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A Splashy Affair, And A Flood Of Tears, On The Amazing Race

In Hong Kong, Justin gets emotional, to say the least, when the Green Team hits their first major snag in about nine legs. Oh yeah, and there are three other teams there too.

Some Racers Just Aren't Cut Out For This

Previously on The Amazing Race: the green team was the team to beat. And nobody did. Now on The Amazing Race: the green team is still the team to beat. "Who will be eliminated tonight?" Phil asks, like always; smash-cut to Justin smugly saying, "Bet on green." I'm sure that's not foreshadowing or anything.

Next stop: Hong Kong, where chauffeur-driven Rolls Royces await to take teams to their first task. It's hard to believe this is the same show that, just a season ago, was running on such a shoestring budget that they made teams drive Ford Fiestas in Monte Carlo. But then again, the Detour tasks are pretty small-time this week, so I guess corners had to be cut somewhere.

In "Sam's," teams find a tailor shop of the same name, where they'll use a pattern to cut out pieces of a suit. "Cells" involves a giant bucket full of old flip phones, and asks teams to find one working phone amid thousands of dead ones. The reporters, paparazzi, and cheerleaders head for the skill-based task, while Justin and Diana decide to take a gamble that they'll get lucky on the phones.

Krista and Tiffany, who've done a bit of sewing in the past, assume they're going to totally smoke the competition, and they commence to piecing the pattern together and figuring out how it all fits together. Unfortunately, they missed the part of the clue that told them they didn't actually have to sew an entire suit from scratch, so while they're doing that, Joey and Kelsey just commence to tracin' and cuttin', as do Logan and Chris when they arrive a few moments later.

There's also a bit of finessing to this task that will surely be a endlessly fascinating for sewing buffs and of no interest to pretty much anyone else; namely, when you're cutting two identical pieces, you need to fold the fabric over and cut them simultaneously so that the wale and print match up. Tiffany and Krista know this, which enables them to finish first. Chris knows it, too; evidently, we've discovered yet another strangely relevant little pocket from Chris's vast well of life experience. Logan overrules him at first, though, and they end up having to do the task twice.

Please make note of this historic occasion, viewers! Chris was right about something! I'm sure he will not feel the need to remind his girlfriend (and us here at home) more than just the once, and I'm sure he'll do it in the most respectful and humble way possible. Or he'll whine stuff like "you argue with me and I know things" all the way to the next task, eating the reporters' and cheerleaders' dust the entire time. One of those, anyway.

Dial "J" For "Jackass"

Back at the phone half of the Detour, it looks for a minute like Justin and Diana are going to be super-screwed by this needle-in-a-haystack test, but actually, it's pretty much the very first phone they grab out of the bucket.

Where they DO get super-screwed is in their cab choice, though it's difficult to tell whether the bigger culprit is their directionally-challenged driver or the decision to take a cab itself. It takes them a good half hour to realize they're supposed to be dropping the phone off about a block from where they found it.

While all of this is happening, Justin -- who hasn't always been a paragon of charm and poise this season ("this blowhard is making me never want to watch the show again" is not an uncommon reaction in certain circles) -- reaches a new nadir in general Ugly American-ness as he rants about the driver's idiocy a bare two feet from said driver's head. When Diana protests, he rationalizes that the guy can't speak English anyway, so what's the harm? You know who CAN speak English? Diana. And he's not much nicer to her in this moment: "You're not helping the situation," he snaps at her when she tries to talk him down. Look, Justin can try your patience when he's in a good mood -- when the chips are down? Yeah, nobody wants to see that.

Eventually, the Green Team's back on track and Justin dials back the tool factor a notch or two. Their next clue directs them to board a ferry on Hong Kong Island that will take them to Macau. A helpful local gives them directions to the Kowloon Ferry, which he says is much closer to their current location...and, possibly, to Macau itself. This delights Justin, who sees a chance to make up some time, but the very next shot is of Chris explaining patiently to his cab driver that they can't go to the Kowloon ferry, the clue says they have to take the Hong Kong one. When Justin and Diana get to the Kowloon terminal and can't buy the exact class of ticket the clue tells them to get, they still don't see an issue.

