TAR 9 episode 9 ranking

Ninth leg

Previously on TAR: Five teams set out from southern Greece. Immediately Ray & Yolanda got testy with each other. Teams flew to the Middle Eastern country of Oman. And had fun navigating the flooded roads. At the detour BJ & Tyler and Fran & Barry took the lead. While Eric & Jeremy grappled with transporting a camel and then got lost. Things heated up at the roadblock where teams had to dig in the hot sand for a meal. A tight race to the pit stop put Fran & Barry in first place. And while Ray & Yolanda continued to bicker, they passed an exhausted BJ & Tyler. Who arrived last but were not eliminated. Five teams remain. Who will be eliminated next?

– Intro time. There’s a good chance that this leg will be a non-elimination too. TAR tends to double up on non-eliminations when five teams remain as an excuse to build up rivalries.

– Phil introduces us to Jabreen Castle. Deep in the desert of Oman in the Middle East.

– Phil asks if BJ & Tyler’s friendly way with people will pay off when they need it most? And will Fran & Barry be able to maintain their newfound lead?

– Fran & Barry, who arrived first at an undisclosed time, will depart at 535pm. This pit stop appears to have been exactly 24 hours. I wonder why that was.

– Barry reads that they will fly more than 9000 miles to Perth, Australia. Perth is the capital of Western Australia. We’re given no other information as to where they are going. I suppose it will take them a third of the episode to fly to Perth anyway. Nine thousand miles is such a long distance that even The Proclaimers couldn’t comprehend it.

– Fran & Barry go to BJ & Tyler’s car to slip in twenty bucks because of the hippies’ bankruptcy. Knowing Fran & Barry, I’m guessing they slipped it into Eric & Jeremy’s car by mistake.

– Barry mentions that they are true competitors but are also aware that the other four teams are 35 years younger than they are. 35 years younger? Oh I get it. They’re pointing out that they are old and therefore have an excuse the next time they royally eff up. They anticipate their travel experience will keep them in the race and carry them forward.

– Nineteen minutes later MoJo departs. Fran & Barry’s driving ability is really good. MoJo finished the roadblock ahead of them but yet Fran & Barry rallied to complete the drive thirty minutes faster than MoJo. Monica laughs at the hippies starting the leg with zero dollars. Jo is convinced the hippies are screwed. Jo pretends to act that they giving the hippies a dollar. By TAR 21, you’d have to pretend you’re giving away two dollars.

– MoJo give a boring confessional of “how it’s getting down to it and can’t make any mistakes” blah blah blah. I bet they will make numerous mistakes and still stick around. Even if it’s getting down to it. Jo thinks they need to work together and slow down to do fine in the race.

MO: I’ll be happy when the hippies are gone. They wanted us to leave money on their car but if we didn’t leave money on their car that they would yield us.

Did the hippies really threaten to yield a team from the last place position? Do the hippies not know that if the yield is this round that MoJo or any other team who doesn’t give in to their demands will certainly yield them knowing that no money on the car would be equivalent to a race war?

Not that type of race war.

– I think the hippies would have kept everyone on good terms with them if they said “if you give us money, we won’t yield you”. That comes off far less threatening and you’re garnering support rather thrusting an ultimatum upon your opponents.

– Fran & Barry drive into Muscat and the roundabout is blocked up. They drive into a gas station and the attendant says the king is driving through. There is no other airport so they must wait in the big line of traffic. So does MoJo.

– At 626pm Ray & Yolanda check out.

YOLANDA: In terms of our arguing, we went from zero to 120 kilometres in no time.

I don’t even know where to begin. Americans use the imperial system. However the one exception is when you measure volume of arguments within a relationship. Metric is the universal measurement for bickering. Miles always keeps its s— together.

And why the number 120 specifically? Is there any difference between 120 kilometres per hour of arguing compared to 10, 30, 50, or 100? Can cops pull you over at 120 kilometres of arguing? Is 120 when you flip your partner the bird and ignore the majority of what they say? Please elaborate, Yolanda.

– Yolanda wants the fun and communication they had in the first couple legs. Yolanda believes slowing down is the key. MoJo and Ray & Yo-Yo think slowing down is the essence of a healthy relationship. Take notes, Dr. Phil.

– Yolanda left money for the hippies. Ray thinks that MoJo left something for the hippies, but it didn’t look like money. He thinks it was paper.

YOLANDA: Knowing MoJo it was probably a psych letter.

I’m sensing MoJo isn’t a heavy favourite amongst the teams in the race either? They lose in terms of viewership and those on the inside. Ouch. Even Flo didn’t get bashed that much overall. At least her fellow racers were fond of her.

YOLANDA: They front as being nice people but not nice at all.

Hold it. . .people were already using the word “frontin” by the end of 2005?  And here I thought it was a new fangle dangle urban dictionary word worked into the mainstream as of 2010.

– Eric & Jeremy are next to leave at 647pm. A little over an hour behind Fran & Barry? I doubt they got much sleep as they figured out how in the world a team that is typically hours behind them managed to work their way an hour ahead over the course of a round. Watch it play out this leg where Eric & Jeremy beat everybody by five hours to balance things out.

JEREMY: We left them a one dollar IOU. They’re hippies. They probably know how to make gas from trees.

But yet the hippies did not choose the ethanol option in the Brazil detour. Or they are so bored by making gasoline out of ethanol that they wanted to do a vertical rope climb to challenge themselves.

– Eric thinks it’s stupid to give another team money. Jeremy agrees saying that giving money away to another team is declaring them to not be competition. Which is true in a sense. But what if you are last on a non-elimination and suddenly the hippies have forty bucks? Are they going to be willing to give you money after you snubbed them? See. There is strategy behind the move.

And a strategic option I wish would stick around a bit longer in the TAR franchise. -_-

JEREMY: We want to win. Whatever it takes to win.
ERIC: It’s like trying to get into a girl’s pants. You know, lie, cheat, steal, you know whatever you can.

Double D will love to hear this.

– The traffic has cleared up. Fran thinks the King has gone by. Suddenly something appears in the skies.

You know Oman is a rich country when they can set off fireworks in the middle of a highway all because the king has driven by. A trail of imported fireworks follows the godlike nature of the Omani royalty. All hail! We’re only minutes away from a pilot going into the air and skywriting “We ❤ King Abdullah”.

Other racers however drive by the fireworks which trigger unpleasant memories.

