From Taiwan, the teams are immediately told to fly to their final city of Anchorage. Which sort of makes it feel like they left off the last half a leg, but okay. In Anchorage, they first have to go to a store where they're supposed to pick up their clue and some outdoor gear. Ron and Chris get hold of the lead, while tragic clue-non-reading leads Nick and Don to ignore the "outdoor gear" part of the stuff they're supposed to pick up at the outdoor-gear store, and they wind up lagging for the rest of the leg. The Detour requires the teams to pick between hunting through a tank full of live, pinching crabs and cutting open a bunch of disgusting fish, and when the Detour is done, Ron and Chris are still in the lead, followed by TK and Rachel and Nick and Don. The teams take a speedboat ride, followed by an ice-wall climb that is neither Detour nor Roadblock; it's just kind of there, in the middle of the leg, thumbing its nose. When the ice-wall thing is done, Ron and Chris are still in the lead, then TK and Rachel and Nick and Don. And then...oh, and then. The teams encounter the most diabolically complicated puzzle-style Roadblock in the show's history. While the race's puzzles have usually not been puzzles so much as dumb popularity contests and memory games where they wind up guessing and guessing until they get it right, this one is really hard, and involves gathering a collection of objects that fit a very elaborate set of logical requirements (as one of my pals said, it's like a GRE logic problem). Christina gets started first, and then Rachel, and then Nick. Ultimately, it is Rachel who remains calm and logical and thinks her way through what she's doing enough to finally come up with the right answer. She and TK look like they might lose it in the cab race with Chris and Ron between there and the finish line, since Chris finishes (it appears) not that far behind her. But in the end, it is TK and Rachel indeed, running up to the mat just as excited as they've been about every good thing that's happened to them. It's a surprisingly satisfying finish, and all three of the teams seem to be in such a good place relationship-wise that it almost makes up for the heartbreak of not all of them being able to win.
Previously on The Amazing Race: The whole season. The donkeys, the chickens, the propane tanks, the pink hair, the hernia, the yelling, the blah bling bloo, and ultimately, the city of Taipei and the elimination of Nate and Jen, which was so overdue that fines were piling up. Fudge! Wow, the previouslys really make me ponder how much it would have sucked to spend this whole season with Ari and Staella. Gross. Incidentally, the best part of the previouslys, by far, is the affectionate montage of Don explaining that he's done practically everything in his nearly seventy years of life, short of an emergency tracheotomy and a drag show. And I'm not so sure about the drag show. Anyhoo, there are three teams left, and this is your finale. Who will win one million dollars...tonight?
Credits. Did you get an autographed picture of Kynt and Vyxsin? Didja? Didja? Do you want one? Did you get one? [BOMP.]
Commercials. You guys, I wouldn't touch another season of Big Brother with latex gloves and a fifty-foot shovel. You could promise me that they would soak every episode in Purell before I watched it, and I still wouldn't. They could cast Yul, Dr. Drew, and Patton Oswalt, and I still wouldn't. Are we clear? Oh, good.
It is night in Taipei, which Phil says is a "burgeoning city" (doesn't he call half the cities they visit "burgeoning"?), and where the teams stopped most recently. Tenth pit stop! Racearoundtheworld! And then, as if by magic, it is morning.
9:47 AM. It is time for lead team Ron and Christina to leave. The clue tells them to fly to the "final destination city" of Anchorage, Alaska. So, compared to previous seasons, they're just kind of chopping off what would normally be the end of the race after the run through Alaska. Phil says this is more than a 4500-mile trek. When they arrive, they'll have to get to an "outdoor adventure store" called Sixth Avenue Outfitters, where they'll pick up "necessary gear" and a clue. Christina counts out their $392 (I have this weird feeling that these numbers appear to the producers while they float through dreamlike hazes, because otherwise, the logic of $392 escapes me), and they leave. As they get in a cab, Christina comments again on how she and her dad are "stronger and smarter" than everyone else. Better hope so, lady. As I look at them together, I just want to tell future racers: slogan shirts are okay, but please -- just one. One slogan shirt. And if your slogan happens to be a question, please put a question mark at the end of it, rather than an exclamation point, or else I will be distracted by the constant desire to copyedit your shirt, which is not good.