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Freelance entertainment writer, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.

The Amazing Race, April 22 – When It Becomes “Truly Amazing”

Mark makes his fourth attempt at the dance with lots of encouragement from Bopper. The screen pans out as we then see his fifth attempt, and finally his sixth attempt. He finally gets this thing done, or thinks he does, but he’s a little slow getting his arm up and is failed. Bopper goes out there and asks if he’s okay, saying he doesn’t want him to crack his head. He wants to be just as supportive as Mark was with him and his knee. But Mark doesn’t want to think about quitting and says he just wants to give it all he’s got. You know, other teams sit there and fight at times like this, and these two just support each other more. I just want Bopper’s daughter to get the medical help she needs.

Blonde Rachel and Dave arrive at the palace to have Phil Koeghan call them team number one … again. Isn’t this the fifth time? They win a trip for two to St. Lucia. Dave thinks they are without a doubt the strongest team left in the Race, and with regards to Border Patrol, they’ll resolve the situation, and if not, they’ll just beat ‘em.

Vanessa starts steering around the driving course and hits a pole. She calls out, “Son of a Monkey’s Uncle.” I’ve never heard that one before. Back at Cricket, Big Brother and Border Patrol are turning it into batting practice. J.J. finally hits a long one, but the outfielder catches it just before it hits the boundary, pissing him off. Brendon hits one out there to the boundary, and J.J. finally does as well. It’s left to Art and Rachel now, as J.J. claims if he can dance, Art can sure hit a ball.

Mark is making his seventh attempt at the dance, and he can’t move. Bopper is telling him to just take a penalty, as he’s getting too hot. Mark refuses to give up. He makes his seventh attempt at this, and they stop him for his arms not being right yet again. This is simply heartbreaking. I know where my sister’s tears were from. As Mark calls out to do it one more time, Bopper says, “To hell with the money; I’d rather have my buddy.” Mark says he has to do it, but Bopper counters he has no more to give. But Mark has to.

Vanessa completes the driving course, and it’s Ralph’s turn. Redhead Rachel and Art are left to get the ball in Cricket. Rachel claims Border Patrol has animosity for them for no reason, and mentions being U-Turned by them. Art hits one out there that falls just short. Rachel finally hits a line drive that makes it, and they’re on their way to the pit stop. She calls it a good feeling that both Art and J.J. got beat by a girl. Finally Art gets it, and they take off for the pit stop. Ralph make it through the driving course, and he and Vanessa take off for the pit stop.

Mark is still working on this dancing thing, saying if it weren’t for his kids, he would have quit by now. He better get a hellluva Father’s Day gift this year. Bopper says if he’d have known Mark was going to be put through this, he would have tried it himself. Mark makes his ninth, tenth, and eleventh attempt and still doesn’t pass it. Bopper tries yet again to just convince him to go home. Mark says he thinks they might be able to do it. He can do it; he’s just sick. Bopper tells him they gave it all they have and can’t give anymore. They came here as friends and will leave as friends. Big Brother crosses Phil’s mat to be named team number two. They are ecstatic.

Mark has his head buried in his hands, saying he is evaluating what’s important in life. His kids come to his mind, and he starts to wonder what they would do without him, making him very emotional. He has three kids to raise and decides to go home and asks Bopper if it’s okay, and of course, it is. Mark says a million dollars isn’t worth not walking his kids down the aisle and not being able to go to the ball games. Someone on the Bollywood set tries to convince him to try one more time. Bopper refuses and says he’s going home to his kids, as Bopper cries for his buddy.

Border Patrol hits Phil’s mat to be named team number three, and they’re ecstatic. Vanessa and Ralph are named team number four, and she says “Wow.” It doesn’t seem like she’s surprised they made it in time, but more she’s surprised their in fourth place after being in second place when they got to the Detour.

Bopper asks Mark if he feels better after he rests, and he says he doesn’t know. Bopper tells him to finish it for their kids. He wants him to calm himself down, get suited up again, and give them one more dance, then they’ll be out of there. Bopper cries for him and tells him they’ve worked so hard to get where they are. Mark decides to try it one more time. He’s thinking if they just stay out there for one more dance and finish the leg and don’t quit, their kids will be proud. I think they should have been proud many attempts ago, and really, perhaps the whole time. Mark is cheered on and takes the stage again. He probably does the dance as well as he did it the last few times anyway, but it’s literally a heart-stopping moment when he’s given a pass and gets the clue. There isn’t one person not celebrating around him. Kentucky head to the coffee house and choose to do Clutch It at the Detour.

Kentucky know the race has challenged them physically and mentally. They were true underdogs coming into the Race, and have proved themselves, giving 150% in everything they’ve done, so they can hold their heads up high. Who would have thought two boys from Kentucky could have been given this opportunity to be in India? They are indeed the last to arrive on Phil’s mat, as they tell Phil it was an honor to be there, and they were tickled to do it. Mark talks about staying with it for his kids, saying people were backing him, and he finally just did it. Bopper says when he looked in Mark eyes and saw “nobody’s home,” but that he kept going, he knew he do it, too, for Mark and his family. He says everyone could use some extra money, but nobody could replace Mark.

Phil lets Kentucky go through all that and then tells them, incredibly, that it’s yet another non-elimination leg for them. This is the second time this has happened to them. They are told they’ll have to do a speed bump in the next leg, and Mark promises to give everything they’ve got in their heart and soul. Like they haven’t already? Bopper knows they have a tough leg coming, but he promises to fight their way to the final three, then promises that someone will have to fight the Kentucky boys for the million dollar prize.

Good God. These guys have already won. I have been watching reality TV since midway through the first season of Survivor. I have been writing reality TV recaps since I filled in as a sub on an episode of Amazing Race the week after Mirna and Charla were eliminated on their first season. I’ve watched every Idol be crowned, and I’ve watched I don’t know many people think they could dance. I’ve watched guys propose to women with a rose, and I’ve watched people lose hundreds of pounds in mere weeks. I’ve watched celebrities dance with each other, and I’ve watched them fight each other in a boardroom. But throughout all of that, I can’t remember ever seeing a moment like I just saw tonight. It truly is an “amazing” race.

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