Previously on TAR: Six teams raced from Mauritius to the nearby island of Madagascar. Teams were shocked to discover a twist. Meanwhile viewers were shocked to discover that the twist had little impact at all. Rob & Kim and Tyler & James joined forces and let Dustin & Kandice out in the cold. But the Beauty Queens excelled with the Chos at the detour and won their second leg in a row. Rob & Kim and Tyler & James choked on the Fast Forward. Allies David & Mary and Lyn & Karlyn struggled. And David & Mary dropped to the back of the pack.
– David cries. Mary cries. Lyn cries. Extended confessionals from David & Mary. Oh please.
JEFF: What’s that?
ME and PENNER: I said ‘oh please’.
JEFF: Logan and Penner getting frustrated by TAR.
Now five teams remain. Who will be eliminated next?
– There’s two non-eliminations. It’s very possible for an elimination to occur this round. I hope the Six Pack alliance crap is done being discussed.
– We’re introduced to Madagascar.
What inspired the formation of a new sovereign state, in the midst of the capital featuring dancing zebras was the eighth pit stop in a race around the world.
Also, watching Madagascar would have been more enjoyable than the last leg where we saw teams race through Madagascar.
Dancing zebras > Child-frightening woman from Kentucky goes around collecting stamps.
– Phil’s Questions: Will David & Mary’s allies rebound and jump ahead of the other teams?
– Dustin & Kandice, who were the first to arrive at 256pm, will depart at 256am. I guess Phil didn’t have too many questions. Kandice reads that teams must fly 6, 000 miles to Helsinki, Finland. When teams land they must find the Kappeli Coffee House. Here they will find a laptop where they will log onto AOL where a “surprise” is waiting for them. I see two options for what the surprise could be in their AOL inbox:
a) it’s pr00000n
b) it’s mega pr00000n
– Due to limited availability for flights out of Madagascar, teams have been provided tickets to Paris, France where they must make their own arrangements to Helsinki. However, they are under no obligations to use these tickets.
– Dustin thinks that people think her and Kandice are handed things to them and are easy. However, Dustin believes the truth is that they work hard, fight, and cry to win. I bet crying results in things being handed to you. The first flight is at 940pm.
KANDICE: I’ve never been to Finland.
DUSTIN: Don’t they wear wooden shoes?
Wooden shoes? Do you mean the cheese shoes that the Dutch wear from TAR 4? Mark it down, you Finnish people. The stereotype labelled for you is that you wear wooden shoes. I suppose it is better than a stereotype of being frugal with money or the inability to say the letter ‘L’. You’re off the hook when all foreigners can only come up with “wooden shoes” as a stereotype.
– Twelve minutes later the former drug addicts depart. Tyler knows James appreciates the type of friend he is to him. Wow you really stir up a bromance when you go through rehab together. James understands that Tyler gets on his case sometimes, and Tyler says it all comes from a loving place.
– Yet again we have a twelve minute interval. This time it’s Rob & Kim. Only three times did they utter babe/baby. Will they make up for it this round? Rob says that him and Kim look at how to get to the pit stop as fast as possible every night. They have a bond with Tyler & James that they will not break. The blondes are not trustworthy in their eyes.
ROB: It’s a foursome we do not want to break.
That is music to Kim’s ears.
– The twelve minute gap stops when the Chos are instead eight minutes behind. They have 205 dollars.
GODWIN: We miss David & Mary and we want to run this leg in memory of them.
ERWIN: Which it makes it sound like they are under the grave.
Instead of running this leg in memory of David & Mary who are still alive, you should run this leg in memory of your balls. Because clearly they became deceased a long time ago.
– Chipmunks pick up their flight to Paris, but insists for a better flight. They show the agent their atlas. Tyler & James creep up on them. Tyler knows the Blondes are using them and they are using the Blondes. It’s an odd relationship where both teams are waiting to see who will backstab first.