I dropped twenty pounds just watching this clip.

– Jeremy hopes that the hippies miss the plane.

In addition to taking away all of their money and bags, Phil also took away any forms of human intelligence from the hippies. Now they’re stuck with only their animalistic tendencies to their names.

Isn’t the above screencap so romantic?

Inspiration for BJ & Tyler’s newfound showmance.

– BJ & Tyler proceed to read the clue in perfect unison and even insert the disappointed inflection when they read that they have zero dollars for this leg of the race.

– The hippies see Ray & Yolanda donated ten dollars, Eric & Jeremy gave them one dollar, and Fran & Barry gave an undisclosed amount (I’m guessing twenty because there was only one bill). BJ warns that one team didn’t give any money.

– Tyler said when he was younger that he dreamed of traveling around the world with just the clothes on their backs. I bet Tyler didn’t imagine doing that with a sound guy, video guy, a Kiwi host that they check in with every couple days, and millions of people around the world watching him do it as he competes against other teams to complete a series of tasks. Yeah. Sometimes reality can outmatch dreams that you thought were once so farfeteched.

What Tyler thought of his dreams.

– BJ doesn’t think they’ll get more serious.

– Fran & Barry can’t find departure parking. MoJo finds departure parking and book tickets on the only flight to Perth. So do Fran & Barry and Ray & Yolanda. Eric & Jeremy ask MoJo what flight they got. MoJo refuses to tell them but say it won’t be hard to figure out. It’s more of a tease rather than pulling an act of rudeness from the Mirna Strategy Guide.

– MoJo doesn’t think the hippies will make it. Tyler is on the road and has observed a lot of hitchhikers on the road more than any other country they have visited. Tyler announces to the hitchhikers that he is going to Seeb Airport. Somebody decides to get in.

Hopefully they can sucker the hitchhiker into giving them some cash. I’d pick up hitchhikers on TAR if my money was taken away too. Match the prices of taxis in town and you’ll likely be up an additional twenty to fifty bucks.

– The hitchhiker introduces himself as Abdul Hamid and claims to be a Bedouin from the desert. I wonder if he has a Facebook or if he is the biggest Omani Bedouin star after appearing on TAR?

ABDUL: I am from the desert.
BJ: I am from New Jersey.

I think Abdul has you beat, BJ.

– Fran & Barry purchase the tickets. So do Ray & Yolanda and Eric & Jeremy. Eric says that the hippies won’t be able to get on it. I wish they would’ve told us when the plane takes off.

– The hippies are low on gas and stop at a gas station. I have a feeling Abdul will be paying for it. Abdul also buys Snickers bars for BJ & Tyler. Tyler couldn’t be more stoked about the purchase. It’s likely been over two weeks since the hippies have been in a position to have money wasted on chocolate bars.

BJ: Our friend Abdul is a Bedouin. And Tyler and I are American Bedouin.

American Bedouin? You both have homes. BJ had a comedy program with BJ Novak. Tyler had a documentary of going through Japan in honour of his girlfriend. They have a decent amount of money. And now are on a reality TV where their every move is recorded. You want an American Bedouin? Go to the outlying shacks in the Mojave Desert. That’s American Bedouin.

– BJ is stoked that Abdul is hooking them up with mango juice, gas, and candy bars. The three essentials in life, if I’m not mistaken. It’s the equivalent of possessing Windex, Swiss army knife, and a four-leaf clover in America.

– Tyler hugs the Bedouin goodbye. The Bedouin shows off the goodbye in Bedouin.

Homosexual acts are illegal in Oman, but yet THIS is legal? Or are there no rules in the Bedouin lifestyle.

– The hippies drive to the airport.

BJ: It’s time to get serious.

That lasts about ten minutes, I bet.

– The four teams are on the flight. Hippies are at the counter and see the flight is boarding. An agent guides them to the counter. Suspense music plays as teams are already sitting down. The agent issues them the tickets but says they must run because time is out. It’s like an episode of 24. The hippies sprint extremely fast and clear a set of benches to make the plane.

BJ: The teams are going to be a little pissed.

(Tickets are issued and they clear bench.)

BJ: The teams are going to be a little pissed.

(Commercial. We return to them boarding the flight.

BJ: The teams are going to be a little pissed.

So. . .uh, did the editors not have too many soundbytes to work with?

– Ray laughs. Fran is happy to see them. Eric & Jeremy frown. MoJo goes on a rant and calls them bastards and annoying. The hippies beg for money on the flight. Seeing as how the flight goes to Dubai then from Dubai to Perth for a total of 9, 000 miles, there’s more than enough time to beg money from every individual passenger in the flight including the pilot and co-pilot.

– Phil finally reveals where teams are going in Perth. They must take a taxi to Kings Park and find the State War Memorial in honour of World War I veterans. At the fire pit is where they will find their next clue.

– The five teams all get into a taxi. Fran & Barry know they are last. MoJo is first followed by Eric & Jeremy then Ray & Yolanda. Jo wants the taxi to go faster but Eric & Jeremy laugh at Jo as their taxi flies past MoJo.

MO: What is that stench? I think it’s from Eric & Jeremy coming by. Stinky boys, stinky.

. . .What the f— are you talking about?!

– Yolanda wants to reduce their verbal clutter to a minimum. The hippies brag that they made three hundred bucks on a single flight. I forgot how sometimes teams make more money begging after a non-elimination than living off of the money they accumulate round to round.

– Eric & Jeremy tell their taxi to wait. There is a sign at the pit that says “LET SILENT CONTEMPLATION BE YOUR OFFERING”. However Jeremy yells like a monkey and slaps Eric’s butt at the clue box. Way to show respect for Aussie veterans.

Remind me not to invite Eric & Jeremy to Canada for Remembrance Day.

– Eric reads that they must make their way to the port city of Freemantle and find Rottnest Express Ferry Station. Then board a ferry to Rottnest Island. It is one of Western Australia’s hottest vacation spots. Eric & Jeremy are told it is nearly an hour and a half away.

– MoJo are next to the clue followed by Ray & Yolanda. The driver tells Yolanda that it is ninety minutes away. Yolanda says they can’t afford it. All teams decide to go to the Perth bus station and take a bus to Fremantle. Yolanda loves the bus driver for telling him that rather than suck her dry for all the money that she has.

