Amazing Race

Episode Report Card
M. Giant: B | Grade It Now!
Playing Dirty

After the ads, we check in with the "first" flight, which has been chilling on the tarmac for an hour now. "We've had two big unlucky flights so far," Zev says. Margie says it'll be between the five of them. Unless, you know, something changes. You know what might change, and soon? I might institute a new episode grading system where the letter grade is inversely proportional to how long we have to spend watching the racers in airports and on airplanes. There's already been a commercial break and we're not even in Japan.

Somewhere over the Pacific, the passengers on the Qantas flight have just gotten word from the flight deck that they'll be the first flight to land in Tokyo, because apparently international air traffic control is being brought into the production loop this season. "Really excited!" Mallory sings into what looks like a cell phone camera. Breaking news or not, you'd have to be a very Amazing Cameraman indeed to want to get your HD rig out of the overhead bin on a transpacific flight.

In Hong Kong, the "first" flight is taking off into a predawn sky. "That means we get to spend more time together," Zev says to Justin. Because what they really missed the last time around was getting to hang out at the Elimination Station more.

A cut to Mt. Fuji (and a subtitle) notifies us that we're at long last in Tokyo, Japan. The Qantas flight lands in full daylight at 6:15 AM, right on schedule, and Mallory is the first off the plane with a resounding "WOOOOO!" She, Gary, and the other teams run for a parking garage that apparently adjoins the airport, because nobody heads for ground transportation. Gary/Mallory, the Globetrotters, and the sisters are the first to reach the clue box in front of the garage. The clue reads, "Get out of town," and Phil elaborates that they now have to drive themselves to Kamakura, find a large shrine called "Tsurugaoka Hachimangu" (thanks for nothing, closed captioning, you coward), and go to the Yabusame Dojo to find their next clue. The clue also instructs, "Ask the garage attendant for a car and one will appear." They mean a car will appear, not an attendant. The attendant's already there. He presses a button on the wall, and rotating racks with cars on them start turning, like a miniature Ferris wheel that you can back the car off of and drive around. This vending-machine style of auto delivery prompts Mallory to ask, "Are there chips in there, too?" Yes, but in Japan, they'll be orange-ketchup-wasabi jellybean-flavored. Gary and Mallory get into a car with him driving, and he backs out of the little metal cradle so they can begin their drive to Kamakura. Behind them, there's some confusion with the buttons, when Jen presses a button after Big Easy does, meaning the Globetrotters' car cycles back up out of reach -- while Flight Time futilely clicks the remote and his car chirps forlornly back up out of sight. This also means Jen and Kisha get their car first. "Oops," Jen interviews. Well, mistakes happen, and sometimes they benefit you and screw another team, and it's not like there needs to be a penalty every time that happens, right? Finally the Globetrotters get to shoehorn themselves into their tiny little car. "Too small. We big," Big Easy observes from behind the wheel. That's all the vocabulary that can fit in there with him, apparently. Gary and Mallory are not too far ahead that Gary can't look back and chuckle at Big Easy, "He looks like Fred Flintstone." Let's hope this leg doesn't call for visits to drive-in restaurants that serve giant dinosaur ribs.

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Amazing Race




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