Cliff Lipson/CBS
Meredith Hoffa
December 03, 2012 AT 06:10 AM EST

The Amazing Race

TV Show
Reality TV
run date
Phil Keoghan
Jerry Bruckheimer
Current Status
In Season

Filler? I don’t even know her!

Thanks for letting me say that.

This episode was something of a space holder to get everything positioned for next week’s finale. Going into tonight, it seemed likely that we’d not only get a non-elimination leg, but also some general equalizing to get the teams all bunched up and on a level playing field to set the stage for THE FINAL CHAPTER. And we did.

But who cares that tonight wasn’t the most explosive, jazz-hands spectacle of an episode. Here’s what I loved about it: As much as Abbie and Ryan are still in disbelief that they’re out (talking and talking about it – someone please tell me Ryan’s kidding that the airlines will hear from his “legal counsel”), in stark contrast, the Beekmans are in humble, grateful, rather bemused disbelief that they’re still in – and it’s so damn refreshing. Phil said he’s seen the Beekmans “limp, collapse, faint and fall down,” yet somehow they keep holding on. As Josh put it, they must be doing something right. Yes. He and Brent aren’t the buffest, fastest or youngest. They’re not even particularly competitive. But they’re smart and kind and intellectually capable and good at a lot of things. Most of all, they approach the race with humility and kindness and a sense of humor. I don’t know too many people — okay, anyone — who’s betting on them to win the whole thing. But the fact that they’re still around gives me a contented, peaceful feeling. I think of it as a little speck of justice in the world. Or Race-justice, anyway. Merry Christmas.

Meanwhile, has nobody heard of Mallorca or what?

It was interesting to see the teams’ exuberant reunions in Barcelona. In debriefing the whole U-Turn situation with the other teams I noticed that Jaymes showed none of his ambivalence from the last leg, hopefully because it was gone. The sweetest reunion of all was at the ferry station with the Beekmans. I’d kind of forgotten that the other teams really didn’t know who that fourth team was, and seeing the Beekmans then was the first moment the other six racers saw the fruits of their labor, the results of their grand scheme. And how great was it to see the Beekmans among the living again? They’d been straggling at the back of the pack for so long, you could see the tired relief on their faces at being reunited with the rest of the gang. Too bad the Beekmans missed a great beach outing, though – and too bad producers missed an opportunity to play all that footage as a slow-mo montage. The whole thing was just begging for it: Jaymes running into the surf and splashing around, the band of merry, frolicking conspirators all hopping about gleefully in the waves. Something tells me that Jaymes has made other water-themed videos before. He’s very good.

NEXT: Channeling Monica Seles

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