– It’s nightfall. I thought it was dawn but I guess it was dusk when they set out to King’s Park. The first ferry does not depart until 730am. Eric & Jeremy and MoJo look for the closest hotel. A 24 hour pit stop then a flight from Muscat to Perth followed by a 12-hour equalizer must have made the teams bored out of their minds for nearly three days. I suppose they are lucky to have this equalizer to recover from severe jet lag.

– Fran & Barry are third to Fremantle. These are the three teams that elected to not take a bus. So Ray & Yolanda and the hippies are the only ones who are on the bus. Ray & Yolanda must suck at conserving money if the other three teams did not hesitate to take a cab and instead are in the same boat as a team who started out this round with zero dollars. Nicole from TAR 5 would be pissed with you.

– The three teams seek out a hostel. Fran & Barry find a room.

FRAN: What does this mean?

(LOGAN crosses his fingers and hopes to dear god that Fran & Barry open the door.)

BARRY: I don’t know.
FRAN: Do we have other people in here?
BARRY: I guess so.

Judging by the expression on Fran’s face she was a bit too eager to open that door.

I have a tough time believing that. We all know your sex life was ruined to begin with, Barry. I mean, look at Fran’s figure. There is no way you can construct a pleasure dome from THAT.

– The hippies and Ray & Yolanda land. Yolanda wants a hotel room. Not a hostel but rather a hotel room. We have learned why Ray & Yolanda suck at saving money.

– 730am is here. Teams board the ferry. We hear the ferry’s horn. Phil reminds us that teams are traveling thirteen miles by ferry to Rottnest Island. They will pick up a tandem bike and ride three miles to a lighthouse. Across from the lighthouse is where they will find their next clue.

Why is Phil delaying where teams are going until several minutes after the clue is read? Is Phil that desperate to switch the style up?

– The five teams are on their bikes. Eric concludes that the Tour de France must suck. They must ride over huge hills. Jo’s thighs are killing him. Mo says it is much less exhausting being the person riding behind.

I won’t read further into Monica’s statement.

– Fran is confident they can beat the other teams biking because they have plenty of experience riding long distances. Barry knows he is much fitter than he and Fran were twenty years ago.

– Yolanda sucks at breaking the bike. Her and Ray switch. Ray is in front. Eric & Jeremy is first to the lighthouse. It’s a detour. Phil cuts out the explanation of a detour having its pros and cons. He immediately tells us in an awkward audio cut that teams must choose between sand or sea.

In sand, teams choose a pile of forty large branches. They must drag the branches 126 yards to a marked sand dune. This is a common task in Australia known as “brushing the beach” to prevent beach erosion. Once the pile is completed teams will receive their next clue.

In sea, teams must dive beneath the waves and search through fifty crayfish traps. Only a few traps contain live crayfish. Oh. Another needle in the haystack task. Once teams have found the crayfish they each must retrieve one and bring it back to the bearded ranger.

The beard was imported from Germany.

– In both detours teams must ride their bikes to an area to Salmon Bay before starting the task. Eric & Jeremy wait for MoJo. I guess this is an unofficial alliance. Eric & Jeremy likely made it out of annoyance that their biggest competition was saved and made it onto their flight unscathed, and MoJo likely agreed to it because they didn’t like the hippies following them along with taking the yield threat too seriously.

– The new alliance is swimming. Eric & Jeremy and MoJo are going to swim. Jeremy calls the hippies nerds as they pass by them as a joke. At the top of the hill MoJo hates the hippies and calls them sleezeballs. Not as a joke. They also call them the best followers ever.

The hippies are the best followers? Are you serious, Monica? They just didn’t watch our season, man.

– The hippies quietly say that when yield season comes along that MoJo is the hunted. I’m sure the overall disdain for MoJo and their harsh remarks have made it back to the hippies. Fran & Barry and Ray & Yolanda have the clue. Eric & Jeremy put on the snorkel gear to dive while the hippies are brushing the beach.

– Mo wants Jo to stop because she wants to read the map. Jo wants her to open his water bottle because he is probably doing all of the pedaling. He counters that they stop at the top of the hill. Mo insists they are going the wrong way and wants him to pay attention.

MO: Pay attention.

MO: I want you to pay attention.
MO: Don’t freak out at me, please.


– Eric & Jeremy talk about their speedos which instantly leads to discussing picking up women with their revealing outfits. They complain that the water is cold which will lead to shrinkage. If you’ve seen that episode of Seinfeld, you know what I’m talking about.

– Fran & Barry are third to the beach. They opt to brush the beach too with the hippies. Eric & Jeremy haven’t found a crawfish yet. Oh, Eric has one. BJ & Tyler scream TTOW several times. Fran & Barry have no reaction to it. Jeremy has a crawfish of his own and they return to shore. This task seemed much faster than brushing the beach. The guy with the beard is impossible to understand.

– Eric reads that they must bike and take a ferry back to the mainland. Once there they must find Fremantle Prison. Built in the 1850s by convict labourers, this place was shut down in 1991 (my birth year!). Still existing underneath the prison is underground tunnels that support Fremantle with fresh water. Outside the prison is where they will find their next clue.

– MoJo whine to Eric & Jeremy that they got lost. Eric & Jeremy leave as MoJo change into snorkel gear. Eric & Jeremy make fun of the hippies for doing manual labour despite one of them going to Harvard and the other going to Stanford.

– Tyler screams TTOW once more. They finish the task and have the clue. BJ says he doesn’t like MoJo and that they are going down as they bike away.

– Jo asks Mo if they are supposed to get one or two. Mo says they only have to get one. So they have one crawfish and return to the beach. D’oh.

– Ray & Yolanda are at the beach. They choose to drag the branches across the beach. You mean Ray & Yo-Yo aren’t good in water? Since when?

– MoJo brings back a crawfish.

BEARDY: This is only half of my lunch.
JO: I knew it! We have the crappiest luck!

Reading comprehension where you differentiate between “one” and “two” is as much of a task of chance as trying to roll evens on a pair of dice.

– Fran & Barry finish the task and get on their bikes in a solid third place. Jo sees the crawfish in the tank and tells Mo to dive. Mo doesn’t see it. Jo shouts at her that it’s in there. Mo complies without knowing if a crawfish is in there or not. Mo dives in and freaks out when touching the lobster. She returns to the surface. Jo says Mo has to do it and not give up. Mo is frightened and sits there for a minute. She dives down again and brings the crawfish to the surface. Jo drags Mo to shore. Mo getting that crawfish was pure luck and no skill, baby.

