TAR 10 episode 11 ranking

Eleventh leg

Previously on TAR: After a harrowing descent in Helsinki, Finland, teams received a surprise. And kept racing to Kiev, Ukraine. Dustin & Kandice and Tyler & James led the way. But their uneasy alliance continued. Teams got down and dirty in Soviet tanks. Then cleaned up for a musical detour. Tyler & James held their lead. While Lyn & Karlyn broke free from their alliance with Erwin & Godwin. And in the end, the Chos couldn’t catch up. Now four teams remain. Who will be eliminated next?

– Intro time. Do I really have to finish out this season? None of these teams are particularly compelling.

– Phil introduces Kiev, and the Great Patriotic War Museum.

Phil’s Questions: With the elimination of their Six Pack allies, can Lyn & Karlyn survive on their own?

That’s it. It’s all about the Six Pack, per usual.

– Tyler & James, who arrived first at 733pm will depart at 733am. Tyler reads that teams must travel nearly three thousand miles to Ouarzazate, Morocco. An oasis wedged between the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert. Once there, teams will drive four miles to the Casbah District and find Antitiques Du Sud where they must choose one of these four unique good luck charms. One of these which will bring good fortune at the pit stop. After choosing one, teams will receive their next clue from this man.

I saw him in a cartoon once.

When unveiled the man is. . .
.
.
.

.

Father?!

Ah yes. One of the forty thieves. I knew it!

By the way, did the extreme close-up of the man ever frighten you when you originally saw this episode? I know I did. The effects of watching TAR when it was in the 1000pm slot on Wednesdays.

– Tyler wants the Final 3 to be himself and James, Rob & Kim, and Bama. Why? Because Dustin & Kandice are really tough, have a lot of drive, and have been at the top of the pack for a long time.

Suddenly a random shot of the Chipmunks drinking Coke at the pit stop is inserted. Why is it grey and why this shot? It’s extremely random.
– Eight minutes later Dustin & Kandice depart. Dustin brags that she wrote a paper on Morocco in college. Although she butchers the name of the city she is visiting. Dustin goes on to tell us that the million dollars is not what is driving them but rather it’s the spirit of the competition. Haven’t heard that one before.

– Tyler doesn’t know which direction the airport is. That’s understandable because James is supposed to be navigating. Tyler does the work himself as he tells the cab in the lane next to him to pull over. The cab agrees to lead them to the airport. That’s the go-to move in the past couple legs it seems.

– Rob & Kim depart at 819am. Rob thinks the race is helping him grow and that he needs to breathe and calm down. Kim knows Rob is starting to learn that he can’t always control everything. As we see Rob struggle with the clutch once again. If he’s not in control there shouldn’t be a reason for him to freak out. Sure enough he is calm and recovers the clutch.

– Chipmunks are first to the airport. They made up eight minutes. A person at the airport tells them to go to the Milan counter. At the counter there is a flight to Casablanca via Vienna. We’re told it’s as tight of a connection as you can have. As a viewer we have to take their word for it because we are not told the exact duration of the connection. They purchase the tickets.

– Tyler & James hate that the blondes beat them to the airport. They go into the line behind the Chipmunks. There’s no more seats. The Chipmunks smile at this news but I for one would be uneasy. Why? Because being alone on a tight connection is extremely risky. Why not settle for being on a flight with the other teams knowing that beating out Bama is all you need to do.

– The Milan flight gets into Casablanca at 300pm. The flight from Casablanca to Quarzazate does not get in until 1055pm. So the Chipmunks are scrambling for a flight that will make them wait eight hours regardless if they are there first? And since the first flight doesn’t get in until 1055pm, 99% of the time an equalizer is ahead. After all it’s a shop. The alarm bells should be ringing for the Chipmunks to settle for the more stable alternative. Not a risky connection that could leave you stranded and have you twelve hours behind other teams.

– Bama is last at 908am. So it’s 95 minutes from first to last. It’s an impressive spread considering how quick the previous leg seemed to be. We are told teams were given zero dollars for this leg. Budget cuts.

KARLYN: What language do they speak in Morocco?
LYN: Moroccan.
KARLYN: That’s not a language.

No s—, Sherlock. And if you knew any history about North Africa, you’d know everyone speaks either French or Arabic. From Morocco to Egypt. Sure, Morocco is straight across from Spain, but the Moorish presence in Spain is stronger than the Spanish presence in Morocco. French or Arabic, baby.

Did I say ‘baby’? I’ve been listening to Rob & Kim too much.

– Lyn says she is surprised to be the last ones standing of the Six Pack. It’s a position she takes with pride. They started the race by themselves and they’ll proceed to end the race by themselves. How fitting. Lyn thinks it will be tough being stacked up against the three remaining teams but they are ready for it.

– Rob & Kim are at the airport.

ROB: Let’s go baby, c’mon.

