Okay, so you may be wondering why there are two official summaries. Estee explains in the Spoiler forum, Summary thread. But, lucky you! Two views this week!
The Amazing Race 12 - Official Summary Episode 9: They Could Be Doing Something Stupid Right Now
Be warned: Not every aspect of the show is reported accurately. Artistic license is a terrible thing to waste.
Previously on The Amazing Race: Huckabee and Obama claim victory in Iowa! McCain and Clinton win in New Hampshire! Oh wait, wrong race. Start again please.
Previously on The Amazing Race:
Gothy Kynt and Vyxsin were saved!
And tho’ victory was all they craved,
After Speedbump and Detour choice,
They U-Turned the wrong boys
And the road to Sequesterville was paved.
(Dajaki’s feeling poetic, so don‘t be surprised by the occasional verse)
Let’s get this party started. Well, maybe not “party” as this episode has as much excitement as a Japanese Tea Ceremony. How ‘bout if I spice it up a little (see warning above). Phil, in a sexy Jack Sparrow costume, paces the ramparts of Bandra Fort, a 500 year old stronghold built to protect the harbor of Mumbai, India from pirates. He explains that this was the 8th pit stop for our intrepid travelers in a race around the world. Questions to ponder this episode: Will TK and Rachel stay calm and thus propel themselves to another 1st place finish? Will Don keep pace with his young, fit, mouth-breathing grandson and be able to make it to the next pit stop at all? Will Ron manage to control his irrational temper or will Christina commit patricide somewhere in Indian airspace? Will Nathan and Jennifer get beaten with a stick by their camera and sound guys?
The first team to leave the Pit Stop is TK and Rachel at 1:25 a.m. They are given $144 and the following clue:
It’s time to manage the airport hassle
And get your arses to Kishiwara Castle.
That’s in Osaka, Joe.
Just avoid Phil as Sumo;
You know he wants to wrastle.
Rachel hogs the private confessional airtime and splays out her angst for all to hear, agonizing over her inability to trust herself and her emotions. Fortunately, TK came into her life, and like all good cult leaders, taught her to eschew fear, embrace life, and finance his outrageous lifestyle. They decide to check out a nearby hotel, staffed by bleary-eyed guys dressed in Friday casual, to find flights on-line.
At 1:30 a.m., Nick and Don are ready to head out into the cruel, cruel world. Nick relates that it’s a big responsibility to be the leader of the team. He asked Jennifer and she told him so. Don, who is OLD, thinks he’s doing pretty well for being OLD, but realizes that he can’t keep up with Nick because he’s OLD. Dude fixates on his age. And now he also fixates on Destination: Japan. Apparently, he’s wanted to go there since his days in the service. That was 50 years ago. Does that make him OLD?
Ron and Christina, who are seeking to make this race The Amazing Journey of Change, head out at 1:44 a.m., which puts them in the ideal position to bunch with other teams at an airport. Christina reveals that she spent 6 months in Japan, learning to speak Japanese. I’m not too sure that Japanese can be learned in 6 months. Call me crazy, but I’m betting that all she had time to learn was “Please“, “Thank you“ and “Where is the bathroom?” They do head off for a travel agency with high hopes of great flights and no fights.
At 2:38 a.m., my favorite team in the history of The Amazing Race leaves the Pit Stop. Okay, so I may have exaggerated a bit. Nate and Jen are actually forced out of the PS, while in the midst of an argument about absolutely nothing at all, by production officials in riot gear. Once safely past the fortress’s gate, they do shout back to the exhausted cameraman that they are going to pull together as a team and stop fighting, at least for the duration of the cab ride to the airport. It is during the cab ride that Nate relates his peculiar Amazing Race fantasy. He pictures himself in a footrace to the finish line and throws his backpack at the feet of the competition, sending them sprawling and him sailing to $1 million and the waiting arms of the LA Clippers Che- . . . No, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders! Nate’s fantasies are no longer slumming. Jen’s only fantasy is to take 1st place in anything, anything at all.
It’s flight time, and all the teams are securing transport to Osaka. TK and Rachel have purchased tickets that take them through layovers in New Delhi and Beijing. Their flight leaves at 6:55 p.m. That’s 17 hours after they leave the Pit Stop. Normally, teams tend to buy tickets, then double check at the airport for fastest flights arriving at their destination. TK and Rachel don’t do that. Gee, I wonder what’s going to happen. I’m especially curious when I realize that no mention of arrival time for either set of flights is revealed. Clever producing, Bruckheimer, very clever.
