TAR 10 episode 6 ranking

Sixth leg

Previously on TAR: Seven teams left Ha Long Bay, Vietnam and headed to Chennai, India. Along the way the Beauty Queens and Peter & Sarah formed an alliance that was short-lived. Once in India teams tackled a wild detour. Peter pressured Sarah to run faster all the way to first place. David & Mary failed to make a connecting flight. They came in last but were spared elimination at a high price. Now seven teams remain. Who will be eliminated next?

– I assumed this round would be a non-elimination. It’d be odd to have Marked for Elimination when really it’s Marked for Non-Elimination. The stakes wouldn’t be that high, and does not have the same ring to it.

– Intro time.

– We’re shown Chennai, India. It’s the Gateway to South India. I’ll forget that in about ten minutes.

– Does Phil have a question after a three episode hiatus from talking out loud?

PHIL: Will David & Mary, who are marked for elimination, be able to come in first and avoid a thirty minute penalty?

– Peter & Sarah, who arrived in first at an unspecified time, will depart at 1254pm. Twenty-four hour pit stop?

– Peter & Sarah open up their clue. There seems to be some sort of gadget in there.

Phil has partnered up with Nokia’s New Zealand branch, Nokiwia.

– Phil plays the role of Alex Trebek in a Video Daily Double.

PHIL: Fly to Kuwait City, Kuwait and find this location.

I’d like to wager one million dollars, Treboeghan.

– Phil informs us that teams must find the mystery location for which they only have one visual clue. To get there teams must first go to a travel agency to buy airline tickets. Fly 2, 400 miles to Kuwait and find the marked cars in the parking garage.

– So Kuwait. It is perhaps the most shocking location for me to hear being visited on the race. In fact I bet I will be saying the same thing after I am caught up through TAR 19. The reason why Kuwait is astounding to me is because it is such a political hotspot (no pun intended). U.S. invaded Iraq only three years prior to TAR 10. Ask Ron from TAR 7. He can tell you all about that. You know what super duper oil rich country borders Iraq? That would be Kuwait.

You know what country borders Kuwait on the northeast side? That would be Iran. Have you heard anything about their relations with American reality TV programming? You’d need a heavy American military presence for Kuwait to be a safe enough country for an American adventure program to travel to.

On further research Kuwait isn’t in the same shape as it was during the  80s and early 90s when invasions from Iraq or Iran were frequent. In fact it is called Kuwait Inc. for its super rich businessmen, the oil reserves, and the portfolio business they have with the world’s elite. Those are the only two markets in Kuwait come to think of it.

A family friend of my mother’s moved with her family to Kuwait to be a nurse while her husband taught kids. This is somewhat of a common practice for Western families who have the credentials to do so. And I can assure you neither of them could speak a lick of Arabic. Kuwait appears to be very catered to the West.

I find it impressive that a country that is tiny and swallowed up by the bordering land masses of Iraq and Iran could be a viable option for TAR. That’s essentially the point I wanted to make.

– PETER: I’m confident that we’ll continue to do well. I think even on our worst day we’re still better than some of the teams in the back.

Translation: Regardless if him and Sarah bicker, they will beat David & Mary.

– Peter knows that he needs to be cautious about pushing Sarah on the blown knee. It’s funny that a guy who makes prosthetic legs has to learn to not yell at somebody who has a partially deflated prosthetic leg. The casting process did a great job of finding someone like Peter.

– Peter is excited about Kuwait and screams if anybody can speak English. It’s India. I’d be shocked if you don’t find somebody within two seconds. Sarah talks about being frustrated how Peter would push her.

Not that kind of push.

– Sarah sees the cab and asks if he knows how to get to the travel agency. At 106pm it’s time for Barbies/Beauty Queens/Dustin & Kandice to check out.

Hmmm. That reminds me:

A Guide to the Numerous Nicknames Used This Season

Bilal & Saeed = Muslims/Cleveland
Vipul & Arti = The Indians
Duke & Lauren = Duke & Lauren/father-daughter/boyfriend and girlfriend
Tom & Terry = T n T
Peter & Sarah = The athletes
Dustin & Kandice = Beauty Queens/Barbies/Blondes
Lyn & Karlyn = Bama/Black Women
Erwin & Godwin = Chos
David & Mary = Kentucky/Bumpkins
Tyler & James = Former Drug Addicts/California Boys/The Studs
Rob & Kimberly = Rob & Kim/That couple

I’m sure I am missing a few names that were used in the first few episodes. I’ll add more as we go.

– Dustin thinks that teams hate them because of jealousy.

KANDICE: I don’t think the other teams want to be beaten by a couple of blonde girls.

Of course. So why not dye your hair brown?

– Dustin & Kandice are in a tuk-tuk. Peter & Sarah get into the agency. Peter tells Sarah to hurry into the office. So much for his promise. Peter tells the agent that they need the first flight because it’s a medical emergency for Sarah’s leg. He goes so far as to lift the leg up for the agent. Careful you’re hurting her. . .oh right.

What agent would buy that BS? You’re American tourists in India, and you barge into an office stating that a woman has a medical emergency and needs to be on the first plane to. . .Kuwait? The land of experts who make prosthetic limbs?

– Dustin & Kandice are at a different office. Dustin tells the agent that Miss California and Miss New York need to be on the flight. The agent of course doesn’t believe them. Oh snap!

One team exploits their beauty while one team exploits a physical handicap. I love the moral standing these teams have. Who knew a coalition between them would be short-lived?

– Peter & Sarah are informed of a 750am arrival in Kuwait City via Bombay/Mumbai. Dustin & Kandice are given the same tickets. Dustin asks for a high five but is left hanging.

Snubbed by a travel agent? Dustin has hit a new low.

– Peter & Sarah look up the Kuwait Towers and have it printed out. Rob & Kim depart at 142pm.

ROB: ENGLISH!
KIM: Baby, calm down.

One.

