Previously on TAR: Five teams left Madagascar and traveled over six thousand miles to Helsinki, Finland. Dustin & Kandice and Tyler & James gloated when Rob & Kimberley narrowly missed the train. Then the Back Pack alliance and Rob & Kimberley battled it out on the way to what they thought was the pit stop. James conquered his fear of heights. What Tyler & James did not know is that they were only halfway through this leg. Now five teams remain. Who will be eliminated next?
– The logo says 12 teams of 2. They have the audacity to label Bilal & Sa’eed as a team despite screwing them over 20 minutes into the premiere. They’ve got guts.
– No introductions to Helsinki. We are re-shown James finishing the repel all over again. Him and Tyler share a laugh before opening the clue. James grabs the money and realizes they are still racing. Tyler is unhappy as he reads that the world’s worst nuclear accident occurred in Chernobyl. Fly to the country’s capital.
– Phi shows us a couple History Channel slides of Chernobyl before telling us that teams must fly to Kiev. If I were Tyler, I’d wait for Dustin & Kandice to show up and steal their atlas because I have a feeling the word ‘Ukraine’ nor ‘Kiev’ is in their vocabulary. Once they have made the 1, 900 mile flight, they will find their clue inside of a Russian made car. When Phil tells us it’s Russian, we should expect it to break down at least once if not more. I can picture Lori & Bolo cringing at home.
– Tyler wonders out loud if it’s dangerous to go to Chernobyl.
Nuclear reactor meltdown from the 80s? I’m sure it’s fine after thirty years. Radiation has a quick turnover.
Sadly, thanks to Rob Schneider, when I hear Chernobyl I think of that terrible dating scene from Deuce Bigalow 2.
(This is where I would normally have a screen cap but it’s so disgusting that I won’t bother.)
JAMES: I don’t want to get a third eye.
I don’t know, I think it’s pretty cool. One of the wackiest things to happen due to Clarence Montgomery Burns.
– Phil tells us that the remaining teams are doing an Angel Dive. Also known as a face first repel. There are three lines but only one team member can go at a time. With Dustin & Kandice well ahead of the other three teams, it appears this doesn’t matter at all.
– Kandice is first doing the repel. She is not co-ordinated. Rob & Kim, Chos, and Bama come from directions to get to the route marker at the same time. They all follow each other outside. Somehow the elevator evades them.
– Because Sarah isn’t around to talk about her leg while doing something scary, Dustin takes over to say how nothing will compare to what she is about to do. It’s the beginning of the episode so I don’t buy this s—.
– Bama is behind the other two teams in the footrace. Karlyn catches on that it can’t be the right way. They run inside and see the elevator. They’re on the right track. Chos and Rob & Kim are stuck outside searching the grounds. How could three out of five teams have such a tough time in a secluded stadium? Wouldn’t people repelling be a bit obvious?
– Kandice continues to coach Dustin down the wall. Rob looks up to the heavens and catches on. Erwin catches on simultaneously but the elevator can only hold two people. Chos are stuck outside of the elevator alone as Rob & Kim ride up. Dustin & Kandice get into the car to discuss how proud they are of each other. But it’s time to discuss the next clue.
DUSTIN: Do you know where Chernobyl is located?
KANDICE: I know it’s where the Atomic Bomb went off.
Eh, only ten thousand kilometres off.
– Dustin talks once again about the love/hate relationship with Tyler & James. Oh really? They’re rivals? Since when?
DUSTIN: We can’t afford to spend time with them. We need to ultimately break away from the boys.
Wasn’t it only a couple hours ago that you guys worked together on a train? Huh.
– Karlyn then Kim are going down the rappel. Godwin is terrified as he is next. Karlyn reaches the bottom. Erwin says it is the last thing him or his brother would do.
GODWIN: I can’t go through with it. Erwin, you gotta go first man.
What the heck? Someone drops out of a rappel task for the first time since Flo? Sure, Godwin is going to do it later on, but I’m shocked someone backed out while wearing the gear. That’s wasting precious time while in last place.
– GODWIN: Go E!
Tyler & James had the same cheer about five years ago.
– Godwin backing out allows Lyn to be ahead of both Erwin & Godwin. Kim has yet to reach the bottom. Erwin is more afraid of heights than Godwin is, but he’s happy to inspire him. Or show how much of a p—y he is. One of the two.
– Tyler & James are already at the airport. Dustin & Kandice are on the way too. Lyn has yet to embark downwards as she psyches herself up.
– All three are rappelling. It’s supposed to be face first.
For most anyway. Heh. It’s like Ralph Wiggum trying to rappel. Helmet grinding was part of the safety instructions, yes?
This is how a normal person rappels.
– Kim and Erwin are both on the ground. Lyn is halfway ahead of Rob. She’s down. Karlyn reads the clue. Lyn wonders what happened to the Chos. Karlyn asks why she would be worried about the Chos. She gives a confessional how there is still an alliance with the Chos.
KIM: C’mon babe, you can do it!
