“Happy birthday, Jen!”
Tonight’s episode is absolutely amazing! I was literally so excited watching this episode that I was jumping around and screaming. This is what I’m talking about. This is one Amazing Race! This leg is the race to determine which teams will make it into the finale to compete for the grand million dollar prize. Let’s see who makes it!
And it’s back we go to Osaka, Japan, which Phil tells us is a gateway city and a booming metropolis. Moronald and Christina were first to arrive at the Pit Stop in Tempozan Park, so they will be the first to depart at 7:02 AM. They must travel by taxi to the building with a hole in it, or the Umeda Sky Building, and then find the Floating Garden, which is a garden observatory on the roof where the next clue is waiting. They hop into a taxi and go into their spiel that we can all recite along with them by now. Christina is proud of her dad for all of his progress, and Moronald is trying to be a better dad.
The Babies depart next and we learn that today is Jen’s birthday. No word on how old she is, but I’ll go ahead and guess that this is big birthday number three. That’s purely based on her behavior, but I think I could be right. Thank goodness she’s coming to the end of those terrible twos. In the taxi they talk about how they are going to surprise everyone like The Incredible Hulk does by metaphorically ripping their shirts off and becoming a treacherous force to be reckoned with. No, I just predict nastiness, but who can say?
Nick and Grandpa Donald are close behind and Grandpa reminds us that it has been difficult for him to keep up, but he is doing his best to please Team Leader Nick. Moronald and Christina arrive first at the Umeda Sky Building only to discover – you guessed it – the Floating Garden does not open until 10:00 AM. It’s catch-up time! The Hippies are just departing the Pit Stop as the elevators to the Floating Garden become active for the day and Moronald and Christina beat The Babies into an elevator and try to close it before The Babies can enter, but little Nate and Jen are too spry for a trick like that and the four of them have to ride up together.
“You shall never outwit us!”
Nick and Grandpa are right behind. It’s a footrace to the Floating Garden once they step out of the elevators and Nate immediately begins yelling at Jen for running out in front of him. Well, keep up, Nate! Don’t be the force that drags your team down.
Moronald and Christina reach the clue box first and their next task is to fly to Taipei, Taiwan and take a taxi to the Taipei Main Station, where the next clue awaits. When Jen reads the clue, she pronounces Taipei as “Tuh-pie.” I’m no Asian scholar, but even I have heard of Taipei and can pronounce it. Nick even says it right.
The Hippies are just setting off from the Pit Stop and they remind us that they are in for a Speed Bump on this leg since they came in last, but were not eliminated. TK vows that no matter what happens, they will not quit until they reach the Pit Stop. The three other teams are in taxis on the way to the airport, assessing the situation for this leg. The Babies are worried that The Hippies will catch right up, Moronald and Christina think that The Babies are their biggest competition, and Nick informs us that he and Grandpa have been racing like “bitches” so far. Actually, Nick, according to your Grandpa, you are the only bitch – the one who carries his stuff around for him. Nick concludes by saying that no real competitors are left, only a bunch of pansies. Sorry Nick, we can’t all be airplane pilots with no sense of direction.
Nate says that the only thing he and Jen know about Taiwan is that Thai food is pretty good. Of course, Thai food comes from Thailand, which used to be Siam, not Taiwan, which falls under the Republic of China, but whatever, same diff according to Nate. He’ll have to order some Pad Thai when he gets to “Tuh-pie.”
Meanwhile The Hippies roam all over the grounds of the Umeda Sky Building looking for the Floating Garden before TK realizes it is an observatory on the roof. But even the signs with directions to the rooftop lookout don’t convince Rachel that they should take the elevators up. She still thinks that the clue is somewhere in the gardens outside. On the roof they circle and circle, not finding the clue and actually starting to get on each other’s nerves for once. They wander right past the clue box and the frustration mounts.
