TAR 10 episode 3 ranking

Third leg

Previously on TAR: Ten teams set out from Beijing, China to remote Mongolia. Horses took teams on a rough ride. While Peter & Sarah couldn’t control their beast. Nevertheless they came in first. Mary twisted her ankle, but in the end it was the cheerleaders who fell behind and failed to finish the roadblock and were eliminated. Now nine teams remain. Who will be eliminated tonight?

– Wow. That’s the shortest recap of a TAR episode in at least a couple seasons. What is so special about this episode that the recap of a rather eventful episode had to be cut short? No mention of the plethora of car troubles? Losing helmets? Lost in translation?

– Phil introduces us to Mongolia which is a nomadic landscape. I wonder if Mongolians view the country as this? The landscape is dotted with temples according to Phil. New funky music is playing in the background.

– But all great funky music must come to an end. Phil has no questions either. Peter & Sarah, who arrived at 654pm, will depart at 654am.

– Sarah reads that teams must fly over 2, 300 miles to Hanoi, Vietnam. Once they arrive they will find their way to a place known infamously as the “Hanoi Hilton”–it’s a prison. Here is where teams will find their next clue.

SARAH: You have zero dollars for this leg of the race.

Ouch. That’s a kick to the teeth. Usually production teases them by giving them a dollar. But diddily squat? Production is cruel. They handed them a tough round two and now we will see a tough round three.

– Sarah reads that teams must purchase their tickets at a travel agency. I imagine Mongolia is in that alliance of countries who forbid tickets being purchased directly at an airport. It’s an East Asian thing. Again, if anyone can tell me why these laws exist, I’d love to know. I still can’t figure it out.

– Peter drives in this jeep. Their first confessional?

SARAH: I’m right now walking and running on a blown out hydraulic knee. It’s really hard for me to walk or run.

Blown out hydraulic knee confessional reference has now been emphasized in each of the three episodes. And yet we have not witnessed it impacting the game. Sooooo, this woman has a fake leg? Didn’t know.

– Thirteen minutes at 707am it’s time for Tyler & James. They still haven’t fought with each other. They know that if they focus on the task in front of them that they’ll do fine.

– 745am arrives which means it’s Duke & Lauren’s time. That’s a big gap considering how close these three teams appeared to be.

DUKE: A lot of these girls on the street walk arm-in-arm downtown. Think they’re just friends?
LAUREN: I don’t know.

Perfect response. It’s like Duke is requesting the use of Lauren’s gaydar for his own amusement. Duke is under the impression that it “takes one to know one”. This is the part where somebody needs to show him Family Guy’s segment about “Signs that you’ve got a gay”.

DUKE: I don’t really believe anything is going to change Lauren’s sexuality. If anything that’s going to change it’s me and my acceptance.

Wow. The gay community may be respecting Duke at this moment. I like how his phrasing makes it sound like there’s a small chance that Lauren will go back to being straight. Or compromise at going both ways. Anyways, moving on before I make an inappropriate remark. . .

– Duke talks about how he was set to be drafted in Vietnam but his number never came up. A lot of his friends were drafted, but many of them never returned. The chiroptera must have got them.

Saya, where you be at? This thing needs to be vanquished. Saya. Fight.

– 752am which means it’s start time for Tom & Terry. Tom is not happy to find out about the zero dollars as he reads the clue. Much like last episode, Tom speaks of how they are independent people but are coming together to work as a team. They say making decisions together is difficult at times. We cut to Terry yelling at Tom to drive alongside a bus to ask for directions to Ulaanbaatar because that bus is likely heading to Ulaanbaatar.

– Sarah reads that they are awarded zero dollars for the leg and that they must not sell or beg for anything. She goes on to give a confessional that none of the other teams have as much money as they do because she has forty American dollars.

I wish we were given evidence of how this became true in the first two rounds. What did Peter & Sarah do that was so special to put them in the greatest financial standing? Did they invest in Chinese companies and already cashed in on the stock? Did she sell one of her legs? Do her and Peter both have eating disorders that prevent them from eating?

I’m awfully curious what is going on here. This is poor storytelling where it’s “telling” rather than “showing”. Poor editing.

– Duke recaps the no money twist. Lauren is glad they didn’t spend all of their money but yet she cringes. I’m gathering they are close to zero if she said that statement as slowly as she did.

– Peter & Sarah are at Genghis Khan Hotel. The travel agency opens at 900am. Let the line formation begin! Tyler & James are at the hotel too.

– Dustin & Kandice check out at 811am and Rob & Kim check out at 813am.

Now that there’s fewer teams remaining, I thought I’d do a series of drinking games. I’ll introduce you to these games as we progress through the episode blog.

– Dustin says that being defined as pageant queens has many assumptions to go along with it. She says it can be tough. Oh gee.

– Rob & Kim pile into their car. Kim warns not to run over the dog. Rob manages to avoid saying “babe” when he replies that he won’t run over the dog. Kim says if Rob is going to talk to her the way that he did during the detour then they’ll need to have a serious talk. Hopefully we won’t have to waste our time watching that conversation play out.

– Rob realizes they need to turn around and is relatively calm about it.

KIM: Do not freak out right now!

Once again the person who warns not to freak out is the person freaking out.

Babe, I’m not freaking out, babe.

– David & Mary are next to depart at 816am. David said tears almost came to his eyes when Mary read the clue. He thinks of his dad’s footprints. He was in the service of Vietnam and would only tell certain stories about it because it was one of the worst wars ever.

