Previously on The Amazing Race, a selfie cost CJ & Lebya a train ride, which meant that they were so far behind that there was no way they could finish better than last place. Meanwhile, Jenny & Jelani continued to be a powerhouse of a team despite knowing each other only a few days, finishing in first place for the second time in two legs. Generally, the “blind date” teams continue to generally outmatch the teams who have been dating long-term, but the divide evened up some in Nagano.
The Amazing Race Season 26 Recap - Episode 3
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
March 7, 2015
We begin the third leg in Nagano as we see our blind date teams spending their time in separate rooms… er, all of them, that is, except for Jeff & Jackie, who revel in the fact that they cohabitated in their tiny room. “This morning, we were picking out each other’s underwear,” Jackie says. Just as an FYI, Kim would like to note that in our 10 plus years of marriage, she has never picked out David’s underwear once.
Jackie points out that after three legs of the race, that she and Jeff are “really comfortable together,” which can be translated to mean “sleeping together.” In the Tinder vernacular, they have swiped right.
The next day at 4:35 p.m., Jenny & Jelani are first to depart. Their clue sends them to Phuket, Thailand, where they’ll head to Patong Beach for their next clue. The two of them are very excited about how their race is going so far and feel that they’re showing the best versions of themselves to each other.
Tyler & Laura are only nine minutes behind them. She notes that she thinks they have an advantage over the dating teams because they don’t get as frustrated with each other. Tyler points out that they’ve also been doing really well in the race so far, so that makes it easier.
Next up are Steve & Aly, who are 45 minutes behind the second place team, and then Jonathan & Harley follow. They’re fresh off their “date night,” where they got to spend a night at a hot spring relaxing and enjoying each other’s company. Bergen & Kurt are right behind them and they continue to emphasize the fact that they are definitely NOT A MATCH. The two of them both prefer big, burly men, not guys who look exactly like them. They say they’ll just be really good friends, but we’ll be shocked if they ever say another word to each other after the race.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter at all when anyone arrives at the airport, because the counter is closed. Everyone will be bunched until the airport opens again in the morning. They’re all trying to get on the same flight, but Matt & Ashley, Jeff & Jackie, Mike & Rochelle, Blair & Hayley and Steve & Aly are the only ones who are able to book the first one. They will arrive in Phuket at 4:50 p.m. Tyler & Laura and Jenny & Jelani will arrive several hours later at 9:10 p.m., while Bergen & Kurt are looking at 11:59 p.m. They’re still better off than Jonathan & Harley, who are stuck with a flight that gets to Phuket at 9:35 a.m. the next day. That’s going to be a nearly impossible gap to overcome.
The first group to arrive enjoys the surroundings as they journey to Patong Beach. A guy with two selfie sticks has their next clue, which seems to indicate to them that they’ll be partying all night. After the party, they have to share a room with some of the other racers.
Jonathan & Harley are still stuck in an airport, but soon are finally making their way to Thailand.
Upon checking out of their rooms, the teams get a clue that directs them to “The Upside Down House.” A lot of teams are bunched very closely together, so the next task should serve to provide some separation. Steve & Aly are first to arrive, and they find their clue hanging from a ceiling toilet (it’s an upside down house!). The Detour gives them the option of “Ski” or “Tree”.
Steve & Aly arrive at Ski, which seems a little tough, They have to stay upright on a wave board without spilling, which is no easy task. They both fall right away. It’s probably not a good sign that the Olympians are having trouble with the task, especially since they note that they enjoy water skiing. Anyone who has no such experience is going to struggle mightily.
Over at Tree, the contestants must choose their wait staff apparel and then pick up all the items from the menu, then balance it as they journey through the trees in a harness/zipline that takes them to their customers. The problem is that the first couple of teams don’t get all of the items on the menu, so they are automatically at a disadvantage. This includes Jenny & Jelani, who are sent back by their customers, and Hayley & Blair, who realize their error when later teams arrive with the full menu.
So far, both tasks are very difficult. Mike & Rochelle are the first people to finish their task, and are sent to My Way Cabaret. Having been on the bottom so much previously, this “win” feels really good to them, especially considering how much trouble other teams are having with the “Tree” task.
Hayley continues to bitch at Blair about getting the menu items wrong. He’s a pretty good sport about it, but it’s the first real tension we’ve seen during the race.
Jenny & Jelani give it another go, but Jenny loses her glass on the way.
Now that they’ve figured out the menu requirements, Hayley & Blair finish the task, followed by Laura & Tyler. Now that they’re starting to figure out the task, Tree definitely seems to have been the better way to go.
