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The Amazing Race, Ep. 23.1: “Zip It, Bingo”: Too good for this race

The Amazing Race, Ep. 23.1: “Zip It, Bingo”: Too good for this race
The Amazing Race, Season 23, Episode 2: “Zip It, Bingo”
Aired Sundays at 8pm (ET) on CBS

We pick back up in Iquique, Chile, where Exes Tim and Marie preen in their victory from the last leg and talk about their two express passes, which they plan to hold on to as long as humanly possible, because power. They depart first, but the positions prove to be pointless as they all have to wait overnight for a nearby boat to open. Marie doesn’t give up so easily, however. She instead makes everyone line up their backpacks in a line for the running start in the morning, which everyone totally appreciates.

Shockingly, Marie’s system is instantly obliterated when everyone runs like a pack of rabid wolverines in no discerning order to find the Roadblock. Their task is to find out a famous Spanish line said by a hero in their location and repeat it to get their next clue. It’s a bit of a scramble but not too big of a challenge, as all the public nearby seems to know the line. The Childhood Friends pull it off first, however, and head into the desert. The Afghanimals and their “race wives,” the Ice Team chicks follow not far behind. They interview that they are in an alliance, the buzz word of the season, and say race wives just rolls off the tongue better than “race girlfriends,” an explanation fit for a creep.

Once in the desert teams have to choose Brining or Mining for their Detour. Brining involves hauling salt into a tub until you can float in it, while mining involves no buoyancy whatsoever. Here, the Childhood Friends pull ahead when they realize teamwork is the name of the game while mining salt. Meanwhile the Dating Couple prove to be an expert team as well in their brining challenge, ultimately highlighting who are the quietly great gameplayers in this race, and who are Tim and Marie. The Afghanimals do the obligatory comment on the Ice Teams’ swimsuits, Chester and Ephraim endearingly bash their salt rocks to the ground instead of picking at it, and a status quo for this season is formed.

Meanwhile, things don’t look great for the Theater Performers who are still stuck in a cab with horrible directions and communication skills (“You can mucho them later!” remarks Rowan to an overly gracious Shane). While they eventually make it to the Detour, it’s just in time to see another team already biking back. The Married ER doctors aren’t looking so great, either, as the wife’s 40th birthday takes place, seemingly mid-ride, and hijacks her body. Eventually, it becomes clear that the ultimate destination is a depot in town, where teams will have to arrange for a bus to Santiago—a 24 hour ride; and it’s down to the Theater Performers and the Baseball Wives, who aren’t having the best spa day themselves, on who’s going to be last.

It’s a photo finish that is deliciously undercut by a head-smacking twist: Theatre Performers decide to “play the game” at the bus depot and take a totally different one than everyone else because they’re assured it’ll get there faster. Except, it won’t—something they learn just after the bus with the back half of team players leaves. This looks like the tragic end once again for the drag queen bingo players.

Miraculously, though, they end up only arriving fifteen minutes after the back half, which sets Marie’s “blood boiling,” something that I’m pretty sure happens for her at about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Still, the Theater Performers day of errors is just about to get insane, when Rowan doesn’t find a game-marked stall to be a shoeshiner at for the Roadblock, and instead picks out a real-life street shoeshiner to interrupt. The scene is absurd comedy at its height, as Rowan convinces a completely unsuspecting man to pack up his livelihood and hand it over to him to go to a checkpoint. Once there, the man gets even more confused, and Rowan physically gets down on his knees and begs him, operatically, for his “madre” and “padre,” to help him out. Not only that, but when Marie tries to set Rowan right, and say that this isn’t the challenge, Rowan tells the man not to listen and even calls her “el Diablo”!

Sadly, Rowan soon does find out his mistake, and rushes to shoeshine correctly. And even though there is a glimmer of hope that Baseball Wives will still not make it, their mistakes turn out not nearly as grave. They arrive at the Pit Stop in 9th place, while Rowan and Shane get eliminated. A tragic end, but a heart-stopping hour… maybe there is hope for this season after all.