Jennifer Parker and Nathan Hagstrom cut from 'The Amazing Race 12'
By Christopher Rocchio, 01/14/2008
Jennifer Parker and Nathan Hagstrom opted to take public transportation instead of a taxi, a decision that contributed to the constantly bickering "Dating Couple" from California to become the eighth team eliminated from The Amazing Race's twelfth season during last night's broadcast of the CBS reality series.
"I really don't know what Nate and I are going to do," said Jen following her team's ouster. "We just really have to see what the future holds for us... I think that we killed our relationship on the way. We weren't strong enough to heal and finish the race. We just frickin' killed ourselves during it Nate!"
"We didn't even focus on our relationship," she continued. "All we cared about was the race!"
"Darn it!" said an emotional Nathan through tears.
The Amazing Race 12's tenth and penultimate episode began with the four remaining teams leaving Tempozan Park in Osaka, Japan, which served as the ninth leg's Pit Stop and required the teams take a mandatory rest period.
"Father/Daughter" team Ronald and Christina Hsu -- the first team to reach the race's ninth Pit Stop -- were the first to depart at 7:02AM. Ron and Christina opened their clue and learned they needed to travel by taxi to the Floating Garden at the "building with a hole in it," the Umeda Sky Building. Once there, they had to figure out that the Floating Garden is an observatory located on the roof.
Nathan and Jen were the second team to depart the Pit Stop at 7:15AM, followed closely by "Grandfather/Grandson" team Donald Jerousek and Nicolas Fulks at 7:21AM. As they left the Pit Stop, Jen revealed it was her birthday. All three teams arrived at the Umeda Sky Building almost simultaneously, and were bummed to learn it didn't open until 10AM -- meaning it was basically a bunching point that would allow "Newly Dating Couple" TK Erwin and Rachel Rosales to catch up.
TK and Rachel were the last team to reach the ninth leg's Pit Stop, which was the course's second of two non-elimination legs. Instead of going home or being "marked for elimination" -- a non-elimination leg penalty used during the show's last two seasons -- TK and Rachel faced a Speed Bump, a task they would face during the upcoming leg that only they would have to complete.
"I promise you that there's going to be no quit until we get to the Pit Stop," commented TK as he and Rachel were the last team to depart the previous leg's Pit Stop at 10:18AM, just as the other three teams were taking the elevator up to the Umeda Sky Building's observatory.
Opening the clue, the three teams discovered they would be flying more than 1,000 miles to the island of Taipei, Taiwan. When they landed, they would have to take a taxi to Taipei Main Station. Ron and Christina, Nathan and Jen and Nick and Don all departed for the airport as TK and Rachel arrived at the Umeda Sky Building and were quickly slowed.
"What the hell is a floating garden?" wondered TK as he and Rachel searched the ground. TK eventually suggested they take the elevator up to the observatory, but Rachel was reluctant.
"This all feels wrong," she told TK. Once they reached the observatory, TK and Rachel even walked past the clue box at least once before finding it.
"Thank God we didn't go back down," commented TK as they embarked for the airport.
At the Kansai International Airport, Ron and Christina learned of an EVA Air flight that departed Osaka at 1PM and eagerly tried book tickets on the flight as a nearby Nathan and Jen also jockeyed for position. Ron and Christina were able to secure tickets before Christina ensured Nathan and Jen wouldn't be able to do the same.
"If there are other requests, can you please tell them it's full?" Christina asked the agent, who obliged.
"We have no seats anymore," the agent then told a surprised Nathan and Jen, who pleaded that the agent not listen to Christina.
"You can't listen to them!" shouted Nathan, who began to bicker with Jen when he accused of her monopolizing their time with the agent and hindering their chances of booking seats on another flight. Jen complained Nathan was being mean to her on her birthday.
Nick and Don initially booked seats on a 1:35PM flight on Air Japan, then learned of a 1:15PM flight via China Air, which they booked. Nathan and Jen also booked seats on the 1:15PM China Air flight.
Ron and Christina's flight touched down in Taipei at 2:51PM, while the second flight carrying Nathan and Jen and Nick and Don landed at 3:05PM. Thinking that TK and Rachel were most likely still in Osaka, Nathan and Jen and Nick and Don waited in the long immigration line. Much to their surprise, TK and Rachel were already in the immigration line ahead of them (It was never revealed what flight TK and Rachel took from Osaka to Taipei).
"It was gut wrenching," commented Jen. "I am in utter shock... I cannot believe that they're here. It makes me sick."
Ron and Christina were the first to arrive at Taipei Main Station, and their clue instructed them to travel by high speed rail to the city of Taichung, where they would then travel by taxi to the town of Jiji and find Acrobatics Jeep. Ron and Christina took the first available train to Taichung, while Nathan and Jen, Nick and Don, and TK and Rachel all shared a subsequent train to the city.
Ron and Christina were the first to arrive at Acrobatics Jeep, where they were met by a Roadblock. In this Roadblock, one team member had to become a passenger in a car driven by a professional stunt driver, who would maneuver the vehicle onto a giant teeter-totter and then rock back and forth 25 feet above the ground. Then, the team member would move into an amphibious car and while holding their breath, they would be driven underwater for 17 seconds.