JO: We are the kings of. . .not reading clues. . .and stuff.

I doubt that will catch on. I think I’ll just continue calling you MoJo.

– Ray-Ray and Yo-Yo are done. Dead last. Maybe Ray should flip her off and improve their standing. It worked last leg.

– Eric & Jeremy get on the 915am ferry just in time. The hippies get on a 925am going to Hilarys as opposed to Fremantle. A couple locals say they will get to Fremantle thirty minutes faster getting on the Hilarys ferry then taxi to Fremantle as opposed to waiting for the Fremantle ferry.

– Fran & Barry call for a taxi to wait in Fremantle. The three trailing teams all get on a 1000am ferry to Fremantle. Eric & Jeremy “hoof it” to the prison. The hippies are at the Hillarys Port and take a taxi to the prison.

– MoJo borrows a cell phone and orders a taxi to be waiting at the ferry to take them to the prison. Eric asks for directions to the prison. Apparently it is just up the street. Jeremy utters “crikey” a couple times. I assure you BJ has already done the same. Eric opens up the clue. It’s a roadblock.

– In this roadblock that person must search one of several CELLS in the number four division for DuraCELL batteries. Get it? They played on the whole ‘cell’ thing. Double entendre. Note that Duracell has been advertised like crazy in commercials and as a reward at the pit stop during the season. They are given four batteries and a flashlight. After that they must scour the prison for a door that will admit them into a darkened cavern. Once inside they will descend deep into the ground and search a set of wet or dry tunnels for their next clue.

Wow. This is a pretty cool roadblock considering the heavy sponsourship. This isn’t like last season in TAR Family Edition where any involvement of BP in a task led to the most horrendous and boring segments of TAR. Not until Les becomes a Duracell associate, anyway.

– Jeremy can’t find the number four division and yells at Eric for help. Eric assumes it is one of the cell blocks. Jeremy goes into a building and runs up the stairs. He can’t seem to find number four division. Eric is glad they have the lead as his partner is lost in the catacombs of the prison.

JEREMY: Is this it?
ERIC: That’s an outhouse.

– JEREMY: Helllooooooooo? Where’s the tunnels?

(Editors insert a wide and extremely distant shot of the whole prison. Ah. Is the echo really that loud?)

– BJ says they are getting bone’d by the lights in town. A shot lingers on the red light. Jo and Barry say they both have cabs. Both admit ordering it under their names. Jo says he isn’t gonna lie and will take the first cab he sees. Barry is not impressed as he goes quiet. Both teams shout their own names to see if a taxi driver responds.

– Only Joseph’s cab driver responds. There is no driver for Fran & Barry in sight. Ouch. Now THAT is bad luck. Barry did everything right but a cab still doesn’t show. Ray & Yo-Yo weren’t bright enough to call a cab but decide to run to the prison. Fran & Barry, as opposed to running to the prison like some of the other teams, are lingering their focus on finding an elusive taxi. They are convinced they’re last.

– Fran & Barry get on the bus where the driver agrees to take them directly to the prison. Barry is pissed that his cab didn’t show up. Eric is at the roadblock surprised that none of the other teams have shown up. Jeremy is frustrated that he can’t find the darkened building. MoJo is on the scene. Jo is doing the roadblock. Mo asks Eric if he’s seen the hippies. Eric shrugs and doesn’t know where they are. What Eric does know is that Jeremy has been at the roadblock for an hour.

– The hippies are at the roadblock. Tyler is doing it. Jeremy finds the building and says he will kill the person whoever put the building there. I hear doing that will leave you in the prison permanently.

– Jeremy takes the wet path with the boats once he has descended.

TYLER: Is this number four division, man?
JO: I’m not sure.
TYLER: You’re not sure? We can work together and try to find out.
JO: Dude, I’m not sure. I’m really not.
(JO finds it. Comes back to put in batteries. TYLER runs and meets up with him.)
TYLER: Is this all number four division?
JO: I really don’t know, dude.

– As Jeremy handles the flashlight he complains he can’t see anything. This isn’t the greatest marketing for Duracell. Tyler finds the flashlight and puts in the batteries. Ray & Yolanda are at the roadblock. Yolanda is doing it. I bet she takes the dry path. Fran & Barry are last to the roadblock. Fran is doing it despite saying that she is scared beforehand.

– Jeremy has done a full lap and found nothing. The guide tells him to the right is the dry tunnels. Jeremy has the clue in the dry path within ten seconds. Jeremy climbs back up as Jo is suiting up.

JEREMY: Did you run around forever?
JO: No, not that long.
JO: Which path do I take when I get down there?
JEREMY: Take the canoe.

Jeremy may have told Jo the truth if he knew Jo went through as much agony finding the building as he did.

– Eric reads that teams must drive 1 1/2 miles through Fremantle to the Fremantle Sailing Club. What is it with Australian pit stops always being at a beach or some sort of club?

Moolalaba Yacht Club, Ellis Beach. . .okay, so those have been the only two so far until the Sailing Club. But still. Couldn’t there be something a bit more inland? Or is the Outback the only place in Australia where people live that isn’t located on the ocean?

– Eric & Jeremy ask the driver where the sailing club is. The driver tells them they can walk there. So they decide to not steal MoJo’s cab and instead walk to the sailing club. Jo has found the clue in the boat after claiming she searched for a while. Yolanda has found the batteries. So has Fran. But Fran is in a pickle. She can’t find the darkened building and goes outside to tell Fran of her fail. She tries to break into clearly locked doors.

– Tyler and Yolanda are looking for the tunnels too. Wouldn’t you wait for Jo to emerge? That’s what I’d do if I was truly lost to guarantee I’d finish at least third place. Eric & Jeremy ask women for directions. They are completely silent and ignore Eric & Jeremy. If this were Keys to the VIP, they’d be toast.

– Jo climbs up the ladder and re-joins Mo. If my partner was nearby I’d scream where Jo came from. Jeremy is pissed that MoJo could pass them on the road. Jeremy try to get into a cab and is occupied. They finally have a guy in a funny hat on the road respond to them. As Eric & Jeremy begin running again they see MoJo’s cab parked. Mo is frustrated as the cab takes a while to open the trunk. Jo pays the cab and they sprint right behind Eric & Jeremy. Yet neither team is willing to drop their bags.

