After ten weeks of adventure around the world, Tour Group is finally coming to an end. As the travelers close out their time in Japan, Misty and Jared are forced to confront the reality of their relationship while things go from bad to worse between former besties Heather and Amy. In the end, will any of the travelers take something special away from this opportunity of a lifetime? Read on for the complete recap in my final travelogue...
On the last full day of the trip, the travelers awake in the shadow of Mount Fuji to the shock of the small Japanese woman who serves as their innkeeper throwing on the lights at 6:30 a.m. In Japanese culture, the ryokan decides when it's serving breakfast, so if you choose to sleep in you miss out on all the food. However, some members of the group aren't too thrilled with the early meal, which turns out to be a traditional multi-course Japanese breakfast featuring lots of fish, raw sushi and more than a few dishes that are completely unidentifiable to American palettes. Of course head tour guide Brandon Presser digs in with enthusiasm, but only Michael Cook is willing to try every course...except the tofu. Jared Levy is also intent on eating the meal - seaweed included - but it might just be a way to distract himself from the awkwardness that's building between him and Misty Kingma.
Traveling back to Tokyo, the tour guides split the travelers into two separate groups. For an exploration in being people they're not, Brandon and Sandhurst Miggins take the guys to learn karate while Rachel Grant and the women dress up as Geishas and learn the history of the ancient Japanese Geisha houses. Being the sole woman of color on the trip, Jetta Bates Vasilatos feels uncomfortable with the idea of painting her face in the white makeup of the Geisha. Arriving at the geisha house, the ladies learn that Geisha history dates back to 300 years ago and that, contrary to popular belief, Geishas were not prostitutes. Their singular purpose was to entertain customers by dancing, playing Japanese guitars and serving sake. They were performers known for their beauty and grace. Also interesting to note: a Geisha wore white makeup because it made her easier to see in the dark before the advent of electricity. (Even today, about 100 Geishas still exist, though that number continues to dwindle as society advances.) Next, the women are outfitted in the traditional dress of the Geishas, which involve many more layers under their kimonos than the girls were expecting. When it comes time for makeup, Jetta submits to putting the white makeup on her face, but draws the line at fitting her mass of curls under the tiny wig. According to Jetta, it's called being an African-American Geisha and anyone who has a problem with it can just deal.
Meanwhile, the guys arrive at a dojo in Tokyo for an introduction to the ancient art of karate. The dojo master explains that karate originated in the city of Okinawa and the sport involves no gloves or protection pads of any kind. After running the guys through some basic moves and a series of exercises to focus on discipline and self-mastery, the instructor challenges them to break some wooden boards with their fists. Every single guy manages to punch through a board, and the exercise quickly becomes a competition between Michael and Jared over who can break the most boards at once. The boys add board after board until Jared breaks four at once, and the guys move on to breaking clay tiles. Michael bows out (citing the fact that he uses his hands cut hair) and it takes Sandhurst a couple tries to punch through one, but Jared lets out all his aggression by breaking two. Clearly the playboy is going through some stuff in his head...
After decompressing for a few hours at the hotel, the ladies head out to a traditional Japanese Host Club - where they're surrounded by a bevy of (mostly gay) Asian boys to wait on them hand and foot. As the drinks flow, the party eventually spills out into the streets of Tokyo and things between former besties Heather Marianna and Amy Grice take a dark turn. First, Heather sprays champagne on her frenemy. When Amy tries to return the favor by giving the Beauty Kitchen CEO a champagne shower, Heather flips out and ends up slapping Amy right across the face. Enraged, Amy lunges after Heather and - as 38 days of resentment come flooding out - the two divas get into a knockdown, drag out brawl in the middle of Tokyo. Shoes are thrown, bags are flung and the sign of the cross is even made before the rest of the women manage to break up the fight and send the former BFFs home in separate cars. Yikes. This is not going to do anything to fix the divas' fractured friendship.
The next morning, it's the last full day of the trip and things are at an all-time low between Heather and Amy. With Sandhurst attempting to mediate, the former best friends sit down in an attempt to talk things out, but the conversation goes nowhere fast. Before we know it, Heather is dropping bombshells left and right about Amy - that she had an abortion, that she needed a lawyer for some mysterious legal issue and that she's always calling Heather in a crisis. Amy fires back that Heather cheats on her fiancé and the fiery brunette storms out of the room after insisting that she's always been a good friend to Amy. (Besides, you know, outing her for abortion on national television.) It looks like the friendship between these two Vegas girls is about as dead in the water as it could possibly be.
At the same time, Jared finally works up the nerve to visit Misty in her room and air out his concerns about their relationship. It turns out that Jared got spooked when Misty's twin sister Jenna Kingma gave him a sisterly warning to be careful with his girlfriend's heart and inadvertently dropped the L-word into the conversation. Despite Misty's protestations that she doesn't actually "L-word" Jared because she's not one of those crazy, obsessive girls, Jared already has one foot out the door and essentially dumps Misty on the spot with the old "I don't want there to be any expectations" line. In a hotel room in Tokyo. Ouch. Immediately, Misty runs to her sister's room for comfort. Jenna's shocked that Jared ended the relationship with her sister so abruptly and Misty tearfully explains that she regrets spending the whole trip with Jared. Hindsight's always 20/20, I suppose.
Finally, the group gathers for one final dinner together on the last night of the trip. Somewhat awkwardly, Misty is flanked by Jenna on one side and Jared on the other, while Amy and Heather maintain as much space between them as possible. In one final toast, Brandon presents each of the travelers with a rock he picked up on a secret beach in Iceland and challenges each of them to someday bring their rock back to that secluded spot as a reminder to never stop traveling. He then asks the group to go around the table and express what each person took away from their trip around the world. Answers range from the importance of saying "yes" to new experiences and learning to be independent to overcoming fears and putting family in perspective. Heather even manages to say something nice to Amy about her future as a mother. And surprise! Jenna reveals that she'll actually be staying in Japan once the rest of the travelers head home - her own trip is just beginning.
The dinner ends with Jared changing into the panda costume he's been asking for since before the group got to Japan and everyone finally seems happy as the trip draws to a close. As the travelers finally part ways the next morning, we're given "Where Are They Now?" cards for each person. Jetta expanded her travel website, Jettasetting, while her husband Jeff Vasilatos is still living life the fullest in the wake of his life-threatening scooter accident. Heather dumped fiancé #13, moved right on to #14 and continues to travel the world with fellow diva Michelle Harvey. Amy's still working on restoring her relationship with her former BFF, but hasn't made much progress. The Georgia boys have continued traveling by visiting Jay Ward in California, and Michael hopes to build a chapel in Kenya. Jared and Misty reconciled when they made it back to the States, and are taking things slow as they trade off visiting each other on opposite coasts. And Jenna, now bicoastal to spend more time with Misty, created a new jewelry line inspired by her time in Japan. With that, the trip around the world has finally come to an end. I've very much enjoyed writing about Tour Group and have even added a few places to my personal bucket list in the process. Thanks for following along on this trip of a lifetime!
What did you think of the Tour Group finale? Which destination on the trip was your favorite? Do you think the show should come back for a second season? Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!