TAR 9 episode 10 ranking

Tenth leg

Previously on TAR: What’s the point? You know what happened. Hippies kissed a Bedouin man against local laws, teams paddled in a Duracell prison, and Fran & Barry were effed over by a cabbie. Is that good enough for you?

– Intro time.

– A didgeridoo plays. It reappears from Survivor: Australian Outback. An advertisement for the terrible season of Survivor: Exile Island appears too. Phil’s booming voice breaks in.

– He talks about Perth. Although Perth has nothing to do with the pit stop because Fremantle is the town hosting the pit stop.

– Phil asks if the tension between the hippies and MoJo continue? And after struggling at the back of the pack, will Ray & Yolanda fight their way out of last place?

– Eric & Jeremy, who arrived at 1147am, will depart at 1147pm. Eric reads that teams must drive fifteen miles to the Swan Bells. It’s a copper and glass structure overlooking the Swan River. It houses eighteen church bells. This gift came from England to mark Australia’s bicentennial. At the top is where teams will find their next clue.

– Eric says that everyone is on edge. He’s glad the hippies and MoJo are going at it which takes the heat off of them and makes it fun for them to watch. The goal of course is to make it to Final Three. After finishing below second only once in nine rounds, I think the goal should be scaled up to finishing in number one.

– MoJo are next at 1148pm. By the time the clue is open Jo already talks about beating the hippies. He says that teams are getting mean towards each other. Especially when he himself is fuelling that. Mo says they wouldn’t be this vindictive outside of the race. You mean you don’t typically have people threaten you if you don’t give them money in your everyday life?

MO: It’s no holds barred.

Oooooooooooooh.

– Jo borrows a cell phone and orders two taxis for them and Eric & Jeremy.

– The hippies try to open their clue at 1156pm.

But it’s floating. Apparently somebody slipped acid into our dinner. This must be what the world looks like through the eyes of the hippies.

– Anyways, the hippies are excited to see seventy dollars in cash from the clue. We hear music with horse sound effects as the hippies begin running. An odd soundtrack choice but I’ll roll with it. We’re reminded of Tyler’s threat to MoJo if they didn’t leave any money back in Oman.

TYLER: They accuse of deceit or trickery when we’re just playing the race. We’re not trying to trick or deceive any teams. We’re completely open and honest with them.

True. There’s no lying or deceiving when you tell another team outright “give us money or we’ll yield you”. What would be sneaky is to take money from them then yield the team regardless. Now that would be the dirtiest trick in TAR to date.

– The hippies meet up with Eric & Jeremy. Is MoJo frontin’ that they don’t like the hippies?

Survey says no.

TYLER: Did you guys find out where the Swan Bells are?
JEREMY: Yep.
TYLER: Did you really?
JEREMY: Nope.
TYLER: You guys waiting for a bus?
JEREMY: Yep.

Nothing spells friendliness like monosyllabic responses to three consecutive questions.

– MoJo and Eric & Jeremy are in their cabs. Tyler borrows a cell phone from somebody sitting on the sidewalk at midnight. BJ is amazed how quick the taxi came. On-screen it clocked in at one second which makes Fremantle the town with the best taxi service of anywhere in the world.

– At 1223am Ray & Yolanda depart last. Yolanda thinks they’re growing and learning and that they haven’t been together this long before. She says that they are still Ray and Yolanda.

YOLANDA: It’s like ‘oh, that’s the sound he makes when brushing his teeth’.

– MoJo are first to the Swan Bells. Seeing how it’s midnight, guess what? It’s closed. Hours of operation are 800am to 400pm.

MO: Is there a cheap place to stay around here?
STRANGER: Cheap place to stay, love? You can stay at my joint for free.
JO: -_-
STRANGER: That’s all right, man. I’m just joking.
JO: . .

Then what does he say to top it all off?

He’s going to be blasted in me face by a Jo, crikey!

– The hippies are at the hotel. Mo acknowledges him and announces that it’s open at 8. Ray & Yolanda are last to the hotel. Eric jokes that Ray is on a leash. This leads MoJo to discuss leashes.

JO: My leash is about five feet long.
MO: You don’t have a leash.
JO: Yeah she doesn’t keep me on a tight leash.
MO: At all.

