Previously on TAR: David & Jeff are featured for the first time but still aren’t named. Kelly & Jon come out of nowhere and defeat America’s favourite virgins in Millie & Chuck. Reichen & DK win the fast forward where we hear Reichen comment on the orangutan’s hands feeling like his hands. Who will be eliminated next?
– Phil tells us that this is the island of Borneo. He mentions everything about Borneo except that it’s where Survivor was born. Will Reichen & DK maintain their lead? And will the three all-male teams overwhelm Kelly & Jon who are the last co-ed team in the race.
– Reichen & DK depart at 10:26pm. Drive to a temple. The largest temple. . .in Malaysian Borneo. -_-
Once there find a key amongst a million candles with your name on it and open up your woven bag.
– Reichen says the competition is on. He has to watch his back. If a mistake, it’s all over. After watching Kelly & Jon’s performance last leg, we know that’s not exactly true. They made five mistakes and are still in.
Reichen & DK find their key and bag. It’s off to Seoul we go. Get to the top of Seoul Tower. Vans to take teams to the airport arrive at the temple starting at midnight and depart every thirty minutes. Odd van service if you ask me.
Reichen takes the time to pray. Aren’t hands usually together instead of interlocking? I don’t know. The only time I’ve been in a church was for a redneck wedding when I was eight years old. But I digress.
They sit around until the van arrives.
– Clowns then David & Jeff leave. David thinks he’s the underdog. By TAR 4, nobody considers the alpha males as underdogs anymore. Sorry.
– David claims the clowns are their biggest threat. So they have two good rounds in a row and suddenly are the biggest threat?
– Kelly & Jon check out approximately 2 ½ hours behind the leaders. Kelly says she’ll bust her butt because she’s the only girl. Apparently being in a sea of women discourages you from putting out full effort in the first nine episodes. Maybe if Teri & Ian were in fourth, Flo would’ve been a major force amongst Zach, Derek, Drew, Ken, and Gerard.
– KELLY: We’ve been doing very well with our strategy of being relaxed. . .The wrath of Kelly is fixing to come out.
JON: I think the wrath of Kelly is fixing to come out on Jon.
Too true. Also, were Kelly & Jon ever truly relaxed?
Well they did take the time to sleep.
– REICHEN: We realize there’s no reason to have an alliance anymore. It’s every man for himself.
Miiiiight take offense to that statement. Kelly is not a man!
– Everyone is hanging out in Malaysia Airlines ticket counter.
JON: This is the best of the best. Kelly and Jon, guy and girl team very strong. Reichen and Chip very very cunning. . .
AL: . . .David and Jeff don’t give up.
I think David and Jeff get the short end of the stick in that description.
– David and Jeff book a flight to Hong Kong but it’s full. Them and the clowns purchase standby tickets. Eventually they check back in the counter to find out if they’re on the flight.
DAVID: Whaaat? Because when I came up here you said the flight is full and we wanna be on standby. You said ‘okay’. You said you can’t be on standby unless you purchase tickets. I said ‘okay, so we’ll purchase a ticket’. Wasn’t that the obvious agreement?
DAVID: Maybe in consideration of not putting us on standby, you’ll give us tickets to Hong Kong.
Say hello to my little eye roll.
DAVID (turns to the male attendant): Is she checking us out?
MALE ATTENDANT: Yes.
DAVID (spit’s a little): Okay.
Oh, and the clowns use politeness to get on the earlier flight. So David & Jeff and the clowns lead. Kelly & Jon and Reichen & DK wonder where the other two teams went. Oh well, most likely a non-elimination so no biggie.
– They get to the top of Seoul Tower. Time to get to the Sundam Valley in the rural north of South Korea only minutes away from the border.
– How many South Korean taxi drivers does it take to comprehend an Amazing Race clue written in English that has a destination for one of the capital’s biggest landmarks?
Four taxi drivers! When you’re not in central Europe where people know half a dozen languages, or India that was part of the British Commonwealth, or the island of Borneo that is a tourist hotspot, behold a city that may be challenging for racers to communicate.
