TAR 4 ranking episode 8

Eighth leg

Tian & Jaree went for a cab ride down the wrong side of the highway. Jon thinks Millie’s mole is growing because of the race. Al wondered if bull feces got into his mouth during the roadblock. Tian struggled, and lost narrowly to Reichen & DK because of her performance. Phil deceives us and switches from “Who will be eliminated tonight?” to “who will be eliminated next?” Viewers caught onto this trickery last season.

– Reichen & DK are celebrating their one year anniversary at the pit stop. Reichen talks about how him and Donkey Kong met. He had a fistful of quarters and threw them into the machine and the rest was history. They all break down crying. Al says now that it’s down to five (and inevitably with three non-eliminations in the next five legs) that the bond is tighter.

Millie & Chuck say they’ve been dating twelve years and are virgins. Jon & Kelly pipe in saying they’re shocked and had sex on the first week are amazed there are 29-year-old virgins on the race. He wants to know more,

Wow. I think Chuck would rather be anywhere else in the world right now. He’s dreaming of being dragged by bulls through mud.

JEFF: It’s not about your sexual preference, whether you’re a virgin or not a virgin, it’s about two people working together with the strengths that they have. Every team is competitive. The best team will ultimately win.

After this prolonged discussion prior to anyone checks out, David & Jeff finally depart. They’re off to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia at 4:00am. My favourite city to say. Kota Kinabalu. Kotakinabalu. Kotakinablue. Coatakinblue. Okay, I’m good.

– The teams take a taxi to Cochin airport. I wonder if word spread around Aleppey for five cab drivers to be hanging conveniently outside the pit stop? Or maybe the teams called them prior to departing. I have a feeling not too many American camera crews stay extensively in Aleppey.
All teams departed between 4:05am and 4:17am. The tasks in the previous leg may have been too easy.

– Millie & Chuck stand behind Reichen & DK in the Air India office.

Reichen insists to close the door because he doesn’t want Millie to steal all of their hardwork. You can’t fault Millie and you can’t fault Reichen. If you’re Millie, you need to do whatever you can to get the best tickets before they’re sold out. If you’re Reichen, you need to close the door and protect the information you’ve been digging up for hours since 5:00am. This is how you need to play the game when so few teams are left and the team who you slammed into a fiacre or a team whose lip you cut probably won’t be your first choice to align with in the race.

– Millie gets into a fight with Chuck over him blaming her for everything she tries to do. What’s interesting is we never see any segments of Chuck insulting Millie. She gets so much of the airtime that we assume to trust her perspective regardless if Chuck is saying these mean things or not. Chuck’s response is to randomly talk about how much he thinks the clowns are good people and that he likes allying with them. Uh, okay then.

– Reichen is arranging a flight that will get him and DK into Kota Kinabalu earlier than the other teams. While the teams are currently in the air to Mumbai, Reichen & DK are taken to a travel agency on the outskirts to pick up their tickets for the earlier flight.

But the closed garage door next to Kong indicates that the ticketing office is actually closed. Crap. Kong gets into an exchange of words with the guy who took them to the ticketing office. The guy calls the owner of the ticketing office and insists he’s on his way. The team is doubtful.

That isn’t just a random pic of a guy on a motorcycle. It’s the boss! He’s riding a motorcycle. And not in a sissy way either. Why? Because he doesn’t cave in to wearing a helmet. He has large doeses of bada–ery running through his veins.

– Kelly & Jon and Millie & Chuck are on the same flight. Then the clowns get on a flight alone. Then David & Jeff get on a flight. It seems Mumbai offers a lot of flights to Kota Kinabalu.

– Kelly & Jon sleep on the carpet of the Singapore airport for eight hours. Millie thinks there has to be a better flight and gets one a few hours earlier than Kelly & Jon’s flight.  Jon wakes up to see David & Jeff. He proceeds to call Millie a mental patient running around last night. He must’ve known that would make it into the episode.

– Millie & Chuck get into Kuala Lumpur. Her and Chuck announce they will break up after the race. They’re going their separate ways. I wonder what the editors are making us want to think by presenting this information for this particular episode? Their epiphany is disrupted by spotting Reichen & DK. The clowns join them. They’re top three.