Like Eric & Jeremy are going to finish below first in back-to-back legs? B—- please.

– Phil announces the respective first and second place finishes. Jeremy is exhausted. He ran and biked all day. Poor thing.

PHIL: Eric & Jeremy, I’ve got some good news for you.
ERIC: Cover your ears, Monica.
PHIL: As the winners of this leg you’ve won a trip for two from Travelocity to Hong Kong.

Rough. You have to hear the grand prize being given away as you stand two feet away? This is why teams seem more pissed to finish second than any other position on each leg of the race. Seconds away from a wicked trip to Hong Kong might sink you psychologically on the race. You’d be dwelling over that one extra step or canoeing just a little bit faster. Oh well.

– Tyler talks to Yolanda and leads her to the underground tunnel. What happened to Tyler’s close alliance with Fran & Barry? Sounds like TAR’s version of Benehip Arnold. Or Flo helping Ken & Gerard with the roadblock rather than her beloved twins. Fran eventually makes it to the underground tunnel.

YOLANDA: This is like Pirates of the Caribbean.

Except nothing like it. No pieces of eight. No dead people. You’re in Australia and not Barbados. And you’re finding clues and not half-dead people or cursed souls. And Tyler ain’t no Johnny Depp.

– Tyler finds the clue as he rows and goes back to BJ. They hop into a cab. You know before how I said Yolanda would choose to do the dry path because she can’t swim and doesn’t spend any time in water?

Yeah, she chose to row. I’ll shut up now.

YOLANDA: I don’t know how to row.


– Fran is doing the dry path. It’s a showdown between continuous back of the packers in Ray Ray & Yo Yo versus the old couple.

BARRY: Just us. They always save the best for last.

I think the goal of TAR is that the best are saved for first. Someone’s delusional.

– It’s a duel between Yolanda and Fran. Let’s see how their progress is in the underground tunnels.

It’s a tight one!

– Yolanda sees the clue and grabs it.

YOLANDA: I’m a bada– b—-!

Nothing spells a bada– b—- like canoeing in the darkness.

– Fran has the clue and says she took a long time and didn’t like the task at all. Yolanda backtracks outside and reads the pit stop information. Her and Ray get into a cab. Fran keeps saying they’re last as Barry claims a taxi for them.

– The hippies check into the pit stop. Phil gives his usual speech of “zero dollars to your name and you survive” that he does every season.

Phil stands there and does nothing as Tyler bullies BJ out of his lunch money for the cafeteria. He’ll take his mango juice and Snickers bars if he as to, too.

– Suspense builds as Ray & Yolanda and Fran & Barry’s cabs have a showdown. This must be highly edited because the cab ride is only 1.5 miles. Yolanda wants to jump out of her skin and body. Somehow this might be a weird turn-on for Ray. Fran & Barry are stuck at a red light. Yolanda goes inside the Sailing Club and asks where the exact point of the pit stop is. No one inside knows. Or maybe no one inside is allowed to show where it is because they are likely part of the production staff.

– Fran & Barry are at the sailing club and told to run straight across. Ray & Yolanda are running too. We don’t see a team yet. Phil points out somebody though. It’s Ray & Yolanda. Yolanda cheers that she is fourth. She had a good time. Yolanda says her and Ray have found love again.

– Sad music plays as per tradition when the oldest couple hits the mat.

And does anyone know who this greeter is? Can my Aussie fans help me out? He is not wearing any traditional clothes. It’s a shirt and jeans like any other Westerner or Englishman. I’m guessing he has to be some sort of celebrity. Grant Bowler’s dad? Anyone?

– Fran claims she isn’t going to cry. However I can hear her sniffling and tearing up. Phil eliminates them. Both of them are crying. Barry talks about Fran as an incredible person. Barry doesn’t think that Fran is aware of how unique she is. Fran says that breast cancer has put life into perspective and to live things to the fullest. Fran hopes that they will be holding hands thirty years later.

– Next time on TAR: Two non-elimination legs left but only four teams.  However we’re distracted by strategy reaching an all-time high. I suppose that’s enough for our weekly appetite.

BJ&Tyler 4.2
Ray&Yolanda 2.3
Joseph&Monica 3.3
Eric&Jeremy 4.7
Fran&Barry 7.4

Team averages

12th Debra & Steve 12.0
12th Gina & Sylvia 12.0
11th Ryan & Chuck 11.0
11th John & Scott 11.0
11th Team Seinfeld/Avi & Joe 11.0
11th Dennis & Erika 11.0
11th Deidre & Hilary 11.0
11th Matt & Ana 11.0
10th Lisa & Joni 10.0
10th A Black Family 10.0
10th Megan & Heidi 9.5 (Wow. They sucked.)
9th Peggy & Claire 9.0
10th Meredith & Maria 9.0
10th Dennis & Andrew 9.0 FF
10th Russell & Cindy 8.33
8th Don & Mary Jean 8.2
10th Kim & Leslie 8.0
8th Danielle & Dani 7.8
9th Jim & Marsha 7.33
8th Aiello Family 7.0
8th Dave & Margaretta 7.0
9th Lena & Kristy 7.0
10th Hope & Norm 7.0
9th Rogers Family 6.5
8th Susan & Patrick 6.5
6th Lenny & Karyn 6.43
9th Wanda & Desiree 6.25
7th Paul & Amie 6.2
8th Steve & Dave 6.2 FF
11th Amanda & Chris 6.0
6th Andre & Damon 5.86
7th Dave & Lori 5.83
5th Kami & Karli 5.8
8th Michael & Kathy 5.8
7th Cyndi & Russell 5.8