Ron was weary at first but easily completed the Roadblock and opening their next clue, he and Christina learned they had to take the train back to Taipei and make their way to GK Tea House. Once there, they had to order and drink a cup of tea. Only by drinking their tea would their next clue be revealed on the bottom of the cup. Ron and Christina initially thought they'd miss the 7:16PM train back to Taipei, but were able to just barely catch it.
While Nathan and Jen were the first to exit the train -- the duo couldn't find a cab quickly enough -- and TK and Rachel grabbed second place on the way to Acrobatics Jeep. TK and Rachel were the first arrive at the Roadblock with Nathan and Jen in third and Nick and Don in last.
Rachel, Nathan and Don all completed the Roadblock in that order -- and it was a good thing Rachel went first -- as she and TK were immediately met by their Speed Bump task following the Roadblock. In this Speed Bump, the pair had to travel just over one mile to He-Ping and take part in a traditional Chinese ritual that takes place annually during the Lantern Festival. First, they had to put on safety suits to make a harrowing dash through a gauntlet of fireworks which were being aimed right at them. Then, in a local custom in Jiji, they had to be doused with water.
While TK and Rachel completed the Speed Bump, Nick and Don and Nathan and Jen returned to the train station at 7:30PM, but were told it was too late for them to catch the 7:36PM train because it was too close to departure, meaning they'd have to wait for the 8PM train.
"I'm praying they don't get on this train," said a visibly stressed out Jen about TK and Rachel. Much to her chagrin, TK and Rachel were able to catch the 8PM train, basically creating a three-way tie for second place.
"We did it!" celebrated TK. "We still have a chance."
Ron and Christina arrived at GK Tea House, ordered and drank their hot cups of tea and found their next clue, which was written in Chinese on the bottom of the cups. Christina's knowledge of Chinese paid-off as she and Ron didn't need to have the clue translated and knew it instructed them to travel to the Gong Guan Night Market and find a clown who would hand them their next clue.
Nathan and Jen, TK and Rachel and Nick and Don all exited the train station and hailed cabs to take them to the tea house as Ron and Christina easily found the Night Market and received their next clue from a clown, which revealed a Detour where they'd have to choose between "Fire" or "Earth."
In "Fire," teams had to make their way to Zhongzheng Park to participate in a mystical Chinese ritual by writing messages of luck -- good or bad -- on lanterns. They had to burn "spirit money" under the lanterns, filling them with hot air that would lift the lanterns into the sky and carry their messages to the spirits above. Once a team sent 20 sky lanterns into the air, they would receive their next clue. In "Earth," teams had to make their way to Youth Park to participate in a local custom used to reduce stress. Teams had to take off their shoes and, with their bare feet, walk down a 220-foot path made of jagged stones, turn around and walk back.
Ron and Christina chose "Earth" and began to walk across the stones, with Ron gushing about how his calloused feet made it the perfect Detour task for him. Christina wasn't as enthused, but the two completed the task and received their next clue, instructing them to travel to the next Pit Stop at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Plaza. Ron and Christina were the first team to reach the tenth leg's Pit Stop, ensuring them a spot in the final leg.
Nick and Don, TK and Rachel and Nathan and Jen all downed their tea, found the clown and left for Youth Park as they all chose the "Earth" Detour task. While Nick and Don and TK and Rachel took the more logical approach to reaching the park by hailing cabs, Nathan and Jen listened to a local who suggested they take the subway that connected to a bus due to heavy traffic.
While Nathan openly mentioned several times that he thought it might be quicker to just take a cab before they took the subway, Jen insisted on publkic transportation. Once they were above ground and waited for the bus to arrive, Nathan again suggested they take a cab instead of the bus.
"You need to step up and make the decisions right now. You're the man," instructed Jen, even though she was the one who had been making the decisions up until that point.
"Honestly Jen I can't stand you. All you do is freak out," replied Nathan. "You're the one that got us into this mess. You're the one who said, 'Subway, subway, subway!'"
The two then got on the bus and continued to bicker.
"You're such a poor teammate," Nathan told Jen.
"Thanks a lot for ruining my frickin' birthday," she responded.
At the "Earth" Detour task, TK and Rachel completed it just ahead of Nick and Don, and -- after struggling to find a cab driver who spoke English -- both teams made their way to the Pit Stop.
"There's a good chance we're ahead of Nathan and Jen right now," correctly stated Nick.
TK and Rachel were the second team to reach the Pit Stop -- able to overcome their Speed Bump penalty -- followed by Nick and Don, who claimed the third and final spot on the course's last leg.
Nathan and Jen completed the "Earth" Detour task and left for the Pit Stop.
"I don't want to get eliminated. I don't want to get eliminated," said Jen.
It didn't matter how many times she said it, as Nathan and Jen were the last team to reach the Pit Stop and thus were booted from the competition.
"We did the best we could and we fought a lot," said Nathan as he stood on the mat with Jen. "It was tough on us. We definitely wanted to win more than anything -- more than anything we wanted to win."
"Nate and I have learned a lot about each other and our relationship," added Jen. "It's been a really big growing experience for us."
The Amazing Race's twelfth-season finale broadcast will air Sunday, January 20 at 8PM ET/PT on CBS.
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