TAR 10 episode 1 ranking

THE AMAZING RACE 10

USA – CHINA – MONGOLIA – VIETNAM – INDIA – KUWAIT = MAURITIUS – MADAGASCAR – FINLAND – UKRAINE – MOROCCO – SPAIN – FRANCE

As I said at the start and end of TAR 9, this edition of TAR goes against everything we know about TAR for the first nine seasons (minus compatibility issues of TAR 8). I’ll take the time here to talk about those changes. Commence the list!

1) At the start of each season’s blog I list the countries in order of appearance. I want you to take a look at what I posted for the sequence of countries this season. Notice anything?
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You got it. In every single season minus TAR 8 we see teams cross the Atlantic Ocean at the beginning of the season. The Pacific Ocean is crossed on the final leg of each season or not at all as with TAR 7 and TAR 8. In fact we’ve had a season where the Atlantic Ocean was crossed TWICE and the Pacific Ocean was ignored entirely.

It’s another one of those boardroom meetings that I’m curious how it transpired. Who deserves credit for this idea?

PRODUCER: Hey guys, this may sound crazy but what if going eastward we go westward. . .? Sorry. I know I’m going a bit mental here. Excuse me if it’s too much.
BERTRAM: No, no. You’re onto something.

So it was official. All teams in the race were anxious to start would have to wait a couple days to cross the huge Pacific Ocean. I’m sure the stewardesses were stoked to deal with twenty-four giddy racers on a flight to China.

– Whenever China was visited in TAR 1 and 6 it was the last country before heading to the United States. Primarily because it is one of the toughest countries to navigate and communicate with locals. Therefore the difficulty of TAR 10 is really high when teams have to travel through the toughest country first. It’s not like other seasons where you can get away with Spanish or find plenty of Europeans who know English. So the season does well at making it intense from the start.

Phew. Those are the implications of just one change. Ready for another?

2) The best non-elimination penalty is discarded. Phil doesn’t take away your bags and money to make your lives miserable. Instead a whole new penalty debuts and makes its short-lived run this season. It’s called Marked for Elimination.

It’s the second best non-elimination penalty in the series and could be far and away the best with a little tweaking. How it works is that if you come in last place on a non-elimination that you’ll need to come in first place on the next leg.

What happens if you don’t? You suffer a thirty minute penalty. It’s essentially like being yielded at the pit stop, but instead of a specific team yielding you, it’s production. Not bad eh? However there’s two flaws with this.

a) Fast Forwards tend to follow a non-elimination. So you could leap ahead and make the effects of the challenging nature to avoid the penalty to be rendered moot. Why have the penalty if a team can shortcut around it?

b) It’s always a 30 minute penalty no matter what. Regardless if the next pit stop is eight hours away or thirty-eight hours away, teams will be stuck with the same penalty. Equalizers aren’t taken into consideration or how long it takes on average to complete the tasks once you’re in the host country for that round’s pit stop. So you’ll see rounds where the 30 minute penalty makes all the difference because the leg is designed like the fourth round of TAR 3 where teams arrived 40 minutes of each other from first to last. Then there’ll be legs where the 30 minute penalty is laughable because the next batch of teams won’t check in for over two hours.

However, production needs to be forgiven because this is their first attempt at a completely new non-elimination penalty. It’s been six seasons since they’ve had to re-organize their thinking.

3) The cast expands to twelve teams for the first time since TAR 4. As a fan I loved a 12-team roster. This means fewer non-eliminations which is a welcome idea. I strongly believe that three non-eliminations (including the unofficial non-elimination thanks to TBC legs) per season is ideal. Sometimes four or dare I say five non-eliminations can be far too much. Specifically in TAR 8 where they stuck all five non-eliminations from when there was six teams left. 6-6-5-5-4-4-4-3-3 may be one of the biggest snoozers in terms of format and would kill your ratings. What was production thinking?

4) Co-operative detours, roadblocks, and Fast Forwards. But wait? What do I mean by co-operative? Isn’t The Amazing Race co-operative by nature because everybody races in teams of two?

Yes, but teams depend entirely on your own successes and failures as you try to defeat your opponents. This season we see tasks where production forces opposing teams to combine on a task. This results in temporary teams of four. Unlike Family Edition, seeing teams balloon up to four members was a welcome change for an episode.

How much did it impact the race? Very little. This is another short-lived twist that production experimented with to see how it would play out. This twist was so popular that Vancouver’s The Amazing Hunt YouTube series used the Intersection for multiple seasons. However they called it a ‘merge’ to avoid lawsuits.

Much like Marked for Elimination, the Intersection is a twist that had a ton of unexplored potential. It is perhaps my favourite twist that TAR ever came up with. But much like the Fast Forward in seasons 1-4, producers tend to abandon the best ideas that they create far too early.

These four changes are enough to completely warp how a season of TAR could play out. This was a welcome change at the time as many fans were ready for something new. But due to the experimental level of introducing so many new things at once, many of these changes would fall flat and would die after each making only one more appearance. Three of these changes were done after TAR 11, and one would re-appear for ten minutes in TAR 15.

But wait, there’s more!

5) Double elimination leg. This one I was stoked for. Why? Because I’ve wanted a double elimination leg to work in one of two ways:

a) In the TAR fanfic I wrote in 2003/2004, I had the final leg as a double elimination leg. You know how teams to not care in the penultimate leg because it’s a non-elimination or they know there will be plenty of time to be equalized? Therefore they play it safe. The stops in Hawaii or Alaska are almost always irrelevant. So why not make them relevant? In my fanfic I eliminate a team at the last route marker before they are told to go to the final destination city. Thus in the last thirty minutes of the finale we would be left with a Final Two.

I know production needs to START the finale with a Final Three to ensure it is not one-sided in favour of a certain team and make it boring for millions of viewers as a foregone conclusion. But what if you eliminate the third place team halfway through? You would maintain that excitement to the finish line.

b) When I heard about the Intersection and the double elimination, I assumed these two were connected. I thought producers were geniuses for making teams strategize to the nth degree. Do you link up with a strong team to guarantee both of you forward? Or do you link up with the weakest team and gamble that you’ll avoid being eliminated and knock out two strong teams simultaneously? The Intersection could go down as the most compelling and effective twist that production has created on their own.

However neither of these awesome possibilities came to fruition. Instead close your eyes and imagine the worst possible way that a double elimination leg can be implemented. Open your eyes and nod to yourself that you’re probably right.

6) This is a very minor change in contrast with the first five that I listed. You know how I lied about To Be Continued legs were put on hiatus? Sorry about that. This is their last appearance before becoming an endangered species. Only a third of all subsequent seasons will have To Be Continued legs. I say good riddance. Five consecutive seasons in a row was too much.

The change for the TBC is in contrast with last season. In TAR 9 the TBC leg took place in round three when Wanda couldn’t dive more than two inches. This season it occurs so late in the season that only Family Edition had one further into the season. And Family Edition’s doesn’t count because it was unplanned due to the cancelled leg in Belize.

The only reason why it slipped from my memory is because it was irrelevant to how the season plays out. I find it a bit funny that I managed to forget the appearance of a twist that I have come to despise. My only explanation for my forgetfulness is that it was a boring episode with a boring location.

7) The highest number of new countries visited since TAR 5. Only 1, 2, and 3 beat out TAR 10 so far in terms of new countries. And seeing how the availability of new countries in coming seasons, I’d say TAR 10 will be in a tie for fourth place with season 5 for most countries to make their debut. After TAR 9 featured several countries making their third appearance in nine seasons, TAR 10 flips the script.

And seven new countries helps cement TAR 10 to be its own season. Not only are there seven new countries but all of these countries are never revisited (this was written after the conclusion of TAR 20). I am amazed that 120 more legs play out after TAR 10 without visiting either Mongolia, Mauritius, Kuwait, Madagascar, Finland, Ukraine, and Spain ever again.

One could argue there’s six new countries because Spain had a lone route marker in the first nine seasons. Spain’s only appearance is that it hosted Dieselgate in TAR 3 as teams drove to Morocco.

“On the road to Algeciiiiiiras.”

Teams drove to a ferry port. I for one can’t bring myself to count that as visiting a country on TAR. Connecting flights through Bahrain and Qatar in various seasons should be counted in the official TAR tally by that criteria.

And that’s it for changes. Yeah. Seven massive changes. That’s all. No biggie.

– Ah. The cast. Production went out of their way to make this the most diverse cast in 21 seasons. Religious, ethnic, racial, physical, and sexual diversity grabbed headlines prior to the season. One was missing a leg, two were recovering drug addicts that are friends with Aras Baskauksasassas, two were the first racers to pray to Allah (the most heavily promoted and ‘controversial’ aspect to the cast), two were First Nations, two were gay for men, one was gay for women, and two were rumoured to be closely blood related despite being married.

– So how did it play out? Okay. Write down your top eight favourite teams heading into the season. Now scratch them all out. I told you to scratch them out because there’s a 90 % chance that none of them will be in the Final Three. For me I think my four least favourite teams all make it to Final Four.