– The clowns and David & Jeff discover a one-way ride to Sundam Valley costs one hundred American dollars. So with two teams, two camera personnel, two audio personnel, and a taxi driver, what do you do?
Split a cab. I wonder if David & Jeff paid a higher percentage to have those front row seats? Or maybe the clowns are mooning the locals out the side window.
– Reichen & DK waste a lot of time when they get to Seoul Tower and ask about ten people if anyone speaks English. Nobody understands him. However, the one thing the driver understands is to go to the hotel. At the hotel, the English-speaking concierge arranges for an English speaking taxi driver that doesn’t speak English. Yep, you read that correctly. The concierge follows this up with ‘English?? Ohhhh, Engliiiish. I get it now.’
Reichen & DK are on their merry way. Especially when the taxi driver turns on the ‘hazard lights’ which gives him the permission to run red lights.
REICHEN: We can hang our a–es out the side of the car naked and be fine. It’s legal. With the hazards on.
– The driver for the clowns and co. claims he knows where Sundam Valley is. Well, except for the fact that he doesn’t know where it is and stops in a gas station to ask.
I think he’s finding Les at the BP gas station.
The two teams get together with the taxi driver and ask a clerk for directions.
CLERK: Take a left before the bridge.
JEFF: Got it.
The driver goes past the bridge. I don’t see any harm in it.
AL: The South Korea border is scary. In the U.S. you’re not used to twenty tanks being lined up with military guys in rifles and bunkers.
That’s true you don’t see that in the U.S. Although I’m sure you’d find twenty American tanks lined up in other countries.
– Reichen & DK and Kelly & Jon’s plane arrived forty minutes after the first plane. Although Kelly & Jon pass the clowns and David & Jeff. Reichen & DK overcome all language barrier delays and pull off the first place tag at the route marker (I assume it doesn’t open for several hours). Kelly & Jon are second.
REICHEN: David & Jeff have obviously formed an alliance with the clowns which makes them an even bigger threat. We hope Kelly & Jon stay on because they’re not as big of a threat.
Episode ten: The leg of non-stop threat talk. The real threat is North Korea in this leg, though.
– Roadblock time. The Alaska roadblock from leg 13 in TAR 1 is revived. DK, Jon, Al, and Jeff all have to jump in freezing water that is currently having the ice on the surface cut out by a chainsaw just for them.
– JON: We hate the silence. So we thought we’d do something to break up the tension.
So they look into the camera and bust out into a dance to hog further camera time. Grrr.
– KOREAN DOCTOR: Have you had a heart attack? Hearing problem?
How cold is this water for those conditions to come into play? I have a feeling Millie couldn’t do it.
DK: There’s a route marker in Subway Station 228 in Seoul. Find it.
That’s officially the shortest clue ever given on the race.
– Remember when the clowns and David & Jeff shared a cab to Sundam Valley? Well. . .
Jeff finishing the roadblock third doesn’t mean much when you wait for the last place team. If I were them I’d take off the cab. You must REALLY want to save money if you wait to be tied for last with only a detour to go.
– David & Jeff make a dumb move. They choose to be the ones to separate and take the extra two minutes to load up in another cab while the clowns peel into the third.
– The clowns and Reichen & DK get off at a subway because of the traffic. They were traveling for over three hours until they got into the subway.
Kelly starts up a ridiculous fight. Remember when Kelly said last round that she’d want to lose with grace and dignity rather than pout and quit?
KELLY: I’d rather not come in than come in last.
Thank goodness Kelly has come full circle for our viewing pleasure.
– David & Jeff get on the wrong subway at the poor advice of a local who insists she was right. So David & Jeff get into another cab.
This was a full-on eye roll. You should see it in all two seconds of its glory.
– Jon goes against Kelly’s wishes to jump in the subway and opts to stay in the cab. The traffic clears up and thus Jon’s decision pays off and lands them at the detour first. Strong hands or strong stomach. Smash some boards in Tae Kwon Do with your hands or eat a Korean delicacy at a restaurant.