– Rob says being a dramatic person can get him into trouble. I would say the same for the person sitting next to him. He declares he speaks freely and that it’s not good.

Pointing directly into a stranger’s face is a good place to start remedying your problem.

– Chos check out at 153pm.

GODWIN: We’re going to stick with Team Alabama.

Lyn & Karlyn check out at 203pm.

Wait a minute. They waited ten freakin’ minutes for their allies? I can recall seasons past where teams quarrelled over waiting for two minutes. Brandon & Nicole would think waiting more than thirty seconds is an example of a ludicrous level of patience. Cho Bros are like the Sean Kenniff of TAR. They want to look as good as possible for the audience at home when everything is said and done. Succeeding on the race is secondary.

– Karlyn counts thirty-one dollars. She is amazed they are going to Kuwait. Godwin points out they are going to hotter and hotter places. Karlyn explains the lone goal is for the Back Pack to be the Final Three at the end. Your fourth, fifth, and seventh place standings will ensure that happens.

ERWIN: We have a pretty serious alliance with Alabama and Kentucky.

You don’t say.

– Godwin explains to us the Marked for Elimination twist before entering a cab. Rob & Kim are at the agency. They show the video to an agent. She recognizes it as the Kuwait Towers. Is this Oblivious where she is paid twenty dollars for knowing it?

– Holy crap. Over an hour later it’s time for Tyler & James to depart. 337pm? They screwed up that badly? Almost losing to David & Mary must be the biggest humiliation of all. They find the building and going to Kuwait City fascinating.

Siiick, bro!

– Tyler finds being sixth as a dagger in the side for the both of them. And they need a needle in the arm to reinvigorate them and keep them going on the race again. They had no idea they were in sixth when they checked in.

TYLER: Call Phil!
JAMES (picks up phone to ear): Phil, how do we get to Kuwait?

If I want to see terrible dialogue involving cell phones, I’ll throw in season one of 24 into my DVD Player. Thanks.

– James says they can’t let their guard up at anytime. As we see monkeys on light posts. Tyler & James are in a tuk-tuk. Chos and Bama complain about bumper to bumper traffic. However Tyler & James are at a travel agency. I declare ninety minutes was made up in a matter of a split second. I doubt many of the viewers caught onto that. Seems like the Chos and Bama are being taken to a distant agency.

– Tyler & James see Kuwait Towers. Rob & Kim get on a 1100am flight to Bombay/Mumbai. So do Tyler & James. At least we think so, anyway. It’s shown very quickly.

– Last but not least (er, well not really) David & Mary begin the round. It’s 604pm. I wonder if the departure times were adjusted this round so David & Mary can catch up. Three hours behind sixth and three hours behind the top two teams means production must fear losing their fan favourites.

– Mary comments in subtitles that she has never held a cell phone before. Get it? Because there is not a single citizen in Kentucky who is up to date with the real world to have held a cell phone? Granted I didn’t have a cell phone in 2006 either. So who am I to judge? I suppose that’s why I have this blog.

– Her next words are to explain Marked for Elimination. The repetition for Marked for Elimination makes me feel dumb.

MARY: Nobody will lie down and let you win a million dollars. We have to do it ourselves.

Have you met Erwin and Godwin Cho?

– Cho Bros and Bama enter the same travel agency. Peter brags he is doing great and goes to check in for the flight. Tyler & James, and Rob & Kim all prepare to board the flight. David & Mary enter Chos’ travel agency. Erwin tells the agent to give David & Mary the exact same tickets. David & Mary will have spent a total of three minutes in that agency.

99% of the time teams have to overhear another team and go to the counter to say “same tickets”. With the Chos, they overhear you entering the room and they tell the agent “same tickets for THEM”.

I think the Chos are a great casting choice because they seem like a team skilled enough to win on their own, and also have potential to win in their current state of sacrificing themselves to any team they come into contact with.

– David thinks it helps out to have the friends. I don’t know if “friends” is a high enough term to describe the Chos. I think Fairy Godmothers is appropriate. David & Mary wouldn’t get to Kuwait City if it weren’t for the Chos flicking their wands and putting Kentucky on that plane.

– It’s 805pm. Tyler & James’ plane exits Chennai.

– Peter & Sarah, Dustin & Kandice, Rob & Kim, Chos, Bama, and Kentucky are together. They board their 1100pm flight.

– We’re in Mumbai. Tyler & James try to connect onto the next flight. The other six teams get in. Tyler says it sucks that all seven teams have wound up on the same flight.

– It’s Kuwait City. The obligatory Arabic speaking country that TAR visits each season. Dustin & Kandice are first into the marked car. Tyler & James are second. Rob & Kim third, then Peter & Sarah fourth. Think the leg slowed her down?

– Bama, Kentucky, and Chos are waiting in baggage claim for a friend who will guide them to the Kuwait Towers. I think a country that has a significant English speaking population should have no problem being able to use regular locals to get to the Kuwait Towers. In addition they have a visual in the form of the video clue on their phones. Unless they will have this friend with them for the whole leg, I don’t see the big advantage gained by having him.

– Dustin said they got directions to the Kuwait Towers from the pilot of the plane.

Leave it to Dustin & Kandice to get information by being inside a cockpit.

– Tyler & James discuss Kuwait’s huge amount of oil. James assumes gas must be cheap. Rob & Kim pass Tyler & James on the road. Does Rob pass with grace?

He does it with, well, I don’t know exactly what. I can’t help but notice that his tongue is exceptionally large. It’s hanging way out there like it wants to tumble out. Tyler is mildly pissed that his allies passed.

– Chos, Kentucky, and Bama are in a convoy to Kuwait Towers. Peter finds the Kuwait Towers to be beautiful. He points out that it is the place of Saddam’s downfall.

Editor’s Note: Saddam Hussein was executed less than three weeks after the season ten finale aired on TV. So Kuwait and Saddam Hussein are very much part of the news cycle back when TAR 10 aired.

