Now that the Pink and Black Attack has been Philiminated, we’re left with four teams as this season winds down. It’s not hard to get a feel for what’s in store tonight, listening to Phil’s pre-show questions: Will TK and Rachel’s laid-back attitude help keep them in the front of the pack? Insert ominous cymbal noise here, which means...no. Will “senior citizen” Don be able to keep up with the youngins in the Race? I don’t see him breaking out his walker, but he’s sure to have some trouble now that Phil has brought it up.
Change in the Land of Sushi
Teams will be leaving Mumbai, India to embark on a 4000 mile trip to Osaka, Japan. TK and Rachel lead the pack, and seem to be pumped up about their new destination. Rachel admits that she has some self-confidence issues and it’s hard to trust your emotions on the race, but “with TK I have no ears.” No, I swear she said ears. I rewound and listened five times. But let’s assume she meant “fears” and move on...
Nick and Don leave second, and we learn that Don was in the military and always wanted to go to Japan. Add one more thing to his resume, which must be fifteen pages long by now. Ron is also happy to be traveling to the “Land of Sushi” as he and Christina head off to the airport, spouting more nonsense about his “journey of change.” The only thing I’ve seen him change is the subject matter that he yells at Christina about. Bringing up the rear are our two resident asses, Nate and Jen, who whine some more about not coming in first yet. Nate shares that he fantasized about running toward the finish line and throwing his bag at anyone’s legs who got in their way. Hey, we’re in synch! I’ve also fantasized about throwing things at the both of them. Awesome.
And here comes the weekly ticket drama. TK and Rachel are shown booking a flight that leaves at 6:55pm, but the arrival time is never shown. Hmm. TK keeps asking the man if this is the best flight, as the other teams book a flight leaving at 8:30pm. Ron starts squawking (shocker) about direct vs. non-stop flights, irritating Christina into telling him to shut it. “Just leave me alone, okay?” she tells him in another language - Japanese? He zips his lip and lets her book the flight in peace. His silence is short lived, though, as the taxi that drops them off at the airport leaves them several gates down from where they needed to be, and Ron begins ranting and raving about it. “DAD! If you keep complaining....” Christina warns. Ron says he’s an emotional old fart who can’t change overnight. No kidding.
Forget Waldo, Where’s TK?
I hope everyone got a good look at TK and Rachel at the beginning of the show, because here’s where they disappear. They look nervously around the airport, spooked that none of the other teams are in view as they board their flight. The remaining teams wonder where the hippies went, thinking they either got a great flight or did something stupid. Let’s go with the latter. Phil’s graphic shows that TK and Rachel had two layovers versus the other teams’ one, but the landing times in Osaka are never shown. “Somethin’ just doesn’t feel right about this,” says TK as the THC haze lifts.
There’s no doubt as to what flight landed first, as Nate and Jen emerge in first place, grinning from ear to ear. “It’s about time we start kicking these old teams’ asses,” she says. Charming. Nick and Don soon follow, with Nick carrying both of their backpacks. Christina, having learned Japanese from a previous stay in the country, speaks to her cabbie with ease. Don states that since Christina went to some “big falutin’ college,” he’s sure she can speak the native language. Nick laughs. Everyone ponders TK and Rachel’s whereabouts as they read their next clue, directing them to Noda Station. Jen is amazed that none of the street signs are in English - well, yeah, because you’re in Japan.
The Roadblock for this leg consists of driving a taxi, complete with cute hat and gloves. Team members must drive a Japanese couple five miles to a certain address through the crazy, congested streets of Osaka without getting led by a local. Or the couple. Once there, the couple will hand them the next clue, but they cannot read it until they drive back to their waiting team member. This should be good. Especially after Christina commented earlier about being glad she didn’t have to drive in Osaka.
Lady Cab Driver
Jen dons her cap and gloves, hops in the taxi with the waiting couple, and wastes precious time admiring herself in the mirror. Said couple makes funny faces as Jen primps, probably wondering why they signed up for this in the first place. Christina chooses to perform this one, then her heart drops as she reads the Roadblock. She’s not a good driver, says Ron, and has a bad sense of direction. “Pray for me,” she pleads as she hops in the car.
While Jen stares in bewilderment at the address, Christina can’t start her car. She uses public transportation, she says, and doesn’t even own a car! Jen hops out and hunts down someone who speaks a little English and gets some direction, but still ends up lost. Christina finally figures out how to start the thing, but can’t figure out the signs and stops for help, fumbling with the car keys as the couple in the back laugh. “I hope this doesn’t become an Austin Powers,” she says. I have no idea what that means. Nick plays a good cabbie, turning on the air conditioning to keep his customers happy as they play a lame version of “Turning Japanese” as the background music. Was that necessary, guys? Back at the starting point, Ron and Don have a moment of old coot bonding over some snacks as they wait. Too cute.