Does that mean I view it as bad as TAR 6 or 8? Not necessarily. A great race route, twists, storyline, and tasks can make up for your favourites taking an early exit. Look at TAR 2 or 3. Your favourite teams aren’t in the top two but dangit the season delivered anyway.

I’ve sat here writing this intro for nearly two hours. There isn’t much more I can do to set this season up for you. Besides the large number of twists, expect some race firsts not only because of the twists but things that happen spontaneously altogether. Including a Final Three barrier that has become a common trivia question.

Now let’s get it started in here.

First leg

First shot:

It’s the space needle. I recognize it from the Frasier re-runs that I watched while eating scrambled eggs after school.

According to Jee, this is the location where Jun is hiding. Big apple for the fruit of Washington, video tape because, well, we don’t know why, and the astronaut to resemble space as in ‘space needle’.

And while we’re on the subject of astronauts, R.I.P. Neil Armstrong. Dude just died.

And look at that wicked yacht. That’s the ocean alright. But where’s Phil at anyway?

Well it’s more epic than Jeff Probst standing on the railing of a helicopter every season. At least Phil will be on buses, cars, tall buildings, skyscrapers, boats, fields, and yachts. He switches the style up.

PHIL: Seaplanes are transporting the twelve teams.

TWELVE?! We get our beloved twelve team revitalized? That means only three non-elimination legs? Hooray! We’re saved! And a seaplane is the most bada– form of transportation used in TAR’s history. It trumps trucks, speed boats, and the dreaded bus of TAR 1.

It’s like a game of Worms with this shot. I’m waiting for the Napalm bombs to drop.

Dang seaplanes dropping those cluster bombs. Luckily the worms of reality TV dodged the attack.

– The twelve teams kill the worms and land safely in the water. Who are the twelve teams? Well they are. . .

Peter & Sarah, newly dating triathletes from southern California.

I should note in an interview that Sarah said her and Peter weren’t dating heading into the race and that production made it all up. Either that or Sarah refused to admit that she wasted a portion of her romantic life on someone as lame as Peter.

Yeah, I’m not going to hide that from you. Peter is like the 60s Robin.

– SARAH: Peter and I have been friends for the past seven years.

Ah. So there is truth to her statement. It’s very odd for a show like TAR to stoop so low that they create a fake relationship. Why does it matter if they’re dating or not? Couldn’t they be close friends? Did production get annoyed by their voices and simply write down ‘generic dating couple’? I don’t know what production’s intent was here. It added nothing to the show.

They seem like a regular fake dating couple right? Who also happen to train for the Hawaii triathlon? Well prepare to be shocked.

:O

Her left leg is as fake as her and Peter’s relationship. Ziiing.

SARAH: I have had a long time crush on Peter.

! So they are in a relationship after all. Or maybe production found somebody who has the exact same tone of voice as Sarah and tossed a script at her to read. I mean, we don’t see Sarah’s mouth physically move when she says this. Or several audio clips are spliced together like the Cyprus audio.

– SARAH: He built artificial limbs for a living.

Nothing spells a turn-on like a guy making your own legs. He got to look at and touch your leg as much as he wanted. In the workplace, I’d get fired for touching the legs of my younger female co-workers.

SARAH: It’s attractive that he can take care of me in a way that most men can’t.

It’s attractive that a man can screw your leg and put it inside of you before the first date? Oh my.

PETER: Sarah is the first woman that I trust with my heart.

Conclusion: They dated whether they liked it or not.

– Since there are twelve teams and a premiere shortened to ninety minutes, we have to move on to our next team.

Bil’al & Sa’eed. Best friends from Cleveland, Ohio.

Whoa! Middle Eastern beards. Head things. Oh crap. Call the Florida Family Council and get them off the TV ASAP!

– Bilal says they’re fathers, Americans, and friends. Their religion supposedly comes first. Much like Ibrahim in Survivor: Palau, Bilal and Saeed will be the lone Muslim representatives in the entire run of TAR (after 21 seasons). For a religion that has billions of people, it’s a bit sad that TAR has cast only one Muslim team. But maybe flying as a Muslim at the beginning and end of the race is enough of a headache that being delayed in a much more extreme fashion than other teams is enough to discourage you from applying.

Most people lay on their backs when taking a nap. It’s unusual to see somebody lean on their head like when the blonde guy in Ghost Trick gets shot in the beginning.
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Oh. He’s praying. My apologies. I’m just an ignorant Canadian. Or maybe he sprayed some Febreze on the carpet and can’t get away from the fresh smell?

BILAL: There’s no question that we’ll take five minutes to pull over and pray.

If my memory of the Muslim religion is correct, there’s typically four or five times each day that you’re required to pray.

5 * 5 = 25 minutes per racing day.

Can you imagine how much of a hindrance that could be?

PETER: There’s a flight that leaves in twenty minutes. We need to buy tickets for it.
BILAL: Let’s get tickets. C’mon Saeed!
PETER: Sarah, they’re right in front of us! Wait. . .they’re. . .
SAEED: We need to pray!
PETER: We passed them Sarah. We got on the flight!
BILAL: Alright, done. . .now where’s that plane?
SAEED: Dammit.

– Enough mildly offensive jokes for the time being. Rob & Kim. Dating from Los Angeles. Well that’s real original. Production doesn’t even try to cover up the fact that they’re mactors.

Look at how fluffy they are! So adorable! Okay TAR, you’re forgiven for casting mactors.

– Rob says it’s at the point where they move forward and get married or they don’t. Big stakes. If only we cared.

– Kim wants to see how he works under pressure and making decisions for both of them. By forcing him to make decisions on your behalf, you’re guaranteeing that he’ll be under a ton of pressure. And if memory serves me correct, you’ll find out he handles pressure very quickly.

Run on a secluded beach? God I hate mactors.

ROB: Kimberly wants everything her way and she can’t control that.

But she said you have to make all the decisions. Her way is that it’s your way. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

They’re all smiles as they head into a very rare opportunity that thousands would give an arm or a leg for. How do you think Sarah got on?

– Next up are Dustin & Kandice. Beauty queens from New York City.

They’re wearing matching outfits. How adorbs! First sign of an early boot.

– Kandice is Miss New York and Dustin is Miss California. They met at Miss America. Much like the useless teammates of Nicole, Christie, and Alison, these two will build upon the laughable legacies of their predecessors.  Dustin says Kandice is one of the most competitive people she has met in her life. We’re treated to a montage of them running.

Both of them must be ultra competitive if they won two pageants. Because it certainly wasn’t their faces that did the trick. Dustin looks like she’s approaching Cougarhood and raising a child to be in Toddlers & Tiaras while Kandice’s face makes me want to pepper spray my own eyes.

– We launch into the following team. David & Mary. Married coal miner and housewife from Kentucky.

Married coal miner and housewife? TAR really wanted to rub it in that they’re straight from the 50s and approve of family values but probably don’t approve of abortions or gays, or any evidence that the Confederacy lost the Civil War.

TAR forgot to leave out the part about David & Mary being first cousins. A true southern couple with rich values. And a rich bloodline. Their blood line is less tainted than the descendants of Slytherins.

And Mary is so delusional that she is PROUD to be from Kentucky. Why would you be proud? It’s the weakest of the three red properties in Monopoly. I could see wearing a hoodie if you were from Indiana, Illinois, North Carolina, or Pennsylvania, but Kentucky? I’d pay her 220 bucks not to wear that hoodie.

– David thinks coal miners are tougher than most people. I’ll grant him that. It makes up for likely not being smarter.

Evidence that he’s not smarter. Pulling down the roof? I think we’ve solved the mystery of how the Chilean coal mines were caved in.

Fans have a tendency to make fun of Mary’s teeth because it supposedly is more damaged than Zack’s from Big Brother 8. I don’t make fun of them because they’re better than any set of grillz that I see in hip hop music videos.

Top row’s diamonds and the bottom row’s gold.

– MARY: I didn’t think he wanted anything to do with me cause he’s so cute.

Wow. He’s cute? I s’pose in a town of 200 people that David didn’t face too much competition. He ran virtually unopposed like Will Ferrel in The Campaign. He could spit on carpet, chew tobacco, and ruffle his accent and still look like a gleaming Greek god.

– Some people may assume that Team Kentucky is poor.

Except they have a kick a– trampoline that has the high quality fence around it. Do you know how dang expensive those things are?

DAVID: I beggared for her to come talk to me.
MARY: Yeah he liked me and it was really cool.

Note to self: Mary is about as articulate as a 12 year old on Endurance.

– Who’s next? Erwin & Godwin. Brothers from the San Francisco Bay area.

– Godwin thinks that when people look at them that they classify them as meatheads. I however classify them as something else.

Godwin says he studied at NYU. I say he studied in drumming because him and his brother look exactly like the band from 3 Ninjas Kick Back. I tried forever to hunt down for a screen cap to make the comparison, but in the biggest twist of all, 3 Ninjas Kick Back didn’t catch on whatsoever on the Internet.

