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The Amazing Race: Final 4, Japan, 12/8/13

December 14th, 2013 · No Comments

For the past several seasons TAR has scheduled a two-part two-hour back-to-back finale, with the first half featuring the final four, and the second hour, the final three.  Season 23 follows this formula, as the four remaining teams begin the 11th leg.  Jason/Amy depart first, followed by Marie/Tim and Nicole/Travis about an hr. later.  Behind these teams lag the last-place Afghanimals Leo/Jamal, by about another hr.

Teams’ route info sends them flying from Singapore to Tokyo.  Jason/Amy check the schedules, find there’s a flight that connects through Hong Kong but it’s full.  All four teams bunch on a slightly later flight that routes through Bangkok.  The three couples agree to work together against the Afghanimals.

However, the Afghanimals do some online searching and find they can connect with the flight through Hong Kong after all.  Their gamble pays off and they arrive in Tokyo first, about ten min. earlier than the couples.  This gives them some insurance because they will have to perform a speed bump on this leg.

Teams must first take taxis to to a temple full of statues of white cats, with one paw up, that are symbols of good luck in Aisa.  (The show doesn’t explain, but the story is that a monk trapped in a blizzard found shelter when the snow momentarily cleared and he saw a cat motioning to him.)  In the clue box is the info for this leg’s detour.

One option is to go to Media City and be contestants in a Japanese game show called Human Bowling.  The Afghanimals jump at the chance.   Once the men get to the sound stage and the show welcomes them, they have to change into kimonos and headdresses, then climb to the top of a ramp, where one guy slides down in an inner tube, with a push from his teammate.  (It’s like a water park ramp, without water.)  The man in the inner tube has to score a strike–knock over all ten large inflatable pins.  The guys try angling left and right.  That doesn’t work.  Finally Leo gives Jamal a push down dead center.  That gets them a strike and the next clue.

When the three mixed teams get to the temple, they ask their drivers about the detour locations.  As the taxi drivers understand it, they’re all supposed to go to Kinuta Park for the other detour.

As Phil explains in the voiceover, this other detour utilizes a public art installation.  Two old phone booths have been converted into goldfish tanks, bu the phones still function.  One person from each team must change into orange swimwear and a goldfish cap, then dive in with the goldfish, phone a certain number, and listen to the recording.  It’s, “Welcome to Tokyo!  Wasabe taberu!”  (That’s Japanese for “Let’s eat!”)  Once out of the tank, the person must repeat the exact words to the other team member, who must repeat them exactly to a woman standing by with the next clue envelope.

There are only two booths, so only two teams can go at a time.  Marie says she’s found someone who knows where Media City is, so she and Tim persuade their cab driver to go there.

When Marie and Tim are welcomed to the game show,they attempt to explain their relationship to the flamboyant host.  Marie:  “We broke up!”

The host says, “What does that mean?”

Tim:  “She broke my heart!”

Host:  “An American love story?”

Marie:  “An American horror story!”

Marie slides in the inner tube a few times but only knocks over about one pin per try.  She finally figures a strategy.  Tim’s heavier, so she gives him such a mighty push he bounces off a wall and into the pins.  It works.  They get the next clue.  Tim wears his kimono the rest of the leg.

By now everyone has got the next clue, for a park plaza.  Jamal/Leo arrive and find their speed bump waiting.  They must assist a gang of Japanese zookeepers who are in training to capture a rhino.  The rhino is a big fake plastic one with people inside, their feet sticking out underneath.

The Afghanimals charge in and net the rhino before finding out they have to work with the team.  While they’re circling the fake rhino with nets, Jason/Amy and Nicole/Travis arrive.  The three teams are now bunched.

The couples open the clue box in the park plaza and find instructions for a roadblock.  It’s to build a giant model robot from cardboard tubes, stacked and waiting.  On a pedestal sits a tiny desktop version for guidance.  Nearby stands a kimono-clad engineer who will hand over the next clue, once she approves the work.

Nicole and Amy agree to build their models together–they need to, because the task is too much for one of them.  While the women build, the men watch Jamal/Leo finish the rhino-capture drill.  The speed bump knocks the Afghanimals into 3rd place.

Leo starts building a model.  Marie/Tim arrive, and Marie chooses to build the model.  Nicole and Amy won’t tell her where the sample model is, but Leo does.  He finishes his model first but can’t get it approved.  The model has two yellow spots on its front midsection, and he’s put it on backwards.  By the time he’s figured out the problem, the Afghanimals have slipped to fourth place.

Gymhound Marie blows by the field and is first to get her model approved.   The next clue is to find a walking vending machine (a person wearing a vending machine) in Tokyo’s famous scramble crosswalk intersection.   The ex-couple find the machine, it vends the pit stop clue–to a temple–and they hit the mat in 1st place.

The prize for winning this leg is a trip to Aruba.  Phil asks them if they’ll go separately.  Marie says they’ll probably draw for this vs. the trip to Hawaii they won previously.

Within minutes Jason/Amy arrive on the mat, followed within a few more minutes by Nicole/Travis.  Phil points out to the assembled teams that their plan to make collective final three was successful.

By the time the Afghanimals arrive, the couples have departed.  They’re eliminated one leg shy of the final, but they go home with $15,000 and a trip to Paris won on earlier legs.

 

Tags: Amazing Race