hard as possible on every leg, they could end up on the bottom, as they’ve been there before too.
Phil asks who they’d like to see eliminated and Nat & Kat both evade the answer as they like and get along with all the remaining teams. If it wasn’t a personal decision, Nat tells Phil that Gary & Mallory and Brook & Claire are very strong teams that could go all the way. They wouldn’t want to see them go though as those teams are also their best friends. They finally admit that they’d like to see Chad & Stephanie go as Chad is so strong. Phil praises their fitness too as he figures they’re probably one of the fittest teams there, at least aerobically. He thinks that may prove to be a better advantage than pure strength.
Featured Team: Jill & Thomas (fourth place)
Sizing Up the Competition: Phil looks at sweaty Thomas then at glowing Jill and can’t believe she’s not even breaking a sweat. Thomas admits they’re total opposites when it comes to that as he’s known as a sweater. Jill defends him a little as he was carrying two bags at the end. Since it’s now the halfway point and it’s decidedly more competitive now, Phil wonders who they think are their main competition. Thomas explains that if they work with a team like Gary & Mallory to decipher clues, they’ll work together. Jill praises the girls and recognizes that they’re doing amazing and are the prime competition.
Extra Race Footage
Featured Team: Brook & Claire
Brook’s Circus Excitement: On the cab ride to the circus Detour, Brook animatedly discusses that both she & Claire are excited about doing something in the circus. As she’s talking, you can catch Claire’s glances that indicate she may not be quite as excited but she’s humoring Brook regardless. Brook proclaims that this may be their favorite leg of the race even though she admits she has no idea what they’re going to do. Brook has watched Circque du Soleil, attended the circus every time it came to town, and also has an uncle who was part of the circus.
Claire is intrigued by what’s going to happen as the Russians are renowned for their circus acts. That just sets off Brook into more excitement spasms. Brook knows that The Amazing Race is the sole reason why she now can live out her dream and do things she otherwise wouldn’t be able to. She then wonders if she’ll get to wear a leotard, which we saw on the broadcast. Claire wonders who actually says that!
Featured Team: Brook & Claire
The Spinning Masters: Still on a circus high, Brook explains that the key to spinning plates was speed. Claire adds that you also had to work at an angle like you would when lighting a candle. Brook agrees with the candle analogy as after Claire figured that out at the challenge, they made quick work of the task. Both of them figure if they want to stop working on the HSN channel, they could start a career in the circus spinning plates. Brook corrects her because they will do the Iditarod first and then join the circus. They’ve managed to find new career paths in every leg of the race. Brook is really excited to try spinning plates at home but Claire warns against that.
Featured Team: Nick & Vicki
An Unpleasant Wait: While waiting for a taxi, Nick is venting because it has been seven minutes and the taxi that was supposed to show up hasn’t. Nick wishes they had just ripped the people out of the previous taxi and taken it. Vicki notices a taxi driving by and Nick verifies it but comments that the taxi is on the main street. How surprising! Vicki looks at him hopelessly and asks him what should they do. He continues to mock the fact that they’re waiting on a side street for a taxi. Vicki reminds him that the taxis won’t stop on the main street, but Nick pledges to follow and stop the taxi the next time one drives by. As their taxi finally arrives, Vicki thanks the taxi for arriving and Nick mocks her thanks. Fun times!
Featured Team: Kevin & Michael
Teamwork Succeeds: On their way from the circus Detour, Kevin explains that the plate-spinning required a lot of teamwork. Michael is happy because this was the first challenge where he felt like he had a major role in their success. It turns out that Michael figured out the technique to get the plates spinning as Kevin couldn’t. At that point, Michael took the lead and got all their plates spinning on the sticks. Michael praises Kevin’s role in keeping the plates spinning but Kevin confesses that the task was difficult as wearing the clown noses was sweaty and disorienting.
Featured Team: Chad & Stephanie
The Sound of Misery: Chad explains that the plate-spinning challenge was frustrating because if he can’t master a physical challenge, it freaks him out. “Things come to my body naturally,” Chad tells us, which warrants a humorous “are you serious” look from Stephanie. She lets us know that Chad was not a basketball player, which he reluctantly admits is true. He is relieved that the challenge is over because when the plates would fall, the shattering sound was miserable. Stephanie was slightly annoyed as Chad wouldn’t even try to prevent the plates from smashing on the ground as if he was trying to make a point.
Jill & Thomas asked them who finished the plates challenge and Stephanie had told them that Brook & Claire did. It seemed that Jill & Thomas took that as an indication that they could handily do it as well, but Stephanie wasn’t buying that as she doesn’t even know how Brook & Claire managed to get it done. Chad & Stephanie both figure that the girls must have done that before.
After the Race
Featured Team: Gary & Mallory
The Secret of Mallory’s Hair: Mallory indicates that she has secret pieces of color in her hair. Her hairdresser for the Miss Kentucky pageant put one in before and she ended up winning that. Then she got another piece of color for the Miss America pageant and then of course got another one for The Amazing Race. She’s sure that these secret pieces of color are good luck.
Featured Team: Gary & Mallory
Oldest Racer Standing: When the race started and there were 11 teams, Mallory figured they had a one in eleven chance of staying in. But now that five teams are gone every little decision or mistake matters, like when they got lost going to the tower. The thing that people at home don’t realize is how close the teams are to each other. Teams are literally just minutes apart when getting to checkpoints. Everyone is just pushing really hard. Mallory is also very proud as now her dad Gary is the oldest left. Nat & Kat and Thomas are in their 30s and everyone else is in their 20s. Gary is 53 and has managed to dominate in competition.
