I am in a predicament. As I’ve repeated several times, TAR 10 is the first one hour finale since TAR 4. If you’ve been following this blog for the past year, you would know that Phil would talk about each of the teams at the beginning of the finale. So with two hour finales, he would discuss the teams prior to the start of the twelfth leg. I would reserve my evaluation for the Final Three teams for the decisive thirteenth and final leg of the season.
If you haven’t caught on by now, we’re in a pickle. Do me and Phil both give our evaluations in the same episode? Or do I sit out until the next two hour finale? I thought I would give both of our evaluations regardless. However, I’ll write my own before listening to Phil’s take.
Rob & Kim: Your typical mactor dating couple. Their strongest alliance in the game happens to be with fellow finalists Tyler & James. It’s rare to see an alliance formed from the beginning make it to the thirteenth and final leg of the game. In TAR 1 and TAR 2 there were day one alliances that made it to the end too, but these alliances were sidelined or fragmented for several rounds. Look at Wil’s individual relationship with Chris & Alex to see what I mean.
This team almost had the record for most consecutive third place finishes in a row. This past leg where they won the round broke the streak.
Their success lies in their athleticism and being not as cutthroat with one another as other dating couples.
The reason why they finish in third so often is because they have troubles communicating with locals (“I can’t handle these foreigners!”) and also Rob’s TAR world record of breaking down a car in four separate rounds. Otherwise, this team has done fine.
Lyn & Karlyn: The divorced mothers. Until Lyn re-marries her ex, anyway. One is extremely pleasant and kind while the other is b—-y and has a short fuse. They had a Six Pack alliance where it appears Bama was willing to lead the navigation as well as splitting off from them time to time.
This notion of self-preservation but protecting their allies served as a key buffer for the first half of the game.
Since the Chos and Kentucky fell, they have been on cruise control. With no one to worry about, Karlyn’s uber navigation abilities combined with Lyn’s ability to talk to people has made for a deadly combination. These two could have had back-to-back first place finishes if they could have a couple more ounces of athleticism. Luckily they counter this by remaining calm to have a legitimate shot of winning this game.
Tyler & James: The frontrunners from day one. However, they have slipped over time and have only regained their position of power since the race headed to Finland. Perhaps the odds on favourites merely because they have the greatest level of cohesion and the greatest powers of athleticism.
They paralyzed the Chipmunks over the past three rounds to oust ’em. James has suddenly improved at his navigation skills. However all James needs to do is have one of his frequent screw-ups and the race could be all over for these two.
Their alliances with a large number of teams throughout the game has protected them as well. The best news for Tyler & James heading into the final leg is that you don’t have to drive yourself around the final destination city. It’s all based on the luck and knowledge of the cab driver.
Overall, it is anyone’s game. In the past two legs, everyone has averaged a finish of 2nd place. These teams couldn’t be more evenly matched because where one team excels is where another duo fails.
Previously on TAR: Twelve teams started out from Seattle, Washington. On a race of more than 40, 000 miles across four continents in the city in Barcelona in Spain. Along the way alliances were made. And broken. Some suffered beastly mishaps. Others suffered vehicular mishaps. Yep, vehicular is a word. And for many physical challenges became tests of personal resolve.
Some teammates grew closer. But for one it was the end of the road. Nine teams fell behind the wayside.
Dating couple Rob & Kim constantly bickered and repeatedly broke down. When their commitment to playing the game and to each other brought them to the Final Three.
Models and recovering drug addicts Tyler & James had difficulty navigating. But their physical prowess and their competitive spirit always kept them in the game.
Single moms, Lyn & Karlyn, the only all-female team to make it to the Final Three, persevered over physical challenges and adversaries. But they never gave up.
In tonight’s season finale, one of these lacklustre teams will win the one million dollars and the Amazing Race.
– Intro time. I go a whole season without finding something comical in the intro. I’m sorry. Wah.
– This is Barcelona, Spain. A major port city on the Mediterranean. Some aesthetically pleasing fountain was the pit stop for this leg of the race.
Phil’s Questions: None.
– Rob & Kim, who arrived at 1109am (Phil doesn’t give them credit for being first), will depart at 1109pm.
– Rob reads the following like a second grader: “Barcelona has a church that has been under construction for 124 years. Find it.”
Phil explains that teams must figure out that the unfinished church is the basilica known as Sagrada Familia. Then they must travel four miles to the church and search the park behind it for their next clue.
124 years to construct a Church? It makes my local road construction crew look like speedsters. That’s a huge waste of taxpayer’s dollars. I can’t imagine how long the query about the pothole on Esperanto Avenue has been sitting on the stacks of papers at the municipal office for.
