From Bangkok to Tokyo to Anchorage to Denver, The Amazing Race finally came to an end last night in a pretty exciting way. Granted, there was no Uchenna-paying-off-a-cab excitement, and there wasn’t an evil team like The Weavers threatening to upset the entire season, but this two hour climax was still plenty of fun — if only because of the ultra-scenic locales and quirky challenges. I must admit that the team I wanted to win didn’t, but with a top three of B.J. and Tyler, Jeremy and Eric, and Ray and Yolanda, it was hard to feel too upset at any outcome. All in all, a fun way to end an amusing season. Plus, how could we not love an episode that featured Phil bundled up in a giant turtleneck AND parka? Best ever!This gargantuan finale began with the expected eight minute season recap. Once Phil was done philling us in (see that? I made a spelling pun), we then returned to the race in earnest. We were in wonderful Bangkok, home of elaborate religious temples, pad thai, and a burgeoning tranny population for Team Jeric to take advantage of. Before any teams could leave the Pit Stop, however, we first had to check in on Ray and Yolanda, the lovebirds who happened to bring Phil a Golden Gnome last week. This meant that they were able to spend the night at the Bangkok Four Seasons where they did what any horny couple would do: no, not have crazy sex! They logged onto Travelocity.com and read about the trip to Sydney they had won. Lovely!
We then returned to the Pit Stop at 11:18 PM where Hippie life partners BJ and Tyler emerged for the next leg. They learned they’d have to take a taxi to a province and find the Royal Kraal where — (rolling eyes) — an elephant in a ceremonial crest would give them a T-MOBILE SIDEKICK. You’ve got to be kidding me. Just when we thought product placement couldn’t get any more ridiculous, we now had an elephant giving away Sidekicks. AN ELEPHANT. Next season, maybe a Rhino will deliver a prescription of Cialis. Or maybe we could get some sort of FedEx / ring-tailed lemur tie in. Of course, the big question was — who’d want to touch a Sidekick after it had been smushed up against an elephant trunk. I personally don’t like pachyderm boogers on my mobile devices, but that’s just me.
Anyway, the Hippies headed off to their local elephantine T-mobile store (would Catherine Zeta-Jones appear atop one of the beasts, commanding us to “Get more”?), and the two explained to us how they’ve come to realize that they’re just as fallible as everyone else in the race. That’s wonderful. Next to leave were Jeremy and Eric, and they certainly had high hopes for each other. “Going into the final three, this is about us as a team,” they said, adding, “And by ‘team,’ we mean like a sexual team. One that nestles up together late at night and listens to Joan Baez.” Okay, they didn’t say that last part, but they were excited nonetheless to see some elephants. Eric informed us that he’d never actually seen an elephant up close — that is, if you don’t count Jeremy and his Mr. Elephant Trunk, if you catch my drift…
Up ahead, the Hippies had arrived at the Royal Kraal, and believe it or not, the place was open. Oh wait. Never mind. Elephants wouldn’t be available to give out complimentary T-Mobile Sidekicks until 4 AM. Who would have thunk it? Back at the Pit Stop, the well-rested Ray and Yolanda emerged last, surely still floating on the natural high that comes from crazy late nights surfing Travelocity.com. Anyway, they ran off in search of the elephants too, with Ray insisting, “We got to catch the Hippies and the Frat Girls!” Ha. Frat girls. It was really funny. I guess you had to be there.
Ray then explained that the Amazing Race was far more taxing for couples than one might realize. “When you’re in a relationship, you can have a discussion about a wrong turn, and somehow you’re talking about the relationship. So it goes from the Amazing Race to the Amazing Relationship Race. It’s two different races going on,” he said. I don’t know, but the Amazing Relationship Race doesn’t sound so amazing to me. Nevertheless, all the teams met up at the Royal Kraal, and finally, the doors opened. The teams all rushed in (narrowly avoiding death by elephant turd) and found their gaggle of royally-crested, consumer-electronics-toting pachyderms. Unfortunately, no one could keep their Sidekicks (those stingy elephants. I couldn’t believe they wanted them back! Just goes to show — elephants LOVE texting!), but everyone was able to hang onto the mobile devices long enough to receive a clue about the next destination: fly to scenic Tokyo! Yay!
First Paris Hilton, then an elephant — maybe someday the Sidekick will have a mascot that can actually form coherent sentences.
Teams then had to fly to Tokyo and then drive themselves to downtown and find Shibuya, a.k.a. Tokyo’s version of Times Square. Once there, everyone would have to scan all the big screen TVs on the building to find the one flashing a hint. By the way, did I mention that this was the busiest intersection in the entire world? Ah, good times. If only Lake were around. I’m sure his head would just explode with all the over-stimulation. I could almost hear it: “Kan-ko-wee-go!! Kan-Ko-WEE-GO!! KAN-KO-WEE-GO!! KAAN-KO-WEEE-GGGG— (kaboom).”
Anyway, the teams all hightailed it out of the elephant pen, and wouldn’t you know it? Those lumbering beasts took quite the liking to Jeric, chasing them all the way out of the stable. I guess it makes sense. Jeric and the elephants are sort of like kindred spirits: they both make weird noises, they both play with their trunks, and they both love nuts. Rimshot! A little elephant comedy to lighten up the day!