1.

– Rob & Kim see Tyler & James and meet up with them. Tyler & James inform them of the Milan flight but it’s full. Rob & Kim discover a flight that goes through Paris. It arrives at 435pm in Casablanca. Chipmunks see them and chase them down to find out which flight they are on.

– Tyler & James and Rob & Kim are on the inevitable 1055pm flight. So this whole airport scene doesn’t matter in the slightest. All that matters is if Dustin & Kandice are dumb enough to stay on their Milan flight.

– Chipmunks ask Rob which flight they are on. Rob lies and says it gets in at 100pm. Typically this is an equally stupid move because all you are doing is motivating the other team to stop at nothing until they find a better flight. In this situation it is harmless because everyone has no choice but to be on the 1055pm flight. This is strictly for Rob’s amusement.

– Chipmunks talk to each other and are playing along. Doesn’t sound like they buy it. Rob says he lied to the Blondes because he doesn’t like their arrogant style of racing.

By ‘arrogant’, you mean needlessly betraying every other team possible to piss them off in the first five rounds of the race so they are screwed for help later on, then yes, they are arrogant.

– Rob jokes to the Chipmunks that they are pissed off. Tyler & James play along too.

DUSTIN: I’m just surprised because we can’t figure out why we didn’t find an earlier one.
ROB: You know why? Because it didn’t exist.

It would have been better to see them scramble for own amusement, babe. -_- I mean Rob. Dammit!

– Dustin isn’t too impressed with Rob’s bluff. Turnabout is fair play, I’m afraid.

– The three teams purchase tickets for their respective flights. Chipmunks are stupid enough to be on the Milan flight. Wow. Isn’t this the team that has been dominating since Kuwait?

– Bama is at the airport. They will fly to Paris, but will be on a later connection at 1000pm. Therefore, there will be 55 minutes to board the Quarzazate flight. I’m curious what happens if they don’t make the connection.

– Milan airport. Chipmunks land. They hurry to make the connection. We see them running accompanied by extreme close-ups. The recommendation is to show up fifty minutes in advance for the flight. Dustin & Kandice have only five minutes remaining. They are told it’s not okay. Who knew that making a stupid move would result in devastating consequences. Begging ensues.

DUSTIN: She’s so unhelpful and so unkind!

Well you did approach a counter five minutes before take-off begging to be let on. It wouldn’t brighten up my day if I was that agent.

– So Chipmunks look for another flight. If I were them I’d scramble to Paris. The Paris flight lands. Tyler & James and Rob & Kim are on the earlier flight to Casablanca. Phil recaps this information.

– Bama is on a three hour layover. Karlyn purchased an enormous map of Morocco and is drawing lines on it. Best way to pass time on a 3 hour layover. Karlyn says they are smarter racers than people think.

– James wonders where the blondes are. It’s the question of the day. Bama’s 1000pm flight lands. Fifty-five minutes until the flight takes off. Everyone feels the presence of the Chipmunks looming. James thinks they have too much power over them. Whatever the heck that means. Anticipation is killing Rob.

– A flight mysteriously lands. It’s the Chipmunks. The first time in TAR history we see a team board a flight on their own without explanation. It’s like they want to make villains out of the Chipmunks. As if they have the ability to conjure magic planes to anger the people sitting on the couch at home.

– Chipmunks smile as they wait for the three teams to see them on the flight. The moment is drawn out. They try to be as silent as possible. James looks like he had seen a ghost.

ROB: I was literally crushed when I saw them. They took an unnecessary risk to gain time to get to an airport that we were all connecting from. I was hoping the way they would play this game would be their fatal mistake.

One word to describe the Chipmunks’ game to this point: Unnecessary.

If this were grade school, this would be their “Oops I Did it Again” face.

– Ouarzazate. Chipmunks are first to walk to their marked car. None of the other teams are in sight. They pay to follow a taxi. Rob & Kim and Tyler & James stroll out of the airport to see the Chipmunks drive with a taxi in tow. I suppose nobody is in a hurry for a midnight route marker.

– Bama is last into a car. Chipmunks see a bunch of SUVs behind them. They try to speed ahead but the trailing teams keep up. Tyler knows the Blondes tried to shake them off like Mariah Carey. Rob wants to eliminate them so bad and is over them.

– Chipmunks pull over with a taxi. The taxi driver is asking someone. Heh. I guess the taxi driver wanted to make a quick buck. The trailing two teams are confused. All three teams are asking for directions in southeastern Morocco after midnight. Yeah. There won’t be many people on the road. The only populated creatures on the road would be bats and owls.

– Bama are first to the shop. Freakin’ Bama. They pick a necklace and receive a clue. Lyn reads that teams must drive six miles through the desert town and find Atlas Studios. A famous Moroccan back lot used to produce epic period films such as Cleopatra and Gladiator. Here is where teams will find their next clue.