– Rob & Kim show up too. Rob sees a flight boarding to Johannesburg. The agent tells them it leaves at 500am. All three teams are at the same counter and work together to book a flight through to Finland. Chos show up in line. There is another connection in Frankfurt before Helsinki. It arrives at 1020am. Rob concludes that Bama has no chance of making the flight.
– Bama is last to depart at 355am. That is 59 minutes from first to last. The Madagascar leg really was generic.
– Guess who they talk about? David & Mary.
Karlyn talks about wearing David’s hat in memory of her fallen allies.
They’re greyed out? Really? Holy s—. Maybe they are dead after all.
KARLYN: We’ll take Kentucky with us in spirit. I feel them here with us and the Chos.
Jesus. This is beyond ridiculous. Kentucky is at a pool in the Elimination Station. In fact, they finished sixth, and therefore could be assigned as a decoy team for the rest of the season. Chos and Bama act like they will never see Kentucky again. Have you guys forgotten that worst case scenario is that you see them ten days from now at the finish line?
Never before has TAR emphasized an eliminated team so much. It’s like they wanted to promote them for a future season. What could it possibly be?
– The four teams have their tickets and enter through the gate. Chos yell at Bama and inform them of the flight. Godwin says there is almost no way to get on the flight. The agent tells Bama that they cannot get on. Lyn & Karlyn start begging at the counter. A supervisor comes along.
MAN: We have to add meals.
I thought the meal issue only belonged to Jal Airlines. Who knew that policy would spread to Madagascar.
LYN: I’m not worried about the meal, I’m just worried about the flight.
Yeah right. Like that’s going to work. I’ve seen incidents with Jal Airlines. They have no shot to make it.
SUPERVISOR: Give her your names.
Whoa. Relaxed airlines. Karlyn is really excited. They defied all odds. Lyn said they boarded the flight with ten minutes to go. Everyone is shocked. Ten minutes before take-off never happens in the TAR universe. And especially not in the Jal Airlines universe. It didn’t matter if it was two minutes or thirty minutes, Jal Airlines would still kick sand in your face.
The Chipmunks rehearse their look for the next Mean Girls sequel when they see Bama on the flight.
The spirit of Kentucky clearly made that happen.
– We are shown the flight path.
Where the f— did Addis Ababa come from? I’m sure the teams are happy to connect in what has been coined in the past as a “refreshingly poor” area of the world.
– Helsinki already. Chipmunks are first out followed by Tyler & James, Lyn & Karlyn, Chos, then Rob & Kim. They get in the taxis in that order.
ROB: Big hurry. Very fast, please. Please.
KIM: Okay, stop repeating it.
ROB: I’ll do it if I want to.
KIM: For the sake of our team–
ROB: For the sake of our team stop telling me what to do.
I think Rob & Kim plagiarized an exchange from their last date movie and replaced ‘us’ with ‘team’. Rob wants Kim to shut her cow lips.
– The Chos’ cab passes Bama. Bama says they still have an alliance with the Chos but that they will not follow each other as much.
I think this is not an alliance but rather a friendship.
Just don’t add him to the Friendship Alliance. Please.
– Lyn is willing to be cutthroat to win it. Karlyn wants to catch the Models and the Barbies. What about Rob & Kim? I suppose they do not take them seriously.
Editors went too far out of their way to pick the most evil-looking shot possible. I think the Mad Doctor from Mickey Mouse’s cartoons in 1933 is more inviting than these two.
I’ll let you be the judge.
– Lyn thinks the Barbies use their looks to get ahead. She specifically mentions them coming out of the airport with their breasts hanging out. We see the shot and Dustin is covered up per usual, and Kandice’s tanktop was purchased at a Catholic Shopping Centre. Sorry Lyn, but the Chipmunks aren’t seductive like you portray them to be.
– KARLYN: It sucks that you have a disadvantage because of your looks.
No, it’s a handicap. Get it straight, Karlyn.
– Tyler & James’ cab passes the Beauty Queens.
TYLER: The Blondes are number one on our list of who needs to go.
Oh my god, production. Because David & Mary are eliminated, we have to hate the most selfish and least social savvy team by default? You do know the Chipmunks have gone out of their way to garner the villain edit, right?