We Can Dance If We Water

In Macau, the other three teams have arrived at the "House of Dancing Water," and for a second I hope that a Braavosi swordsman is going to teach them how to wield Valyrian steel, but alas, that's a different show. There's not much literal dancing involved, either, though there is plenty of water. The racers who are mathematically required to take on one more Roadblock have to retrieve a plastic fish from the bottom of a pool within a certain time limit. As she, Kelsey, and Logan suit up, Krista muses that she hopes the task will require a little skill rather than just being an adrenaline task that takes everyone an equal amount of time -- a comment she may soon come to regret.

There's definitely spectacle galore here to compensate for the relatively meh Detour options. Without a doubt, it's one of the cooler-looking things they've done this season: there's colored lights, music, smoke machines, fancy costumes, and heavy eye makeup that makes the girls look, in more flattering moments, like Pris from Blade Runner. (In less flattering moments, they look like pandas with conjunctivitis.) The precise nature of the show being performed is a little hard to pinpoint, but it appears to be some sort of aquatic ripoff of Cirque de Soleil.

Logan and Kelsey get their fish on the first try, but when Krista doesn't, she's relatively cheerful -- she thinks she knows what to do the next time around. Her mood takes a sharp turn, though, when Diana arrives. It takes about 20 minutes to set the whole thing up again after every attempt, which means the rest of their lead evaporates almost immediately.

The Cheerleaders' Race Takes A Nosedive

Who'll get their plastic fish first? Will it be Krista or Diana? The stress is almost too much for Justin, who's basically melting down as though the loser of this head-to-head matchup will get drowned in the fancy disco pool. When Diana finally gets her fish, he predictably sounds like a smug jerk when he shouts what's no doubt intended to be genuinely encouraging words at Krista.

Meanwhile, Logan and Chris manage to best Kelsey and Joey in a near-footrace for first place. Kelsey and Joey aren't thrilled to be the first losers yet again, but everyone's hearts are warmed by the fact that at least Justin and Diana didn't win again.

Phil uncharacteristically lets both teams stick around for a bit, presumably so they can witness what happens next: Justin and Diana roll up in third place, but they've incurred a 55-minute penalty for taking the Kowloon ferry rather than the clue-mandated Hong Kong one. Phil is also uncharacteristically gleeful about this. "Didn't see that coming, did ya?" he asks the other teams. I guess even Phil can get tired of particular racers from time to time. A bare twenty minutes into this penalty, Justin is basically reduced to wordless keening as he contemplates a bleak future in which he doesn't win The Amazing Race.

Krista requires at least two more tries, and for a hot second, it looks like she might actually quit, but she quite literally has a cheerleader on the sidelines who pep-talks her back up onto the diving platform. After she finally passes the task, there's a bit of a cab snafu, but it's really not that interesting, especially since it was intercut with more of Justin curled up in the fetal position, sobbing.

It's impossible to tell how close this actually is, but in the end, Justin and Diana are spared the indignity of being booted from the Race in full view of the competition -- that honor goes to Tiffany and Krista. They feel they've exceeded everyone's expectations of them. If they didn't win the Race, at least they've proven that they're more than just a couple of pretty faces. And hey, jokes Krista, if they can't win a million dollars, they can always just go get rich husbands. Which sort of undermines the girl-power message they were conveying about ten seconds ago, but hey, if Krista pursues her dreams with the same tenacity that eventually got her that plastic fish, girlfriend is going places.

Verdict

How you ultimately feel about this episode will be directly proportional to your tolerance for Justin's theatrics, but regardless of whether the outcome delights or devastates you, you have to admit that this is one of the more suspenseful fourth quarters of any episode of The Amazing Race, and one that sets things up for a heated finale next week.

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