At the airport Moronald and Christina buy tickets for a 1:00 PM flight to Taipei and then Christina asks the ticket to tell everyone else that the flight is full. And the ticket agent does it! She tells The Babies that Moronald and Christina are the last passengers they can accept and now they are full.
“I have outwitted you!”
Of course for The Babies, this goes over like a lead balloon, and I have to say I don’t blame them – that is dirty fighting. Although The Babies would probably do the same if given the opportunity. They immediately turn on each other. Jen can’t believe Nate is being mean to her on her birthday. Today of all days!
The Hippies locate the clue at last and TK wonders how they could have run right past it. Rachel says it is because they were freaking out. They’ve gotta stay mellow, man.
TK tries to recapture “mellow.”
Nick and Grandpa and The Babies get onto a China Air flight at 1:15 PM, only 15 minutes behind Moronald and Christina. Speaking of Team Daddy-Daughter, Christina is currently telling us that while Moronald is hesitant to play dirty, she doesn’t mind at all. Well this is a surprise! I would have guessed exactly the opposite. But even though Moronald is hesitant, he has no problem just going along and shutting up about it.
At the Taipei airport, Nick and Grandpa get right into the never-ending immigration line while The Babies decide to take their sweet time and stop to exchange their money first. Brilliant – they quickly notice the long line and start fighting. And who should pop up out of nowhere right in the middle of immigration? The Hippies! Hooray, TK and Rachel, you’ve managed to mellow out and catch up! I swear to you that Rachel does a Herkie. Okay, maybe it’s just a high kick, but it seems so out of character for her.
Go, Hippies, go!
One team is particularly unhappy to see The Hippies and that team is The Babies. They are going to have to put on protective armor for all of the fighting that is ahead of them now that The Hippies have caught up. And not only caught up, but they are actually ahead of The Babies in the immigration line. It’s on!
Moronald and Christina arrive at the Taipei main station and find the clue. Next they have to travel by high-speed rail to the town of Taichung, then travel by taxi to the town of Jiji and take a taxi to a place called Acrobatics Jeep. They take off. The other three teams are leaving the airport and hailing taxis and Jen is still saying “Tuh-pie.” She tells us that the hatred is in her blood right now for The Hippies who have had the gall to catch up to them. She even wants to rip TK’s dreadlocks out of his head. Take a Xanax, Jen. You have no one to blame but yourself and your cheating boyfriend. Everyone has the same goal.
So Moronald and Christina get on one high-speed train and the other three teams are on a later train together. When they reach Taichung, somehow The Babies fall into last place in the shuffle of getting taxis. Jen screams, “Come on, Nate-uh!” Happy birthday, Jen. Moronald and Christina arrive at Acrobatics Jeep to discover that the next clue is a Road Block. Darling Phil!
One team member has to enter a Jeep with a stunt driver who takes the Jeep up onto a platform 25 feet above the ground that rocks back and forth like a see-saw. The stunt driver maneuvers the Jeep to balance on the see-saw. Then the team member has to get into an amphibious vehicle, put on a snorkeling mask, and hold their breath while the vehicle drives underwater for about 17 seconds. Wow. Of course, being the chicken that I am, I would not even be able to watch the see-saw Jeep without puking. The underwater thing doesn’t sound as bad, but I’m sure it’s quite disorienting and probably feels much longer than 17 seconds. Basically count me out, surprise, surprise.
No, thank you.
Moronald decides to do it and gets right up in the Jeep see-saw while Christina watches. Impressive. Meanwhile Nick is in his taxi complaining that he would like to shave TK’s beard off for catching up. He says it, however with much more good humor than Jen had when wanting to tear TK’s dreadlocks out. Jen’s still having a nervous breakdown over in her taxi. Moronald manages to hold his breath underwater and he and Christina get the next clue. They must now get back on the high-speed rail, return to Taipei, and find the GK Teahouse. At the teahouse they have to order and drink a hot cup of tea and their next clue is written in Chinese on the bottom of the teacup. They jump into a taxi. I start noticing that these two really have an advantage on this leg because they are speaking their native language.