Meanwhile, Ron and Christina arrive at the Mumbai airport. They’re lucky enough to be dropped off miles from their ticketing counter. Ron is delighted that he and his hernia get a morning jog, and Christina is delighted that a Father/Daughter Mini-Marathon is the next task. Okay, you know that’s a lie. Ron harps like an old fishwife and Christina begs him to shut the heck up and expend his energy in a productive manner.
Once all the remaining teams congregate in departures, there is much speculation about TK and Rachel. Nate assures the others that TK’s dreads affect his brainpower and Rachel is a raisin short of a granola bar. Therefore, they can’t possibly be getting a lead and are, in all likelihood, doing something stupid right now. Jen pipes up, “Like I am. Coming on a stressful race with a cheating boyfriend to see if our dysfunctional relationship will make it or not.”
Meanwhile, TK and Rachel land in New Delhi and we get the first of a series of quotes about not knowing where they are; maybe first, maybe last, maybe in another dimension. And sure enough, they are. We won’t be seeing them for awhile. At 2:30 p.m., the other teams arrive in Osaka with nary a dreadlock to be found. Nate and Jen rush out of the airport (Yea! Jen is in 1st place!) and collect a cooperative cabbie. Don, who is making full use of his beast-of-burden grandson (even to the point of describing Nick as “my b***h“), revels in being OLD. Ron, who is also OLD and somewhat forgetful, is still wondering about the hippies when Christina cuts him off. “Dad, just drop it. That subject was over hours ago. We’ve since discussed religion, politics, Japanese cuisine and whether or not Jen will be cast as “Naughty teacher” in High School Musical 3.” Christina also states that Jen and Nate think they can beat her and Ron and Grampa (assuming Grampa is Don, not Nick), but little do they know . . . What do they not know? Is Christina a pharmaceutical supplier to certain MLB players and she brought her own stash? Is Ron really the speedy Japanese superhero Silver Samurai Super-Ghost? Did Ron and Christina set up a little Roadblock for Nate involving Geishas and a seaweed wrap? Is the race rigged to finally let a senior citizen win?
Nate and Jen arrive at Kishiwara Castle to search the grounds for a clue box. After swimming the moat, scaling the walls, terrifying some camera-clicking tourists and defeating Mothra, they find the box about 10 feet from where their cabbie is patiently waiting. They take out the clue (Yea! Jen is in 1st place!) which reads:
Make your way to Noda station.
There is no time for hesitation.
The cleaning man will give you
Your yellow-wrapped next clue.
Be prepared for disorientation.
As Nate and Jen leave the castle, Ron and Christina arrive. To be helpful, Jen tells them that though the clue says “search the grounds”, they really have to climb to the tallest tower in the castle. Aw, ain’t that nice. Meanwhile, Nick and Don, who are still en route to the clue, are speculating over whether or not Ron and Christina speak Japanese. Don figures that since Christina goes to a high-falutin’ college, then she must speak Japanese. Princeton. Christina apparently goes to Princeton. Now I don’t know much about Princeton (aside from the fact that Mathey College, or is it Hall?, is named after my 1st cousin, twice removed), but I’m pretty sure that Japanese isn’t a core class required for graduation.
Christina and Ron finally find the clue, spot Nick and Don and tell them the helpful hint about climbing to the top of the castle, but add the requirement that Nick and Don run the stairs twice as is customary in Japan. Nick and Don believe them (After all, Christina’s the expert on all things Japanese.) and end up back in the cab, seriously dehydrated.
It’s about this time that heavy foreshadowing rears its enormous head. Nate and Jen and Ron and Christina, both teams in cabs on the way to Noda station, talk about how difficult it is to drive in Osaka. There are no signs in English, cabbies rely on GPS and all the one-way streets make navigation next to impossible. At this point, does anyone not know what the next task will involve. Anyone? Nate and Jen are the first to find the planted cleaning man (Yea! Jen is in 1st place!) who hands them their clue:
One of you will be hired as a hack
To maneuver the streets of Osaka, Jack.
This Roadblock tests driving skill.
