Dec 10, 2010, Ep 11: Calm Before the Sunshine & Palm Trees

The Amazing Race 17 Secret Scenes, Episode 11:  Calm Before the Sunshine & Palm Trees

Catch the final four in their last few calm and nervous moments as they head into the final leg, including Brook & Claire (pictured) modeling this fall’s latest fashion trends centered on camouflage and neon.  Elimination Station also reveals the final city and I can admit that I was totally wrong about my speculation, that’s for sure!  Continue reading to get the scoop!

At the Pit Stop

Featured Team: Nat & Kat (third place)

Doc’s Life-Changing Experience:  Kat tells Phil that this entire race experience has been surreal and very dreamlike.  Nat agrees and says that it’s been life-changing.  Phil asks what that means.  She explains that she wants to live life to the fullest now and that being tired or getting lost isn’t an excuse.  Even having diabetes isn’t an excuse.  They have even met a great number of amazing people around the world and the experience has shown that the world isn’t a scary place.

Phil asks if they’d like to go around the world now and use their doctor experience to help people outside the United States.  Kat thinks it’s a possibility as when they’ve gone through some of the poorer countries like Bangladesh, it was hard to see that so many people had curable (at least in the United States) diseases. If they could somehow give back to the world, that’s part of what their profession asks of them.  Concerning the adventurous side of life, Nat tells Phil that they have very serious careers so it’s not very likely they’ll be gallivanting around the world anytime soon again.  But if there’s even an opportunity to take a few days and get away, she’ll do it as you can fit a lot of adventure in just a few days.

Featured Team: Brook & Claire (second place)

Just Another Day for Brook & Claire:  Phil can’t help but comment on Claire’s noticeably long eyelashes and asks if they’re real.  She bluntly admits they’re not and that she has to get off the mat soon so she can make sure they don’t fall off.  Phil then grills Brook on if her lashes are real, which she affirms are indeed hers.  Brook humorously points at her and Claire’s breasts and informs him that those are all real.  That understandably knocks Phil off of his game and he looks away and laughs sheepishly.

Phil finally looks up and admits that he’s had a lot of fun with them during the race.  Claire admits that they have had an amazing time meeting so many people around the world and taking part in all the frantic activities along the race.  They were joking in the subway that they always just fly in from Hong Kong, take a drive up to the river for a float, then go speed skating at the Olympic training stadium.  It’s almost ridiculous the things they get to do in the name of the race.

Phil notices that Claire has a hair headband and it’s distracting as he thinks she looks like the lonely goatherd.  He asks if that is her normal thing and if it sells jewelry for her.  It doesn’t, it’s just a means to an end to get her hair out of her face.  Phil next wants to inspect both of their teeth.  He even asks for the Korean greeter’s opinion on their teeth.  Claire is reluctant as she has a chip in her tooth.  We finally find out why Phil is doing this as he explains the greeter is studying dentistry.  Brook promises to give him lots of references back in the States if he wants.

Featured Team: Nick & Vicki (last place)

Nick & Vicki Fall Short:  Phil praises Nick & Vicki for hanging in for 11 legs along some very good teams.  He is especially surprised since they were never very confident in themselves from the beginning.  While the race was harder than they expected, they’re glad to have had the opportunity as it was a huge life lesson in experiencing the world.  It’s refreshing to have a dose of reality and learn not to take their regular lives for granted.

Phil relates that to the North and South Korea border and asks how they felt about that and being with the military.  Vicki had never spent any time amongst military people or in that environment and she felt good and proud about the military members she met who are serving our country.  It was a perspective she never would have gained and she appreciates what they undergo for us all.

Concerning the remaining teams and who they want to see win it all, Nick & Vicki agree that are Team Nat & Kat all the way.  They do like everyone left though but Nat & Kat are good people.  Vicki gives Brook & Claire props for doing so well and for so long.  Nick & Vicki thank Phil for the opportunity as it was the adventure of a lifetime.

Featured Team: Jill & Thomas (first place)

Another Win for Jill & Thomas:  Jill & Thomas are picking up on Phil’s phrasing as they knew that while he said “you are the second team to arrive,” they got first place as he would have said “you are team number two.”  Phil wonders if they feel guilty for winning all these first-place prizes.  Not a bit, they both declare.  They’ve been working hard to win so it’s all been earned.  Despite language barriers, driving difficulties, isolated locations and physical challenges (they both loved the whitewater rafting), it’s been worth it.

Thomas was excited about the chance to get right next to North Korea especially with regards to all the history and tension associated with it.  Even on the plane they saw the news about an ongoing flare-up between North and South Korea so that made the experience that much more real.  Thomas liked being able to meet with the U.S. military as well and appreciate what they sacrifice in order to protect us.