– Kandice thinks it will be easier for everyone if Tyler & James were eliminated. Well, maybe Tyler. But certainly not James. At least until the kid learns how to read a map.
– Tyler & James exit the cab in the middle of the street and start running. So do the Chipmunks. Tyler & James are first to log into AOL. We get to see the AOL homepage.
This is the AOL homepage circa 2006. I thought we would all find it amusing.
Wow. TAR must have been paid a lot of money if they enhanced and brightened the logo on the laptops. Gotta love TAR advertising.
– The teams proceed to log into their e-mail. Such a culturally enhancing experience. Why not make the teams sign up for an ORG while they’re at it? I’m sure Robert “ospring” is running one of his TAR minis on AOL as the teams log in.
I wonder if the teams logged into these screen names ever again?
– This is the third time where teams have logged into TAR on the race. Every time it’s Phil providing them with a clue. The TAR 6 cafe, the space station in TAR 8, and now here we are in TAR 10. I presume teams don’t do it again after this season because AOL loses its relevance.
So let’s see Phil’s face and get done with it.
F—! Dangit. Messages from loved ones at home? This leg has to be a non-elimination then. When they did it in TAR 3 the leg spent over five minutes on this segment because they had nothing interesting to show except for Flo’s inevitable blow-up. Tossing the helmet et al.
– Let’s all hum the Jeopardy! theme. I can rest my fingers. Chos are next to log in. The loved ones tell them where to get their next clue. Dustin & Kandice proceed to rack up five grand in a promotional spot from AOL.
AOL sponsoured this terrible segment? After watching this show, remind me to never buy their products again. Let’s race for god’s sake.
– Tyler & James and Dustin & Kandice grab their clue from the owner of the cafe. Teams must travel 125 miles by train and taxi to a school named Soppeenharjun Koulu. Once here they will follow the marked path and search the grounds for their next clue.
A school? Is this Salt Lake City, Utah in Family Edition all over again? Will they go up in a hot air balloon?
– Chos have the clue as Bama walks in. Rob & Kim are next there. Lyn is a really slow typer. Bama cry and cry and cry and cry as they see their message. Rob & Kim are last to receive the clue.
– The five teams run through the streets. Tyler & James and Chipmunks have train tickets. The Chos ran in the opposite direction. Rob & Kim hop in a cab to the train station. The Chos attempt to hail a taxi but Rob & Kim are inside. The Chos ran a kilometre in the wrong direction.
GODWIN: I knew it.
ERWIN: If you knew, we wouldn’t have ran a “k” that way.
Chos fighting with each other? Odd.
– Rob & Kim and Bama are at the train station. Chos join them. All five teams are on the train. We see the slow train ride. Karlyn talks about the sacrifices she made to be on this race.
Well, one sacrifice. She left her family. No other sacrifices were made.
– Tyler moisturizes his face in front of the Chipmunks. Kandice uses Tyler for her conditioner and nail polish. Tyler is a model in the truest sense. Kandice talks about how they are always side by side with Tyler. She forgot to mention James.
– Tyler & James and Chipmunks each have a cab. Tyler tells us there are no other taxis. The Chos and Bama are unable to flag one down. So do Rob & Kim. Rob begs a local to take their taxi. It works. A local tells the Chos to head up the street where the taxis pick people up.
– The Chos and Bamas run together to the taxi lineup. A man says there is a taxi queue. Several people are in line. Chos are frustrated. Bamas don’t seem too worried. Why?
Man informs Bama there is a long queue.
– Somebody said on YouTube that Bamas are awful for doing this. The worst part is that the comment received 2 likes. They don’t understand how few options you have when you’re avoiding elimination.
– Lyn says that every second counts. Godwin says that being polite sucks sometimes. He admits they could be in line for a while.
– The two leading taxis spot the school. Chipmunks find an arrow and follow the trail. Tyler & James seek to sprint. They are making up a ton of time. The Chipmunks drop their bags. So do Tyler & James. They get there simultaneously. It’s a detour. We see Phil in a mud pit.