The Hippies arrive at Acrobatics Jeep and Rachel takes the challenge. Then Nate decides to do it and freaking Nick makes Grandpa Donald do it! Since only one team can go at a time, they proceed in exactly the order they arrive, which is lucky for TK and Rachel because their Speed Bump is waiting as soon as Rachel finishes.
And thank you, no.
They have to go to He-Ping, which is only a mile away, put on fire safety suits and run directly through a barrage of fireworks, apparently part of an annual Lantern Festival ritual. Then they have to be doused with water and they can continue on the race.
Both Nate and Grandpa Donald make it through the Jeep challenge, so their teams are on their way back to the high-speed rail station, but once again Moronald and Christina have gotten onto an earlier train. TK and Rachel bravely don their fire suits and tear through the explosions as quickly as possible (we get to see it in slow motion), then have buckets of water thrown on them. Run, you guys! Back to the train station! I am literally on the edge of my seat, bouncing around and clapping – this is the tensest episode ever!
The Babies are battling with a ticket agent at the train station because they want to get on the 7:36 train, but it is now 7:31, so the earliest train they can take is 8:00. They beg and plead, but the agent tells them that their system simply won’t print out tickets for the 7:36 train anymore – it’s too late. 8:00 it is! The Hippies have to go back to Acrobatics Jeep to get their clue and guess what. They make it onto the 8:00 train! I am so proud of these two tonight! When The Babies learn that The Hippies have once again caught up, all hell breaks loose in the form of “Oh my gosh-uh!” Jen starts telling us that she just doesn’t get it. Here she and Nate are working so hard and TK and Rachel just sit around slacking off and they still manage to catch up. Um, not so much, Bitter Betty. They’ve raced their butts off tonight while you’ve been fighting. Think how much energy you could save if you’d shut your trap once in a while.
Nick and Grandpa Donald get tired of listening to Jen whining so they head into the next car to visit The Hippies and tell them all the crap The Babies are talking. TK correctly points out that The Babies interpret a lack of fighting as not caring about the race. Moronald and Christina sit down at the GK Teahouse to drink their tea as the other three teams arrive at the Taipei station. Nick and Grandpa exit the train station on the opposite side from the other teams, catching a taxi on a different street. The Babies and The Hippies end up in taxis right next to each other, so The Hippies are receiving poison dagger looks from Jen during their entire ride. How dare they try and win?
As Moronald and Christina finish their tea, Phil translates their clue for us. They have to travel to the Gong Guan Night Market and locate a clown who will give them their next clue. Even the native Chinese speakers have to enlist the help of a local to decipher the word “clown.” Off they go! They quickly locate the clown and the next clue is a Detour! Phil is back.
This Detour contains the choice: Fire or Earth. In Fire, teams go to Zhongzheng Park, write good or bad luck messages on Chinese lanterns, and burn spirit money under the lanterns to make them rise with hot air to carry their messages to the spirits above. They must complete and launch 20 sky lanterns. In Earth, teams go to Youth Park to take off their shoes and walk down a 220 foot path of jagged stones, then turn around and walk back – supposedly to reduce stress. Where is a Thai massage when you need one? Oh that’s right, we’re in Taiwan, not Thailand. Not that there’s any difference.
Moronald and Christina choose Earth and grab a taxi. It looks like Nick and Grandpa Donald made a very wise choice by exiting the train station in the direction no one else used. They get to the teahouse first and start a-slurping.
“Can’t Grandpa do this for me?”
The other two teams are still riding around in their taxis – Jen screaming at her driver, and Nate joining right in. Nick and Grandpa are out of there before The Hippies even sit down to order. When Rachel gets her tea she can’t make much progress because it is so hot. Here is another challenge I would lose because I am completely thermophobic and can’t put anything even remotely hot in my mouth. What’s that you say? You want to audition with me for next season? I don’t blame you; there’s a long line forming.