KIM: C’mon babe!
– Rob couldn’t believe it was a pit stop. Kim hopes for an equalizer. And there ladies and gentlemen is the flaw with To Be Continued legs. Everyone accepts the fact that the first half is rendered moot.
ROB: Chernobyl, babe, that’s Russia.
Not knowing where Chernobyl is one thing. But being absolutely certain it’s Russia is another. I’d love to see Rob & Kim fly to Moscow. Just once could a team fly to the wrong country?
– Godwin is last one down. Erwin says it was a terrifying experience. He stops mid-confessional to hug his brother. Wow. That’s the most I’ve seen a team struggle with heights. They are last to open the clue and head into their car in dead last. Godwin tears up as he reads the clue. He asks Erwin where Bama went. Erwin replies they took off. Godwin is mildly pissed.
– We’re told it’s 917pm. Late in the day. Tyler & James ask for the nearest travel agency from the airport. They see a counter and ask for tickets to Chernobyl.
Really? You think Chernobyl would be described in the clue, but also be the mysterious capital city? Although TAR loves their trick questions and instructions. See TAR 9 statue roadblock and the Indonesia money task in TAR 19.
– The agent is confused as if flights don’t go to a nuclear site. Tyler & James talk to each other to figure it out. They see it’s Kiev. The agent answers that the next flight is not until 825am. Tyler’s face falls in disappointment like Ian in Switzerland. James wants Tyler to calm down.
JAMES: You need to calm down bro.
TYLER: No, I’m pissed off. We bust our a– all day to get ahead and now our lead is gone.
Thank you, Tyler. Your meltdown, although not of Chernobyl proportions, has resulted in production being too frightened to institute such an unfair twist for another four seasons. I’ll send you a gift basket.
– Dustin & Kandice receive the same news at the airport. 825am flight to Vienna and arrives in Kiev at 135pm. Let the equalizer commence! Kandice is tired and hungry.
– Bama gets directions as night falls. Rob & Kim are next inside. They’re waving frantically at counters but all are closed for the night. Rob is crazy enough to want them to reverse their hours of operation. Like that ever happens in TAR. Rob is stumped and cannot recall if Chernobyl is in Ukraine or Russia. Since when did Ukraine enter his head? Did production whisper it into his ear when he wasn’t looking?
– Kim comes up with the brilliant idea of asking as Rob massages his head. They ask the closed ticket counter for information. She confirms Kiev is the capital of the Ukraine. The earliest flight is 925am via Warsaw. Whoa. Maybe not an equalizer after all. Turns out that the 825am is full. Yay. A To Be Continued leg that actually matters! Rob & Kim will be put on the waiting list when the counter opens at six. They tell the Chos this news. Bama is there last and are told the same info by the Chos.
– Ticket counter opens at 600am. Bama is on the Warsaw flight. So do Rob & Kim and Chos. Tyler & James and Rob & Kim talk about their flights. Dustin & Kandice see Chos and Bama at ticket counters. The Warsaw flight gets in simultaneously with the Vienna flight. Dustin & Kandice sneak up behind Chos to ask. Godwin is honest about it. The Chos used up all of their deception in the Pick from the Kuwait Towers.
– Dustin & Kandice know that flights could be delayed. I take back what I said about TBC legs finally getting it right. Everyone is equalized, and now it’s down to the luck of airfare.
– Tyler & James and Chipmunks board the first flight.
– Bama, Chos, and Rob & Kim are on the second flight.
– So who gets there first?
– It’s 135pm. The Vienna flight has got in. Chipmunks pick the white car. Tyler & James describe it as old school cars.
DUSTIN: It’s like my first car. A 64 Falcon.
Everybody remembers their first car. It’s one of your first adult responsibilities, your first adult irresponsibilities, first time you’re stranded in the middle of nowhere at midnight, and in the case of Dustin, where you lose your virginity.
– James reads the clue.
Ah yes. A tough clue for once. Entirely in a foreign language. Or it’s 1337 speak. I dunno.
– Teams must figure out that their destination is the Oster Tank School. It’s a 58 mile to this military training facility. Here is where teams will find their next clue.
– Tyler & James begin to ask people. In the meantime, Dustin & Kandice are paying a driver to lead them to the route marker. Tyler & James see this and offer to pay half the fare. Dustin asks Kandice. They both agree. Dustin whines that they went from a Mercedes to this Soviet car.
– Tyler talks about how they need to repeat their performance from last round and secure another first place finish. He doesn’t know what type of car he is driving. I am waiting for Dustin to crash hers.
– Dustin confesses that the only thing she knows about the Ukraine is the Ukrainian song used in Home Alone. Badadadada. She’s singing it out loud.
– Thirty minutes later and the second plane gets in. Rob has a pissed off expression on his face as he asks about if they have to look for marked cars. Kim confirms and they are in third place as they read their clue. Rob quickly offers to pay a guy to lead them to the route marker. He wants to be out of the airport before the Chos and Bama get in. Kim hopes to catch up with the leading pack.
