The Amazing Race 12 - Official Summary Episode 10: You Say Taipei-do, I Say Tuh-Pie-do
Be warned: Not every aspect of the show is reported accurately. Artistic license is a terrible thing to waste.
Previously on The Amazing Race: Ron and Christina bonded, coming in first; Nate and Jen got lost in translation, coming in second; Nick and Don huffed and puffed, coming in third; and TK and Rachel caught the wrong flight, coming in last in (thankfully) a non-elimination leg.
Tonight’s episode begins with a Samurai clad Phil running the stairs at Tempozan Park, the smallest mountain in Japan. Those shots are interwoven with footage of the remaining racers running in at the end of Leg 9. There is some excellent voice-over work as Phil asks the questions that matter: Will TK and Rachel overcome a 3 hour deficit and a speedbump? Which person will be the first to flip his/her teammate the bird - Nate or Jen? Will Ron go off is meds? Will Nick’s mouth continue to gape in such a way that the home viewers will be able to count his fillings? And, which 3 teams will continue in the hopes of winning $1 million?
At 7:02 a.m., Ron and Christina are the first team to leave the pit stop. Their clue, which is accompanied by $374, tells them to travel by taxi to the building with a hole in it, then find the floating garden. Christina consults her Osaka Board of Tourism brochure and learns that their destination is the Umeda Sky Building, a cool couple of structures joined at the top with a large square doughnut. As they hail their cab, both team members reiterate the importance of this leg and their determination to run it quickly.
Nate and Jen, the dueling duo, head out at 7:15 a.m. Interview clips have Jen saying that they’re not playing “Mr. Nice, Jen and Nate” but are out to win. Since when have either Jen or Nate been nice? Nate adds that they plan to be like the Incredible Hulk, complete with turning green and tearing off their shirts. I’m sure all teams will tremble in their presence.
It’s Jen’s birthday and she’s expecting the Nate the Birthday Fairy to give her . . .
A. a 1st place finish.
B. a love poem promising eternal devotion.
C. his gonads on a plate.
D. no argument whatsoever when she decides to do something stupid in this leg.
The third team to leave is Nick and Don at 7:21 a.m. Nick nods like a bobble-head while we hear again how Don isn’t able to keep up with running, but he’s trying to pull his own weight. Blah, blah, blah. Nick smug, Don slow, Dajaki uninterested.
Ron and Christina arrive at the Umeda Sky Building and, after circling the block a few times, find the door to the Floating Gardens Observatory. They rush in and, upon noticing that the clue location doesn’t open until 10 a.m., pray to the Japanese god of their choice that Nate and Jen decide to stop at a local IHOP for breakfast and that Nick and Don opt for an impromptu fishing trip at the nearest Koi pond. Alas, it isn’t to be and the three leading teams wait for the observatory to open, glad that they still have a 20 minute lead over TK and Rachel.
In an effort to distance themselves from the other teams, Christina and Ron run to the elevator bank but are hounded by Nate and Jen, with whom they must share the vertical ascent. Ron thinks he’s on a ride at Tokyo Disneyland and “Woooo!”s all the way up. Jen pisses off Nate when she sprints out of the elevator ahead of him and insists she has to wait for him. Do I sense another fight in the making? I think I do. Ron and Christina grab the first clue and discover that they are to fly to Taipei, Taiwan and find a clue box at a train station. Nick and Don are also going to Taipei, but Nate and Jen’s clue, oddly enough, directs them to Tuh-Pie. I think that’s a suburb of Taipei proper. All teams head back to the elevators and their waiting cabbies for the ride to the airport.
Why was Ron glad that he didn’t have to jump off the Umeda Sky Building?
A. His vertigo would have made him vomit and pass out.
B. For his part, he believes jumping off buildings is strictly a spectator sport.
C. There wasn’t a promise of landing in a big vat of warm cocoa.
D. He didn’t want to cry like a little girl on national TV.
TK and Rachel leave Tempozan Park at 10:18 a.m. They talk a lot about the upcoming Speedbump and how they won’t quit until they hit the next pit stop. At the Umeda Sky Building, this team tries the novel approach of searching the grounds for the clue box rather than looking for any sign that might point them to floating gardens. TK finally drags Rachel inside the door marked “Floating Gardens Observatory” and up the elevator. She harps along the way that they are making a mistake and the clue says nothing about an observatory. No, but it does mention floating gardens. Think, Rachel, think.