Featured Team: Nat & Kat
Doing What it Takes: Kat came from a sports background so she came into the race with the ability to play hard against even her best friend. When the game is done though, she can easily return to being friends. She isn’t sure if Nat is able to do that though. Nat wants to be friends with everybody and Kat isn’t sure if that’s going to work out especially when you may not always be honest with everyone.
Nat explains that she wants to win by running the best race and doing the best. But she admits that when the time came for all the games in between the challenges, she wasn’t ready and furthermore, she’s not very good at them. They have been able to help other teams out with directions as usually it’s been for teams that are fairly far behind them. Nat thinks that generosity has helped with other teams liking them. Additionally, their directions have been correct and haven’t been sabotage, so the teams trust them.
Featured Team: Chad & Stephanie
Chad & Stephanie Are Over It: Stephanie is tired of the fact that Brook & Claire are in front of them. She admits that today there is no excuse as everyone got bunched together at the circus. But there was nothing physical about the tasks and if there had been push-ups or laps in the pool, Stephanie would have beat them. Yet here came the spinning-plate challenge and Brook & Claire nail it. How did they do it so well? Chad won’t admit that Brook & Claire are a better team, it’s just that his & Stephanie’s strengths haven’t been showcased yet. What? Do they really believe Brook’s strength is plate spinning?
Chad won’t try to use a ton of excuses, but he rationalizes that it’s all about winning The Amazing Race, it’s not about each individual leg. If you make it to the final three and win, even if you didn’t win any of the individual legs, you still win. He is certain that is what matters and is relevant to his team. Their strength is enduring the hardships and the “mud in the face” and having to pick themselves up and keep going. Other teams have even asked how it feels to be in the back. Chad & Stephanie figure that means those teams aren’t ready to truly race for their lives. Stephanie thinks the stress will eventually get them, like it did for Connor & Jonathan and the volleyball girls.
Featured Team: Michael & Kevin
Michael & Kevin Look Back: Michael has been able to see many countries of the world for the first time because of the race. He’s disappointed that they’ve been eliminated but with his life experience, he knows how to deal with disappointment better than young kids. Kevin admits it’s been a great experience traveling all over the world with his dad as he learned a lot about him. They’ve surprised each other by persevering through what seemed to be daunting tasks.
Featured Teams: Nick & Vicki, Brook & Claire
No Regrets From Nick: Nick doesn’t regret his lie as one of the teams that was affected has now been eliminated. Neither Nick nor Vicki think that what they said with regards to the fake information at the tower was truly a lie, it was just words that could be left open to interpretation. A smart team would have figured the truth out for itself anyway. Vicki knew they needed a bit of a jumpstart, and both figure that other teams, like Brook & Claire, would have done the same thing. It was a smart move and a smart game play move.
Over in Brook & Claire land, Brook explains that she has learned that you don’t show any anger immediately but wait for the right time to reciprocate. But that doesn’t mean that they will actually lie. If another team asks them for directions or help, they’ll most likely just feign ignorance. She certainly isn’t going to be super helpful though. Claire loves when a team like Jill & Thomas will be completely shocked when Brook & Claire come out of nowhere and blow right past them. Phil even gets shocked to see them arrive out of the blue.
The houseguests are out on a boat getting ready to go snorkeling. The volleyball girls look only mildly less annoyed than normal. Everyone seems excited though to go on this last trip before the next eliminated team arrives. Katie & Rachel admit they’ve finally begun to embrace their fate and actually enjoy their time in the Mexican Caribbean. Jenna tells us that she dreamed the next team to arrive was going to be Gary & Mallory while apparently Rachel dreamed it was going to be Brook & Claire. Rachel tells everyone that she really wants it to be Brook & Claire as for one thing, they’ll be fun to have around, and two, she still doesn’t want another girl team to win.
Later that day at the house, everyone has cleaned up from their snorkeling trip and are awaiting the arrival of the next eliminated team. Katie & Rachel are still harping on not wanting another all-woman team to win while it’s obvious Andie still can’t understand these girls. The boat pulls up and we see a team approach the house. When Michael & Kevin round the corner, everyone claps and cheers. After the hugs, everyone sits around on the couch to catch up on what’s been happening on the race. Kevin recaps their penalty and how angry he was to be eliminated while Michael just smiled. Privately, Michael does admit that he didn’t take the elimination hard and was actually relieved to be done with the race. Of course, privately Katie & Rachel tell us that they’re mad that Kevin & Michael are here as they wanted a boy team to win.
In their room, Michael asks Kevin how he feels. Is he relaxing yet? Kevin wonders why Michael isn’t sad that he isn’t able to travel to new countries and do fun new Roadblocks. Michael isn’t missing it at all and is glad to give his legs a break. Kevin speculates that there are going to be some upcoming legs in Asia and China where they would dominate. Michael isn’t getting swayed as he’s been to Asia many times. Kevin just is not ready to be at Elimination Station. Michael wishes Kevin would start to get over it and enjoy the here and now.
The next morning the group has ventured to the southern part of the island where a Mayan temple used to be. While there, Michael & Kevin chat with Katie & Rachel about their feelings on losing. Katie is amused because Michael is totally laid back about it all while Kevin is much more riled up and go go go. Michael tells them that he understands why they’re feeling so upset because they’re young but he has experience and can handle disappointment with grace. Katie & Rachel seem to take to heart what he’s saying, hopefully. Rachel admits that Elimination Station certainly isn’t a bad place to try to learn how to move on from disappointment.
Hobie Barnes works in NYC at 30 Rock (the building, not the show). While not conquering Midtown, he might be found watching DVR’d reality TV, mastering intermediate guitar (is that you F chord? get ready to be rocked), or getting lost on the subway. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.