The teams get a nighttime departure from the Pit Stop as they learn their next destination is Lijiang, China. Because of the limited availability of flights, teams have been given tickets on a mandatory (keyword there, maybe/maybe not) flight from Tokyo to Kunming, China. From there, it is up to the teams whether they take a train or a plane to Lijiang.
As teams head to Narita, Kent & Vyxsin are getting themselves lost. Probably minutes from the Pit Stop, Vyxsin starts getting emotional and upset. That’s even after promising before leaving the Pit Stop that today their motto would be PMA: Positive Mental Attitude!
It is morning and the eight other teams are already checking in to their flight, all wondering where Kent & Vyxsin are. Well, Vyxsin realizes she’s been reading the compass wrong and they’ve been driving the completely wrong direction.
The “required flight” leaves without the Goths who have to settle for an alternate flight leaving in the afternoon.
Teams arrive past 7pm in Kunming, and they begin researching whether a train or plane would get them to Lijiang faster. Ron & Christina meet a man with a laptop who finds there are trains leaving tonight at 8:50pm and 10:16pm to Lijiang.
They take it while all the other teams settle for the later train.
Kent & Vyxsin get into Kunming at 1:35am and with no train or bus options and the airport shutting down at night, they go get some rest at a hotel.
Ron & Christina arrive in Lijiang at 5:38am and being there so early, they decide to make a little food run and pick up some buns and dumplings for breakfast. Ron nom-noms through them and is very happy.
They head to Jade Dragon Mountain and find the marked shuttle bus but it leaves at 8am so they have to wait.
Meanwhile, back in Kunming, Kent & Vyxsin want to check in to their flight to Lijiang, but Vyxsin can’t find her passport. They had left it at another counter. And their bumpy leg continues.
The other teams catch up to Ron & Christina at 8am as the bus leaves for Jade Dragon Mountain while Kent & Vyxsin are still in it as they arrive in Lijiang at 8:15am.
The eight teams get to the next clue telling them to saddle up a yak and ride it across the river to get their next clue. After a peaceful ride across the river, teams now have to take a gondola up the mountain to Spruce Meadow for their next clue.
And they find the Road Block. In this Road Block, teams must search through thousands of hanging charms for the 12 that have the 12 Chinese zodiac on them. They must then hang them in the correct order according to tradition to receive their next clue.
Mallory finishes first and they leave. Teams must now take the marked shuttle buses to Old Town Lijiang where they’ll find a prayer wheel and their next clue.
As the other teams leave, Zev & Justin are left with Zev struggling. That allows Kent & Vyxsin to finally catch up. But Vyxsin’s head still seems to be shaken up from the bumpy start. Justin asks Kent what happened to them, but Kent just says they missed the flight because their car broke down. He wants to keep their cards close.
Meanwhile, back down the mountain as the teams head onto the buses, Ron & Chris instead find a marked tram. (It had a flag on it!) They hop on, but quickly realize their mistake. Suddenly, the marked buses are coming down the other way and they hurriedly get out and chase after it. The Globetrotters are the ones in the bus and they tell their driver to stop and wait. Ron & Chris get on and thank the Globetrotters, though no mention of this being repayment for taking their stuff and it seems like they’re all fine with each other which in turn renders last week’s fanny pack drama and sketchy editing a moot point.
In Old Town Lijiang, teams get the next clue telling them to write a wish on a piece of paper and putting it in a marked slot on the prayer wheel that corresponds to their own zodiac sign.
Gary & Mallory and Margie & Luke get their clues first and find the Detour. In Hammer, teams must pulverize hot candy with traditional wooden hammers until it is the right consistency. Then, they’ll take it to a cutting board and wrap them in plastic to receive their next clue. In Horn, teams head to a nearby square, pick up a large traditional horn, and lead a group of Nakhi drancers to a palace across town for their next clue.
Most everyone choose Hammer. Jaime & Cara go over to the Horn first but Jaime complains and they switch. The Globetrotters choose Horn to “lead the people.”
Back at the Road Block, Zev finally finishes which leaves Vyxsin even more upset and frazzled.She eventually finishes, but they’re still last.
The other teams finish the Detour and head to the Mat, but Phil tells them they’re still Racing.But back on the shuttle bus, Kent & Vyxsin realize they don’t have their fanny pack and TAR shows us they left it on the gondola.
They desperately ask the bus driver to turn around and…
Episode Thoughts I have to say, I’ve always been a fan of the double/super/TBC-legs. Though it makes for a confusing definition of what exactly an official leg “is,” I like when TAR challenges the Racers. Double legs push the teams, especially after they’ve just completed a grueling leg.
They’re also nice alternatives to Non-Elimination Legs, especially when the Speed Bumps, though a great concept, have been lame and/or boring. Or worse, unfair (for the non-Speed Bumped teams). There’s been talk that TAR continues cutting their budget, so doing away with the Speed Bumps was something that was talked about and the Marked for Elimination penalty returned. But these TBC-legs are better.
This episode was very interestingly edited as well. Some new tricks for TAR. A lot of use of cutting the score out for dramatic (or comical) effect. A lot of quick cuts to boost the crazy, frantic, fast-paced Race. And that downright Lost-esque new score that starts off with the strange horns or whatever they are. Definitely nice little touches of freshness.
