A minor car accident and some frigid temperatures cause problems in Japan
Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS (2)

Luck was once again running alongside several teams on Sunday’s Amazing Race during a drama-filled episode that included car accidents, health concerns and one big fanny-pack mix-up.

But fans did learn a fun fact along the way: Christina is engaged to one of her season 12 competitors, Azaria Azene!

After an overnight train ride from the Outback to Sydney, teams booked flights to Tokyo. Half the bunch scored a direct flight, while five teams chose a different route that connected in Hong Kong, but would arrive in Japan 15 minutes earlier. As dramatic editing foreshadowed, the connecting flight experienced engine problems and landed 90 minutes later than the direct flight, breaking the race into two mini-races of five teams each.

The leaders – Gary and Mallory, the Globetrotters, the cowboys, Ron and Christina and LaKisha and Jen – sped to a Tokyo parking garage and grabbed their miniature cars (from a rotating rack, no less!), speeding toward the city of Kamakura. There, they hit a Roadblock, which involved dressing as a Samurai and participating in a Yabusame ritual that included shooting a bow and arrow from atop a wooden horse. Everyone seemed to excel – minus Ron – and breeze along to the next clue.

Meanwhile, the second group of racers – Margie and Luke, Mel and Mike, Justin and Zev, the Goths and the cheerleaders – arrived in Tokyo and decided to drive to Kamakura together. But the cheerleaders suffered a major setback when they hit another driver’s mirror and had to wait for police as the other teams moved on.

As they dealt with the drama – and the later teams sped through the Roadblock – the leaders were off to a neighboring town to find the Kintaro statue, which led them toward the Detour: Prayer of Purity or Frog of Life.

The majority of teams chose Frog of Life, which instructed them to strip down and don diaper-like outfits (in near-freezing temperatures) while searching for a plastic frog in a messy mud pit, as locals threw mud at them. Not so desirable, but for Zev and Justin, who found a frog in no time. It was a quick challenge, and they easily glided into another first-place finish at the Pit Stop, near a statue commemorating naval legend Commodore Perry’s landing. Gary and Mallory were close behind.

The Globetrotters joined Ron and Christina at the lengthier Prayer of Purity, where they recited a cleansing ritual, then stood underneath a frigid waterfall (coming from the snow of chilly Mount Fuji) for a solid minute.

The Globetrotters finished first, and in an innocent move, grabbed Christina’s fanny-pack, containing her passport and cash. Realizing their mistake, they left it in the men’s locker room near Ron’s clothes, but the mix-up caused the father-daughter team a lot of grief – and precious racing time. When they arrived at the Pit Stop in fourth place, just behind the basketballers, they told Phil what happened, and he gave the Globetrotters a 30-minute penalty, eventually putting them in fifth place behind LaKisha and Jen. The cowboys came in sixth, followed by the Goths and Margie and Luke.

Meanwhile, the cheerleaders stumbled through the Roadblock, and once they arrived at the Detour, were sure they were on the road to elimination. But in a sad twist of fate, Mel and Mike majorly struggled in Frog of Life, and eventually had to hop in a warming truck, where they admitted defeat. “Sometimes you have to give up for him,” Mike said of his determined dad.

As they later walked to the finish line – where the cheerleaders had just happily discovered they were in ninth place, not last – the father-son team shared some sweet sentiments. “I’m proud of him, I’m grateful,” Mike said of his 70-year-old pops. Added Mel, “We’re closer than we’ve ever been.”

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