The Hippies take their tea outside to finish it and get directions to the Night Market. The Babies harass some fellow tea drinkers into taking them to the market personally. Moronald and Christina are doing the barefoot stone walk and even though the stones look smooth, Christina says her feet feel like piranhas are eating them. Fun! And stress-relieving.
It’s just like a day at the spa!
They finish and get the clue telling them to go to the next Pit Stop! They have to take a taxi to Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Plaza where Phil is waiting in a jaunty red blouse.
In the taxi Moronald says he knows they are one, meaning team number one to arrive at the Pit Stop, but Christina turns it into this entire philosophical discussion meaning that they have gone from being to separate people at odds to being one strong team. Moronald just goes, “I know that we are number one.” He’s not buying the merge theory, Christina.
Nick and Grandpa find the clown and choose Earth. The Hippies find the clown and choose Earth. The Babies find the clown and choose… Earth. No fire lanterns tonight – aw. Nick and Grandpa get a taxi as do The Hippies, but The Babies let a local tell them to take the subway to Youth Park. They don’t usually have good luck when they trust locals. Remember when some Indians told them to jog to their Pit Stop and it was really like 15 miles away? Even locals who don’t know any better hate these two. Naturally, they fight all the way into the subway station and onto the train. When they come out of the subway, they literally take time out from the race to stand on a street corner and argue for a full five minutes over whether it will be faster to take a cab or a bus. The argument quickly turns into screaming at each other’s word choice and then how much they can’t stand each other. Jen yells, “I’m not freaking out-uh!” No never, Jen. Nate tells her she’s a poor teammate and she thanks him for ruining her birthday. Today of all days!
Words of love…
Moronald and Christina make it to the Memorial Plaza and as they jog up to Phil they exchange “I love you’s,” how tender. Aw, tonight we have our prettiest greeter ever! It’s a beautiful girl in a traditional purple dress. Thank you, CBS!
They saved the best for second-to-last.
For coming in first, Moronald and Christina get to race in the finale, and they also win a five day trip to an island called Curacao in the Nether Antilles – from Travelocity. Moronald waxes sentimental about being with his daughter and becoming a better person and Christina is again so proud of him.
Nick and Grandpa have made it to the stone walk, and The Hippies catch up to them and pass them up by running along the path in their bare feet. You get the feeling they have gone barefoot before. There are several painful screams. Both teams finish and scamper off to get taxis. The Babies scream their way through the stone walk also and get a taxi. So now it’s a race between the three remaining teams to see whose taxi can get them to the right place first.
And The Hippies come in second! They have really outdone themselves this time. I am so impressed with how they overcame everything that at this moment I think I want them to take it all. Excellent work, little dirty ones! Rachel offers a little dig to Jen, saying, “Anybody who says we didn’t try or we got lucky or whatever, we’ve been trying our very hardest ALL DAY!” Yeah! Take that, Jen! And shut up about it.
So now it’s down to these last two teams and naturally we are unclear as to who is in the lead right down to the last second. It’s Nick and Grandpa! Hooray!!!! The Babies are out! Too bad, meanies! When Phil gives them the bad news, Nate goes, “Oh, fudge!” That’s right Nate – you are fudged. Jen claims that this has been a growing experience for them, but I don’t buy it. I haven’t seen one hint of improvement from either of them. They conclude that they killed their own relationship by fighting so much and that they weren’t strong enough to heal themselves and win. They both stand there in the dark crying with Nate saying, “Darn it!” Thank you for considering the FCC and their language censors on this, your shameful elimination. Now get the fudge out of Tuh-pie.
“Gee wilikers, this stinks-uh!”
Next week is the finale! I see crabs, I see Nick getting into trouble with Grandpa, I see ice climbing, and I see LOTS of running. Who will get the million dollars? Split evenly of course, and then taxed. Which two will get 250,000 each?? Join me next week to find out!
So how did you guys like tonight’s exciting episode? Anyone sad to see The Babies go?
Thanks for reading-uh!