The three teams that made it to the finale of The Amazing Race 12 did so by not fighting, and the one team that couldn’t keep their emotions in check was eliminated.
Nate & Jen weren’t about to let a little thing like Jen’s birthday — or a chance to win $1 million — keep them from arguing their way out of the race.
It probably didn’t help Nate & Jen’s tenuous peace when, early in the leg, Christina was able to convince a ticket agent not to sell the dating couple tickets on the first flight out of Osaka, Japan to Taipei, Taiwan.
But it’s hard to have sympathy for a couple who said that all they knew about Taiwan was that "Thai food’s pretty good." Nate added, "I’ve got a couple Thai friends," who are no doubt teasing him mercilessly right now for not realizing that Thailand and Taiwan are different places.
Ron & Christina’s airport coup put them about 30 minutes ahead of the other teams, and they managed to keep that lead throughout the entire leg. They made it to the Pit Stop in first place and never saw another team along the way. And the best part was that they had fun the whole time.
Nick & Don had a good time as well, realizing that they could only go so fast with one team member who was nearly 70 years old. And TK & Rachel, who were already stoked to have avoided elimination last week, were even happier when they caught up with the pack in the immigration line at the Taipei airport.
Unlike all of the other teams, Nate & Jen let the pressure of the race get to them. The only fun they seemed to have was during the tasks. Nate giggled from the passenger seat as a stunt driver rolled a Jeep back-and-forth on a giant teeter-totter. And, despite their exclamations of pain as they ran along a path of sharp stones, Nate & Jen were upbeat during the Detour.
It was when they had to travel between tasks that Nate & Jen fell apart. On the way to the Detour, they argued about whether it was faster to get there by bus or by taxi. Jen thought the bus might be best, while Nate had a feeling that a taxi was the fastest way. Jen asked Nate to just make a decision on what to do. But Nate refused to assert himself, instead just arguing as they waited by a bus stop.
They got on the bus and kept arguing about who the worse teammate was, as well as a bunch of other stuff that had nothing to do with the race and everything to do with their dysfunctional relationship. It was hard to watch without feeling uncomfortable for the poor Taiwanese bus passengers who were subjected to the shouting match in real life.
Had they kept their relationship issues confined to a cab, they may have had a chance. All the other teams had taken taxis, and Jen & Nate bled time crossing town.
In the end, TK & Rachel reached the Pit Stop in second place, followed by Nick & Don. Nate & Jen were eliminated. After leaving the mat, the couple realized that they’d been so focused on the race that they’d forgotten that they originally wanted to do the show as a way to solve their relationship problems.
I think I’ve got a solution that will work for Nate & Jen: break up. Permanently.
Next week is the TAR 12 finale, and I avoided watching most of the preview, lest it contain any footage that could remotely be considered a spoiler. The only thing I did see was TK & Rachel being attacked by some crabs. Even shellfish hate hippies.