For Buddha’s sake try not to kill
The frightened passengers in the back.
Jen is up to do any Roadblock, and Nate is up for Jen do to any Roadblock that promises she may get lost in a foreign city. She dons hat and gloves like an Osaka chauffeur and gets her destination, which just so happens to be written in Japanese. Translation: Post Office. Too bad she didn’t go to Princeton, because she has to abandon her passengers and seek help from passers-by. Christina also chooses the Roadblock, then her jaw drops nearly as low as Nick’s when she realizes she has to drive. This Roadblock was more than a little boring, so let me zip through the rest of it in verse:
Jen drives competently, Christina does not
Nick turns on A/C when his passengers get hot
Don and Ron share snacks and water while they wait
“Jen should drive as fast as that other girl,” says Nate.
Around in multiple circles each “chauffer” must drive.
The locals get to the post office - All survive!
Jen rambles in (Yea! Jen is in 1st place!)
Followed by Christina at a slower pace
Nick continues circling, “I am lost, I fear!”
It’s okay - TK and Rachel still aren’t here.
All teams get their next clue which directs them to Kita-Mido Temple, a 16th Century Buddhist site in the middle of Osaka’s Temple District. After mistakenly making appearances at Temple Beth Israel (across the street), Temple University’s Osaka Campus (next door) and the tiny Last Vestige of the People’s Temple (squeezed between the Mormon Temple and Temple Tandoori Take-out), Nate and Jen barely beat out Ron and Christina to the clue box (Yea! Jen is in 1st place!). Along the way, Nate and Jen have a mini-argument about . . . well . . . nothing and Ron and Christina’s cabbie suffers an asthma attack. Oh, and I almost forgot, TK and Rachel land in Osaka. It’s about damn time. And the clue reads:
In tween-speak, “Got Detours much?”
Choose Sense of Smell or Sense of Touch.
However, please don’t forget,
Phil you cannot sniff or pet.
He doesn’t like it very much.
In Sense of Smell, teams travel to an artificial flower shop and using only their noses, sniff out the real blossom. In Sense of Touch, teams travel to a geek’s paradise and use cell phones to manipulate soccer playing robots so that each team member scores 1 GOOOOOOOOAL!
Jen and Nate choose Sense of Smell since she has the “nose of a frickin’ bloodhound” (her words, not mine). Ron and Christina choose the same detour and the race is on to the mall containing the flower shop. Jen of the highly functioning olfactory, proves that her opti-factory may be off-line when she mows over a bicyclist in her sprint to the mall. But, despite taking time to get stitches, formally apologize to the bicyclist and the Japanese people, and work through an insurance nightmare, she and Nate still beat Christina, Ron and the hernia to the flower shop (Yea! Jen is in 1st place!). Nate is dismayed by the size of the flower shop, calling it huge, gi-normous and really big (the guy’s a walking thesaurus), but in reality, the shop (store, market, boutique - I’m a sitting thesaurus) is all of 10 feet wide, 30 feet deep and 2 stories tall. When Ron and Christina arrive, they notice Nate and Jen huffing odors like they did in high school and proceed to the 2nd floor. After Christina holds a tissue to her dad’s nose like I do with my 3 year old, they systematically divide the task and get to sniffing.
Meanwhile, back at the station, Nick finally arrives to find Don softly crying by the escalators. Turns out the OLD guy needed some time to emotionally connect with his younger self who had always dreamed of being all but abandoned in a Japanese bus station. So touching. And speaking of touching, Nick and Don grab hands and skip to the Kita-Mido Temple where they choose Sense of Touch. Don’s nose is still stuffy from his emotional outburst and Nick doesn’t think that he (Nick) would be able to identify a real flower “because that stuff’s for sissies, not manly airplane pilots like myself.” (His words, not mine) Personally, I think he can’t I.D. real flowers because he’s never been in a position to choose some for a girlfriend, seeing as how all of his girlfriends have been imaginary.
