Let's not bury the good news: I didn't waste 12 weeks of viewing and more than 30 hours of recapping!
But let's start at the beginning: there's a review of the four remaining teams with little bios. Bates & Anthony are described as having positive attitudes. They've been on a roller coaster, Phil says, and of course, there is talk of their relationship with the Blondes.
The Newlyweds leave first for Belfast. There they'll get into a Ford Fiesta and drive to a park. Bates & Anthony leave second; they'd like to see the Derby Moms get eliminated from the final four because they are tough. The feeling is mutual; the Derby Moms say they don't understand why the Newlyweds and the Blondes would work to help Bates & Anthony because they're such a strong team. I gotta say, the Derby Moms make a lot of sense. Bates & Anthony do seem to have special super powers of niceness that blind everyone to the fact that they are the most athletic team and they are no dummies either.
At any rate, the teams meet up on the ferry to Scotland and arrive to Belfast all at once. The teams run for their Fiestas and there's a directional divide. Bates & Anthony follow the Newlyweds; the Blondes and the Derby Moms go the other way. Bates & Anthony have been directionally challenged through the entire Race, but they know how to follow real good. They've made the right choice to follow the Newlyweds (after all, Mrs. Newlywed has a PhD), and they're in the mix with the second strongest team.
The next task involves one team member doing a cannonball into a muddy bog and swimming laps in a snorkel in under four minutes. Anthony does the task but Bates has the pleasure of helping to squeeze Anthony's 'junk' into a wet suit. Anthony says it's hard to breath in the mud, but nonetheless manages to do it in just over two minutes.
Next, Bates & Anthony have to find the 'Thing With a Ring," which turns out to be a statue. They get stuck in traffic which puts the Newlyweds and the Derby Moms ahead.
Awaiting them is a Detour. Tray It involves serving five courses to first-class passengers on the Titanic (the setting is the place where the Titanic was built); the food must be served in the correct order. When all courses are served, teams will get the next clue.
Spray It involves finishing one side of a piece of graffiti art by using a picture of the other half.
Spray It sounds fairly easy to me but Bates & Anthony choose Tray It. The Newlyweds start it first and figure out what will become the major hurdle: there's a menu list and there's a chart with seat assignments. Follow the menu list; the seat assignments are secondary and tell you, when there are menu options which items the person chose. If you follow the seating chart, you'll get it wrong.
But first Bates & Anthony have to figure out what consomme looks like. (The Derby Moms had to figure out how to pronounce it.)
Bates is doing the serving and Anthony is doing the plating. The serving involves not just carrying the tray, but carrying the tray about 100 yards back and forth and running up a bunch of stars. It's exhausting.
At first, Anthony makes the seating chart error, but he fairly quickly figures it out. Then Anthony drops the second course. Bates is not happy. By the time they get to the fifth course, it seems things are going well. It's dessert, after all. But Anthony can't get the dessert course right. The menu item is unfamiliar but it has the word 'chartreuse' in it. And Anthony thinks 'chartreuse' is red. It's not. It's yellowish or green.
It gets heated; Bates gets really mad and Anthony gets kind of scared. Anthony predicts Bates will kill him if he gets it wrong again; he gets it wrong again and Bates threatens to kill him. Bates calls Anthony the worse partner ever. It feels very big brother/little brother; like Bates used to beat up Anthony when they were kids. On the other hand, it's kind of interesting to see Bates lose it.
Even with the chartreuse debacle, Bates & Anthony are right behind the Newlyweds. It's pretty much a foot race to the pit stop. The Newlyweds win by a few seconds and get a trip to the Dominican Republic. Mr Newlywed talks stuff too: he says the Newlyweds won't be intimidated by some old athletes.
It's so cool that they'll soon eat those words with a side of chartreuse.
Sadly, though Bates & Anthony's friends, the Blondes are bested by the Derby Moms. After they were bested by the fact that one of the Blondes can't swim and had a freak out at the muddy bog.
Still, they leave graciously because they've seen that people are good all over the world.
It's down to the final 3. Bates says he doesn't want to relive the feeling of losing in a final like he did when he didn't win the Stanley Cup. Not winning, he says, is not an option.
The 12th leg has the Newlyweds leaving first, heading to Liverpool, then off to London to have a beer and get the clue for their final destination. Bates & Anthony say they feel freakin' awesome and Bates likes their chances of finding a bar because that plays to their strength. Yes, you can consider that a Lucky B's plug. Anthony correctly predicts that the Blondes are toast and the Derby Moms are in it.
Bates, in another show of his dark side, wishes a rough leg on the Newlyweds, like he and Anthony had after winning three legs in a row.
They're off to Washington, D.C. where Bates lived for a little while. The first clue sends them to the Lincoln Memorial and the spot where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech. Bates breaks out the dictionary and calls the speech 'iconic.'
From there, the teams are sent to 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue where they're told they'll take a picture with President Obama. Now, just think about that. The president of the United States who gets criticized when he takes a vacation is going to make time to take a picture with the contestants on a reality competition show.
As ridiculous as that sounds when you say it out loud, all the teams actually think the POTUS, the Leader of the Free World, is going to take a picture with them. Mr. Newlywed, a staunch Republican, even gets kind of excited, although when he discovers that it's just a green screen picture he tries to pretend that he's relieved. Bates took his scruffy hat off and everything. (Although I think the President would have said, "Please, put your hat back on." That hair. Ugh.)
The roadblock is a throwback. The teams have to say a code phrase to the right secret agent among 50 agents to get a case that opens with the combination that matches the order of their arrival in New Zealand, Indonesia and Vietnam. Bates takes the job and beats Mr. Newlywed, who started the task first. And he's written down the order of his finishes.
That sends Bates & Anthony to National Stadium where they must complete Play Ball, a task that involves one team member being suspended from a zip line. The flying team member has to toss a ball to the teammate below dressed in mascot garb (well, as a giant inflated baseball); the teammate must catch it. Anthony flies, Bates catches. Anthony feels confident because he and Bates played baseball as kids. Bates points out they didn't play baseball dressed as a giant baseball. That makes catching the ball like trying to catch with one eye closed. Still, Bates catches it on the second attempt.
That sends them to Go Global, which sends Anthony in a giant bin of blow up globes, some marked with the 10 countries they visited. Anthony has to toss the globes to Bates, Bates has to put them in the right order in which they visited and then the clue will be revealed. It's a bit of a Chuck E. Cheese nightmare, but with patience, Anthony succeeds. Anthony reveals that they would look at the maps on the plane rides to identify the countries; Bates admits he wouldn't have been able to identify the countries before the Race.
But they do find them, and that means they can head to George Washington's Mount Vernon, the finish line. On the way, Bates says he's so nervous the rest of his hair might fall out or turn gray. (Fall out! Fall out!) Anthony says win or lose, he wouldn't have wanted to do the Race with anyone else.
But of course, it's win, not lose. In Lucky B's shirts no less. Anthony head butts his brother in a display of joy. Phil brings up his false teeth, and Anthony says now he can buy new dentures. Bates says he hasn't felt like this in a long time; hockey hasn't given him that sense of triumph lately. The Race, they say, is really amazing. And the Blondes pledge to be friends for life.
All that's left to say is: Hey man, can I get a loan?