After losing a passport on the way to LAX, Kaylani & Lisa appeared out of the race before it had barely begun, but the former Vegas showgirls overcame every obstacle to stay in the race.
READY, SET, GO!
Eleven teams gathered at Hsi Lai Temple in the foothills of Los Angeles for the start of The Amazing Race. Included among the teams were former Survivor winners Ethan & Jenna, former Olympic snowboarders Andy & Tommy, former NFL player Marcus with his wife Amani, and the first teenager to sail solo around the world, Zac, now running the race with his father, Laurence. At the starting line, host Phil Keoghan welcomed the anxious teams, informing them that over the course of twelve legs they would be tested like they've never been tested before. Once again, the team that finished first on the first leg would win the Express Pass that could be used through the eighth leg, before or during any challenge they didn't want to complete. And, as always, after twelve legs, the team to cross the finish line first would win The Amazing Race and one million dollars.
Phil then introduced the first challenge of the race, a word puzzle, directly behind the host. To solve the puzzle, teams needed to use the six letters, WANPEI, that appeared above rows and rows of brightly colored umbrellas and combine them with three specific letters (TAI) which they needed to find on one of the umbrellas. Using those letters twice and combining them with the six letters above the umbrellas, teams would discover their first destination: Taipei, Taiwan. If teams got the correct umbrella, Phil would hand them a set of keys to one of the Ford Explorers parked in front of the temple.
In addition, the last team to solve the word puzzle would receive a new penalty called a Hazard that they would have to complete sometime in this leg of the race. After revealing the six letters, WANPEI, to the teams, Phil declared, "Let's get this race started. The world is waiting for you." With a wave of Phil's hand, the eleven teams sprinted to the colorful wall of umbrellas and began opening them trying to figure out what they needed to find to solve the word puzzle. Snowboarder Tommy told his partner Andy, "Look for vowels." This tactic paid off when Andy found an umbrella with the letters T-A-I on it. When the professional snowboarders presented the umbrella to Phil, he gave them keys to a Ford Explorer. Jumping into the Explorer, Andy & Tommy discovered that there were two flight options to Taipei, Taiwan: China Airlines with enough seats to carry 8 teams and EVA Air which departed 20 minutes later. One by one, teams found an umbrella with the letters T-A-I on it until only siblings Justin & Jennifer and former Vegas showgirls Kaylani & Lisa remained at the wall, rifling through umbrellas as quickly as they could. Lisa and Justin both knew what they needed to find, but Justin got it faster when he opened up a bright orange umbrellas emblazoned with T-A-I. For coming in last place, Kaylani & Lisa now faced a Hazard penalty somewhere in this leg of the race. Jumping into an Explorer, Kaylani lamented, "It sucks, but anything can happen."
END OF THE RACE?
Kaylani's words proved prophetic, but probably not in the way she intended. When she & Lisa stopped at a gas station for directions to LAX, Kaylani's passport fell out of the truck, unseen by either of them. After driving off, Kaylani soon realized she did not have her passport, prompting Lisa to say, "Kaylani, you're killing me." Guessing the passport may have dropped from the car at the gas station, Kaylani & Lisa returned, only to find there was no passport on the ground nor turned into the station's attendant. With their options dwindling, the former Vegas showgirls decided to drive to LAX with hopes that another team found the passport. Lisa noted, "If none of them have it, it's over."
Meanwhile, at LAX, domestic partners Ron & Bill, dating couple Ethan & Jenna, engaged couple Ernie & Cindy, married couple Amani & Marcus, father and son Laurence & Zac, siblings Justin & Jennifer, professional snowboarders Andy & Tommy, and dating couple Jeremy & Sandy all booked seats on the China Airlines flight, scheduled to land 20 minutes ahead of the EVA Air flight. Booking the last available pair of seats on Chain Airlines, a relieved Sandy remarked, "We're happy we're one of the first 8." While waiting at the gate for their flight, teams buzzed about former Survivor winners Ethan & Jenna, who Sandy recognized instantly. Informing other teams, Sandy gossiped, "They both have a million dollars." Justin joked, "That's just greedy." Unaware of the chatter, Ethan & Jenna commented on how they had not planned on telling other teams about being on Survivor because of the "giant" target it would place on their backs.
Arriving at LAX, Kaylani & Lisa had their last hope extinguished when they learned that nobody turned in a lost passport. Walking away from the counter, a dejected Lisa said, "It's over." A more positive Kaylani suggested, "We need to come up with a plan. Communicate with me." Lisa shot back, "What plan? You have no passport! I'm going nowhere because you have no passport!" Just when the race appeared over for Kaylani & Lisa, the impossible happened. After being paged to the information desk, Kaylani met a man who told her he found her passport. She and Lisa erupted in ear-splitting cheers and screams as they booked seats on the EVA Air flight with twins Liz & Marie and grandparents Bill & Cathi. The man of the hour, Ryan Storms, explained how he found the passport on the ground at the gas station and, after giving directions to Andy & Tommy, realized these were teams on The Amazing Race. With no way to contact Kaylani, Ryan sent out a tweet and got a response from someone telling him to drive to LAX to give her the passport or she would not be able to continue racing. Ryan and his buddy wished the excited former showgirls good luck as Lisa exclaimed, "It's a miracle!"