DAVID: It is probably one of the worst wars ever–
MARY: Dave! Everybody’s passing you!
DAVID: Mary, I’m doing sixty!
MARY: It’s the race now don’t get angry.
DAVID: Mary–
MARY: Nuh uh, don’t you ‘Mary’ me! Now I ain’t gonna lose this race because you can’t–
DAVID: Mary, you can’t even look at my speedometer!

That’s a first. I can’t recall anyone in the middle of giving a heartfelt and sob story of a confessional until their wife interrupts them and brings them back into the reality of the race. Another note is the unintentional pun of Mary saying “don’t you Mary me!” Luckily Mary didn’t say that during their engagement period or David would have assumed that the wedding was off.

And imagine if Mary was in a relationship with Peter?

PETER: Aw criiiipes, Mary.
MARY: Don’t you ‘Mary’ me!
PETER: Oh Mary, you know I’m only using your first name to get you focused on the task–
MARY: Why Peter? You think I’m dumb! Cause I ain’t dumb, you stupid idiot!
PETER: Mary, stop! This attitude has to stop now. Don’t get discouraged, Mary.
MARY: Maybe I wouldn’t have this attitude if your dumba– wouldn’t keep usin’ my name over and over! Dangit Peter.

– Duke & Lauren and Tom & Terry are at the hotel and wait in line. They congratulate each other. Dustin & Kandice are fifth there. Tyler suggests that they start a line. Kandice agrees.

Hold on. They haven’t started a line yet? Why didn’t Peter & Sarah declare that they’re first? Things could get very messy.

– Erwin & Godwin depart at 818am. It’s surprising how tightly together many of these teams are following the big lead Peter & Sarah and Tyler & James had built. Godwin says they’ve already won because each moment they spend on the race looking out at the window of the wonderful places along with doing it with his brother. He wonders how few people have those opportunities.

– Rob asks for directions to the Genghis Khan Hotel. He’s good to go.

– 900am is here. At the ticket counter there are four ticket agents. Currently there’s five teams in line. They all agree that the first four teams would all take an agent. However this leaves Dustin & Kandice out of the picture. But they’re fifth, and how much of a disadvantage will they be at, really? How many flights from Ulaanbaatar go to Hanoi?

– So the doors open. Tom & Terry zone out and walk past one of the ticket agents. Dustin & Kandice immediately swoop in the assigned spot to Tom & Terry and start doing business with the agent. Tom & Terry figure it out and are pissed that Dustin & Kandice cut the line. The bickering ensues. The first real bickering match of the season.

See my hand? I told you guys I’d come out with guns blazing. Didn’t you know?

– TERRY: Dustin, we were here first!

Well not true. You walked past the agent and Dustin & Kandice were truly there first. The other teams stop to observe the argument as the agents work through all of the noise. James thinks that the Beauty Queens are looking for any little inch they can get on anybody.

In fact Dustin slowly eases into stalking her prey right this very moment. Look at those venomous eyes. Jafar would put her head on his staff if he could.

– KANDICE: Honestly Terry, we wouldn’t have pushed in front of you.
TOM: I’m not Terry.
KANDICE: Tom.

Heh. Okay, I like Kandice a bit more. I struggled for about an episode and a half as to who is Tom and who is Terry. The guy who looks more like a celebrity is Terry while Tom is the cousin of Richard Simmons.

TERRY (or TOM): They’re not gonna win a beauty pageant of kindness, that’s for sure.

Ohhhhh. Setting up the villain edit. Ohhhhhh. Maybe next time you should understand the line-up before heading into the fray. I doubt Dustin & Kandice were stealing your agent intentionally. I bet amidst the chaos of you going to an occupied line that it’s only natural to snag up an available agent.

I may be harsh on Dustin & Kandice, but Tom & Terry, that mistake was all you. Dustin & Kandice are not required to be that patient in a million dollar race and give freebies to other teams when they screw up.

– Lyn & Karlyn depart nearly an hour later at 902am. Lyn says the race is one of the most painful things she has done.

LYN: If I had to compare it to something. . . .

One thousand bucks says producers will make her say ‘giving birth to a child’ to fulfill their single mom edits.

LYN: It’s like Child Birth.

And Logan scores the point. Woo!

– We go back to the ticket counter. There’s a 100pm flight to Beijing that connects to Hanoi and gets in at 900pm. For the third round in a row, teams will be required to hang out in Beijing. Is that a record for one lone city in The Amazing Race? I believe so.

– Suddenly Rob pops in to ask Tyler & James what flight they are on. The remaining teams scramble into the ticket agency. Everyone is on the same flight to Beijing. We sit at the airport. David is taping up Mary’s ankle. She reiterates how she twisted it. David knows Mary is gonna suck it up and do it no matter what.

– The flight leaves. We skip the Beijing connection and go straight into Hanoi. The scrambling for taxis begins. Dustin & Kandice are first into a cab. Dustin & Kandice know the taxi ride will be about ten dollars. They have twenty-four altogether.

– Subtitles appear as Kandice mentions in the cab that it is scary because Duke & Lauren have only eleven. Yikes. Better not pull a Chip and tip the cab an additional dollar.