Jon says it’ll be “butt lickers,” leading him and Kelly to do the boards.
– Reichen & DK however opt to eat. It can’t be anything disgusting, right? When they enter and see the bowl of octopus in a pool of water in front of them, as well as hearing the furious chopping in the kitchen, Reichen provides one of the best reaction shots of the season.
Reichen’s memories from childhood when his mom says to eat his octopus flashes into his mind. They have two very full plates of octopus to eat. The plate is moving. Donkey Kong is making some of the most uncomfortable vomiting noises I think I’ve ever heard in TAR.
– Kelly fails to break boards in the detour until Jon says to pretend the boards are his face. Then they break no problem. Kelly pulls a Ken Shamrock and breaks her right hand in the process. She’s bleeding and the one knuckle looks messed up. It does look like Ken Shamrock’s hand from the early UFCs. I’d hate punching boards that don’t break and crush my hand, too.
Pit stop time. Gyeongbokgung Palace. Now that we’re in a colder climate it’s time for the return of our favourite segment after a brief hiatus:
Phil’s covered up neck. That’s the most luxurious turtleneck I’ve seen Phil wear yet.
– David displays his season long cultural ignorance once again.
DAVID: I don’t think this is such a good idea. There’s eyeballs and stuff. This is disgusting. This is disgusting. Even though we’re behind this is not happening.
DAVID: If I had two or three more bites I probably would have puked.
I have a feeling David won’t go into public relations.
– Reichen calls his taxi driver a “wamb”. Urban dictionary it and report back to me what you come up with.
– Who will come in first? Kelly & Jon or Reichen & DK?
By the way, this is the greeter for this leg of the race. Is he supposed to be a caricature from Age of Empires II or did he steal Raiden’s costume from Mortal Kombat? Either way it’s Kelly & Jon who are team number one. They win a vacation to the SUNNY Caribbean.
– Reichen & DK are second. Two minutes remain.
– The clowns check in third place after ten seconds of suspense. That means the last place team is. .
Whoever these guys are. Jeff’s smile and David’s s— eating grin indicate it is indeed a non-elimination round. I trust it was pre-determined because I’m sure production wants to find any excuse to kick these two off before Kelly & Jon, the clowns, or Donkey Kong.
Next time on TAR: Every player is angry or screaming. Even the clowns.
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) Kota Kinabalu -> Sandakan (Teams drive themselves for a huge chunk of the leg and have a map so they can completely own where they’re going. This leg exposed major attrition by multiple teams. The only team that wasn’t at each other’s throats were the clowns. Even David & Jeff were given airtime to show their intrapersonal conflicts! Reichen & DK couldn’t follow a road so DK got to play with his own kind, Kelly & Jon screwed up the location of the hot springs and spotting the number 5, and David & Jeff not finding a clue in a wheelbarrow, and Millie & Chuck messing up every second of the entire leg makes this a comedy of errors. I like the setting for this leg too. There were very few people around because it was a rural area leaving the teams needing to go well out of their way if they wanted to contact locals. The sharp coconuts drew first blood for some of the teams. In fact, the detour was a great test of patience which is great in the ninth leg of the season. Also a great showdown that nobody was expecting in a non-equalizer leg as Jon and Chuck faced off in the roadblock and testing their knowledge of using a stick shift effectively.)
3) 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.)
4) 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.)
5) Sandakan -> Seoul (As Darkwing Duck would say, “Let’s get dangerous”. Teams have to suffer for the first time from communication barriers, breaking hands, and literally freezing themselves throughout the course of their venture in South Korea. Not to mention two of the teams see the border. The bizarre short-sighted decision by the clowns and the goats to share a cab plays out which is neat to see. I couldn’t imagine all twelve teams being able to put up with these tasks if it was thrust upon them at the start of the season. This was designed for experienced racers. Also, why does Reichen get to narrate virtually the whole episode?)
6) 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.)
7) 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. -_-)
8) 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.)
9) 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.)
10) 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.)