After several tries at Ski, Steve & Aly decide to go over to Tree. Jeff & Jackie realize that if the Olympians can’t do this challenge, neither can they. Everyone is headed over to the Tree challenge now, including Jonathan & Harley. Jonathan says he’s afraid of heights, but he’d jump out of a plane if it meant that they could get ahead in the race.
Mike & Rochelle have arrived at My Way Cabaret, and are told they have to dress up in go-go costumes (including makeup) and learn a dance routine. They giggle as they get ready, and Mike says he feels “fabulous.”
Matt & Ashley are on their third attempt at Tree, but Matt sloshes his wine out of his glass and they’re back to the beginning. Bergen & Kurt serve their menu correctly and are on to the cabaret. Jenny & Jelani are not far behind them.
Tyler & Laura and Hayley & Blair are suiting up at the cabaret, while Mike & Rochelle are learning how to dance.
While telling Ashley to be careful, Matt spills his champagne in the soup. She is less than thrilled with him. Steve & Aly serve their menu with no difficulty at all (unless the editing is misleading).
Matt & Ashley are finally through the tree course, and Jeff & Jackie are right behind them. Everyone except Jonathan & Harley are now either at the cabaret or on their way.
Mike & Rochelle fail their first attempt at the dance, but since everyone else is still trying to get their clothing and makeup set, they can keep trying again and again until someone else is done. It works to their advantage, because they get eight tries in and finally succeed. Their final clue sends them to the Pitstop at the Baba Nest Rooftop Bar, a location that includes a gorgeous infinity pool.
Hayley & Blair and Tyler & Laura are onstage together for their first attempt, but they all fail. Then we see Tyler & Laura and Jenny & Jelani, but none of them emerge unscathed.
Jonathan & Harley have finished the Tree task, but they are way behind.
Hayley & Blair finish their dance and are off to the Pitstop. She’s still bitching about their mistake, but says they won’t talk about it anymore. Of course, she proceeds to talk about it some more. I guess that the hot outweighs the crazy for Blair, because he’s still laughing about it. Jenny & Jelani aren’t far behind.
Mike & Rochelle check in at the Pitstop as team number one, and they are awarded a trip to Prague. They are the first “previously dating” team to finish in first place.
At the cabaret, Matt & Ashley have finished and are in fourth place. Steve & Aly and Laura & Tyler are right behind them. At this point, everyone from second to eighth place is bunched closely together and it’s going to be a dash for the finish…
…Or it would be if Matt hadn’t left his fanny pack back at the cabaret. He panics in the extreme, and they tell their driver to turn around. As they pick it up, Jeff & Jackie complete the dance.
Matt says that Ashley has his back no matter what. He’s a goofball, but it’s sweet.
Hayley & Blair arrive at the Pitstop in second place, followed by Jenny & Jelani, Tyler & Laura and Steve & Aly. While they’re all being checked in, Matt & Ashley, Bergen & Kurt and Jeff & Jackie show up.
Phil asks the racers if any romance has developed. Ashley says that Jeff & Jackie call each other “babe” all the time, but Jeff denies ever using that word. Hayley says that the Amazing Race is not an optimal situation for developing a relationship because there’s so much stress (and also, presumably, because Blair doesn’t listen to her and do everything she says).
Matt tells Phil he has something he wants to say.
“I got a promise I want to make to Ashley. I wanna promise you that every morning before I leave to work, I’ll tell you I love you. I wanna promise that every night before I go to sleep you’re gonna be kissed good night. You gotta promise me that you’ll make me the happiest man in the world.”
And with that, he reaches into the FANNY PACK and pulls out a ring, kneels on the ground and asks Ashley to marry him. Everyone applauds, and Jackie cries, because we all know that she’s already been imagining what her wedding to Jeff will be like.
Bergen & Kurt, who drew the date night card in their clue earlier without us realizing it somehow, offer it to Matt & Ashley so that they can celebrate their engagement in style. This simultaneously makes them look like good guys while also getting them out of having to spend that kind of awkward time together.
We’re half expecting Phil to meet Jonathan & Harley before they dance at the cabaret and tell them that they’re done with the race since they’re so far behind, but instead they finish the dance and meet him at the Pitstop. There, Phil exercises the secret “New Kids on the Block” clause that says if you are a pop star appearing on The Amazing Race, you may not be eliminated in the third leg. Yes, this is a dreaded non-elimination leg, but the good news is that it benefits probably the nicest couple/team in the race. We’re glad that Jonathan & Harley will continue for another leg, especially because we hate flight-related shenanigans as a cause of elimination.
Next week, Jonathan & Harley must complete a Speed Bump, while Matt & Ashley celebrate their engagement. And it looks like the non-dating teams are headed for some strife at last.