Amazing Race Recap: Kiwi Kraziness

Last night's ep was full of surprises, not the least or adorable of which was that Phil's dad welcomed the teams to New Zealand. Hands-down, one of the most precious moments in reality-show history!

Once again, Ken and Tina beat the pack, begging the age-old question: Does dysfunction in real life breed utter perfection in the reality-show universe?

The gang flew from Bolivia to Flight of the Conchords country, New Zealand. (I loved hearing Marisa and Brooke muse, "I wonder if they have blondes there? Will we be exotic?") Their first charge was to untie a "Gordian" knot at a local marina. Ken and Tina retrieved the clue and decided to take advantage of the Fast Forward (one of only two in the whole race) and drive to the tallest structure in the Southern Hemisphere, the Auckland Sky Tower. Tina's "massive fear of heights" was going to be put to the test as well as my own stress level.

The rest of the gang opted out of the Fast Forward and, after retrieving their clue, drove the next Road Block. And this one, my friends, has to the best one ever! Each group received the print of a tattoo and had to match the design to the face of an "angry" Maori warrior. Terrence and Sarah breezed through the challenge (unfortunately), which is impressive considering it was pitch black. Dallas and Toni were next and had the good fortune of the sun rising and Toni's keen mom-eyes on the task. Of the experience said Dallas: "When I saw my mom with all those Maori warriors, my first thought was, 'Please don't eat my mom.'"

Following the warrior challenge, teams were asked to drive to the City Life hotel, whose roof would aid them in spotting a "friend" hidden amidst Auckland's skyline. This friend, of course, was none other than that adorable roaming gnome from Travelocity (I don't know what it is about that little guy, but I'm smitten). From there they had drive to a local landmark, "Kiwi 360," for their next clue.

By this time Ken and Tina had already landed at the Pit Stop and were welcomed by the adorable father of Phil, who himself looks a bit like a gnome. I'm telling you, this team never ceases to surprise.

The others teams were mired in their next challenge: Matter of Time or Matter of Skill. "Time" involved smashing kiwis with their feet and filling a bucket with the juice. After five minutes, the novelty wore off and a few teams opted out of the challenge for the second option, constructing and riding a wind-powered Go-kart. This challenge was equally as miserable, and I agreed with Dan when he said, "Give me sports trivia. That's what I'm good at."

Teams trickled in, with Southern Blondes and Aja and Ty neck-in-neck. In the end, Marisa and Brooke were eliminated. Aja's "Praise God, praise God!" summed up this episode nicely, and I actually felt a little bad for the cute little airheads. "We're just two girls from South Carolina trying to get around the world," said Marisa. And to that I say, aren't we all?