9th Heather & Eve 5.75
5th Nancy & Emily 5.67
6th Gaghan Family 5.5
10th Alison & Donny 5.5
6th Tian & Jaree 5.43 FF
4th Meredith & Gretchen 5.36
7th Monica & Sheree 5.33 FF
7th Marshall & Lance 5.33
9th Debbie & Bianca 5.33
7th Gus & Hera 5.29
8th Bob & Joyce 5.25
7th Silver & Gold 5.17
7th Ray & Deana – 5.0 FF
9th Steve & Josh 5.0 – FF
9th Pat & Brenda 5.0 – FF
5th Fran & Barry 4.89
5th John Vito & Jill 4.8 – FF
7th Schroeder Family 4.75
6th Lake & Michelle 4.71
6th Brian & Greg 4.71
3rd Adam & Rebecca 4.69 FF
5th Lori & Bolo 4.6 – FF
2nd Teri & Ian 4.53 – FF
8th Shola & Doyin 4.25 – FF
4th Linda & Karen 4.17
6th Mary & Peach 4.14 (Two failed FF attempts.)
5th Paolo Family 4.13 FF
5th Lynn & Alex 4.11
3rd David & Jeff 4.00 – FF
4th Oswald & Danny 4.00 – FF
5th Gary & Dave 3.89 – FF
2nd Kelly & Jon 3.85
4th Jon & Al 3.73
6th Charla & Mirna 3.71
3rd Blake & Paige 3.69 – FF
5th Millie & Chuck 3.67 FF
6th Jonathan & Victoria 3.56
1st Freddy & Kendra 3.46
1st Chris & Alex 3.38 – FF
1st Chip & Kim 3.38
4th Kevin & Drew 3.36 – FF
3rd Brandon & Nicole 3.31
4th Godlewski Family 3.18
3rd Weaver Family 3.15
1st Reichen & DK 3.15 – FF
1st Uchenna & Joyce 3.15 FF
4th Derek & Drew 3.10 – FF
3rd Ron & Kelly 3.00
4th Hayden & Aaron 2.92
2nd Bransen Family 2.85
1st Linz Family 2.77
3rd Joe & Bill 2.76 – FF
2nd Tara & Wil 2.53 – FF
1st Flo & Zach 2.69 – FF
3rd Ken & Gerard 2.69 – FF
2nd Colin & Christie 2.54 – FF
1st Rob & Brennan – 2.46 FF
2nd Frank & Margarita 2.38 – FF
2nd Kris & Jon 2.38
2nd Rob & Amber 2.31

Rank the Legs:

1) Denver -> Sao Paulo (Much like the TAR 7 premiere, a new cast and a new route to follow a terrible season can make an episode ten times better simply due to its contrast with the content leading up to it. After suffering through episodes seven through thirteen of TAR 8, one cannot help but feel giddy as they witness this season’s opener. A brand new starting line that exhausts teams with its altitude combined with the first trip to Brazil in seven seasons? Yeah, I’m game.

The level of mature content has never been so prevalent in TAR but is necessary because of the watered down nature of TAR 8. Then there’s the kooky cast. They are all over-the-top mixed with the exceptionally brilliant and the exceptionally stupid. Many of the players are superfans who seem to be playing a game of one-up with each other to see who can parody the events of TAR the best. Compare the pit stop entrances of the first eight seasons with what you see in the premiere and you’ll know what I mean.

Fran & Barry losing 45 minutes for a clue sitting in front of their face the whole time is an extremely bizarre sighting (no pun) for TAR. Locals sexually harassing one of the players has not occurred to such an extreme since the train rides in TAR 4 with Kelly and Jaree being fondled.

And the tasks? Running up an amphitheatre? Going to fancy bridges? An insanely expensive helicopter scavenger hunt? A religious ceremony and tracking down a huge soccer stadium? That my friends is a proper premiere. The icing on the cake is that the worst and the biggest bore of a team is gone in the opener too.)

2) Munich -> Segesta (I was a big fan of this leg. Your order of departure gave you an advantage or disadvantage unlike what we’re used to seeing in recent seasons which made it one of the fairest legs of the race. This round perhaps featured more strategy than any of the first four rounds. There were multiple flights to take to Palermo which led teams to scrambling around many airlines. Lake & Michelle’s fail dropped them to last while BJ & Tyler’s wise planning launched them into a definitive first place finish.

Then there was the yield. The leading teams chose not to use it to avoid making any enemies. Lake & Michelle however used theirs to yield the weakest team knowing they were minutes away from being eliminated. Yielding the weakest team increases your chances of survival while also ensuring the team you yielded is gone and cannot come back to haunt you. What if they yield Ray & Yolanda? Wouldn’t Ray still kick butt on the puzzle and Double D is gone regardless?

Teams had to drive a stick shift to ensure all of the teams are well-rounded. The team that could not drive the stick were the ones who ended up eliminated. Other teams got lost driving themselves rather than at the hands of an incompetent taxi driver holding your fate.

The roadblock is one of the tougher puzzles seen on the race. You needed to have your wits about you to conclude that there is two pieces that do not get used anywhere on the statue.

The ability for this season to make the viewers laugh continues. Two unique pit stop entrances occurred this round as BJ & Tyler make a joke of Phil offering the sponsoured prizes on the race and Lake carrying his wife onto the mat. Let’s not forget the wheelchair Olympics in an airport and how BJ and the Frat Boys sat in that wheelchair across multiple segments. Add in ironic quotes from Double D, Fran & Barry missing another clue, and Lake’s high energy level produces a very entertaining episode.

Last but not least Ray & Yolanda rally from being last only one mile from the pit stop and successfully stay alive. It is one of the biggest upsets in TAR history. You rarely see a team make up that much time with so little distance until the pit stop and avoid the wrath of the turtleneck.)

3) Jabreen -> Fremantle (This leg wasn’t terribly eventful for the first half but once in Australia things picked up. Expensive taxi rides and hotel costs forced teams to strategize how to spend their money wisely. The hippies, who had everything stripped away from them, had to beg as much as possible from locals. This resorted to picking up hitchhikers knowing they would give them some cash or blackmailing and/or bullying other teams into helping them via the inevitability of a second yield.

MoJo and Fran & Barry sparked the idea of ordering taxis in advance which usually occurs around this time in every race. Teams had a lot of freedom in how to transport themselves from Perth to Fremantle to Rottnest and back to Fremantle. No two teams ever copied each other in their order of transportation in the episode which was unique to see.

The hilarious nature of Eric & Jeremy and the hippies continued. Even the bickering of MoJo had its highlights and their newfound feud with the hippies that came out of nowhere. In fact the new alliances of Eric & Jeremy and MoJo versus Fran & Barry, the hippies, and Ray & Yolanda is something you don’t see in any other season. Typically alliances form and die in the first four episodes. Since when do deals form in the ninth round? Not often, I can tell you.

And the roadblock task is by far the most creative task that TAR had all season. It was a task you would think was inspired from The Mole: Australia television series. Dungeons, prisons, flashlights, and pitch black canoeing? C’mon. That’s awesome. Thank you, Duracell.