Well that conversation went nowhere.

TYLER: Beej, Eric has been really flirting with Monica.
BJ: Yeah. If we can point that out to Jo and create some friction between these two pretty teams that have allied together, then it will work to our advantage.

Something tells me that playing the role of Iago to insert himself between Othello and his wife will not work on TAR. Jothello will not be too receptive to any TTOW Jedi Mind Tricks. Jothello couldn’t give a s— about reputation.

– ERIC: I just want Monica to talk dirty to me from behind that tree.

Maybe TTOW doesn’t have to point anything out to Jo after all.

Oh the way she grabs her hair. . .

And the way Eric creepily. . .stares?

– 730am. Ray orders a taxi under the name of Ray William and describes himself as a Black male. Tyler orders a taxi under the name Tyler.

– JEREMY: Yeah um I need a taxi under the name Doug RooBaker. Thank you. Buh bye.
ERIC: I actually called for a taxi. I want to cancel it. The name is under Tyler. Thank you. I want to cancel a taxi. Under the name Ray. Thank you. Buh bye.

Each time I watch this scene I find myself laughing out loud. It’s such a genius move. The smartest strategic play you can make on this show. All it takes is canceling a team’s taxi prior to a route marker up. Teams never considered using fake names to cover up other teams from ordering taxis, and no one considered that a competing team would call to cancel their taxi. This is why Eric & Jeremy are almost always finishing first. It’s straightforward strategic plays like these that keep them far ahead.

– 800am. The hippies are first up the stairs and first to the clue. Ray & Yolanda are second. It won’t matter because their taxi won’t be there. Tyler reads that teams must fly 1700 miles to Darwin, Australia. It’s named after Charles Darwin. Once here they will drive themselves to Crocodylus Park. Here they will wade out into a pool of crocodiles to receive their next clue. BJ busts out his Aussie accent. Eric & Jeremy are third to read the clue. MoJo is last. Jo is not thrilled about crocs.

– The hippies take a taxi. Jeremy goes to the door and asks who it is. The driver says it’s for Joseph. Jo yells at the hippies to get out. The hippies claim to be Jo initially but Jo is prepared to show his I.D. The driver says it isn’t necessary because two men not wearing any backpacks and looking like they will mug you will not have their word taken over a man with an attractive girlfriend.

Oh how society works.

– MoJo is launched from last to first just like that.

BJ: Why’d you get out of the taxi, man?
TYLER: Dude, cause Joseph would’ve just been–it’s not worth it.
BJ: Right. It’s not worth a million dollars to piss somebody off.

And it’s not worth a million dollars to wait another two minutes before the taxi driver kicks you out of his cab after Jo shows him his I.D. Is BJ high?

– Yolanda didn’t see her cab. She concludes it didn’t show. So they order a new cab.

– Eric & Jeremy can’t find their own cab.

ERIC: Well at least our canceling worked.
JEREMY: Yeah that was good. I think we canceled ours in the process.

Or the cab company didn’t take the name “Doug Roobaker” to be a serious caller at 730am.

– Ray calls the cab company and asks why his taxi hasn’t shown up yet.

YOLANDA: What happened?
RAY: One of them bastards canceled it.

Damn you, Doug Roobaker! Fremantle’s greatest con man.

– Ray & Yolanda tell Eric & Jeremy that their taxi was canceled. Ray accuses MoJo of doing it. Eric & Jeremy play it cool and not reveal anything. They play along. BJ tells Tyler he’s happy now that they didn’t piss off MoJo. Ray says it’s personal now. Oh my. Two teams that are in an all out war against MoJo while one other team pretends to be after MoJo. This is getting good.

– Hippies flag down a cab and get in. Ray & Yolanda find the taxi they ordered. Eric & Jeremy stand in the streets as they are the only ones walking around aimlessly flagging down a cab. They have seen three occupied cabs in a row.

JEREMY: How could it be so hard to get a taxi? Is it always this hard?
ERIC: I think it’s called karma. Karma bit us in the a–.

Well actually it is a taxi. So wouldn’t it be called “carma”? Ba-dum-pssh.