Where they filmed Gladiator and Cleopatra? That is freakin’ epic.

LYN: Caution: Yield ahead.

Whoa. There’s Yields on this race. I can’t recall one being mentioned yet.

*checks Wikipedia*

Ah. There was one other Yield during this season. It was in leg four but was unaired. I suppose production wanted to do an in-depth documentation of Tom n Terry going from first to last while kayaking in the ocean.

– We hear our first and only Yield explanation of the season from Phil. Essentially this is only for new viewers or those who somehow have forgotten the Yield twist in the past couple months despite it being reinforced since season five. Don’t get me started on why there is only two Yields.

– Bama wants to drive away on a road where no one will see them. They know it’s not a question of if they will yield but rather who they will yield.

Hmmmm. Who would Bama yield? Is there a team who they simultaneously find to be threats as well as competitive? Can you figure it out?

– Tyler & James and Rob & Kim are letting the Chipmunks do all of the work asking for directions. They laugh about it. That’s right. Tyler & James and Rob & Kim are so distrustful of the Chipmunks that they have paralyzed them to be slaves for the past several rounds. The tables have turned, Mr. Bond.

– Bama drives in the opposite direction of the teams but avoid holding up the clue. The teams laugh at Bama thinking they have no idea what they are doing. Tyler & James laugh loudly. The joke is on them because Lyn is asking directions for the next route marker. Lyn is brave and asks a man on the street to hop into her car to give precise directions to Atlas Studios. Keep in mind that this is well past one o’ clock in the morning.

– Chipmunks are still talking to the man on the street for directions. Dustin is fearful as the Ouarzazate nightlife comes to life.

Just coming to say hello. We don’t get to see untamed chipmunks in Morocco.

– Tyler & James and Rob & Kim observe the mob. They laugh as the Chipmunks scramble to their vehicle. Kandice practically has to push a man out of the car to shut the door.

I love the kid who attempts to put his bike on the back of the car.

– James jokes they are probably getting raped. A bit of dark humour I must say. Tyler & James and Rob & Kim talk to each other through their cars. They know the Chipmunks will not figure it out soon as the mob is mobbing them. They decide to ask some kids as Rob & Kim take the reins.

– Chipmunks understand the mob is harmless and keep a kid in their car who is willing to give directions. They are a bit uncomfortable taking a kid at 100am. Probably because kidnapping may or may not be against the law in Morocco.

– Rob gets directions from a kid. He convinces a kid to join him in the car.

TYLER: We’ve got an escort, huh?
JAMES: Yep.

And Americans wonder why they are not well liked by tourists. Picking up kids and driving them across town in the middle of the night certainly isn’t going to reverse the reputation.

– Kandice is worried about not being with the main group, but feels lucky that she has her new friend with her. The only remaining coalition is at the antique shop together. It’s first come first served. Rob & Kim happen to touch the entryway first before them and Tyler & James are undoubtedly informed by production regarding the rules.

– Rob & Kim take the necklace from Aladdin’s father and are awarded their next clue.

KIM: The Blondes were here cause there’s two left.

Was the Six Pack really treated as this much of a joke? Nobody likes giving Bama credit.

– Rob & Kim tell Tyler & James about the Yield and how the Blondes finished ahead. Both teams get into their cars and drive out together. Rob & Kim lead because the ‘escort’ is in their vehicle. They are blown away by the Yield.

– Bama wants to yield the Barbies. Blondes, Barbies, Two Girls, Chipmunks, Beauty Queens, everyone has a nickname for them. Karlyn has wanted to slow them down since the beginning of the race.

– Yet again a local inside a team’s car directs them to the wrong place. The Chipmunks reach a dead end as the man inside the car was certain this was the place. There’s not a good screen cap, but I assure you it is far out of town. Dustin wants to go back to the area where they picked the kid up.

– James will kill someone if his face is plastered on the Yield sign. At least James will have done something remotely interesting for once. Granted at the expense of another racer. Hopefully Rob or Kim. I just never want to hear the word ‘babe’ or any variants ever again.

– Chipmunks are flabbergasted when they find the place. Sounds like they did a complete circle of Ouarzazate. They are certain all teams have come by and that their necklace is the last one. I imagine they deduced that because there are no other necklaces there. Brilliant!

– Dustin’s face drops as she reads out the Yield information to Kandice. Both are sarcastic about it. Both hate being last with a Yield ahead.

DUSTIN: How did the Sistas find it before we did? The Sistas may be in the lead right now.

What? Sistas? Lead? Nope. If the Einsteinian minds of Tyler & James and Rob & Kim couldn’t entertain the thought of Bama being in the lead, I don’t see how the Chipmunks could be right.