The episode reaches a tragic end when the only team to overthrow the hippies and Eric & Jeremy meets an unlucky end only one leg after being on top. If only they were willing to settle for mediocrity. The race must go on.)

4) Siracusa -> Rion (This was a good transition leg into the second half of the season. After several legs where leading teams were given an advantage for departing first in the next leg, this round gave teams several chances to switch up the leaderboard and go in different directions. The only bummer is that teams were stuck on the same trains and flight all the way to Athens.

However it was a fairly well-rounded leg. Teams left Sicily for the first time in three episodes and headed to Rome even if it was for only a short while. An inspired Da Vinci task is memorable and unique for the season. It is something I hope the Race will expand upon it in the future. I suppose stacking two pieces of paper on each other is not a bad way to start out. It made me think of the slick Columns task in Istanbul during TAR 7.

So we head into Athens where teams sucked at following directions. I haven’t seen such a separation between teams for the simple fact that riding a bus when you should’ve been riding a train or reading Greek maps can prove to be so difficult.

Then there is an extremely inspired detour. Herculean Effort drew upon the ancient Olympic games while the other option is perhaps one of the most unique tasks developed in TAR history.

Add in the completion to Lake & Michelle’s run on the race, the hippies proving to be vulnerable, and Eric & Jeremy being Eric & Jeremy, you have a solid leg.

Oh, and I’m busting up thinking about Barry backing a truck up into the largest and most obvious tree sitting in a relatively empty field. That’s the kind of stuff I couldn’t get away with in my TAR fanfic. And he can’t use the “I’m not good with a stick shift” excuse like Eve did when she slammed into a pole in TAR 3.)

5) Rion -> Muscat (This leg was great overall but unfortunately had one crucial flaw. Besides all of the teams being equalized by the beginning of the first task, we also had to endure through yet another ‘needle in a haystack’ challenge. The task was designed so that randomly picking which holes to dig was enough to drop a team from first to last. There is no other reason why the hippies shouldn’t have won this round and maintain the first place finish trade-off with Eric & Jeremy.

We’ve suffered through ‘find the ___ in the gnome,’ ‘find the ____ in the plates,’ ‘find the ____ in the clothesline,’ ‘find the ____ in nesting dolls,’ and now ‘find the ____ in the sand mounds’? That is proving to be a lack of creativity on production’s part. Six of these tasks in eight rounds? That is extremely excessive when you look at it on paper.

But let’s focus on the positive attributes of this leg. Fran & Barry cause the biggest upset thus far in the race when they are the first team to overthrow both Eric & Jeremy and BJ & Tyler in the same leg, regardless if they followed BJ & Tyler to every route marker except the pit stop. The hippies and MoJo began their feud. MoJo also managed to cuss out a team for following when they ended up doing the same thing at the river crossing. Ray & Yolanda got into a multi-day scrap all because they debated to ask for directions. Especially when it was capitalized by a ‘yo momma’ comment.

And last but not least, teams went to Oman. This is easily the coolest of the one-time visits ever experienced on the race. The temples, the slick Macdonalds, the architecture, the river crossings, the people, and the route markers they went to has no similarities to anything we know in the Western world. It’s a taste of the Middle East without putting yourself in harm’s way.

Also any round that incorporates a camel for half the leg will have its share of laughs.)

6) Sao Paulo -> Brotas (It’s been a while since TAR has had to cram ten teams into a single one hour episode. In this episode it is noticeable. We repel, we go to the next destination, we ascend, then pit stop? Ascending and repelling in two places only one hundred miles apart makes this a very ho-hum leg on paper. The episode plays out more like a recap show where a couple of key characters are the only ones shown (hippies, Eric & Jeremy, and Double D)

7) Moscow -> Munich (This is the first time that a leg doesn’t have an enormous equalizer right after a To Be Continued episode. I give major kudos for making the race a bit more legit. Being in the lead finally has an impact leading into this round. In terms of production decisions, I deduct marks from them for the design error in their Travelocity error.

The detour tasks were both amusing. I can’t quite get over the cuckoo clock that would have driven the teams crazy and the locals in outfits that they would never wear in the streets of Germany. The co-ordination of Fran & Barry was fun to watch. Unfortunately their lack of co-ordination would be nothing compared to a certain task four seasons from now. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, then you haven’t seen TAR 13.

Wanda & Desiree missing a sign for the city not once but twice, and also going on the same incorrect road not once but twice is memorable. It was the first leg where teams were given a vehicle to drive themselves across long distances. That was necessary because Wanda & Desiree’s extreme lack of direction was exposed and we know now that they should never be in a position to win TAR. Same with Double D who followed Wanda & Desiree blindly. What were they thinking?

And who can forget the Wall of Death? You put your life in the hands of a German who drives a normal Mercedes vehicle 170 kilometres per hour on a ramp that you think only Tony Hawk could clear on a skateboard.

To cap off the episode, Eric & Jeremy and the hippies’ rivalry continues as they also provide a huge amount of comic relief. I should give a nod to Lake, too.)

8) Brotas -> Moscow (I hate To Be Continued legs. Think if this leg was an elimination or a regular non-elimination. Do you know how much of a blunder Dave & Lori sharing a cab with a team all the way to the pit stop in last place would have been? That would be in every TAR highlight reel. The commercials would have promoted the heck out of it. But instead it was tossed aside and minimized for the episode.

The hippies and Eric & Jeremy were hilarious per usual. So was Lake. I wish those five could be on every season.

Double D nearly sink themselves by being of many victims to leave their fanny pack at the previous route marker that erases their lead. Then there is Wanda’s fear of diving that rivals Ibrahim Rahman from Survivor: Palau. She had to kick for three seconds and she would have received the freakin’ clue. What’s wrong with her?

In addition seeing locals have troubles communicating with Russian taxi drivers was great too. Especially when Lake & Michelle and Eric & Jeremy give up and decide to follow Ray & Yolanda to what is the less desired detour option. Such good unintentional comedy. Also let’s not forget what little about Russia that all of the teams know. They’re just a country who all smokes and drinks all day? I thought that was Germany’s reputation, personally.)

9) Segesta -> Siracusa (This leg seemed extremely brief. It was like TAR was in a hurry and needed to cut a leg so that filming would be done by the deadline. That is what happened to this round.

