The teams are sent to Osaka, Japan. TK and Rachel leave in first place but rely on a hotel travel desk (it appears) to reserve their tickets. The desk seems to confuse "leaving for Osaka first" with "getting to Osaka first," and they wind up with a flight with two connections. The other three teams do their research on the internet or at the airport, so they get a flight that leaves a little later but only connects once. As a result, TK and Rachel are barely seen in the episode, so far behind are they. In Japan, the Roadblock sends Jen, Christina, and Nick into cabs they have to drive themselves, with confusing and obviously frustrating results. Nate and Jen and Ron and Christina are running neck-and-neck, with Don and Nick a little behind, for the rest of the leg. The Detour asks the teams to choose between smelling all the flowers in a mostly-artificial-flower shop to find isolated real flowers and using cell phones to control soccer-playing robots. (No, I am not on any medication, thank you.) Nate and Jen and Ron and Chris choose the flowers, while Nick coaches his grandfather through the finer points of robot fighting. Ultimately, cab problems and Chris's ability to speak Japanese result in Ron and Chris eking out the win over Nate and Jen, to Jen's continuing frustration. And also to my terror that this is a "they never come in first...until the last leg!" storyline, which will make me cry. When TK and Rachel finally get to Osaka, they run quickly through the tasks in the dark as they talk lovingly about their relationship in voice-over, and they're really making it look like an elimination. But of course, it isn't, so next week, TK and Rachel start out three hours behind and face the Speed Bump. Dun!
Previously on So Long And Tanks For All The Propane: TK and Rachel rode their mellow hippie-dom to the front of the pack, while Jen and Nate found a way to fight over reading the newspaper and Ron morphed back into Bad Dad and yelled at Christina maybe more than ever. Kynt and Vyxsin decided to Yield -- I mean, U-Turn -- Nick and Don, a plan flawed only by the fact that Nick and Don were ahead of them. When the U-Turning was in vain and Jen turned out to be more of a bad-ass with a few tanks of propane than you might think, the Goths found themselves stuffed into a coffin and hustled out of the race, where they will return to their daring lives of eyeliner and pink cowboy hats. They didn't mind being eliminated. They're used to society's slings and arrows. And they do not care, for they are nonconformists, and not just because they're thirty-year-olds trying to hang out in a culture of teenagers. And now: four teams left. Who will be eliminated...next?
Credits. Damn, Ari and Staella. I feel like you were on, like, Amazing Race: Mesozoic Era or something. It's like you were never here.
An elephant! Dancing! A yoga dude totally stolen from the last episode's unused B-roll! We are in Mumbai, a city that, as the show portrays it, is like Times Square everywhere all the time, and now I have hives just from the thought. And here is Phil at Bandra Fort, where the entrance seems to have graffiti on it, which really makes me wonder what kind of slack-ass warriors hung out here and/or what kind of slack-ass security guards they have today. Phil's shirt is exactly the same stone color as the...well, stones...so that's not a great choice, but other than that, Phil is looking hale and hearty as we approach the final legs. Phil wonders whether TK and Rachel's "ability to stay calm" will keep them in the lead, and whether "senior citizen Don" can keep up with Nicolas. Somewhere, Don just poked a wizened finger into the air. You know the one.
1:25 PM. TK: "Oh, 'fly to Osaka, Japaaaaan.'" He hasn't been this excited since he successfully applied for that Women's Studies seminar. Phil explains that they will head to Kishiwada Castle and search for their next clue. The rip-and-read chat is Rachel explaining that self-confidence is a problem, but that with TK, she doesn't have "any fears." (Hello, Entertainment Weekly. The word was indeed "fears," and it actually does make sense in context, so...maybe a little less conspiracy-theory hysteria next week? The internet has enough of that as it is.) They decide to look for internet access somewhere. But instead of getting on the internet, they go to what looks like a hotel travel desk and tell the guy they need to go to Osaka "the fastest possible way." I'm not sure hotel travel desks are really the best place to do this kind of thing. Travel agencies, yes. The airport, yes. Murray, who's working the Marriott desk all alone in the middle of the afternoon? This, I do not know about.
1:33 PM. Nick and Don. Nick interviews that being "the leader" of his team is "a big responsibility," and while you might be inclined to question calling yourself the leader of your grandfather, Don basically agrees that he feels pressure to "keep up" with Nick, a task that's clearly getting to him. As they get a taxi to the airport, Nick interviews that while his grandfather can't run all over the place like a kid in his twenties, he's doing a great job on the race anyway. Wow, Nick is really folded up in that cab, poor tall thing. In the cab, Don says that during his time in the service (between his careers in poster-hanging and brick-placing and that time he wrestled a hippo in Zambia), he wanted to go to Japan, so this is pretty cool for him. Nick is wearing his dad's promotional shirt again. Someone asked this week whether maybe Nick was Robbie Fulks's stepson, to which the inimitable Jane Wiedlin's Boyfriend offered, "That person has never seen a picture of Robbie Fulks. Because if Nick is his stepson, Nick's mom really has a type." Because Nick looks just like Nick's shirt, is the thing.