Amazing Race: Sorry, Guys, I'm Not Happy To See You

by Michelle

The race picks up in Osaka, Japan, where TK & Rachel came in last, but lucked out because that was the second of two non-elimination legs. Will they be able to catch up with the other teams despite being three hours behind? And there’s also the little matter of the Speedbump to deal with …

Ron & Christina are leaving first at 7:02am and learn they must take a taxi to the Umeda Sky building and find the floating garden. Nate & Jen are close behind leaving at 7:15am, followed by Nicolas & Don at 7:21am. And we’ll get back to poor TK & Rachel in a few hours.

The three leading teams get to the building and quickly realize that the floating garden is the observation deck, which doesn’t open until 10am. That could really help TK & Rachel gain ground. As they leave the Pit Stop at 10:18am, the other teams have found their clues and are on their way to the airport to fly to Taipei, Taiwan. Nate’s comment in the taxi is hilarious — “I know absolutely nothing about Taiwan, except we think Thai food’s pretty good.” Cut to Ronald talking about Nate & Jen as he says, “These guys are smart.”

At the airport, Christina tries to play dirty by asking the ticket agent to tell Nate & Jen that the first flight is full. And that’s exactly what the agent tells them. Now did Ron & Christina really buy the last tickets on that flight or is the agent lying? Couldn’t she get in trouble for that? By the way, today is Jen’s birthday and Nate is being mean to her on her birthday.

By this time, TK & Rachel are on their way to the airport and TK says that “the freakout factor is unbelievable.” But he’s a very mellow guy, so even in freakout mode he seems pretty calm.

The teams are on their way to Taiwan on three different flights. Ron & Christina are alone on the first flight but it only arrives about 15 minutes before the second flight carrying Nate & Jen and Nicolas & Don. That 15 minutes seems to have made a big difference though, as Ron & Christina are already on their way to the train station and the other teams are waiting in a long line for immigration. When TK & Rachel arrive at the airport while Nate & Jen are still there, Jen is really mad and they are totally ruining her birthday!

Ron & Christina catch the first train while the other teams are bunched up on the second train. They arrive at a Roadblock and the clue is “Who’s ready for a tricky ride?” The team member must be a passenger in a stunt truck which balances high in the air on this see-saw-like contraption and then in another truck that drives underwater. Hmmm, the see-saw part looks mildly dangerous but the underwater part seems easy. I’m not impressed. Ron takes the Roadblock and they are quickly back on the train back to Taipei to find a teahouse.

At the teahouse in Taipei, the teams are required to drink a cup of tea to find their clue at the bottom of the cup. What?! Drinking a cup of tea? There had better be some very dangerous Detours ahead to make up for this! Ronald & Christina drink their tea and the clue leads them to a clown at the Gorg Guan Night Market. The clown gives them the Detour clue — Fire or Earth. “Fire” involves sending messages of luck on lanterns and “Earth” requires walking barefoot across a path of jagged stones. They pick the jagged path.

Meanwhile, Nicolas & Donald are second at the teahouse, followed by TK & Rachel and then Nate & Jen. All teams choose the jagged stone Detour. Ronald & Christina are already finishing the task and quickly get the clue for the Pit Stop, which is at Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Plaza. They are first again and have gone another leg with Ron treating his daughter with some respect. Is he really learning from his mistakes?

Nate & Jen get advice from a local to take the subway to the Pit Stop to avoid the heavy traffic. This could help them out — we’ve seen teams get stuck in huge traffic jams in major cities. But if there isn’t much traffic they will end up way behind. Halfway there Jen has another freakout and yells at Nate to make a decision. “You need to step up and make the decisions right now! You’re the man!” Yikes, Jen, have a little faith in yourself as a woman!

TK and Rachel are second at the Pit Stop and Nicolas & Don end up third. That little piece of advice about the subway contributes to Nate & Jen arriving last and being eliminated. I actually start feeling sorry for them as they discuss how they have killed their relationship in their quest to win the race. Wow, are they going to break up right in front of the cameras? On Jen’s birthday!? How sad! But no, Nate starts crying and they hug. I’m back to not liking them.

This is the first season that I don’t despise any of the three final teams. Even Ron has recently come around. Will the absence of a team to root against make for a boring finale? I am going to predict Nicolas & Don for the surprise win next week. Hmm, the preview looks like there could be some serious physical challenges in store in Alaska. Can I change my answer?