Landing in Taipei, Taiwan, the eight teams on the China Airlines flight all boarded a bus heading to the Ximending Commercial District. Running into the district, the teams needed to figure out that, instead of looking for a cluebox, they had to look up and figure out they were searching for an electronic billboard that would reveal their next destination. However, this realization did not come quickly for the teams as they searched any and every item adorned in red and yellow. Jenna later complained, "Everything here is race colors. The people working in the streets had yellow and red hats on. It's practically the national color here." Andy & Tommy unsuccessfully asked a shirtless local man for a clue when they noticed he had on yellow and red boxer shorts. Finally, siblings Justin & Jennifer paired up with married couple Amani & Marcus who noticed the electronic billboard with yellow and red balloons that popped to reveal Chinese characters. The two teams wrote down the characters and asked a local man who told them it translated to Taipei Confucius Temple.
Joining Amani & Marcus and Justin & Jennifer on the subway, engaged couple Ernie & Cindy, domestic partners Ron & Bill, and dating couple Jeremy & Sandy all ran into Taipei Confucius Temple together to find the first Roadblock. In it, one team member had to take on a Confucius clue using the temple's pay phone. After dialing 1-800-CONFUCIUS, teams would hear a Confucius proverb they had to memorize without taking any notes. If they could recite it word for word to a monk, he would hand over the next clue. After a brief hunt to find the phone, Cindy, Amani, Sandy, Jennifer, and Ron began taking turns dialing the phone and listening to the following Confucius proverb: In all things success depends on previous preparation. And without such previous preparation there is sure to be failure. On her first attempt at reciting the proverb to the monk, Cindy only missed two words while Sandy and Amani fared far worse on their tries. Ron began showing signs of frustration as his guesses to the monk reached twenty. As racers mounted one wrong guess after another, Cindy returned to the monk and correctly recited the proverb receiving the next clue, instructing her & Ernie to travel by taxi to Dajia Riverside Park.
LOST IN TAIPEI
Landing in Taipei on the EVA Air flight, former Vegas showgirls Kaylani & Lisa and twins Liz & Marie got a small lead on grandparents Bill & Cathi by jumping on a bus ahead of them. However, that lead was erased as all three teams wandered near the Ximending District, unable to find the billboard with their next clue. Eventually, Kaylani & Lisa and Liz & Marie, working together, stumbled upon the yellow and red screen, prompting Kaylani to joke, "Are we idiots or what?" However, Bill & Cathi continued to wander further away from the district, wasting time as they rode an elevator up a skyscraper hoping to find their clue. Standing befuddled on the street, Bill quipped, "Color me stupid."
EXPRESS PASS WINNERS
With Justin & Jennifer and Jeremy & Sandy close behind, Ernie & Cindy arrived at Dajia Riverside Park in first place where they discovered they had to join a dragon boat race team. One team member had to paddle with the crew while the other would keep the rhythm of the drum as they row through the course. As Ernie grabbed an oar to paddle with the crew, Cindy started beating the drum as she joked, "I feel so Asian right now." Just as Jeremy & Sandy and Justin & Jennifer took to their dragon boats, Ernie & Cindy came back around to complete the course. Opening their next clue, the engaged couple learned they had to find the Pit Stop at National Revolutionary Martyrs' Shrine. Managing to keep their lead, engaged couple Ernie & Cindy ran onto the mat in first place at Martyrs' Shrine to claim the Express Pass. Cindy told Phil, "It feels really awesome to be in first right now." Dating couple Jeremy & Sandy finished the day in second place, siblings Justin & Jennifer took third place, former Survivor winners Ethan & Jenna grabbed fourth, and married couple Amani & Marcus placed fifth. Father and son Laurence & Zac narrowly edged out professional snowboarders Andy & Tommy to finish in sixth place while domestic partners Ron & Bill settled for eighth.
As Bill & Cathi continued to wander the streets of Taipei in search of the billboard, Liz struggled to memorize the proverb at Confucius Temple after watching Lisa breeze through the challenge. Twin sister, Marie, became increasing frustrated watching her sister fail every time she recited the proverb to the monk. A confused Liz said, "I don't know what I'm missing. You should've done this one." Marie responded, "You can't say that. You just have to do it." Having received the Hazard penalty for coming in last on the first challenge, former Vegas showgirls Kaylani & Lisa traveled to the Core City Pacific Mall and found their clue on the 11th floor of the mall. To complete the Hazard, one team member had to bungee jump head first into the crowded mall. Kaylani volunteered, but confessed, "I ain't gonna lie. I'm scared." As the countdown to her taking the plunge neared zero, Kaylani bit her lip, took a deep breath, and stepped off the ledge. Screaming as she fell and then bounced up and down, Kaylani successfully finished the Hazard, declaring, "I said I would do anything for a million dollars. I meant it." When the former Vegas showgirls finished their day in ninth place, they told Phil, "We thought it was over [in Los Angeles]. It's been quite the journey."
LONG DAY ENDS
As Bill & Cathi finally found the billboard in Ximending District, Liz successfully recited the Confucius proverb to remain one step ahead of the last place grandparents. As the twins rowed on the dragon boats, Bill watched Cathi listen on the telephone at the temple, saying, "After 41 years of marriage, it's imperative that you get the support you need from your partner. At the end of the day, no matter what kind of day, we're always there for each other." When Liz & Marie ended the leg in tenth place, Bill & Cathi enjoyed the view from the dragon boat knowing they would finish last. Cathi commented, "We've had a wonderful time on the race. Some frustration of course, but I think we feel good about the race that we ran."Stepping onto the mat in last place at Martyrs' Shrine, Bill & Cathi got a huge shock when Phil revealed that this was a non-elimination leg and they were still in the race. Along with informing the grandparents they would be facing a Speed Bump in the next leg, Phil warned them about the first ever double elimination. At the end of the next leg, two teams would be eliminated. Cathi joked, "We will need some ginseng or something to get the energy up, but to keep racing after having the day that we had, my gosh."