Recap: The Amazing Race 23, Episodes 11 & 12 (Season Finale) – "Thanks for not helping me!"

Recap: The Amazing Race 23, Episodes 11 & 12 – Amazing “Crazy” Race


The penultimate Leg begins as teams are told to fly to Tokyo. At the travel agency, Jason & Amy and Travis & Nicole try to make a pact with Tim & Marie that they will work together this Leg to ensure Leo & Jamal get eliminated and they are the final three.

All four teams book tickets that get them into Tokyo via Singapore and Bangkok at 6:20am. But at the Bandung airport, Leo & Jamal manage to find a flight via Hong Kong from Singapore that gets them in at 6:10am. At Singapore, they confirm their seats and are on the first plane into Japan, leaving the other teams wondering where they are.


Leo & Jamal touchdown in Tokyo and must now head to Gotokuji Temple and find the next clue waiting next to the lucky waving cats. The 2nd flight arrives only 5 minutes later.

The three teams get outside the airport where there’s only two taxis available. None of the taxi drivers know where the Temple is and neither Jason & Amy nor Nicole & Travis (who have the two taxis) have the address. But Marie does and was willing to share the info with them if someone got her the 3rd taxi. She doesn’t take too kindly to the couples ready to speed outta there without them.

The couples decide to hop in their taxis then, but their drivers don’t leave until the 3rd taxi (for Tim & Marie) arrives.

Leo & Jamal speak with racist Japanese accents to tell their taxi driver to back up to the Temple. They find the clue and the Detour.


The TAR Editors decide to hold off on describing the Detour choices, but Phil teases it’s between becoming a human bowling ball or making an underwater phone call.

The three teams get to the Temple. Jason & Amy and Tim & Marie choose one Detour and Nicole & Travis choose the other, but all three taxis refuse to separate and have no idea where to go.


Leo & Jamal get to Tokyo Media City and Phil finally explains this Detour choice.
In Knock it Down, teams will participate in a wacky Japanese game show version of human bowling. After dressing up, teams will slide down on an inner tube to try and knock down all the bowling pins and score a strike.
Later, Phil describes the other choice, Call It Up where teams put on speedos and submerge themselves into an art installation using a phone booth filled with water and goldfish. They will make a call then run to their partner with the message given by the other end of the call: “Welcome to Tokyo. Wasabi taberu.”

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The three teams get to Kinuta Park where Call It Up is located. Jason & Amy and Nicole & Travis run to get info on where the Detour location is within the park. They then walk slowly thinking they should not tip off Tim & Marie who stand waiting by the taxis.

Marie decides they should ask a local where Tokyo Media City is and they decide to go there instead. The couples decide to finally run to the Detour and Amy and Travis strip down and get wet.

Meanwhile, Leo & Jamal take a couple of tries, but they finally knock down all their pins. The game show host happily hands them the next clue pointing them to Shinjuku Central Park. Before leaving, they decide to fold up their clothes to make it seem like they haven’t been there yet.


Jason & Amy and Nicole & Travis finish the Detour and head off.

Back at the game show, our game show master asks Tim & Marie about their relationship and they say they’re broken up. “Oh, it is American love story!” “No, it’s American horror story!”


They take a couple of tries before Marie launches Tim down the slide and into a strike.

At Shinjuku, Leo & Jamal find their Speed Bump.


For this Speed Bump, they must join other zookeepers in a training exercise where they must capture an escaped rhino. After they’ve caught and loaded the “rhino” onto the truck, they can continue on.


While Leo & Jamal get started, Jason & Amy and Nicole & Travis arrive nearby and find the Road Block.

In this Road Block, teams must piece together a big robot by using a small model for reference.

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Nicole and Amy decide to do the Road Block together, thinking it’ll be faster. Leo & Jamal finish the Speed Bump and walk over. It’s Leo’s Road Block and he gets started.

Tim & Marie arrive and Marie’s up for Road Block #6 too. She doesn’t know where the example is and asks Amy and Nicole who ignore her. Leo points her to the small model.