In the cabs, Ron and Christina and Nick and Don gossip about the other teams. Nick states that they’ve been playing the game like b****es and that there are no competitors left, just pansies. Ummm, I don’t think I’ve been watching the same race he’s been on. Nick is clearly an idiot who talks out of his arse. R&C are confident that they are smarter than Nate and Jen, though that isn’t saying much. Nate and Jen are excited to get to Tuh-Pie even though they don’t know much about Taiwan. They like Thai food, they have a couple of Thai friends and they occasionally like to Tie one on. Yeah, they’re brilliant.
At the airport, Ron and Christina secure seats on an EVA Air flight leaving at 1:00 p.m. It is the first flight leaving Osaka to Taipei. It is also the first flight to Tuh-Pie. Christina uses her Japanese language skills and her diabolical nature to ensure that no other team makes their flight. At least Jen is convinced of this and cannot understand that no airline employee would fail to book available seats just because another passenger asks them to do so. And another fight commences as Jen tells Nate to talk to the hand while she’s talking to the ticketing agent. Nate decides that he doesn’t want to be no the race with Jen and that there’s just no point to their relationship; all things I could have told him long ago. Meanwhile Nick and Don have booked seats at 1:35, then learn that another airline leaves at 1:15 on China Air which they also purchase. That crying you hear is an Amazing Race sponsor realizing that the cost of a commercial spot just went up $1000. The sum of this is that R&C are on the aforementioned 1:00 p.m. flight and N&D and N&J are on the 1:15 p.m. flight.
TK and Rachel finally find the clue box at the top of the Umeda Sky Building. This was only after searching every garden at the ground level and walking past the clue box a number of times. They determine that the freak out factor is in effect.
What is the Freak Out Factor?
A. A sad attempt to revitalize Joe Rogan’s career
B. A new line of Goth cosmetics from Max Factor
C. A component in human blood similar to the Rh factor
D. A permanent element in Nate and Jen’s relationship
At 2:51 p.m., Ron and Christina’s flight arrives and they hustle through customs and to a cab. Right on their heals, Nick and Don and Nate and Jen arrive. While N&D wait in customs, Jen decides to exchange their money right away and Nate concurs, which serves the dual purpose of avoiding a fight and wasting the loads of time they have gained over TK and Rachel. Another brilliant move, given that TK and Rachel arrive almost immediately and catch Nick and Don in line. Rachel does a little cheerleader kick in celebration. Was she a cheerleader? I always thought of her more as the Lola Granola type. Jen, noticing that she and her equally inept boyfriend are now in 4th place, cries on the shoulder of anyone who will tolerate her. Rachel comments that Jen’s pretty pissed and TK, Nick and Don simultaneously say, “Oh, like we haven’t seen that before. Jinx!”
Meanwhile, the speed demons that are father and daughter find the clue box and read that they are to travel by high speed rail to the city of Taichung and then taxi to the tiny town of Jiji. Once there, they will need to find Acrobatics Jeep. That sounds promising. They get a train right away and have no fear that the other teams will catch up to them at this potential bunching point. And they’re right. In their respective cabs, Nate and Jen sit and fume, Don and Nick sit and stew, and TK and Rachel plot ways to make Jen really blow her top. “We were going to run this race honestly and fairly,” states Rachel. “But Jen’s made this personal.”
At the train station, TK and Rachel forgo the ticket line when a helpful Chinese American (I am assuming as he had American accent.) tells them to use the ticket machines. That is a great tip, but it doesn’t prevent all three trailing teams from catching the same train to Taichung. And speaking of Taichung, Ron and Christina have arrived. They pile into a cab with some CBS employees and Christina rattles of the destination in Chinese. Turns out Princeton requires all major Asian languages for graduation. Even though they must be sick of being first again, they do get to the next clue box with a huge lead over the other teams. It is a Roadblock and it asks “Who’s ready to go for a tricky ride?” Ron checks his tally sheet and reluctantly volunteers to be the passenger in a road-issue Jeep that teeter-totters 25 feet in the air, then in an amphibious Jeep that will submerge him in a trough of water.
What is the only way this Roadblock can be improved?