I bet Phil will do a commercial using this iconic mud pit.
Phil Keoghan should sue Ocean Spray immediately. Bastards.
– In this detour teams choose between Swamp This or Swamp That. In Swamp This, teams put on cross country skis and trudge across a one mile course of a muddy field. In Swamp That, teams must slog through an obstacle course in the mud. They will need to jump, crawl, climb, and carry each other and then run to the finish line to receive their next clue.
– Chipmunks don’t like the obstacle course and will Swamp This. Tyler & James use their physical strength and go with Swamp That. A cab arrives to pick up the Chos. They hope to catch up. Rob & Kim are at the wrong location. Rob is getting frustrated.
– Bama is at the clue box. They passed Rob & Kim evidently. Of course they will cross country ski. Thinking of Bama carrying each other seems too good to be true.
KARLYN: Watch out for these roots.
KARLYN: See? I told you.
Good thing they’re not doing an obstacle course.
– Kim is inside of a recreation facility with a swimming pool. She is asking a lifeguard for directions. Rob is pissed to find out they were driven to the wrong school.
– The two leading detour teams get to the mud field. Tyler & James are through the rope swing. James is stuck in the mud. Slowing the team down already. Poor Tyler. Kandice admits to skiing only once in her life. Her and Kandice embark on the trail. Bama appear from the forest and suit up. Comedic kankan music plays as the teams struggle. Karlyn says she has never been on skis in her life.
– Rob & Kim and the Chos arrive at the school simultaneously. This race got a whole lot more interesting. Tyler jumps off a board and nearly belly flops into the mud. James has a great jump. Tyler nearly fell off the platform.
– By the way, ever wanted to know how to get a friend to dislocate your arm?
Here, let me snap that arm for you.
It will never trump this arm break. We applaud you Tim “Bowser” Sylvia for breaking your arm like a champ. Even if you had no fans.
– While Tyler breaks James’ arm the last two teams grab the clue. Kandice fell butt first into the mud. She hates that it will look like she defecated. Bama is having a tough time in the mud. Tyler carries James while James smacks Tyler’s butt. Bromancing on the next level.
– The Chos and Rob & Kim are both doing the obstacle course. Chos pass Rob & Kim easily. Tyler & James switch who is carrying who. Both teams are falling a bunch of times and crawling. Rob & Kim have passed Erwin. The Bamas launch off the platform. Karlyn is out of the mud quickly but Lyn takes a while to get out. Once Lyn is standing, the camera zooms in on her butt.
Was this shot of Bama Booty really necessary? The libido of the camera operator must have been dead.
– Kim jumps off the platform. Rob is next and lands on Kim.
KIM: Dang, not on me babe.
1. The 21st minute of the episode. Easily the longest that they have gone without uttering ‘babe’.
– Rob & Kim are moving at a snail’s pace. Rob warns Chos not to jump on him. Erwin complies. Godwin waits for Erwin to get out of the way. Soon after he jumps. If Probst were around, he would say this challenge is dead even. It’s like the day 25 Guatemala reward all over again.
– Rob & Kim are at the ‘carry’ sign. I wish Kim would have carried Rob but that looks like it won’t happen. Godwin is stuck in the mud for a long time before he gets out. We see a view with Rob & Kim nowhere in sight. Not good for the Chos. Godwin carries Erwin.
– Dustin & Kandice do one more platform. Tyler & James are at the run portion. Suspense music plays. Tyler & James are first to the clue. They read that teams must travel by train 104 miles to the city of Turku. Once there they must pick a car and drive themselves 78 miles to the city of Lohja. Once in Lohja they must find the Tytyrin Limestone Mine and take the tram into the mine where the next clue awaits.
That is a ton of instruction. It also sounds like we are seeing everything worthwhile in Finland in a single day.
– Tyler & James change out of their nasty clothes by the taxi. This allows Dustin & Kandice to pass them because the skiing task was much cleaner. The taxis are right behind one another. Tyler knows changing there instead of on the train was a mistake. The Chipmunks were surprised that the druggies changed there too. They brand them as pretty boys.