– Rob & Kim are second into the cab. Tyler & James tell the driver to follow Rob & Kim. After borrowing Rob’s car jack in the previous leg, it appears that this has become the most solid coalition in the game. Besides Cho Bros. helping anyone and everyone that they meet on the race. The Travelocity Gnome will be carried by the Cho Bros if it came down to it.

– Sarah struggles to run. I wonder why. They’re fourth into the cab.

– Duke & Lauren met a local woman on the plane who agreed to join them in the taxi. Lauren tells us she was skeptical.  Sure enough they get to the cab and the woman tells them to wait while she runs into the airport.

So here’s what I’d do–ask the cab driver if he knows where to go. If he speaks good enough English, take him and leave the b—- behind. If not, look for other taxis in the meantime who understand where you need to go. If that all fails and the woman reappears, then stick with the original plan.

However Duke decides that they’ll wait for the woman because she knows the language. There is nothing good in the race about idling at a point where all nine teams are equalized.

– Erwin & Godwin get into a van. Lauren insists they don’t have time for a van. Lyn & Karlyn have a van and invite David & Mary inside. Lyn wants them to hustle. David & Mary put the bags in but it is apparent that them, the sound operator, and the camera operator can’t all fit. So they’re left in the cold. But it’s Vietnam so I’d imagine it’s boiling hot.

– Lyn informs us about their partnership with David & Mary (now nicknamed Kentucky). She finds them  to be sweet people and likes helping them because southern people, whether from Kentucky or Alabama, love to help people.

Really? Let me do a flashback to episode two. Transcript please.

Instant replay

TYLER: Stop.
LYN: What’s going on?
KARLYN: Peace out! Gogogogo.
TYLER: Stop? Please?
KARLYN: Their tire is flat! That’s what they’re mad about! Screw them.

Southern hospitality!

– Kentucky has a cab. David likes fast. Mary likes quack quack.

– The Vietnamese woman re-joins Duke & Lauren. Duke tries to talk to the Vietnamese woman in the cab.

DUKE: Just what we need. A local tour guide.

But she’s too busy playing FarmVille on her phone. Hush Robert De Niro! Mimi Tran is busy.

– Dustin & Kandice wonder why the cab driver has stopped and is out of the car. What could be the matter with the road?

Maybe it’s that flipped over truck that is stretching across multiple lanes. Maybe.

– Rob & Kim see it too but they go around. So do Tyler & James. Rob’s cab nearly ran over Dustin & Kandice in the process. That would be an interesting twist. Tyler notes that Dustin & Kandice being concerned over a flipped car has dropped them to third. Need to have your game face on, Beauty Queens.

TYLER: The truck has flipped over–negative. Blondies–positive.

Did anyone follow what Tyler means by that? I don’t understand what he is trying to get at.

– Erwin & Godwin see the crash. David & Mary pass Lyn & Karlyn on the road because Lyn’s cab was concerned over the crash too. For these locals it’s a devastating local crash that may impact them. For the racers it is merely an obstacle to the one million dollars.

– Tom & Terry are eighth.

LAUREN: Hope it’s not far away.
DUKE: We’re going to the prison, right?
WOMAN: He take me my brother. After that, he take you the prison.
DUKE: How much time is that going to take?
WOMAN: Thirty minutes.
DUKE: Thirty minutes? From when he drops you off?
WOMAN: Yes, yes.

Much like the woman in the Bransens’ tour bus in Panama during TAR 8, Duke & Lauren have been hustled by a woman who uses a cab to take her to her house.

– Commercial. Then reshown the clip.

DUKE: Eleven dollars to the prison right? This is enough?
WOMAN: From the airport it’s 10 to 20.

And after driving thirty minutes into a different part of town will likely add up to a much higher amount. It absolutely sucks to be Lauren. And Duke knows that an equalizer must occur if they want a shot to stay alive. Lauren worries about being arrested because they can’t pay the cab fare.

– Tyler & James are first to the prison. It opens at 800am. Duke & Lauren’s disadvantage means nothing.
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Oh my.
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“You cannot beg for money or sell anything for money”.

I just remembered that. So due to the rules for this leg it is very possible that Duke & Lauren may be arrested or perhaps disqualified. Production must be scrambling to solve this issue. Can they really eliminate a team halfway through the leg for no apparent reason at all?

Oh right. I guess they can.

– Duke & Lauren are last to the prison. Duke hands over eleven dollars. The cabbie is not happy at first but smiles and shakes Duke’s hand. Lauren thinks their luck is incredible. I don’t know how lucky it is that you’re down to no dollars to your name. You’re in the same position as most teams were near the end of TAR 5.  I will say that the equalizer did put them back in the hunt though. They’ve been awarded a second chance to make things right.

– Morning. The gates open. They are all given a note to read. Rob shushes Kimberly to not read it too loud. No idea why but he did. For some reason Rob doesn’t want to hear meaningful American history in his ear.

Other than Nelson Mandela’s cell and the Gate of No Return, Phil lectures us about history once more. During the Vietnam War, hundreds of American servicemen were held captive here. One of the most notable prisoners was Senator John McCain who stayed here for several years.

Really? John McCain was a POW? I didn’t know.

His daddy was a POW in Vietnam too, I reckon.

Why does all history footage in TAR have to be in black and white? Is that the Schindler’s List motif.

It’s odd to see a picture of John McCain where it doesn’t look like he’s ready to croak any minute.

– Teams are instructed to search the grounds for John McCain’s Flight Suit. They will then fly to Arizona and hand it to John McCain where he will tell them a bunch of old man stories before handing them their next clue. If he remembers.