Jason and Travis are frustrated their women suck, apparently, since they think they’d be done and gone by now if they were doing it. Leo & Jamal think it’s embarrassing as well. But Marie is on her own and quickly catching up.


Leo thinks he’s done and asks the engineer to check, but she waves her finger and says no. He doesn’t know the tube for the robot’s body is backwards. The engineer says no to Nicole and Amy as well who have their body parts switched. Leo asks for another check, still wrong. Nicole asks for a check, wrong also.


Marie finishes her robot and the engineer gives her the thumbs up.

“Alliance this.”

Teams must now find a roaming Amazing Race vending machine at Shibuya Crossing.

“Thanks for not helping me guys!”

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After another thumbs down from the engineer, Amy heads back to the model and realizes she and Nicole have to dismantle their robots and start over again. But Leo still doesn’t know what his mistake is.

Amy finishes her robot first and gets the clue. She goes back to help Nicole who is struggling to fit the pieces together by herself.

Meanwhile, Tim & Marie find the vending machine that dispenses the next clue directing them to make their way on foot to the Pit Stop at Konno Hachimangu Shrine.


At the Road Block, Leo finally figures out his mistake as Amy says goodbye to Nicole. Jason is not happy about her helping Nicole again. They find the vending machine and head to the Pit Stop as well.

Tim & Marie step on the Mat to officially check-in as Team #1, win a trip to Aruba and secure their spot in the top 3. Jason & Amy come up behind them to finish in 2nd.

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Travis grows increasingly upset as Nicole finally gets the next clue. He vents his frustration at her being weak and sad on their way to the Pit Stop. They stay ahead of Leo & Jamal and secure their spot in the final Leg as well. The final three teams celebrate together on the Mat.

Later, Leo & Jamal finally check-in and Phil officially ends their Race.


On to the Final Leg as teams learn their final destination is Juneau, Alaska. They are all on the same Race-provided flight from Tokyo and it’s every team for themselves now.


It is a scramble for taxis at the Juneau Airport as teams must make their way to Douglas Island Harbor to hop on a boat to take them to Grizzly Bar for their next clue. The teams all stick close together anyway as they speed across the water to their next clue, the Road Block.


In this Road Block, teams must hop into a bush plane and drop a flour bag onto a target at least 150 feet below.

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All three women decide to do the Road Block.

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Amy gets it on her 2nd attempt and she and Jason open the next clue telling them to choose a helicopter which will take them to the Norris Glacier where they will join an ice expedition by crossing a deep crevice and squeezing though an ice tunnel to an ice wall where they’d have to chip away at frozen clues.


As Jason & Amy start descending and ascending the crevice in the glacier, Marie finally hits the target on her 12th attempt. Marie is frustrated.

But that doesn’t match Travis’ frustration when it rears its ugly head again as Nicole fails attempt after attempt until finally hitting the target on attempt #21.


On the helicopter ride, Travis has NOTHING to say to his wife.

Jason & Amy get to the ice wall and start digging out the clues. They get a couple with “Try Again” printed on them before finding the one telling them to take a tandem kayak to a marked island.

Tim & Marie are still in 2nd and back at the crevice, Nicole continues her struggles. She drops one of her ice axes and has to use only one to pull herself up the ice wall.


Out in front, Jason & Amy paddle to the marked island and get the next clue telling them to fly back to Juneau on the helicopter, then make their way to Blueberry Hills Trailhead for the next clue.

Tim & Marie and Travis & Nicole are running behind, but manage to catch up at the final task of the Race.


For this final memory task, teams must build a wall of totem poles that spell out the currencies of the ten countries they’ve visited on the Race using the provided pieces and put them in chronological order.


All three teams are here, but Jason & Amy stay in the lead and open the next clue telling them to hurry to the Finish Line at the end of the North Douglas Highway.

Tim & Marie are next while Travis thinks he’s doing this Race by himself. “This is crazy.”


Phil and the teams are waiting at the Finish Line and in run Jason & Amy who are officially declared the winners of The Amazing Race 23.