Well, as they zipped off to the airport, Tyler and BJ expressed how excited they were to go to Japan. First of all, Tyler had a Japanese girlfriend. Second of all, he had walked from the South to the North of the entire country. And third of all, he could speak the language. “If there’s any country besides America that I feel like I understand more, it is Japan,” Tyler said. Might this be the set up for a massive failure? I mean, let’s face it. An idiotic mistake can happen in any country, no matter what the language. And if there’s anyone capable of making an idiotic mistake, it’s Tyler.
Speaking of idiotic Tyler mistakes, we had a nifty one coming right up. All the teams arrived at the airport at roughly the same amount of time. However, while Raylonda and Jeric went to a nearby ticketing desk and booked the first flight to Tokyo (which arrived at 2:15 PM on United), Tyler said they should go to a Japanese airline first because CLEARLY a Japanese airline will have earlier flights. Not so much. The two wasted time futzing around with the wrong airline, and while it wasn’t a huge diversion, it still was enough of detour that by the time they found the United flight, it was already full and booked. Hahaha! Suckers!
We then went to commercial wondering whether or not BJ and Tyler would ever EVER find a flight out of Bangkok, and of course, we totally knew how this would go. At the last second, seats would open up, and they’d all wind up on the same plane. But no! I was wrong. When they pack a flight in Bangkok, they pack it. The Hippies were DEEnied and forced to take a flight arriving in Tokyo about an hour and a half after everyone else. Normally, I’d think this would lead to pure disaster, but then again, this was hour one of a two hour finale. No one would be going home for quite some time.
Anyway, the first flight touched down in Tokyo, and the first thing that Raylonda and Jeric did was pick up their cars, conveniently parked at the nearby Hotel Nikko. Raylonda thought they were all smart shit because they had picked up a map at the airport, and so once they found their vehicle, they just drove off towards Tokyo with nary a fear in the world. They should have known better. These two get lost standing still. The last thing they needed was a tricky roadmap written in a language they couldn’t even vaguely understand.
Jeric, on the other hand, were much smarter. Before driving off, they went into the lobby of the hotel and asked for specific directions to the Shibuya. Sure enough, this brief stitch in time saved them nine because they quickly and easily found their way down to the Shibuya. Raylonda, on the other hand, were completely lost — as expected. The good news was that they managed to find the expressway they’d been searching for. The bad news was that the road signs on the expressway were made by Lucifer himself. I mean, these things were beyond confusing. It was like someone had taken a Pac-Man board and added numbers to it. I counted ten different routes on the one sign the producers flashed in front of us. It therefore was no surprise that we then found Ray literally stopped in the middle of the highway, trying to figure out whether he should merge to the right or merge to the left. I guess this really flipped that whole Asians-are-terrible-drivers stereotype on its head.
Hey, who put the subway map on top of the highway?
Meanwhile, Jeremy and Eric parked their car at the Sakamoto building — whatever that was — and in honor of this momentous occasion, the producers dipped into their music library and played some faux “Turning Japanese” music. You know, because they were in Japan! Get it? Little do the producers know that “Turning Japanese” is actually some codeword for masturbation (although, considering this music was playing over Jeric, I guess it makes sense).
Hey, let’s check in on Ray and Yolanda. Yup, still lost. Yolanda tried to lighten the mood a bit by joking/whining and commanding Ray to “Drive me!!!” To which he replied/mumbled, “Drivin’ Miss Crazy.” Ooh, nice punnage, Ray! He’s a regular old comedian.
Back in Downtown Tokyo, Jeremy and Eric were now scanning the hyperkinetic square, looking for their clue. It took them a little while, but eventually, they found a big sign that read, “Find Hachiko.” Turns out Hachiko was the name of a dog statue located somewhere in the Shibuya. Teams would have to find it and then speak to a fey looking Japanese guy in a red and yellow scarf nearby to receive their next clue. Oh, this would be fun. You just knew it would take forever to find the stupid dog statue. Orrrr not. Jeric asked like one person, and it seemed like before they had even finished saying “Hachiko,” they were being pointed directly to the statue. So much for a tricky challenge.
Anyway, the guys received their next clue, which was — drumroll — the Detour! Our choices? “Maiden” or “Messenger.” Before we even learned what these challenges were, we then found Phil walking on the crowded street, just like the man of the people we always thought he could be. As personable as he surely was, he clearly still intimated all those around him with his aura of power and prestige. Take for example the unsuspecting Japanese girl who suddenly ducked out of the camera frame, lest she ruin Phil’s shot. Oh, gentle concubine. All are welcome to enjoy the spotlight with Phil. No need to hide your face.
Note the woman’s fear of the PhilWalk™.
She must hang her head in SHAME!
Nevertheless, as fun as it was to watch Phil traverse the pedestrian crosswalks of Japan, we had a Detour to attend to. In “Mained,” teams had to travel seven miles by taxi to a Japanese Tea Garden. There, they’d have to walk a third of a mile to tea ceremony. One catch: they’d have to also transport a maiden in some sort of hand-held, traditional contraption (the name of which escapes me now). It wasn’t a very difficult task, but it could be quite arduous.
For “Messenger,” teams would have to travel two hundred yards, find some folding bikes and assemble them. They’d then have to grab a messenger bag and deliver the two packages inside to two different buildings and THEN return back to the bike garage and receive their next clue. It wasn’t physically demanding, but teams would have to navigate the streets of Tokyo, not something that was too easy for everyone who wasn’t Tyler.