– Rob finds being in the Final Three as a major accomplishment. Kim commands to ask people. The first local we see points them in the right direction. Kim says this race has helped trust Rob in the decisions. They will have to trust each other and work together to win the million. I think this was heavily edited for time constraints. Rob says there is a constant urgency to maintain the lead amidst the changing nature/equalizers of the race.
ROB: Look at this church, babe.
1. Rob & Kim are finishing this season in style, dammit.
– Rob & Kim begin their search to no avail. Flashlight at midnight does not help.
– It’s 1144pm. Wow. Rob & Kim cultivated a sizeable lead. Lyn reads the clue. She talks about how nobody thought these two women from Alabama would be there at the end. I doubt anybody did because the airtime was so focused on Dustin & Kandice. Tough to pay attention to Bama when they don’t get shown until the past two rounds.
– Karlyn wants to win. Unless it involves searching tomatoes of course. It would be an honour to win and to win for Lyn’s family. She wants to win for her daughter to change everyone’s lives. They ask for directions from people on the steps. A local draws a map. Lyn talks about being the first female team and making history. Be proud, ladies. Be proud. Of course I bet everyone thinks the Chipmunks are the first team to make it into the Final Three. -_-
– KIM: Babe, do you see it?
Rob & Kim have yet to find their clue. The lead which will no doubt go away once they head to the airport is slowly slipping away. Rob doesn’t want them to catch up.
– 1153pm. Tyler & James are last to exit a TAR 10 pit stop. Tyler says it’s every man for himself. Everybody except the Cho Bros would say that on the final leg. 44 minutes behind longtime allies Rob & Kim. James says they have it physically and that no one should doubt them. Tyler gets directions on the steps and away he goes in a cab.
– Rob & Kim find the clue box. Inside is a picture of the Eiffel Tower. Phil cuts in that teams must fly 500 miles to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. That’s it.
ROB: We’re going to Paris, France baby.
Is the ‘France’ part really necessary? Is it to separate from the equally well-known city of Paris, Texas? Oh, and 3.
– Bama tells the cab to wait. Tyler remarks on the beauty of the Church. Tyler yells at Bama.
TYLER: Did you find anything?!
Since when in the crap did Bama and Tyler & James work together? Didn’t they end all connections in Kuwait? And what happened to twenty seconds ago when Tyler said it was every man for himself? All this kid knows is alliances.
– Rob & Kim are at the airport. Tyler & James and Bama comment on the difficulty of the task. Tyler & James snag it without Bama noticing and run off into a cab. Tyler breaks out the worst French accent I have heard since the French teacher in The Simpsons.
– Rob & Kim discover the counter opens at 400am. The equalizer hits sooner rather than later. Tyler & James are at the airport and see that the first flight is at 600am. However the counter does not open until 400am. James wants to use Internet but Tyler says the rule is that tickets must be purchased online over 24 hours ahead.
– Tyler says Bama is missing in action. Although it’s 2 1/2 hours until the counter opens. If you can’t find a clue in a small park after 2 1/2 hours I’d say you are blind or Fran & Barry.
– James wants to find some Internet. Tyler answers to forget it and relax. James says it wouldn’t hurt but Tyler tells him to forget it. Bama has the clue and is at the airport as the other two teams sleep. Bama studies the departure times for flights. Lyn says it is usual for them to catch up with the pack.
– Rob & Kim are first to buy tickets for 600am. Tyler & James are next but there’s only one seat left.
TYLER: How did they get tickets?
AGENT: There were three seats left.
3 – 1 = 2. Makes sense. Excluding camera and sound operator. Does that mean there are three seats left? That’s what always confused me. Is it one or three? Because the agents can’t keep up with the producer’s instructions all the time.
– Bama goes to Iberian counter to purchase tickets for the 725am flight. Tyler & James are confused because they were told there is a 700am flight on Air France. Rob recaps the situation. Who knew leg thirteen would be one of the few occasions where teams aren’t equalized on a plane. It’s a repeat of TAR 6.
– James is pissed off. Tyler tells him to stop freaking out. James insists he’s not. Rob & Kim find the situation odd because they were at the counter simultaneously with Tyler & James. Fast fingers won the race for them. The agent should go on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and excel at the fastest finger question.
– James hates sitting on their a–es all night and doing nothing.
TYLER: What could we have done?
Ah yes. When an unlucky situation occurs, your one regret is that you could have done the ultra specific life changing event of ‘something’.
– Rob loves the 65 minute lead and that Tyler & James must be pissed off. Sure enough they are. James said he spoke up but Tyler didn’t want to do anything.