– Chos see Rob & Kim take off and know that he hired a driver. So much for Rob’s quick escape. Chos and Bama read the clue together. Chos ask a cop on the road for a map. Karlyn asks Godwin if they know where they’re going after this exchange. Godwin thinks he does. So Karlyn settles to follow. The coalition is reformed. I’ve noticed that the remnants of the Six Pack only reform if Bama is the one who is behind. Karlyn talks about how Chos have a map and directions from an officer while they don’t. So it’s only natural for them to follow.
– Kim believes she is quicker than the trailing two teams. She repeats that she hopes to catch up to Tyler & James and Chipmunks. Rob & Kim aren’t the most interesting of teams this week.
– Godwin recognizes some of the words but not all. He asks Erwin the navigator where he should go. Erwin admits to having no idea. Lyn can’t believe that the Chos are slowing down in front of them. Erwin suggest to pull over and ask a cab.
– Erwin sees the cab and asks for directions. Godwin stands as they pull over at the side of the road. Bama has no choice but to wait behind them. Karlyn suggests to keep moving. We see Erwin walk to a security gate where a group of five people look at his map. None of them know. Godwin yells at Erwin to hurry up. Erwin defends that it is better than going in the wrong direction.
– Karlyn complains that they are wasting a ton of time. If only Lyn had the ability to drive. . .
This will solve the problem.
– We see a montage of Erwin asking several drivers on the road. All of them don’t know. Godwin is trying to wave people down on the street.
– Perfect lead in for commercial. Karlyn & Lyn repeat they are wasting a lot of time. Godwin has tracked down a cabbie that knows and will lead them there. Bama and Chos follow the cab. Karlyn’s “go go go go go” soundtrack is played for the millionth time this season.
– Tyler & James and Dustin & Kandice arrive at the clue simultaneously. It’s a roadblock. Chipmunks are especially excited over the roadblock.
– In this roadblock, one person must take command of a Soviet somethingsomething tank. Teams must navigate these tanks through a 1.2 mile course. The military uses these simulated tanks are used at the premier tank training school of the Ukraine.
I doubt Canada has a school solely for tank training. Why is it that European countries have tank training schools in TAR? Must be a side effect of two World Wars.
– Once they’ve completed the course, an officer will hand them their next clue.
– Dustin and James each choose a tank. Dustin’s is number one. James is number two. They are given instructions on how to operate it.
I wonder if he was hired as a consultant for this task?
– Rob is swerving on the road. He claims he doesn’t have control of the car. Rob doesn’t have control of the relationship either because him and Kim argue at an extremely fast rate about the car.
– Back at the roadblock, the two teams embark. Tyler comments on the smoke coming from the tank. James has the lead. It’s a lot of mud. Tyler is super excited. And I’m guessing super jealous.
I swear I’ve seen this somewhere.
Who knew this is what the year 2000 would look like. The makers of Back to the Future 2 and Street Fighter 2010 were way off.
– James’ tank is stalling as Dustin slowly passes him.
TYLER: Are they neck and neck right now?
Awe. He sounds like Jeff Probst’s son being taught how to commentate a challenge.
– Kandice brags to Tyler that Dustin has cut James off. Tyler says James is driving like a girl.
I hear it’s the greatest insult in the tank academy. Sort of like the insult in baseball.
You drive a tank like a girl!
What. . .what did you say, Tyler?
– For the third time this episode, Kim hopes she can catch up to Tyler & James and Chipmunks.
– James is told to stop. He crashed the tank. Is there tank insurance? James has a ton of mud poured into him as he slowly moves into the mud pit. Dustin is first to cross the finish line. Kandice loves her little stick shift driver. James is done right behind. Celebratory triumph music plays.
– James crashed into Dustin’s tank. Tyler reads the clue. Teams must drive 43 miles back into Kiev and into the main city to find something so exotic and adventurous. . .an apartment building. Once inside, they will locate Apartment Number 33 and knock on the door to receive their next clue.
Yeah. Not a lot of things to do in Kiev.
– Kandice asks the way back to Kiev. Tyler says it’s back the way they came. I assume they’re agreeing to work together to the apartment building. Tyler makes fun of James for being beaten by Dustin. Kandice cheers on that Tyler is angry because they got beat by a girl. I think feminists are a bit disappointed by all parties right now.
– Rob & Kim run into Tyler & James from the opposite direction. Rob yells out if Tyler & James already did it.
ROB: Did you do it?
TYLER: YES! We already did it. Just down that road.
The bromance insists they just did it. The closet has finally opened. Dustin & Kandice wonder why it looks like Tyler & James are yelling at Rob & Kim where to go. Dustin says it’s because they are friends and are working together. She knows that her and Kandice don’t have many friends.
– Rob hates being behind the “damn” blondes.
KIM: Well at least we caught up to them.
God Kim. Provide a soundbyte before I eat my own ears Mike Tyson style.