Well, Jeric opted to do “Maiden.” I mean, they didn’t do a maiden. That would be gross and icky! A woman? Nasty! The Hippies, meanwhile, opted for “Messenger.” As for Raylonda? Their choice was to FIND THE DAMN SHIBUYA. Yes, they were still lost. And bickering. In other words, nothing really new on that front.
Over at the Tea Garden, Jeremy and Eric slaved over the challenge, and as they hauled their Maiden to the tea ceremony, they commented, “Hopefully, we got a hot one.” I liked how they referred to Maiden like some giveaway at a baseball game. I also liked the subtle implication that if maybe, just maybe they had a hot maiden, they’d put the race on hold to get it on with her.
Meanwhile, the Hippies zipped through the city on their little bikes — which really were the perfect mode of transport for them: little bells ringing, lights flashing — just like the Hippies, they seemed all whimsical and cool at first… until you realized they were just really annoying.
As for Raylonda, guess what? They had found the Shibuya! Ha, just kidding. They were still incredibly lost. Luckily for them, we went to commercial, and as we all know, commercial breaks make good things happen. Sure enough, when we returned, Ray and Yolanda finally found the intersection… I think. Please tell me they found it…
Elsewhere in Tokyo, Jeric finally delivered their maiden to the tea ceremony. The funky looking lady stepped out of the contraption and greeted another woman holding a cup of tea. “This is like a naughty fantasy come true right here,” Eric said, adding, “Well, not the maiden. I’ve just always had these dreams of gettin’ sweaty at a tea party with Jeremy.” Okay, he didn’t say that last part. Instead, the guys received a clue that had them heading over to the Capsule Land Hotel, which, as the name implied, was a capsule hotel. For those of you who don’t know, capsule hotels are these funky places where travelers or drunk businessmen can spend the night. You don’t get a room. Instead, you sleep in a long capsule. It’s kind of like a more comfortable version of a morgue.
Meanwhile, the Hippies delivered their first package, and before they left, BJ asked a receptionist in English how to get to their next delivery address. Listen BJ, I know you want to contribute, but Tyler can speak Japanese. Just let him do all the talking. Anyway, the Hippies went off for their next destination, and over with Ray and Yolanda — you’ve got to be kidding me — they were still lost. What is wrong with them. I understand about language barriers and stuff, but seriously, enough is enough! Get it together! Eventually, they parked their car at the Sakamoto building, and soon enough, they had found their clue in the Shibuya and were off to the Detour (they opted for “Maiden” too).
The Hippies then delivered their second package, causing an overly excited Japanese woman to tell the camera, “Take Care!” Oh, we will! Thanks! (By the way, I firmly believe it’s hyperactive women like her who populate the hallways of Nintendo. I mean, where else did the company come up with Mario’s “Leeettt’s a-Go!”) (come to think of it, how awesome would this leg have been had the producers accentuated it with random MarioKart sound effects. Remind me to look into that for a Clipgasm).
She’s so Katamari Damacy
Jeremy and Eric, meanwhile, found a cab to take them to their Capsule Hotel, but oh no! The driver didn’t know where it was. Oh well. The guy decided to just have the taxi bring them back to the Shibuya instead. Ah — but never fear! The driver made some calls and found out where to go. Look, this is Japan. They don’t mess around when it comes to taxi efficiency. Nevertheless, Jeric arrived at the hotel and learned they’d be spending the night with a departure time the next morning at 9 AM. The guys then walked to their “rooms” which they soon discovered were anything but. Jeremy then pointed at the “tubes” and said, “That’s why it’s called the capsule hotel!” Ah yes. Another great feat of deduction. The human brain never ceases to amaze!
As the guys prepared for a cozy night in their capsules, Jeremy then noted that the whole place reminded him of a time machine, saying that he didn’t want to wake up, and it’d be 1972. Are you kidding me? If anything, Jeremy was made for 1972. I could totally see him walking around in plaid bellbottoms, a green turtleneck, a little blond ‘fro, and perhaps a medallion hanging from his neck. “Hey ladies. Wanna take a ride on the Jerminator? Yeah!”
Back at the Detour, Raylonda managed to deliver their maiden, despite having crashed her into a tree a few times. I’m shocked they didn’t get lost on the way to the tea party. I could just imagine them wandering five miles off course, showing up at Tokyo Disney with their maiden. Nevertheless, they too headed off to the capsule hotel, arriving third (with a departure time of 9:30 AM), behind BJ and Tyler (departing at 9:15 AM). We then saw some footage of everyone hanging out in robes (memo to Tyler: please be more assertive about closing your damn robe. Don’t need to see your Hippie Nipple — or as I call it, Hipple).
The next morning, Jeric were first to leave the hotel. They had to drive themselves to Fujikyu Island, which just so happened to be a crazy-ass amusement park. Ah, but this wasn’t just ANY amusement park. As Phil said, it was “wildly popular among the youth of Japan.” Oh, those crazy youths and their love of amusement parks! I wondered if this place would be all Harajuku-ed out. Like maybe there’d be a roller coaster in the shape of Hello Kitty. One could always dream.