After driving in circles to find their way back, teams then head off to the Kita-Mido Temple by taxi. Jen is first, and Nate gives her a congratulatory smooch in the taxi while she complains that nobody there speaks English. She then tries to get their driver’s attention, making running motions with her arms to tell him they’re in a race. He ignores her. She then prattles on about how terrible the streets were, til Nate cuts her off - “I’m sorry, it’s hard for me to pay attention when he’s driving.” Jen’s eyes bug out, and Nate tries to cover. “I’m listening to everything you’re saying, but...it’s hard to...you know what I’m saying.” “No, I don’t,”she replies indignantly.
While Jen pouts, Ron and Christina wonder if their cabbie is going to make it. He’s wheezing horribly and struggling for breath. Ron wonders if he’s having a heart attack, saying “I hope he doesn’t croak on us.” He doesn't.
Holy Schnikes, Batman!
Nate and Jen reach the next clue first, a Detour: sense of touch or sense of smell. They can either play soccer with a miniature robot, controlled by a cell phone, or use their noses to identify the one real flower in a shop full of artificial flowers. Jen, claiming to have the nose of a bloodhound (and the personality of a pit viper), chooses to sniff out the flower, as do Ron and Christina. Upon seeing the huge shop, Nate blurts out “Holy schnikes!” Christina makes Ron blow his nose before they get to sniffing, starting on the second floor to get away from Nate and Jen. Jen gets light-headed from all the smelling, saying all the colors were blurring together in something like a “Pink Floyd music video.”
Since Nick professes to know nothing about smelling flowers, they choose the robots. Don instantly regrets it, claiming to suck at video games. He wasn't kidding. The robots (as bad-ass as they look) are apparently very hard to control with the tiny keypad. They eventually score their two goals, but the other two teams have already found the real flower (lilies) and gotten their clue from the green-haired florist. To bad the goths aren’t around to meet this one! Though pink and green would have really clashed.
Off they go to the Pit Stop at Tempozan Park, named for the lowest mountain in Japan. Yes, the lowest, currently about 4.5 meters above sea-level. Hee. Nate and Jen have trouble getting a cab, frothing at the mouth in anticipation of coming in first. They finally find a nice man who hails them one and gives the driver instructions, but Jen doesn’t quite hop in the taxi fast enough for Nate. He gives her a light pop on the backside with his hand, and she falls into the seat like a truck hit her, wailing about how he pushed her. While they argue about it, Ron and Christina enjoy a peaceful ride to the Pit Stop, with Christina applauding her dad for not yelling all day. They hit the mat as follows:
1st - Ron and Christina. As they whoop it up, Phil informs them that they’ve each won an electric car that seats four. No word on whether Christina will actually want to drive the thing.
2nd - Nate and Jen, once again. The highlight of my evening, as Jen rolls her eyes at another second place finish. “It is ON,” says Jen. Nate pipes up that “the best team’s gonna finish last, and that’s Jen and I.” Cue the needle ripping across the record sound. RIIIIIIP!! Jen gawks at him like he just sprouted another head and he quickly corrects himself.
3rd - Nick and a very tired Don. Phil comments on the fact that Nick is carrying both of their bags, but Don insists he’s got it in him to win.
The last five minutes are devoted to our hippies-in-hiding, TK and Rachel. It’s dark, they know they’re in last place, but they refuse to let it get them down. They perform the tasks (with much less traffic!), giggle about how easy it was for Rachel to pull the real rose out of a huge basket of fakes, and head off to the Pit Stop, glad for the experiences they’ve had. Rachel calls TK a “ray of light” that shined down to save her from all the negativity that used to surround her. Aww. They step onto the mat with a smile as Phil breaks the news to them...
It’s a non-elimination leg! Yay for them. Phil explains the upcoming Speedbump, and they vow to catch up to the other teams. They’re almost three hours behind the rest of the pack, but it looks like they get bunched up at the next airport in the previews, so there’s hope yet. Next week: Jen makes it known that she wants to rip the dreads off TK’s head, and Christina tries some shady stuff at the airport, irking Jen. Good times.
Bonus points to anyone that knows who sung "Lady Cab Driver" without Googling...waywyrd@FORT