TYLER: Yeah, because you spoke up so loud.
In all fairness, speaking up at all is speaking very loud in James’ book.
JAMES: Don’t get f—ing pissed off at me.
TYLER: Whatever, dude.
The whole fight and Rob’s recap is re-shown for a solid forty seconds. Same words are subtitled too.
– Rob & Kim and Tyler & James are both on flights to Charles de Gaulle. Bama is on a 725am flight that gets in at 905am. Theirs lands in Orly.
KARLYN: Which one’s closer to the Eiffel Tower?
LYN: Orly/O rly?
The most easily fascinated airport in the world.
– Tyler & James’ flight gets in at 900am. 65 minutes behind Rob & Kim, and 5 minutes ahead of Bama. Bama’s airport is closer to the Eiffel Tower. So how will it all go down? We shall see.
– Phil says once teams land they’ll have to go to the third floor of the Eiffel Tower. We should note the Eiffel Tower has not been visited since the second episode of TAR 1 whn we were introduced to the dysfunctional nature of Lenny & Karyn.
God, why didn’t I do any screen caps for TAR 1? This is my favourite part of the season. A quote exchanged between me and my sister during 2001 and 2002. Good times.
– Kim found out on the plane that it would be faster to take a train to the Eiffel Tower rather than a taxi. I agree seeing Paris is extremely populated and there must be a ton of congestion on the way to the most well-known monument in the city. Tyler & James’ flight lands. They ask security if it is faster to take a train or taxi. Security says train because there is a traffic jam outside. Rob & Kim’s train has yet to leave. Tyler & James are stuck in line for tickets.
– Bama’s flight gets into Orly. Suddenly they’re first. Woman behind counter says to take a taxi. Makes sense seeing they are further in the city than their Charles De Gaulle counterparts.
– The train starts moving. Rob feels that taking the train was the best decision. How does Bama feel about their decision to take a cab?
Depends on who you ask.
LYN: The taxi driver is doing a very good job.
KARLYN: He feels the importance oozing from us.
We can’t get away from hearing things oozing from Karlyn in this blog, can we?
– Tyler & James thinks the train is faster than a taxi. Rob & Kim’s train gets into the station.
– Bama is first to the Eiffel Tower! Hooray! They have the binoculars and pay the fee before going up. Rob & Kim are right behind and see Bama’s bags. Rob is blown away. Bama is at the third floor and have the clue. Rob & Kim work their way through the crowd on the third floor and see Rob & Kim. Karlyn smiles when she sees Rob & Kim.
– Karlyn and Kim read the clue. Teams must travel 145 miles by train to the city of Caen. Once here they must make their way to the Caen Airport where they will find their next clue. 1, 000, 000 dollars says somebody will be skydiiving. Before memory tasks are a mainstay, doing a skydive in TAR 4, 6, and 7 was the other task to have as the finale. I’m curious why TAR favoured memory over skydiving forever.
– Bama is first into a taxi. She realizes Orly and the taxi was the faster way to go. Rob & Kim ask a man for directions to the train station. Off they go. Kim catches on that Tyler & James have yet to show up. Bama is at the train station. Rob & Kim show up next. Tyler & James have the clue. This editing is going faster than an episode of TAR 21. Bama buy tickets for the 1225pm train. That’s three hours after the flight got in. Rob & Kim have the tickets too.
– Tyler & James know Rob & Kim are ahead but have yet to see Bama. Tyler & James head into the train station. They make the 1225pm train. Tyler wonders how the heck Rob & Kim are there. Rob informs them that Bama is here too and beat them there. Tyler & James are stunned.
James just s— himself, I believe.
– James says Bama is being underestimated and that they are getting stronger and stronger throughout the race. Bama’s victory would be the best evuh.
– Karlyn knew the time difference would be too big for Tyler & James to not make up. Three flights merge onto one train. So what was the point of the first fifteen minutes of the episode then?
– James feels good they are on the same train because they were last. Tyler says there are no more friends. Your word means nothing to me anymore, Tyler.
– Tyler & James are first into a cab. Rob & Kim second. Bama last. Tyler is reading the clue. Crap this is edited fast. Impossible to keep up.
– It’s a roadblock. In this roadblock one person must brave the skies over Normandy. They will get into this plane with their teammate and fly to a height of 13, 000 feet. Then one team member must do a tandem skydive with an instructor while their teammate is surprised by being treated to a surprise aerial nosedive.
– The instructor will land on the sands of Omaha Beach which was a landing site in the Normandy invasion during D-Day. This is sweet. A pointless roadblock seeing how both are doing scary tasks but fun regardless. Funny thing is that Flo couldn’t do either task.