Anyway, Jeric drove off with the Hippies following fifteen minutes behind. “This is the Japan leg we dreamed of,” Tyler said. Again — setting up for some massive failure? And who dreams of Japan legs?
Well, just when they thought their navigational problems were behind them, Ray and Yolanda had to stare down the specter of driving in Japan yet again. Oh, this wouldn’t be good. They tried to get directions from a guy at Denny’s, but he didn’t seem to speak English very well. For all we knew, he was simply saying “Try the Moon Over My Hammy! It will bring great joy to my ancestry!”
Jeremy and Eric, on the other hand, were doing quite well. They even had time to marvel at the local scenery. “That’s a big mountain,” Jeremy said, “Mt. Tokyo!” Or as the rest of the world calls it, MT. FUJI.
We then returned to Ray driving his car, and I think he’d pretty much lost it. He kept saying “Fujikyu!” over and over again. Okay, we’ll check back on him later. Jeric, meanwhile, was now following a camper to the amusement park, and as they drove along, Jeremy revealed his quite amusing theory about how to deal with locals. The key, he said, was not to speak slowly. No one understands that. Instead, you have to speak really quickly. I swear — this was really funny on the show. I can’t even try to replicate the humor here. So instead, I’ll just show this picture again:
See, I knew that would get you laughing!
Anyway, even though Jeremy and Eric had a lead, the Hippies soon caught up to them, causing the frat boys to complain, “Those hippies and their damn language-knowing!” Hey, don’t worry, guys. At least you still have a leg up on them with your “deodorant-knowing.” Well, the two teams arrived at the theme-park at the same time and found their next clue: the Roadblock!
“Who’s ready to coast through their day?” the question asked. Yes, this was a roller coaster challenge. Phil explained that one teammate would have to experience the physical strain and adrenaline rush of three thrill rides in a row! Oh no! The strain and the rush! Surely no human could do three in a row! Well, no human except the thousands of people who pay to do it EVERYDAY. Ah, but there was more than met the eye. Not only did everyone have to go on the coasters, they had to keep their composure enough to notice a guy holding a clue along the way of one of the rides. Afterwards, racers would have to repeat the clue to a guy, and if they got it right, they’d get the clue. If they got it wrong, they’d have to go on the three rides all over again. Okay, that was sort of cool. Still — I would have much preferred if the challenge had something to do with waiting in one of those gargantuan roller coaster lines. I know standing around isn’t very exciting necessarily, but you gotta admit, it sure would be awesome to watch these teams fret over whether or not they chose the right coaster to wait in line for.
Anyway, Jeremy and Tyler both volunteered to do this challenge, and I had to admit, I kind of felt bad for them. Why? Because they boarded some ride with a bunch of Japanese school girls. If there’s anyone I wouldn’t want to have screaming in my ears, it would be them. While the guys enjoyed their thrills, Ray and Yolanda were facing new problems: namely, they couldn’t find their toll road ticket. Great. This led to tons of honking, and I knew that if I were behind them, I’d totally hate them. That being said, today I was in a parking structure with no cash, and I could have sworn I was still in my validation period, but alas, I wasn’t. I somehow found fifty cents in my car, but man, I didn’t know what to do. Yes, I was THAT guy. Luckily, the person in front of me had taken so long that a big line had formed, and now the parking attendant was eager to just get everyone out of there. She saw that I was totally hopeless, and after about five seconds of me searching my glove compartment, she just raised the gate and let me through, snipping “Big line! Big line!” And so I avoided the embarrassment of being the car that’s sitting there for five minutes, even though I totally was in the wrong. Sweet.
Where was I going with this again? Oh, that’s right. Ray and Yolanda couldn’t find their toll ticket, so they had to drive off to the side and deal with a random guy. Eventually, they paid him some yen, but then the guy said they had to turn around and go the other direction to Fujikyu — which meant all that money and drama was for nothing. The toll man then bid adieu to Ray, but not before giving him a nice little pat on the ass. What a sneaky devil! Ray became immediately flustered, not believing that some guy had just groped his bee-hind. I’m surprised Ray didn’t just pop him in face, but I suppose that requires energy, and well, he’d expended all of that by saying “Fujikyu!!” for an hour earlier in the day.
“Wise man say touching ass of black man very good luck.”
Back at the amusement park, a teeny bopper girl told Tyler, “I like your beard!” Was she referring to BJ? Oh, no, never mind. She really was referring to his facial hair. Being the kind-hearted hippie that he is, Tyler let the girl touch, something that I thought was fairly disgusting. Had this poor girl ever seen hair before? And coudn’t she tell that Tyler’s beard hadn’t been washed in about three months? Jeremy summed it up best when he quietly seethed, “You’re an idiot.”
Looks like somebody could use a little T’tao.
Well, the guys went on their second ride, but again, no clue. That didn’t stop Tyler from telling Jeremy that he had seen it. Ah, a little trickery. Let’s see how long that lasts. Oh, about thirty seconds. The guys then headed to the last ride where they finally found the clue. Wasn’t that hard to spot. It was on a giant sign and looked like it was placed at a rather calm part of the coaster. Anyway, the guys then reported to whoever they needed to report to and said “Lake Yamanaka,” or as Jeremy pronounced it, “Ya-Monica.” The dude handed over clues to both guys, and we learned that teams then had to drive 7.5 miles away to Lake Yamanaka where they’d hop into “swan boats” (paddle boats shaped like ducks) and paddle out to the Big Swan, which was a hotel riverboat shaped like a swan. Why the emphasis on maritime bird design is beyond me. The Big Swan, it should be noted, was the next Pit Stop on the race.