Kelly & Jon and David & Jeff , however, are tied for last.

– DK notes that the race is about committing a comedy of errors and overcoming them. Phil drops by to remind us there’s a thing called route markers in TAR because we’re in the 20th minute of the episode without a clue being found.

– DK’s reaction to his cab driver passing the cultural centre route marker on a one-way road, thus being unable to turn around?


One of my favourite sound bytes and overreactions. This is why Chip is always called DK. He does a primal yell mixed with actual words as he physically tears what few hairs he has and grits his teeth. Reichen reacts like a normal person and states a calm frustration. I recall impersonating DK’s “OH MY GODDD!” quite a few times after the episode aired.

– MILLIE: The chanting was unusual. They were saying words under their breath that I couldn’t understand. She could’ve been putting a curse on us for all we know.

Ask Eamon. Maybe it’s true. Maybe Millie will wake up without a mole on her face tomorrow because of the spells the lady chanted.

– Reichen & DK eat up a ton of airtime despite being in the middle/least exciting position in the pack. They’re getting the Michael & Kathy treatment. Although I don’t think Michael was able to steal this high percentage of camera time.

– Jon does a Cartman impression (“Those bastards!”) as David & Jeff wave goodbye on their way out of the ceremony.

– Detour time at the jetty. Net or trap. In net, catch fifteen fish with a pole net on a wobbly boat that has several squares where fish are swimming. In trap, work together pulling up a heavy trap that has a lobster inside. TAR logic dictates you should go with the more physically demanding task.

– Millie & Chuck ask to be taken to the trap. Like any good boat driver in Kota Kinabalu, he takes them to where the fish are with nets.

– The clowns have a definitive lead as they pull up the trap. Use your boat driver to get to Manuken Island.

– Reichen & DK ask to be taken to the lobster boat with the trap. Like any good boat driver in Kota Kinabalu, he takes them to where the fish are with nets. I mix up ‘trap’ with ‘nets’, and ‘fish’ with ‘lobster’ all the time too. Instead of settling to do the nets like Millie & Chuck, DK beats his chest and yells at the driver to take them to the trap. It works out because they finish almost immediately and secure second. Meanwhile Millie & Chuck have ten fish. Millie has to walk with the basket of fish in her hand.

CHUCK: Don’t drop them baby, please–

Either she fell into a pool created by drinking iced tea or she has the balancing skills of Chris Daugherty.

– Roadblock time. Use three weapons and hit the target. Hit one of two layers of wood with a bow and arrow, a fruit with a blowpipe, and a log with a spear. In other words, TAR re-watched the episode five reward challenge from Survivor: Borneo and copied it directly.  After that they run another one hundred feet to the pit stop.

– DK is next to the roadblock. Chuck follows. Everyone struggles with the bow and arrow.

– David & Jeff and Kelly & Jon are back at the detour. Can they catch up?

– Jon completes the bow and arrow task. He’s on to the blowpipe. DK isn’t too far behind. Jon wraps up the blowpipe instantly.

– Millie does a terrible impression of Chuck when he’s in a downward spiral.

– David & Jeff ask their driver to take them to the fish. Does this mean the driver will take them to the lobster?

– Millie calls Chuck ‘Charles’. Is that where the name of Chuck originates from? Learn something new every day.

– David & Jeff catch fifteen fish. . .of the tiny ones. They thought they were so amazing but get shut down by the local whose sole purpose is to count fish.

– Jon tells Kelly to get a grip. For once this phrase is literal because he wants her to get a better grip of the rope to pull up the trap.

– DK completes the roadblock first. But they don’t see the pit stop in plain sight down the beach. What’s better is that the TAR 20 premiere was two days ago so this occurrence is the norm. Jon finishes and they pass the other team to land on the pit stop and claim victory for once this season. Using their eyes allows them to win a 7-day cruise.

– Chuck succeeds with the bow then the blowpipe. We get a montage of him throwing spears. He’s calmer now that he’s no longer threatened.

