Previously on The Amazing Race, 10 teams of two, five pre-existing couples and five blind dating couples, raced from Tokyo to Nagano. While Team Gay slurped each others’ noodles at the Detour, CJ & Libby whupped themselves with the selfie stick, missing their train and getting themselves Philiminated.
We get the checkup on the romantic potential among the blind daters out of the way fairly quickly, with blind daters Jeff & Jackie having grown close enough already that they’re sharing a bed and picking each other’s underwear. Sadly for Team Gay, both Bergen & Kurt are attracted to men who are a bit more traditionally masculine. So no love connection there, although they profess their enduring friendship.
We also drop in on Harley & Jonathan’s date night at a Japanese hot springs and it is adorable.
Jelani & Jenny rip their clue at 4:35 PM and are instructed to fly to Phuket, Thailand. Once there they must make their way to Patong Beach to search for their next clue. They are followed by Laura & Tyler at 4:44, Aly & Steve at 5:31, Harley & Jonathan at 6:19, Bergen & Kurt at 6:32 and the rest with no times specified.
They all head for the airport but everything’s closed so they have to camp out to buy tickets the next morning. Matt & Ashley get a flight scheduled to arrive at 4:50 PM along with Aly & Steve, Jeff & Jackie, Blair & Hayley and Mike & Rochelle. Laura & Tyler score seats on a flight arriving at 9:10 PM along with Jelani & Jenny. Bergen & Kurt are slated to land at 11:59 PM. Harley & Jonathan are unable to book anything that arrives the same day, finally booking tickets for a flight scheduled to arrive at 9:35 the next morning.
Teams trickle in to Phuket and grab cabs for the beach. Matt asks his cabbie if there are many beautiful ladies at the beach and his cabbie agrees that the ladyboys are very pretty indeed. Matt…does not hear all of that word.
At the beach, which is more of an entertainment complex, they must find the route marker in the person of a local decked out in TAR-colored accessories. Do teams run right past him yelling that they can’t find the clue box?
Yes. Yes they do.
When they do eventually find him he hands them a (ugh) selfie stick with a departure time for the next morning. Matt & Ashley snag an 8:30 AM departure time, as do Aly & Steve and Mike & Rochelle. Jeff & Jackie pull an 8:45 departure along with Jelani & Jenny. Laura & Tyler and Bergen & Kurt get 9:00. Good news for Harley & Jonathan is that the Race is effectively halted for the night. Bad news is that every other team will depart more than a half an hour before their plane even lands. After spending some time partying at Patong Beach the eight teams split up five rooms between them.
The next morning the teams depart on their staggered schedule in search of their next clue, which is to be found at Baan Teelanka, an upside-down house. Mrs. Piggle Wiggle is not on hand to dispense their clues; instead they’re hanging from the upside-down toilet. It’s a Detour. The choices are Ski and Tree. In Ski, each team mamber has to complete one lap of wake boarding at Phuket Wake Park. In Tree, team members have to participate in “the latest dining craze in Thailand”. They must transport a meal via zip line to treetop diners without spilling.
Everyone except Aly & Steve and Jeff & Jackie opt for Tree, with Steve reasoning that as Olympic athletes he and Aly will be able to pick up wake boarding very quickly. Their many, many failed attempts prove otherwise. Both Jelani & Jenny and Blair & Hayley initially load only a couple of items onto their trays, blatantly ignoring the menu which lists several items including a vase of flowers, which, honestly I really feel that could have been done as side work. Hayley twigs that her team is missing a lot of food and tries to get Blair to go back. He insists it must be right because the team in front of them did the same thing. They get it on their second attempt and wind up leaving in 2nd place but Hayley will not shut up about it. She even complains about it while in the middle of zipping. She tries to frame it in terms of “you need to work on your listening skills” but following her repeatedly pointing out in Japan that she got some directions right while Blair got them wrong and it’s clear that “I’m right and you’re wrong” is her true thesis.
Mike & Rochelle, not the most graceful of this season’s Racers, successfully complete their deliveries and depart in 1st place. After Blair & Hayley, Laura & Tyler leave in 3rd, followed by Bergen & Kurt in 4th, Jelani & Jenny in 5th and Aly & Steve, fresh from Ski, in 6th. Matt & Ashley, after trying and failing to pass off a spilled champagne glass refilled with soup, finally finish and depart in 7th. Jeff & Jackie also abandon Ski and knock out Tree quickly to land in 8th place.