Erwin graduated from UC Berekely. So you’re saying that two brothers whose parents immigrated from eastern Asia performed exceptionally well in school? I would have never guessed.

– The next team is Duke & Lauren. A father-daughter team from the most neglected state of all, Rhode Island.

– Duke says it’s been a while since they’ve spent quality time together. When he looks at Lauren he loves her to death. But when he hears that Janet-like laugh of hers he just wants to strangle her. Okay, I made that last sentence up.

DUKE: There’s that teeny bit of disappointment as a father looking at Lauren.

Well, if you look at your daughter like THAT then I think you’ll always feel disappointed and guilty. Something that David & Mary should feel seeing how they’re cousins who don’t re-think their romantic feelings for one another.

Not disappointed yet.

Very disappointed. Plus I can see his unibrow hairs. Note how Lauren’s expression does not change. She must have shed all her tears already and has put up with this for twenty years.

Wah wah wah.

Hence why Lauren has a stronger relationship with her mother. Duke stands in the background begging for attention.
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Wait. She says she was a closet gay for a while until she came out after college. So the person she’s holding hands with is her. . .GIRLFRIEND! OOOOOOO.

– Much like Dennis & Andrew, this is a team where the parent doesn’t approve of the homosexuality of their child, but in the end we know they’ll respect each other a whole lot more. I’m waiting for the season where we see this type of duo cast but the parent develops a stronger sense of homophobia by the end of the race. Now that would be a real twist.

– Our next team is Vipul & Arti. Husband and wife from Orlando, Florida. Vipul says that they’ve been married for 2 1/2 years and look forward to building a family. Well that’s exciting stuff. The vipul of Orlando must be happy for them.

– He lights a candle. In front of some random statues.

Holy crap. I think that’s Sikh or Hindu. They’re the two biggest minorities where I live and have a tendency to mix the two up.

Fun fact: I grew up in a neighbourhood where 75% of the residents were East Indians. And you knew you could be in big trouble if you casually mixed up Hindu and Sikh in the presence of the wrong people. Probably why I was so quiet as a kid. Luckily nobody will read this blog so my secret is safe here.

– Yes, they mention the fact that they follow the traditions of Indian culture while leading the American life. They think The Amazing Race will allow them to get the adventure out of their system before they have kids. This may be the least compelling story of any team that I have heard of any young couple.

Usually it’s “propose or end it,” “our finish on the race determines if we’ll seal the deal,” “we’ve never been together due to dating online,” but Vipul & Arti act like a young couple where “at the end of the race we are making the babies”.

Ugh. I made it through all of Vipul & Arti’s intro without referencing Kelly Kapor from The Office. I’ll make up for it later on. It’s tougher to do when Arti doesn’t have an annoying voice. Or is Vipul the woman? I have never met someone named Vipul or Arti, and thus I have no way to tell which is masculine and which is feminine. Maybe I should use random.org and stick with whatever the virtual coin flip tells me.

– Kelly & Jamie. Best friends and cheerleaders from South Carolina. Cheerleaders and they are from South Carolina? They’re f—ed.

How much do they fit the cheerleading stereotype you ask? Here’s the shot we see of them following hopping out of the seaplane:

Gooooo team!

I am the very model of a modern Major-General, I’ve information vegetable, animal, and mineral

And he knows the kings of England, and quotes the fights historical

KELLY: You could put us in a cardboard box and we’d find a way to have fun.

Hold it. You’re giving me permission to put you inside a cardboard box? Let’s do it.

JAMIE: We could have a conversation with a doorknob.

Best. Debate. Ever. Crossfire is no longer with that bowtie-wearing idiot, but rather with Jamie and a doorknob. That’d get killer ratings.

– Tyler & James. Recovering drug addicts and models from Hollywood, California.

Isn’t it implied that all models form Hollywood, California are drug addicts?

JAMES: Tyler and I met through heavy drug use.

I’m sure your parents would be proud.

Uh oh, I’m feeling queasy. I’m being 100 percent when I say this, but I faint and vomit when I listen to excessive drug talk. I’m not kidding. Only ten seconds into this clip and I am feeling woozy. One of my quirks.

What does he need that air tank and balloon for? Since when did helium become a drug?

Okay, my stomach is upset. Let’s get through this intro quickly.

Tyler isn’t high here. It’s just how he looked when he was twelve. When he’s high, his looks actually improve and can pose a bit better than this nightmare here.

*you’refeelingverydizzy*

– They went from being drug addicts to models. I thought you become a model THEN a drug addict. This logic isn’t lining up.

– Phew. Intro over. I can breathe. As long as I don’t re-read any of the stuff I wrote about Tyler & James, I’ll be fine. What a strange quirk of mine, eh?

So we’re onto Lyn & Karlyn. Lifelong friends and single mothers from Birmingham, Alabama.

KARLYN: Lyn and I are both very independent.

But yet who gets the name Lyn while the other is KarLYN? One is clearly dependent on the other.

Huh. She never thought of that one before.

KARLYN: Although at times somebody would come and kill this spider.

Their independence credibility is going downhill. If only I had one more piece of evidence to squash their independence theory.

Wikipedia: Lyn remarried her first husband, Chris, after the season was over.

Bingo.

– That’s it from Lyn & Karlyn. Now for our last team. . .

– Tom & Terry. Boyfriends from New York City.

I would’ve never guessed they were gay based on this pose. -_-

TOM: We’re not here to make new friends. We’ll be friendLY but at the end of the day this is a competition and we want to win.

I’ll emphaSIZE the last syllaBLE of every few WORDS just to prove my point.

– So how badly did TAR want a stereotypically gay couple?

Just happen to be getting their nails done when filming their audition video.

– In addition, we’ll put on our infrared glasses.

Whoa. They’re flaming homosexuals!

– And those are the twelve teams. Can these teams stand up to the stress of traveling together for nearly 40, 000 miles? And who will muster the right combination of brains, brawn, and teamwork to win the one million dollars? Poop on you, Keoghan. I had to change “come up with the right combination” and “to win” rather than “to collect”. Otherwise I had you verbatim.

– These are the questions waiting to be answered as we get ready to begin. . .The Amazing Race. That one I got verbatim. I am redeemed.

– In just a few minutes, these twelve stereotyped teams will embark on a race around the world. Phil does his usual spiel which I’ve blogged several times.

PHIL: You think may know this race and how to play this game, but I’m here to tell you that in THIS race, there will be surprises you never expected.

Translation: Get ready to begin to be f—ed over from some heavily luck-based twists that will make or break you, and there won’t be a darned thing you can do about it.

– For once the starting line is rainy and cloudy. That’s what production gets for choosing to have the starting line in Seattle. I know this all too well from my Vancouver days. Meterologists can say “chances of rain” every day and they’d look like geniuses.

Not even Phil’s hair can defend against the wind and rain of Seattle.

– Everyone shouts that they’re ready. The world is waiting, good luck, travel safe. . .Go!

– All twelve teams begin running. What are the side effects of heavy drug use? There’s a new one they need to put on the labels.

Loss of equilibrium. It’s going to be a loooong race for Tyler. I hear there’s running involved. Maybe he practiced running with the weight of the backpack that initially sprinting without one completely threw off his balance.

– Bilal is first one to the clue. He holds the clue.

BILAL (hands clue to no one): Saeed!

You can lower your hands, Bilal. Sa’eed won’t be ready to read that clue for a while. You can read the dang thing yourself.

– Sa’eed doesn’t hustle enough to be the first one to read the clue. Other teams like Rob & Kim read that they must fly to Beijing, China. They must travel on United Airlines flight 875 at 122pm or Korean Air flight 276 departing at 200pm. For the first time ever, there are only two flights available rather than the traditional three flights. Hurry up b—-es because seats are first come first served.

– Teams are awarded sixty-six dollars for this leg of the race. The Christian groups protest this assigned dollar amount and think it’s cursed as how diverse and non-Christian oriented some of these teams are. Plus Red China is the devil. According to the people from the 60s and 70s. Is Mouse C’s Dung still president?

– The teams run to their cars. Bilal again is in a shot by himself as he yells for Sa’eed. Tyler & James are the first into a car and drive away.

Maybe production killed off one of the clones, and we will be reshown Bilal in multiple frames to create the illusion that Sa’eed is a contestant? Come to think of it, Sa’eed never spoke in the intro.

– BILAL: Allah Akhbar.

The Florida Family Christian Group is creating their picket fences as we speak. People quoting phrases repeated in The Kite Runner is a big no-no. Whether it’s a black no-no or a white no-no has yet to be determined. I’ll go ahead and say it’s a black no-no because they’re always in trouble.

– Erwin’s instructions are to follow the Drug Addicts. The joke is on them because Tyler & James need to check in with their probation officer before leaving the country.

– Kellie can’t figure out how to ‘turn the car on’. Tom & Terry are next. Tom shouts into the camera that they’re going to Beijing. Kellie learns how to use a stick shift on the spot and away they go. Various teams cheer. Exterior shot of cars. And. . .