And I can’t bring myself to refer to them as the Sistas. It just doesn’t fit Lyn & Karlyn. A few months ago one of my superfan friends defined Dustin & Kandice as racists. Right when I saw this clip it clicked that referring to Lyn & Karlyn as ‘sistas’ is likely why he viewed them as racists.

Sure enough it was. In this moment of personal brilliance, we analyzed if there is any way that Lyn & Karlyn can be referred to as ‘sistas’ without racial context. Rumour has it that Karlyn possessed a ton of attitude. This certainly comes across in episodes. But attitude that would relate to the epitome of ‘sista’? A bit of a stretch. But we do generalizations all the time when nicknaming teams. Look at production. They essentially labeled a team as ‘the girl with one leg and her boyfriend’. Lyn is a complete 180 from Karlyn. To think of Lyn as a ‘sista’ is completely laughable.

On the other hand, the nicknames for Dustin & Kandice could be equally offensive. The two most frequent nicknames used for them are ‘Blondes’ and ‘Barbies’. This is based on sheer appearance. Do either Dustin or Kandice have a Barbie-like personality? No, they’re just idiots who backstabbed every team early on which led to Tyler & James taking every precaution to paralyze them and use them for information in the second half of the season.

If there were barbies on TAR, they’d trade in all of their money at the pit stop for cookies.

Now that’s a Barbie on TAR.

– Karlyn says that the Chipmunks get everywhere before they do. Lyn throws in a ‘what goes around comes around’. Dustin prepares to be yielded.

– Lyn wants to be excited with caution. Kandice doesn’t feel comfortable at the back of the pack. Really? What a unique answer. Dustin doesn’t want to be yielded.

– Bama is first to the route marker. Unfortunately it is closed. The Yield is beyond the gates. Karlyn whines that it is the one time they have the Yield. On the other hand, the other teams would have been pissed that the one time Bama has the lead that they get to use the biggest reward of the season besides a Fast Forward.

– Bama takes a nap. Rob & Kim and Tyler & James get there together. They see the SUV. Tyler is stunned that they were beaten by Bama. Chipmunks are there last. They are ecstatic to see hours of operation are 8am to 9pm. Dustin hopes to wake up to a new day. A new day for teams to bash the Chipmunks for their competitive and reckless spirit.

– Morning comes. Tyler & James discuss the situation outside the gates. Tyler describes the tension and how everyone is speculating who will yield who and who will get there first. This is the first situation I can think of in TAR where using the Yield comes down to a mad dash after the gates open up.

– A man opens up the gates. Freddy Holliday isn’t around this season so nobody bashes their own head in.

– Tyler & James have the lead. Bama is way behind. Tyler & James choose to yield nobody. Rob & Kim are right behind and choose to yield no one. Really? 50/50 shot of it being the final elimination round of the season and you choose not to yield? Did you ignore what happened to Chip & Kim? You always have to use the final Yield because everyone knows it is a free-for-all.

– Of course, Chipmunks are third to the Yield mat because Bama is practicing for a running race with Gus McCleod.  We’ve been told of how much of a threat and how cutthroat since chipmunks are. Will they follow suit and not yield anybody and give us our first ever Yield-less season or will they crush the remnants of the Six Pack for good?

– Yeah. Chipmunks yield Bama. Tyler & James open the clue. It’s a roadblock. In this roadblock, one person must experience the thrills and chills of being a gladiator. They must choose one of these professional charioters on a high speed race around the stadium. During the hair-raising ride they must pull down two coloured flags matching the colour worn by their horse. Once they’ve pulled down two coloured flags, their charioter will hand them their next clue.

– Rob is doing this task for one reason and one reason only: Kim is petrified of horses. We’re treated to the first ever TAR flashback as we see Kim get clobbered by a tree while riding a horse. Good times.

– James is doing the roadblock. Tyler asks the Barbies if they are stoked to not be yielded. Kandice agrees and thanks them for not screwing them over. Bama knew they would be yielded by the Chipmunks and reluctantly turn over the glass and wait for the sand to run out before they can continue racing. Whoops. Copied Phil’s explanation verbatim.

– Kandice said she yielded them out of fear for not jeopardizing their chances of winning this game. Karlyn says she already hated them and expected it because the Chipmunks have shown no character. Eh, they don’t exactly have the most compelling personality. I’ll give you that. Karlyn says the Chipmunks have to live with it. Meanwhile Karlyn acts out that she can fall right to sleep at night.

– Dang. Full scale Gladiator production. I imagine this is the highest budget for any TAR task in history. A ton of people are gathered and in complete clothing. Dustin is doing the roadblock. James’ horse is freaking out. Everyone wonders what’s going on. Karlyn thinks she will have an advantage because there will be a lonely horse that won’t have to put up with several other horses around.