In November of 2006, only weeks after this episode aired on TV, Saddam Hussein was convicted of the 1982 killings. TAR picked a very controversial location for its time.

– Kandice’s dad fought in the Persian Gulf War. Dustin interrupts her to ask for directions. A heartfelt moment is lost.

– Rob & Kim and Tyler & James arrive at the Towers together. They take an elevator to the top. They find a set of numbers. Kim grabs the “1” and Tyler grabs the “2”.  The teams have a pretty good sense of what they will be doing. It’s tough to not notice how high you are in a tower.

– Dustin & Kandice and Peter & Sarah are there in third and fourth. They share an elevator. Peter does a Sasha Baron Cohen impression of an Arabic speaking person. Please never do that impression again.

– The elevator gets to the top. Peter does the most flamboyant walk I have ever seen as he surges in front of Dustin and grabs the “3”. Dustin is annoyed that Peter grabbed a better number. Maybe he would’ve given up the better number if you didn’t screw him over three times in the previous round. Self-fulfilling prophecy.

– You know how the Back Pack waited for their friend at the airport? This move results in them being “5,” “6,” and “7”. With Bama, Kentucky, and the kind Chos filling out those positions respectively.

– Strategy music plays. Godwin is with Erwin. They both hate heights. Almost as much as they hate being competitive. The door opens. There’s a Fast Forward inside the clue.

Phil expresses the inner rebel force in him as he ignites and scorches an oil field.

There’s two Fast Forwards this season. In this one teams must drive eighteen miles through Kuwait City until they reach an oil field. They must put on protective gear and use a flame retardant shield as they confront a simulated oil well fire.

The same picture we can see in the Okanagan and Washington State.

I bet this wouldn’t be an ideal area to live in if you have asthma. Stay in the U.S., Millie Mole.

PHIL: Facing temperatures over a thousand degrees. . .

Fahrenheit?! Holy s—. My Mushroom Kingdom logic dictates that the flames should be blue if it’s 1, 000 degrees.

Teams must reach this clue box to claim the Fast Forward. They must have the world’s best firefighters on hand because the clue box remaining intact is incredible.

– Rob & Kim and Tyler & James won’t bother because they are certain to be first and second. What? Do you guys not understand that this will be the only opportunity you have to claim it? What’s at work here?

Oh. David & Mary’s penalty. You see, David & Mary aren’t viewed as particularly skilled racers. In addition, they will automatically receive a 30 minute penalty if they don’t finish first. Every team that isn’t as naive as Bama and Cho Bros are confident they can not only beat Kentucky, but that worst case scenario wouldn’t put them more than thirty minutes behind them. Thus, the leading teams will gamble that they will be in first for the next Fast Forward when obvious underdogs are eliminated from the race.

This is perhaps the only occasion where I will be thankful for the Marked for Elimination penalty. It makes the Fast Forward strategy mildly interesting (but still heavily flawed) for the first time since TAR 4.

– The other clue is a roadblock. In this roadblock, that person must test mind and body 610 feet above the ground. They must climb the ladder that curves around the bowl outside of the tower. When they reach the top, they will retrieve a satchel that contains puzzle pieces (a la episode 5 of TAR 5). Once on the ground they will find additional pieces in the trunk.

Additional pieces in a random trunk? Then what the heck is the idea behind giving them a satchel? I don’t understand.

They must complete the puzzle which will reveal the name of the street where this marked stall resides.

ROADBLOCK: Who is both strong in mind and body?

– Kim, James, and Karlyn are doing it. Peter discusses whether he and Sarah should do the Fast Forward. Sarah wants Peter to make the decision. Peter orders Sarah to do the roadblock. She agrees.

– Dustin & Kandice, who are in fourth, look at the Fast Forward.

KANDICE: Should we just go for it and be first?

I don’t think you quite understand how the Fast Forward works. The only reason why going for it seems remotely bright is because we know the three teams in front of you are opting to do the roadblock. Apparently nobody needs to worry about getting burnt in an oil well fire because their minds have proven to be fried.

– Mary is doing the roadblock but reads the Fast Forward afterwards. Erwin volunteers to do the roadblock. Before they do so Erwin knows that David & Mary need the Fast Forward. Godwin suggests that he and Erwin talk to Kentucky about whether they want it.

– Dustin & Kandice want to claim the Fast Forward and run to the elevator. Cho Bros run to the elevators to join them. The four of them stand outside the elevator. This is as close to an action scene as you will get in TAR.

Dustin is blocking the elevator. This will be useful for when the elevator is 0.1 seconds away from closing. And did you notice they’re on the 82nd floor?

– Kandice asks if they’re doing the roadblock. Godwin defends that they are in last. The Chos are stalling as much as possible for Kentucky to make a decision. Dustin & Kandice realize that being in the middle of the pack is a good place to be. No point racing the Chos as they know they can beat out Kentucky and Bama to the finish. They walk ten steps to do the roadblock. Kandice will do the roadblock.

– Kentucky go for the Fast Forward and ride inside of the elevator with the Chos. The Chos divulge the secret about how they were bluffing Dustin & Kandice because they want Kentucky to be guaranteed the Fast Forward. Crying and hugging on the part of Mary is involved as Kentucky runs off. The Chos sit in the lobby with their mission accomplished. Except now they’re in dead last. They didn’t think that part through.

That ladies and gentlemen is the first and only time in twenty seasons that a successful pick was set up. Luckily Chos didn’t ally with Brianna Varela because otherwise their plan would not have worked.

Lost a shot at a million dollars because she didn’t know what a pick was. You could’ve played NBA Live ’95 at the very least.

Who? Her? Egg?

Don’t you dare show your face to Stepheme until you know the exact same things that she knows.

– The other teams watch the Back Pack disappear into the elevator. Mary is touched that there are good people in this world, and that the Chos willingly put their own race on the line to help her. It would break her heart if the Chos were gone. Jesus. It’s not like they’re passing away or are terminally ill. Except their only disease is Type 1 Kinditis.