– Intro time. No significant changes to report for this season.

He has seen many intros in his day.

I promise I’ll make fun of the intro segments in subsequent episodes when I start running out of material to the season.

– So we resume. Tyler & James are stoked to be first. Erwin & Godwin have an interesting conversation in the car.

GODWIN: To the homeland. Although we’re not Chinese.
ERWIN: We’re not Chinese. What’s the matter with you?

Although these two claimed that going to South Africa was their homecoming, but yet their ancestry was a couple thousand miles away in Sierra Leone. At least South Korea and Beijing are about 90% closer. Korea, China, Japan. All are interchangeable in the Western eyes.

Hey, don’t look at me like that Doyin! Or Shola? Or Doyin?

*flips coin*

Shola.

– Kandice can’t get the car started. Neither can Duke or David. And this is after Kellie screwed up.

This is season ten and not one, not two, not three, but FOUR teams haven’t learned to drive a stick shift? Are they all recruits? This field is going to be really low calibre if they don’t know how to freakin’ drive a stick, as Andre would say. If I was playing for a million bucks, the first thing I would do is get driving lessons and perfect how to drive a stick shift. No question about it.

The next biggest priority is practice reading maps and navigating myself to various places in a town across the region. There you go, guys. A mini tutorial if you intend to be on TAR.

– What soundbyte did production use to explain why David couldn’t drive it?

DAVID: I’m not used to these new vehicles.

Get it? Because he’s from Kentucky where they are driving American cars more dated than the American cars you find in Castro’s Cuba?

– Dustin & Kandice make a smart move and switch immediately. Dustin has no problems with driving the SUV. Lauren coaches Duke how to drive. Maybe from this point forward Duke will see that having a lesbian for a daughter has its benefits.

– Duke & Lauren are the last to leave the parking lot. Tyler & James pull into a 7/11 to ask for directions to the airport. Wouldn’t the airport have the most signs of any place in Seattle and have the signs in Americanese? Or let a team pass you and follow them? While Tyler & James pull over several cars pass them. The other teams clearly did their research of how to get to SEAPAC or SEATAC or whatever the heck the name of Seattle’s airport is.

– Bilal talks about Allah and wants the traffic to move. He views Sa’eed as a passive guy while he is aggressive. Bilal thinks this balance is necessary. We have yet to hear a word uttered from Sa’eed.

I can tell these two apart because Bilal is the one who always has his mouth open while Sa’eed is the one who always has his mouth shut.

– Everyone knows to take the 5 South. Kellie & Jamie are on the road and see a sign.

SIGN: 5 South – Left Lane
JAMIE: Turn right.
KELLIE: Okay. Why are the teams behind us still going straight?
JAMIE: I don’t know. It said turn right.

*facepalm*

While Erwin & Godwin and Tom & Terry keep going straight. Erwin is paranoid about the turn but luckily Godwin can read and is confident enough to instruct Erwin to stay on the road.

– Rob looks at his own wheel admiring the car rather than looking at the road. He looks up to see that he was supposed to be in a different lane. He is pissed at Kim and begs her to look at the signs.

– Lyn is excited because she’s never been to China.

KARLYN: Remember what I told you about people from Alabama going to China? They like us because of the movie Forrest Gump.

The race is like a box of chocolates. You never know which country you’re gonna get. And also you’ll more than likely get diarrhoea after a while. That’s another thing these two have in common.

– PETER: Those teams were looking at you saying ‘no way’.

False.

They were dead last in the run. I think that’s about where everyone projected them to be on the run. Sorry, Peter. But the only person you beat down the hill was Phil Keoghan.

– Sarah gives the cliche “I have a disability and therefore underestimated” confessional. Sorry. But I’m tired of hearing about this after Chad Crittenden, Kelly Bruno, Charla the Armenian, old wrinkly people, and any other team who makes up their own underdog story from thin air. So can it you.

– Vipul talks about Arti being very loving and very caring. And it doesn’t hurt that she looks much like Princess Jasmine.

A whole new raaaaace. Something something someuhthing.

– Vipul says he is Arti’s best friend. Raj the Tiger may challenge your statement, Vipul. Vipul. Arti. Raj. Names I never thought I’d be typing in this blog. Next season there’ll be a team named Bliggity, Blop, and Snorlax.

– David asks if she knows the directions to the airport. Mary snaps that she doesn’t have a map and asks David how she is able to navigate without a map. Meanwhile eleven teams know directions simply by reading signs.

– David gets out and asks for directions. Mary overhears and tells him where to go based on what the man just told David. Great navigator.

BILAL: I want some Chinese food.

It’ll come soon enough, Bilal. I can assure you of that.

– Kellie & Jamie run into an accident ahead. So do other teams. Somehow Kellie & Jamie are going in the right way. I think that’s the first accident teams have run into on the way to the airport. So terrible Seattle traffic is even worse than normal. But I bet it’s better than driving out of Safeco Field back when the Mariners didn’t suck as much.

LYN: And that Indian guy is behind us.

Karlyn is too frazzled to be politically correct.

– Peter & Sarah take a side road. Peter proclaims he is gambling it as he squeezes onto there. Other teams have no choice but to sit. Peter & Sarah are in first place as they drive.

– David & Mary are on the 99 rather than the 5. Mary says that back where they come from the man makes the decisions and the woman cleans and cooks and takes care of the kids. It’s like the Heidik household. Minus the pr0n shoots. However Mary insists that on this race it needs to be 50/50.

Oh. I see. So Kentucky is traditional and backwards. David is a coal miner who can’t adjust to cars. And Mary’s most recent soundbyte is something straight out of a 50s TV show? Congratulations production, you are providing a one-dimensional edit.

– Dustin weaves in and out of traffic. She is second. Peter & Sarah are first to the airport. Sarah stumbles onto the bus. Yep. She can’t run down a hill and has problems with steps. Thanks Peter for the shoddy workmanship on that prosthetic leg. It’s doing wonders.

– David & Mary are second to the airport. David’s decision making made it possible. You should clean the car and buy some groceries, Mary. Dustin & Kandice are third to the airport.

– Sa’eed speaks! However it is not about the race or to Bilal. He sits there and reads the Qu’ran.

SA’EED (in Arabic): Praise to be Allah.

Yeah. He’s not religious whatsoever.

– Phil tells us six teams can board each flight. The second flight is scheduled to land in China a full hour later. Good to know, Phil.

– The shuttle bus opens for Peter & Sarah. They have a leg up on the competition for the time being. Sarah in particular.

Yeah. I went there.

– David & Mary and Dustin & Kandice are on the second shuttle bus.

DUSTIN: I’m Miss California and this Miss New York.
MARY: Awwwwwwwwww you look so beautifullll.
DAVID: . . .

David would say something but he’d rather not be sleeping on the couch when he gets home from TAR. Actually I’m waiting for a confessional where David & Mary say they sleep on couches regardless.

– Peter & Sarah book tickets for the United flight that gets in at 805pm. Camera zooms in on Sarah’s fake leg for no reason.

AGENT: You’re on the flight.
DUSTIN: DEEDUHDUHDEW.

WTF?!

– David & Mary are third on the flight. Bilal & Sa’eed see the rental car return. So does Kellie & Jamie. Lyn & Karlyn. Vipul & Arti. Tyler & James.

– However Bilal & Sa’eed and Kellie & Jamie are the only ones going into the parking garage. Dieselgate soundtrack plays which is the international signal that this isn’t right. Sa’eed explains that they are finding a car rental return. Luckily for us Sa’eed says this in English for once. He is a real person after all.

– Kellie & Jaime and Bilal have directions to Thrifty’s. Bilal knows they made a mistake going into the car park.

ROB: Rental car return.
KIM: What are you talking about? “Rental car return”?
ROB: Thrifty is a rental car company, sweetheart.
KIM: I don’t know that. Was I supposed to know that?
ROB: Yeah.
KIM: I don’t rent cars.

I didn’t know that either. But then again I’m not competing for a million bucks and instructed to go to a rental car company if I want to have a chance to win the money. It’s going to be a short race for Kim if she isn’t willing to go to places that she’s ever heard of. If Thrifty is an issue then we can only wonder how Beijing can be.

– Duke is ecstatic to be going to China as he parks the car. Erwin & Godwin and Rob & Kim both enter the parking garage. No sad music to be found this time, however.

SIGN: Do Not Enter.
ROB prepares to turn.
KIM: Don’t go in there.
ROB: WHERE DO YOU WANT ME TO GO?

Not through the ‘Do Not Enter’ sign. We’ll work our way from there.

What do you mean I can’t go through a ‘Do Not Enter’ sign? What crazy Communist country do we live in?! Mactor Rage activated!

– Tom & Terry park in the proper place and get on the shuttle. Rob and Godwin both wonder if they’ll make the flight.

ROB: How are we going to even make this flight?
ERWIN: Oh boy.
GODWIN: It can’t get worse.
Commercial.
ROB: How are we going to even make this flight?
ERWIN: Oh boy.
GODWIN: It can’t get worse.