From the Detour teams are directed to the My Way Cabaret for “Don’t Drag Your Heels”. Teams must don costumes and learn a choreographed routine as performed by the ladyboy performers. The straight boys for the most part take it in stride although there is an unfortunate comment from Tyler about getting his balls cut off.
Despite worrying about another dance challenge after biffing the slow-motion dance in Japan so many times, Mike & Rochelle are the first to finish and receive their clue directing them to the Pit Stop, the Baba Nest rooftop bar. They make it there without incident and claim a trip to Prague as team number one, the first dating couple to take down a Leg. Blair & Hayley complete the dance next and head for the Pit Stop, Blair’s mug still beaten for the gods. Hayley refuses to stop talking about how she was right and Blair was wrong by promising to stop talking about how she was right and Blair was wrong. They check in as team number two.
Jelani & Jenny drop from two 1st place finishes to 3rd, still very respectable. Laura & Tyler take 4th place followed by Aly & Steve in 5th. In the cab to the Pit Stop Matt realizes that he’s left his team’s Amazing Fanny Pack at My Way.
Possibly he was distracted by his duty to provide tonight’s beefcake
One quick freakout at the cab driver later, he and Ashley have retrieved it and continued to the Pit Stop in 6th. Bergen & Kurt end up 7th and Laura & Tyler check in as team number eight.
With several teams gathered at The Amazing Mat, Dr. Phil asks if there’s any romance a-brewin’ amongst the blind daters. There is not although Blair is accused of having “babed” Hayley, i.e. called her “babe”. He protests it was just that once. Although the new couples are so far largely a romantic bust, Matt takes the opportunity to propose to Ashley, who says yes. Bergen & Kurt, who had won the Leg’s date night, give it to the newly-engaged couple. Bergen tears up, explaining that he’s been wanting a relationship for a long time and hoped that by coming on the Race he would find it. He gets a big hug from Ashley and a general outpouring of love and support from the group.
Harley & Jonathan finally arrive in Thailand and are delayed yet again when their taxi driver stops for gas. They receive a 9:00 AM departure time, har har. They go for Tree and despite Jonathan’s fear of heights they only need a couple of attempts. Jonathan breaks another longtime barrier as he had long ago vowed never to don drag. Harley is more down for it, declaring that Harleesha is about to make an appearance. They complete the dance and as they travel to the Pit Stop interview about what a fantastic time they’ve had and that they are not ready to go home. They arrive at the Amazing Mat and to their surprise and our delight Phil informs them that this is a Non-Elimination Leg. They are still in the race but during the next Leg they will face a Speed Bump, a task that only they must perform.
Who Wore It Best?
I’ll say it right now, almost all of the guys looked surprisingly good in their ladyboy costumes, but if I had to pick a winner based on both in and out of drag it would be Blair. He’s very attractive regardless but after the task when he was back in his boy clothes with his paint still on? Holy balls, he was hot.
The Amazing Metrics
Philiminated With Extreme Prejudice: No one.
Hopelessly Lost But Making Good Time: Tyler & Laura, with the rookie mistake of leaving behind the Amazing Fanny Pack. Luckily it didn’t cost them too dearly.
Don’t Make Me Come Back There: Blair & Hayley, especially Hayley. We get it Hayley, Blair didn’t pick up enough food the first time through the zipline and he didn’t listen to you about it. You have to shut up about it and that includes passive-aggressively telling Blair you’re going to stop talking about it. Hash it out after the Leg but in the middle of it? Squash it.
Cruising: Mike & Rochelle. Team Truck Stop looked like a candidate for early Philimination with lackluster 5th and 8th place finishes in the first two Legs. But a solid performance here along with maintaining a really good attitude has led me to re-evaluate them. I’m gonna put Harley & Jonathan here too. They could easily have given up after their long flight delay. Instead they stayed positive and focused and challenged themselves (especially Jonathan) to power through. Rarely has an NEL been so deserved.
It was a rough week for Team Gay, with love foreclosed for Bergen & Kurt and Harley & Jonathan facing a Speed Bump. Will they be able to bounce back and stay in contention for the One! Million! Dollars!?