'The Amazing Race 12's TK Erwin and Rachel Rosales stay alive
By Christopher Rocchio, 01/07/2008
An earlier flight departure doesn't always guarantee a faster arrival, a valuable lesson "Newly Dating Couple" TK Erwin and Rachel Rosales thought they learned the hard way as the were the last team to arrive at the ninth leg's Pit Stop -- only to discover it was The Amazing Race's second twelfth season non-elimination leg.
Instead of going home or being "marked for elimination" -- a non-elimination leg penalty used during the show's previous two seasons -- TK and Rachel will now have to overcome a Speed Bump, a task they'll face during the upcoming tenth leg that only they'll have to complete.
"Knowing that there are teams out in front of us and that we really are on the chopping block now, we're definitely going to try our damndest to catch-up to the other teams and beat them," commented TK.
The Amazing Race 12's ninth episode began with the four remaining teams leaving Bandra Fort in Mumbai, India, which served as the eighth leg's Pit Stop and required the teams take a mandatory rest period.
TK and Rachel -- the first team to reach the race's eighth Pit Stop -- were the first to depart at 1:25PM. TK and Rachel opened their clue and learned they needed to fly almost 4,000 miles to Osaka, Japan. Once they landed, they had to travel by taxi to Kishiwada Castle and search the grounds for their next clue.
While "Grandfather/Grandson" team Donald Jerousek and Nicolas Fulks -- the next team to depart the Pit Stop at 1:33PM -- opted to head straight to the airport, TK and Rachel instead went to a local hotel with the hopes of booking a faster flight via the Internet and the help of a travel agent.
"We need to get to Osaka, Japan the fastest possible way," TK told the agent. "So we want the one that gets into Osaka earliest."
An agent informed the two that the earliest flight for Osaka departed Mumbai at 6:55PM. TK made sure it was the earliest possible flight, and apparently satisfied, purchased the tickets with Rachel.
"It's a good flight," said TK. "Unless there's something that's not on the Internet, I think we're doing alright."
"Father/Daughter" team Ronald and Christina Hsu departed the Pit Stop at 1:44PM and took a cab to the Foreign Exchange Bureau to book tickets to Osaka. "Dating Couple" Jennifer Parker and Nathan Hagstrom -- the last team to depart the Pit Stop -- left at 2:38PM and went to the airport.
At the airport, Nick and Don discovered an Air India flight leaving Mumbai for Osaka at 8:30PM, and Ron and Christina also found the flight. Both teams, along with Nathan and Jen, booked tickets on the 8:30PM flight.
Since they were the first to depart the Pit Stop, TK and Rachel didn't have visual contact with any of the other teams before their flight departed Mumbai. It was scheduled to connect through New Delhi and Beijing before touching down in Osaka.
"Something just doesn't feel right about this," commented TK as their flight landed in New Deli. "We could be way out in front or we could be dead last. You just never know."
As they boarded the 8:30PM flight to Osaka, which connected through Hong Kong, the three other teams began to wonder where TK and Rachel were on the course.
"They could be off doing something stupid right now," Nathan told Jen when she assumed TK and Rachel had booked a better flight.
The Air India flight carrying Nathan and Jen, Ron and Christina and Nick and Don was the first to arrive in Osaka, landing at 2:30PM.
The three teams all grabbed cabs and traveled to Kishiwada Castle, with Nathan and Jen having a slight lead over Ron and Christina while Nick and Don were in third. Nathan and Jen opened their next clue and discovered they needed to travel by taxi to the subway station known as JR Kanjosan Noda Station, where a cleaning man would hand them their next clue.
On the way to the station, both Jen and Christina commented how hectic the traffic looked and confusing the streets were, thankful they were traveling via cab and not driving themselves. At the station, the teams received their clue and were met by a Roadblock.
In this Roadblock, one team member had to put on a hat and gloves and work as local cabbies, transporting a Japanese couple five miles through a maze of confusing, often one way streets to a specified address. They could not invite a local to lead them or join them in the car and the couple could not help them. Upon arrival at the correct address, the couple would hand them their next clue. However, the drivers would also have to make their way back to their teammate before they read what was inside.
Jen decided to do the Roadblock, and so did Christina since she spent six months studying in Japan and had a grasp of the language. Nick also decided to do the Roadblock upon arrival since Don's near 69-year-old body was starting to tire. Due to her knowledge of the language Christina immediately knew she was going to Osaka Center Post Office, while Jen and Nick had to ask a local where they were going.
On the road all three drivers struggled, mostly because the one-way streets prevented them from taking the most direct route. Jen was the first to drop-off her passengers, and Christina followed shortly thereafter thanks to her clever plan of following a mail truck. Both also made it back to the station, with Jen edging out Christina.