– Eric & Jeremy are directed to a hotel and get in a cab. They laugh about how Ray-Ray and Yo-Yo think that MoJo was the one who canceled everyone’s cabs. MoJo makes fun of the hippies for trying to steal their cab. Jo is happy thinking about eliminating the hippies. Tyler speaks of how yield season is coming along and that MoJo will be the hunted.

RAY: If the crocodiles try to eat Monica they might choke. It’s like eating a small plastic Barbie doll.

Have you read the labels? “Small parts. Do not allow this doll in the reach of kids three and younger or a crocodile from Darwin”. Wouldn’t it be hilarious if a crocodile died from a Barbie doll in the town of DARWIN? That would be a prime example of evolution not progressing in the animal kingdom.

YOLANDA: Black people wouldn’t be stupid enough to get into a pool of crocodiles. . .
.
.
.
.

YOLANDA: Or would they? Because that’s what we’re about to do.
RAY: For a million dollars they would.

You already jumped off a diving board, paddled a kayak, and paddled a canoe without knowing how to swim. I’d say a crocodile swim would be a piece of cake by this point.

– MoJo tell the agent to give them the best flight without anyone else knowing.

AGENT: What’s it worth?
MOJO: A million dollars.
AGENT: For you. What’s in it for me?
JO: She’ll give you a big kiss.
AGENT: . . . . . . .

– The hippies are behind MoJo at the Qantas counter. Tyler interrogates MoJo about what happened to the other taxis.

JO: That sucks.
TYLER: Did you do it?
JO: . . . . .

I think Jo just pleaded the fifth. However on TAR you’re guilty until proven innocent. Gotta love the absence of an actual judge and court of law in competitions. Unless it involves steroids.

– Ray is in the lineup now and heckles Jo. Jo catches on that Eric & Jeremy played along and forced Jo to take the fall. Jo doesn’t seem to care as he doesn’t bother to tell the other teams what happened.

– Eric & Jeremy are in line. God this episode is great. The four teams all tease each other about the lying. Eric comes clean. When the issue is resolved a new one is put on the table.

BJ (to ERIC): There’s a rumour going around that you and Monica are getting kind of close.

By “rumour” BJ means random crap that came into his own head to make things interesting. Or a leading question at the pit stop that was asked as a signal for BJ to stir things up in the non-elimination rounds.

MO: It’s a dirty rumour.

– The agent gives all four teams the 1210pm flight. Everyone is even. More didgeridoos play. Tyler comments that it is warm. The hippies buy a map while MoJo enter their car. Eric & Jeremy are in a car too. The hippies are third. Ray & Yolanda is last. It’s pitch black. Ten bucks says it’s closed. Indeed it is. All four teams see that it is open at 900am. I forgot how non-eliminations tend to abuse equalizers. Oh wait. No I didn’t.

– The four teams have nothing to do as they wait for the fifth route marker to open in two or three rounds.

MO: The bugs are attacking me.
ERIC: They’re attracted to you.
TYLER: Just like you are.

Ziiiiiing.

The only job Tyler has had since his run on TAR.

TYLER: You and Monica are getting kinda close, huh?
MONICA: Oh my god.
TYLER (puts hand on ERIC’s shoulder): Dude. What’s going on with you?
ERIC: I’m going to put some meat around Joseph so he gets attacked by crocodiles. Then my plan will be in full effect.

It doesn’t take much for Jothello to be ready to kill his lover’s rumoured male mistress.

– Jo wants the hippies to shut up. It’s 900am. The doors open. There is a friendly reminder regarding the crocodiles.

Ya don’t say. At least Australia understands the dangers of their unique wildlife.

But if only they had a warning sign posted for their stingray, too.

– The four teams put on their suits. Eric jokes that it’s how they practice safe sex. The guides give instructions about no sudden movements before releasing the humans into the cages. The four teams have their arms up and wade through to the clue. The hippies have it first.

You think the crocodiles would attack BJ for wearing that stupid hat.

– BJ reads that teams must drive 50 miles to the town of Batchelor. How unfair. Eric & Jeremy can run the rest of the leg in their hometown. At the airfield is where their next clue waits.

BJ: Caution–Yield ahead.