– Bama wasted a ton of time because Rob & Kim are next to the clue. Bama is fourth. The Chos congratulate the Bamas as they take the clue. Rob & Kim were surprised they beat the Cho Bros.
ROB: I didn’t think I would be able to carry you as easily as I did.
KIM: Why? Do you think I’m fat?
Strike against Rob. And what the crap is that on Kim’s neck? Have Eric & Jeremy been giving her hickies?
– James wants to get on a train before any of the teams get there. The Chipmunks’ cab passes Tyler & James on the road. They cheer while Tyler has no reaction to it whatsoever. I wouldn’t care too much either knowing that you will be on the same train as them anyway.
– The Bamas and Chos are the last two teams into the cab. Will they be on the same train?
ROB: We can make this train, baby, we can do it.
– Tyler & James and Dustin & Kandice are at the train station. Kandice finds out there is a 311pm train. That has no bearing for us because we don’t know what time it is or how far apart the other teams are. So. . .I guess it’s going to be close? That’s what the editors are telling us, anyway.
– The train leaves in five minutes. Tyler & James and Dustin & Kandice sprint to the train. Rob & Kim pull over and go inside. The woman behind the counter says it is 311pm. Rob insists he will be running to the train. Fast paced music ramps up. Rob shouts to hold the train as he runs. The train starts moving. Tyler & James and Dustin & Kandice are stoked to feel it moving.
– It was such a close call that Rob & Kim can see the train leaving in plain sight. Way to get John Vito & Jill’d.
Rob prepares to moon the conductor as he passes.
KIM: We’ll get on the next one.
ROB: Let me have my moment.
KIM: Have it.
Kim knows full well the signs of someone experiencing PMS. She must have discovered that her tampon supply was one short.
– Bama is at the train station. So are Chos. Rob & Kim backtrack to buy tickets for the 411pm train. They are pissed that they will be in the fight for last.
– Tyler & James get very precise directions to the route marker from a local. Dustin & Kandice examine the map which they have come to using really effectively on the race.
– On the second train, the Chos and Bamas ask for directions. They run into a guy who happens to work for a mining company. Chos celebrate in the most dorkish way possible.
– First train gets in. Tyler & James and Dustin & Kandice spot the cars. Tyler sees the blondes following in the rearview mirror. He finds them to be untrustworthy and crafty. In case you haven’t heard.
– Rob & Kim get directions of their own from a local on the train. Rob sighs. Rob & Kim pass by Chos and Bamas. Chos joke if they felt the cold air. Kim asks Rob what’s wrong. He says he wanted to get away because the friendly Chos and Bama were bugging him. Definitely PMS.
LYN: Attention Party Train, those people there are not our friends.
Well maybe they are not so friendly.
– Kim says Alabama is racing with a chip on their shoulder. Rob feels that they were judged by them too quickly before they got a chance to get to know them. It made them uncomfortable.
– Karlyn further elaborates that there is no party train as long as Rob & Kim are around.
– Tyler & James and Dustin & Kandice spin around the area where the building should be. They stop each other on the street and talk out of their car windows. They drive in opposite directions. James proves himself useful and spots the marked door. They exit the car and run into the building. They enter the mine before the Blondes can see. The Chipmunks ask a truck driver and are told it’s the building only a hundred feet away. They start running.
– Tyler & James put on their hard hats and get on the tram. Dustin & Kandice enter and are told to wait for the tram because there is only one.
– The second train is in. Rob & Kim pick the closest car and Kim wants to drive away quickly to prevent being followed. Bama are in the next closest car and drive away without consulting the Chos. Erwin is fine with it despite it being different from their style of waiting for them.
– James is shivering. They must be very deep in the ground. It’s a roadblock. In this one, teams must ride a bike at a steep incline more than one mile into the deep, cold, and tight earth and search for a marked dig site. Then they must attach a chunk of limestone to their bike, bring it back to the start point, and use tools to break open the limestone to reveal their clue inside a tube.