Phil needlessly reminds them that it won’t be long before he’s awarding one team the distinction of winning The Amazing Race.  Both Jill & Thomas can’t imagine how it would feel to be the winners but they are aware it’s necessary to just not overthink things and continue racing in a focused manner until they get to that point.  If they did win, having that million-dollar safety net in the bank would be the nicest thing about it.  They would take some additional trips on top of the trips they’ve won from Travelocity too.  Phil then hints to Thomas that maybe he’d get on one knee…  He laughs nervously but reaffirms that the million-dollar prize isn’t a factor in whether or not an engagement occurs.

Extra Race Footage

Featured Team: Jill & Thomas

Jill, the Navigator:  While driving in the rainy streets of South Korea, Thomas is doing his best to get accurate directions from Jill who really has no idea where they’re going.  He jokes with her that it’s no wonder he also wants to handle the map.  As Thomas starts to realize where he’s going, he asks for Jill to just stop talking.  As she offers to show him the map, he politely refuses and continues on his way.  She persists and makes him look at the map.  He then proceeds to school her on how to read their Korean map and how to give proper directions to their destination.  She really wasn’t getting it but he still comes off as a bit of a jerk.  As he starts to lecture her again on how to give directions, he interrupts himself to honk at another driver and call him or her a jackass.  Good times!

Featured Team: Nick & Vicki

Nick & Vicki Discuss Politics:  Vicki admits she knows nothing about the tensions between North and South Korea.  Nick agrees.  This ignorance isn’t limited to Korea though as they admit they haven’t known anything about any of the countries they’ve been to on the race.  They go where they have to and ask questions as needed to research the country they’re in.  She had no idea that North and South Korea were even at war as she doesn’t pay attention to the news.  Nick agrees that the news is nothing but depressing stuff.  Vicki figures it may be better if she does pay attention to things outside of her own little world.  The Amazing Race has given her an eye-opening experience in the ways of the world.

Featured Team: Nick & Vicki

Nick & Vicki’s Big Adventure:  As Nick & Vicki were leaving the Seoul airport with sketchy directions in hand, two strangers came up to them and welcomed them to Korea.  Nick pressed Vicki into asking them if they could help with directions so Vicki did and the guys offered to go with them to their car.   Vicki was floored that these guys were so friendly and willing to spend so much of their day helping them get to the bridge.  Neither of them would ever have done something like this back home for strangers.

Featured Team: Brook & Claire

Brook & Claire’s Fancy New Clothes:  In their military transport to the army base, Claire details her outfit, starting with her camo helmet.  She then lead to their “flair” which is their bright white and pink knee socks.  Claire stresses that this season, it’s important to match patterns and colors.  Brook affirms that neon is indeed the hottest thing and combined with camo, they are wearing the hottest fall fashions.

Featured Team: Brook & Claire

The Missing Piece:  Brook tells us that she & Claire just spent an hour on the internet researching the bridge they’re headed to in South Korea.  They know everything about the construction of the bridge as it was started and completed by both of the Koreas on each side.  Unfortunately there’s just no help in actual directions to get to it.  Their goal is to find maps once they got to Korea but Brook’s hope is that because the bridge is a tourist spot, it won’t be impossible to find.

Featured Team: Brook & Claire

Brook & Claire’s Big Threat:  In the cab to the Hong Kong airport, Brook explains that Jill & Thomas are their biggest threat.  Jill & Thomas are able to get wherever they need to be as they’re aggressive and can get the job done.  As she looks out the window, Brook tells us she likes Hong Kong a lot and would like to come back for a personal siesta.  Claire agrees as there’s so much going on by the water with all the culture and shopping.  Brook likes big cities as they are typically filled with people from all over the world and thus the melting pot environment exists and even more, it’s easier to communicate.

After the Race

Featured Team: Brook & Claire

A Look at the Leaderboard:  Brook points out to us some interesting statistics about the teams in the top three.  Nat & Kat bounce back between first and last while Jill & Thomas bounce from first to middle-of-the-pack all the time.  But they constantly hover right in the top 3 or 4 spots in almost every leg.  Brook thinks that they are able to better maintain an average rate of performance, even in the face of getting U-Turned and bad directions.  Both Brook & Claire know that if they can just stop making the mistakes with directions that there is nothing stopping them from winning.  Claire still gets flabbergasted when they end up second after making what they consider a horrible leg and find that other teams messed up even more.  Their focus has to be on doing everything right and not getting preoccupied with what other teams are doing.

