This week, the five remaining teams leave Muscat, Oman, for Dhaka, Bangladesh. Chad and Stephanie leave in first place, with a twenty minute lead on Jill and Thomas, an hour-and-a-half lead on Nick and Vicki, over two hours on Brook and Claire, and over four hours on Nat and Kat. All teams should arrive in Bangladesh on the same flight, but Jill and Thomas are able to find a flight no one else knows about and arrive seven hours early. Some teams catch on and scramble, but only Nick and Vicki are able to find another earlier flight. Chad and Stephanie must fight it out with the other teams to avoid elimination.
For the first time in Amazing Race history, there is a double U-turn. Two teams have the chance to make two other teams perform an extra task. The double U-turn ends up cancelling itself out, though. It was entertaining watching the teams press sugar cane juice, balance bricks, deliver meals and assemble a rickshaw, but the outcome is determined by one great decision by Jill and Thomas and two horrible decisions by Chad and Stephanie and Brook and Claire. When the dust settles, Jill and Thomas take first. Brook and Claire edge out Chad and Stephanie, who are eliminated.
So what was the great decision? Jill and Thomas step it up and are able to get a seven-hour lead on most of the other teams! They refuse to take the travel agent's word that the earliest flight landed in Bangladesh at 12 p.m., and – through their patience – are able to find another flight that lands at 5 a.m. The Race is easier when you know there is no one else even close to you, so not surprisingly, Jill and Thomas have little trouble with the tasks and come in first place. They are clicking at the right time.
Big mistake number one? Chad and Stephanie. They were first to the travel agent! Even if they could be forgiven for not finding the 5 a.m. flight, they know Jill and Thomas continue to look for one. While Jill and Thomas continue to fight for an advantage, Chad and Stephanie stop racing. They decide to go have a leisurely meal instead. That makes no sense! They just came off the pit stop so they should not be hungry. If anything, knowing there are only five teams remaining, Chad and Stephanie should have stuck by Jill and Thomas just to make sure nothing happened while they took a break. Didn't anyone learn anything from Connor and Jonathan's demise back in leg four?
Big mistake number two? Brook and Claire. They are the first team to realize Jill and Thomas's huge move. What do they do? They bring Nick and Vicki into it. Why would they do that? Obviously, teams under high stress like having company in their misery, but by telling other teams, Brook and Claire suddenly give themselves competition as they now have to fight against Nick and Vicki as they scramble. Their disclosure costs them, as Nick and Vicki take the last tickets to a second flight to Bangladesh.
So as a result of the two mistakes, Chad and Stephanie and Brook and Claire are in a three-way race with Nat and Kat. Ironically, Chad and Stephanie start the leg saying they want to U-Turn Nat and Kat. Instead, Nat and Kat get to the U-Turn first and do it to Chad and Stephanie instead. Already in last place, Chad and Stephanie cannot make up the time, though they come close.
So the final four teams are Jill and Thomas, Nick and Vicki, Nat and Kat, and Brook and Claire. I'm so proud of Nick and Vicki, because I don't think many people thought they'd make it to the final four with all of the fighting and mistakes in the early legs. They have come really far in their relationship and ability to handle stress. Next week's preview suggests that improvement disappears and I'm afraid Nick and Vicki might be the next eliminated. We'll see. In any event, I do think we have a strong chance two all-women teams make it to the final three. Both Nat and Kat and Brook and Claire have been strong earlier in The Race. They have recently stumbled, though. Jill and Thomas, on the other hand, seem to be hitting their stride. It should be a fun finish and I for one have no idea who will walk away the winner.
Tell us: Who do you think will make final three? Was Chad and Stephanie's breakfast worth it? And will an all-woman team finally win The Amazing Race after 17 seasons?