– Rob has directions as well as Godwin. The line-up at the airport is big. Tyler & James are fourth on the flight. Duke & Lauren are fifth.

JAIME: What are your names?
LAUREN: I’m Lauren.
JAIME: I’m Jaime.
DUKE: Jaime, I’m Duke.
KELLIE: What is y’alls relationship? Brother-sister, dating?
LAUREN: This is my dad.

The question both are wondering is if Duke looked too young or if Lauren looked too old.

DUKE: I’ve been trying to ask her out for years.

Inappropriate.

– Lyn & Karlyn are the sixth and final team on the flight. Vipul & Arti are effed. On to the second counter they go. If only they had that third flight for wiggle room.

– Why is the suspenseful frantic music playing when the six teams being on the second flight is a foregone conclusion? I don’t get it.

– Bilal & Sa’eed show up at the ticket counter to introduce themselves to the other teams. It’s another lesson in Muslim Education. Pay attention, Americans.

Exhibit A

Man on man handshake:

They’re fine. Bilal is A-O-Kay.

Exhibit B

Man on Woman Handshake:

EH. Muslim religion prevents excessive physical contact between men and women.

BILAL: I would shake your hand but–
KELLIE: Oh, you don’t shake hands?
BILAL: No, because in our religion–
(Scene cut.)
KELLIE: What if I shake your hand and you don’t know it?
BILAL: Well that’s okay.

So we find out Muslims can’t shake the hands of women, but production didn’t bother airing the reason for that? Producers wanted to have diversity, but Bilal my man, you need to talk faster. They can only give you a four second spot. That fifth second with the explanation had to be cut. Now we all live in darkness as to why you can’t shake a woman’s hand.

I do love that they air Kellie’s “what if I shake your hand and you it” remark. How does she intend to accomplish this? Put Bilal’s hand on a hot stove or set it in an ice bag so it’s numb to the touch of the hands of others?

– Kellie outdoes her religious ignorance with the following remark. One that you would refuse to believe unless you saw it screen capped.

I guess so. But then what do Buddhists believe in? And what the heck is the point of that whole Oh Lah Lah akhbar stuff? Who is Akhbar, anyway?

So if Kellie doesn’t know then her teammate must be able to answer it, right? BOTH can’t be that dumb to miss out on remembering the word ‘Buddhist’ or ‘Allah’.

JAMIE: I don’t know!

Kellie just stumped the schwab.

Hey, his expertise is limited only to sports. Just like the cheerleaders.

– Erwin & Godwin lead Rob & Kim to the ticket counter. They’re the eleventh and twelfth teams. We see Erwin & Godwin washing something in a sink. They come out to shake David’s hand. Suddenly Erwin pulls out a gun.

“This is a Phil mugging! He’s not taking your money and passports this season so we will!”

After Colorado, Empire State, and the Wisconsin Mosque, do we really need another shooting?

– Oh. It’s a water gun. Erwin shoots his wad at David & Mary. Mary thinks he’s rude. They spray Dustin & Kandice in the face as they scream.

Their make-up is going to run. And am I the only one to notice that Erwin’s hand and gun is positioned exactly like N64’s Goldeneye 007?

The name’s Cho. Erwin Cho.

– Shockingly enough an over-empowering security guard confiscates the water guns and says they’re “totally” not allowed. The brothers apologize. I remember a society where water guns were free to use in airports. Tyler & James celebrate. Something tells me that they got squirt gun’d by other people when they were younger. Or couldn’t aim well with the water guns themselves.

Chos just wanna have fun.

– The airport announces pre-boarding for those who require special assistance. Yep. Sarah gets on early because of the leg. Other teams don’t think that’s fair.

Let me interject. Think of it this way. Imagine a situation where a flight has a real tight connection. Those with special assistance are required to pre-board early. How is Sarah going to make a flight if she is late to the gate? Pre-boarding blows up in your face. So really it’s a disadvantage for her. Peter brags that they’ll play up the leg card in a lot of places. I doubt it.

– Phil recaps that the first flight holds Peter & Sarah, Dustin & Kandice, David & Mary, Tyler & James, Duke & Lauren, and Lyn & Karlyn.

– The Middle Eastern soundtrack plays as Bilal & Sa’eed pray in the airport. I wonder if they’ve been “randomly selected” for further scanning?

The bonus of praying with your head next to the chairs is that you get to snag a few of the stray M & M’s underneath the seats. Bonus!

– The second flight contains Tom & Terry, Kellie & Jamie, Vipul & Arti, Bilal & Sa’eed, Erwin & Godwin, and Rob & Kimberly.

– Beijing. Asian music plays. The first flight was delayed to 822pm. Their lead is shortened. Peter & Sarah run through the airport. Karlyn comments that Sarah can run the Iron Man but can’t stand in line. I have a feeling that Karlyn freaking out about irrelevant situations will come up frequently during the race.

– Duke & Lauren are first into a taxi. They’re first. Phil tells us that teams must travel by taxi to the Gold House Restaurant. I wonder if there’ll be Hours of Operation given that it’s already 830pm and it’s pitch black in Beijing?

– Lyn & Karlyn are third into a cab. David & Mary are fourth.

MARY: Being in China is very overwhelming. I’ve never been outside of Kentucky and Tennessee. It’s like dropping a thirty year old baby in the world and telling them “Just go!”

What are they doing here. . .oh. I get it. Production is working the “We’re still in the rural 1950s” angle some more. And dropping a 30 year old baby brother and sister into the world would indeed be overwhelming.

– Dustin & Kandice are fifth. Dustin says they are such tourists because everyone is checking them out. Oddly enough the same thing did not happen to David & Mary.

– Tyler & James are last into a cab.
JAMES: Let’s get it on.
TYLER: Til the break of dawn.
JAMES: . . .
TYLER: . . .
ME: DON’T STOP TIL YOU GET ENOUGH, C’MON! Sorry. But it was painful for you guys to not finish the chorus. Or did the sexual nature of the song make you guys feel uncomfortable?

– Peter & Sarah are falling to last as the other cabs are passing them. Peter says the Bama girls don’t like him because him and Sarah outran them.

KARLYN: I’m so sick of Peter & Sarah.

It’s less than fifteen minutes into the actual episode. Holy crap that hatred developed fast. A pre-boarding has a tendency to damage developing friendships. Keep that in mind.

– Karlyn has already announced that she’ll yield them. The second flight is in. Tom & Terry are seventh, Kellie & Jamie are eighth, Rob & Kim are ninth, Bilal & Sa’eed tenth, Vipul & Arti are eleventh, which leaves Erwin & Godwin last.

– Kim says her adrenalin kicked in the moment she got off the plane.

KELLIE: Are you fast, taxi driver?
DRIVER: Okay.
KELLIE & JAIME: Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.

Linda & Karen can tell you that you should panic if your driver can reply with nothing but ‘okay’. Plus ‘okay’ isn’t a proper response to what Kellie asked. Next the Old and New airport will be the same.

– Bilal asks the cab if he knows and is met with ‘okay’. The most nerve-wracking word to hear from a cab on TAR.

GODWIN: China reminds me a lot of Korea. Just more Chinese characters.

Like Jackie Chan. . .and Jackie Chan. . .and Jackie Chan. . .

– Duke & Lauren are first to the Gold House. Roadblock.

HOLY S—. A roadblock in the season premiere? For the first time ever? My pants have been soiled. I forgot to include that twist in my intro. TAR really wants to create a tough first round.

– In this roadblock each team must eat fish eyes. It’s common in China. They must eat all of the fish eyes in the bowl to receive their next clue. Duke is doing it. So is Karlyn. Both find it disgusting. Peter is doing it. Lyn is complaining about Peter & Sarah.

– It’s a race to eat fish eyes. Karlyn is ready to gag. Karlyn passed Duke and is first done. She reads that teams must take a taxi to Forbidden City and find Meridian Gate. Once here they will pull one of three departure times:

700am
715am
730am

PHIL: It is here where teams will encounter the first big surprise of the race.

Big surprise? Oh my god. There’s twelve teams. Therefore this is the Intersection! Yes. This premiere is kicking butt.

– Lyn & Karlyn have a cab. Duke & Lauren is done next. Peter is done.

LAUREN: Maybe the last team will be eliminated.
DUKE: You think this is an elimination round?
LAUREN: No.

HAHA! That b—- don’t know anything about The Amazing Race. The ‘snag a time’ task is featured on every season. There’s no pit stop or a Keoghan to be found. You crazy Lauren, you crazy.

– Dustin realizes she’s hungry. They are at the wrong place. Dustin’s stomach will wait. Mary is doing the roadblock and struggles to use chop sticks. Dustin & Kandice are told it’s a tea house and locals don’t know where Golden House is. So they go back outside. Tyler & James are at the roadblock. Mary is done. She greets Kellie & Jaime on the way out.