While the two teams sped over to the lake, Ray and Yolanda arrived at the Roadblock, all full of bickering rage. Yo-Yo volunteered for the task, and before we knew it, she was riding around on the rollercoasters. By the way, Yolanda was the least excitable amusement park goer EVER. All she would say was an unenthusiastic “whoo.” C’mon, Yolanda! Let out your rage! SCREAM!!! Y’all don’t even want to see me on a rollercoaster. It’s just a loud, messy stream of noises and curses.
Anyway, Yolanda easily got through the task, and before long, she and Ray were searching for Lake Yamanaka too. They asked some guy for directions, but while he said “right,” he point to the left. Oh those crazy Japanese old people! Always pointin’ and talkin’ in the wrong directions!!
Meanwhile, the Hippies and Jeric both arrived at the lake, happily declaring, “It’s swan time!” By the way, that just so happens to be the worst suggested tagline ever for an action movie. Nevertheless, the Hippies had a slight lead, however, and they managed to pull away from the dock first. The two teams paddled furiously, making this the most exciting swan race EVER!
Coming soon to ESPN.
But alas, not even Jeremy’s self-professed experience on the high school Swan Boat team could help him close the gap between the boats. The Hippies arrived at the Pit Stop first, and in doing so, won T-Mobile Sidekicks with three years of free service. Let’s just hope these weren’t the same snot-covered Sidekicks that the elephants had been tossing around. Anyway, after informing the guys of their prize, Phil then said, “Jump for joy.” Oh Phil. Gotta love his sanctioned celebration.
Jeric showed up second, and as both teams stood on the mat in front of Phil, Jeremy complained that Tyler was playing dirty. Normally, I’d point out that whole “cab-cancellation move” from two weeks ago, but truth was that Jeremy was just doing more of his deadpan sarcasm. Of course, since Tyler’s a bit, how should I say this, gullible, he totally thought Jeremy was being serious and tried to defend himself. I really don’t know how BJ puts up with him.
Raylonda arrived last to the Pit Stop, but of course, this was just a non-elimination round, which meant that Phil had to take everything from them. As they forked over their belongings, our intrepid host smiled sadistically and said, “It’s tough. No money, leaving a country where you don’t speak the language, final leg of the race.” Shut up, PHIL. THEY GET IT! By the way, let’s not forget Joyce and Uchenna who came back from similar setbacks last year.
And that was the first hour. Oh my gosh. That took so damn long to write. Holy novel. Feel free to take a break, go to the bathroom, enjoy a light snack. We got a whole other episode comin’ up!
The second hour started up with the final teams enjoying a lovely little meal on the Big Swan. I was immensely jealous because a) when I wrote this, I was really hungry, and b) I love Japanese food. Best rest period ever! Anyway, even though Tyler was hoping the race would end in Japan, he should have been savvy enough to realize that it always comes back to the United States. Sure enough, the next stop on the Amazing Race express was good old (and frigid) Anchorage, Alaska. I couldn’t imagine that this was very good news for two thirds of the teams. BJ and Tyler and Ray and Yolanda had all lost their belongings on non-elimination legs. What were they going to wear in the arctic, Alaskan tundra? Wait, let me guess what the Hippies would answer: they would be warmed by the spirit of adventure and the quest for the ironic. T’tao! (or whatever they say).
Yes, BJ and Tyler became exceptionally silly with their pseudo-Hippie philosophies this second hour. We should have expected it. As soon as they left the Pit Stop, they were spouting out all sort of silly comments. “The way we approach our lives is with wide-eyed enthusiasm and joy,” they said. And don’t forget IDIOCY.
Nevertheless, despite how silly their attempts at being 2006 Hippies from Harvard were, I couldn’t fault the guys for at least being decent human beings. As they left for the airport, they donated 2,000 yen to Ray and Yolanda. Sounded like a lot, but in reality, that’s only about $18. Sweet. Good looking out.
Jeremy and Eric demonstrate their plans for after the race:
Anyway, the Hippies and Jeric both left the Pit Stop at the same time, and they both headed down the highway back to the Nikko Hotel, where they had to drop off their cars. At one point, the Hippies veered to the left and took one route, causing much derision on behalf of Jeremy and Eric. Silly Hippies. Didn’t they know they were going the wrong way? Or were they? Nope, they weren’t. BJ and Tyler arrived at the hotel first, and since they had to wait a few hours before the airport shuttle arrived, they went upstairs to check flights on the internet. Before doing their research, however, they told the front desk that if anyone were to ask about the internet, just say it’s down.
Well, not long after, Jeric arrived, and sure enough, they asked about the internet. The guy at the front desk said yes, they had internet, but then suddenly he giggled and said “Well, we don’t have internet service.” Worst lying ever. But since they’re not the brightest guys in the world, Jeremy and Eric believed him and wandered off in search of a pay phone.
Meanwhile, Ray and Yolanda had since left the Pit Stop and were now trying to raise some yen for their travels. They stopped into a random restaurant and found some drunk business men. At first, it didn’t look like they were going to have any luck, but then Ray attached a sign to his jacket that said, “Yen?” Soon, the drunk guys were all interested in these two, with one guy saying, “You look like Janet Jackson!” Because all black people look alike!