– Teams freak out as a random chariot crashes with two extras jumping off the chariot. Teams are relieved. Except Tyler who couldn’t be more pumped. Dustin feels like a legitimate gladiator. We all know gladiators had to pull flags down from a banner with actors surrounding the stadium. Dustin pulls the first one and thinks she is victorious in battle. Rob has a flag shortly after. James missed both flags despite Tyler wishing for James to grab both in one go.

– The hourglass is half full. Or half empty.

– Dustin comes around on a second lap and has the second flag. From last to first just like that. Rob has the second flag. James is behind as he takes the first one.

JAMES: Finally got a freakin’ flag.

Not just a regular flag. But a freaking flag.

– Chipmunks celebrate. Rob celebrates with the charioter. James is still working on another lap. Kandice wants to get out before she has to look at Bama. Lyn picks this up and comments that Kandice nor Dustin can make any eye contact.

– Karlyn flips off the Chipmunks.

LYN: Don’t do that. That’s ugly.
KARLYN: Sorry.

Wow. Lyn may as well put Karlyn in timeout. Suddenly they are a mother-daughter team. Karlyn couldn’t pretend to look more ashamed if she tried.

– Dustin reports to Kandice that Karlyn flipped her off. Kandice says not to even look over. It’s like the sun. Look too long and you’ll burn your eyes.

– Rob says it was fun and crazy. He reads that teams must drive 22 miles to the town of Idelssan. Once there they must locate the Cafe Pirgola. Here is where they will find their next clue. Kandice reads the clue next as they run by Bama.

KIM: You guys wanna work together to try and find it?
CHIPMUNKS: Yeah.

So after all of this time about distrusting and seeing the ridiculous amount of precautions Tyler & James take to keep the coalition intact by force rather than loyalty, Kim is crazy enough to ask them to be in a coalition? I’m curious if Kim assumed that the Chipmunks would use any means necessary to knock out Bama today.

ROB: The Beauty Queens are not to be trusted. But we use them from time to time.

Dang. The Chipmunks have really dug themselves a hole that they can’t get out. Tyler & James and Rob & Kim are raping them on the race course for the past few rounds. This is incredible.

– James has the last flag and is done. Tyler cheers him on. The sand has run out in the hourglass. Karlyn is doing the roadblock. Rob & Kim and Chipmunks leave together. Rob thinks it is crappy and crummy that Chipmunks yielded Bama. I suppose Rob wanted Bama to have at least a fighting chance rather than kick down the weakest team while they are still on the ground.

– Lyn finds it interesting that everyone finds the Chipmunks a threat but yet nobody yielded them. I suppose there was an unspoken rule for nobody to use the Yield. However I am shocked the two leading teams didn’t want to make a push to eliminate the Chipmunks rather than eliminate Bama by proxy of their own avoidance of using the Yield.

– Tyler & James read the clue while Karlyn dresses up. Tyler hires a taxi. It’s essentially a 3-team alliance against Bama.

– Karlyn has the first flag. Lyn doesn’t think they are far behind. Rob asks for directions from an adjacent cab on the road for directions. Tyler & James and their cabbie passes the two teams on the road. Chipmunks and Rob & Kim decide to follow Tyler & James accompanied by the hired cab.

– Karlyn is done. Lyn comments that she did it faster than the three leading teams. I have a feeling editing is making it much closer than it actually is.

– Bama reads the clue and slowly run to the car. Karlyn intends to make up time from the Yield. The three teams stop together at a gas station. The driver says Idelssan is fifteen kilometres away. James clues in that the driver doesn’t want to take them all the way. The new Six Pack hopes they are going the right way. Hilarious that the people most strongly opposing the previous Six Pack has formed a Six Pack of their own which has led to Bama beating them to a route marker and supposedly making up time after being yielded.

– Dustin notices Rob’s SUV has a flat tire. Her and Kandice laugh praying that Rob doesn’t figure it out for himself until it is too late. Gotta love driving on rims.

– Lyn pulls a page from the Cho book and finds a local on the street who knows the way. Karlyn takes him into the car. They’re lucky to find an escort who can go all the way.

– Kim says that Bama is good with directions. Kandice proclaims to not be an evil blonde but that she is a competitive blonde who doesn’t want to make people aware of their flat tires.

– Rob doesn’t like the way the car sounds. He wonders aloud if he has a flat tire. Rob slows down. Chipmunks pass them on the road and shout his tire is flat when they know it is quite clear to Rob himself. This is the fourth round of the game where Rob has broken down a car.  He is aware of this record himself. He’ll be an expert of changing tires by the end of this race.

Countries where Rob has broken down a car

Mongolia
Mauritius
Ukraine
Morocco

Three continents, four countries, countless hours wasted, congratulations Rob, you are the winner of The Amazing Road Fail!

– It’s a TAR record. Tyler points out that Rob has disappeared. The escort in Bama’s car needs to get out because Idelssan is too far. Bama is confident with their directions as they let the escort go.