– Mary flags a cab down but the driver doesn’t know where Forbidden City is. So she looks for another. James is done the roadblock. Amazing how Kellie & Jaime are from the second flight and slip into sixth. Tyler & James get a cab faster than David & Mary. Mary is frantic when she gets in. Real frantic.

MARY: VERY FAST! QUACK! QUACK!

Somebody has the imagery of the speed of duck boats still in their head.

If I was the driver and heard somebody say ‘quack quack’ over and over, that’d make me uneasy enough as a cab cab to drive fast fast.

– Tom & Terry are next at the roadblock. Tom is doing it, I think. I can’t tell the two apart. Dustin & Kandice wander up the building that is blatantly incorrect. She shows the clue to someone who speaks English but nobody knows the place. At least the third departure time will save them.

– A boy knows the place and agrees to walk with Dustin & Kandice. Rob promises to tip the driver if he goes faster. In fact all four remaining teams complain that their cab drivers are slow and all other cars on the road are passing them. The nightlife is dangerous in Beijing to the point where cabs must be safe while carrying American tourists.

– Rob & Kim and Dustin & Kandice have the clue at the same time. Kandice and Rob are doing it. Dustin does not look impressed.

– The two leading teams do not see a gate. But Peter & Sarah do and grab the 700am departure time. That was luck of the cabbie. Duke & Lauren and Lyn & Karlyn have the 700am departure. Tyler labels Forbidden City as ‘Ninja Land’. The bromance with James continues as they grab the final 700am departure.

– Vipul is eating.

KANDICE: It’s really not bad.
KANDICE holds her vomit in.

Actions speak louder than words.

– David & Mary is passed by Tom n Terry and Kellie & Jaime. They both grab the 715am checkout and are ecstatic to have beaten two teams to the route marker.

– Erwin & Godwin are delivered to the wrong restaurant and are forced to flag down another cab. Oh well. They’ll just have 730am anyway. David & Mary snag the 715am departure. Bilal & Sa’eed show up where Bilal agrees to eat.

ARTI: Beware the beards are here.
KIM: Are the Muslims here?

I couldn’t imagine saying “Are the Muslims here?” outside of American television. Everyone would look at me incredulous and ask “uh. . .can you be more specific?”

– Erwin & Godwin find their original cab and he says that the restaurant is on the other side. He drives them around. Vipul & Arti are done. So is Rob & Kim. Dustin & Kandice have the last 715am departure.

DUSTIN: Two teams beat us from the second flight. It’s really disheartening because we worked so long and so hard to be on the first plane ride.

You mean the 45 minute drive to get to the airport? Oh my. That’s not hard work compared to what you’ll encounter on the race, Dustin.

– Bilal is done. They are a solid eleventh. No Chos have shown up. Erwin is last and eats alone.

– Rob & Kim are at the kiosk. They pull the only remaining time–730am. They notice something amiss.

There’s two 730ams and then this last clip:

???? That isn’t a time on a clock. What the heck? Non-elimination penalty? They can’t seriously mean that. . .

– Arti catches on that their cab doesn’t know English. Bilal & Sa’eed are in a cab. The only problem?

He gets out and leaves them inside. Not moving in the slightest.

SA’EED: We might as well go out and walk.

I don’t know about that, Sa’eed. I’ve seen you run. Sarah beat you down a hill for Allah’s sake.

– Erwin is done. They’re so freakin’ last it’s not even funny. We see Vipul & Arti run into a hotel with their cabbie. Somebody at the hotel gives directions to the driver. Speaking of drivers, the driver for Bilal & Silent Sa’eed re-enters the cab. All three teams keep their eyes peeled for the Meridian Gate.

– Vipul & Arti snag 730. Erwin & Godwin and Erwin & Godwin casually walk to the kiosk at the same time. Both settle on having the last departure time. But Erwin grabs the last 730. Bilal looks around the kiosk to see “Last Team”.

– Bilal reads the back and says “Find Phil”. Huh? Phil is there? I don’t get it. I’m so bumpuzzled.

There’s Phil. Emerging from the shadows. Or Bilal came at a bad time as Phil took a whizz in the bushes. I doubt the Chinese government would be happy if somebody urinated in the Forbidden City. I hear doing that is forbidden.

BILAL: I think we gotta check in.

So odd. Bilal & Sa’eed run into the pit stop.

The remaining eleven teams take a cast photo as Bilal & Sa’eed are on the mat. I wonder if prayer is about to start and they get to use the TAR mat for prayer?

PHIL: Bilal & Sa’eed. . .You’re the last team to avoid at this point in the race.

Bilal points his chin towards the air and scoffs at what Phil is saying. Or he is looking at the skies to figure out which direction is west to Mecca.

PHIL: I said there would be surprises.
SA’EED: Chaaaa.

Well Phil has got two words for you. . .

Okay, what he really said:

PHIL: Even though this is not a pit stop, I’m sorry to tell you that you’ve both been eliminated from the race.

The stages of TAR grief. First is denial.

Anger.

BILAL (high pitched): We didn’t expect this because it doesn’t say that this was the pit STOP.

This scene is super serious but I busted up laughing. It doesn’t say that this was a pIT STOP. So funny. This needs to be its own YouTube video.

PHIL: Remember I said there would be some twists and turns and surprises?

F— you, Keoghan.

That’s your defense for production? That there would be surprises? It’s supposed to completely justify eliminating a team after two taxi rides all because you gave the warning “there would be surprises”?

Think about how dumb that sounds.

Like why not eliminate two teams at one pit stop and see how that goes? Or eliminate a team at the literal halfway point? Or at the end? But only 24 hours into the race where taxi cabs involve zero skill and teams haven’t been able to adjust to the race? That’s really really really dumb. It’s like some stupid producer intruded upon the fabric of TAR and raped it.

You eliminated a team halfway through the first leg. You are so dumb. You are really dumb. For real. So dumb so dumb so dumb soooooooooooooo. . .

Bertram is climbin in your windows
snatchin your muslim racers up
tryna rape em so yall need to
hide your kids
hide your wife


And hide your husband
cause theyre eliminatin everybody out here

Phil, you don’t have to come and confess
we lookin for you
we gonna find you
we gonna find you
so go run to the mat
run to the mat
run to the mat
homeboy
home home homeboy

Ah. I got carried away. I must say that Antoine Dodson is probably the first African-American man to benefit financially from a rape incident in the U.S. Carrying on. . .

– Bilal interprets this as proof that you don’t have control over anything and that the creator does. The creator being Bertram, I imagine?

– Teams tear up on the sidelines. Tyler & James thought they were cool guys. Mary said expect the unexpected. She has seen too many seasons of Big Brother. The teams say they will take nothing for granted. Erwin will move from challenge to challenge. Amputee star Sarah says that she would be broken if it ended here.

– Commercial. Long enough to forget that the dumbest twist ever just took place. Take a breather and prepare for a few seasons from now when an even worse version of this twist occurs. Yes folks. Production thought they should do something like this AGAIN. Ugh. Let’s move on, please?

– The teams express how bad they feel for Bilal and to take nothing for granted. Phil comes in to remind us that this episode is not over. The teams read that they must get into a sidecar of these WWII motorbikes and ride to 14 Hou Hai North Bank Road. A petty cab manager will hand them their next clue.

– Sarah tells us that she noticed when her prosthetic knee was being put on that it was leaking hydraulic fluid. Shoddy workmanship, Peter. It’s not painful but it merely makes things more difficult. Peter compares it to riding a bike and having a back tire slowly leak. It’s something he can’t fix. Oh well. Sarah says the solution is to be tougher. Oh boy.

– Duke & Lauren say they’ve been doing consistently well. Yes. Consistency after one lone day. Lauren is proud of how well they’re communicating. Lyn thinks the other teams were surprised by how well they did. I bet all other teams made a confessional saying the same thing.

– Tyler boringly talks about going through addiction and coming out on the other side. So they’re tough.

Although I think James has his mind on nothing but doing lines with a dollar bill.

TYLER: Inside of each of us is a fighter.

! Those UFC athletes swing that way?

– The teams are responsible for their own navigation. The second group leaves as they read the clue. Peter & Sarah are at the junction and take the clue. So do the other three teams. It’s a detour.

– Labour or Leisure. In Labour, teams choose a petty cab and travel one mile to a market. Here they must use traditional Chinese bricks and methods to pave a 45 foot square section of sidewalk in a specific pattern. Looks like a Tetris board to me. Once done they will have their next clue. In Leisure, teams travel two miles by petty cab to a park. Here they will take part in a new Chinese relaxation exercise known as Tai Chi Hai Ba Long. They must successfully perform the routine in unison. Once done they’ll receive their next clue.

– All four teams choose to do Labour. The sure thing over the possible repeated failures of rhythm.

– The final group leaves. All of them say something along the lines of it being a wake up call and that they need to rally. And not knowing what to expect is scary. They step into the sidecars. Erwin & Godwin are last for the fourth time this episode.