– Chos know they could’ve done the Fast Forward but they are playing it a certain way and want to keep their friends who have been good to them in return. I’m waiting for the episode when the Chos distribute their money at the beginning of the leg to Kentucky and Bama.

– Chos hug as Erwin prepares to the roadblock. He’s the obligatory “It May Appear I’m Not Doing It But I Really Am All Along” edit for this season. The teams are surprised to see the Chos so soon. Chos maintain the bluff that they gave it over. Of course sideway glances are fired their way. Everyone must know that the Chos gave it up willingly to their friends.

– Mary yells at David that he is driving in the opposite direction. Kuwait is such a small country. You think you’d find the road containing the Fast Forward by luck. David replies that Mary has the map so she needs to direct him. She snaps they should ask somebody. In other words she doesn’t think it’s the opposite direction after all. It was an excuse to yell.

– David & Mary find a local who will drive them there. David follows behind the local. At least this situation makes sense for hiring a local. Everybody talks about how scary and insecure they feel doing this task. Kim is first to snag the satchel. Tyler creeps up behind. Sarah thinks Tyler will climb it like Spiderman. Or a normal person. One of the two.

TYLER: Look ma, no hands! bahahahahaha.

**Far away where no one heard his lame reference**

SARAH: Pssh. That was for showing off.
KANDICE: Total showoff.

– Kim is first to work on the puzzle. Rob encourages her. Sarah is bending over with her booty hanging out. The camera operator zooms in on it for a bit. The others think she shouldn’t have done it.

PETER: The bionic spiderwoman.

Why is everyone comparing the racers doing this task to spiderman? Since when did Spiderman use LADDERS?! At least wait until they use some sort of adhesive to scale a building for a task. But basic ladders? You’re being too generous. You’re nothing more than a Cho Bro.

– Sarah feels amazing when she reached the top. It’s amazing because of, you know, her leg.

– Tyler is working on the puzzle. Dustin thinks the puzzle looks difficult. Sarah joins. Peter does consistent commentary while Sarah wants him to leave her alone. Erwin says heights are his biggest fears and that he wouldn’t have to do this if he went for the Fast Forward.

Are you trying to shove your kindness into our throats, Erwin? We get it. You are scared of heights to a point you should have abandoned the task no matter what. However, your heat is soooooo big that you were extremely generous to grant somebody else their wish of claiming the Fast Forward. You’re one step away from being a mother who tells their kids “what about all the things I’ve done for you?” as they grow up. Now I’m wishing you went the selfish route, Cho Bros.

– MARY: I think it’s going to be the hardest thing I’ve experienced in my life.

We’ll go ahead and take a few points away from David’s masculinity with that remark.

– Kentucky jog into the tent. For once Mary didn’t yell at David to hurry up.

– Back at the roadblock, it’s almost time for Erwin to do the task.

ERWIN: Right now I’m confronting one of my biggest fears. My chest is very tight. My heart is beating very fast.

And my face is really, really, close to the camera. That’s to prove how anxious I am and demonstrate the effects of vertigo.

ROB: You’re doing fine, baby.
KIM: I don’t know, babe. I’m at a loss here. What’s Tyler doing? What’s he doing, babe?

2, 3, and 4.

Really? Kim is asking her boyfriend to play the role of Probst? Typically teammates doing a task avoid introducing a Probst-like voice at all costs. You are a first. From this, Probst will assume that one person requesting commentary equals one million people requesting he continue his commentary during challenges on Survivor, and will change nothing for the next seven seasons.

– Rob obliges Kim’s request to help but Kim ignores everything Rob is saying. Kandice cheers as she runs to join the crew. Erwin is the lone guy climbing up the ladder.

GODWIN: YEAH ERWIN! WE’RE NOT GOING HOME TODAY!
TYLER (quietly under his breath): Yes you are, Chos. Yes you are.

Oh Tyler. You really got him good. By the way, much of the audience became less of a fan of Tyler after this comment. The casual audience loves their Chos.

– Erwin is at the top. Triumphant music plays. Erwin took a moment to enjoy the view. He rolls down a hill to be the last one to work on the puzzle. Time to pull a Jay Byars.

– Mary is scared to death. She hopes Steven Seagal is watching so she can be in one of his movies. You might be the first person on the planet to HOPE to be in a Steven Seagal movie. Usually those flicks are a last resort for struggling actors.

– KIM: Am I just stupid?

Is that rhetorical? Do you know what rhetorical means?

– We cut back and forth between the oil well and the puzzle arena. David always wanted to be a firefighter growing up. He likes that he was able to live his childhood dreams and feel important for five minutes.

– Phil does an awkward voiceover to announce that David & Mary can skip all tasks and go straight to the Al-Sadiq Water Towers. We don’t get to see Phil nor know the distance to the Water Towers from the oil well. It was cut down for time.

PHIL: Having won the Fast Forward, teams can skip all tasks and go directly to the–Al-Sadiq Water Towers. This leg’s pit stop.

It might be jarring because he doesn’t say “skip all tasks and go directly to the pit stop–Al Sadiq Water Towers. These Water Towers used for housing water in the shape of a tower is the pit stop for this leg of the race. The last team to check in here may be eliminated.”

– Mary hopes she can see Phil before anyone else does. In case you haven’t forgot about the looming thirty minute penalty if she doesn’t come in first.

– Tyler exclaims that he is done. Of course it’s all in Arabic on the cover. James comes up with the brilliant idea to grab the puzzle and carry it around to ask people. The puzzle board is very hot. Forcing teams to grab a puzzle board that is sitting on hot cement without trees or shade is plain cruel. Tyler & James place the board down in front of a man at a toll booth. He translates it instantly. This Arabic writing does not instruct them to go to the Glacier Cafe.