– Duke thinks it’s pretty cool. I don’t know about “cool” per se. David says he’s honoured to be here for his dad. David also happens to be wearing sunglasses to cover up the tears. Everyone looks sullen. Suddenly uplifting dramatic music plays as all nine teams search the grounds. David attempts to open a locked door. Tyler & James lead the search. Lots of scary imagery and dungeons. A ton of stairs. It’s a big prison. It’s incredible to think U.S. and Vietnam repaired the relationship after the war.

– Tom & Terry find the suit first. They take a few seconds of silence until the next few teams barge in before heading out. Nobody has read the clue yet. Everyone must be within a minute from first to last.

– Until Erwin & Godwin go back inside to have a moment’s of silence. This is all a ploy for good karma. I can see through their plans.

If the camera pans slightly to the right, it will reveal that these two are really in line for the bathroom. But that wouldn’t make for good TV.

– Godwin thought it would be wise to take a moment of silence for the servicemen around the world who are fighting. We are treated to more Schindler’s List style of clips. Erwin thinks it is a significant place and that they want to honour properly. Even if it means being in last place. But on the other hand it means that they will be near the top for being invited back for All Stars.

– Tom reads that teams must travel 1.5 miles to Hanoi’s Old Quarter and search for an intersection. They must find the marked flower shop where their next clue awaits.

– Dustin & Kandice ask if they can walk. It turns out to be too far to walk.

– All teams scramble into cabs. They discover it’s two dollars. Two measly dollars. Peter & Sarah are first out of the cab. Then Tom & Terry. So are David & Mary. A ton of honking bikes. Shibuya would be a safer intersection to walk through than Hang Ma.

– Tom & Terry are first to the clue. It’s a roadblock. In this roadblock teams must figure out how to charm the people and turn a profit on the streets of Vietnam. Team members must choose a bicycle with a basket of flowers.

And a funny hat. Never forget TAR’s love for forcing teams to wear funny hats that a re popular locally.

– They must sell enough flowers to make 80, 000 Vietnamese Dong. However go to the Red Light District and you can see 80, 000 Vietnamese Dong.

– It is equivalent to five US dollars. Whatever money teams make they can keep. So if you finish quickly do you stick around to add more money to your bankroll for future legs? Or do you ensure that you have the greatest lead possible heading into the detour? It’s a big dilemma. The best TAR twist ever in my opinion.

– Tom is doing it. Mary draws a flower to ask where the flower shop is. Ever wonder how quickly good karma can be repaid?

Bam!

– Tom and Erwin both have a tough time learning how to bike. Peter is doing great at selling flowers. Erwin is on his knees. The locals are laughing hysterically. Erwin’s hat is tilted. Tyler laughs at Tom.

But energy is better spent laughing at Erwin. Hopefully he doesn’t have to pay for those damaged flowers. And hopefully the bike doesn’t need to be paid for either.

– Godwin is pissed that he didn’t do this one. Rob has dropped a flower off the back of his bike. James is doing the roadblock. Mary can’t ride a bike because of her foot. So it’s all David. Lyn did the last one so this is all Karlyn. The streets must be really loud if the honking of motorcycles is louder than some of the player’s own voices.

– So the eight teams are all there thanks to a beloved cab ride. But who’s missing?

Thanks to no cash, they couldn’t afford a two dollar cab ride. They are stuck walking the 1.5 miles to the clue. And the only team to do so. Very rough. If you look to the left, Vietnam’s version of Fat Maria stands towering over Duke. Too bad Russell isn’t around to give it a good smooch.

– Rob sells 4, 000 Dong for one flower. We hear a cash register sound effect about twenty times. Sarah mentions how Peter is selling flowers left and right and how all of the women love him. As long as he never knows their name of course.

SARAH: I’m definitely going to do the next one. I just gotta jump in with both feet. No pun intended.

So you don’t get offended by all of my leg puns? Then why have I spent all of this time making as many of those remarks as possible? What good is it if it makes you laugh rather than cry? I failed you, Sarah. Awwwww cripes.

– Peter hands in the money.

VENDOR: You are enough.

Was that Broken English or is that applying to watching Peter on TAR? They have the clue.

– Sarah reads that teams must travel by public bus to the tiny village of Vac. They must search for the Buddhist temple known as Di Vac. Here is where teams will find their next clue.

From Sacramento to Vietnam, Divac’s influence and popularity is so great. Even if he retired years before TAR 10 aired.

– Peter & Sarah walk to the bus station. The other teams scream at each other as to where to sell and how much to sell them for. Godwin notices that Kandice is selling a ton, and thus instructs Erwin to sell in the same place that they are. Godwin catches on that it is only doing so well because of Kandice’s looks. He gives a confessional of how you can be the most intelligent but if someone is more attractive than you that you are simply going to sell more.

– It looks like the best way to induce a migraine. Tyler comments on the chaos. Duke & Lauren show up to the roadblock. Duke is doing it because Lauren says he is in sales. Rob is done. Kandice is done. They are second and third. James is done.

TYLER: Bus?
LOCAL: Motorbike?
TYLER: No. Big bus.

Tyler likes big bus and he cannot lie.

The local is extremely confused. I suppose everyone in Vietnam has enough sense to not ride a bus.