– The four teams are at the market. Phil explains that teams must figure out to place larger bricks around the border before putting in the small bricks. Peter is in hyper mode and orders Sarah to hand him the small bricks. God he likes talking down to her.

PETER: No no, just let me do this. Just bring bricks, Sarah. Bring bricks.

>_>

– Karlyn orders Lyn to figure out the pattern. She is frustrated knowing they have it wrong. Duke & Lauren hasn’t solved the pattern either. Tyler & James however have solved it.

SARAH: Peter, the pattern. . .
PETER: Just just just let me do this Sarah.

>_>

– Duke & Lauren see the pattern. Peter finally listens to Sarah and they’re catching up. Tyler & James aren’t doing so bad. Just wish they weren’t a boring pain in the Aras. Lyn & Karlyn solve it. They thank the Lord. Or copying the other teams. Who knows.

– The second crew has the clue. Kellie & Jaime and Tom & Terry are the only two so far to do the leisure. Kellie & Jaime are doing it because they are cheerleaders with balance. Tom & Terry complains about the traffic.

– Vipul & Arti aren’t having much luck with their cab.

ARTI: Are we going in circles?
VIPUL: Everything looks different and the same. If that makes any sense.

No, it doesn’t. You’re f—ed.

– Vipul screams out if anyone speaks American English. A response is doubtful. Everyone waves off the screaming man.

– Last group sans Vipul & Arti have the clue. They’re doing Labour. Arti shows the clue to a man but he doesn’t know what the place is. Vipul screams for America USA. Arti thinks the map would have come in hand. A boy on the street films them on his phone. A man on the street points them in the right direction. They have the next clue.

– Lauren is struggling to get the pattern right. Peter yells at Sarah to hand him more bricks to help. Then he sees Lauren.

PETER: Lauren, you need to move!

Okay, Probst.

– Tyler & James are done. Teams are instructed to take a taxi to Juyongguan–one of the gateways to the Great Wall of China. This ancient fortification is the pit stop for this leg of the race.
.
.
.
However, to gain access, teams must use a rope to scale up and over the wall. And the last team to check in will be eliminated. Whoaaaa. Another twist.

– Tyler & James want a taxi and a local directs them to the bus. They try to tell the guy to look for a taxi. Peter & Sarah are done.

KARLYN: He tries to micromanage so much.
LYN: They can kiss my behind.

I’m irritated with Peter after thirty minutes. I can only imagine what it’s like after two days with him.

– Peter & Sarah catch up to Tyler & James. Tyler & James greets Dustin & Kandice. Kandice thinks they are attractive and dangerous. Duke & Lauren are done. Peter has a cab.

SARAH (shows her leg): I need to go. It’s an emergency.
CAB DRIVER instantly opens his doors.

– Duke & Lauren are in a cab. James flags down a cab but the driver rejects them. They don’t know why they were rejected. David & Mary greet Lyn & Karlyn at the detour.

– Tyler & James are in the cab. Tyler is pissed that they had the win for this round while James comforts him that the could still win the leg. Rob & Kim are at the detour. Lyn & Karlyn finish. Karlyn thanks god then the manager. Dustin & Kandice finishes.

DUSTIN: I think we set a record.

Not to rain on your parade, but I think someone competing for a million bucks will be more motivated than someone who does the same job for five dollars per day. Of course you set a record.

– Rob & Kim dispute over not catching onto the pattern.

KIM: Babe I need you to listen to me for five seconds–Is ours bigger than theirs? If they can figure it out babe, we can figure it out.
ROB: Baby you need to just–
KIM: Babe you need to listen to me.

They use “baby” more than Fabio uses “dude” in a sentence.

– Rob loves the relationship 99.9 % of the time. But it’s that .1% where he’s not nailing her and having to listen to her that drives him nuts.

ROB: I love the relationship 99.9% of the time. It’s that one percentage where we take tones with each other that I’m not.

Welcome to the Ted Rodgers Jr. School of Mathematics.

– Kim wants to stay. Rob looks at what David is doing and catches onto the pattern. Kim throws a brick and it breaks. Rob says not to drop them.

– Tom & Terry and Kellie & Jaime cheer and clap in rhythm as if it’s a cheerleading song. They mock each other for it. Phil recaps that they must do several moves. They have the paddle with the ball on top. Four rotations are required. Tom screws up.

– Erwin & Godwin are at the task. Erwin takes the correct bricks from David’s pile but is stopped.

DAVID: Hey what are you doing?
ERWIN: This isn’t a community pile?

Well if it’s not a community pile then this isn’t true Communist China, right? I s’pose David won’t have any of this red talk in his neck of the woods.

– Tom screws up when tossing the ball through his legs. So does Kellie. Terry even screws up just shifting the racket away from him. Wrong detour task. Vipul & Arti show up at Labour.

– Peter pumps Sarah up by telling her that she has the strongest upper body of anyone in the race. Have you seen Bilal, Tyler, or James? She doesn’t need a false sense of power, Peter. That’s what motivational speakers are for.

SARAH: Peter could be the great love of my life. If we don’t risk our hearts a little bit, we’re never gonna know if there’s perhaps a greater love here.

So what do you have to say for yourself Sarah? Was the dating couple storyline still a facade by production?

– Lauren sees Peter & Sarah’s cab in front. She screams ‘faster, faster, faster’ at the cab driver like it’s after hours in Shanghai. The cab rips by Peter & Sarah. They are ecstatic and Duke kisses her on the cheek. Crazy Americans. Duke gets out to ask how to get up the wall.  This allows Peter & Sarah to pass and go up the stairs. Sarah is limping and barely moving up the stairs.

– I’d love to see a 100 metre uphill dash between Sa’eed, Gus, Sarah, Charla, Austin Black, and Debra & Steve. I’d pay to see that for 13 weeks straight.

– Sarah hops on the hook all the way to the Great Wall. Tyler & James pull alongside Duke and Tyler points out to see Peter & Sarah. Tyler & James run out ahead. Meanwhile Peter & Sarah prepare to scale the wall.

PETER: Sarah, you are my girl. You are solid. You are conditioned. You are an all-American. You are a world class athlete. Oh god. This is not it, Sarah. Okay Sarah, we messed up. We gotta go all the way back down cause there’s no other teams. We’re going the wrong way. We messed something big time.

Geez. Is it really that necessary to say your girlfriend’s name that many times? Stop talking to her like she’s a five year old. This motivational speaker crap is wearing the audience down.

At least this motivational speaker makes his much more entertaining and less whiny. I can’t take it.

– Peter looks along a railing to notice where they were supposed to go.

PETER: Awwwwwww cripes.

You know Sarah isn’t your 5 year old daughter, right? You can swear around her.

– Tyler & James are first to climb. James says he can rely on Tyler and has confidence in him. They must be romantic partners. This bromance is too excessive. Tyler starts climbing. Duke is going first for his team. Peter & Sarah suit up. Sarah struggles because she needs a foothill.

– I always cringe during this clip. The idea of your leg digging into a rock wall is one of the most uneasy moments to witness on the race. It is such an unnatural feeling. I think hearing Tyler talk about drugs would make me less nauseous.

– Duke and Tyler keep climbing. Sarah complains that she can’t do it. It’s tough to do it with one leg.

Sarah, just bend your knees! Oh. Sorry.

– Sarah cries and pants as it goes to commercial. Peter says to go to her right side. She complies and it works. Peter’s coaching is effective. She is halfway up. Peter instructs her to take a breather. Tyler & James are first up the wall and check into the pit stop. They’re team number one. They have won twenty thousand dollars. Just for first.

– Tyler says that him and James have been through so much together, and that this entails the drive they have inside of them. And what they have inside of each other. . .not like that.

– Lauren cries as she sees Duke fail near the top of the wall. She expresses her pride for Duke. He cheers his daughter up the wall. Sarah talks to herself to stay focused and find power. New heroic soundtrack plays.

PETER: When you make it up that wall, I’m going to cry!

FALL SARAH NOW! PLEASE SARAH. FALL.I DON’T WANT TO SEE WHINY PETER LEAK WHINY TEARS ONTO HIS WHINY FACE THAT WILL DRY ONTO HIS WHINY SHIRT.

– Sarah is over the top. And speaking of over the top, Peter celebrates in an over the top manner. Lauren completes it minus Sarah’s dramatics. Her and Duke run to the mat. Lauren says this is the best opportunity for them to bond and put their differences aside. She’s crying during this. I hate how every team is creating a story for themselves that none of us care about.

– Peter finishes it. Thank god we didn’t have to hear him talk as he climbed. They’re third. No confessional at the pit stop, surprisingly.

– Mary & David fight. David wants Mary to check it but Mary insists she’s not his slave. They move a couple bricks and are done. They wish luck to the other teams before running to a cab. Dustin & Kandice are at the wall. Rob & Kim finish the detour.

– A family agrees to get out of a cab so David & Mary can get in. Mary thanks them three times before the cab takes off. Rob & Kim are out running in the streets. Mary yells from inside a shut cab that Rob needs to go one street down. With windows up it may be tough to hear. Rob & Kim continue to do their own thing.