– James says if it were Chos or Bama that he would have told them the wrong way. Tyler makes fun of the Chos for not having made it out here. He says that proves book smarts doesn’t mean you’ll make it out here on the race.
– Lyn doesn’t think the route marker is far away. The Chos pull over regardless. Lyn wonders what they are doing. Karlyn says that the Chos can be a little indecisive sometimes. Yeah. Especially when we see them stopping at three different streets before the first route marker.
– We see Erwin ask some guards whose faces are blanked out. Whenever a face is blanked out, that means they don’t know where the route marker is. Basic production rules of TAR.
– Rob & Kim read the roadblock. They have not decided who is doing it yet. Rob goes to the taxi driver and pays him to stay a bit longer. The driver agrees. Kim is doing the roadblock. Rob knows that Kim can drive, so she needs to do this task thanks to the equal participation in roadblocks rule. He’d love to be in the tank but made the sacrifice. He hopes Kim will get some aggression out.
– Bama sees the arrows while Chos lead in the wrong direction. Lyn motions to the Chos and the Chos turn to follow Bama. Rob cheers on Kim.
ROB: She is finding out she is a super human creature from outer space. She is wow’ing me from left to right.
Or someone who can drive a motor vehicle.
Otherwise by tautology, we have to agree he is a super duper human creature. Shoot me down now.
ROB: Let’s go, baby!
– Rob pays the taxi driver to lead them back to Kiev; he complies. Their funds are likely to be gone by the end of the leg.
– KIM: We have a good lead on Chos and Alabama. And we can catch up to James & Tyler.
*slams head on desk* OF COURSE YOU CAN CATCH UP TO JAMES & TYLER. IT’S ONLY HALFWAY INTO THE EPISODE.
– Bama sees the clue box. Chos are right behind. Godwin and Lyn are doing the roadblock. Lyn does not look comfortable in that tank. Godwin is first to embark. Lyn looks like Snoopy tackling the Red Baron in the tank.
– Dustin & Kandice convince a driver to lead them to the apartment building. Tyler & James are in on it too. Way to preserve your lead. That’s how coalitions should be made on TAR. Kudos for figuring it out after ten episodes.
– Lyn is frightened as her tank stops. She needs help. A ton of mud pours into Godwin’s tank. He cheers as he completes the task. Finishing Point music plays. Chos debate whether they will wait for Bama or not. Of course, in a decision that surprises no one, the Chos wait.
ERWIN: Some may view this as risky, but maybe if we wait we can work together and not get lost.
Or you’ve merely given Bama an easy way to stay alive as the other three teams are literally miles ahead of you to the next route marker.
– Finishing Point music continues playing as Lyn is done the roadblock.
KARLYN: Hurry up Chos are waiting for us. I don’t know why they’re waiting. I wouldn’t expect them to.
Did you hear something, Erwin? Maybe we shouldn’t trust them.
– Bama and Chos drive together. Chipmunks wonder if this is the right place to break off from Tyler & James. Tyler knows that the Chipmunks will separate the first chance that they get. Dustin goes through the red light. So does Tyler. No law enforcement present, luckily. Not too many people in this world are brave enough to blow through a red light in a foreign country.
– Rob’s car breaks down on the side of the road. He was bright enough to have hired a taxi driver. The Don Frye look alike comes over to help them out.
A broken down car is the fiercest opponent Don The Predator Frye has faced since Gary Goodridge.
– Rob opens up the front of the car where a ton of steam blows out. Rob of course is worried about other teams catching up.
– LYN: It’s not over until the Fat Lady sings. And I haven’t seen a Fat Lady yet.
In due time, Lyn. In due time. Or maybe the detour will involve a mirror.
– Kim says that Chos and Bama will catch up after the commercial break. Ugh.
– Lyn is honking at the Chos because Godwin is driving really slow on the road. When a middle-aged Black woman is honking at you to drive faster, holy crap Godwin, I can only imagine your driving habits when you are fifty.
– Karlyn is annoyed. Erwin says they are going down a country road but the highway may be faster. He asks Godwin if there’s a gas station. Godwin says there is. Erwin instructs to pull over.
– Karlyn doesn’t see the sense in driving every five seconds. Erwin asks a gas attendant inside. Meanwhile Lyn finds a car parked on the street and asks the driver inside. She gets great directions.
– As Rob & Kim wait, Phil tells us of the car replacement rule and how there is no time credit. I can see both sides of why there should be a time credit or why there shouldn’t be. But that’s a topic for another time.
– Bama and Chos collude with all of their info. Lyn asks Erwin to ask Godwin why he is driving so slow.
ERWIN: Lyn wants to know why you are driving so slow.
GODWIN: I don’t know.
The fire of the race is clearly lost in Godwin today. Motivation is zapped.
– Rob panics as he notes the clutch is broken. Wow. Did the TAR mechanics check if a car is operational before they send it out? That’s a bit cruel.
KIM: It’s going in. It’s going in, so let’s just go.
