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'The Amazing Race' Recap: Pam & Winnie's 'off day' costs them

By Henning Fog, Hollywood Staff

Well, now we know what happens when you get a speeding ticket on The Amazing Race. Quick show of hands: who thought Caroline & Jennifer and Max & Katie would be able to sweet-talk their way out of the fine? Or at least pass it off to on executive producer or something who would take care of it? I've got to say I was very shocked to learn that, at least based on the events of last night, teams are required to pay whatever penalties they accrue. There's no tab system? No ''look the other way because this is a foreign country''? Man, I'd be bolting from that speed trap before the traffic cop could say ''Jack Robinson.'' Or any number of more contemporary selections.

But pay both teams did, setting them back a little bit en route to the Road Block. The Country Singers in particular drew the short straw, showing up to the police station with no local currency and forced to exchange it…or else. While it didn't come to ''or else,'' (they found some guy more than happy to run financial conversion errands for two pretty blonde girls), I like to believe it still taught both of them a valuable lesson.

The world is a nicer place for blonde girls with nice figures.

Anyway, AFRICA. Last we'd seen our teams they were bonding with Kalahari Bushmen and making Lion King references. When we caught up with them last night, the former were gone. And so began a boringly straightforward episode, the kind that not even waterskiing over crocodile-infested waters could improve.

Part of the blame must go to this leg's challenges. Stand-up canoe rowing? Not bad, and throw a couple of goats who sound exactly like human children in there and you've at least got an arresting soundtrack. But the ''struggle'' such as it was really did nothing to differentiate one team from another. They each had their own difficulties, not a one truly pulling ahead or falling behind. Speeding tickets had taken care of that!

Bates & Anthony even managed to sidestep the entirety of the night's challenges when they nailed the Fast Forward, another ''this should be more exciting!'' activity. Can you waterski one mile? Of course you can. How about in water that may have a crocodile or two, but nothing the show's producers wouldn't handle well in advance? You said ''absolutely,'' with ''time leftover to take your shirt off and crack wise?'' Congratulations, you just won the latest leg of the Race!

Max & Katie, conversely, had the most number of challenges to attend to. But considering they were all so easy and their ''Speed Bump'' amounted to little more than tacking on five minutes in which they gently participated in a local dance, things turned out pretty okay! Certainly okay enough for them to make it to the next round -- another narrow escape.

None of which is to say that teams didn't face a few of their demons along the way last night. Chuck & Wynona and Mona & Beth, for instance, showed us how not to argue on a small canoe. Wynona, upset that she couldn't quite master the art of steering: ''you think this is easy!'' Chuck just told her to ''figure it out.'' A few minutes later Mona & Beth invited us onto their vessel of split affirmation and criticism. ''I am so, so proud of you'' Beth told Mona. ''I'm about to lose my mind,'' Beth told Mona. Neither of these teams was eliminated last night.

That would be, in a genuine surprise, PAM & WINNIE. Maybe not given the first thing they said at the top of the episode, to ''keep being smart'' in the race (as sure a sign as any that they were the next to go home), but certainly given their track record. This is a team that won at least two legs, and was consistently near the front of the pack for the others. And then on this second Botswanan leg -- they couldn't figure out a memory-based Detour. It goes to show you that, for better or worse, Race is a show where even the best combination of travel acumen, brains, and speed isn't enough to save you from a truly bad day. Luck factors, maybe more so than on just about any reality show on TV. This isn't chess, guys, where the best player wins. It's friggin' Mario Kart. There are Blue Shells everywhere.

Our remaining six teams, in order at the Pit Stop: 1) Bates & Anthony (who each collected a cool $7500 for their victory 2) Mona & Beth 3) Caroline & Jennifer 4) Chuck & Wynona 5) Meghan & Joey 6) Max & Katie

What do you think? Were you bummed that a consistent team like Pam & Winnie were eliminated when, twice in the last few weeks, two other teams earned a reprieve? Were you unnerved by just how much a bleating goat sounds like the cry of a terrifying human child? Do you think we will every truly know Anthony? Stuff to ponder as we wait for next week's episode. See you then!

[Photo Credit: CBS]

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