Nov 26, 2010, Ep 9: “I Look Like a Petrie Dish”

The Amazing Race 17 Secret Scenes, Episode 9:  “I Look Like a Petrie Dish”

Brook & Claire (pictured) were put through the ringer this leg and it shows!  Nevertheless, these videos show that all the teams consider the all-girl teams threats to take it all, although Nick & Vicki aren’t totally convinced.  There’s also some more info on Chad’s touching story about his engagement ring for Stephanie, so read on to find out all the details!

At the Pit Stop

Featured Teams:  Brook & Claire (fourth place)

Brook & Claire Fight Back:  Phil can’t hold back his appraisal of how different (read: worse) both Brook & Claire look compared to how they looked when they started the race.  Back then they were clearly HSN hosts.  Now, not so much.  Claire agrees with Phil as she notices her shirt’s condition and comments “I look like a petrie dish.”  Phil can’t help but motivate them though because they survived the U-Turn and stayed in the race. He wonders why the other teams should be afraid of them.

Brook realizes that they always seem to crawl right to the back of the pack but their success is because they never give up.  Claire calls Thomas out for understanding that Brook & Claire are there to win and he just made an attempt to get rid of his biggest competition.  Neither Brook nor Claire think that Jill is calling any of the shots and that the decision was all Thomas’.  Once they saw that they had been U-Turned, they didn’t stop to get angry about it.  Brook admits that while she had the basket of bricks on her head, she kept thinking how much she can’t wait to see Thomas’ face when he sees they’re still there.  That alone motivated her to succeed.  Phil comments that you certainly can’t judge a book by its cover.

Featured Team:  Nick & Vicki (second place)

Defending Their Decision:  Phil asks Nick & Vicki why they decided not to use the U-Turn and to allow the remaining teams to race unimpeded.  Vicki explains that their strategy was to stay in the middle of the pack for most of the race until the end when they’d make serious moves.  They were now over three hours ahead of Brook & Claire and Chad & Stephanie so it just made no sense to her to use the U-Turn on them as there was no risk.

Phil presses on with the fact that they could have used it still to impact a team that is a threat to them in the overall race.  Nick & Vicki did consider that but of the two teams that were behind them, at least as far as they knew as they didn’t know where the doctors were, one had already been U-Turned and Chad & Stephanie were already the far weaker team.  So if Chad & Stephanie made it because Brook & Claire got U-Turned, then they’d be competing against a weak team in the final four.  They also think karma is a factor and the fact of the matter is that it really just didn’t seem necessary.

Featured Team:  Chad & Stephanie (last place)

Chad & Stephanie’s Farewell:  Chad has learned during the race that he needs to think more before he speaks.  If he could be a little less forceful in his interactions with Stephanie, that would be good.  Stephanie has confidence in him.  For her part, Stephanie’s relationship with Chad is at a point where they can almost read each others minds, but he needs to remember she’s a girl and not a fellow football player.  They’re together for life, not just four years, so they’ll do what it takes to make it work.

Phil asks Stephanie what is the best thing a man can say to a woman.  “You’re always right” is Stephanie’s response, which cracks Phil up.  Chad says he’s trying to get to that point.  Phil praises their efforts on the race and asks who they think is most deserving and likely to win the race.  Stephanie admits she wants to see a couple win it as right now she’s not fond of girl-girl teams since they just got U-Turned by one.  Chad surprisingly thinks it’s time for an all-girl team to win, especially due to the fact of how amazing Brook is. Chad got to know both Brook & Claire and he appreciates their skill and how they’re running the race.

Featured Team:  Nat & Kat (third place)

Strong Women Standing Tall:  Phil comments to Nat & Kat that there is another all-girl team still in the race and asks if they saw them on this leg.  Kat tells him that Brook & Claire caught up to them at the rickshaw Roadblock and were right behind them.  Kat knows it’ll be close today as Chad & Stephanie were also right there.  Concerning the U-Turn, Phil figures that it all worked out as they weren’t U-Turned and in turn were able to U-Turn another team, effectively helping Brook & Claire out too.  Nat & Kat are amazed at how strong Brook & Claire are as they still caught up to them even when they had to do both Detour challenges.

Phil asks them who they’d like to see eliminated this leg from a strategic point of view.  Nat praises Brook & Claire and Jill & Thomas for their strength and success on the race, without saying anything about elimination though.  Nat is proud to race with another strong all-female team and is happy to have a competitive but friendly relationship with them.