– James is doing the roadblock. He has been looking forward to the opportunity of doing some roadblocks. It’s episode nine. James must have done at least a few by now given the rules. It’s very dark.
– Dustin & Kandice are brought onto the tram. They’re very giddy.
DUSTIN: David would love this. He spent all of his time down in a cave. Can you imagine?
David has gone on record multiple times that he hates being in coal mines. You make it sound like his best friends in life are Zubats.
– Dustin shouts ‘wee’ and throws her hands in the air as the ride moves. This ride is about 1/100th the speed of the roller coaster at West Edmonton Mall.
– Kim is navigating. They see Lohja. Rob is angry that Bama is following. Chos are right with them as well.
– James spots the limestone and attaches it to his bike. He makes his way back. Kandice is next one to attempt the roadblock. James is exhausted to the point where he is walking his bike like Rob in The Mole 2.
– DUSTIN: I wonder what they’re doing down there. Probably making out.
This isn’t Big Brother where players take every opportunity to make out in front of cameras.
– James has successfully walked all the way back. He passed Kandice on the way. James sounds extremely exhausted and whines that it is all hill. I’d love to see Lyn or Karlyn do this task. James puts muscle into it as he proceeds to break the limestone.
JAMES: HAMMER TIME! HAMMER TIME! HAMMER TIME!
– James reads that teams must drive thirty-nine miles back into Helsinki and find Olympic Stadium. Tyler high five’s Dustin. She sees Kandice seconds later. Dustin thinks Kandice made up time because it was not long since Tyler & James exited.
DUSTIN: So, grab a pokey thing.
Someone has spent valuable time in trade school.
– James tells Tyler to go back the way they came. Tyler holds up a ‘1’ outside the window to no one. Kandice has the clue. She is frustrated that they will lose to Tyler & James. Their streak shall be over.
– Rob & Kim are driving as Kim confuses right with left and does not know where to go. They drive over a bridge away from the buildings. Karlyn spots the marked door and enters. Chos are right behind them. They get on the tram together. Rob & Kim have driven halfway into a mine.
KIM: You don’t drive into a mine!
Another safety procedure that Chilean miners should be informed about.
– Rob thinks it is “absolutely freakin’ crazy” that they have been driving in circles and being lost. Kim looks at the signs. They are back where they started. They park next to the two cars knowing that the door should be right around there. Sure enough it is.
– WOMAN: You have to wait a few minutes.
ROB (sarcastically): Sure we do.
Between Rob and Bama, I’d say all of Finland want no part of TAR in the near future.
– Godwin is doing the roadblock. Karlyn is next. He maintains a pace with Karlyn. Erwin cheers them on as the Six Pack. Rob & Kim are last into the mine. Rob is doing it. He is biking faster than Elliot pedaling into the air with E.T.
– Lyn and Erwin are concerned. Godwin and Karlyn are off the bikes.
GODWIN: C’mon Dave, help us out. Help the remaining Six Pack.
This is the strangest post-mortem edit for any team. In all other seasons an eliminated team is not referenced for more than two seconds. In fact, Flo mentioning Drew right after they were eliminated is the only example of it.
However, David & Mary are treated as some major exception as they have been mentioned in the Previously On segment, Phil’s Question segment, the beginning of the leg, Kandice’s mining scene, and now Godwin and Karlyn mining. I seriously thought that David & Mary died after the season had finished filming.
– Rob is laughing hysterically and cheering throughout the cave. He aggravates Godwin and Karlyn. Rob has the limestone and shouts “I’m coming for you” about half a dozen times. Karlyn cannot ride uphill and starts walking. She instructs Godwin to go on without her. I was waiting for sombre piano music to play.
– Tyler & James park at the stadium. They run through the flag and think they must go into the stadium. The camera pans to a marked door as blunder music plays.
– Dustin thinks the Bamas could be twenty minutes behind. Kandice wants the Bamas to be eliminated today.
– Godwin is huffing. Karlyn is barely moving.
KARLYN: This is the perfect example of an uphill battle.
I for one am impressed she avoided comparing this to birthing children.