All the tasks this episode were great and a wonderful way to highlight China.
The task with the yaks was nice and peaceful, but I would prefer crazy yaks any day. Maybe a task with the teams leading the yaks up the mountain or something. Now that’d be fun.
Really, animals, children and grandparents are all gold on The Amazing Race. Especially random ones like that little girl blowing into the horn. More please!
Finally, this might have been the funniest episode of The Amazing Race in a very, very long time. Hilariousness, mostly from Ron & Christina, but really from a lot of the other teams too. Random children, the Globetrotters almost crushing the Chinese women who have excellent reflexes by the way. All fun stuff.
Despite the casting, the season has been good so far. Let’s hope they keep it up. And the elimination order might have a lot to do with that 😉
Leg Four Itinerary Well, I guess as long as there’s a Mat, Phil, and a prize, then it’ll be considered a “leg.” Other recaps edited to reflect the confusing, but fun TAR twists. 😉
DEPARTURE Commodore Perry Monument Kurihama, Yokosuka, Japan
STOPOVER Kunming, China
DESTINATION CITY Lijiang, China
ROUTE MARKERS Jade Dragon Mountain Lijiang, China
Prayer Wheel Old Town Lijiang, China
ROAD BLOCK Spruce Meadow Lijiang, China
DETOUR Old Town Lijiang, China
PIT STOP Wangu Pavilion, Lion Hill Lijiang, China
Commodore Perry Monument Kurihama, Yokosuka, Japan
Zev & Justin 8:44pm Gary & Mallory 9:29pm Ron & Christina 9:39pm Kisha & Jen 9:50pm Flight Time & Big Easy 10:01pm Jet & Cord 10:34pm Kent & Vyxsin 11:33pm Margie & Luke 11:52pm Jaime & Cara 12:42am
Who Did the Detour? Not necissarily in order of completion
Kent & Vyxsin did arrive at the Detour yet. *Jaime & Cara swithced Detours.
Road Block Count In order of completion; Italics indicate who did this week’s Road Block
Who thinks of living a charmed life? 1 Gary Mallory2 1 Ron Christina2 1 Margie Luke2 1 Jet Cord2 2 Flight Time Big Easy1 1 Jaime Cara2 1 Kisha Jen2 1Zev Justin 2 1 Kent Vyxsin2 1MelMike1 1AmandaKris0
Order of Finish 1st Margie & Luke (+7) 2nd Jet & Cord (+4) 3rd Gary & Mallory -1) 4th Ron & Christina (-1) 5th Kisha & Jen (-1) 6th Flight Time & Big Easy (-1) 7th Jaime & Cara (+2) ? Zev & Justin (…) ? Kent & Vyxsin (…)
My Subjective Team Rankings for Leg 4
Ron & Christina – They’re definitely my bias, but you can’t help but laugh at them, at least Ron’s hilariousness this episode. Food connoisseur/hungry Ron was absolutely hilarious that it completely overshadowed that meltdown minor bump with the bus. hungryRon reminded me of him and Don snacking while their teammates were doing the Road Block in Japan. Good times. They also showed they can Race very well when they work together, so hopefully they’ll step up, but still bring the fun.
Gary & Mallory – I have no idea why they would help Margie & Luke, but that’s points off for them. Mallory could just be overly nice though, and we know she’s positive and bubbly so it could just be that. But they’re Racing well so far and they’ve got that Express Pass to fall back on. But like last season, it only takes one wrong turn to end it all. I hope they’re more careful this season. (And that’ll largely depend on whether or not Mallory can calm down.
Kisha & Jen – A quiet episode for them, but they did Race well. Nice of them to feel sorry about the “bitch” incident back in TAR14 even though it was all Luke’s fault in the first place.
Kent & Vyxsin – They wanted to have a positive leg but instead they kept digging themselves into the leg from hell. One wrong move after another, probably one of the messiest legs ever run by anyone on the Race. Losing passports (twice), misreading a compass, meltdowns… I hope they can pick it up next week. They’re lucky.
Jaime & Cara - Back to being under the radar for them this week. I guess with so many other personalities, the only way for them to stand out would be for one of Jaime’s infamous outbursts at locals. Funny they’d show their last infamous time in China. Lucky break for them this week too with the equalizer.
Zev & Justin - First of all, looks like they still have the hots for the Globetrotters since they shared their taxi. And I guess Zev can’t handle the pressure. Justin didn’t seem to help with yelling across the way either. Though they can definitely pick themselves back up next week.
Margie & Luke – Luke seems to have a problem with details, contrary to what his mother says. Him getting help from other teams in Road Blocks seems like a recurring theme with him and that doesn’t bode well for them.
Jet & Cord - Good leg for them. Being bunched up helped them stay with the pack and not make any of their stupid mistakes.
Flight Time & Big Easy – Seems like there’s no problem between them and Ron & Chris and I guess their debt is paid by having the bus wait. But why was Flight Time in a bad mood for half the leg. Seems like he wasn’t very happy after the Road Block.
Quotes from Episode 18.04 Ron: “Charmed life? If it’s eating, I’ll do it.”