EPISODE 12-10: SORRY, GUYS, I’M NOT HAPPY TO SEE YOU
The penultimate leg of the 12th season of The Amazing Race begins as 1st place Ronald & Christina get their $374 and read their clue, telling them to “Travel by taxi to the building with a hole in it. Then find the Floating Garden.”
The building is the Umeda Sky Building, and The Floating Garden is an observatory at the top, which is where they have to search for their next clue.
Nathan & Jennifer (who is having a birthday) and Nicolas & Donald arrive and unluckily for them, they all learn the observatory doesn’t open until 10:00AM. Luckily for TK & Rachel, their three hour deficit is almost erased.
Once they finally are able to get to the top, they find out their next destination is Taipei, Taiwan. Once there, they will taxi their way to Taipei Main Station for their next clue.
18 minutes later, TK & Rachel leave the mat, as the rest of the teams head to the airport. Rachel doubts TK about going up into the building and once they are up there, they walk right past the clue.
At the airport, Ron & Chris get the last tickets on a 1:00pm flight on Eva Air and Chris tells the ticket agent to tell other teams the flight is full. That leaves Nate & Jen to take a 1:15pm China Air flight with Nick & Don.
Ron & Chris arrive at 2:51pm with the 2nd flight arriving at 3:05pm. While Nick & Don are waiting in the Immigration line and Nate & Jen exchange money, TK & Rachel high kick into the picture and it’s a three-way Race.
With their next clue, teams must now take a high speed train to Taichung and the town of Jiji and find Acrobatics Jeep for their next clue.
There, Ron & Chris find the Road Block, “Who’s ready to go for a tricky ride?” In this Road Block, they must become a passenger in a car, driven by a professional stunt driver, that will rock back and forth on a teeter-totter. Then they will hold their breath for 17 seconds as they ride in a jeep underwater. “If they are still alive when it’s over,” Phil says, they can get their next clue.
Ron finishes the Road Block and gets the clue telling them to take the train back to Taipei and head to the GK Teahouse where they will have to order a cup of tea, which they will have to drink to reveal their next clue at the bottom.
Ron & Chris head to the train station and make the 7:16pm train while the other teams all arrive at the Road Block, which Rachel, Nathan, and Don complete.
However, TK & Rachel find the Speed Bump. In this Speed Bump,TK & Rachel have to travel 1 mile and complete a traditional Chinese ritual where they must put on safety suits and run through a barrage of firecrackers aimed directly at them. Then they will be doused with water and then return to Acrobatics Jeep for their next clue.
Nate & Jen and Nick & Don are not able to buy tickets for the 7:36pm train, so they have to take the 8:00pm train which TK & Rachel make.
Back in Taipei, Ron & Chris head to the teahouse and get their next clue which is at the bottom of the cup and written in Chinese. The clue tells them to head to Gong Guan Night Market where a clown will give them their next clue.
The clown’s clue tells them about their Detour, Fire or Earth. In Fire, teams must write messages of luck, good or bad, on laterns, burn spirit money under them, which will fill them with hot air and lift them to the spirits above. After making 20 of them fly up into the sky, they will get their next clue. In Earth, teams walk down and back a 224 foot path of jagged stones, which, according to tradition, reduces stress. Afterwards, they get their next clue.
Ron & Chris do Earth as the other teams arrive at the teahouse. Nick & Don finish their tea first, while TK & Rachel take theirs to go and Nate & Jen find a friend in the teahouse.
After finishing the Road Block, Ron & Chris head to the Pit Stop, Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Plaza, where they place 1st for the second leg in a row.
The three teams decide on Earth. A local tells Nate & Jen it’s better to take the subway and then a bus instead of a taxi, which Nate doubts but Jen is insistent on.
TK & Rachel flow their way to 2nd place and Nick & Don take the final spot in the Race to the finish line.
Nate & Jen end the leg in tears as their quest to be 1st is over.
