Just in case you miss it the other 27 times she mentions it tonight, it’s Jen’s birthday! So, what would be an appropriate present for this season’s little hothead? A copy of “How to Win Friends and Influence People?” A year’s worth of relationship counseling? Anger management classes? How about a tutorial on how to row a boat properly, or maybe a pair of matching muzzles to help them keep their mouths shut. Ooh, I know - how about a non-stop ticket to Alaska, totally skipping Elimination Station? Don’t pass go, don’t collect a million dollars. Perfect.
You Won’t Like Us When We’re Angry
Tonight’s starting clue is pretty vague: travel by taxi to find the building with a hole in it, then find the floating garden. The Umeda Sky Building is what they’re looking for, but they don’t know that yet. Ron tells Christina that they’ll have to run this one really fast, as it’s the race for the final three. She’s proud of the fact that he’s learning how to shut his yap and calm down when he gets irritated. So am I, I hate rooting for half a team. Jen is ecstatic that TK and Rachel are hours behind - oh, and, it’s her birthday, she says! She says they’re not playing “Mr. Nice Jen and Nate” (when were they ever?!) and Nate babbles something about them turning into the Incredible Hulk - they’re going to “tear their shirts off and explode, and everyone will be like ‘whoa!’” More like “woe,” but whatever.
Don bemoans the fact that he can’t keep up with the “runnings,” as he calls it, while he counts his cash for the leg. Anyone else notice that he always counts his money before leaving? Does he think Phil is going to stiff him, or what? The first three teams find the correct building, only to see that - you guessed it - it doesn’t open til 10, letting TK and Rachel make up a big chunk of time while the others sit and twiddle their thumbs. They bolt for the elevators at 10, and Christina tries to shut the door on Jen, but the little harpy is too fast. Ron comments on how quick she is as Jen grins at him. They zip up the glass elevator to the top of the building and grab the next clue: fly 1000 miles to Taipei, Taiwan, then take a taxi to Taipei Main Station. Jen mispronounces it “ta-PIE,” while Nate claims to know little about Taiwan except that Thai food is pretty good. Argh.
Earth to Nate: Thai food comes from Thailand. You, however, are going to Taiwan. Buy a globe when you get home, okay?
TK promises that there will be “no quitting til they get to the Pit Stop” as they head out, not too far behind the others. They walk all around the Umeda Building, until TK decides to ride the elevator up as Rachel protests. She doesn’t think it’s up there, but TK has a feeling. He’s right - but too bad he didn’t get a feeling about the clue box that they walked right by the first time. They play ring around the rooftop, finally spying the clue as TK blames the oversight on the “freak-out factor.” On the way to the airport, Christina comments on Nate and Jen’s good luck, thinking they are strong competition. Nick gets all weird, stating that “we’ve been playing the game like bitches so far, and so has everyone else. No competitors are left, just a bunch of pansies in the game.” Er...okay, Nick. I guess all the great competitors were eliminated first, leaving us an all-pansy smackdown for the final three.
Hippie Powers, Activate!
At the airport, Christina is ready to play a little dirty, asking the ticket agent to tell the others that their flight was full. Said agent then goes to tell Jen that the best flight is indeed full, and Jen begins shrieking: “No! You can’t listen to them!” Jen asks Christina if she said anything to the agent, and Chris innocently says no. Nate pipes up, trying to talk to the agent, but Jen fumes at the interruption and puts her hand up to his face to shush him. Jen can’t believe Nate would be so mean, reminding him that it’s her birthday. Another argument ensues as Christina grins. I seriously doubt the ticket agent would refuse to sell tickets if they were available, but you couldn’t convince Jen of this. Jen begins ranting about how she hates that Ron and Chris are always one step ahead of them.
Landing in Taipei, Nate and Jen choose to exchange their money first instead of hopping in the incredibly long immigration line, where Nick and Don and Ron and Chris are. Lo and behold, the hippies appear as if by magic - I have no idea what flight they were on, it was never shown. Rachel celebrates when she spots the others, and they respond with shocked amusement. “It’s a true race, now. Time to start sweating!” says Nick. Jen is the only one to get nasty, snarling that it “makes her sick” that the hippies caught up. And are now in line AHEAD of them. Ha! Karma loves you, Jen. So do all three of your fans.
Ron and Chris find the plaza first, along with the next clue telling them to travel by high speed rail to the city of Taichung, then by taxi to Jiji where the next Roadblock is: Acrobatics Jeep. Jen continues fuming in the cab, muttering about the “hatred in her blood” and wanting to rip TK’s dreads out. This girl needs major therapy. Or a huge bottle of Xanax. TK gets a tip from a local on how to buy train tickets from a vending machine instead of standing in line, saving them a bit of time. Once in Taichung, Nate and Jen have trouble landing a taxi, and it puts them in last place, giving her more reason to bitch. You can almost see the steam coming out of her ears at this point like a cartoon character.