– Lyn & Karlyn are at the wall. Karlyn knows it will be a challenge. Kandice kisses the top of the wall.

– Karlyn says she can’t do it. It’s the strength that will be the problem. No kidding.

– Erwin & Godwin think they haven’t assembled it correctly. Neither do Arti & Vipul. Tom & Terry successfully complete the routine and receive their clue. Hopefully they’ve learned their lesson and will do the smarter detour options from now on. Dustin & Kandice are team number four. Let’s just say they’re happy to be fourth.

Kandice is part-human and part-chipmunk, didn’t you know?

Or carrying out a Krusty the Klown routine that got him banned from entering the Asian continent. One of the two.

– Kellie & Jamie are done.

KELLIE: Take a taxi to the Great Wall and find. . .whatever.

Yeah. The rest of that clue isn’t important. I’m sure Great Wall is specific enough.

– Mary cannot believe she’ll be seeing the Great Wall. Karlyn is still at the base. She doesn’t understand how to get started. Erwin thinks he has the pattern. Arti can’t get the bricks to fit. I think she’s about to s— a brick. Erwin & Godwn are done and wish luck to Vipul & Arti. Rob has flagged down a cab and give directions. Erwin & Godwin pass the cab and shout at Rob to follow them.

ERWIN: Good karma, baby.

Or to redeem yourself for bringing illegal water guns and spraying everybody in the airport with them.

– Tom & Terry pass David & Mary on the way to the climb. Karlyn is still at the base. She may very well pull a Karen from TAR 5. Tom and David are climbing. They’re further than Karlyn. But not much. It’s a comedy of errors. Vipul & Arti finally figure out the pattern and have the clue. They get into the cab.

– Tom doesn’t know if he can do it. Mary tells him to not panic.

TOM: But I’m not even halfway there.

It’s tough when you sit like that the whole time.

– Want to check in on Karlyn’s progress after a solid twenty minutes?

Maybe a light push like she’s on a swingset will help.

Eh. . .no.

– Lyn says that Karlyn needs to swing her body. She’s catching up to Tom. Perhaps even passed Tom. Tom whines that his ankle is twisted.

TERRY: Tom, you have to go straight.

BAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Cause it takes a REAL man to do this task. BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAA.

– Mary doesn’t see herself climbing up the wall. Godwin and Kim start the wall. Erwin congratulates Rob on “his girl” having game. Kellie is doing the wall. Vipul & Arti are the only team in a cab.

DAVID: Use your legs as much as possible. That’s it. Push. Push. Push.
MARY: Shut up! I’m more than serious.

Whoa. She’s MORE than serious. That’s when you know she’s uh. . .serious?

– Karlyn is done. She looks exhausted. Tom bashes against the wall and bloodies up a knee before being done. Kim is done the wall. Godwin is up. Everyone else for each team is making their way. Jaime completes it. Rob finishes. Rob & Kim are team number five. Kellie & Jaime have passed the other teams and are sixth. They hop away from the mat.

– Arti & Vipul are still in the cab.

– Erwin & Godwin are seventh and Tom & Terry are eighth.

And show off not only their muscles but their effective deoderant to Phil.

Meanwhile Tom & Terry. . .

Crump?

– Mary orders David to shut up some more. Mary coaches herself that she can do it. Karlyn gives further instructions. Mary is still at the bottom. Arti & Vipul are inside the cab. Arti has many emotions going through her.

– Lyn & Karlyn are ninth. Lyn says she had to do it not by focusing on herself but rather on her children. Mary apologizes some more before completing the wall. Her and David step onto the mat in tenth. Mary cusses out David for not telling her that she wasn’t last. How was David supposed to know? She hugs Phil, the greeter, then David in that order.

– Vipul & Arti magically appear at the wall. Vipul is done. Arti explains that her heart is beating fast. She’s up. Both check into the pit stop. Phil breaks the news that they are last and indeed eliminated. They both say it was an amazing experience. They respect, love, support, and complete each other. It’s important in a relationship. The end.

Next time on TAR: The first of seven countries makes its only appearance in 21 seasons of TAR. An unusual finish to the leg as well as inspired tasks based on the country are the main highlights. Nothing else really comes to mind.

Confessional Counts

Peter&Sarah 5.7
Bilal&Saeed 4.1
Rob&Kimberly 3.3
Dustin&Kandice 4.3
David&Mary 3.4
Erwin&Godwin 3.2
Duke&Lauren 1.5
Vipul&Arti 2.6
Kellie&Jamie 1.2
Tyler&James 4.3
Lyn&Karlyn 5.2
Tom&Terry 2.1

Team averages

Bulls— Bilal & Sa’eed N/A
12th Debra & Steve 12.0
12th Gina & Sylvia 12.0
11th Vipul & Arti 11.0
11th John & Scott 11.0
11th Ryan & Chuck 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
3rd Ray & Yolanda 4.23
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
4th Monica & Joseph 3.50
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
1st BJ & Tyler – 2.46 FF
2nd Frank & Margarita 2.38 – FF
2nd Kris & Jon 2.38
2nd Rob & Amber 2.31
2nd Eric & Jeremy 1.69 FF

Rank the Teams

1) Bilal & Sa’eed

This team was heavily promoted prior to the season. A Muslim team?! They’re really going to pull over on the side of the road to pray no matter the circumstances? How long can they last? How will other teams react? Has the U.S. truly evolved and are acceptable of all people? How will the Christian right react in terms of viewership?

These were the questions waiting to be answered as we were set to begin The Amazing Race. However all of this remains a mystery to this day thanks to the biggest bulls—-ing twist of the bulls—.

So what did we get out of it? These were Cleveland sports fanatics who happened to pray towards Mecca. Sa’eed brought nothing to the table but it was Bilal who delivered. He lasted only half an episode but his interviews were always entertaining. His refusal to shake a cheerleader’s hand will stick out.

“But it doesn’t say that this was a pIT STOP!”

That quote alone is enough to put them above last.

2) Vipul & Arti

These two were tough to write about. Arti looks like Princess Jasmine. . .and that’s all I could come up with in this blog. These two got along and had their romantic future set in stone. Nothing compelling happened to them on the race. They sucked for the first half of the episode as well as the second half. Their elimination is a generic bad taxi and a mistake on a couple tasks.

In other words, they weren’t terribly competitive and were doomed to be bottom feeders. Unlike Bilal & Sa’eed, these two had the luxury of playing until the pit stop before being eliminated in the opening round.

I like both of them. I’ve even talked to Vipul on Facebook a couple times. Both of them are huge TAR fans. But TV wise? For one episode it’s tough to be “OMG I want these two to win!”.

I imagine if these two lasted until the end that they would be massive fan favourites, but like most of the nicer couples who go early, it’s best they go at the beginning if they won’t be with us at the end.

Rank the Legs

1) Beijing -> Seattle. Woops. Reverse it. Seattle -> Beijing. (There was plenty of comedic material to work with in the opening round. Water guns in an airport are busted out by the Cho Bros. Ironic quotes uttered by nearly every single team. The shocking nature of heading west to begin the race was a bonus.

But then the bad came. Taxis were abused once we entered China. And then Bilal & Sa’eed’s elimination came. It was worse than scaling down of Fast Forwards and Yields. Or the non-eliminations in seasons 1-4 when teams managed to get off scot free. It was random and served no other purpose than to “set the tone” that would be quickly erased for the remainder of the season.

Then there’s Peter who made me want to punch my TV screen on multiple occasions. I don’t know Sarah. Are you okay Sarah you can do it Sarah Oh sarah i dont know sarah. God. Shut your face.

The tasks weren’t that bad. Climbing into the pit stop was creative. In addition this was the first premiere to feature a roadblock (other than the unaired one in TAR 1). But all of that is overshadowed by the injustice of eliminating Bilal & Sa’eed.)

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2 Responses to TAR 10 episode 1 ranking

  1. TheBayAreaGuy says:

    I just re-watched this for the first time since the original airing & I have mixed emotions. It’s a really good episode & probably be near the top of my list for “best premieres” if it wasn’t for the stupid twist half-way. I still strongly hate it and haven’t changed my mind (although the TAR 15 starting line task is slightly more dumb).

    The lazy comparison would be to the Palau twist on Day 2(?) but at least everyone had a full day to make connections (Wanda was gonna get voted out anyway first).

    • Yeah, I think it was pretty much the last 90 minute premiere until TAR 26. We got to know almost everyone and there was enough tasks (and Chos nearly getting detained for water guns at SEATAC) to ensure it never got too slow.

      Yeah, that twist was complete bull. It is much worse knowing we lost Bilal & Sa’eed who are arguably in contention for the most unique racers to participate in the show.

      It’s too bad we couldn’t see them tested with having to pull over multiple times on the race course.

      And yes, the Palau twist is a good loose comparison. I didn’t mind that twist because I firmly believe Wanda and Jonathan would have both been early casualties. Jonathan showed his lack of social skills at the reunion show.

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