And here comes yield season. Phil gives the explanation that this is the last of two Yields and the information about flipping the hourglass until the sand runs out.

– MoJo are second to have the clue. Jeremy is third with the clue. Ray-Ray & Yo-Yo are last to the clue. They excel at yet another water task.

– The hippies are in the car and lead the way. MoJo is second. The Frats third. Ray-Ray and Yo-Yo last. The hippies agree to yield MoJo amongst themselves. MoJo anticipates being yielded and drive above 120 kilometres an hour to pass BJ. Tyler knows they can’t go above that without being stupid and coaches BJ to keep up with them. Nobody stopped to get directions because all four teams are driving together in a line on the road. There must be only one way to the Batchelor Hood.

– Jo sees the sign for skydiving. The hippies take off the seatbelt. They stop the car and run. MoJo parked ahead but Mo didn’t get out of the car fast enough. This allows the hippies to land first on the yield. It’s the first time I can recall one team yielding another team while in their presence. It never happened in seasons five, six, seven, or eight. Sure teams that have been yielded end up interacting with the team who yielded them while they wait, but never has a team got to stand over their shoulder as they see their picture be slapped onto the board.

JO: Alright get off so we can flip it. C’mon.
TYLER: Sorry guys.

Jo is going to unfriend the hippies when he gets home and logs onto Facebook.

– Tyler opens the clue. It’s a roadblock. That person must choose a plane, climb to 12, 000 feet then tandem skydive. BJ is going to skydive. That makes up for digging meat in Oman. Mo complains that it isn’t fair because they were here first. Really? Because I could’ve sworn that the hippies grabbed the “1”.

ERIC: MoJo got yielded by hippies so we can’t yield anybody. Sorry guys that sucks.
JEREMY: We’ll get ’em guys.

Bulls—. Ten minutes ago you blamed the taxi cancellations on Jo and pretended to work with everyone else to get flights. Eric & Jeremy are playing a near perfect game in TAR. They’re great physically, mentally, and socially, and intrapersonally. That is a deadly combination to have on TAR.

– Eric and Yolanda are doing the roadblock.

MO: Look at where they’re parked!
JO: If you just be quiet.
MO: Joseph, I can talk if I wanna talk.
JO: It’s nothing to cry about.
MO: I’m not crying! You do not have to be so mean to me.
JO:  You need to act a little more grown up right now.
MO: I didn’t say you had to sit here and cry. Leave me alone!

Tears of sadness flow from her face because she is frustrated by the situation. But she is NOT crying!

– Jo doesn’t think the yield will matter and anticipates finishing in second. Mo is upset because they always finish second. And by always, only about two or three times in nine rounds.

– Tyler says that it’s really intense yielding someone and that being yielded would feel awful.

BJ: Alright guys. See you soon! TTOW!
MO: TTOW my a–.

The hippies proclaim that TTOW is their power word. If Mo wants her a– to be TTOWed, I think we may have to wait for the uncensored DVD to see what happened there.

By the way, can TTOW be used as a verb?

– The three racers are in each of their planes. Mo is still crying. Jo begs Mo to cheer up.

MO: I’m not gonna cheer up. If you don’t talk to me I’ll be fine.

Teamwork!

– YO: He’s so damn corny.
JEREMY: It’s a good thing that you’re with Ray. If you were single you’d be in trouble with me.
YO: Oh yeah?

Dot dot dot.

– BJ has landed. Teams must now drive 20 miles to Litchfield National Park. Once here they will find a natural anomaly known as the Magnetic Termite Mounds. Each mound was built by millions of termites and points to magnetic north which is away from the harsh rays of the sun. This is where they will find their next clue. Not inside the mounds, of course.

TYLER: See you guys later.
JO: Don’t act nice.
TYLER: Just saying ‘hey’.
JO: If we weren’t in this race I’d beat you down.

“Did you hear that guys?! Joseph is THREATENING ME!”

– Tyler ensured that he was not within arm’s length of Joseph.

TYLER: I didn’t want one of his claws to involuntarily swoop at me.

I think you’ve spent too much time in Australia. Everybody now is being compared to some sort of predator in the animal kingdom.