Featured Team: Brook & Claire

Brook & Claire’s In-Flight Entertainment:  On the flight to Korea, Brook was sitting between Kat and Claire, who were snoozing.  Brook noticed that on the in-flight news channel, something was happening between North and South Korea.  She immediately woke them up after hearing from the news anchor that there was going to be a “fury of flames” due to the tensions.  Everyone was needless to say even less motivated going to Korea.  Claire immediately had reservations once they read the clue and discovered they were headed there as with everything going on in the world, this was one of those places you just want to avoid.  Brook tried to keep Claire calm and reassured her that they would be riding around in Humvees.

Featured Team: Nick & Vicki

Nick & Vicki’s Growing Experience:  Vicki thinks that The Amazing Race has made them, individually, better people.  Choice words there, I think.  It’s taught them both to not take things for granted and to understand that you don’t have to just go out and get everything you want in an instant-gratification type of way.  Unfortunately, she thinks that the race has also made them better people for one another too.  Vicki does admit that she & Nick have a lot to work on in their relationship, primarily communication.  This is a starting point and nothing is set in stone and they’ll have to take it day by day.  Things can only get better from here.

Featured Team: Nat & Kat

Docs Have What It Takes:  Nat thinks that she & Kat differ from Brook & Claire as they are more physically fit than them.  If it comes down to a physical challenge, they can outdo them and have done so in earlier legs.  Concerning Jill & Thomas, they have recognized that Thomas can get flustered when he gets stressed so if the situation becomes stressful, Nat & Kat might be able to edge out Jill & Thomas.  Nat & Kat will have to see what tomorrow brings, but there’s no doubt they have what it takes to win.

Featured Team: Jill & Thomas

Jill & Thomas Look Ahead:  Jill knows that the next leg is going to be super stressful so it’s important that she & Thomas take care to focus and do things smartly.  She recognizes that they are doing better and smarter as a team than they were at the beginning of the race.  Thomas thinks that he & Jill are not only physically faster than the other teams but also have an athletic edge over them as well.  Jill believes that their four-year dating relationship gives them a more unique bond than what the two other girl-friend teams have.  Even though their communication may seem combative, they always end up wanting to get the same end result while friends may not be able to reach that same agreement.  Thomas agrees that their interaction just works and it does well for them.  He knows that the final leg will be all about not making any mistakes and just getting to that finish line first.

Elimination Station

Well, the video starts off and End City is instantly given away: Los Angeles!  The gang arrives at LAX and are taken to their hotel.  Ron & Tony are stoked as this is where they are from.  Kevin is excited about the location as there is plenty of things that lend themselves well to challenges.  As he flops himself onto his bed, Kevin whines to Michael about how nice it would be if they were in the top three racing to Los Angeles for the win.  Michael wishes that Kevin would get over it as they’ve been eliminated for quite a while now.  Concerning who he’d like to see win, Michael tells Kevin that Jill & Thomas are his pick.  Ron & Tony privately speculate how huge it would be if one of the all-girl teams win as Rachel would lose her mind and probably tackle them.

In Andie & Jenna’s room, they sit apart and Andie asks nervously what is going to happen next between them.  Jenna looks over sadly and says that she never wants to see her again.  But then they both bust out laughing and hug.  Jenna admits that it was a lot of fun to spend this time together but they are both ready to go back to their homes.  Both are happy to have had this opportunity and regardless of how much they see each other in the future, they both can have some peace.

The group gets all together in one of the rooms and excitedly waits for The Amazing Race Blackberry to ring.  The speculation leans to Nick & Vicki first but everyone thinks that isn’t who it’s going to be.  Everyone admits that they’ve been surprised with every elimination so it could be a very surprising call.  Of course the phone rings and when they hear it’s Nick & Vicki, everyone yet again groans in surprise and disappointment.  Vicki fills them in on what happened, surprisingly taking most of the blame for their performance.  She mentions that she was sick and that they ended up having to quit the last Detour.  Why not explain what a whiny ******** Nick was?!  Kevin gives Nick & Vicki a back-handed compliment as he tells them that they did much better than anyone ever expected.

Nick & Vicki let them know that they think the standings are Jill & Thomas in first place and will probably win, but Vicki mentions she wants to see Nat & Kat win.  After the call ends, Ron comments that Jill & Thomas have been surprisingly dominant in the entire race.  Jenna notes that this would be the first final three where all-girl teams are in the majority, but I really don’t think that’s accurate.  Jenna speculates that regardless, Rachel will stampede the girl teams to prevent them from winning, which Rachel unconvincingly denies.  Ron & Tony agree and know that will be some good TV if Rachel does indeed tackle Brook & Claire or Nat & Kat.


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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