“The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business” recap (18.3): “We had a lot of evil spirits, apparently”

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This week’s episode of The Amazing Race began as the teams disembarked from a train to Sydney to take a flight to Tokyo. There were two choices: take a direct flight to Tokyo arriving at 6:15 or take a flight with a connection in Hong Kong arriving 15 minutes earlier. Although the connecting flight was riskier, five teams (including Mel and Mike) decided to take the flight through Hong Kong. Realizing that they comprised one of the least athletic teams in the race, Mel and Mike decided to take the risk of the connecting flight to shave 15 minutes off. After all: No risk, no reward.

But then sometimes you take a risk, and you still get bupkis. The connecting flight had engine problems and was delayed 90 minutes in Hong Kong. Said Mike, “It was a dog fight for last.”

The teams picked up miniature Japanese cars, which the Globetrotters could barely fit into, and drove through the crowded streets of Tokyo to the Roadblock Challenge. Jaime and Cara accidentally sideswiped the car of a Japanese man, who failed to be mesmerized by their flowing red hair and offers of cash, and instead called the cops. As the other teams raced ahead, Jaime and Cara were left in last place.

The Roadblock required one member of each team to dress up like a samurai, do a dance and then shoot an arrow at a target from a spinning wooden horse while howling, “Yoiiiiii!” “Do we have to make that noise?” asked Jen. A judge responded in the affirmative. The first team to complete the Roadblock challenge was Kisha and Jen, and then it was onto the Detour, where the teams had to pick between two torturous challenges.

I have no idea who comes up with these challenges, but one choice was to dress up in adult diapers and search for a toy frog in a freezing mud pit while onlookers hurled mud at the contestants. Margie of the mother/son team of Margie and Luke stated the obvious as she was wading on all fours in the mud pit, “This is ridiculous.” The other choice was to stand under a waterfall with 45 degree water for a minute. Zev and Justin made it out of the mud pit to the pit stop first to their third first place finish.

Meanwhile, Jaime and Cara, delayed by the car accident and the irate Japanese man with the broken car mirror, were still on their way to the Detour.

The mud pit wasn’t the only thing dirty in this episode. When Ron and Christina arrived at the pit stop in fourth place after the third place Globetrotters, Christina told Phil that the Globetrotters had hidden one of their fannypacks, which delayed them significantly. Phil decided to hit the Globetrotters with a thirty minute penalty, which put Ron and Christina in third place. Kisha and Jen arrived next in fourth place.

As the cheerleaders Jaime and Cara finally arrived at the mud pit, Mike told the struggling Mel to stop digging around the cold and to get medical attention. They climbed into an emergency vehicle, where Mel was treated for hypothermia. Jaime and Cara found the frog quickly and headed towards the pit stop, believing they were in last place. They were shocked to discover that they were still in the running.

After Mel and Mike struggled to the finish line, they were told they were eliminated. This did not seem to bother either of them, as the experience in the mud pit only seemed to strengthen the bond between father and son. “He cared more about me than he cared about the race,” said Mel. After a pause, he continued, “Maybe I’ll be back on my walker.”

The Amazing Race airs Sunday nights on CBS.

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