– JO: You’re getting your mind set for this?
MO: yeah im pumped
JO: “Yeah. I’m pumped.”
JO: I’m gonna be a big brat. “Don’t talk to me!”

I think that’s an accurate portrayal of Mo. But I don’t think her mouth is capable of opening that wide. Or maybe it is. Jo is the only one who knows. And Eric.

– They pull an Adam & Rebecca and fight well after the sand has run out. Jo catches on and pulls the number. Mo gets to do the awesome roadblock after complaining during the whole yield.

– Eric jumps. Him and Jeremy drive away. Ray jumps next. Yolanda makes fun of Ray for how the tandem skydiver holds Ray. The hippies are at the mounds. Tyler comments how big it is.

BJ: Don’t touch the mounds. The termites will eat all of the wood in your body.
TYLER: My peg leg.

Yeah. Tyler was definitely a zingbot for one of the Big Brother seasons.

– Tyler opens the clue. Detour. Dry or Wet. Phil throws us a curveball and explains the options in reverse order.

In Wet, teams drive six miles to a roadside park. Here teams will hike and swim a daunting one mile down a jungle river inhabited by large spiders and poisonous plants. At the end of their trek is where teams will find their next clue.

In Dry, teams will drive six miles to an intersection then drive another six miles off-road until they find a rock formation known as ‘Lost City’. Here teams will choose an Aboriginal instrument known as a didgeridoo. Heh. You don’t have to tell me that, Phil. Following the sound of music in the ear, teams will locate a nearby Aboriginee. The pattern on his didgeridoo must match the one that the teams are carrying. Once matched, the aboriginee will teach them how to play a note. Once both members have played the note correctly, they will receive their next clue.

Luke would be screwed in the ‘dry’ task.

– The hippies agree to hike a mile because they think it will be faster than driving six off-road miles or potentially be unable to play a note on a dreaded didgeridoo.

– Mo jumps. Jo can hear her screaming from several thousands of feet in the air. Imagine what it was like for the skydiver. Eric & Jeremy are at the mounds. They do the ‘wet’ task too. Ray & Yolanda choose ‘dry’. The smartest decision they’ve made regarding water this season.

– BJ contemplates doing the swim in his underwear. They find Buley Rockhole. The hippies embrace the adrenaline as they put on their life jackets and helmets. I have a feeling there are cameras on the helmets. Twelve years of watching reality television has taught me that. They begin to swim in the rapids.

That’s going to be a long mile. And shut up. I know that sentence is a paradox.

– Eric & Jeremy pull into the ‘wet’ task.

ERIC (in Hulk Hogan voice): Let’s catch us some hippies.

– MoJo asks for directions at an office to the magnetic termite field. The lady at the outdoor office gives them perfect directions and a map for free. Mo says the hippies are forty minutes in front and know they are in last. She thinks this is it. They’ve lost their MoJo.

– MO: If you’re gonna yield someone, that’s sleazy. And that’s exactly what the hippies are. They’re sleazeballs.

All people who yield are slezy? Chip & Kim, Adam & Rebecca,  Romber, Linz Family, Paolo Family, and Lake & Michelle, you’re all the sleaziest of the sleaze.

Meanwhile Eric who has voiced wanting to spank Mo and get in her pants escapes being branded a sleazeball. What a bizarro world the universe can be sometimes.

– The hippies are slowly walking through the rapids. Eric & Jeremy voice that it is taking too long. MoJo are at the termite mounds. They think the ‘wet’ task will be too slow so they opt to play with the didgeridoos. Ray is driving off-road and thinks it takes longer to drive than it is to play the instrument.

– Ray has picked up the didgeridoo and hears one in the forest. The first aboriginee that they find has a different pattern. Onto the next tattooed man they go. Horror music plays as the hippies swim through spider-infested waters. Tyler warns BJ to get back but he doesn’t listen. Jeremy points out the huge spider web on the right side of the fork in the path. Evidently Jeremy has a brain and leads his team to the left.

– Ray-Ray & Yo-Yo have found the correct pattern.

How does the aborigine’s paint not melt in the unforgivable Australian heat?

A closer look may indicate that’s not paint. It looks like he rolled in a pool of semen that has now dried on his skin.

– Ray struggles as he learns from the Didgeridoo Jedi.

