As you might have expected, TK and Rachel's big lag falls away as the teams make their way to Taiwan. Ron and Chris jump out ahead as a result of what certainly appears to be Chris successfully convincing a ticket agent to deny tickets to the other teams, leaving TK and Rachel, Nick and Don, and Nate and Jen in a big bunch once the teams get where they're going. In fact, TK and Rachel jump out ahead of the other teams in the group at a Roadblock featuring an underwater plunge, so they have time to run off and do a thoroughly unchallenging Speed Bump and still be right in the hunt as the teams head for a Detour offering a choice between a fire-lighting task that looks kind of complicated and a bumpy-rock-walking task that just seems vaguely uncomfortable. Naturally, everyone goes with the bumpy rocks, and Ron and Chris slide into first place with little difficulty. TK and Rachel pass Nick and Don at the bumpy rocks, and they finish second.
Have we mentioned it's Jen's birthday? It is. And all day, she makes these little "I can't believe you're being so mean to me on my birthday" noises as she and Nate return to bickering, arguing, bitchy form. So it's them and Nick and Don battling it out at the finish line, and to the absolute shock of everyone who's been waiting for their inevitably victory through clenched teeth, Nate and Jen do not finish third. They finish fourth, and they are eliminated, and they are definitely not going to win, and I recommend that you repeat that to yourself many, many times, because I'm here to tell you -- it won't get any less great. And that's not to even mention how great it is to watch a guy as old as Don go into the final three, or how great it is to watch a kid like Nick get a payoff for carrying two backpacks all the way around the world, or how great it is that Nate and Jen seem, in part, to be booted on account of their inability to stop arguing and think through a problem. Rarely does a team that sucks get tossed because they suck, but here it is. And it kind of seems like they might be breaking up at the end, but you know what? I doubt it.
Warm up for the finale, folks.
Previously on Spoilers And Foilers And Phil, Oh My: You may not know it, but there was a spoiler going around for the last couple of weeks that predicted an outcome so horrifying that many were tempted to stop watching, including me, which is why the last three recaps were completed by my clone, Miss Salli, who takes over any show when I believe my heart is about to be broken. She is also in charge of pretending to care about PBS documentaries by Ken Burns. I won't tell you what the spoiler said, but as you can see, I am back. Not that she'd tell you the truth if I weren't.
In other news, the teams went from India to Japan, with TK and Rachel striking out (so to speak) on their own and ending up sucking several hours' worth of jet fumes as a result. Don and his old-man bones started to get a little more seriously tired, and Nick mastered the Two-Backpack Run, because his seventy-year-old grandfather was almost as reluctant to tote his own gear as Flo. Her legacy of goldbricking is tarnished! Nate and Jen once again wanted desperately to come in first, and they were once again denied -- this time by a late-surging Chris and Ron, who have been doing a lot better since Ron stopped bouncing basketballs off her head. TK and Rachel wound up about three hours behind the pack, but they avoided elimination. Instead, they were promised a Speed Bump during this next leg that would force them to play a little harder to avoid coming in last. Four teams left. Three essentially don't suck. What are the odds? Oh, reality television, you fickle bastard. "Who will be eliminated...tonight?" Aw! Old-timey introduction! Yea Verily, Phille Has Blowne The Show's Wee Wadde.
Credits. I barely remember Shana and Jennifer. It's like they were on three seasons ago. I feel like they lost on the same night as John Kerry. I feel like one of their tasks was digging up dinosaur bones that were still warm. [BOMP.]
Back from commercials, we are in Osaka, Japan. Phil welcomes us back to Tempozan Park, where the teams checked in for the last pit stop. It has a Ferris wheel, which can only be associated with happiness and good cheer...unless you've seen Atonement. Or Big. Obviously, Phil wonders whether TK and Rachel can make up their three-hour drag (no pun intended), and further wonders which of these four teams will not be making it into the final three.
HA HA HA!
7:02 AM. Ron and Christina. I am more tired of Ron's parade of "Who's Your Daddy?" shirts at this point than I ever was of any hat. (Olde Schoole Hatte Joke! For Olde-Tymers!) Because, really, "Who's Your Daddy?" was half-funny exactly once, and after that, it became not funny nine times, so Ron's account is running a serious deficit. The clue tells them to take a taxi to "the building with a hole in it" and find the Floating Garden. Phil explains that this clue should lead them to the Umeda Sky Building, which has the aforementioned "hole in it." (Awesomely, the first time I watched this, I missed the audio and wrote down the name of the building, from the on-screen caption, as the "Umedasky Building," and I was thinking, "Man, 'Umedasky' doesn't sound like a very Japanese name; I wonder what's up with that." I AM A GENIUS.) Based on the pictures, I'm not sure I think that building has a hole in it so much as it has a decorative feature with a hole in it, but...all right. Once they get there, they have to figure out that the "floating garden" is a rooftop observatory where the clue box is located. Ron and Chris get a cab, and as they get going, she talks about how proud she is of the fact that her father has stopped berating her. On the one hand, relatively speaking, I agree with her. On the other hand, it's...kind of depressing how all she wants is a break from the screaming. She says it's all about progress, though, and she knows her dad is genuinely trying. "This is the race to the final three," Christina says somberly in the cab, and Ron unfortunately does not respond with "That's so clichéd."
7:15 AM. Nate and Jen. They get in a cab, and Jen announces that it is her birthday.