Nevertheless, this observation brought about mighty guffaws, and for one guy, arm flapping. “If it’s so funny, y’all give us money then,” Yolanda said. I guess it worked because the men handed over yen left and right. “I’ll tell Michael you say hey,” Yolanda said as they left. She then added, “For a thousand more yen, I’ll tell Tito too.” Okay, she didn’t say that, but you know, Tito does deserve some love, right?
Back at the hotel, the Hippies booked a flight on the internet that would arrive in Alaska at just before 11 AM. Pretty cool. However, Jeric managed to find one that got in at 7:50 AM. And so after all that scheming to get the internet, those two doofuses don’t even make it worth their while. Lame.
Anyway, the Hippies then ambled back down to the lobby and told Jeric that they had just arrived. “Why did you guys go the wrong way?” Eric asked.
“Try and trick you,” Tyler responded. Well, can’t pull a fast one on Jeric!
“If you tricked us, we thought you’re idiots, but I guess you’re not because you’re here,” Eric said. I didn’t quite understand that either, but he nevertheless continued, “We’ve been here for an HOUR!”
“Really?” Tyler said, clearly chuckling inside.
“Yeah, really,” Eric reiterated. Ah, so naively proud. So naively clueless. Eric then complained that there was no internet at the hotel, and we then cut to the front desk guys giggling. Such a naughty staff! Sorry Jeric. I like you guys, but you just got HippiePunk’d. That’s embarrassing.
Well, the Hippies and Jeric eventually made their way to the airport, and while BJ and Tyler investigated earlier flights, Jeremy and Eric hid behind a security wall. It seemed kind of dumb, especially since it kind of made them look like suspicious terrorists, but airport security didn’t seem to mind, so hey — why should I care either? When the Hippies were out of sight, Jeric then found their flight and took off, seemingly in the lead.
However, the Hippies soon found a flight that allowed them to join up with Jeric in Taipei, thus ensuring that both teams would arrive at the same time. Meanwhile, Ray and Yolanda finally arrived at the airport, and after about thirty minutes of waiting around, the ticketing clerk told them that the best they could do was a flight getting into Anchorage at 2 PM. Ouch. The two then found some computers and discovered a flight that connected in Taipei also, putting them on the same layover with the other two teams. One problem: because they had wasted so much time with that first flight (thanks, TICKETING AGENT), they no longer could get on that other plane to Taipei. It had been closed! Oh they were screwed!!!
Luckily, the commercial break saved the day, and when we returned, Ray and Yolanda learned that they could in fact make the flight. We then cut to Jeremy and Eric in Taipei, anxiously watching the transfer desk to see if any of their rivals would be coming through. Sure enough, the Hippies and Raylonda soon appeared, effectively killing Jeric’s spirits.
With everyone on the same flight, we then headed to scenic anchorage, home of snow, ice, and file footage of dogsleds racing through the hillsides! The teams all emerged from the airport, and suddenly, the Hippies inexplicably had big, warm parks and gloves. Where’d they get those from? I’ll just have to assume a gift shop. Anyway, the teams all found their marked cars and learned they’d now have to drive to Mirror Lake. By the way, it looked absolutely FREEZING. Even I was getting cold.
Anyway, the teams made their way to Mirror Lake where they found the next Detour: “Drill It” or “Deliver It.” Phil then appeared on screen and holy PhilParka™! Our man was all bundled up. He not only had on his biggest turtleneck to date, but he was wrapped up in a big, puffy, furry parka as well. It may have been subzero, but one thing we could be sure of, he was feeling PhilToasty™!
The PhilParka™ returns!
Well, in “Drill It,” teams had to traverse a frozen lake and set up an ice fishing shack. They’d first have to use an auger to drill ten holes in the ice shelf until they hit water. Then they’d have to push a shack from shore to the site and cover at least two holes. So basically, a really light and simple activity!
In “Deliver It,” teams had to load a bush plane with medical supplies, and then using a map, they’d have to direct their pilot to a location. After the pilot landed the plane, teams would deliver the supplies to a first aid place, and then fly back. Oh, and by the way, it would be over 150 miles round trip. Hell to the no!
Amazingly, the Hippies opted to Deliver It, but alas, with the weather being bad, the pilot said he couldn’t take off. And so Jeric and the Hippies got to work drilling holes in the ice. First BJ and Tyler had a hole. Then Jeremy and Eric had a hole. Then the Hippies had another. Then Jeric had another! It was the most exciting auger-ing EVER!
Meanwhile, where the hell were Ray and Yolanda? Oh, I know. THEY GOT LOST. No excuses this time. They weren’t in Japan anymore. There’s no reason for them to lose thirty freakin’ minutes! How do they do that? Could they LISTEN to directions once in a while? Nevertheless, they kept a positive attitude as Ray insisted they would “Keep grinding!” Oh, how I hoped this was settup to a massive come-from-behind victory!