Not the first time Kim has experienced hesitancy from Rob.
– Rob smacks the wheel in frustration.
– Chipmunks ask the driver if it’s the right apartment building. This is indeed the right place as Tyler & James are only thirty feet behind. Dustin & Kandice ring the doorbell and knock on apartment thirty-three. Who answers?
There’s the Fat Lady you requested right on cue, Lyn. And I’m pretty certain she is humming a tune.
By the way, who is she? In other apartment related tasks, they’ll settle for a local star like in TAR 3’s Singapore leg. But here? I doubt she has much on-screen presence. Could be Ukraine’s version of Mrs. Doubtfire. Or Mrs. Featherbottom.
– Dustin hugs the fat woman. Chipmunks read the clue outside. It’s a detour. Make the Music or Find the Music.
In Make the Music, teams travel three miles to this hip hop club and join Kiev’s rap movement.
Kiev. Ukraine. Rap movement? Oh my god. Jamie Kennedy may be in paradise. This is the only place where his rap music will be taken seriously.
Teams are required to write and perform a rap song that incorporates the names of the countries they have visited so far on the race.
So uh. . .I’ll come up with one right now.
First we went to China
Where I broke through the Great Wall of Vagina
Then there was Ulaanbaatar
You never thought this globetrottin’ hip hop could take it this far
From there we hit up the jet to Vietnam
You know Tyler & James got into trouble
Hangin’ round that Viet Bong
Got up on the elephants to In-dee-uh
Some fellas hit up the brothel and didn’t play it safe
Now they’ve contracted that gonorr-ee-uh
We’ve gotta move to Kuwait
Cuz you know this music can’t afford
To take a break
It’s off to Mauritius
Where I slipped a b—- my tongue
And she thought
“Oh Wacky, that’s delicious!”
I got in my yacht and saw Madagascar
Me and my homies got into a struggle
Now those thugs be in a Hertz
Ridin’ out to a grave in that car
But we gotta move to Finland
The grounds may be bogged down and muddy
Ladies there know I can please to the Finnish
But what I’m really missin’
Is the real scene here in Ukraine
Where you fine b—es and hos
Can give killer brain
See? I incorporated all of the countries, plenty of rhymes, violence, sex, AIDS, more sex, planes, boats, yachts, and drugs. Then more sex. A hip hop song in the truest form.
– The judge is Kiev’s top rap artist. Once he approves he will give them their next clue.
If you thought Kiev’s rap artist looks like Kevin Federline dressing up in Public Enemy’s apparel. . .
Then you would be right. It’s the only country that would approve K-Fed’s VISA.
– In Find the Music, teams travel five miles to the National Music Academy of Ukraine. Once there they must search amongst thousands of sheets of. . .sheet music for the piano part for Concert Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra. Then they must search 120 rooms in the Conservatory for one of six pianists waiting to play music. When the pianist has finished playing the sheet music, teams will receive their next clue.
This is my nightmare. Play for the least savvy hip hop scene in the world or be stuck in an endless wonder of classical music. The only way to make this situation worse is if Country music was involved. Or Julia Roberts.
– Dustin & Kandice will Make the Music. They run out o there before Tyler & James could follow. Tyler & James decide to Find the Music. C’mon. I really wanted to hear Tyler & James’ stoner rap. I’m disappointed. They run into Dustin’s car and ask what they’re going to do. Kandice answers that they’ll rap. Tyler says ‘oh my god’. Luckily he won’t have to see their rap until months after filming.
– Tyler asks directions to the Conservatory. Dustin wants to lose Tyler & James before asking for directions. Tyler & James start driving.
– Chos look back to see Bama. Godwin asks if Erwin knows the local address. Erwin says they’ll need local help for that. Guess what that means? Back across the ocean. Er, I mean another gas station. Karlyn is pissed that Chos have a map, a clue, directions, and yet need to stop for the tenth time since they landed in Kiev. It’s not even the Detour portion. Plenty of race remains.
– Chos and Karlyn are hangin’ at a gas station as a man points to the map Erwin is holding down. Once again, Karlyn doesn’t find the sense in this occurring. Dustin & Kandice decide to stop some young people on the road. Ones who look like rappers, specifically.
– They receive directions once. James says he really wants first on this leg after having this lead for such a long time. In addition, James will be disappointed because Dustin & Kandice have won two legs in a row. They want a turn.
Did they forget they won the first leg in China?
– Dustin & Kandice find the Dance & Grove. Tyler & James are at the Conservatory.
DUSTIN: We’re ready to break it down!
This is getting painful. Woman directs Chipmunks to pick one of many carefully laid outfits.
My eyes burn by the blatant poserisms at work here.
KANDICE: I’m gonna do the money.
Big Pun has rapped about women who only want to do the money.
DUSTIN: I wish I knew how to pretend as a rapper.
KANDICE: Like stick your hand in your pants?
Bonafide hip hop star.
– Tyler & James are at the less nauseating Conservatory. They are told to dress up in formal wear. Suit, tie, et al. Meanwhile the Chipmunks are in their get up.
