Last time on The Amazing Race, we met the competing couples for the first time. Some of them were also meeting their team members for the first time as the race added five “blind date” couples who met at the mat before Phil sent them off to start the race. The blind date couples joined six dating couples for the competition. At first, I wasn’t sure how I would like this new twist, but I must confess that so far, so good.

The last team to reach Phil in Tokyo, Japan was dating couple Lyda Grawn and Jeff Magee, and they were eliminated from The Amazing Race. So who will take the lead on this leg? Let’s find out!

The Amazing Race Prediction: Which Team Will Go Home Next?>>>

A Puzzling Box

After an exhausting day of racing, the teams retire to what they think will be a comfy hotel. Instead, they are in little cubicles with a tiny bed and computer desk. Ah, how romantic!
Jenny and Jelani, the team that won the previous leg and clinched the Express Pass, are the first to depart. So where are the couples headed next? They will take a bullet train to Nagano, Japan where they will find their next clue at a castle. Jelani and Jenny, Jackie and Jeff, and Laura and Tyler all get on the first train. After reaching Nagano, Jeff slips and falls down while running to try and find a taxi.

At the clue box, teams find a Roadblock, called “Who Can Think Outside of the Box?” Teams must try and open an elaborate and complicated puzzle box to find a phrase, which they must repeat to the guard at the castle to receive their next clue. Hidden in one clue is a Date Night ticket that one couple can enjoy during the Pit Stop.

Train Trouble

Meanwhile, CJ and Libby, who are the last couple headed to Nagano, miss their train. When they board the next train, it is running slower than its usual speed. Transportation really is their Achilles heel.

Confusion and Frustration

Jelani and Tyler enter the castle where musicians are playing loud music, which I am sure enhances the racers’ concentration. Jeff is confused when he gets his puzzle box and sneaks a peek at what Jelani and Tyler are doing. Tyler finishes the puzzle first and gets the clue. Teams are headed to Nishi-Guchi Zenko-Ji to search for the next clue. Harley opens his puzzle box and then gets the Date Night reward, which is time with his partner at a Japanese Hot Spring to relax and unwind. Hayley struggles with her puzzle, and her blind date partner, Blair, starts to become annoyed. Libby finally arrives on the scene to start the puzzle challenge.

The Amazing Race Season 26 Premiere Recap: Will Romance Bloom During the Race?>>>

Noodling Around

Once at Nishi-Guchi Zenko-Ji , Tyler and Laura find a Detour: Share or Chair. In Share, couples must feed each other a bowl of noodles using only chopsticks, while a fan blows on them. Okay, I don’t get the fan part. In Chair, teams must take turns pushing each other around an Olympic-sized skating rink. Each member must push the other, who is seated in a chair, around the track one time. Did I mention they only have three minutes and 55 seconds to accomplish this? The people who think up these challenges are diabolical!

The Share challenge is super romantic between slurping the noodles and the fan blowing on the contestant’s faces. Tyler and Laura finish the noodle challenge first and get the clue for the next Pit Stop: Patio Daimon, which is a restaurant complex. However, their cab driver is gone, so they now face the challenge of locating another cab.

Jelani and Jenny finish too, and hop in their waiting cab. Laura is upset because they let their cab go, and she is also feeling nauseated from all the noodles.

A Slippery Challenge

At the skating challenge, Aly, who is an Olympic speed skater, is pushed by Steve first. Steve, who is an Olympic bobsledder, pushes her easily on the track. Aly isn’t used to hockey skates, but they finish in the allotted amount of time. Jeff and Jackie also try their hand at the chair challenge, but after two tries, Jeff asks about trying the other Detour. Jackie is determined to stay and complete this one. They finally finish one second ahead of the time deadline. 

Rochelle and Mike also try the skating challenge, but Mike takes a hard fall while pushing Rochelle. Mike, who is in pain from his earlier fall, stumbles again and Rochelle tumbles out of the chair and hits her wrist against the wall. Yikes! Rochelle sees a medic and is cleared to continue, but Mike tells her he doesn’t think he can do it with his knee. They decide to switch challenges.

Ashley and Matt arrive to lace up their skates, followed by Hayley and Blair. Hayley is barely able to push her partner around the track, so Blair helps by using his feet. I am not sure that is exactly fair. Anyway, Hayley falls right before the finish line. The duo finally completes the task and looks for a cab.

Not Very Romantic

Harley and Jonathan and Kurt and Bergin attempt the noodle challenge. Kurt doesn’t like the taste of the noodles, which makes Bergin increasingly upset with his partner’s slower eating pace. Kurt and Bergin have their bowls checked a couple of times before they get the next clue.  Mike and Rochelle have trouble at this challenge too, when Mike starts to choke on the noodles and spits them back in his bowl. They complete the challenge and leave before Libby and CJ arrive.

The First to Arrive

Jelani and Jenny are the first team to reach Phil at the Pit Stop. They also win an additional prize of everything that FitBit makes, plus a gym membership and personal chef and cooking classes for a year, or a year’s worth of fresh grocery deliveries. Bravo, Jenny and Jelani! Phil of course asks if there are any romantic sparks flying, but they give the answer that there is definitely a friendship but they are focusing on the race right now. Tyler and Laura arrive second, but give the same answer to the romantic question. Aly and Steve take third place and tell Phil how much Nagano means to them because of their Olympic roots.

The Last to Arrive

Libby and CJ are the final team to arrive, and are eliminated from The Amazing Race.

The Amazing Race airs Friday at 8 pm on CBS

(Image courtesy of CBS)

Kim Stempel

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Kim has been covering television entertainment since 2013. She is addicted to Real Housewives, Pump Rules, Dancing with the Stars, and many more shows.