Extra Race Footage

Featured Team: Nick & Vicki

Battle of the Couples:  While in an Oman taxi, Nick tells us that it would be more fun and exciting if it was a final three of just couples teams.  Personally, I don’t understand how that would make it more exciting, but let’s continue.  He would just like to see which couple is the strongest of the bunch and plus, it would be funner.  His word, not mine.  Vicki doesn’t consider any of the girl teams a threat (really?) as she claims they’ve only done well because of good flights.  At Roadblocks and Detours, the girl teams aren’t competition.  I don’t think Vicki has been paying attention.

Featured Team: Nick & Vicki

Tough Competitors:  In the airport, Nick & Vicki explain that Brook & Claire are a tough team.  As two girls, they get what they want, whether it’s taxis, flights, or directions.  Vicki agrees with Nick’s sentiment because as well-traveled, smart girls they’re good with racing.  But she maintains that she & Nick are still stronger than them at actual competitions like Roadblocks and Detours.  I have to admit at the beginning of this video I had to laugh as this video started to directly contradict the previous video, Battle of the Couples.  But they ended up saying the same thing here too, but they at least gave some more props to Brook & Claire.

Featured Team:  Nick & Vicki

Vicki’s Tour of Dhaka:  Nick is asleep in the cab while Vicki chats with the cab driver on what they’re driving by.  Currently they’re passing by a bunch of air force convoy vehicles as well as the prime minister’s… something.  I can’t decipher what is being said, but Vicki comments that it’s pretty.  Vicki wants to let Nick catch up on his beauty sleep as he didn’t get much on the plane as it’s quite stressful living in airports.

Featured Team: Chad & Stephanie

Engagement Recap:  Chad tells us about the engagement ring he gave Stephanie.  It belonged to his mom who raised him as a single-mom until he was 11 years old.  His mom was a hairdresser just like Stephanie is.  She died of cancer when Chad was a freshman in college and it was especially tough because it was her second time getting cancer.  Chad is sure that his mom would be very happy now because of his & Stephanie’s engagement.  Stephanie knows that Chad’s mom would be proud of the man he’s become.  She knows he still talks to his mom and that he is much closer to his remaining family because of his mom’s death.  Stephanie is happy to become part of this very happy family as they have already greeted her with open arms.

Featured Team: Chad & Stephanie

No Need for New Friends:  Stephanie explains to us that she & Chad don’t find it necessary to get very close with the two all-girl teams.  There was a possibly unintentional rubbing the wrong way between them and Nat & Kat, while with Brook & Claire, their track record is both up and down so it’s hard to consider them a threat.  Chad thinks that even if they tried to get close to those teams now and at this point in the race, it would be seen as a ploy and not as genuine.  From the beginning of the race they had an easy and immediate connection with Jill & Thomas, so it was easier to get close to them.  Stephanie admits that she’d want to see Jill & Thomas win if it wasn’t them.

Featured Team: Chad & Stephanie

The Cost of Eating:  At the airport shopping area, Stephanie vents her frustration about the fact that Jill & Thomas have a seven-hour lead and Nat & Kat left too.  Chad tries to convince Stephanie there’s nothing to be done about it now, especially if you consider that perhaps something delays the other flights.  Stephanie isn’t buying it and is still frustrated they still have five hours to wait until their flight even leaves.  Chad reassures her that there are still two other teams here (Nick & Vicki and Brook & Claire, I presume).  As they walk to settle down somewhere, Chad reckons that they could have tried to talk to the other agent like Jill & Thomas did.  Stephanie can’t understand how Chad isn’t more upset over the fact that they are likely going to be the last team to arrive.

Featured Team: Nat & Kat

Docs Feel at Home:  As Nat & Kat taxi their way through Dhaka, Nat notices a diabetes center.  Kat wonders if they have any of the high-tech gadgetry like Nat does for her diabetic condition.  Kat then notices another medical center which makes Nat joke that maybe there’s a medical challenge on the way that they’ve been waiting for.  They figure since Brook was given a sunglass-selling challenge in Ghana and Nick got sled-racing which he said was just like off-road biking, it’s time for their tailor-made challenge involving triage or CPR.

Featured Team: Nat & Kat

Nat & Kat Are Happy:  In their rickshaw, Kat is surprised that their names weren’t on the U-Turn board.  Nat isn’t quite sure what it means (double rainbow?) because is it that other teams haven’t been there yet?  Kat asks her if she would have U-Turned teams that were four hours behind her if she was in that position.  A little later in the ride, Nat explains their choice of Detour was made primarily because carrying bricks on their head sounded exhausting.  Plus, they were nerdy and brought straps with them that came in extremely handy on the food-delivery Detour.  Also, crossing the water on the boat provided a much-needed cooling off.

After the Race

Featured Team: Jill & Thomas

Thomas Gives Back:  Thomas tells us about Notre Dame’s tradition called Bengal Bouts in which the slogan for it is “strong bodies fight so weak bodies get nourished.”   He’s proud as the event is done to raise money for the people of Bangladesh.  Additionally he was happy to rock the Irish t-shirt as the event has done a lot of good for the area.