I swear I’ve seen equally cringeworthy wannabe rap stars somewhere before. They look very familiar.
Nevermind. Found it!
– Tyler & James agree to look for the sheet music systematically. Row by row. Somehow Rob & Kim survive a car breaking down because they are third to find the Fat Lady. Chos and Bama were given a huge break but failed to capitalize on it. Rob & Kim decide to rap. Co-ed rap duo. It didn’t work for City High. Sure as hell won’t work for these two.
KIM: Baby, I want to ask these people because they look hip.
People look hip? Look wit it? Drop wit it. Roll wit it. Don’t worry about a damn thang.
– Dr. Evil hates being snubbed.
Come here. Pronto. I’m with it. I’m hip. Tuka tuka tuka tuka. Don’t look at me like I’m freakin’ Frankenstein. Ask me for some directions.
– The young people suggest that it’s better to drive. They agree to get in the car with the cab driver. Holy crap, this cab driver must be bored out of his skull to guide Rob & Kim all day. All of the race money in their pockets wouldn’t be motivating enough for me to stay with them for the day.
– Erwin does not see any apartment buildings. He thinks they need better directions. Uh oh. I think Bama will blow up like the mud volcanoes in the tank training facility. The conflict music plays. Godwin agrees to pull over as they ask somebody. Karlyn says for the millionth time that it’s pointless to stop every five seconds. Lyn asks Karlyn why not own up and do the navigation. Godwin comments that Bama looks shady.
You mean shady or frustrated that you’ve put them horus behind the leading three teams who have not exactly had a perfect day? There’s still a freakin’ detour.
– Karlyn doesn’t like to speak bad about Chos because she loves them, but she admits Erwin has a way of being indecisive like he’s too afraid to go lost. Lyn asks Karlyn where to go. Karlyn directs her and they take off. Godwin comments that Bama is making a run for it. Karlyn says that her and Lyn need to be more independent from now on. Godwin drops a F-bomb. Karlyn wishes to be fearless.
– Erwin is disappointed that Bama went ahead without them. Lyn feels zero guilt about it. Erwin announces the alliance with Bama is over. He sees their car ahead and decides to follow them. His greatest stroke of decisiveness all day.
– James finds the piece of sheet music. They start searching the practice rooms. Dustin & Kandice are finishing the lyrics to their terrible rap. Tyler delivers the sheet music to the pianist. Chipmunks grab the mic. Dare I transcribe their words?
A race around the world
And we’re here to say
We are from the U-S-A!
Kuwait heat and we carried some bags
By the time it was over, we looked like hags.
In Madagascar we were number one
In Mauritius we were having fun in the sun
Then there was Finland where we cracked some limestone
All I heard her say was “Moan, moan, moan.”
Finally in the Ukraine
We’re here let’s rock
Give us a hand and we’ll stop our. . .
Rap. Give them a hand and they’ll stop their rap. Instantly everyone gives them a hand. Wise choice. Very wise.
Contest for Master Lyricist:
WACKY P: 1
TAR RACERS: 0
– K-Fed approves with zero taste and hands them the clue. Tyler & James’ mini concert is done as well. Both teams read that they must drive two miles through the streets of Kiev to the Great Patriotic War Museum. This tribute to victory in WWII is the pit stop for this leg of the race.
– Both teams scurry to change.
– ROB: Are you gonna make it funny?
KIM: I don’t care. Just tryin’ to make it rhyme.
The thought of Rob pursuing comedy is something my funny bone cannot contain. Please pursue stand-up, Rob. You’re a natural born talent. Don’t listen to what the hating foreign Ukrainians say.
– Chos are directly behind Bama. Erwin knows that Bama has good intuition. Then why the heck did Bama not lead from the beginning? Karlyn is pissed that the Chos aren’t running their own race. Well it must be a shock to their system for it all to change in the last eight days of the race.
– Tyler & James ask for directions and get into the car. Chipmunks pay the cab to lead them to the pit stop. Rob & Kim are led to the studio and invite the young people into the studio. Needless to say these two locals are reluctant.
The picture you see in the Dictionary when looking up the word ‘reluctance’?
– Bama pulls over. So do Chos. Chos are lost and decide to follow Bama into the apartment. Both teams have the clue simultaneously. Bama decide to rap. Erwin wants to rap as well because all they have to do is rap in English and recall the countries. Karlyn writes the names of countries on her hand.
– We get to hear some of Rob & Kim’s rap.
KIM: Drivin’ round the world
Seen a lot of places
Started out in China
Saw a lot of faces
I think Rappin’ Granny from America’s Got Talent would be more pleasant than this.
I have no hope for this world when David Hasselhoff bowed before the Granny.
– Lyn asks for directions to the Dance and Grove Studio Bar. Erwin asks Godwin if they want to follow. Godwin doesn’t want to follow and prefers to get directions. Erwin thinks Godwin has too much pride.
