Are we already at the finale? I didn’t realize it myself but I also didn’t know the episodes were going to be 2 hours/double legs. It’s been a competitive season, what with the head-to-heads, races to the mat, proposals, and let’s not forget the cool twist of a partner swap.
Indy leaves at 6:45 AM but as always it don’t matter as all teams fly from Thailand to Hong Kong, where they will taxi over to the tower at Victoria Peak. We’re reminded Yalies are odd man out and BB (unnecessarily) rushes in front of them for a cab. Henry speaks a little Mandarin so can communicate with his (Cantonese) driver. The Skiers have a little taxi trouble as their driver goes down a wrong street and hits the wall while trying to turn around. The girls wisely decide to go up the hill via the stairs, as they can see the skyscraper they’re trying to get to. The Indy boys make it there first, and in order to get their clue they have to take a photo in front of the Vegas-like view. For some reason Conor is pissy and takes it out on the photographer.
He mugs it up for the camera though
The Speedbump: Let Your Light Shine is the task only Yale has to complete, due to coming in last on the previous leg. They need to light (fake tealights, just a little switch) and hang a bunch of paper lanterns. Evan has her backpack on and I always wonder why they don’t just put them on the floor. It doesn’t take too long but the other teams have come and gone by the time they finish.
Next top is the Detour: Hairy crab or Grub Grab. Either wrangle 50 crabs and tie them into proper bundles or take dinner orders in Cantonese and relay the order to your partner in the kitchen. Phil likens this to “Chinese telephone”, the game you play where someone whispers something into someone’s ear, then the next person whispers it, and so on. But the point of that is it involves many people, not just 2. Anyhoo the boys choose crab, along with BB and Skiers, but decide to switch after Conor is bitten on the finger. Is race fatigue getting to him? He seems over it. Both detours were a boat ride away, so the boys get back on their boat and head to the restaurant, arriving at the same time as Yale.
The crabs prove to be difficult and sharp little guys, and the teams need to be tying them up correctly. Oh, and the boat they are on is being “tsumanied” with giant fans and rain machines pouring down on them. Both teams here struggle a little, especially Jess.
The right way, the wrong way, and the Jess way
At the restaurant Conor and Henry are each taking orders for 8 people, who are speaking rapid-fire Cantonese and all at once. Conor is unable to really hear any of it, and is clueless in the kitchen trying to tell Alex what dishes he needs. Henry, who remember speaks a dialect of Chinese, is able to relay some of the dishes to Evan. He doesn’t know all of the words, but since each dish has several words Evan is able to correctly guess what he is referring to, It takes both guys several tries and tactics such as listening to only every other person to digest what they were saying (C) or only listening to the last word (H). Henry is out first (no surprise there).
Jess is still bitching about the crabs but they Cody finishes first, as the girls had to retie almost half of their basket (I was surprised at that). They are headed to the rooftop parking lot of the Central Pier #4 for the Roadblock: Who Wants to get Smashed? Some folks like to smash the living daylights out of old electronic equipment, so one teammate gets to experience this as they try to find 2 hidden halves of their next clue. There is a lot of stuff to break, then they will dump paint on their pile to make it modern art. Instillation art I guess.
Henry quickly breaks his bat smashing – this stuff is tough! Conor hopefully gets his frustrations out. Cody Hulk Smash. Only Kristi struggles, and doesn’t really read her clue so doesn’t realize she needed to be looking for the envelope halves. Didn’t make a huge difference as her struggles were with smashing into the equipment. But once she knows he starts looking into things, finds her clue and sloshes her paint.
Yale is first to get in their taxi and head to Lan Kwai Fong, where they’re given a briefcase to unlock, using a combination they need to figure out. They need to look for signs along a busy Times-Square like area, which will be symbols related to a leg number. This area is crowded with tons of businesses, lights, and drunk locals.
Get out of here with those cameras!
The streets are very busy and the signs themselves are small, things like a bull for France (leg 5) and fez hat for Morocco (3). The teams don’t know what they’re looking for so are questioning everything, like spas and regular storefront signs. The one that trips a few teams up is the little happy hour sign outside a restaurant with the Washington Square Arch from New York (leg 1) not France.
