Dating Goths Kent & Vyxsin spun helplessly out of control by first missing the flight to China with all the other teams and then by losing their fanny pack on Jade Dragon Mountain.
Departing the Pit Stop in first place at 8:44pm, best friends Zev & Justin opened their clue instructing them to travel 2,700 miles to the city of Lijiang, China and make their way to Jade Dragon Mountain. Due to limited availability, teams had to take a mandatory, provided flight to Kunming, China. From there, they could book their own travel Lijiang.
Leaving the Pit Stop in seventh place at 11:33pm, dating Goths Kent & Vyxsin declared, "Our theme for the day is PMA. Positive mental attitude." This hopeful sentiment quickly faded when the couple couldn't remember where they parked the car from the previous leg that they now had to drive to Narita Airport. Once the already frazzled couple finally found their car, they couldn't figure out how unlock the trunk to put their bags in. After solving that problem, Vyxsin hopped into the car, saying, "So much for PMA. This is the most stupid day ever and we just started."
DROVE ALL NIGHT
The night didn't proceed any smoother for the dating Goths once they hit the road. Acting as navigator in the backseat, Vyxsin couldn't make heads or tails of where she and Kent were or where they needed to go. Being increasingly frustrated and emotional, she said, "I just can't even think Kent. I'm so confused." Kent suggested taking a certain road to Narita, but Vyxsin insisted that they needed to take the highway or they wouldn't make it to the airport on time. Starting to cry, Vyxsin told Kent, "I just want to find it so badly. I'm so sorry. I woke up so happy. What happened?" Just then, Kent spotted a sign for the freeway to Tokyo and put the fears and worries of Vyxsin to rest.
As the sun rose over Japan, eight teams gathered at Narita Airport for their morning flight to Kunming, but Kent & Vyxsin still hadn't shown up. Still driving on the freeway, the dating Goths thought they should be nearing the airport until Vyxsin took a closer inspection of her compass. In a flash of blinding realization, Vyxsin told Kent, "We went the wrong way. We're so far away right now! We've been going the wrong way this entire time!" Kent noted, "There haven't been any signs for Narita?" Vyxsin replied, "I know because we've been going the wrong way." While Kent tried to remain calm, Vyxsin shouted, "We are screwed! We are so screwed!" Kent told his incredibly upset girlfriend, "We can't give up. The Amazing Race is about tragedies, but it's also about miracles."
Missing the required flight to Kunming that departed at 9:50am with the other eight teams, dating Goths Kent & Vyxsin finally arrived at Narita Airport, later saying, "We were given ample time to get to the airport. We knew we had made a big mistake." Talking to a ticketing agent, the dating Goths found a flight to Kunming leaving at 3:30pm, a full 6 hours behind the other teams. Keeping his fingers crossed, Kent said, "I hope we can intercept the other teams there."
TRYING TO CATCH UP
Landing in Kunming, China at 7:17pm, the eight teams on the first flight did some research and discovered that taking a train would be faster than waiting for a connecting flight to Lijiang in the morning. Father and daughter Ron & Christina, fluent in Mandarin, made the discovery first and took the 8:50pm overnight train by themselves. The remaining seven teams all took the 10:16pm train with Justin saying, "Knowing Kent & Vyxsin are not in China makes this hard sleeper a little softer."
Landing in Kunming at 1:35am, dating Goths Kent & Vyxsin had no option except to take a morning flight to Lijiang because they arrived too late in China for a bus or train. After spending a few hours at a hotel because the airport closes at night, the dating Goths returned in the early morning to catch their connecting flight to Lijiang. Of course, even this didn't go off without a hitch. Vysxin momentarily lost her passport until she realized she left it at the ticket counter. After Vyxsin reclaimed her travel documents, an irritated Kent told her, "Vyxsin, I'm going to shoot you."
Arriving in Lijiang at 5:38am, father and daughter Ron & Christina took a taxi to the base of Jade Dragon Mountain where they found a sign announcing that bus shuttles up the mountain would begin at 8:00am. This allowed the other seven teams to meet up with Ron & Christina just as the sun began to rise over the scenic landscape of Lijiang. As the eight teams boarded the shuttle busses taking them up the mountain, Mallory joked, "Kent & Vyxsin are making me feel good."
As dating Goths Kent & Vyxsin landed in Lijiang at 8:15am, the other eight teams arrived at an elevation of 10,629 feet. Opening their clue, the teams learned they had to take part in a popular tourist attraction by properly saddling a yak and riding it across a precarious section of the river. Unsurprisingly, cowboys Jet & Cord excelled at saddling up their yak while city slickers Zev & Justin had a bit more problems. Atop her yak, Mallory joked, "I feel like I'm in a parade." Kisha said, "I can't believe I'm actually riding a yak in China right now." After crossing the crystal blue water to claim the familiar yellow and black envelope, the teams returned back to where they started and opened their clues instructing them to take a gondola further up the mountain to an elevation of almost three miles about sea level and find Spruce Meadow.