A Bump in the Road
They weren’t kidding about the acrobatic part of this Roadblock. Team members get to sit in a Jeep as it rocks back and forth on a teeter-totter contraption 25 feet up in the air. And if that wasn’t nauseating enough, they then get to sit in an amphibious Jeep while it drives them under water for seventeen seconds. “If they’re still alive when it’s over, they’ll receive their next clue,” quips Phil the joker.
Ron hops in the Jeep first, not having much to say except “Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!!” and looking a bit ill as the driver rocks the car. He doesn’t like heights. Then it’s time for the underwater ride, and Ron has a death grip on the handles as the car plows through the not-so-clean looking water. He emerges looking relieved, and says “now I’m refreshed!” as he gets the next clue directing them back to a Taipei tea house. Rachel does the Jeep thing next, squealing with laughter, then it’s Nick and Don’s turn. This is also where TK and Rachel’s Speedbump shows up - they have to don safety suits and run through a field as fireworks are shot at them. At the end, they’ll get doused with a bucket of water for good measure. They quickly complete the task. TK compared it to running through a war zone, saying that at least if they do get eliminated, “they went out with a bang.”
Back to the high speed rail station, and the teams are waiting for the 8pm train as TK and Rachel make it just in time (that earlier tip about how to buy tickets seemed to help). Jen is pissed that they did their Speedbump and caught up, flopping down in her seat and pouting the whole way back. She seems to think that while she and Nate are sweating and busting their asses, the hippies are just coasting through, all mellow and relaxed. Nick, the little gossip, goes to tell TK and Rachel what Jen was saying about them. TK tells Don that just because he and Rachel don’t argue and get all spastic, doesn’t mean they don’t care. A tired Don agrees.
Tea For Two, and Bandages For All
Ron and Christina hit the tea house first, discovering that they must drink all their piping hot tea to reveal the clue in the bottom of the cup. Since Christina knows Chinese, she reads the clue herself and they head off to the Night Market in search of a clown for their next clue. It’s a Detour: Fire or Earth. Fire involves writing messages on twenty paper lanterns, then burning some “spirit money” inside them to send them flying. Nobody chooses this one, thinking it too time-consuming. Instead, they all pick Earth, where they must walk barefoot over a 220 foot path of jagged stones. Twice. This supposedly relieves stress, but for the life of me I can't figure out how.
Nick and Don drink the tea next, scrunching their noses up at the taste. TK and Rachel get it to go since it’s too hot for her to drink. The Bickersons are right behind them, and they all run off to the Detour. Ron thinks it’s a snap due to the callouses on his feet, but Christina “ow ow ows” her way down the path, comparing it to piranhas eating her feet. They get their last clue, directing them to the Pit Stop at Chiang Kai-Shek Plaza.
Here’s where Nate and Jen lose it, both figuratively and literally. While Nick and Don and TK and Rachel grab cabs to the Detour, Nate and Jen listen to a local who tells them to take the subway because of the terrible traffic. They run off to the subway, then get directed to take a bus. Nate keeps asking if a cab wouldn’t be faster, but Jen isn’t listening. As they stand on the street corner looking for the bus, Nate once again brings up taking a cab. Then changes his mind. Jen turns around and spits “honestly, I can’t deal with this. You need to step up and make the decisions. You’re the man!” This turns into yet another fight, complete with a crowd of people gawking at the crazy Americans yelling on the sidewalk. Way to lose, guys.
While they continue their bitchfest, the other teams are completing the Detour (TK runs the whole way!) and hitting the mat. After the requisite taxi drama, they finish as follows:
1st - Ron and Christina, again! They nab a trip for five nights to the island of Curacao, complete with spa goodies and snorkeling. Phil comments on how happy they look.
2nd - TK and Rachel
3rd - Nick and Don
They’re so outta here: Nate and Jen
Phil breaks the news to Nate and Jen as they grit their teeth in anticipation. “I knew it!” exclaims a disappointed Jen, while all Nate can manage is “Aw, fudge!” Jen admits that it’s been a big learning experience and she’s not sure what will happen to them as a couple. Standing in the plaza, Jen tells Nate "I think that we killed our relationship on the way. We weren't strong enough to heal it and finish the race. We just frickin' killed ourselves during it, Nate. We didn't even focus on our relationship. All we cared about was the race." Nate cries and they share a tender hug. The camera cuts away before Jen has a chance to call him a frickin’ idiot and he replies with how much he can’t stand her.
Happy frickin' birthday, Jen.
And that’s it - this is our final three. Who would have thought? Next week’s finale ends up in Alaska with the hippies catching some crabs, Don fussing at Nick for misreading a clue, and Christina doing some glacier climbing as Ron watches. See you next week!