– Rob is on the side of the road preparing to change the tire. He doesn’t see a jack and kicks the tire.

KARLYN: We’ve never finished first but yet we’re still hanging in there. I feel like there’s a higher power that still wants us in here.

Hot day in the Moroccan sun, eh?

– Rob is pissed there is no jack in the car. Kim asks what they do without a jack. Bama drives by Rob & Kim on the road. Lyn says under her breath that she would have picked them up if they were willing to yield the blondes.

KARLYN: If you have trouble every time you get in the car, well maybe it’s you and not the car.

After the fourth car breakdown, I have a feeling nobody would argue with you Karlyn. Except only Rob himself.

– Rob sees the jack but is stuck inside the car.

KIM: Do not give up right now.
ROB: . . .SWEEEEEEET.

Uh oh. He’s regurgitating his 90s lingo. You don’t like it when he’s a hipster. Hold him down, boys! This is going to be a bumpy ride.

– A car is stopping on the road for Rob & Kim. They are giving up their jack. Tyler & James are first to the route marker. Chipmunks are right behind. Tyler & James park. James reads the clue. It’s a detour.

KANDICE: It’s so Moroccan, I like it.

Curious Kandice, but do you know what it is when something is ‘Moroccan’? What existing stereotypes do you know about Morocco? While you’re at it, fill in the stereotypes for countries such as Guyana and Bangladesh.

– Back to the detour. It’s between Throw It or Grind It.

Whoa! TAR is crude! Really crude. How did this make it on air? Oh, the guy is wrapping his hand around a pot. My bad.

In Throw It, teams travel four miles to the town of Gadera and find this pottery shop. Once there they must use one of these local wheels to throw two properly made pots. Once an artisan has approved of both of their pots, they will receive their next clue.

In Grind It, teams travel four miles back to Ouarzazate and find this place–The Africa Horse Ranch and Olive Farm. They must use one of these olive mills to grind seventy-seven pounds of olives and fill these pressing sleeves. Once they’ve crushed the olives and filled the pressing sleeves, the olive miller will hand them their next clue.

In both detours, there are only three work stations. So it’s first come first served. Further budget cuts prevented a fourth work station being available. I doubt production wanted to put whoever was in fourth place in a further hole all because TAR intentionally set up three work stations to increase the odds of being completely effed over.

If teams are caught Ghost’ing, they must pick a new wheel and try again.

Disqualified from TAR. The punishment for the guy behind Demi was a bit harsh though.
– Tyler & James wants to go Ghost’ing. But Tyler wants to do the other one because it takes them back to Ouarzazate. Dustin, like Tyler, wants to go back to the city. Chipmunks take off and start driving. Tyler & James stay behind to get directions. Bama knows they are fourth place but could be in third due to not remembering that they just passed Rob & Kim. They could be higher depending on where Barbies and Tyler & James are.

– Chipmunks are off to olives. Tyler & James walk up to Chipmunks’ car. They ask what the Chipmunks are doing. Both parties tell the truth and tell each other to have fun. Dustin thinks that the pottery may be closer, but that the following task/pit stop could be in the main city. They do a City Slickers ‘yee haw’.

– Tyler asks James to read the pottery clue.

JAMES: Throw two pots–
TYLER: Dude. We have to make the pots. It’s not actually throwing them.

Okay. I laughed out loud. I admit it.

– Dustin sees the Sistas. She feels they are fuelled by their rage. Or the competition. But Dustin wants it to be about her I imagine. Okay, a wee bit judgmental on my part. I take it back.

– Bama is at the route marker. Tyler explains the task to James. They contemplate switching tasks. Tyler waves to the SUV thinking it’s Bama. Karlyn thought Tyler is waving because he thinks they are Rob & Kim. She couldn’t be more stoked. Sometimes Tyler waves regardless of alliances. Did you ever think about that, Karlyn?

– Tyler & James switch tasks which suits James because he wants to battle it out at tasks with other teams. Bama has the clue. Karlyn was an Art Major and said throwing pots is not easy. So they do the milling option. Dustin says it’s all about staying ahead. Kandice thinks it’s all about who made the right decisions.

– Tyler is surprised how much Bama has caught up since the Yield. Lyn chuckles that they are still in the game and the tide has changed all day long. Rob & Kim’s tire is changed. Dustin & Kandice know they have no maps but will try to survive. The Chipmunks drive by Rob & Kim on the road. Rob is furious that the Chipmunks wouldn’t stop.

Wait. The team you say you don’t trust is the team you make an alliance with and the moment you break down is when they make a run for it? Surprise, surprise, surprise, as Katie Gallagher would say.

ROB: We knew we couldn’t trust those girls from day one as far as we could throw them.

But yet they still fell for it. Wonderful.