– Peter & Sarah are at the station and ask which one goes to Vac. There are echoes of ‘vac’ ‘vac’ ‘vac’. Peter & Sarah’s bus pulls away. They hope it’s going to the right place. With no other teams it could be damaging. Peter on the bus asks a man if it goes to Vac. The man says it goes to Ha Long. They realize it’s the wrong bus and yell for it to stop.

– Erwin & Godwin get on the actual first bus to Vac. A man writes down for Sarah to take public bus 22 to Vac. They wait at the bus stop. Their lead is erased. Somehow Erwin & Godwin are first.

– Everyone except Duke is finished the roadblock. Tyler & James see Dustin & Kandice and wonder where Rob & Kim are. The 3-way coalition has grown. Dustin & Kandice admit they are lost much like Tyler & James. We see Rob & Kim lost as well. They know where Vac is but it’s a matter of identifying the bus station on the map.

– Duke is selling flowers to a big crowd. Lauren is impressed with her dad’s abilities to sell flowers. The women were jumping on stairs to buy flowers. They have 90, 000 Vietnamese Dong. 10, 000 more Dong than what they needed. Duke confirms that he can keep the money. He must be stoked to have every single Dong that he can lay his hands on.

– Tom & Terry ask for directions to the bus. They get on the second bus alone to Vac. Plenty of buses to Vac. A man shows Tyler & James and Dustin & Kandice where to go. Lyn & Karlyn and Rob & Kim follow them. Duke & Lauren see the other teams and follows them. Duke & Lauren’s lack of funds have no impact on the leg anymore. Great recovery.

– The teams don’t know if they can cross the street and be alive by the end of the crossing.

Sorry James, but I made the Frogger references in an earlier blog. I win.

And I doubt Kim has played a game of Frogger in her life. You can’t see it in this screen cap but the motorcycle had to put all of their strength into the brake as possible. She gets nudged at least a couple inches by the bike.

ROB: Babe!

Babe Count: 1

– So many horns. I swear I have a headache. And I’m just a viewer. Picturing being that environment in real time for a whole day makes me feel ill. I think any pharmaceutical company who produces pills to cure headaches and migraines needs to open up several shops in Hanoi for tourists. This is something else. No crosswalks is a scary concept.

– Duke is stoked that teams who completed the task twenty or thirty minutes are ahead are on the same bus as them. Eight out of nine teams are on the bus. The only team left at the bus stop is Peter & Sarah. From first to last in about one hour. Rough time communicating with locals, I imagine. They see bus 17 pass by. Five buses until #22.

PETER: Sarah we messed up. Oh god.

From cripes to god.

– David talks about his dad in Vietnam some more. He can’t imagine how his dad had seen Vietnam because all he talked about is people fighting and people dead. David tries to imagine what the rice patty field would look like when his dad was here. He doesn’t think it’s right.

– First bus is in. Erwin & Godwin ask how far it is to Vlade Divac’s Temple. The man on motorbike says it’s one kilometre and offers a ride. Godwin claims he can’t. This cues a unique voiceover from Phil.

PHIL: For safety reasons, teams are strictly forbidden to operate or ride on motorcycles while in Vietnam.

Come to think of it I can’t remember when teams have rode on motorcycles in any race season. There’s those coach things to sit in or if it is some sort of roadblock. But for regular transportation? Yeah, it must have been a rule in virtually every round of TAR. Never thought of it before. I bet Phil is only mentioning it because a team rides on the motorcycle for once. Somebody is ready to be Heather & Eve’d for their poor reading comprehension.

– Peter & Sarah are on the final bus to Vac. Sarah is sure they are in last place and is doubtful that they can make up the time. There isn’t any indication of how far behind they are.

– Erwin & Godwin are at the temple. They are amazed by the parading similar to Chinatown and the numerous people wailing on the drums in the temple. Reminds me of the Shaolin Temple reward in Survivor: China.

– Erwin & Godwin open the clue. It’s a detour. Fuel or Fowl. In Fuel, teams travel on foot to a work station. Once here they must take wet coal from a communal pile and use traditional presses to make thirty coal bricks. It is a common source of fuel in Vietnam. When they have correctly made all of their coal bricks, the coal maker will hand them their next clue.

From this angle they look like Hershey’s Kisses on top of a rice cake. Yummy.

– In Fowl, teams must travel on foot to a courtyard. Here they must use traditional materials and local methods to build one bird cage.

– Erwin & Godwin are going to use their gym muscles and get a local to lead them to the site of the fuel task.

– Tom & Terry’s bus arrives. Tom & Terry find a local willing to lead them to the route marker. He directs them into his friend’s bicycle and agrees to ride behind them. I called it. Phil doesn’t do voiceover for nothing. The ‘mistake’ music plays as they ride on the road. It looks safe to me.

– Erwin & Godwin watch the demonstration before they make coal bricks. Locals laugh at Erwin’s over-exaggerated technique. Tom & Terry eventually find the clue box in the temple. The acrobats blocked the clue box a bit. They choose to do the fuel task and follow a man. This time not on motorcycle.

– Erwin & Godwin are told their coal bricks are too short. They need to be taller. The judge says that they need to re-do every single one. Now they know how Brandon from TAR 5 feels. If only the Cho Bros can wander off and get their heads shaved as an alternative.