As Nick and Don make their way to their Detour site, Nate and Jen continue to sniff fake flowers in between short bursts of their ongoing fight. The latest salvo from Nate: “Shut up! All I hear you doing is talking!” Ron and Christina silently mock Nate and Jen until the latter couple heads upstairs hoping that increased altitude will heighten their sense of smell. In the meantime, Nick and Don arrive at the soccer site and choose a table. They are given cell phones, a chart diagramming the moves that the phone’s buttons make and are unceremoniously given the order to play. It takes Nick and his pilot-y prowess a short while to figure out how to maneuver around his opponents and score a goal. Don, meanwhile, is still OLD and a little arthritic, two factors that seriously impede his attempts at anything involving tiny buttons and fast reflexes. While Don struggles, TK and Rachel are heading to Kishiwara Castle. Can they possibly catch up to the pack? Editing tells me they can, but editing can be misleading.
Jen, who is feeling lightheaded, hallucinates that Nate is making it with groupies in a Pink Floyd video. She grabs a handful of bouquets and starts beating him about the face and neck. As he defends himself, the smell of genuine blossoms snap Jen out of it and she runs to the shopkeeper with the mangled remains. She hands Jen the clue (Yea! Jen is in 1st place!) which reads:
Race now to Park Tempozan
Get there as fast as you can
It’s Pit Stop #9
You’ll find it just fine
Because it’s on top of a mount-an.
In her excitement, Jen nearly forgets to grab Nate by the leash as she tears out of the mall to find a cab. Sadly, no cabbie in Osaka understands her high-pitched squealing and she has a hard time finding a taxi. When Nate finally hails one, Jen explains to the driver that they need to get to Temple Sand Park. The driver responds, “In the Temple District?” Jen isn’t sure and Nate, in his excitement to finally finish first, gently applies his hand to Jen’s back to guide her into the cab. As they start up another killer row, Christina and Ron find their flower and quickly grab the taxi that is conveniently waiting for them.
Nick and Don also finish their Detour when Nick, using those huge muscles, carefully tilts the table so Don’s soccer ball rolls into the goal. Not technically legal, but the Japanese volunteers didn’t want to be there all night waiting for the OLD man to finally figure out the robot’s controls. Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto. (Oh, c’mon! You had to know that was coming!)
It’s now a race to the Pit Stop: Jen and Nate are fighting about whether or not he pushed her, Ron and Christina are praising each other for having gotten along so well, Nick and Don are anxious to sit down to a plate of tuna sashimi and TK and Rachel are . . . We’ll get back to them.
Cue Phil and pretty Japanese hostess. They are awaiting the first team to arrive at the Pit Stop and it is . . . NOT Nate and Jen! Woo Hoo! Ron and Christina, who have much better cab-selection skills, win Leg 9 and a set of electric cars. Before leaving the mat, each team must write a haiku (3 line Japanese poem with nature theme and 5-7-5 syllabication) that describes their experiences on this leg.
Ron and Christina, who are delighted to be bringing home a prize which does not require that they spend any more time together (seriously - they don’t want to push their luck), write:
Drive electric car
Through meadow green, though not up
Hills; you will sputter
Next to come into the Pit Stop with high hopes and a sense of entitlement are Nate and Jen. They cry copious amounts of tears while writing their haiku.
Losing really sucks,
Like muddy bogs and quicksand.
Won’t you help us cheat?
The third team to arrive is Don and Nick. Don is plodding along like the OLD man that he constantly reminds us he is (Dude, you’re only 68 - my grampa, who just bought the farm, had 30 years on you and didn’t complain half as much) and Nick resembles a two shelled turtle with backpack and frontpack. Their haiku:
Tall youth leads old man,
As autumn follows summer
And carries its crap.
And finally, TK and Rachel make it to Kishwara Castle and it’s time for the first ever Amazing Race Fast Forward. Really. Miraculously, TK and Rachel make it through all the clue-hunting, Roadblocking (Rachel does it) and Detouring (flower sniffing) in about 45 seconds of airtime. Since we know that they would have received a clue at Noda Station telling them to head straight to the Pit Stop had this been an elimination leg, no one but TK and Rachel are the least bit concerned that they are going to be finished in this leg. And sure enough, after Phil’s pregnant pause, TK and Rachel are relieved to hear that despite being 3 hours behind, they will in fact be around for a little while longer. As they both keep journals and frequently write poetry to express their emotion, they are already prepared for their final task:
We knew we were last;
Flocks of cranes mocked us through the
Windows of the plane.
Next time on The Amazing Race: Jen focuses her hatred of all things male away from Nate and onto TK (did he also cheat on her?) while Christina uses her Japanese language skills to re-route the competition.