– Tyler & James see Kim on the road. They give her directions to the detour. It’d be hilarious if Rob & Kim screw up the directions. Bama drives by Rob & Kim again. Karlyn hopes they won’t come back from it. Rob & Kim have the clue and choose to do the olives. Uh oh. Somebody is going to be screwed majorly. Three stations between four teams could get messy.

– Kandice & Dustin discuss street names and try to figure out where they should be. Tyler thinks it would be awesome if the Chipmunks drive by the route marker. It wouldn’t shock them because of how frequently the Chipmunks have been at the bottom this round. James says it is all about it being first come first served. He finally gets the twist for this round’s detour.

– Lyn finds it exciting that they could be moving up in the pack for the first time all season. Karlyn says her and Lyn are like cochroaches. They’ll keep coming back. Kim finds it frustrating that she won’t get a break. Rob attributes it to bad luck rather than his poor driving skills.

– James thinks Dustin & Kandice went too far. Chipmunks get directions from locals and are told it’s the direction where they came from. They sense what is about to go down. James points out the sign for the route marker. For the first time all season, Jason excels at navigating. It took eleven legs but he finally succeeded.

– Bama sees the route marker too and stop to head into the detour. Chipmunks repeat that it is first come first served. Tyler & James watch the demonstration. Bama appears to start on the task too. Two of three spots remain. Rob & Kim must be really far behind with their flat tire. All that happened for Chipmunks is that they needed to ask for directions.

– Kandice re-reads the clue and how it says to go TOWARDS Ouarazazate. Not INTO. Who knew a preposition is what could spell the end of the race for the chipmunks.

– Tyler & James and Bama continue working on the task. Rob sees the sign and drove by. Kim orders Rob to turn around. Chipmunks are still on the road. Rob & Kim have the third and final spot. Chipmunks are forced to be on the sidelines. Kandice hates that the team they yielded are ahead. Dustin doesn’t understand how they drove by the route marker.

– Now, if I were the leading three teams, I would conspire for everyone to finish the task simultaneously. Therefore Dustin & Kandice would have zero hope to catch up rather than bank on a staggered finish. But the three teams aren’t doing that.

– Tyler & James’ olives are grinded enough. So are Bama’s. They have the sleeves to start filling. Chipmunks observe which mill will be done first. Karlyn trash talks the Chipmunks who are within earshot.

DUSTIN: Smack smack smack.

For the second time all season, a team gets Talk to the Hand’d.

– Tyler & James fill their sleeves except for one. It’s good. The clue is in their hands. Chipmunks take over. Tyler reads that teams must drive 25 miles down the road to Marrakech (TAR 3 holla!) and see the white stone on the road with red and yellow stripes painted on it.

Oddly enough, the flag design is not much different from some of the national flags in West Africa.

– This stone signals teams to turn left into a nomadic Berber camp. This camp is the pit stop for this leg of the race. Last team to check in may be eliminated. Tyler & James hustle across the farm and into their car. Bama is done. Tyler & James know Marrakech is towards Ouarzazate. Tyler is stoked that they preserved the lead they barely had over Bama and are on their way to a first place finish.

– Bama is happy to be on the up and up and to have never been so close to finishing first. Karlyn views the Yield as good luck. She thinks it sucks for the Barbies who just started the detour.

KARLYN: Karma is a B!

B for Barbie.

– Chipmunks want to use the donkey that is hanging around doing the milling in another spot. Rob & Kim are still doing the task. Tyler has the route info in his hands. He swears he saw signs for Marrakech in town. James trusts that Tyler saw signs but knows Bama gets places fast.

– Karlyn cannot wait for Phil to announce that the Barbies are eliminated. It is what she has wanted all race. She says the evilness has bitten the Barbies’ back. Lyn produces a mocking laugh.

– Rob & Kim fill the sleeves. Chipmunks are literally milling about. Rob & Kim are done and have their clue. The Chipmunks are in dead last but refuse to give up. Their olives are produced and start on the sleeves. Kim is proud of Rob, and thinks the Chipmunks should hope it’s a non-elimination.

– Tyler thinks Marrakech is money.

Actually in Arabic, Massari is money. Not Marrakech. If you listened to Canadian R&B, you would know this.

– Karlyn believes the necklace has changed their luck. Tyler & James see the marker on the road and jog lightly into the pit stop. Tyler claps. The track skips comically as James shouts that they forgot the good luck charm. They have to run all the way back up a steep hill. And guess who shows up?

Yep. Bama is on the scene. Get running, Tyler & James.

LYN: Now we’re looking for Phil. Like we gotta be looking for him. He needs to be places where we can FIND him!

Heh. It’s been a while since teams have jabbed a comedic spear at Phil.

– They spot him and see the arrow. Tyler & James pass them at the top of the hill and catch up to Bama in no time. Our dreams of Bama winning the round are shattered. Mix of rock and Arabian music plays as Tyler & James are team number one. They celebrate.

