The Amazing Race recap: The Final Frontier

In the season 23 finale, teams chase a rhino and and vending machine in Tokyo, then end up in Alaska. And the winners are....
Ep. 11 | Aired Dec 8, 2013

'I'M THE KING OF THE ZOO!' Jamal finds momentary glory.

CBS

Detour: Knock It Down or Call It Up? Leo and Jamal do not hesitate to live out their dream of competing on a Japanese game show -- they've been gunning for this ever since witnessing season 20's Bring That Chicken Home conveyor belt fiasco. But they struggle at first in the Human Bowling Ball game, which requires teams to score a strike by pushing each other down a bumpy red carpet and watching them flail in ridiculous garb. So it's a pretty apt metaphor for what takes place on a Hollywood red carpet, too.

Suddenly, the guys remember what "bowling" means and come to the brilliant realization that going "right down the middle" instead of down the far left or far right side might be a good idea. Really, really solid wild guess there by Leo and Jamal. They finally strike, the crazy announcer guy gets his merry-go-round hug (maybe this entire segment is also another Japanese game show in which this guy is competing to see how many Americans he can get to twirl him around), then the Afghanimals cunningly put their costumes back so as to suggest to later racers that they were never there.

Hilariously, Tim keeps his bowling costume on until the end of this leg, even though it's clear the teams don't need to. Tim for MVP! Then, now, and forever.

Pinky and her punching bag -- a.k.a. Marie and Tim a.k.a. 60 and 40 -- are ditched by the get-along gang once Travis, Nicole, Jason, and Amy realize they're in Kinuta Park and can therefore peel off (their clothes) and Call It Up instead. Amy's powerful two buoys threaten to keep her afloat once she's in the goldfish-swarming phone booth, but she soldiers on, relaxes her shoulders, and submerges like a champion Nemo to find the buttons. Meanwhile, Nicole might be the only one who thinks Travis looks super sexy in his orange speedo and little fish cap. But overall, the absurd visual delights on this Tokyo leg do not disappoint.

It's unclear whether Nicole included the part of the phone message that was in Japanese (Wasabi taberu -- let's eat!) along with "Welcome to Tokyo" -- I was kind of hoping she didn't, and they'd get penalized. But maybe it was just weird editing. Everyone's through to the Road Block without a hitch.

The RoboDocs do both point out how strange it is for machines like them to be utilizing their facial expression functions. "It put a smile on my face," says Travis re: the "Welcome to Tokyo" message -- and Nicole says she gave the clue-bearer "my big smile" and hoped for the best. Yuck! Since when is a big smile her best commodity? Let's just move on before I think too hard about what might be another commodity beyond self-righteousness Nicole has to offer. Because I probably can't. This paragraph is boring me to death, too. I'm sorry!

NEXT: Marie the Mechanical Marvel -- new children's toy?


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