There was a route marker in a town about three hours away. At that same route marker was a task you needed to complete there. Once done you were given your detour task that was within a third of a mile. From there you drove twenty miles to do a roadblock that takes about five minutes followed by a pit stop less than a mile away.

In other words this leg seemed very limited in terms of location. It wasn’t so much as getting lost as it was to keep your mind focused in one of the biggest traffic jams that teams are forced to drive through on the race. There was very little freedom to move ahead of your position from last leg or fall behind. The only thing you could do was yell for directions as often as possible and make sure you can run during tasks. Other than that you needed nothing else for this round.

So it makes me wonder “why do a round that has zero traveling and limits you to two precise locations”? Where’s the adventure or race in that? If you compare the finishes from this leg to last leg, the only difference you see is Dave & Lori moving down a spot while Eric & Jeremy moved up a spot thanks to map reading inability or ability. That was it. There was nothing anyone else could really do.

The tasks aren’t terribly noteworthy. Count 41 obvious heads? Carry fish to a market and find the correct stall? Play a game of polo that can be rigged entirely by the professional players? It’s not as weak as a round of Family Edition or TAR 6, but we’re certainly closing in on it.

What’s worst of all is that it was an elimination round. There is no way such a quick leg should count as an elimination. It would have been perfect as a non-elimination because the teams who barely scraped by in earlier legs can fight it out for who doesn’t get stuck with the major disadvantage. Unfortunately Dave & Lori don’t have a chance to wear their swordfish blood and guts drenched on their shirts for several consecutive days.

Try getting locals to help you when you’re covered in another’s blood and guts.)

Rank the Teams:

1) Lake & Michelle

Lisa & Joni have finally been overthrown, dag gummit!

I can’t believe people thought Lake was the new Jonathan. This guy wasn’t even close. Lake did about ten times more work than Jonathan did, and Jonathan was ten times louder. I would say Lake was more of a southern fireball. He has a quick explosion but then diffuses instantly. Rinse and repeat.

Then there is Michelle. She is supportive to Lake but holds her own as well. She can fight well and pointed out all of Lake’s ridiculous behaviour without being all that ridiculous as well. I think her and Lake would have been more entertaining if they had to be around each other for a couple more rounds and experience the frantic nature of the endgame. Seeing how Lake doesn’t like to lose and doesn’t handle stress well, I think the idea of losing out in fourth or fifth would be devastating for him.

Whether it be standing on top of  Volkswagen to get a better view of your surroundings, take your shirt off for no apparent reason, invent phrases never uttered before or since, and celebrating a victory two inches away from the team you yielded to be eliminated, TAR 9 wouldn’t be the same without Lake & Michelle.

If they lasted a little bit longer, I think they were guaranteed an All-Star spot. Too bad.

2) Fran & Barry

The best old couple in nine seasons of TAR. I think they even surpass Bob & Joyce. After putting up with an annoying team like Meredith & Gretchen, it’s great to see some real racers who want to compete directly with the younger competition. And they did pretty well. Their finishes would be better if they could track down clue boxes faster, but overall they maintained a constant presence in the top five after their follies in the Brazil rounds.

. . .

. . .

Fran was a cancer survivor. And that was a bad break with the taxi. They were likable.

P.S. Barry had his driver’s license taken away once the Greece leg aired. And both were sent to an optometrist after doctors watched their performance on the race.

3) Lisa & Joni

The frosties and/or glamazons. For some reason the only thing I remember about these two heading into this re-watch is that they were extremely negative and cranky. However that only occurs for Lisa at the end of the second round. Joni was much more upbeat but lacked that urgency you need to do well on the race. Both of them are dead last to virtually every route marker except for maybe one or two. The one time they weren’t last is when they spent five minutes screaming and shouting into the faces of everyone they ran into.

P.S. Lisa & Joni are the only team to have an average of 10.0 for playing at least two rounds. Out of all teams to play in only two rounds, they are by far the worst of all-time. They sucked that much.  I hope to get their screaming and urine talk out of my head eventually.

4) Dave & Lori

What an adorable couple. They are nice to each other. The audience liked them. I liked them. It’s refreshing to see a team that does not bicker. They usually chose the less popular detour option which distinguished them from other teams. Seeing Dave run up fire escapes and big hills was amusing to see.

Then there’s Lori who claims to be a master of puzzles but can’t catch on that there is two obvious extra pieces that everyone except Double D catches onto right away. They referenced more obscure crap than I do in an episode blog at some points which I think we should give them credit for.

I do wish I had more to say about them but I really don’t. They were real people. Their insanity wasn’t that of the Glamazons nor did they have exaggerated Spanglish or Air Head issues, they were just somebody that the common folk could root for. And in every season I think you need a team like that.

5) Wanda & Desiree

I put these two below the frosties/glamazons because they weren’t quite as dynamic and outrageous. Wanda’s fear of diving more than a couple inches could have been more memorable. But can addicts of TAR 9 really recall Wanda’s diving fears clearly? It’s already a bit foggy for me.

What I do give this team kudos for is being a very well defined Puerto Rican mother-daughter team. Boricuaaaa. Wanda’s Spanglish phrasing and inability to use any language correctly will be her legacy. Gnome is guh-nome, schlop is schnell, and using her Spanish on Brazilian and Russian citizens provides some season highlights.

Desiree was okay too. You do need some people in the cast who aren’t over the top to allow the audience to breathe. So she gets a nod.

6) Danielle & Dani

For now these two are up this high. However they weren’t the most entertaining. They were saved by Eric & Jeremy chasing after them and incorporating them into their storyline for this season (and future seasons to come). Their comments on Eric & Jeremy and what the frat boys said about them is the only memorable thing about them.

Their interaction with another team, Lake & Michelle, perhaps triggered their only memorable moments as they said some of the stupidest crap while in last place and pouting on the yield mat.

The audience was never really rooting for them either. Did you root for them? I doubt it. We all wanted them gone for losing fanny packs at roadblocks or not knowing how to drive a stick which drives us nuts thinking those types of people don’t deserve to be allowed onto the race. They were good for the odd sound byte, but overall not the most likable of people.

In addition, they wore a ton of pink.

7) John & Scott

John has a fear of flying but doesn’t have a fear of flying. Scott is quiet and non-chalant. John wants to ask for directions and change their strategy when things don’t work out well. Scott thinks things will work out on their own and is taking in the scenery. He hopes John can get over his non-fear fear of flying.

Oh joy.

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