– Jon thinks he can lift the trap by himself. Big mistake. He says it’s going down but Kelly can’t scramble enough to get ahold of the rope.

JON: Motherf—er. Dammit. Motherf—er.
(JON glares at KELLY.)
KELLY: Sorry.

That’s the best consolation she can offer. They run off to do the fish. They have too much water in their basket because two fish flop their way out and into the square. Millie & Chuck had that happen to them too. Kelly’s solution is not to drain the water but rather to sit on the basket and watch Jon catch.

JON: I need you to help, Kell. You know, farting on the fish does not help too much.

If Jon was partnered up with Kat from Survivor: One World, then farting on something would make sense. But this is KELLY we’re talking about here! I don’t believe this.

– Jeff is doing the roadblock. Chuck is still at the spear. He penetrates the wood. Millie & Chuck are in third. Kelly & Jon finish the detour. Jeff completes the bow and arrow.

– JON: I’d bet the race on a non-elimination right now.

– Jeff completes the blowpipe. While Jeff needs a few tosses to do the spear toss David gives constant advice that doesn’t really help. This minor skirmish doesn’t affect anything because Jeff hits the target and checks in 4th place.

– Jon & Kelly (I switched their names. I’m such a rebel) arrive at the roadblock. Jon, after doing six out of seven roadblocks and doing both detour tasks alone, instantly volunteers Kelly. He’s that confident it’ll be a non-elimination that he can waste time getting Kelly to do a roadblock.

GREETER: Welcome to Kota Kinabalu Malaysia.
DAVID: Oh. So that’s how you say it.

Sarcasm is a universal language, David.

– JON: Be the arrow.
KELLY: Jon, get out of here.
JON: Be the arrow.
(Arrow misses.)
JON: Now be the bow.
KELLY: Jon, shut up.
JON: Be the bow, be the arrow.
KELLY: Jon, go away please. Lord, please let me hit it so Jon will shut up.
JON: Yes, make Jon shut up. He’s dying to shut up. There you go.

– Jon doesn’t shut up, though.

JON: Just stick that thing in your mouth and start blowing it!

I didn’t notice it until this re-watch but Jon DEFINITELY meant that quote in a sexual way. He was too eager and in his sexual innuendo tone of voice when he uttered the statement.

I think that gives him ideas for tonight.

– Kelly & Jon are the last team to arrive. But as expected the non-elimination phase begins. Jon bragged about knowing it’d be a non-elimination leg. You mean to say that with two eliminations and three non-eliminations to go that you’re a genius for deducing there had to be one this leg? You. Are. Brilliant.

– Everyone except David gets a confessional stating the next leg will be brutal. They go into UFC pre-fight promo mode to make up for this episode being a non-elimination.

Next time on TAR: Clowns yell, Jon tells Kelly to f herself, and a road race to the finish. Sounds like fun.

1) Muiden -> Mumbai (An incredible leg. The equalizer occurs at a time that makes sense when teams arrive at the first route marker at 2:00am. The season gets a breath of fresh air (poor pun I know) in India as it contrasts with the central European spamming where it’s either cold, recreational, or gondolas everywhere. The train ride is one of the most daring ventures in filmmaking as teams get one of the biggest culture shocks in recent memory. Millie ruins a stranger’s clothes, the infamous creeper smile, and a leg that has you engaged from start to finish is TAR at its finest.)

2) Mumbai -> Aleppey (Legs that are a part two to racing in the same country tend to be bland and uninteresting. Check on my rankings from previous seasons and you’ll know what I mean. This had a really good format. Yes they get bunched on the train but not much you can do when teams check out between 12:00am and 3:00am. I also like the unique environment of southern India. The roadblock was very inspired and made several players feel disgusting and likely worn out in the heat as we head into the second half where attrition becomes a factor. Editors did a really good job with the showdown between Reichen & DK and Tian & Jaree at the end of the episode. Sometimes you need to have a good ol fashioned showdown even if it is pretty manufactured once you’re in the midway point of the season. I’m in love with the idea of the pit stop being at a place called ‘The Finishing Point’. I don’t know, everything fused together extremely well for this leg.)

