Break out the popcorn, it’s finale night! I know a lot of people have been disappointed with this season, but I, for one, am madly in love with the Hippies (shh, don’t tell my husband), and I’ve been waiting for this finale all week. Go Hippies!
Last week on The Amazing Race … well, MoJo was eliminated. Really, that’s all we need to know. This week kicks off with a Phil-narrated recap of the entire season, and of course there are now three teams left: BJ & Tyler, Eric & Jeremy, and Ray & Yolanda. The race for a million bucks is almost over.
All three teams are at the pit stop in Bangkok, Thailand. Ray & Yolanda, who had the golden gnome last week and won an amazing trip to Sydney, Australia, also get to stay in a fancy hotel room at this pit stop. They look around the room, and use their internet hook up to see the details of their Travelocity trip. (Product placements abound in the segment.)
BJ & Tyler, having used the Fast Forward and arriving at the mat first last week, are the first to depart this week. They leave at 11:18 pm, and their clue tells them to take a taxi 75 miles away to the province of Ayutthaya, where they must search for the Royal Kraal. When they get there, they will get their next clue from a T-Mobile Sidekick which will be handed to them by an elephant. Cool.
On the way out, the Hippies talk about their travel experience and how they thought it would give them an advantage. They’ve learned, however, that they’ve made the same mistakes as the other teams along the way.
At the Royal Kraal, BJ & Tyler greet the elephants in usual hippie fashion. There’s a sign on the gate (isn’t there always?) with the operating hours: 4 am – 6 pm. Four in the morning? Who gets up to watch elephants at four in the morning?
Eric & Jeremy are the next ones to leave, and they’re both ready for the final legs of the race. Eric says that he’s never seen a real elephant up close, but he did see “When Elephants Attack” on television. Hmm, was that on FOX? As the Frats reach the Royal Kraal, they discover that all the teams are being equalized again and no one seems happy about it.
Ray & Yolanda are the last ones to check out, saying that they’ve had some navigation troubles. No kidding. Ray adds that there are two races going on for them: The Amazing Race and The Amazing Relationship Race. They’ve bickered, sure, but not nearly as much as the promotional clips seem to indicate. They arrive at the Royal Kraal and now everyone’s waiting for it to open.
The elephants are paraded out, dressed up in rich fabrics and performing a synchronized stepping thing that’s pretty impressive. The teams all run around asking the elephants if they have their Sidekicks, and they all eventually get them at about the same time. The Sidekicks instruct the teams to fly to Tokyo, Japan, where they must find Shibuya, the busiest intersection in the world. Once there, teams need to scour the electronic billboards to find their next clue.
Tyler is over the moon when he finds out their next destination. His girlfriend is Japanese, he’s been to Japan and knows it well, and he speaks Japanese. Impressive indeed, but now I’m worried that they’re going to get overconfident and overlook something.
As if reading my mind, the guys decide that the Japanese airline will have the fastest flight to Tokyo, so they head off in search of tickets. The other two teams opt instead for United Airlines, and they both get confirmed seats on the first flight out. BJ & Tyler end up rushing back to get the same flight as the others, but it’s sold out and there’s nothing they can do but take a later flight. They end up arriving in Tokyo almost two hours after the Frats and Ray & Yolanda.
Landing in Tokyo, Ray & Yolanda pick up a map and meet Eric & Jeremy on a shuttle bus to the Hotel Nikko, where they find their cars and start the drive to Shibuya. Map in hand, Ray & Yolanda decide to get right on the road, while the Frats stop at the hotel concierge and ask for directions. They are given a computer-printed map of the exact location they need to go, and head out confidently.
As the Frats navigate the streets easily and find the place they need to park, the hippies are finally landing in Tokyo. Ray & Yolanda, however, are lost. They stop and ask for directions, and when Yolanda complains about Ray’s driving, he quips that he’s “Driving Miss Crazy”. Unfortunately, my husband thought this was rather clever and can’t wait to use it himself.
At Shibuya, the Frats are busy looking for their next clue. They do, and it reads, “Find Hachiko”. Phil explains to us that Hachiko is a statue of a dog, who is a beloved figure in Japanese folklore. The statue isn’t far away at all, and behind it sits a man wearing a yellow and red striped scarf, holding the next clue.
The Frats ask someone walking by where Hachiko is, and they are pointed in the right direction. They easily get their clue, but they think the guy giving them the envelope is Hachiko. Hee.
The clue contains the first Detour of the evening: Maiden or Messenger. (Cue Phil walking down the crowded street in Shibuya.) In Maiden, teams must travel seven miles by taxi to a Japanese garden, where they must then carry a maiden one-third of a mile away to a Japanese tea ceremony, using a palanquin. A palanquin, incidentally, looks like a little canvas tent with two poles, one on each side, used to carry the structure and its passenger.
In Messenger, team must travel by foot to a parking lot, where they have to put together two little folding bicycles and grab two messenger bags. The contents of the bags must be delivered to two different business addresses, signed for, and then the bags are to be returned to the parking lot attendant to get their next clue. (Thanks Phil.)
Eric & Jeremy choose Maiden, because they “might meet a hot chick”, and head off to find a taxi. BJ & Tyler are just arriving at the parking lot, and easily find the clue and Hachiko. Tyler tells the man in Japanese that he wants his scarf. Me too! The Hippies choose Messenger, since Tyler knows his way around and can speak Japanese if they need directions. They rush off to find the parking lot to get their bikes.