– Phil cuts in that teams must travel three miles to the local market–Souk Al-Gharabally. Once here they must find a marked bead shop where the shopkeeper will give them their next clue.

– Sarah is done. Peter manhandles the puzzle and carries it. The other four teams linger over Peter & Sarah being done. The same man who helped Tyler & James is the one who helped Peter & Sarah. Two seconds later Rob & Kim are done and receive help from the same man. Only three teams to go, sir. At least you’re getting your face out there on American television.

TOLL BOOTH MAN: You’ll see the Grand Mosque.
KIM: Grand Mask. M-A-S-K? Grand Mask?
TOLL BOOTH MAN: After the Grand Mosque you’ll take a left.
**Later in car**
KIM: When you hit Grand Mask make a left.
ROB: No. He said Grand Mosque. It’s a mosque. It’s not a street name.
KIM: Whatever. I don’t know what that is.
(TAR inserts a cheesy boi-oi-oing sound effect.)

How does someone go almost thirty years without knowing what a mosque is? It’s perhaps the only type of building that outnumbers MacDonald’s in the world. Bil’al & Saeed are facepalming at home.

Recall in the premiere how Kellie & Jamie didn’t know if Muslims pray to Buddha. Do you think they would know what a mosque is?
.
.
.
.
I don’t think so either.

– Lyn is done. Bama carries the board and has directions from a different Arabic man. Dustin & Kandice are done seconds later and attempt to ask the same man.

You need to have some very dark skin if the camera can’t pick out a mouth, eyes, or nose.

– Bama instructs the man to not tell the Beauty Queens because they are competition. Beauty Queens are persistent. They are unable to get the man to co-operate.

In most American urban centres, Karlyn grabbing a man and leading him behind his back would lead to an immediate arrest by a police officer. And where the heck is Lyn running off to?

– Dustin resorts to running in front of the man to get help. Will that work?

If you’re from Bama
And you hate blonde hos
Throw dem bows

Not since Mirna shoved Christie in an Egyptian airport has one team blatantly shoved another team. That is clear evidence of an elbow into the ribs of Dustin. Production has ignored all incidents involving physical contact between teams.

If I were Dustin & Kandice, I’d move on to new locals. Every team on the race hates them for what they’ve done the past few legs, and egging on teams more would be counter-productive. Of course the Beauty Queens aren’t the biggest social butterflies, and manage to win the battle.

KARLYN: Don’t tell them.
DUSTIN (with an inflection): Why can’t you help us? You don’t have to listen to them.

– A different man tells Beauty Queens to come and follow him like he’s Uncle Cracker. Karlyn is pissed and claims it’s not fair. She wants the blondes to run their own race. It’s definitely their own race. It happens to involve following, stealing help from others, and backing out on any and all agreements made with all teams. It’s not a popular way of racing, I can tell you that. It’s the polar opposite in the Chos’ racing ideology.

– Dustin defines the “Sistas” (new nickname. Missy Elliot’s all-female group back in the day if I recall) as big pigs who wanted to hog a man after he gave them the help. For some reason I don’t think the Beauty Queens/Blondes/Barbies see eye to eye with Alabama/Bama/Moms/Sistas.

– The Chos are done the task. They are lucky enough to have a police escort to the route marker. The siren whirs. The five year old in me wants to cheer.

– Tyler & James see the Grand Mask/Mosque as they enter the market. Sarah whines that her map sucks. Her and Peter keep driving.

– KIM: Over there is where that church is.
ROB: Mosque.
KIM: Yeah, whatever.

An improvement from mask, I must say.

– Rob & Kim get out but see nothing on their street. Godwin has a newfound respect for policemen. All they need to do is give you directions to local destinations and the town will be won over. Peter & Sarah pull over to run. Peter doesn’t think this is the right place. Beauty Queens pull over. The cop car stops as the Cho Bros get out. Bama hires a cab to lead them to the market.

– Tyler & James have the clue from the stall. It’s a detour. In this one, teams must choose between Manual or Automatic. In Manual, teams must drive to Sutaibiya and find this bee lot. Then they must fill ten 110 bags of camel feed up to a specified line. Transport it one hundred yards to a palette and receive their next clue.

In Automatic, teams must drive themselves to the Kuwait Camel Racing Club where an ancient tradition has been given a new twist. Teams control a robotic jockey and attach it to a camel. Using a voice activated remote control, which causes the jockey to lightly whip the camel, they must drive it to the end of a 140 yard track where a wrangler will hand them their next clue.

Robotic jockey? That’s wild. I doubt it will catch on. I can’t imagine real jockeys being in a private booth screaming at a robot to whip a horse to go faster.

Oddly enough, the robotic jockey is taller than some real life jockeys in camel and horse racing.

– Tyler & James learned from last round and will stick with their muscles. Meanwhile David & Mary step onto the mat.

I have an obligation to screen cap any pit stop greeters with a moustache.

– David & Mary are informed they finished first. Therefore no penalty is assessed. The good news is that they have won a trip for two to southwest Jamaica. Heh. The Travelocity Gnome is wearing cucumber eyes.

For some reason this creeps me out.

– Mary owes it to the Chos and tells Phil they are the awesome people.

MARY: The Chos are the reason we’re here today.

Let the bowing commence.

– Rob & Kim catch Dustin & Kandice. Both teams say they are confused. Rob sees the stall.

KIM: Hold on, babe. Don’t let the girls see us.

5.

– Rob & Kim are silent in the stall as the Beauty Queens rush past. Kim starts reading the clue but Rob shushes her and expresses that they need to hide. He snaps to read the additional information in the car. Peter & Sarah have the clue. Peter sees the Chos and looks back at Sarah to hide the clue.

CHOS: Did you find it?
PETER: We’re looking for it! We’ve got move our car. We are illegally parked
SARAH: Yeah. Illegally parked.

Wow. These two are terrible liars. Their tones of voice were a dead giveaway. Their excuse is the worst too.