3) Marseilles -> Hamlet near Amsterdam that nobody cares about (The only European leg to not feature any equalizers. It’s incredible. The rivalry between Kelly & Jon and Millie & Chuck increases when they equally share nasty names for each other when the audio crew is nearby. A detour where teams put up with a lot of crap is fun to watch. Don’t forget the phallic roadblock. Tian’s sunglasses are a highlight too. Did I mention everyone in Amsterdam looks like they’re stoned? Oops. Will my Arts editor edit that one out? But seriously, this should’ve been the first leg of the season. It could’ve set the tone for the whole season.)

4) Venice -> Gmunden (There’s only one equalizer but it’s before the detour and roadblock. It’s an inspired leg for racing in central Europe. Producers bring out fiacres straight out of the 19th century, Beethoven vs. Mozart as a detour because they had the biggest rivalry until Yankees vs. Red Sox, and the largest tower jump in Europe is acceptable enough for a mindless task. Now to the highlights. Millie and DK get into a scrap where the female virgin cuts DK (although it’d be funnier if the gay guy cuts the virgin — C’MON, the irony of the situation!), Tian and Jaree get into a fight over who knows what, and Kelly goes into full on Southern Flo mode. Millie’s asthma attack where Josh sneaks into the frame is great, too. Also, Steve & Dave surviving the third leg was the most surprising thing I’ve ever witnessed in TAR history at this point in time. Steve & Dave were hours behind Russell & Cindy, the only task remaining was to take a train to the pit stop, and in the scenario that Steve & Dave arrive in Gmunden first, how could they possibly avoid being outrun by Russell & Cindy to the pit stop? Steve & Dave’s reaction when they get to the pit stop is hilarious too. They were as shocked as we were that they were ninth.)

5) Aleppey -> Kota Kinabalu (For a non-elimination leg, it was fine. The race slowed down as we learned about the five teams that will leave the most significant impression once the season is over. There were few taxi and boat rides which also means less of a luck factor. Look at the order of finish. The skill of teams in terms of the tasks and ability to find flights directly reflects where they finish at the pit stop this leg. Anytime the race limits the luck factor is when you know production has done a fine job. I just wish more was at stake than a seven night cruise. -_-)

5) L.A. -> Cortina D’ampezzo (Over an hour premiere is a good idea. Particularly when all twelve teams get airtime. Sure, I agree it’s the weakest premiere yet when teams have to find the best airplane ticket then the best bus ticket for the first forty minutes. Jaree abandoning a coffee before she can drink it while in last place is memorable for me. The most satisfying part of the episode is when Debra & Steve get eliminated. If you look up their interview on RNO you’ll see them agree that they aren’t the most exciting television to watch.)

6) Gmunden -> Marseilles (I s’pose it was an okay leg. Not that great. I’m happy teams were able to drive themselves this leg which producers wanted to be a rarity this season for whatever stupid reason. Nowhere near as much tension on an intra basis this leg except the mild bickering between the father-son. Chuck panicking about tight spaces and a roadblock coming before detour makes this memorable enough. I wish the detour had a bit more originality. It took DK’s inability to follow directions to make this one entertaining. I don’t know. The leg otherwise feels a bit flat.)

7) Cortina D’ampezzo -> Venice (Okay. This leg isn’t THAT bad. The mountain rafting looked awesome. Kelly & Jon snow rafting without a raft was hilarious. The guy at the pit stop could have bitten his thumb at the teams. Gondola race was neat. Reichen & DK hanging onto the doors when a bus arrives to put them at the back of the line is a funny little moment. Did you know it was revealed that David & Jeff held onto the doors as well? However, a couple of equalizers in a 17-hour leg makes this one of the sloppiest designs to a leg in TAR.)

Reichen&DK 9.8
Millie&Chuck 10.6
David&Jeff 3.5
Kelly&Jon 5.1
Jon&Al 2.3


P.S. Jeff Garst is a fellow ranking his top 100 characters here on WordPress:


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