I for one think the greeter looks awesome. No ‘stache, unfortunately. I’m waiting for the season where a team says the most disrespectful things to the greeter as possible. Bringing the most innocent bystander on the race as an actual character would be hilarious. Their MOR edit would finally be OTT or CP as Edgic experts on Sucks would say.

– Phil informs Tyler & James that they matched the pendant. The special prize is they’ve won a Spring phone with one year of free service. They can take pictures, access the Internet, Web, and E-mail. So groundbreaking for 2006, I imagine.

– Bama steps onto the mat. They’re second. Phil talks to them about the Yield.

– Rob & Kim know for the time being they are third. Kandice understands people will be saying this is bad karma. However she defends that it is a game. There’s no bad karma when you compete. You should meet Judd Sergeant or Jamie Newton.

– Rob & Kim argue over where the off-ramp is. They are in town and told to keep going straight. Rob wants to turn around but Kim says keep going. Rob agrees to keep going. Suspense music plays. Kandice puts on the lucky charm. Rob & Kim pull over and start running down the hill. They take advantage of the echo and yell ‘HELLO!’. They fail to see the arrow at the top of the hill. Finally Rob & Kim spot the arrow.

– They are indeed team number three. Again. Chipmunks pull over and know the leading three teams have checked in. They tear up. Phil informs them they are last but this is the final non-elimination leg of the game. Relief hits them. Hugs for Phil. The Marked for Elimination penalty is brought up again. Phil reminds them that the other three teams talk about how much of a threat they view them and how badly they want them gone. Wow. Way to maintain the privacy of the Mat Chats, Phil.

– Dustin discusses their competitive spirit. Blah blah blah.

Next Time on TAR: It’s not a 2-hour finale for the first time since TAR 4. Will we see an abuse of airtime for the two remaining all-female teams, or will the focus shift to Tyler & James or Rob & Kim for the first time all season? Can leg twelve stand on its own or will two separate weeks of four team episodes falter like in TAR 8? Stay tuned!

Rob&Kimberly 8.2
Dustin&Kandice 11.11
Tyler&James 6.3
Lyn&Karlyn 17.14

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) Kiev -> Marrakech (The first and final return to Morocco. For the time being, anyway. The non-elimination rounds this season have been much better compared to the non-elimination rounds of previous seasons where the editors appear to give up completely.

We go to an area of Morocco that is far less populated than what we see in TAR 3. The tasks were perhaps the most unique of the season as teams took part in the biggest studio simulation of ancient times. My analysis dictates that the roadblock must have been the most expensive task of the season. Seeing James’ horse go way off track as well as James failing to do the easiest part of the roadblock was amusing.

I enjoyed the detour as well. Milling olives would be much easier than throwing pots (but not physically throwing them as James initially thought). The caveat of having only three slots available made the detour much more interesting. A great twist that production employed. Sure enough all four teams chose to mill olives and the team that should have been there first overshoot the route marker and end up there fourth. How deliciously tragic.

Watching teams abduct children in southern Morocco must have gone over well with our international viewers. The editing makes it so harmless. Meanwhile if I tried to pick up a child at one o’ clock in the morning to direct me to a shop outside of town, everyone would view it very differently.

Rob & Kim claimed a TAR record by breaking down a car in four separate episodes in a single season. Rob’s frustrations and Karlyn’s commentary was entertaining.

Two of the dumbest airport moves were made this episode. Rob & Kim lied saying there was a better flight only caused the Chipmunks to search for a better flight until Rob informed them he was joking. The other stupid move is the Chipmunks booking a flight with a tight connection despite taking the other flight where everyone would end up together on the final flight regardless. Chipmunks miss their flight but are lucky that a flight several hours later arrived just in time for the equalizer. What a bunch o’ knuckleheads.

With Phil pressing the Chipmunks with the notion of the first all-female team possibly winning, we witness a leg where the two all-female teams receive ninety percent of the airtime. I bet everyone and their mother thought an all-female team would win this season. It’s bashed over our heads that the Chipmunks are evil while Bama are the Last of the Mohicans/Six Pack and will harbour all of that energy to beat the other mactor teams. Yes, the other three teams are all mactors.

The only Yield of the season appeared and was put to good use. Rob & Kim and Tyler & James weren’t using their head, while Chipmunks seized the opportunity to push back the most popular team of the season. For the second season in a row, the team who uses the yield would finish last on a non-elimination leg. Karma has recently made a string of appearances when it comes to the Yield.

My biggest complaint about this episode is it focused too much on Chipmunks being evil. If the Chipmunks were eliminated, I would be fine with it. But the fact that they were saved means we will need to put up with another episode or two of ‘Chipmunks are evil and untrustworthy creatures’ as the most prominent storyline.)

7) 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 positive aspects of the episode.

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.)

8) 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.)

9) 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.)

10) 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.)

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

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

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

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

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