“We’re looking for it but first we need to drive away in our car for a couple minutes.”

Wouldn’t that seem strange to you?

GODWIN: Peter’s lying to us.

No s— Sherlock.

– Chos have the clue. I bet they followed where Peter & Sarah came from. Bama and Beauty Queens are the only two teams looking for a clue. Dustin & Kandice are directed up stairs inside a building. They catch on that they need to run back down. Both teams are lost and frustrated.

– Beauty Queens receive new directions. Chos see Bama and quickly point them in the direction discreetly before taking off. Oh so sneaky Chos helping all of your allies. Dustin & Kandice have the clue. Dustin has an idea.

DUSTIN: We need to get out of here before people see us.

Way ahead of you, Dustin. She must not know that she is solidified in 2nd to last place. They are going to do the physical task.

– Bamas are last to the clue. They are doing the camel racing task. I don’t see Bama being good with electronics nor with filling up ten 110 pound bags. Chos find the same police officer and beg for his help again.

A generation ago, beggars like Godwin would be picked up and thrown before the sultan for judgment.

– The officer doesn’t know how to get to the route marker. Bama sees the Chos. They meet up. Chos decide to follow Bama to Kuwait Camel Racing.

PETER: Well we’re gonna do the robotic jockey. There is a robotic babe so we’re gonna mess with a robotic jockey.

Peter’s dream threesome. His previous girlfriends included a couple cyborgs and Sheeva from Mortal Kombat.

– There’s a sign on the road that says “Detour Ahead”. Sarah finds it amusing. I wonder what inspired terms such as detour, roadblock, and pit stop on the race.

– Tyler asks for directions to where the physical camel feed task is. Kim asks for directions in a cab. Dustin is examining the map but can’t see it. She gets out of the car on a red light and asks for directions. She opens the car door of the car in front of her and they tell her to follow them. Dustin is surprised they agreed.

Maybe opening the car door of a complete stranger at a red light completely scared them into feeling they had no choice but to do whatever they said. Just a thought.

– Tyler & James both ask for directions. James couldn’t understand a word of it but Tyler claims that he did. Rob & Kim are at the detour. Dustin & Kandice are there too. It’s a face-off. There’s a learning curve as they can’t figure out the line where to fill it up.

– Bama thinks they are heading the right way. Godwin hasn’t seen a sign and discusses with Erwin to switch detour options. They pull over at a gas station and receive new directions. Who knew Kuwait City could be so confusing with its tough to pronounce road names and several ring roads.

– Tyler & James think it’s the route marker but pull into a grocery store. The worker doesn’t recognize the location of the camel feed. They decide to switch detour options. Sarah is freaking out at the map because none of the roads on the map show how to get to camel racing.

– Kim yells at Rob to fill up the bag some more. Rob points to how the Beauty Queens have less in their bag but yet are already sealing it up. Kim wants him to fill it up with the shovel regardless. Somehow the Beauty Queens have the lead. Lyn doesn’t see the Chos behind her anymore. She prays that they are doing fine and the other teams are driving around Kuwait. That seems to be the case for four out of seven teams.

– Rob & Kim toss a bag onto the palette. The bag is filled too much to where the bag bursts and the camel feed empties. Rob is mad, of course. Kim tells Rob to scoop it up. And so he does.

– Chos pull over at the camel feed task. They must have been driving in the direction of the camel feed rather than the camel racing club because of how quickly they showed up. Tyler & James pull over at a cafe and ask for directions to the camel racing club. Nobody there knows.

Tyler & James decide to strike the pose of frustration. James goes with an over-the-top open-mouthed head rub while Tyler goes with a more subtle forehead palm. That’s why these two get paid the big bucks.

– Dustin & Kandice, Rob & Kim, and Chos drag the bags. Beauty Queens place the last bag and request the clue. However they were too cute with the final bag and didn’t put enough in. They have to go back. Kim reports the news to Rob as they run back for their own final bag.

– Peter & Sarah are still on the road. Completely forgot about them. Sarah doesn’t think she could have played it much differently. In other words, she thinks she would have been terrible and sucked no matter what. Sarah announces she doesn’t know how to get there.

PETER: No kidding you don’t know!

What a supportive team.

– Sarah tears up. Beauty Queens are stapling their bag. Rob & Kim swoop in. Kim’s insistence to fill it to the line pays off as they receive their next clue. Dustin & Kandice must have wasted at least ten minutes for their carelessness.

– Kim reads that teams must drive eleven miles through the desert and find Al-Sadiq Area Water Towers. It’s the pit stop. Rob & Kim get into the car.

– Dustin & Kandice want to hurry because the Cho Bros are right behind. They staple their last bag and receive the clue. Erwin & Godwin are unhappy. Meanwhile Bama finds the camel racing club. They watch a man attach the robotic jockey as a demonstration.

– Bama tries to attach the robot but the camel moans. Karlyn asks for it to quit the attitude. Haven’t you seen prior TAR seasons, Karlyn? A camel not giving attitude is like asking a horse not to neigh. Just ain’t gonna happen.

Bad analogy.

– Back to Peter & Sarah.

PETER: We are sooooo lost. HO-HO-HO oh my god.
SARAH: I don’t think we’re totally out of it.
PETER: Whoa, an arrow! Wait a minute, Sarah! That’s one of our arrows! We’re still in it, Sarah. I’m glad I found that sucker.

There is hope!

– James says him and Tyler have been making the biggest circles around the Kuwait City. They went from second down to what appears to be dead last. Peter & Sarah were first at the roadblock and are in the same predicament.

– Peter is an amazement as the same sound clips are played from when he already found the arrow. They follow the arrow and see a fire. This can only mean. . .

Well that’s a slap in the face if I have ever seen one.

Sarah would’ve given an arm and another leg for it to be one of the detour options. What would have been better if it was the location for the roadblock that they already visited. That’s when you know you really screwed up.