I think she’d be good at this task.

– Ray fails to do so at first. Yolanda laughs at the sounds he is making. Ray eventually has the technique.

The symptoms of learning to play a didgeridoo is that you go cross-eyed.

Even the British can’t avoid that same fate either.

– Yolanda takes a turn. She makes a farting sound with the didgeridoo. It’s like kindergarten class all over again.

Yolanda’s type of humour.

It’s not that funny! Geez. Take a hike, sister. Actually you’d enjoy that. Instead you should take a swim.

As if laughing at farting noises twice wasn’t enough, Yolanda does it a third time as she simultaneously blows and laughs into the didgeridoo. You’ve got to love a contestant who is a fan of humour related to flatulence.

Yolanda’s favourite cinematic scene of all-time.

– Yolanda completes the task and is handed the clue. Ray reads that teams must drive the Australian Outback and find Lake Bennett. This freshwater lake nestled in Australia’s bushland is the pit stop for this leg of the race.

OH EM GEE. The fourth Aussie pit stop in a row that is directly on water. Is that the only glamourous part of Australia? Are all inland landmarks uninhabitable for more than a 12 hour pit stop period? Is that what you’re telling us, producers?

– For once we are shown the greeter in the pit stop description.

He’s been wrangling crocs, koala bears, kangaroos, and even humans with those lassos for three generations. Phil looks like he is an inch away from getting hit.

From dancing for a split second to being whipped, Phil has really broken his one-dimensional character after nine seasons. Maybe he’ll do the splits if TAR lasts another five years at the pit stop for leg ten of TAR 18. Unless he gets split in half from the whips before the end of the episode.

You too close, Keoghan!

– Ray & Yolanda were at the roadblock in last but thanks to a yield and choosing the easier detour they are in first place. Could they really finish first?

YOLANDA: Ray doesn’t need a didgeridoo to make those noises. He does that all the time.
RAY: . . . . . . .That’s funny.

Nothing like your girlfriend making jokes of your flatulence for millions of people to watch on television.

– MoJo pull over as Ray & Yolanda pass them offroading. Mo says Jo has to pull over for people coming back. That must have been the additional information in the clue.

– Eric & Jeremy see the hippies only twenty feet in front after complaining about the task taking forever. It seems the hippies are taking forever plus one. Ray & Yolanda have a brochure that highlighted Lake Bennett. They are excited because they know exactly where they’re going. Wow. An unthinkable upset could be occurring here. A team that is almost always in last heading into the final task of each round may somehow end up on top.

I feel bad for any teams who arrive behind Yolanda. Ray especially. Get it. Flatulence reference?

– Mo says the six miles took a while to offroad. They pick up a didgeridoo and follow the music. The aborigine is the only one who laughs. Neither Mo nor Jo find the fart sounds funny. It appears they have standards for their sense of humour. Jo is the first one to complete it then coaches Mo in real time. We see her finish the task in about twenty seconds. The audience at home must be thinking that the ‘dry’ task was about forty minutes faster than the ‘wet’ task.

This goes against the usual design for TAR detours. The task that is extremely physical is supposed to be significantly faster because it requires a ton of energy to do it and is more appealing for the audience at home to watch. Either that or both tasks work out to the same amount of time if you can do it well. In this detour the design is counter-intuitive. The task where you barely lift a finger is much faster than the super adventurous and dangerous task of swimming and hiking through spider-infested rapids.

TAR production dropped the ball. I wonder if they intentionally did it because they were sick of seeing the hippies and Eric & Jeremy always finish at the top of the leaderboard and wanted an under the radar team to grab reality TV headlines and claim first? Who knows.

– MoJo are suddenly in second and drive away. Mo miraculously can read the map and directs Jo on the road. They speculate if they have a shot to be last or not. They are not terribly optimistic. The hippies finish the detour and have their clue. Eric & Jeremy are right behind. All four teams are on the road. The hippies strip of their swim gear and start driving. Tyler doesn’t see it in the map as they start driving. Eric can’t find it on his map either.