– ROB: Can’t wait to see where we go next
Travelin’ in this great great world.
Aw. I wanted to hear the rest of their rap. 😥
WACKY P: 2
TAR RACERS: 0
But seriously, I think Rob’s rap worked out as well as his comedy career. If that’s any consolation.
– Rob & Kim is awarded a clue. I think K-Fed gave him a clue so those suckas would leave the premises immediately. Rob exits and asks the locals who refused to go inside for directions. The taxi driver is abandoned as the two locals enter Rob & Kim’s car. Rob says they rock.
– James reads the map and thinks it should take them to the statue. Tyler & James park. Dustin sees the statue from afar. It’s really tall. They park. Both teams run wildly around the park. Dang tat statue is enormous. So who wins the round?
Phil doesn’t care. He is in total awe and mesmerized by the moustache laying before him He will have to check in the teams while keeping his eyes on the ‘stache.
– It’s Tyler & James. Phil informs them they are team number one despite the screwed over nature of the TBC leg. They awarded a trip for two to Puerto Vallarta in Mexico. They get to swim dolphins and cruise through the canopy. Tyler & James feel great to retain the number one spot for the first time since the beginning of the game.
– Karlyn thinks she is quite the composer because she already has a rap written down in five minutes and it rhymed. She hopes not to look like complete idiots. Eh, you’ll improve upon Chipmunks’ and Rob & Kim’s performance. Buh-lee that.
– Chipmunks finish second. Chos ask for directions to the Dance & Grove but no one knows. Heh, Dance & Grove may very well be the name of a TAR team in ten years.
– Phil reminds them that an all-female team has never won the race. Dustin cuts in to say nothing will stop them. Not even the embarrassment of their rap.
– Godwin thinks he is done because no one knows where the Dance & Grove is. They switch detour options and ask directions to the Conservatory. A couple agrees to lead them to the Conservatory. Rob & Kim are officially third.
– The two teams are in their respective tasks. Erwin jokes that it’s impossible for another team to rap with ‘Mongolia’.
Oh. My. God. That. Is. Amazing. Fo real skees.
KARLYN: Bring it down bring it down bring it down
Karlyn uses these same lyrics when telling her kids to be quiet at home. They always cause such a ruckus.
KARLYN: That’s right! Yeah! Boy!
I will never listen to Dr. Dre again. I’ve lost all motivation to listen to rap.
– Erwin has found the sheet music. Off to the practice rooms they go.
Here we are
On the race
We don’t know how we got to this place
We’ve been to US, China, Mongolia, Vietnam, and
When we get to the prize
We’re gonna buy a lot
We had to travel far and foreign talk.
We win the money we buy a new carrr
WACKY P: 3
TAR RACERS: 0
Another bonafide rap star. That’s right!
Bring it down bring it down bring it down.
Well she did meet requirements, I must say.
– Chos keep looking through the Conservatory. They finally succeed as Godwin finds one. They stand through the boring song in each other’s arms. Brotherly love. Chos before hos. Bama somehow receives the clue for their awful rap.
– Bama asks a taxi for directions and asks him to lead them there. Karlyn knows it is down to the last two teams. She assumes it’s the Chos. Karlyn prays that she is not last.
– Godwin will go to the car as Erwin finds a cab. Chos are in their car and get ready to drive. Erwin tells Godwin to go straight. Karlyn hopes that the Chos are lost despite how awful that sounds.
– GODWIN: Why is everybody on the street?
ERWIN: Maybe it’s the day where they close it off to traffic.
That. . .doesn’t make any sense at all.
– Godwin is sweating as an officer approaches the vehicle. Godwin asks if he can go straight through. Wow. Erwin is a horrible navigator. He just told Godwin to go straight through a place you can’t drive.
– Godwin is told to turn off the car and instructed to follow the officer.
GODWIN: Am I in trouble?
Heh. I don’t know why, but after being told to get out of a car by a police officer, this small response always sticks out to me.
Poor Chos. They are the nicest racers ever but yet are not only the only team to get in trouble by police, but they’ve been in trouble by police twice. Having fun with water guns then this?
– Karlyn wonders how far the place is. She says this is the closest they will ever be to a million dollars. The officer tells Chos that the whole street is closed. Chos find a man speaking English to translate for them when dealing with the officer. Erwin asks the guy to say they are very sorry and didn’t know the whole street was closed. You think barriers would have been up to indicate a street closure. Or the Chos were oblivious. I don’t know. Maybe traffic police in Ukraine isn’t the greatest.
– So are the Chos free to go? It’s extremely clear this was an honest mistake.
This was my reaction when I originally saw this episode six years ago:
– Bama finishes the round in fourth. Both hug Phil. Lyn said it was a looong leg. The officer lets the Chos go. Well several pylons are set up on the street. I suppose Chos could have known. It’s pitch black now. Phil delivers the inevitable. In addition, they’re eliminated. No regrets from either of them. They hug it out. Phil asks why they raced the race so differently from any other team ever.