Only Yale and Cody get that right but it proves to be hard to even find for Indy and Skiers. There is a local guy who tells them that the others opened their case after that sign, but they don’t know it is leg #1. Yale and BB have opened their cases and are off, but the single-gender teams are now just guessing at numbers. Inside the briefcase is the location of the Pit Stop: Johnston & Wan Chai Road. Phil and the mat are on the corner of these 2 major roads, and Yale almost gets run over getting there.
1. Yalies (worst to first)
Jess cries when she sees Yalies, and not one of her besties, hit the mat in 2nd. If she wants to be an actress she could have faked it a bit better. The Skiers start playing around with combinations and get their case unlocked. The racecar drivers are Philiminated there on the street, still looking for their street signs.
Everyone else is headed to the China of America, and home to Rice-a-Roni, San Francisco. The seats they are flying in look real comfy.
On home soil teams head for the AT&T Stadium, specifically the “Hey Kid” statue that commemorates Willie Mays. Their next clue will be found once they determine the number of home runs hit by Mays (660), which is listed on the side of the statue located at the clue box. No one looks there, and the Skiers are the only team to ask a local before getting in their kayaks. Which was so dumb of the other 2 teams. They’ll be boating around “Splash Landing”, the place where foul balls are sometimes landed, and tonight, balls will be thrown out with numbers on them. A 6, 6, and 0 ball will need to be brought to the umpire (also in a kayak) for the next clue. BB & Yale are just grabbing balls, and trying different combos for the ump, then finally get wise and yell up to a local with a smartphone. (What would have happened if no one was watching? They’d both have to get out of their kayaks and the girls would have had a huge lead). Yale lurks in the background, easily hearing the number needed. Jess gives us the title quote. Skiers, BB and Yale are out in that order, still very close to one another.
The next challenge is the highest ascension climb in TAR history. The Bay Lights on Bay Bridge is supported by an enormous structure in the center, this thing has more concrete than the Empire State Building! One teammate will pull themselves up 200 feet using a technique of standing then pulling into a sit reach and climb. Cody and Kristi get a head start on Evan, who figures she is 14 and 11 minutes behind the other 2.
When they get to the top they don a glow suit and free fall into the “abyss” (just the inside of the concrete structure, but it is pitch black down there). No one cries or has any issues, and they leave in the same order they arrived.
Boring even for him
I like when we get to see the clues, and I thought this one was odd, the other clues were super easy but that 3rd thing does not look like a fortune cookie. Everyone guesses cracker, cheese, or bread until the locals’ smartphones once again come in handy and the teams learn there is in fact a Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory nearby.
Yale makes up a little bit of time here as they are the only team to ask their taxi driver to look up the info, instead of some schlub on the street without a vehicle to whisk them away in. These cookies originated in San Fran, not China, and teams need to make 102 of them (half by each team member). The cookies are circular (like in the clue) and after the fortune is laid on, they are folded twice while warm to form the shape we all know and love. They need to be precise though, and many have their cookies tossed for not being correct. Tossed cookies.
What’s worse: not using gloves or getting judged twice?
Yale makes up a little more time with Henry’s exquisite green tea cookies (never tried those). The girls leave a little before BB, heading to the USS Hornet for the last task of the season. Phil et al are on the other end of this massive ship, waiting at the finish line.
This thing is larger than some towns
Teams need to find 12 parts to construct an airplane, and to stress how large this place is, it takes them over an hour just to find the pieces! Then the teammate who didn’t climb the bridge (Jen, Jess & Henry) will assemble the pieces. Of the 12 they only need 6, but determining the pieces proves to be difficult. The pieces have stickers that correspond to another clue on the plane, and relate to the 12 legs of the race.
It’s very close, with each person desperately calling for judge-checks, only to be rejected. Henry actually has it correct but doesn’t get a check, then switches out a piece and is incorrect when he does call the guy over. In the end, on her 10th attempt, lil’ Jess from Big Brother gets the thumbs up, and she and Cody run to Phil as the winners of the Amazing Race. Wow, I didn’t see that coming but I am not unhappy. Yale comes in 2nd and Skiers 3rd. And let’s be reminded those 2 Extreme chicks never not came in the Top 3. That’s way impressive.
TARashies, thank you so much for reading along this season, and for your comments. I thought it was interesting, I liked the head-to-heads and competitiveness. I’m unsure how I feel about each leg being a fresh start, there should be some reward for being better in the previous leg. I guess we will see what they have for us next season. Until then xo!
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