– The third bus gets in. Mary thinks she hurt her ankle bad. Oh really? The six teams are all on the streets walking. Tom & Terry are at the fuel task with the Cho Bros. They compare it to making Play Doh. The locals mime what Terry is supposed to do. Terry interprets this as putting a dash of salt on the coal. Everyone in the audience bursts with laughter. Tom interprets the crowd and knows they mean for Terry to turn the coal over. The crowd approves. The trio of Rob & Kim, Dustin & Kandice, and Tyler & James all have the clue and will do the fuel option. So will Duke & Lauren and David & Mary.

– David says the only reason he is doing the coal task is because he is a coal miner. The Cho Bros are done the detour. Godwin reads that teams must make their way on foot a short distance to the next pit stop: Canh Dong Dia. It is an expansive rice patty.

– The Cho Bros convince a local to guide them there. Terry cheers them on.

– Peter & Sarah’s bus gets in. I don’t know if you are aware of this, but Sarah’s hydraulic knee isn’t working too well. Peter orders her to go faster. This leads her to doing the Terry Fox limping run.

While Terry runs for a cure for cancer, Sarah is running for a million bucks of cold hard cash. Same thing, right?

– Rob & Kim are leading the pack of five teams. He asks for directions but doesn’t see anything. Neither does Dustin & Kandice.

DUKE: I thought you knew where you were going?
JAMES: We were following them.

This is like Eric & Jeremy and Lake & Michelle following Ray & Yolanda to the nesting dolls in Russia. You give up on communicating with the local people that you follow with blind eyes and deaf ears into whichever direction the leading team goes. But then you wind up at the undesired location and find yourselves blaming the only team willing to be proactive as much as you are blaming yourselves. It’s one of the most self-destructive moves you can make in TAR.

– Lyn & Karlyn follows the trio. duke & Lauren stop to ask but everyone vanishes during this time. They look around to see all four teams have disappeared. They kick themselves for losing four teams, camera crew, and sound crew who are likely just around a bend. During this time Tyler finds a guy on a motorcycle who slowly drives ahead of four teams to lead them to the location. James wonders where Duke & Lauren went.

– Lauren concludes that this is a maze. A rice patty maze.

– Amazingly David & Mary are the third team to the detour. Rob & Kim and Dustin & Kandice go in their own direction while Tyler & James show up to the detour alone. Mary taunts why it took them so long. Tyler says this is right up David’s alley. David says otherwise.

DAVID: This ain’t real coal. Ours is hard. Theirs is mud.

I’ll keep that in mind for all the times in the future that I will never work with coal.

– Erwin & Godwin meet up with Phil in the middle of the rice patty.

Wel. Come. To. Viet. Nam.

You. Won. A. Choice. Chos. Care. Full. Lee.

– Chos bow before the slow-speaking lady. Phil proceeds to announce they are team number one.

I’d test them for performance enhancing drugs. Look at the veins on Godwin. And no trace of his deodorant either.

– Phil informs them they have won a state of the awt entertainment system. Yes, I intentionally put awt. The Chos beating eight other teams is a prime example of good karma. Good for them. Can they take it all the way to the million?

– Duke & Lauren happen to stumble upon the opposing detour option. They choose to do it rather than wander around aimlessly for another hour to find coal bricks. Hopefully this detour option doesn’t take much longer than coal bricks.

– Rob & Kim, Dustin & Kandice, and Lyn & Karlyn sprint a couple more hundred feet and find the coal bricks. Tyler complains of dehydration. Clothes are being removed to put up with the humidity of Vietnam. Dustin & Kandice are impressed with their brick factory rhythm. Mary cusses out David for not making big enough bricks.

DAVID: Today I’ve been in my own world. I’ve got other thoughts on my mind and it ain’t the race and it ain’t the coal.

The one day out of the past twenty years where David isn’t thinking about coal, and it happens to be the ONE day where making coal could turn into a million dollar profit. Bad luck I must say for Mary.

DAVID: Worried about looking at the culture and looking at the people and wondering how they react to an American in Vietnam.

See: Ian Pollack in TAR 3.

– Peter & Sarah are at the coal bricks. They are caught up. Unless editing is misleading. Tom & Terry call for the judge. They are handed the clue. I have a feeling they’ll need every minute of that advantage.

– Duke & Lauren believe doing this task was a great decision. Tom & Terry step onto the mat.

PHIL: Tom & Terry, second team to arrive–
TOM & TERRY: Uwaah!
PHIL: However. . .

Great camera work. I love it when you can change a split frame to see the precise tenth of a second when a team comprehends the bad news.

– Phil says they didn’t follow the clue correctly about the motorcycle. A glaring and conspicuous voiceover breaks the news. We cut back to Phil when he explains they have been assessed a thirty minute penalty. The time begins.

– We see a montage of everyone doing their detour. Tom says it shows that you can have one bad day and it’s over. Duke comments on the beauty of the place. I wonder if a team moves more slowly when alone at a detour option because they don’t have a pace to contrast themselves with. Tyler & James are done the detour. Rob whines of no energy. Karlyn is doing the task in her bra. David & Mary are fourth done. Dustin & Kandice fifth. The foot race begins. Somebody has left behind a bag. But who? We don’t know.

– Rob & Kim pass David & Mary on foot. Think it’s because of Mary’s ankle? Peter & Sarah are seventh done. David realizes he doesn’t have his fanny pack and tells Mary to wait as he runs back to claim it. Tyler & James check in second place. Tom & Terry is down to twelve minutes. Lyn & Karlyn are done the coal bricks. Peter asks Mary if they have everything. Personally I’d be too scared to talk to Mary if I sensed she knew she screwed up.