Well, Jeremy and Eric took the lead in the Detour, and soon they had drilled all ten of their holes. The two ran off to the shore and began pushing their shack (and no, “pushing their shack” is not slang for butt sex). The guy literally had to push a wooden structure across the lake. Again, just some light exercise! FOR HERCULES. This looked to be one of the most arduous challenges ever. After a while, the Hippies soon joined in on the shack pushing, but they had lost a significant amount of time. Jeremy and Eric finished up and received the next clue: drive to Kincaid Park and find the chalet. There, they’d put on snow shoes and search the park for the next clue (and don’t worry, they’d have a handy map to guide them). Anyway, Jeric left, and a little later, the Hippies completed the task too.
Meanwhile, Ray and Yolanda were MISSING. I mean, there was no excuse for them to be this late. The Detour had to have taken a half an hour at least. Where did they go off to? Were they enjoying lunch at Marie Calendar’s or something? The good news was that they did eventually arrive at the Detour, but because Yolanda’s arms were not the strongest things, she wasn’t totally helpful with the auger, setting the team back even more. Luckily, when it came time to push that shelter, we knew her thunder thighs would help out. But was it too little (yes) too late (yes again)? I couldn’t imagine Ray and Yolanda getting back in this thing. We all knew that once they got to that park, they’d probably get lost about twelve times before finding the clue. I just hoped they wouldn’t be out there in the snow long enough to turn this show into CBS’s version of Alive.
Anyway, Jeric arrived at the park first and went off to find the clue box. The Hippies showed up second and immediately walked right by their snow shoes. Yes, in a move worthy of Fran and Barry, the guys searched high and low for those snow shoes, never pausing to notice that they were right there under their nose. Once again: if you start running somewhere and your camera guy stays back to focus the lens on something, chances are, you should check out what the camera guy is looking at.
Seriously, where the hell could those snow shoes be?
At one point, BJ went inside to search, but Tyler called after him. “BJ! This way! BJ! BJ!” he yelled. Finally. They found them. But oops! False alarm! The Hippies simply went marching past the snow shoes AGAIN. They deserve to lose after this. Finally, after a woman inside the chalet told them, BJ and Tyler found the snow shoes, and hopefully, they were filled with shame and regret. T’tao my ass!
Well, as you can imagine, the two guys kept their can-do spirit, and as they trekked in the snow, Tyler happily commented, “Oh, paradise. Shangri-La!” He then extended his tongue outwards to catch a wayward snowflake. But what he got was a mouthful as a branch coincidentally (and hilariously) dumped a bucketful of snow on his face. It was kind of like Mother Nature’s way of saying, “Seriously, shut up already.”
Ah, just another lovely day to catch a snowflake on the tongue…
Anyway, Jeric finally found the clue which told them to fly back to Denver, CO, where the race began. Ah ha! Ray and Yolanda did have a fighting chance. As long as there was an airport compression, they’d be fine. Nevertheless, once in Colorado, teams would then have to travel to Golden and search the Clear Creek History Park for a clue. Could be interesting. We then gazed at a random deer, and then it was back to Alaska where we found the Hippies wandering around aimlessly. They were lost, and so they pulled out their map and took a gander at trails. Turns out that big red arrow wasn’t there for decorative purposes. That was supposed to help them get oriented. Oohhhhhh. Another bright Hippie moment.
Well, Jeremy and Eric found a cab and headed to the airport, and BJ and Tyler eventually grabbed their clue and zipped off as well — but not before setting up all the snow shoes to make Raylonda think that no one had been there yet. Yes, because all those FOOTPRINTS won’t give it away. Did the Hippies really expect Raylonda to fall for this? Like they might show up and say, “Hey! Looks like the other two teams must have gotten lost for two hours since they left the Detour!”
Anyhoo, over at the airport, Jeremy and Eric booked a flight on Frontier to Denver that would leave at 11:10 PM. The Hippies booked the same flight (although, they did it from the cab). When both teams met up again in the airport, they kind of wanted to know what flights they were each on, but they didn’t want to show their hands. Ultimately, Tyler said that on the count of three, they’d both reveal their flights. Okay, sounds idiotic enough. 1…. 2… 3!
Suddenly both guys blurted things out. Eric said “Air China!” and Tyler said, “Frontie—” before cutting himself off. Idiot. Not only was he dumb for revealing the flight, but he was dumb for cutting himself off, therefore letting Eric know that he wasn’t lying. I mean, it didn’t matter because they were on the same plane, but still. The principle! The principle!
Well, no surprise here. Ray and Yolanda found their clue in the park and wound up back in the airport on the very same flight as everyone else. Yes, the great equalizer. Everyone was caught up and ready for the final sprint to the finish!
We then headed to beautiful Denver and from there to beautiful Golden and from there to beautiful Clear Creek History Park (CCHP, for those in the know, not to be confused with C.C.H. Pounder)! Now, even though all three teams landed at the same time, somehow, Jeric reached the Clear Creek History Park first. Those guys must break the speed limit. Anyway, they quickly found the next clue, which had them drive back to the Red Rocks amphitheater. The Hippies found their clue moments later, and as for Raylonda — well, I think they must have stopped at the Duty Free store because they were nowhere to be found. Oh wait, there they were. They finally arrived at the Clear Creek History Park, but now they couldn’t find their damn clue. Great. My hopes for a surprise victory were quickly fading.