– In Ray & Yolanda’s vehicle it is a different story. They know how to get to Lake Bennett. So does MoJo. This round is an inverse of how the four teams have stacked up against each other for the first nine episodes. It makes things exciting because you’re fully expecting Ray & Yolanda or MoJo to screw up. Unfortunately the threat of elimination is gone because we all know there is two non-elimination legs left and there is no way TAR would leave both non-eliminations for the Final Three.

– Ray & Yolanda park at Lake Bennett. They start running. Ray decides to take the hippie approach and make a reckless entrance.

I’m sure nothing bad can happen when clearing eight steps in a single leap.

Check that. Dang. This is almost funnier than a fart joke.

The wrangla prepares to trip incoming teams. He looks like Australia’s answer to El Greco.

Adios amigo!

– Phil informs Ray & Yolanda that they are team number one. He says they have each won a one-year lease of the Mercedes that they drove throughout this leg. They can enjoy it after the race.

RAY: Will the steering wheel be on the right side?
PHIL: I promise you it will all be set of America.

Mercedes Australia’s division doesn’t give out its s— for free, Ray.

– Ray says it took ten legs for them to put it all together. He says the navigation was perfect for once. He starts tearing up and smiles. That’s why Yolanda likes him.

– Mo is happy that the Lake Bennett Resort is listed only on the map that the lady at the office gave them. It’s not on the road maps. Eric is ready for a mad dash with the hippies. BJ tries to flag down an incoming ambulance for directions. Jeremy behind him succeeds with flagging down the audience. The hippies stop to listen. They’re directed onto the Stuart Highway. Tyler gets out and asks Eric & Jeremy for directions to Lake Bennett.

BJ: Why did you ask them and not the ambulance driver?
TYLER: . . . .

I don’t know, but I think Tyler finds Doug Roobaker to be a trustworthy guy.

– MoJo are driving on the road. What does Jo see?

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you an edition of “S— Hitting the Fan”.

– Tyler sees MoJo driving right behind them. MoJo is stoked to be in it. A 3-team race. If only this was an elimination round we’d be all on the edge of our seats.

JO: I’m flippin him off because I hate the hippies.

Why is the sideview mirror pixelated in front of Jo’s steering wheel? Oh. I get it.

– Eric & Jeremy drive onto Stuart Highway. BJ is unable to pass Eric & Jeremy. All three teams catch on that Ray & Yolanda could already be first.

– Screw it. The end of this round is still suspenseful, dammit. I already know what happens but you get sucked right in. Three out of four teams driving all in a row on the same road knowing it is all coming to a footrace? And enough is at stake because all of your money and possessions will be taken away with only three rounds to go. In addition you want to try so hard to not be last that you don’t have enough time to put on extra layers like you’re the Godlewskis or the Bransens heading into the pit stop. Usually last place teams will bulk up with clothes as much as possible.

– Everyone works the word “foot race” into each of their next sentences.

MO: I don’t know if I can beat the hippies.
JO: Yes you can. Just run as hard as you can.

And Mo shall be disowned if she cannot focus hard enough on outrunning the hippies.

Use your aggressive feelings, Monica. Let the hate of the hippies flow through you.

– All three teams park. Hippies park at the end of the parking lot. All three teams run. Mo is way behind the hippies and Eric & Jeremy.

Or not.

Yeah. MoJo being yielded has screwed them over.

– You know how people do the dumbest things in the heat of the moment? Here is perhaps the worst split second decision ever made.

Do you run with shoes on across a smooth bridge with no obstructions that allows you to run full speed? Or do you choose to run barefoot on jagged rocks that are a couple feet apart forcing you to gingerly step across and build zero momentum?

WTF?!

Yielding another team doesn’t help if you’re an idiot.

JO: WE GOT HERE BEFORE YOU! YOU YIELDED US.

– (Victory music plays.)
PHIL: Eric & Jeremy, you’re team number two. Joseph & Monica, you’re team number three.
(Ominous music plays.)
PHIL (furrows brows): BJ & Tyler. . .

Classic Keoghan. He never ventures from the script for the last place team.

– Phil confirms it’s a non-elimination leg. Jo doesn’t look unhappy. In fact he’s smiling. Why? Well after Phil takes all of their money and clothes this is all the hippies are left with. . .