Tim & Marie check-in as Team #2 and Marie explains she made Tim sign a contract that they’d split the winnings 60/40. Also, she only picked Tim to Race with since he was next to her the day she found out the deadline for applications was that very day.

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Nicole & Travis finish as Team #3 and they both say they hope they’ve been great examples for their children and that they made them proud.

As the teams congratulate each other in the rain and Leo & Jamal put their arms around their Race wifeys, Brandon & Adam hope they get a chance to Race again.

Oh, do they think there’s an All-Stars-type season in the future or something?


Episode Thoughts
Well, let’s put the joke that an “All-Stars” season is coming up aside for now. We have two months to worry about that.

But this was a pretty solid finale.

First, the Japanese Leg was very fun. TAR must always have a game show task with our favorite Japanese game show host whenever they go to the country. It was awesome seeing him again too after TAR15 and TAR20’s memorable tasks.

The underwater phone call was kinda lame compared to the game show. But that Road Block was excellent. The attention to details tasks are great mental tasks, but this Road Block was also very physical. And that provided the amazing scenes of Amy and Nicole’s bumbling around, Marie’s domination and Leo & Jamal’s doom.

The Speed Bump was ridiculous, but fun at least. When was the last awesome Speed Bump anyway? At least this one was fun.

And hello TAR15 Pit Stop!

It was great to see a Final Leg in Alaska again. It reduces the need for taxis, but on the flipside, it also creates a linear Leg with the provided modes of transportation too.

This Road Block was a modified version of a Road Block from The Amazing Race Philippines where teams had to drop a flour bomb onto a target and score 5 points. This version of that Road Block seems a little harder since they were flying higher up and they needed to hit the middle of the target. Though the TARPh task had the added detail that they need to score 5 points and the outer bands of the target were only 1 or 2 points which forced many teams to do repeat trips.

The Road Block ended with Dani (of Dani & Mish) not scoring a single point and being forced to take a 4-hour penalty.

Definitely not possible here, but Nicole & Travis might as well have been given a DNF for the Road Block with how long Nicole took. That was insane.

The next tasks were very physical and did great showing off the ice-covered tundra and awesomeness of glaciers and ice tunnels. But after the excitement of the Road Block, the ice traveling almost seemed like a buzz kill. Still breathtaking to watch, but not so much action. Even with Nicole continuing her clumsy run to the Finish Line.

The final memory task was awesome, but they really didn’t spend too much time on it and there was zero drama of a team struggling with it. It sucks that they did spend so much time with the airplane and ice expedition that the final memory task, which was much better than many of the more recent final tasks, was an afterthought.

Overall it was a solid finale, Race-wise. But I wasn’t all that excited since I had no investment in who won or lost, other than wishing Leo & Jamal wouldn’t win.

The Teams
in subjective order

Like I said, this was the first season in 23 that I didn’t have a team I was rooting for. While it wasn’t as bad a final 3 as TARPh1’s (and boy, was that horrible), I just didn’t love any of ’em enough to really be that into the outcome of the Race.

Still, if I had to root for anyone, surprisingly Tim & Marie would’ve been that team. Marie was amazing at the Road Block in Tokyo. Seeing Amy and Nicole fumble around was embarrassing and I definitely cannot root for the Assghanimals. So by default, it was Tim & Marie, but Marie really proved herself at that Road Block.

Jason & Amy calling themselves one of the best teams evah was so horrible. Are you serious? I liked them okay until that moment. No, you are certainly not one of the best teams just because you finished 2nd all the time.
Nicole & Travis‘s implosion these last few Legs has been difficult to watch. WTF happened to them? Yeah Nicole pretty much dropped the ball every week, but Travis needed to calm himself down and try to avoid being an ass to his wife. Setting an example for their kids? Yikes.

And these two couples definitely deserve to be laughed at in Tokyo. Proposing an alliance with Tim & Marie and then dropping them at the snap of the fingers, yeah, honorable Racers you are.

And finally Leo & Jamal. If only we didn’t have to hear their hollering any more on the Race, but… well… The only consolation, they didn’t make into the final 3 this season.

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