– Rob gets all Bobby Jon Drinkard as he yells and shouts while running alongside his bike. Some of the energy from shouting could have been used pedaling. Rob knocks into his helmet cam a couple of times.
– Godwin is first back and apologizes to Erwin for walking. Rob cheers and screams as he slowly overtakes Karlyn on the path. No love lost there.
– Godwin hammers but to no avail. Rob is back. So is Karlyn. Karlyn is barely moving. Godwin has broken the rock and reads the clue. Rob is next to have his clue. Karlyn is last but seems to not be too far behind.
– All three teams get on the tram together. That foot race was irrelevant. Godwin high five’s Karlyn. Rob rolls his eyes.
– Tyler & James are in the middle of the stadium on the field but see no flags. The Chipmunks are at a gas station and convince a local to drive them to Olympic Stadium. Bama are third to the car. Rob & Kim are fourth followed by Chos. It’s a 3-way car race.
– Tyler & James are back to the start and see the flag on the door. Tyler has the clue inside on the main floor and reads teams must go to the top floor. Once at the top teams must perform one last task. Tyler makes fun of himself in the elevator for running around like idiots for ten minutes.
– Dustin & Kandice quietly plead for the driver in front of them to take a right turn on a red light. Tyler & James are at the top. They put on gear and told to repel down the building. It’s a tall building. Tyler is happy that he has rock climbed before. As Tyler repels face first he calls out to James that he will have no problem doing it. Of course James is cared. The obligatory “Will X Person Who Is Mildly Scared To Do It’ edit is performed.
– All I can think of is Kelly doing this same task in TAR 4 with a broken hand. Tyler is at the bottom as James suits up. Tyler talks about James’ fears and how he will do it. Tyler will not be let down, he figures. James is frightened by going face first. At least both of his hands are fine.
– Dustin & Kandice see Tyler repelling on the building and locate the clue instantly. We go back to the 3-way road race.
LYN: There goes Rob ramming the back of me.
Maybe it’s not just the camera operator who wants Bama Booty.
– Rob announces he will stay behind her. Kim knows the intensity and tells Rob to be careful.
– Godwin is aggressive for the first time this game and try to pass in front of Rob. He drives alongside Lyn and tells her they need to work together to lose Rob.
ROB: Don’t even try, bro.
KIM: Just let them, babe. We can outrun them.
(GODWIN talks to LYN.)
ROB: This dude’s trying to be shady, dude.
ROB (Clint Eastwood voice): You wanna play rough, dude?
GODWIN: Stay off my a–, Rob. I will slam on my brakes.
This trash talk is better than the car chase scenes from Fast and the Furious movies.
– James begins the repel. Tyler coaches James as James whines that it hurts. James says he is stuck. Tyler tells him he is doing it wrong. Suddenly James is going at rocket speed. The three teams take off their seatbelts and find a parking spot. Rob & Kim outrun Bama, but go on the wrong path. Chos scream for Bama to enter the marked door. Rob backtracks and sees another set of doors. Kim splits off from Rob, but Rob shouts at Kim to join him. They are heading up the wrong set of stairs.
– Tyler & James have their clue.
It’s a dreaded To Be Continued leg. I should have known. Thank the stupid producers that they get a brain next season so we don’t have to endure the dumbest twist of all time. It’s a sour end to the episode, to say the least.
Next time on TAR: Teams go into battle. And Lyn & Karlyn leave the Cho Brothers in the dust.
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) Antananarivo ->Helsinki (I really liked this leg. It could be higher if it were not for the last two minutes of the episode and the messages from home. We know how much I hate these two things in TAR. Let’s move on to the good.
The relationships between the five teams and their personalities made them more three-dimensional than what we have seen in the past few episodes of ‘Six Pack vs. The World’. The Chos and Bamas greatly splintered in how they approached the race. Rob expressed his hatred for them right to their face. Tyler & James seduced Dustin & Kandice into working with them but yet managing to leave Dustin & Kandice in the dust when convenient. Essentially beating Dustin & Kandice at their own game.