A. The professional driver is replaced by the team member.
B. Light the sides of the teeter-totter on fire.
C. Light the surface of the water on fire.
D. Light the team member on fire.
When Ron sees what he’s gotten himself into, he nearly collapses. Fortunately, Christina has the almost supernatural ability to imbue her dad with courage and he is coaxed into the 1st Jeep. This part of the Roadblock is a religious experience for Ron, and after surviving the 17 second dunking (Phil made it sound like a near-death experience), he feels refreshed and ready to whoop some butt. Whooping butt isn’t the direction in their next clue though, so Ron must be content with returning to Taipei and drinking some tea. How ladylike! They make it back to Taichung and catch the 7:36 train. Pay attention, that’s important.
And back to the less amazing race for 2nd place - TK and Rachel arrive at the Acrobatics Jeep joint ahead of Nate and Jen and Nick and Don. Rachel takes the Roadblock and loves every second of it. She is followed by Nate and Don, who acts like a real fuddy-duddy. Don, weren’t you young once? Didn’t you ever hop on a Harley and let the wind blow through your hair (presuming you had hair)? Didn’t you ever take foolish physical risks? Dude, you’re never too old to relive some of that.
TK and Rachel run out of Acrobatics Jeep only to discover that the dreaded time of their Speedbump is upon them. They must drive 1 mile (Yeah, I know - Hardly a Speedbump if it takes no time at all to get there.) and participate in an ancient Chinese ritual. They are to don safety suits (Team members on fire?!), run through a gauntlet of fireworks and then get doused with water. Just another Saturday night for Dajaki. Yawn. It’s a huge surprise to the home audience when they finish this Speedbump in about 9.8 seconds and then are told to head back to the Jeep place for their next clue.
Meanwhile, Nate and Jen and Don and Nick scurry back to the station in Taichung and arrive at 7:31. Surely that’s enough time to catch the 7:36 train, right? Wrong. It turns out that machines control the dispersal of train tickets and they won’t spit the tickets out within 5 minutes of departure. Ah man, I was laughing my buns off at this (Well, mostly at Jen‘s extreme distress). Maybe if Jen had correctly pronounced Taipei, the agent would have told them to hop on the train and pay later. We’ll never know.
As Ron and Christina enjoy being in first place, N&J and N&D have to wait for the 8:00 train and pray that TK and Rachel don’t make it. I know God is hearing their prayers, but He is choosing to answer them in the negative tonight. TK and Rachel make it back to the train station, buy tickets from the ATM machine, and, once on the platform, gleefully “Whoooo!” in Nick’s general direction. Jen, who is blind to all but self, asks Nick if he’s seen TK&R and he reassures her that he did and she will have to work harder if she wants to win this race. And now it’s time to cue Jen’s emotional tailspin. She rants and raves about how unfair it is that TK and Rachel, who are such monumental slackers, are neck-and-neck with her and Nate, currently the two hardest-working men in show business.
Nick can’t help but tease her a bit more before dragging his nearly catatonic grandpa off to tattle to TK and Rachel. TK, showing some of his characteristic maturity, doesn’t stomp off and whack Jen upside the head (which would be my natural reaction), but explains that Jen just doesn’t understand adult behavior. Jen and Nate, who are stuck in permanent adolescence, equate hard work with frustration and ill-humor (rather like George Costanza), while TK and Rachel can handle stress with grace.
At this point, Ron and Christina are back in Taipei and at the tea house. They gulp down the boiling brew and Christina easily reads the clue painted on the bottom of their cups. They are to head to the Gong Guan Night Market and find a creepy clown. He will hand them their next clue. As they track down the Barnum & Bailey reject, the other teams arrive in Taipei and frantically scramble for cabs. The advantage goes to Nick and Don who choose not to follow the other teams.
Ron and Christina quickly find the clown and the clue is a Detour. Teams can choose Earth or Fire. In Fire, teams head to a park for an ancient Chinese ritual (another one?) where they will write messages of luck, good or bad, on 20 paper balloons and send them into the night sky and to whatever spirits may be lurking there. In Earth, teams head to a different park to walk a 220 ft. path of stones twice. The alleged purpose of this grueling exercise is to reduce stress. Get Jen there, stat! To allay any suspense-induced anxiety, I’ll tell you flat out that everyone chooses Earth.
The reason all teams choose Earth is because . . .
A. Air, where teams have to breathe for the remainder of the leg, isn’t a choice.
B. Water, which was already covered by the tea house stop, isn’t a choice.
C. Metal, where teams have to count the change in their pockets, isn’t a choice.
D. it takes too long to write “Die, Jen and/or Nate, die” on 20 balloons.
Nick and Don beat out TK and Rachel to the tea house and suck down the tea like it’s Coors Light (Ugh - Don’t even get me started on that swill). They grab their cups and soon find a guy who can translate the clue. TK and Rachel decide to take the tea with them, giving it a chance to cool as they wander aimlessly. Nate and Jen arrive, sip sedately and ask the help of other diners to translate. Before long, all three teams are scouring the market for the clown on a unicycle (though Nate and Jen briefly waste time looking for a cow on a unicycle).