– Peter tells Sarah that she can outrun David & Mary. Boy this is a chaotic run to the pit stop. Rob & Kim outrun Dustin & Kandice to the pit stop as Kandice stumbles on a rice patty. Dustin & Kandice are fourth. How do Tom & Terry react to the three teams checking in within a space of ninety seconds?

Well, at least one of them is handling it well.

– Peter & Sarah walk into the pit stop. Well, Peter is. Sarah not so much.

I suppose Sarah did not pack a foot in her bag that is specifically designed for rice patties. And I noticed for the first time that Peter & Sarah’s status is listed as “recently dating”. Tricky on the part of producers. While Sarah is crawling, Peter rambles on about the great teamwork and what a comeback Sarah pulled.

– Phil says they are team number five. Then utters the most unintentionally ‘rub it in your face’ quote I’ve heard from the Philiminator in ten seasons.

PHIL: Guys this has got to suck.
TOM & TERRY: . . .

No f—ing s—, Phil.

– Duke & Lauren finish the birdcage as we hear the clue rip open and see them running into the wild rice yonder.

These two are going bonkers as there are only three teams remaining on the race course. Keep in mind that back in the Heather & Eve days that there was a mandatory thirty minute penalty plus a penalty for the time gained. So Tom & Terry are being spared an extra ten minutes that should be tacked onto their penalty.

– David & Mary see Lyn & Karlyn running behind them. Lyn & Karlyn pass but encourage Mary that she needs to run faster to survive elimination. Hmmm. If I were these two teams, and assuming Duke & Lauren did the other detour earlier, I’d assume I was in last place. I bet their thinking is to step onto the mat seconds apart as true friends to send off David & Mary. And all because David forgot a fanny pack.

– Lyn & Karlyn slow down because they will always stop to cheer on their friends. David tells Lyn & Karlyn to run ahead. It’s fine.

– Phil informs Lyn & Karlyn that they are sixth. It looks like Lyn just choked on some shrimp gumbo when she hears the news. Tom & Terry look like they are ready to pass out on the sidelines. Only two more teams remain.

– Mary trips four more times on the rice patty before hitting the mat. They are seventh. Mary smiles as she hugs Lyn. Phil asks Lyn how tough is the race. She talks about being frustrated with the situation, being angry with yourself, and sorry for the friends that they made and didn’t want to see them go home because they’re such deserving people. What is with this cryfest? Lyn, Karlyn, David, Mary, Tom, and Terry are all sulking.

MARY: We have three great groups of friends. Cho Brothers, Lyn & Karlyn, and team TnT (Tom n Terry).

In addition to the friendship between Dustin & Kandice, Rob & Kim, and Tyler & James, and the friendships they have with the Chos and David & Mary, this is shaping up to be the biggest lovefest of a group in all ten seasons. Where are the days when Kevin & Drew are ready to slaughter the Guidos or Alex and Wil get drunk at a pit stop and piss off Blake & Paige and Cyndi & Russell? This level of kindness and tight unity is truly unprecedented.

It makes me sick.

– Mary coins themselves as the Brat Pack.

MARY: We don’t give up on each other. We encourage each other.

Somebody tore a page from Linda Weaver’s book of quotes. However Linda’s was used because she pissed off all the other teams and only had her kids as friends. In this situation it is used in a completely unselfish and unjerkish light.

– Mary tells Tom & Terry to not give up. Terry yells that he loves Mary. In a homosexual way, as Sandra would say.

MARY: Now stop, you’re comin’. I’m waitin’ on you to walk me back, ‘kay? Need somebody to lean on. I got a sprained foot.

I admit I laughed out loud when Mary said this. It was the perfect zinger at the end. If you had no context, you thought the first three sentences were all metaphors. But that last sentence changes the meaning completely as it’s really a ploy by Mary to do less work to get to the rest point for the pit stop.

– Lauren calls for Duke to slow down as Duke is ripping through the streets. Terry is ready to faint. Phil calls for Tom & Terry to step onto the pit stop. It’s official. They’re eighth. Phew. One team is all that put them between staying alive and being Philiminated. Tom refuses to let this take them down. Terry is too busy crying. They hug Mary.

– Duke & Lauren step onto the mat without their bags. They’re last and gone. Rough round. Given all the chances in the world but they still blow it. Lauren bursts into tears. Duke comforts her. Phil wants Duke to talk about Lauren. I’d take this situation more seriously if it weren’t for. . .

That dang modernized version of the Robin Hood hat. That thing is hideous.

– Duke & Lauren love each other. Respect each other. Duke is proud of her much in the way that Dennis becomes proud and accepting of Andrew.

Next time on TAR: Remember all of that island stuff I was talking about at the end of the last blog? Yeah, I mean it for next round. Sorry about that. Plus prepare for Peter’s d—– O Meter to be cranked up by 150 to 200 percent.

And 2nd to 3rd to 9th for Duke & Lauren? That is one of the highest performing teams for going home so early.

