Give the woman a hug, Phil!
When a person is standing in front of you drenched in salt water, quivering from the kind of exhaustion that only dancing for judgment can bring, and weeping because she just found out that four teams are going to the Finals and she’s on the fourth team, and she’s doing all of this for her son back home, you give the woman a hug!
But maybe Rochelle doesn’t really even need Phil’s linen-lined embrace, because she just might have a million dollars to comfort her in 24 hours or so, as the 11th leg of the race in Peru continues right into the Final Leg in Dallas at the end of this episode. With this season, there is just no telling which team is going to pull ahead. Going into the 11th leg, we’re left with one previously established couple and three blind date couples; and as much as all four remaining teams pretty easily fit into a similar Yo-Pro-type category, this is a dynamic group of oddballs heading into the Finals. They all size up each other’s chances at the end of the episode, and it’s probably time we do the same, without the bias of having each of these teams in between us and a suitcase of cash:
Team Medical: Team SoCal say multiple times tonight that there’s no way Hayley and Blair will be beating them because of their constant bickering, with Tyler going so far as to say, “To lose a million bucks to Blair and Hayley is not going to sit well.” I’ve watched enough Survivor confessionals to know that almost definitely means that Tyler will be losing a million dollars to Hayley and Blair. Team Medical are still a terrible match, but they’ve somehow managed to figure out how not to kill each other, and tonight are super supportive through all of the challenges. And with both of them having already faced the ultimate TAR adversity test for 11 legs in a row: Hayley. (“We’ve got this. We got it. And you’re going to listen, right?”) Just for the insane narrative of their team growth, they’re probably my top pick to win.
Team SoCal: Logically, Team SoCal is the team to bet on. Blair says that they can only do well when they’re in the lead, which they’re not right now, but they also seem to be the strongest team physically, and stay the calmest under pressure (sans all that potato licking last week). Their downfall is that they’ve gotten a little cocky about their own strength in the last few weeks, which also happen to be the weeks that they’ve fallen to the bottom of the lineup. If they can pay a little more attention to detail and use their strength to their advantage, it’s their game to lose.
The Lawyers: Are just probably not going to win, not with the edit they’ve received. But after a couple of weeks of bickering in the beginning of the race, I’m glad they’ve come around to working well together (though Team SoCal says they’re constantly lost). I’ve noticed that they talk to each other like two co-workers who have just completed a successful project and feel obligated to go out and get drinks afterward… there are other pairs I’d rather see win this together.
Team Truck Stop: Ah, the most adorable of underdogs. I really do not know how Mike and Rochelle are still in the race—I mean, I had a feeling that this season would have a Final Four again, but it’s pretty incredible how these two have found their strength at just the right times to keep making it one step further in the race. Mike and Rochelle say that the thing they have over the teams is knowing how to be at the bottom and fight their way to the top, which since they’re still at the bottom, hasn’t exactly happened yet—but this final chance to do it is the only fight to the top that really matters
NEXT: On with the race!