Ron and Christina finally find their way to Youth Park, the site of the Earth detour. Christina actually struggles a bit while Ron thanks the ancestors for his callused feet and zips down the stony walkway. Ron calls words of encouragement to his Ivy League girl and soon they have their last clue in hand. They are to go to the next Pit Stop in Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall Plaza. This time they are assured that the last team to arrive will be eliminated. Ron is overjoyed and knows that they are #1.
Nick and Don find the clown and, as stated earlier, choose Earth. They are very closely followed by TK and Rachel. Both teams hail cabs for the ride to Youth Park. And here’s where I start thinking that this just might be my favorite episode of TAR12. Nate and Jen, the last team to find the clue, ask the advice of a clueless teen on the fastest way to Youth Park. She swears that traffic is a nightmare and Nate and Jen’s best bet is to take the subway. What’s even better is that the subway stops short of the park and the team must then take a bus! Hilarious. Nate, who is suspicious of the teen’s knowledge of traffic patterns, suggests several times that a cab might be a better bet, but Jen just brushes him off. This, of course, starts the mother of all wars and the carnage is all over the subway, the street corners and the bus. Jen eventually breaks down, cries that she can’t take it anymore and insists that Nate, as the man (honorary title), must make all the decisions now. Nate’s furious that Jen got them into this mess by refusing to take a cab which surely must be faster. A crowd gathers, suspecting that a scene for an American soap opera is being filmed. Jen just continues to cry, blaming Nate for ruining her birthday.
At the Pit Stop, Phil and the pretty Chinese hostess are ready to greet Ron and Christina as they race across the plaza. They are announced as the winners of this leg and get their prize of a trip for two to Curacao for a spa getaway; not exactly the kind of prize a father and daughter might share, but to each his own. Ron and Christina’s parting words are more praises for each other and their ability to work as a team.
Nick and Don are the next team to arrive at Youth Park. TK and Rachel aren’t far behind and even end up passing Nick and Don while on the rocky path. Both teams run out of the park and have a little bit of trouble finding a cab. Meanwhile, Nate and Jen show up with tear-blotched faces and stomp down the path while muttering curse words under their breath. Jen is pretty quick and starts shouting at Nate to be light on his toes. Before Nate and Jen finish, however, the other two teams are in cabs and racing to the Pit Stop. TK has a decided preference for a Nick and Don 3rd place finish behind him and Rachel. So do I, man. So do I. Through clever editing, we are led to believe that Nate and Jen may just have a chance as they hop in a cab (no more buses or subways for these two) and rejoice in how quickly they finished the Detour.
At the memorial plaza, TK and Rachel cruise into a comfortable 2nd place. Phil high-fives, low-fives, and hip bumps Rachel in her frenzied celebration. TK just stands back and lets her get it out of her system. Then Phil tells them that he doesn’t have any more trips to give away but he would like to buy them dinner back at the tea house.
Don and Nick, who have been sitting at a red light for about 3 seconds of airtime (4 hrs. 22 min. of real time), ditch their cab and run into the plaza. Nick is carrying both backpacks and dragging Don by the collar to get the happy news of their 3rd place finish. After medics perform CPR on Don, Phil tells them that he doesn’t have any more trips to give away but he would like to give them his collection of luggage claim checks.
And finally, much to my personal delight, Nate and Jen drag their sorry butts into the plaza. You can tell that they’re hoping for a miracle, but Phil isn’t about to deny himself the opportunity to eliminate these two from the race. Phil encourages the home viewers to join him in a happy dance as he offers Nate and Jen his only remaining trip - straight to the Finish Line where they can watch with all the other losers as some other team wins $1 million. So sweet! Nate and Jen run away from the camera crews for some quiet time, forgetting they’re connected to microphones, and lament the death of their relationship. If I didn’t despise them so much, this scene would have been . . . Oh, who cares? They’re done, I’m happy. Go TK and Rachel!
Next time on The Amazing Race: TK and Rachel get savaged by crabs. Don guts a fish and his grandson. Christina scales a glacier and thus contributes to rising sea levels. Ron just watches it all with a glazed look in his eyes.