Anyway, the answer to my query comes right after the intro to Ep. 2. Instead of being sent to a hotel, teams are sent to some kind of work/sleep space and told to sleep in a cubicle. Looks uncomfortable. Probably worse for someone like Gord cause he's 6'7"+. This is also one way to chaperone the blind date teams. Also, there is no sequestering so all teams know who was eliminated.
It's an early morning rise as teams have to jump on the bullet train to head to Nagano, home of the 98 Winter Olympics. There they have to find a temple - teams are split into five different trains - which in the end has a Roadblock. Think Outside the Box. Oh man, that task is so simple. I had a Japanese puzzle box, used it to hide stuff from my parents so I'd be all over this is a second. Inside the box is a clue which they have to recite to a guard and then get a clue. And in a random clue is one date night special treat for the next pit stop.
Teams are confronted by a phalanx of samurai at the puzzle box location but it's actually very funny. Those guys don't scare anyone, especially the skinny dude around the corner. The drumming's cool, though. Three teams work on the box, all the dudes in the first three teams while Team Tuskegee is just getting on the train. Doesn't look good for them being almost 3 hours behind the first batch of teams. Especially when they make a selfie video claiming how they are going to win this and then their train leaves without them. It'd be funny if it wasn't so pathetic. It's all over but the singing.
Tyler gets his box done first - seemed to take them a long time - off to Nishi-Guchi-Zenko-Ji. More trains arrive, more teams take on the puzzle box. Next clue is a Detour: Chair or Share. In Share, teams must feed each other noodles. Phil calls it awkward, well the writers did, but nothing's really awkward about noodles, just slurp them up and move on. If your date can't handle how you eat, then that's a mark in the negative column cause eating's a big part of life. Don't understand the fan though. Seems like it was thrown in just to mess things up. In the end, it's not much of a task, and really, we're on the way to the pitstop already? Man that was probably one of the easiest and shortest TAR legs ever. At least for the noodle teams. They probably spent three - four hour tops on that leg, including transit. Remember I used the word pathetic earlier?
And even though Team Social are done first, the Lawyers asked their cab to wait (another Amazing Race rule), so they're racing for the pit stop while Laura and Tyler are running around searching for one. Meanwhile the final train arrives while the Olympians arrive at the Olympic Arena for the chair task. They each have to push their teammate around track in less than 3 minutes and 55 seconds. Sounds like a decent task for the Olympians cause she's a speed skater and he's a bobsledder (good at pushing things on ice). And nice story on how Aly watched the Olympics in Nagano and decided to be a speed skater. That bit was nice. Didn't make up for the lameness of the leg, but nice. And they get done with plenty of time to spare.
And the Lawyers are in first again. They are a smart team, they work together well and they know how to play the game. Still, it was a very easy leg. They win some kind of fitness prize which includes electronics, a gym membership, cooking classes or a year of delivered groceries. I'd take the groceries cause I can cook and I really have no need for a gym membership and fitness crapola. And who's the Japanese Flavour Flav wannabe at the mat?
Meanwhile, teams are still working on the puzzle box. New Kid partner Harley finishes and they get the date night. That would be nice break, some pampering at the pitstop although if it was a harder leg, it would mean more. There's a commercial break but the cliffhanger is whether Hayley will get the box open. You know, putting that in slo-mo isn't going to create drama cause in the end, there is no drama there. She'll get it open. And she does.
Teams hit the Detour and take different sides, the Olympians arrive in third. New Kid Team does well on the noodles while Twin Daters get a little pissy. Team JJ takes 4 tries on chair while Truckstop Love crashes. Well, he crashes, she's a roller derby girl. Still, like the previous leg, one Detour is a lot easier than the other one. Rochelle looks to be hurt, commercial time. Despite her pain, it's a non-event, doesn't change the race, doesn't put them out. And they switch.
More teams arrive at the mat, and I can't believe the New Kid team are the old guys. Only in your 40s?! Gord and Wayne (50+) would kick your butts on the race. Although, they are playing a decent game. And though Mike almost chokes to death on his first batch of noodles, Truckstop realize that switching was a great idea. Done quick, off to the mat. Still in the race. Final two teams are the strugglers and while they try to make it look close, we're all used to the editing. Besides, Tuskegee was way behind on the bullet train, at least an hour or more and they probably only made up a bit with the noodles. And way to show some personality with the breakdancing Blair.
Libby and CJ are eliminated. Not surprising, they were the weakest team out there. And this was a very weak episode, little drama, only a bit of personality. They could have fit both of these legs as the first 90 minute episodes with a lot more tougher editing. That would have been a lot more interesting.
Next week, Thailand, some drinking, some arguing. And hopefully, things will pick up after this lame leg. If not, we're into Family Season all over again.