Nathan and Jen opened their next clue and learned they needed to travel by taxi to Kita-mido Temple, a 16th Century Buddhist temple.
"[We] might actually be first today," excitedly commented Nathan.
Ron and Christina also opened the clue, and Don wondered what was taking Nick so long. The problem was that Nick took a few wrong turns on his way back to the station and got lost.
"Only Nick is out there to the best of my knowledge," opined Don. "This could really cost us."
However Don was unaware that TK and Rachel's flight was only now just touching down in Osaka.
"It feels like we're definitely back on the race track," commented TK as he and Rachel got in a cab on the way to Kishiwada Castle. "Whether we're behind or ahead, it feels good to be here."
Nick eventually found the station and he and Don grabbed a cab and set out for the temple.
"They left 10 minutes ago," Don told Nick about the other two teams once his grandson arrived.
Nathan and Jen were the first to arrive at the temple and were met by a Detour, where they had to choose between "Sense of Touch" or "Sense of Smell."
In "Sense of Touch," teams had to make their way on foot to the Shimojima Building. Once there, they had to use miniature robots -- which are controlled by cell phones -- to play a game of soccer against two robotic defenders. Once each team member had scored a goal the referee would give them their next clue. Accurately controlling the mechanical creatures could become frustrating, and teams without a delicate sense of touch could wind up costing themselves precious time.
In "Sense of Smell," teams had to make their way to the Saera Flower Shop, where only artificial flowers were sold. Once there, they had to use their noses -- and only their noses -- to identify one real flower hidden among thousands of artificial ones in the two story flower shop. Once they found a real flower, the shop owner would give them their next clue. Only the real flowers had a scent, and teams who could put their olfactory senses to good use could quickly sniff-out a winner.
Both Nathan and Jen and Ron and Christina decided to do "Sense of Smell," and both were initially blown away by the sheer number of fake flowers in the shop once they arrived. With Nathan and Jen -- who said she has "the nose of a bloodhound" -- searching on the shop's first floor, Ron and Christina decided to start on the second floor as to not retrace Nathan and Jen's steps.
Nick and Don arrived at the Detour and opted for "Sense of Touch" even though Don freely admitted he's not really a wiz when it comes to technology. Don immediately struggled and so did Nick until he was able to score his first goal and focus all of his attention on helping Don.
Meanwhile, TK and Rachel continued to play catch-up even though they had no real way of knowing it.
"We have absolutely no idea whether we're completely behind by half a day or if we're out in front," said TK. "We have no idea... We haven't seen another team since the Pit Stop."
Back at the flower shop Jen was getting "lightheaded" due to all of the smelling and suggested they try the second floor. They were once again surprised to see the number of flowers facing them.
"This is a mistake," said Jen. "We should have done the other one."
Nathan and Jen eventually found a real flower and opened their next clue, which instructed them to take a taxi to Tempozan Park -- named after Mount Tempo, Japan's lowest mountain -- which was serving as the ninth leg's Pit Stop. Ron and Christina found a real flower shortly after Nathan and Jen and also embarked for the park.
Despite their strong desire to finally finish a leg in first, Nathan and Jen struggled to find a taxi driver who knew how to find the park and -- not surprisingly -- they bickered with each other. Christina's Japanese paid-off as she and Ron easily grabbed a cab. Both teams raced to the park.
With some help from his technology-savvy grandson, Don was finally able to score a goal. The two also embarked for the park, and Don realized how much Nick was helping him.
"Nick is an intelligent, headstrong guy," commented Don. "I don't think I could have done this with another partner."
Ron and Christina were the first team to reach the Pit Stop, and Christina commented her dad's demeanor was "improving" since they "didn't argue" during the leg. Nathan and Jen then reached the Pit Stop, and host Phil Keoghan told them it was a "very, very close" second-place finish. It was Nathan and Jen's fourth second-place finish. Nick and Don finished third.
As TK and Rachel continued on the leg -- with Rachel completing the Roadblock and both doing the "Sense of Smell" Detour task -- they no longer wondered where they were with respect to the other three teams.
"It starts to become obvious that we're last because no one's around, the areas that we're going to look like they're pretty desolate," commented Rachel.
When TK and Rachel finally arrived at the Pit Stop, Phil informed them they were "nearly three hours behind" the other three teams but weren't eliminated since it was The Amazing Race 12's second of two non-elimination legs. TK and Rachel now have to overcome the Speed Bump task during the upcoming leg.
The Amazing Race 12's next episode will air Sunday, January 13 at 8PM ET/PT on CBS.
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