Confessional counts

Peter&Sarah 1.6
Rob&Kimberly 0.1
Dustin&Kandice 5.3
David&Mary 5.3
Erwin&Godwin 1.3
Duke&Lauren 4.3
Tyler&James 2.1
Lyn&Karlyn 5.0
Tom&Terry 4.0

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 Kellie & Jamie 8.0
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
9th Duke & Lauren 4.67
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) Duke & Lauren

The second father-daughter couple of the TAR franchise. It’s surprising that it took five seasons for another one to be cast. This is another case of “strict parent struggles to approve of gay child”. This one is a bit more unique because the parent is funnier and more dynamic than someone like Dennis from TAR 3.

Duke seemed to have a great time chatting with locals and failed to allow his daughter to be a leader. His daughter had surprisingly little agency within the team. Duke made most of the decisions, asked for most of the directions, and did much better at most of the tasks than Lauren.

Besides Lauren being gay, not much is explored with Duke & Lauren. They learned to support each other but that was a result of Duke accepting Lauren for who she is. Everything revolved around homosexuality.

But yet, they’re a likeable enough team who had an interesting take on a story regardless of whether we’ve seen it before. Duke grew to have a light-hearted attitude which set him apart from previous TAR fathers like Jim from TAR 5 or Steve from TAR 4.

It’s a close call between Jim & Marsha and Duke & Lauren, but I think Duke & Lauren may be runner-up because they weren’t as outright hilarious. However, they’re a strong enough team within TAR 10 to be more likeable, stronger, and more entertaining than some of the other teams that we encountered.
3) Kellie & Jamie

We’ve seen several teams cast over the years who are supposed to be like a pair of Reese Witherspoons from Legally Blonde. It started with Heather & Eve in TAR 3, Godlewskis in TAR 8, and Danielle & Dani in TAR 9. Here we are in TAR 10 and Kellie & Jaime are “just another team”. They probably surpassed a huge chunk of teams for dumbest quotes ever uttered. What is more impressive is they did this in two short episodes.

Is Allah apart of Buddhism? Are they way confused? Go around the circle then turn as perfect directions?

Yeah, the list would be much longer if they stuck around. But they don’t. So this was it. And I feel after everything is said and done that they’ll be ranked fairly low. They needed a stronger personality.

4) 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) Ulaanbaatar -> Vac (TAR got real creative with this leg. Teams were awarded no cash at the start of the round which rewarded teams who didn’t splurge their money. What made the twist more awesome is that they had to choose between sticking around at the roadblock longer to make more money or whether to end the task as quick as possible to ensure they survive the round. These are the types of twists I love to see on TAR.

TAR enters a rare history lesson mode for the third time in its franchise. We see a lot of footage of Americans in Hanoi’s prison from the Vietnam War. Including a youthful picture of John McCain that must date back to the 1800s.

There was other things that were great about the leg too. Reasonable hours of operation for the first task led to teams having the entire leg to fight it out. We were also saved from hearing Rob & Kim say “babe” or Peter spamming Sarah’s name. The only thing thrust upon us is the super duper heroic edit of David & Mary.

The Cho Bros became the first team ever to display good karma and have it all play out within one round. They were in dead last only a few hours from the pit stop before catapulting themselves to first place. Seeing teams get really lost on their way to finding the detour made for a great finish.

In fact, the chaos in the streets of Hanoi was a great cultural experience. I will never forget Kim being bumped by a motorcycle.

So what else do we got? A lame detour choice. One was favoured more and sounded much easier than the contrasting option. A mistake on production’s part. They should set up a detour so the tasks contrast greatly in what skills are required, but if a team can excel at both tasks they should be able to complete it in the same amount of time.

Then the suspense of Tom & Terry’s penalty as they dropped from 2nd and waited until the episode’s final minute to barely have their penalty play out before the final team arrived. The audience was holding their breath as it played out, no doubt.

So yeah, this was a pretty fantastic episode.)

2) Beijing -> Ulaanbaatar (There’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that there was an enormous equalizer. The good news is that it occurred before any route markers in the episode.

This episode featured Peter & Sarah for the second leg in a row. It is one of the most negative episodes I have seen for a team. The one-legged circus and Peter literally not understanding the meaning of ‘quit’ were two great storylines. It is perfect timing for me to re-watch this round as the Paralympic games are in full swing.

We also got to see a brand new country in the Genghis Khan homeland of Mongolia. It was a surprisingly challenging round. Teams either struggled with directions, operating the car, avoiding the hazardous mud, riding horses, guiding heinecks, folding tents, and firing arrows. Following how much the leading position changed was truly remarkable. I can’t recall a time where after each task it felt like the whole line-up of teams had shuffled.

We managed to hate Rob & Kim a bit more as they abused the word ‘babe’. Eight times for the whole episode? Their ironic reactions to breaking down and seeing a different team break down was classic.

Plenty of other storylines are set up. Dustin & Kandice want to be a strong female team but they crumble and cry when they make such a silly mistake. Erwin & Godwin’s kindness nearly eliminated them for the second round in a row. David & Mary’s lack of world and social experiences put them at a disadvantage. Rob & Kim’s bickering will set them back. And Tyler & James finding new joy in life. Isn’t that incredible how we get that many stories that will play out all season long? And we learn the origin of Rob & Kim’s conflict with Lyn & Karlyn. The friendship between Chos, Lyn & Karlyn, and David & Mary are present too.

Kellie & Jamie are a decent second boot seeing how nobody was taking them seriously, and us as viewers didn’t want to see stupidity like that rewarded for too long.

Plus it benefits from not having an extremely unfair elimination like we witnessed in the season premiere. That helps too.)

3) 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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