– Peter & Sarah cannot find camel racing so they switch to searching for the ‘manual’ task. Tyler & James ask for directions. Only the millionth time this round. They are told it’s up ahead. Cho Bros are exhausted to where Erwin pauses in the middle of reading the awarded clue.

– Godwin offers his hand for Erwin to clap. He says they are glad to go out in style. Rob & Kim pull over to ask for directions. Kandice sees the Al-Sadiq Water Towers on the map. Karlyn screams into the walkie-talkie as the camel sprints really fast to the finish. They have the clue. Off to the pit stop.

– Sarah concludes that they should’ve gotten off at the first ring road.

PETER: We should’ve done a lot of things, Sarah.

Great comeback. . .but you’re still in last.

– So they keep driving. Earlier we saw them stumble upon the Fast Forward. There’s only the pit stop, the detour, or the roadblock to spontaneously see. Guess which one it is?

Back at the roadblock. A task that was done being shown over twenty minutes ago in the episode. Next they’ll find the market stall. How do you go back to the Kuwait Towers, anyway? Wouldn’t the tallest buildings in the city stand out to you from fifty blocks away?

– Peter asks for directions as he opens the map out to the man. The man points to it. Peter looks. Their destination has been marked on the map all along. The first leg featuring true road navigation, and Sarah completely blew it. Peter takes the map into the driver’s seat with him. He’s doing all of the legwork.

Heh. Legwork.

– Tyler & James are at the camel racing club. James tells the camel (yes, the camel) that he has been looking for him for four hours.

– Dustin & Kandice exclaim “that’s awesome!” when Phil tells them they finished second. According to Art & JJ, that’s like finishing first because who gives a poop about the Fast Forward winners. Plus it’s David & Mary. You may as well act as if six teams remain in the race.

– Tyler & James run with the camel. The camel is outrunning the drugged up models by a mile. They have the clue. Four hour drive for a ten minute task.

– PHIL: Rob and Kim, you’re team number three!
ROB: Yeah, baby.

6

– Peter asks for directions. The map doesn’t make sense to Peter either it seems. A man at a gas station (price of gas must be low) agrees to drive and lead them to the ‘manual’ task. Peter is stoked. Sarah thinks they are back in it.

– Tyler cannot find a ring road. Maybe James could navigate from the backseat. However he’s proving to be useful as Sarah.

– Lyn & Karlyn are fourth. Karlyn asks for a hug. Phil complies. If a hippie is allowed to kiss Phil, he’s game for anything.

– Cho Bros celebrate a fifth place finish. Godwin is too drained to properly celebrate. Only Erwin has the energy.

– I’ve never seen anything like this on the race. An expert local drives Peter & Sarah to the wrong location. Wow. How does a guy who understands perfect English take them to the wrong place? Kuwait is the tiniest country the race has visited in ten seasons, but it seems to be the toughest place to navigate. You think the city of Kuwait City is twice as big as the map for Xenoblade Chronicles.

– Tyler & James casually run onto the mat. They’re sixth. They smile in relief. James is happy. They flash a smile.

– Broad daylight turns into pitch black darkness. We see them open up the clue. We cut to a new frame where they read to drive to the next pit stop. It is a different angle too. I assume that the detour task was edited out completely for Peter & Sarah. They must have been on the road for eight or nine hours.

Why do I think it was eight or nine hours? Because after being lost for five hours, Peter & Sarah are led to the wrong place by the local. How does one go from “he took us to the wrong place” in broad daylight to finding the task in pitch black darkness two seconds later? It’s not twilight or dusk. This could be midnight for all we know.

– Peter thinks it could be a non-elimination round. They run onto the mat. Phil hurries to say they are last and eliminated. Peter knows they are good friends but nothing more. They are too focused and driven and doesn’t make for the best couple. Sarah does not find Peter to be a kind and nurturing individual. Peter does not take the news too well judging by his reaction. Or it could be creative editing. I don’t know. The two were not dating prior to the race state they are not dating anymore after a stint of not dating. You dropped the ball there, production.

Next time on TAR: After ten seasons, the new countries to be traveled to on TAR outside of Europe are relatively obscure. Next round we head to perhaps the most obscure country visited in 21 seasons. A country so unknown that not a single team pronounces it correctly. Oh, and David & Mary finish last. Well, I don’t know if they finish last but the idea of them beating any of the other five remaining teams is straight up laughable.

Confessional Counts

Peter&Sarah 4.5
Rob&Kimberly 1.0
Dustin&Kandice 5.2
David&Mary 1.6
Erwin&Godwin 9.5
Tyler&James 2.3
Lyn&Karlyn 0.1

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 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 Tom & Terry 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
7th Peter & Sarah 3.17
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) Tom & Terry

The stereotypically gay couple does indeed go here. I’m only putting them this high because they expressed a well-rounded personality and edit. This is different than most of the teams we see this season. We saw their strengths, their weaknesses, their good fortunes, and their “strokes” of bad luck. Yeah. Bad pun, I know. Although I suppose the paddling is more of a skill than luck.

They didn’t always choose the most popular detour. This team was prone to bickering but didn’t do it in excess. Tom being so drained from the final detour that two or three men had to push him into the boat is a hilarious highlight.

Although they finished eighth place in three out of four legs and nearly tying Don & Mary Jean’s record, I would like to point out they were at the top of the pack frequently. In fact they were second to lead all teams in the fourth leg to the detour. Add in that they were second on the third leg to check into the pit stop until that minor mistake dropped them to eighth. So they were overall a top contender to take the title this season.

Their dispute with Dustin & Kandice began the chipmunks’ polarizing edit. Other than that, I have nothing to say about Tom & Terry.

4) Peter & Sarah

The recently dating dating couple (no, that wasn’t a typo). Much of the hype pre-season was around Bilal & Sa’eed and Peter & Sarah. Well, Sarah predominantly. She was the first person in history to run with a prosthetic leg. We would have to fast forward (no pun intended) to TAR 21 where somebody would double Sarah’s feet. I mean feat.