Featured Team: Jill & Thomas

Jill & Thomas Break It Down:  After thinking about it for a while, Thomas thinks that everyone is on a fairly even playing field.  Chad is very strong so he figures that will give them an edge in the brick-carrying Detour (I guess this was filmed shortly after they were done with the leg but long before everybody else showed up).  He praises Nat & Kat’s proven ability to win as they’ve won three legs and they’re also smart and methodical.  Yet Brook & Claire have more hunger and a more competitive streak.

Jill considers the other “couples” teams and doesn’t really consider those teams as real threats.  Nick & Vicki get lucky a lot and Chad & Stephanie really haven’t been in it at all except for the previous leg which they won.  She doesn’t see much follow-through with those teams compared to how much she & Thomas or even the other girl teams have.  The girls will get things done and Jill recognizes that the race is not all about strength.

Featured Team:  Nat & Kat

An Extra Benefit:  Nat explains that she & Kat have a good relationship with Brook & Claire and they all would like to see an all-girl team win The Amazing Race.  They each have respect for the other because both teams have won quite a few legs already so there’s also a healthy appreciation that neither team could beat the other outright at the end.  Yet Nat reveals that their use of the U-Turn today was to save themselves but saving Brook & Claire was a nice extra.

Featured Team: Chad & Stephanie

A Happy Ending:   Stephanie admits that she wasn’t sure she wanted to go on The Amazing Race with Chad when he first approached her about it.  She knew that Chad had some control issues and it may just be too soon in their relationship to do something like this.  Chad reassured her that it would be okay and that they would be able to work together as a team and get through it.  She tells us that Chad was right and is happy to have this experience as something they can always remember.  Stephanie is very proud of the progress Chad has made and that he learns from his experience and moves forward.  The race experience has allowed her to get to know Chad so much more than before.

Featured Team: Nick & Vicki

According to Plan:  Vicki claims that she & Nick are exactly on point with regards to their strategy coming on The Amazing Race.  They kept under the radar and while she would have liked to have won a leg, they’ve still tried and learned from every leg thus far.  Comparing their performance from the first leg to this one, they’re a totally different team.  This whole experience has been a learning experience, not only on race tactics but in getting to know each other better too.

Nick is most concerned with winning only one leg: the final one.  He sees all the other teams stressing about being in the front all the time and he notices that when they fall behind, they panic.  He & Vicki are used to being in the back and chasing after other teams, so they’re used to it and are good at it.  They know they can turn it around at the end when it counts.

Featured Team: Brook & Claire

Stuck in the Middle:  Claire recounts the situation at the Roadblock with Chad & Stephanie who had just been U-Turned by Nat & Kat.  All of them were together and it was awkward as obviously if you U-Turn someone, you as the U-Turner don’t want to see the victim.  So there was Chad yelling and taunting Nat & Kat during the challenge while Brook was trying her best to block all the drama out and make a rickshaw.  Claire remembers that while she was in the observers’ section of the Roadblock, Kat was talking with Chad about the fact that the U-Turn wasn’t personal and that she loved them as a couple.  Chad listened to her and took a step back and apologized as he understood the motivation.  Brook & Claire were both a little surprised at that earlier sudden behavior as he is such a sweet guy.

Elimination Station

Back in Cancun at Elimination Station, Connor & Jonathan are reminiscing about the last few weeks and how hectic they’ve been.  They went from finishing college immediately into The Amazing Race and then getting eliminated on their actual graduation day.  There hasn’t been much time to process being done with college because it’s been all race, all the time.  Now they’re looking for a little closure as they’re in a real in-between place of being done with school yet not quite being an adult.

The next day the gang is headed to a cave that also houses a restaurant within.  We enter the cave with them which is alight with multiple vivid colors and tons of stalactites actively dripping water.  It really is a beautiful and quite striking location to host the idea of “dinner in a cave.”  After everyone has finished dinner, the group takes the opportunity to go around the table and tell something you’ve learned on the race.

Connor learned that he can spend non-stop time with Jonathan and not get sick of him.  It shows how special their relationship is.  Andie learned that dreams can come true as it was her dream for 21 years to meet the daughter she gave up for adoption.  Kevin learned to spend time with his dad and to appreciate him.  Michael is glad he got to know all the teams at Elimination Station as he’s grown to really like them.  Tony learned that what seemed like a defeat has turned into a great gift as he got to know and love all these people.  Jenna loves everyone and they’re worth more than a million dollars.  Awwwww… Everyone toasts to the amazing experience!

Alas, no sign of Chad & Stephanie in this clip, so I guess we’ll hear from them on the next video!


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


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