Yeah. Tough to race around the world when you have no money and one of you is naked past your boxers. Good luck begging for socks, shoes, and pants.

– Phil chats with all three teams simultaneously. Mo says they don’t play games and don’t start rumours like there is something going on between her and Eric. I think if you’re pissed off that Tyler creates the dumbest rumour possible then the mindgame is clearly working.

– BJ says him and Tyler will shed their cocoons and metamorphosis into the butterflies that will win this race after finishing last for a second time. BJ is brave enough to run in bare foot up the bridge to exit the camera shot.

– Next time on TAR: With no pants, no socks, no shoes, and no money, can BJ find a way to leave the country? That’s really the only question any of us have given that it is the most ridiculous and unique situation we have witnessed heading into a new TAR episode. This is quite the cliffhanger.

Confessional count

BJ&Tyler 3.4
Ray&Yolanda 4.5
Joseph&Monica 6.3
Eric&Jeremy 2.2

Rank the Legs:

1) Perth -> Darwin (This isn’t the greatest leg format wise but the drama is so good it’s difficult to not have it this high. If it weren’t for the first ten minutes or the last five minutes this leg would no doubt be near the bottom. I’ll just list in point form why I love this episode so much:

a) Doug Roobaker. That whole scene is majestic from start to finish. Canceling another team’s cabs is something that I doubt ever crossed a producer’s or a racer’s minds until Eric & Jeremy came up with it. I love it when contestants out-think production on a reality TV show. They proceed to cancel cabs and order a cab under a fake name. And it’s “Doug Roobaker” of all names. C’mon. Doug f—ing Roobaker? That’s something even fan fic writers couldn’t come up with. Eric & Jeremy cement their spot in the TAR Hall of Fame.

b) Doug Roobaker’s cab not showing up after all of that effort. Everyone hates MoJo at this point. When MoJo is the only team to have a cab show up it’s hilarious to see the hippies and Ray & Yolanda automatically accuse MoJo as the guilty party all because Eric & Jeremy play dumb as their own cab isn’t around. This is the type of material you’d see written in a comedic film. What enriches the situation is that MoJo hates everyone so much that they don’t bother to defend the accusation. They could give a crap what other teams think.

c) Tyler trolling MoJo by creating the ridiculous rumour of Monica and Eric having a fling. It’s obvious they don’t have a fling but Tyler tries to rub it in so hard to piss off MoJo. And it works. Eric knows it’s all a joke, but given MoJo’s track for a sense of humour is minimal, this flies over their head and they take the bait.

d) The hippies yielding MoJo. Because we all wanted it to happen. Innocent hippies would play it off as strategy as we wait for the dumbest crap possible to spew out of Monica’s mouth. And boy did she deliver.

e) The equalizers were at the start of the leg. Therefore the last half of the round played out without production interference.

f) Ray & Yolanda going from their chronic position at the back of the pack to winning the leg decisively.

g) The 3-team road race to the pit stop for last place. Three out of four teams all bunched together despite no equalizers for the last three tasks of the round? There wasn’t even public transportation. Teams always drove themselves. This is what made the whole situation so rare. Production didn’t have to slant the table. It all worked out on its own.

h) MoJo avoiding last place despite being yielded by one second. It’s great when the yielded team can recover on their own. Regardless if they are not the most likable couple. It’s just a good storyline to have in play.

i) BJ opting to choose running across a rocky path rather than a clean and steady bridge. Major face palm inducing moment.

j) Hippies become the first (and final) team to lose all of their money and possessions twice in the same season. What makes the situation unique on top of that is BJ has no pants, no socks, no shoes, and no money to buy clothes with. It’s going to potentially require one to beg three times more begging than what Uchenna & Joyce had to do to stay alive and claim victory in TAR 7.

Sure, there were too many equalizers at the start of the round or a lack of strategy at the airports. A been-there-done-that roadblock accompanied by a questionable detour is present but the leg excels for the reasons I listed above.

I wouldn’t be surprised if reading this episode’s summary alone makes you want to go back and watch the episode. It’s just that good.)

2) 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.)

3) 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.)

4) 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.)

5) 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.)

6) 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.)

7) 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)

8) 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.)

9) 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.)

10) 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.)

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