Recap: The Amazing Race 26, Episode 2 – The Got the Smartest Dude
The teams spend the night in interesting accommodations before departing on a bullet train to Nagano, the next morning.
Able to catch the first train at 6:30am are Jelani & Jenny, Jeff & Jackie and Laura & Tyler. On the second train is Aly & Steve. On the third train, Harley &Jonathan, Bergen & Kurt and Rochelle & Mike. On the fourth train are Hayley & Blair and Matt & Ashley.
The first clue at Matsushiro Castle reveals the Road Block: “Who can think outside of the box?”
For this Road Block, teams must solve an intricate Japanese puzzle box known as yosegi. Once they’ve opened it, they will find a password which they must recite to the castle guard in order to receive their next clue.
And inside one of those clues is a ticket to Date Night; a special getaway for a couple to be enjoyed during the Pit Stop.
Tyler, Jelani and Jeff decide to do the Road Block.
Back in Tokyo, Libby & CJ are taking a selfie on the platform waiting for their 9:04am train. Which leaves without them. Oops. They now have to take a 9:20am train.
At the Road Block, Tyler finishes first, takes a selfie and must recite the password correctly. Jelani & Jenny are close behind. Aly & Steve arrive and she decides to so the Road Block.
Teams must now make their way to Nishi-guchi Zenko-ji. There, they find a Blind Detour; Share or Chair.
Tyler & Laura choose Share. In Share, teams head to Takesan Donabe Restaurant and will each have to feed each other a bowl of ramen noodles using only the provided chopsticks while also being blown by a fan.
Jelani & Jenny also choose Share. Tyler & Laura maintain their lead and receive their clue pointing them to the Pit Stop at Patio Daimon. But their taxi has left. Jelani & Jenny’s taxi is waiting right outside the door.
Elsewhere, Olympians Aly & Steve have chosen the other Detour and are at the M-Wave Arena. In Chair, teams must take turns sliding their partners on a chair around the speed skating oval for one lap and must finish in under 3 minutes and 55 seconds.
Aly is excited because it was in this very arena in Nagano where she decided she wanted to be a speed skater. They finish within the time and receive the next clue.
Meanwhile at the Pit Stop, Jelani & Jenny claim their 2nd win in a row. They also win a Fitbit wellness kit which includes every single thing Fitbit makes plus a personal chef and cooking classes for a year and either a one-year gym membership or a year of freshly delivered groceries.
Tyler & Laura check-in 2nd.
Back at the Road Block, Harley & Jonathan finish next and win the Date Night prize. Bergen & Kurt are next to finish followed by Matt & Ashley and then Hayley & Blair. Libby & CJ finally arrive in Nagano and Libby does the Road Block.
Across town, Jeff & Jackie have chosen Chair while Harley & Jonathan and Bergen & Kurt choose Share.
Jeff & Jackie have failed their 2nd attempt as Rochelle & Mike arrive. Jeff & Jackie get it on their 3rd attempt as Mike wipes out. On their next try, they are just seconds away from the finish line, but Mike wipes out again. This time, Rochelle gets knocked into the wall and falls on her wrist. She asks for a medic.
Meanwhile, Bergen and Kurt are arguing over noodles.
When Matt & Ashley arrive, Rochelle & Mike reluctantly decide to switch Detours to avoid getting injured any more.
Over on the Mat, Aly & Steve officially finish 3rd, Harley & Jonathan take 4th (and a Date Night), Bergen & Kurt finish 5th, Jeff & Jackie are 6th and Matt & Ashley are 7th.
Rochelle & Mike get to the noodles, Mike almost throws up, but they step on the Mat in 8th.
Hayley is struggling on the ice as Libby & CJ are eating.
But Hayley & Blair make it to the Mat in 9th which means Libby & CJ are last and eliminated.
A much more interesting Leg, but the editing felt very Amazing Race Philippines 2 and that’s not necessarily a good thing. lol But it’s alright.
Funny enough, I learned more about each team in this one-hour episode than I did in the tedious 90 minute premiere. Much better in terms of dynamics and actually meeting each team member.
The Leg design was kinda meh since the bullet trains had to separate the teams too much. It really made me think about TARPH2 because they would’ve edited this Leg like a mess. lol All the teams were at different plaes almost the entire time except that one moment with the four teams at the Road Block.
The tasks themselves were great. Those samurais were awesome. I loved that puzzle Road Block and both the noodles and skating were fun. I just wish the Leg were designed a little better to have teams side-by-side a little more. I can’t believe I actually want equalizers. But modern TAR has made them absolutely necessary to really feel exciting competition.
So we finally get introduced to the Fitbits in-show. But still no explanation as why in the world they take selfies even though Libby & CJ could’ve very well been eliminated because of them. Tsk tsk. Meh at the Date Night stuff.
Anyway, a much better Leg than the first, but just an okay episode.
My Subjective Team Rankings
Jelani & Jenny are awesome. What a great pair! Who cares if they end up together as a couple or whatever, but they’re a good team. They’re both interesting individually, but also good as a team. They definitely got some help from the Leg design, but a win is a win and they’re doing well.
Blair & Hayley are already hilarious and they haven’t even started really clashing yet. Blair is so over this even while Hayley has still been all bright and positive. It looks like that will change next Leg, so I am looking forward to seeing some fun drama.
It’s too bad about Libby & CJ. They’re one of those nice teams who aren’t really boring and fun to watch. Their trouble with directions and transportation would’ve been fun to see for a few more Legs. Even better if they were able to get all of that worked out and actually Race well. So I was actually sad to see them go.
Rochelle & Mike showed some great potential for fun this episode compared to the first. I definitely like them a lot more now, especially over the other teams. I’m rooting for them. I mean, Mike was horrible at the skating, Rochelle had to call for the medic, then Mike almost choked on noodles. They’re awesome.
Bergen & Kurt also did a lot more this episode. They’re like Blair & Hayley after they’ve realized they’re over all of this. lol Though maybe they’re not completely on each other’s nerves, there’s definitely a potential for fun disagreements. Let’s hope.
Harley & Jonathan were alright this episode. As were Tyler & Laura. I did like Aly & Steve and Aly talking about her experience in Nagano. (I finally know which team is the Olympians!) Matt & Ashley and Jackie & Jeff are just meh.
Laura: “Slurp them right up.”
Tyler: “Slurp ’em. Just slurp them.”
Bergen: “I’ll let you go under and then I’ll put it in.”
Blair: “You callin’ me fat?”
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