The Teams TK & Rachel overcome their three hour deficit with nothing they did on their own, and complete an easy, quick Speed Bump. Just saying. I am not against nice teams. It’s great that they are nice to each other and mostly nice (when not standing on a moral pedestal being judgmental ) to the other teams, but they just aren’t good Racers; with wealth of very simple mistakes all along the way, all with an unexcited and unenthused demeanor as they travel the world. I would definitely be less than thrilled if they win. It would be an unfulfilling end to what has been one of the better seasons of TAR for me.
Nathan & Jennifer ‘s intensity got the better of them. I think the comparison to TAR9’s MoJo is definitely fitting now that they finish 4th. At the beginning, I did see them as the 2nd coming of Monica & Joseph (who are happily married now! Congrats!), a team that explodes under pressure but still loves each other. However, Nate & Jen were definitely more explosive since MoJo’s blow ups were more concentrated on the situation at hand than with each other. One thing to commend Nate & Jen on however, is their drive and determination to place 1st and they’ve done very well with their own physical (and sometimes mental) strengths. I think they could’ve definitely done better if they calmed down (not becoming monotones though), but it just wasn’t meant to be.
Meanwhile, for all of their predecessors, it is justice as the first parent/child and grandparent/child two-person teams ever to reach the final leg Ronald & Christina and Nicolas & Donald went from underdogs to contenders, despite what Nick said about playing like bitches and pansies.
Nicolas & Donald have overcome a lot, and have fought not only obstacles in the Race, but their own speed bumps as both have experienced fatigue on the Race, while Nick literally carries their team forward. What he doesn’t contribute physically, Don makes up for it in other ways, which is definitely one of the reasons why there are racing for the million. The right amount of teamwork, having fun along the way, and a growing determination to make it to the end all make them a worthy final 3 team.
And Ronald & Christina who not only had to overcome their own physical setbacks (hernias aren’t pretty), they had their relationship to work on. As Ron grew to realize his outbursts, especially with his daughter, weren’t helping their team, he changed course and they finished 1st two times in a row. Like Nick & Don, teamwork, enjoying the Race, and the drive to finish 1st got them past the other teams to enable them to Race to the finish line. It is great to see family teams make it far, and I hope Ron & Chris (and Nick & Don) take it all the way.
Overall I’ll have to say that non-eliminations have both their pluses and minuses. Yes, it might save a team that had bad luck in a leg or save your favorites, but it definitely does not help the other teams who weren’t last. Especially because equalizers, whether they be Hours of Operation or a pesky flight, will always be in the next leg. And you never know when you’ll be leaving the Pit Stop in the middle of the night or perfectly in daylight.
And the only danger with Speed Bumps is that some may be quicker and simpler than others…
Regardless, it was a great Road Block, a great Detour, and the tasks throughout the leg (except for the waiting 3 hours instead of being handed a clue telling them going to Taiwan) were a nice way for the teams to get around and experience Taipei.
Next week is the finale! Let’s hope TAR13 comes sooner rather than later!
QUOTES FROM EPISODE 12-10 Nathan: “We’re like the Incredible Hulk. All of a sudden we’re just gonna explode and tear our shirts off and just, everyone’s like ‘Woah!’and like ‘Watch out for Jen & Nate’.”
Nicolas: “On this leg of the Race, we’re going to be aggressive, we’ve been playing the game like bitches so far, and so has everyone else. No competitors are left. It’s a bunch of pansies in the game.”
(Christina: “I think my dad and I are a smarter team than Nate & Jen and Nick & Don.”) Nathan: “Jen and I know absolutely nothing about Taiwan, except… we think Thai food is pretty good.” (Ronald: “No, they’re… these guys are smart.”) Jennifer: “We’re going in there cold-blinded.” Nathan: “I have a couple of Thai friends.”
Jennifer: “Holy schnikeys!”
Jennifer: “I wanna rip those dreads out of his head.”
Nicolas: “I’m pretty disappointed that TK & Rachel made up all this time, I really want to shave his beard off.”
Ronald: “I think my callus feet over those stones helped a lot.”
Donald: “We started out on the idea, gee, let’s not be the first team eliminated because our family’s gonna watch this, we’re going to look like a couple of schmucks, you know.”
Phil: “You are the last team to arrive” Nate: “Ffffudge.”