There was hilarious moments in this round. Chos were angry and aggressive with multiple teams and with each other throughout the episode, but somehow keeping their composure to help Bama in every minute of the leg. Of course Bama left them behind when they felt threatened by elimination.
The episode had a good combination of taxi rides, trains, driving yourselves. There was flying by airplane too. Oh, and biking and running. And skis. This is easily the best leg if you want to see as many forms of transportation incorporated into a one hour block of adventure television.
The races to board trains and make flights was great too. The simultaneously strange and entertaining aspect of the episode was the ode to David & Mary from start to finish. Any casual viewer of TAR would have assumed they died at the pit stop in the previous episode. I’m not kidding.
The switch to an unusual location of Finland was a great transition from equally unusual (but unfortunately boring) islands off of east Africa. I don’t know why they failed so much with Madagascar and Mauritius, but the tasks in Finland were more unique and eye-popping.
As far as the tasks, the epic mud run is one of the best tasks all season. Also we should not forget biking a gruelling course deep inside a darkened mine and following it up with exhausting yourself to break open limestone.
Rob & Kim freaking out at the Six Pack as well as James spanking Tyler was enough to carry an episode of TAR in terms of its amusement factor. Players being stuck in mud helplessly is a bonus too.)
6) Kuwait City -> Port Louis (This is perhaps the most boring episode of the season. The airport scene could have been limited to the 3-way fight between Bama, Blondes, and Tyler & James. Particularly because no other flights were available and we weren’t learning much about the other teams.
In fact the majority of the episode was more of a tool used for the audience to love the Six Pack. Tyler & James bickered. Dustin & Kandice were viewed as being ‘unfair’ and overall snotty to the nice Cho Bros. Rob & Kim screamed at each other and said ‘dude’ and ‘babe’ far too many times for those in their late 20s or early 30s.
Then on the other side you have the angelic Six Pack. Nothing bad about any of them. We were shown plenty of material of how wonderful, awesome, and amazing each of them are in their own unique ways. Personally this episode made me want to drown all six teams in the ocean.
The only real highlights are the two car malfunctions. Seeing Rob attempt to fix a broken car is hilarious, and Dustin going from uber prototype female racer into the stereotypical ‘blonde girl can’t drive mode’ was icing on the cake.
So what else happened this round? Swimming to a boat. Swimming away from a boat. A detour where you dug through salt or looked for a sail. I can’t say that’s the most engaging set of tasks for the audience to watch. Was kayaking really that bad for the audience to be trimmed down to two tasks?
I like there was no equalizers. That’s why this round isn’t ranked lower. Other than that it was either ‘I am part of the Six Pack’ or ‘I don’t like the Six Pack’. So compelling.)
7) 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.)
8) Port Louis -> Antananarivo (One of the least memorable legs in all of TAR? Typically any location in Africa makes for entertainment because of the unique nature of the tasks. I think we were all surprised to discover how bland Madagascar was. If you tell me the episode, I can usually remember two of the tasks. However, going into this round all I could recall was the disgusting food Fast Forward.
Needless to say stamps and carrying mattresses in a small contained area without incident is not going to embed in our memories. Except perhaps Kentucky and Bama scratching a car.
Speaking of cars, the only other event worth mentioning is the Chos being screwed twice by an empty tank, Lyn being screwed over once because of the same issue, and Dustin for the same reason. I think it’s a record for taxis being forced to fill up gas with so few teams remaining in the race. I’m guessing Madagascarians don’t travel terribly far.
Oh, and I suppose I should speak about the Intersection once again. What was promoted as a groundbreaking twist had zero impact on this round. None. The producers had done it in such a weak and miniscule fashion that it drifted from our memories. Sure, Vancouver’s The Amazing Hunt renamed it as “the merger,” but other than that it did not take hold. If production followed my proposed ideas, I think the Intersection would be viewed as a worthwhile twist and held in critical acclaim.
Other than that, the constant talk about Six Pack and watching people drag mattresses and slowly chew cow lips for over twenty minutes made for a relatively flat round of play.)
9) 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.)