It's not easy, but it might not be impossible.

By Jodi Walker
December 05, 2015 at 04:13 AM EST

The Amazing Race

S27 E11
  • TV Show

Well, that was a breathless one! That episode had more twists than a 1960s beach party movie. Just when you thought it was going to zig, it zagged; just when you thought Krista was going to find her golden fish, she didn’t; and just when you thought she was going to find it again, she didn’t again; and just when you though one more time that she was going to—well, you get the picture.

The downside to a titillating Next Time On preview is that there’s always a good chance you’re being tricked by the editors, and while this episode didn’t exactly end with the Green Team exit that was implied, it was actually even more bonkers than I expected it to be. And what’s crazy is how lucky the producers got—if the Green Team had glanced at even one street sign, or if Krista had become capable of swimming just one foot deeper, just one moment sooner, we would have had a pretty boring leg on our hands. But since those two things didn’t happen, Leg 11 was certifiably intense. (The raccoon makeup definitely didn’t hurt.)

Following the Green Team’s seventh overall win last week, they’re looking to tie the eight-win record in this leg, going from India to Hong Kong. They’re also looking to not be maimed by Team Paparazzi, who they U-Turned last week, before becoming aware that Chris and Logan cannot be terminated. The four remaining teams are on the same flight to Hong Kong, where they’ll be picked up by green Rolls Royces and taken to the Peninsula Hotel. Needless to say, they all much prefer the double-R experience to tuk-tuks, and the Cheerleaders and Reporters get off to an early lead, arriving first at the DETOUR: SAM’S vs. CELL.

Sam is a famous tailor in Hong Kong who can make a tailored suit in under 24 hours, and there’s a really cool shot of Phil explaining this in real time, while Sam—well, presumably Sam…we only see his son later on, who it’s worth noting, is a babe—puts together a suit in fast-forward. The teams must cut out six perfect pieces for a suit, and then deliver a completed suit to Sam’s son at his storefront. So it’s basically…cutting. And the obvious Detour choice, though the Cheerleaders, Reporters, and Paps all make the challenge harder on themselves than it needs to be. Krista and Tiffany first think they’ll be putting together a whole blazer and start getting friendly with a mannequin. But they’re also the first to figure out that the best way to make the six pieces match up is to double the fabric and cut our three identical patterns. That puts them out of the gate first, with the Reporters and Paparazzi (“You argue with me and I know things!”).

But things are moving just—if not more—efficiently for Justin and Diana, the only team that chose Cell. They have to head to a crowded market, find he marked vendor, dig through hundreds of cell phones to find the ones that works and call the number provided to find out where to deliver the cell. Except they get lucky and end up only having to dig through about 20 cell phones. They get the cross streets to Kong Wa Telephone Limited and hop in a taxi, feeling sure no one could have finished the Detour faster than them…except they’re not finished yet, are they? And as their taxi zooms off from the market place, we know they were already on the street where the drop-off was located.

We know Justin and Diana are headed for disaster when their taxi driver tells them their location is 45 minutes away (again, they were on the street); and they realize it when he brings them to a hotel. Someone there tells them where they need to be…which happens to be within spitting distance of the vendor where they originally got in the taxi.

Meanwhile, all three other teams are headed to the Hong Kong Island Ferry where they’ll take a ferry to the city of Macau for their ROAD BLOCK: SWIM WITH THE FISHES. The teams are headed to City of Dreams to participate in the famous House of Dancing Water show: after one member of each team has gotten in dramatic costume and makeup, they must jump off a ship mast that’s risen up 30 feet in the air, find a golden fish underneath the water below and deliver it to a raft before the music stops to get the next clue. But first they have to get there…

NEXT: Ferry, ferry, quite contrary…

The Cheerleaders, Reporter, and Paparazzi all make it on the same ferry from Hong Kong to Macau, meaning they start their House of Dancing Water performance at the exact same time, as well. The Green Team finally makes it back to their Detour location to get their next clue, and this time get some directions to the ferry before hopping into a taxi. The nice man that helps them tells them that there are two ferry departure points that go to Macau: Hong Kong (where their clue says they need to get tickets) and Kowloon, which he also writes down instructions for because it’s much closer to where they are now. I think you see where this is going…

At the Kowloon Ferry, Justin and Diana find they can’t get the exact type of ticket they’re supposed to, but they can get on a ferry to Macau very soon, so they get to the Road Block just after the other three teams have completed their first try. Kelsey and Logan both plunge underwater, get their fish, deliver it to the raft, and get their Pit Stop clue on the first try. Krista does not. And even through the Green Team arrives just after the first performance is complete, and it seems like there’s a little hope because Diana doesn’t get her makeup done in time to take part in the second performance (cue weeping), Krista can’t find the fish on her second time down either.

Cue the drama. The House of Dancing Water performance is dramatic already, but add the ticking clock of the Green Team possibly being able to catch up with the Cheerleaders after thinking all hope was lost as Diana got her face smeared with dirt, and we’ve got ourselves a ball game. Then add onto that that Diana finds her fish on the first try (note: Justin once again spent his sidelines time being nervous because this is “his strength,” and Diana once again, aced it) and things have just gotten out of control. The Green Team is recovering from weeping, Krista is weeping and wondering how she’ll do this a fourth—then fifth!—time, and Tiffany is giving a motivational speech worthy of a 30 for 30 short. DO THIS FOR YOUR FAMILY, KRISTA!!!

And Krista does. I felt for Krista, because the panic was surely building each time she had to make that 30-foot jump, but if I’d had to heart that same clip of her saying “I can’t see anything!” one more time, I might have had to fly to Hong Kong and find that fish for her. But she does find the fish on the fifth try, and this is where it gets really good…

Justin and Diana arrive at the Pit Stop at Nam Van Lake only to have Phil remind them that they did a very bad thing—they took the wrong ferry, which means they’ve incurred a 30-minute penalty; but their ferry was also 25 minutes faster than the ferry they were supposed to take, so they have to sit and wait at the Pit Stop for 55 minutes to see if Krista found that fish in time to meet them. They do the math and realize that she would probably have had to fail two more times after they left to make it their within the 55 minutes. And we know that thanks to Tiffany’s rousing speech, she only failed one more time. It’s a real nail-biter, my friends:

1: PAPARAZZI—The real story here is not that the Green Team fell from glory, but that the Paps rose to it, screaming at each other the whole way. Chris and Logan won a ticket to the Final Leg and a trip for two to Peru, which I think there’s a pretty good chance they’ll be taking separately.

2: REPORTERS—Joey and Kelsey, always the bridesmaids, took their fifth second-place finish in a row tonight…but it’s only the last first-place finisher that really matters, anyway. And that could still be…

3: GREEN TEAM—hanging on by a thread, weeping barrels (as opposed to their customary buckets). The Cheerleaders made it out of the Road Block in time to overtake the Green Team at the Pit Stop, but took a detour in their taxi and arrived just minutes after Justin and Diana’s penalty expired.

ELIMINATED: The Cheerleaders were passionate, and they were always good to each other, you must give them that. I’m sad to see them go because I just felt like they would be such unexpected winners. And yet, with them gone, we’re still certainly left with a wily bunch: the humbled (maybe) Green Team, the all-American reporters, and the oiliest oil and wateriest water of a duo, the Paparazzi. Just two episodes left: Who are you rooting for?

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The Amazing Race

Phil Keoghan hosts the globe-trotting adventure series.
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