Ray & Yolanda are really lost, but they don’t seem to realize it. They must think that Eric & Jeremy have taken the same route as they did, but the Hippies have passed them by quite a bit now. Eric & Jeremy are surprised at how heavy their palanquin is, but they hope the girl inside is hot. I’m hoping it’s actually a sumo wrestler or something.
The Hippies make quick work of the bike assembly, and head off for their first delivery. As they’re careening down the busy streets of Tokyo hollering “Crazy foreigners, coming through!”, Ray & Yolanda are still stuck in traffic looking for the lot they need to park their car in. Ray is unconcerned, thinking that if they are having traffic troubles, then the other teams must be as well.
Eric & Jeremy deliver their maiden, and when she emerges from the palanquin, she is indeed hot. Eric says that seeing her is reminding him of all kinds of “naughty fantasies”. They get their next clue, which instructs them to go to the Capsule Land Hotel – a hotel that rents out sleeping “capsules” rather than rooms, since space in Tokyo is at a premium.
BJ & Tyler have no trouble delivering their parcels and navigating the streets of Tokyo. Tyler know exactly where the buildings are, and the bikes are small enough that they can ride them even indoors. They have a ball with this task, laughing it up with the people signing for the packages and shouting at people to watch out for them as they ride down the street. When they return the bikes and empty messenger bags, Tyler calls out, “God, that was fun!” I find it refreshing that these two enjoyed themselves so much on a task that other teams would have found confusing, dull, and mundane.
As the Hippies head off to the Capsule Land Hotel, Ray & Yolanda are finally parking their car and looking for Hachiko. Eric & Jeremy arrive at the hotel only to find out that they’re spending the night there, and will be departing at 9 am the next morning. They’re disappointed that they’ve lost their lead again.
Ray & Yolanda choose Maiden, and manage to bump their palanquin into a tree along the way. Yolanda calls out a timid apology. They deliver their maiden and get the clue, believing that they’re still in second place.
BJ & Tyler arrive at the hotel to find that they will be checking out at 9:15 am. They meet up with the Frats, and both teams are surprised that Ray & Yolanda aren’t there yet. Eric gets into his capsule and mutters that he hopes he doesn’t wake up in 1972. Love it! Ray & Yolanda finally check in, get their 9:30 am departure time, and look disappointed when they discover that the Hippies beat them there.
The next morning, Eric & Jeremy check out and get their clue, which tells them to go to Fujikyo Highlands, a theme park with some really cool-looking roller coasters at the base of Mt. Fuji. Jeremy sees Mt. Fuji in the distance and calls it “Mt. Tokyo”. BJ & Tyler are hot on their trail, and both teams arrive at the park at the same time.
Ray & Yolanda have to stop and ask for directions, and they choose a local Denny’s. As Ray prays that someone inside speaks English, they go in and a Japanese fellow tells them how to get to Fujikyo Highlands. This would be good, except the only words that we can understand are “highway”, “left”, and “right”. Uh oh.
At the park, the clue box contains a Roadblock (which, thanks to Phil, we know is a task that only one person can perform). “Who wants to coast through this task?” The task consists of three of the most thrilling rides in the park, which must be ridden in order, and the person doing the task must search the park while on the rides for a man holding a sign with the location of their next clue. Yikes, talk about vertigo! If they miss the clue, they must start and complete the entire task over again.
Tyler and Jeremy head for the first ride, where Tyler recruits some help in searching for the sign. After the second ride, he hints to Jeremy that he found the sign – but of course he didn’t. Jeremy buys it though, and thinks he’s going to have to do the task all over again. The third ride’s the charm though, and both guys find the man with the sign, that reads, “Lake Yamanaka”.
Back on the highway, Ray & Yolanda are stopped at a toll booth, but they’ve lost their ticket. After tearing the car apart looking for it, they’re sent to another booth where they pay their toll. The guy collecting the money seems to take a shine to Ray, smiling and touching him. Ray gets flustered trying to get away, and Yolanda has a good laugh.
Tyler and Jeremy get their next clue. They must travel seven miles to Lake Yamanaka, hop into a little swan-shaped pedal boat, and pedal out to a giant swan-shaped boat (which is a local tourist trap apparently) to reach their next pit stop. Phil says that the last team to arrive may be eliminated. Really?
On the way to the lake, Jeremy complains to Eric that Tyler tried to psych him out on the roller coasters. They think that they can overtake the Hippies on the pedal boats and regain first place.
Both teams arrive at the lake, and the Hippies narrowly beat the Frats to the boats. It’s a frantic pedal race (which is really quite funny to watch), but in the end the Hippies hit the mat first, and have won a T-Mobile Sidekick each, with three years of service. Lame prize, that. The Frats reach the mat in second place, and express their displeasure at Tyler’s “playing dirty”. The Hippies respond with, “Hey, you cancelled our cab!”, which is fair enough.
Ray & Yolanda are arguing a bit, but finally reach the theme park. Yolanda does the Road Block, and gets their clue. They pedal in to the giant swan, knowing that they’re in last place but not looking too worried. Phil tells them that this is the last non-elimination round, so they lose their bags and their cash. They’re motivated though to take this last place leg and turn it into a million dollars on the final leg of the race.
Part two of the Amazing Race finale can be found right here.
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