– Erwin says it was a personal thing and a race thing. They talk about their friendship with Kentucky and Bama. Godwin is shedding tears and can barely speak. He wanted to do what he thought was right. Erwin wanted to race in a way that would make them feel good when they wake up the next morning.
Next time on TAR: Four teams remain with only one non-elimination to go. Coalitions and alliances, which have been prevalent the whole season, are finally dissolved. Minimal cooperative efforts between teams. Can the Chipmunks be the first all-female team to win? And why is Phil not asking Bama if they will be the first all-female team to win? Has Phil written off Bama?
P.S. Phil was detained in Ukraine for a couple days. No joke. I bet it was a strong contributor to TAR not returning to the country. Also, it could be the fact that they went to an apartment building as a route marker to visit a random Fat Lady singing. Finland and Ukraine aren’t exactly standout countries in the TAR universe.
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
6th David &Mary 6.13 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
5th Erwin & Godwin 4.70
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
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) David & Mary
The couch potato superfan parents from the south. Production did an excellent job of exploiting every realm of these facts. They were a decent casting choice because of the unusual way they phrased things.
“Fast fast quack quack!” leaps to mind.
On paper they looked like a great casting choice, but on the show they were flops. Well, they should have been a complete flop. Production manipulated their edit in a way that makes them appear noble and ‘beyond the competitiveness of the race’ and create one of the most popular teams in the history of TAR. Of course a chunk of the hardcore fans saw through the edit and found David & Mary’s strategy to be ridiculous.
I don’t understand why you would go on the race if you sacrifice yourself to your favourite teams unconditionally. The Chos can do it and be a top tier finisher. David & Mary knew by round one that they were an extremely weak team that needed every advantage they could get. If you exclude the Fast Forward they won thanks to the Chos, Kentucky finished dead last in three consecutive rounds.
Mary was frustrating and hilarious as a racer when she cussed out David for every action while she did nothing.
David & Mary’s story should have ended with how they were eliminated this season–sacrificing themselves to their allies. That should have clued in producers to not use their popularity as a draw in a future season.
Unfortunately production could not avoid the temptation.
P.S. Did you know they were from Kentucky and had kids?
6) Cho Bros.
Yeah, I think it’s only fitting that the ringleader of the Six Pack finishes in sixth overall for this ranking.
The Chos may be the most unconditionally loyal people to be on the race. They were the reason why there is never a case after about episode three where the Six Pack doesn’t finish in three consecutive positions. Even when it came to the other teams they didn’t feel like lying. On one hand, we wonder why such a team would be cast for a million dollar competition. On the other hand, it was refreshing to see a team whose last goal was to win but yet be skilled enough to make a deep run. It’s a combination I doubt we will ever see again.
They put themselves on the line to the point where they let several teams pass by them all because they wanted their teammates who may have been terrible at certain tasks to stay as a unit. That is true commitment. And let’s not forget the Fast Forward Fakeout that they engineered for David & Mary to be saved from the non-elimination penalty.
Lastly, they have a goofy streak. Who forgets the water gun stunt at the airport as a playful joke? Well, most people I imagine. TAR 10 isn’t exactly a standout season.
The Chos could arguably be the most unique racers of all time.
7) 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.
8) 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) Helsinki -> Kiev (We manage to avoid the dreaded aftermath of a To Be Continued leg. This is by sheer luck because the trailing three teams were due to arrive in Kiev at the same time as the leading teams, but their plane was delayed by thirty minutes. Otherwise I’d cuss out production for being idiots for the fifth season in a row.
Kim hopes she can catch up to Tyler & James.
Kim hopes she can catch up to Tyler & James.
The Return of the Prodigal Son?
The Return of the Prodigal Son?
Yeah, that was a big strike for this race. TAR struggled with producing footage, but other than this hiccup they did a decent job. Rob & Kim were only shown for the car breaking down. Bama was heavily featured for fracturing the Six Pack (which became the Four Pack) for good. Apparently the first nine episodes failed to convey that Erwin is one of the most indecisive navigators in the history of the show. Perhaps that is why they were desperate for a Six Pack alliance. They couldn’t function without other voices to help them.
The Oxford tank Fast Forward from TAR 3 episode 3 was revived as the teams did a solo roadblock. I don’t mind it when a task is put on the shelf for seven seasons until its next use. As opposed to some tasks that are used several seasons in a row. Like a needle in a haystack.
Chos always waiting for Bama while Bama tried as hard as they could to break away from them is one of the funnier events this season. Bama clearly can do this race on their own.
What’s even funnier though is the rap task in the detour where teams make up the worst raps in my life. Jeff Probst’s niece could rap better than these teams. At least we found out that I am the best lyricist.
The uneasy partnership between Tyler & James and the Chipmunks was another highlight. Add in that the nicest guys finish last due to trouble in the law was a fitting ending to an overall solid round of play.)
6) 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.)
7) 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.)
8) 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.)
9) 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.)
10) 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.)