Meanwhile, the Hippies and Jeric both arrived at Red Rocks and ripped open their clue. It was the final Roadblock. We then saw Phil, still in a turtleneck but wearing a lighter, more sensible parka. It just wasn’t the same. I felt cheated. Anyway, for this final challenge, one teammate from each team had to run into a field of flags and take one from each of the nine countries they’ve visited in the race. For those who may have forgotten, those were Brazil, Russia, Germany, Italy, Greece, Oman, Australia, Thailand, and Japan. I already knew that the Hippies would kick ass at this.
Anyway, the teams then had to put the flags in the proper order, and for those who were a bit rusty on their flags (cough, Jeric, cough), each work station had a placard with flags for reference. But wait! That placard featured extra flags that were incorrect! Tricky! Anyway, after the task was complete, teams then could run up a path to the finish line where Phil and everyone else awaited. Yes, things were about to get real exciting.
Jeremy decided to sit this challenge out, saying “Eric’s got the brains of the group.” Kind of sad, if you think about it. Apparently he was really good with flags. Yes, he’s just a regular flag hag. Meanwhile, BJ volunteered for this challenge, and as he ran into the field, Tyler called out, “I smell Phil, lurking in the shadows!” No, actually, that’s just your body odor.
Well, right off the bat, Jeric messed up their flag order by placing Germany in front of Russia. Seriously, how could they forget the order of the countries they visited? It’s one thing if we forget — we only watch them for one hour every week. But they WENT to these countries!
The Hippies had their own problems too. They couldn’t find the Russian flag, so they just skipped it and inserted the German flag in the second country spot, therefore ensuring that the order of all the following flags would be off. Guys, I hate to break it to you, but… the hammer and sickle are long gone. I know. It’s shocking. And this will blow your minds too: they tore down the Berlin Wall! Crazy, right?
Meanwhile, all my hopes for Raylonda essentially vanished as we found them still struggling in that damn park. They couldn’t find the clue for the life of them. Eventually, they found it, but whatever. They were hopeless and done. They had toyed with my dreams and left me with nothing. I felt utterly betrayed. Good riddance!
Back at the Roadblock, both teams were totally messed up. Jeric thought they had it, but alas, they had the German/Russian flags in the wrong places, and same with the Greek/Italian ones too. Just about the only thing they did have correct were the Thai and Oman flags, but in a panic, they swapped them with each other. Then they swapped the German flag for the Russian flag and the Greek flag for the Italian flag. Their order was all correct, but now their flags were wrong for Oman and Thailand. ARGH!
As for the Hippies, they quickly realized that they needed a Russian flag. But where was it? Where was it? Eventually, Tyler recognized the flag on the placard, and at that point we knew it was over — especially since Eric made matters worse by removing the correct Thai flag altogether and returning it to the field. Oh man. This was PAINFUL. THEY HAD IT! I’m sure they’ll be kicking themselves for quite some time after seeing this episode.
Anyway, BJ returned with the proper Russian flag, and once they got the okay, the two guys ran up the path to the finish line. We then cut to Phil who had his eyebrow raised and ready for action. With the other teams (including Mojo) clapping enthusiastically, BJ and Tyler ran up to the finish line where they hugged and laughed, and in the case of Tyler, cried a little. Phil then did his little speech (“Five continents, nine countries, blah blah blah”) and then anointed The Hippies the first place winners of a million dollars! Yay!
After more cheering, Phil then asked the guys for their reactions. “It’s good couple’s therapy!” BJ said. We then cut directly to Lake and Michelle. Dang nabbit if he didn’t learn a thing! YEE HAW!!!
Tyler then said what was remarkable about the race was that he looked people in the eye and asked them for help, “and we tried to give them some of our adventure energy in return.” How wonderful. I’m sure all those people really appreciated that “adventure energy.” I bet it was really useful to them… in that useless sort of way.
Arriving second were Jeremy and Eric (we didn’t even get to see them figure out the flag puzzle). The guys looked beyond deflated. Second place is always the hardest on this show, and honestly, Jeremy looked like he might cry. He kept blowing into his hands to feign heating them up, but we knew it was just his way of covering up his quivering bottom lip. Poor guy.
Jeric realizes they’ve lost while The Hippies seem to have instantly fallen in love.
With everyone assembled, Eric then took the time to dispel this whole “Frat boy” image. “We’re college dropouts, okay?” he insisted. Yeah man! But hey, at least he knows what he is and is proud of it. Why? I don’t know. But that’s a whole other issue.
Phil then asked the most curiously worded question of the day to Jeric. “Let’s talk about your partner. I mean, what’s it been like going through this race with him?” he asked. C’mon, Phil. They don’t kiss and tell.
Later, in an interview, Jeremy told us, “We’ve traveled the world, and now can decide where do we want to go next. And we’ll probably go together!” I’M SURE YOU WILL!
Lastly, Ray and Yolanda arrived at the finish line, proudly taking third place. Phil asked if there was still love between them, and she replied, “Everything’s fine!” Yes, very convincing. She did say, “I love you,” to Ray, but it was sort of jokey and insincere. We want the tears, Yo-Yo!
“You hear that, Ray? There’s love here,” Phil said. God, he really wants them to be together. He LOVES Raylonda happily ever after!
Well, Ray said that there was no other person that he’d ever want to run the race with, and soon Yolanda was tearing up. Aw, they weren’t going to break up after all! It’s an Amazing Race miracle! Yay!
Ray and Yolanda share a tender moment. They then become completely lost.
What did you think about the finale? Happy with the results?