WHAT'S YOUR SIGN?
Feeling the effects of altitude after getting off the gondola, teams raced a bit slower than usual to Spruce Mountain where they found a Roadblock. In it, one team member had to search among tens of thousands of hanging charms for the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. Once teams found all the animals and put them in their correct order, they would receive their next clue.
As Kent & Vyxsin began saddling their yak over 3,000-feet below, eight racers searched through the seemingly endless rows of charms for the animals they needed to find. As the hunt continued, the eagle-eyed racers found the monkey, rabbit, rooster, dragon, pig, snake, and the other six zodiac animals to complete their menagerie. Only Zev showed signs of problems when he couldn't find two animals as other teams around him completed theirs to earn their clue. Mallory led the charge, finishing her zodiac in first place. Opening their clue, Gary & Mallory discovered they had to travel by marked bus to Old Town Lijiang and find an ancient prayer wheel.
BACK IN THE GAME
With seven teams through the Roadblock on their way to Old Town Lijiang, Zev continued to struggle in his search for a rabbit charm as Justin told his friend, "Do not give up!" Justin added a little tough love as he told Zev to move faster in his search for the charm. Eventually, Zev spotted the rabbit, but then he couldn't figure out how to properly hang the twelve charms. Justin continued to encourage his befuddled friend, but when Kent & Vyxsin finally arrived at Spruce Meadow, Justin confessed, "Now I'm starting to panic a little bit."
As Vyxsin started searching for charms, Justin took a moment to ask Kent why he and Vyxsin missed the required flight to Kunming. Kent lied and told Justin that his and Vyxsin's car broke down in Japan causing them to miss the flight. Kent later said, "It's kind of like a poker game. You don't tell the other players what cards you have good or bad."
A SWEET DETOUR
Arriving in Old Town Lijiang, father and daughter Gary & Mallory and mother and son Margie & Luke found the ancient prayer wheel. Now, each team member had to locate his or her Chinese zodiac sign on the wheel, write a wish on a piece of paper, and deposit it in the proper slot to receive their next clue.
After both teams deposited their wishes into the rooster and ox slots, they opened their next clue to find a Detour having the choice of Hammer or Horn. In Hammer, teams had to pulverize hot molten candy in the traditional method using wooden mallets. Once they prepared the candy, the confectioner would hand them their next clue. In Horn, teams had to pick up and carry a long, cumbersome ceremonial horn while leading a procession of Naxi dancers though town to Wencheng Palace.
Gary & Mallory, Margie & Luke, Ron & Christina, Jet & Cord, and Kisha & Jen all ran to the nearby candy shop, chose a tree stump outside, and waited for the confectioner to pour the molten candy onto the stumps. Then, the teams used giant wood mallets to pound the candy flat as it started to cool. Mallory joked, "I needed to pay my dues and make some candy for a change. All the candy I eat?" Once the candy hardened and set, teams took the flat candy over to a table where they cut it into pieces and packaged it into plastic bags ready to sell. The five teams all finished within moments of each other and ripped open their clues instructing them to make their way to the center of Lijiang and find the Pit Stop at the Eternal Tower, perched on top of Lion Hill.
Once Zev realized he had two goats in his zodiac wheel and needed to swap one for a horse, he completed the Roadblock and got his clue as Vyxsin began to emotionally crumble once again. Unable to find some charms, Vyxsin cried, "I'm so stupid. I never thought of myself as a stupid person until this race." Crouched down in a moment of sorrow, Vyxsin spotted the last charm she needed giving her a boost of confidence as she ran over to the pagoda to start sorting them out.
In a tight race between the lead teams climbing up Lion Hill, mother and son Margie & Luke came out on top. For being the first teams to arrive on the mat, the pair won a trip for two from Travelocity to Aruba. However, Phil had more news for the tired team that they weren't expecting to hear. Phil handed them another clue. They were still racing. Margie told Phil, "You don't know what I want to say right now."
After putting all of the charms in order, Vyxsin finally got her clue and took the gondola back down Jade Dragon Mountain with Kent. Believing they still had a chance to catch Zev & Justin and the other teams, the dating Goths boarded the marked bus to Old Town Lijiang. Kent said, "The odds are against us, but the Pink and Black Attack are ready." However, the faint glimmer of hope and optimism Kent & Vyxsin held was quickly extinguished when they realized they had lost their fanny pack containing all their money and passports. Unbeknownst to them, the dating Goths left the pack on the gondola as they exited their car. Vyxsin begged the bus driver to turn around, saying to Kent, "You're never going to see that bag again. If it's in the gondola, it's gone."