The elimination of Jess & Lani, who left smiling and with class, in spite of being hated by two of the three remaining teams for no apparent reason, brought us down to the final three teams. Richard & Richard have been at the top of the pack all season. This is theirs to lose, but stranger things have happened on the race. Natasha & Hussein have appeared moderately competent in the last two legs, but they are the luckiest team in the history of the race, having run most of the race in second to last place only to be saved by dumb luck every time, be it producer incompetence giving one team a broken car or an extra long leg with a fake pit stop so that even being quitters with a 4 hour penalty did not harm them. Michelle & Claire really impressed me early on, with their ability to eat 275 chicken balls when everybody else could barely eat 100. I really haven’t seen much out of them since then, however, although they have been very consistent, placing third in most of the legs.
Teams depart in the order in which they arrived.
First: Natasha & Hussein – 1:00PM
Second: Richard & Richard – 1:10PM
Third: Michelle & Claire – 1:13PM
Teams will now fly to Singapore, the home country for Michelle & Claire and also birthplace of Hussein. The Richards make a call from the cab to make travel arrangements, but as close as all the teams are, I don’t think it really matters. The first two teams to arrive get tickets on the first flight out, and the waitlisted Michelle & Claire later do as well, so all three teams depart on the same flight as expected, on their way to the international airport.
Natasha & Hussein have booked a flight directly to Singapore, which gives them half an hour to make their connection. That’s cutting it tight for any international flight, but at least they don’t have to deal with the TSA. The Richards had standby for this same flight but instead opted for the safe bet, which would put them in 4 hours later. Michelle & Claire hope that begging will get them on the first flight. It doesn’t.
First flight (arriving at midnight): Natasha & Hussein
Second flight (arriving at 4AM): Richard & Richard
Third flight (arriving at 10:25AM): Michelle & Claire
Their first destination is Cavenagh Bridge, where they will be greeted by traditional lion dancers. At some point we will hit an hours of operation. That point is not now.
From the bridge, they are going to Red House Seafood Restaurant, where they will have to extract 1kg of chilli crab. At least they don’t have to eat anything. The restaurant opens at 10AM. Based on the Richards taking 2.5 hours to get to the restaurant, we can surmise that Michelle & Claire will now be 3 hours behind the first two teams. They pretty much have no chance. Even if one team takes a 4 hour penalty at some point, that still puts them in second at best. This is why the Richards made the smart move of booking that sure flight 4 hours after the first one because they knew there was no way they were going to miss the flight and end up in dead last, while also realizing that there would be an hours of operation to make up the 4 hours.
I’ve been wondering where Caltex was. Teams will now go to one of four Caltex stations and get in the marked vintage car. If the car is no longer there, it has been taken by another team, so they must try another station. Obviously, this will as a result get more difficult for the trailing teams.
Although they finished the challenge first, the Richards failed to spot the closest taxi, which Natasha & Hussein managed to get as a result. This means that the closest service station car goes to them. Richard & Richard will have to try again. Of course, being in last, Michelle & Claire are probably going to see multiple attempts.
The detour is a choice between stay up and add up. In stay up, teams must ride a simulated wave for a total of 2 minutes. In add up, they will go on a reverse bungee, and while flying through the air, they will have 10 seconds to add up a series of numbers that have been provided to them just before launch.
Stay up: Natasha & Hussein, Michelle & Claire
Add up: Richard & Richard
With Natasha & Hussein racking up less than a second of time at a time, this detour may take them a while. Hussein would rather switch, but Natasha wants to stay put, not wanting to do the bungee. After a bunch of tries, they are finally getting the hang of things, with runs of 9 and 12 seconds, putting them at the halfway mark. Michelle & Claire are continuing to trail, and it doesn’t appear anything will stop that. Claire decides she sucks, so she just lets Michelle go for it because she seems to be getting it.
One of the Richards doesn’t like bungee jumping either, but this can’t be worse than what they went through in New Zealand (the bungee freefall that was actually slower than the far less scary swing on the other side). This task seems a lot easier if they can overcome it. Although the numbers are not overly simple, they do add up to less than 250. They get the first two numbers but forget the final one. Their second try, with different numbers, is correct, although they are shaken up by this rough ride. This was definitely the easier detour for teams with basic math skills who could stomach it.
Now’s their chance to perform some magic. At Saint James Powerstation, they will have 2 minutes to unlock their handcuffs, while performing an illusion taught by top Singapore illusionists. Richard & Richard fail once. Then twice. Natasha & Hussein arrive, so now the teams will rotate turns. Their first attempt is a failure. The Richards make it on their third try.
The road block is a tightrope walk 55 stories above the ground, from tower 1 to tower 2 of the Marina Bay Sands hotel and back.
Road block (in order of arrival): Richard, Hussein, Michelle
Richard really doesn’t seem to have any trouble with this. Earlier in the season, Hussein was unable to do a ropes course that was much lower and much shorter in distance, ultimately quitting and opting for the other detour instead. This time, he’s not even going to try. He’ll take the 4 hour penalty. Really? On the final leg of the race, you’re taking a 4 hour penalty? This is why this team should not be in the finals. His argument is simple: they’re going to finish second anyway, so why bother trying? Natasha begs him to at least try. Hearing this, he decides to at least hear the instructor out, but once he gets on the rope, it’s back to quitting again. As much grief as Natasha gives her father, he’s doing this road block because she wouldn’t. On their way to the road block, Michelle & Claire get very emotional about being so far behind everybody else, but they’re about to find out they are in second place. No possible way either team can catch the Richards, but at least there is now a battle for second. With a chance to overtake the second place position, Michelle’s able to get across without too much trouble.
The final challenge is a multiple choice quiz about the race, with questions such as the name of a church and the name of the rice war, plus race specific questions such as the fifth team to be eliminated.
The finish line is SkyPark Observation Deck at Marina Bay Sands. In one of the most predictable final standings ever, we already know how this is going to turn out, so the producers aren’t even going to try to edit it to fake us out. The Amazing Race 4 winners and $100,000 richer are Richard Hardin and Richard Herrera. After their airline struggles, Michelle & Claire recovered to place second. In third place, having quit a road block for the second time this race, are Natasha & Hussein. Jess & Lani so should have been there instead (or Ethan & Khairie or Su & Dimple).