Seeing a racer do well with one leg while the other one acted as a flat tire was intriguing. These two dominated most of the episodes. Strategically and physically.

The best and worst part about the team is that Sarah’s partner, Peter, was a guy who made prosthetic limbs for a living but yet was the biggest d—-bag to someone with a prosthetic limb. You wouldn’t find that trait amongst too many people. This led to subtle arguments between Peter & Sarah. There was not much confrontation but Sarah would wait until confessionals to express her frustrations and disappointment with Peter. Peter likely did not have a clue.

Another funny thing is that Peter, who is an athlete, dates an athlete, and makes prosthetic limbs, announces he wants to quit the race. Somebody quitting with that background is not something you would find in too many places. Great job of TAR casting.

What took away much of the enjoyment for this team is how much Sarah’s leg was emphasized. In the first five episodes we saw THREE tasks where Sarah had to climb up a wall. Each time Sarah would be featured with the “can she do it despite her leg?” storyline. It was fine seeing it in the season premiere. But the next two times? Entirely unnecessary. It was like a 40 minute episode being cut down to 37 minutes as a result of the editing crew’s decision.

That’s all there is to the no longer dating recently dating couple. Not the most dynamic but they certainly had some ironic turn of events come their way.

P.S. Don’t hand Sarah a map.

5) 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.

6) 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) Ha Long Bay -> Chennai (This is in my opinion the best leg. Yes, even for it being the first non-elimination leg of the season. I have my reasons.

The first is that hours of operation don’t really play into this leg with the lone exception of the thirty minutes for the detour clue. Minimal hours of operation makes a fan out of me.

The second is that this style of episode will be borderline extinct within the next couple of years. Teams spread across several flights or key coalitions simply aren’t present as we draw into the more recent seasons. This episode however featured both predominantly. The millions of visits to India took a backseat to the drama between teams, coalitions, pranks, and figuring out the best airlines to use for the round.

In fact, all seven teams were in one of three coalitions. Tyler & James partnered up with Rob & Kim. Cho Bros, ‘Bama, and Kentucky tried to work together despite Cho Bros booking a flight of their own initially and David & Mary lagging behind. Dustin & Kandice and Peter & Sarah should have had a long term coalition, but Dustin & Kandice thought it would be fun to completely burn and shatter the team that gave them an enormous boost throughout this episode.

The relationships between teams were strained a bit. Well, that really only applies to Peter & Sarah. For the second round in a row, the team with the greatest conflict is the one that emerges in first place. The fighting existent and non-existent couples are dominating the season.

Another reason this leg was enjoyable is that Tyler & James experienced being in peril for once. Much like the Oman leg from last season, an unlikely order of finish was put together. With the exception of David & Mary being in the bottom of course.

– Cho Bros’ cell phone prank was flat out awesome. What makes it more awesome is that it backfired to put Peter ahead of all other teams. Heck, he made himself feel way above Sarah. What a racer.

The tasks were pretty good. A detour between a scary crocodile or making an intricate design on hot feet made for one scary task being significantly faster than the other. The Indian driving school roadblock was a very creative task set up by TAR. Surprisingly we don’t see the task for no more than about ninety seconds altogether. I suppose it was tough to film. I wish I could take a driving test where I could drive on the wrong side of the road and still pass. Maybe next time in India teams will be forced to take a first aid course.)

2) 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.)

3) Chennai -> Kuwait City (Extensive road navigation. Check. Middle Eastern setting. Check. Elimination. Check. Following one of the best airport and strategic episodes in recent seasons, we see one of the best road navigation episodes.

Who knew a country as small as Kuwait would be confusing to find route markers? I thought you could stumble upon route markers by luck and coincidence. Not the case. Teams drove around the ring roads for one to six or seven hours during this round. Not a single team had an easy time finding a route marker. Teams frustrated while driving in this mess is something that cannot be experienced through the luck of cab drivers.

The spread out nature of finishes is a highlight as teams were coming out of different sections in left field to discover what it is they needed to do.

There was significant strategy and collisions too. Cho Bros pull off the only pick to be instated into a round of TAR when they blocked the Beauty Queens as Kentucky scrambled to the Fast Forward. Karlyn elbowed a Beauty Queen to stop a local from giving directions. However Beauty Queens wouldn’t budge.

The tasks were difficult. A puzzle re-arranged the order of arrival to the roadblock to the order of completion. Anyone who chose the ‘manual’ task were truly drained by the end thanks to the no doubt unbearable heat of Kuwait.

Not much else to cover. This round was the epitome of adventure. Teams using any means necessary to get to the next destination should be what TAR is all about. And this round delivered. The only shame is that we won’t be seeing any more Middle East countries for a long time, if ever. Dang you political unrest!

Oh, and Peter was eliminated. That’s a bonus.)

4) 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.)

5) Vac -> Ha Long Bay (The structure of this leg was okay. It just seemed really short. Back to Hanoi? Why couldn’t they do this in the previous leg?

With that said, the audio clue was very creative. They have never done anything like that in the ten seasons of TAR. This opened a whole new avenue of clues that we would see in future seasons. Teams had to figure out on their own the appropriate strategy to use to communicate to the cab driver to take them to the correct location. The results were so compelling that this meaningless route marker occupied a third of the episode.

However when teams woke up they were equalized on a train and given a detour and roadblock that were very close to one another. Production was saved when none of the teams had experience paddling a boat. The teams truly made this segment for what could have been a very dull, quick, and uneventful second half to the round. Tom pulling a boat in the ocean and falling over several times before boarding the junk is one of the funnier things I have seen on the race. Kandice shredding a clue in the water also made it memorable.

This leg would have been ranked higher if rolled ankles, a missing leg, and babes weren’t shoved down our throats. But it was decent anyway.)

6) 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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