– The skydiver will get into this Jeep and ride to the Bayeux train station where they will reunite with their partner. Tyler is doing it. James is jealous and is surprised to find out he joins in the plane.
– Rob & Kim are on the scene.
ROB: We might be skydiving, babe.
– Bama sneaks past Rob & Kim and grab the clue second. While Lyn is reading the clue. . .
Kim getting in the way of the shot.
She’s got ahold of the clue box. It’s all good.
Some people suffer a broken tailbone DURING the skydive. Not BEFORE.
Lyn recovers and starts reading the clue. Karlyn sneaks a glance like it’s a kid entering the room with a booger on their face.
– Kim has to do it and apologizes to Rob several times. Rob sighs that it was the one thing he wanted to do. The one thing was to storm Omaha Beach and be killed by the Nazis.
KIM: Sorry, babe.
ROB: One thing I wanted to do.
KIM: Sorry babe.
5 and 6.
I hear you can skydive when you win a million dollars.
FRENCH MAN: Do you want to win?
KARLYN: I came too far. I’ve made too many sacrifices.
FRENCH MAN: Well you have a lot of luck to be with me. I’m crazy.
This amateur is practicing his journalism techniques. Shut the f— up and suit her up. God.
– Kim has skydived before and is bummed because she wanted Rob to do it. Just get in the plane already, babe.
– Tyler jumps out. Karlyn is next. Followed by Kim. Tyler lands and gets into the Jeep. James is in a taxi. Karlyn is done. Kim lands. Rob says it was awesome but is jealous. Now I can see why they don’t do skydiving anymore. We’ve seen it too many dang times.
– Tyler & James read the clue. Teams must take a train back to Paris 163 miles. Once here they need to find Place de la Concorde. This famous city square is where teams will find their next clue. Bama reads it. Tyler & James discover the next train is 523pm with an arrival of 737pm. Bama has tickets. Rob & Kim have the clue. They have tickets. Equalized.
– Rob wants to exchange his dollars into Euros. Man behind counter says they can exchange at post office. It’s a ten minute walk. Rob sees it and they start walking. There’s plenty of time.
– A train gets in at 510pm. Tyler & James ask if it’s the Caen train heading to Paris. Conductor says it is. Bama overhears and asks as well. Everyone questions if the conductor knows what he is talking about. Rob & Kim are starting to walk back. Rob wants Kim to walk faster but she says the train won’t leave yet.
– The train leaves ahead of schedule. Lyn figures they went into town because the train was fifteen minutes early. Holy crap. There’s finally distance between the teams. Rob & Kim freak out that nobody is around at the platform. At 523pm another train gets in. Apparently there are two trains to Paris.
– Rob looks for a seat. Kim feels bugged out by Rob. Rob is irritated and asks Kim if it’d be better that he stands and paces.
ROB: Do you know the saying ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all’?
Have you ever heard about how to properly use that saying?
– Rob wonders where the teams are located. This must be the most nerve wracking occurrence on the final leg of a million dollar journey.
– First train gets in. Lyn comments that Rob & Kim missed the train. Tyler thinks it is too good to be true. As they wait for their connection Rob & Kim show up. The equalizer is still intact. They exchange info about the two trains. Everything is level as Rob bites into an apple awkwardly.
– Another race to hail taxis. Bama is first into a cab. Rob & Kim are second. Tyler & James run down a couple blocks and have talked to three cabs who are either waiting for somebody or are occupied.
– Tyler complains it took forever to get a cab as they finally hail one down. Bama are first to the square. Rob & Kim are right behind. However Rob spots it and he maneuvers himself and Kim into first place. Leaderboard keeps changing. It’s a Detour.
– Art or Fashion.
In Art, teams must pick up a painting at Rue de Varenne and take it through the streets to an artist who will hand them their next clue. That’s it.
In Fashion, teams must travel on foot to Anatomy Fashion Studio. Once here they will have to create a jacket. Using the provided materials they must cut, pin, and fit the jacket on a mannequin. Once the fashion designer approves of their work, they will be handed their next clue.
Uh, I’d go with Art. Latter sounds like a pain the derriere.
– Kim wants to do Fashion. She asks for directions. They receive it in perfect Franglais. Bama wants to do Fashion too as they are next to the clue. Tyler & James’ cab gets in. They spot Rob & Kim.
KIM: Just act like we don’t know where it is.
And so begins my favourite exchange of the season.
TYLER: So gnarly!
ROB: Dude! So big, bro!
TYLER: They don’t have it.
This is the epitome of a mactor conversation. I refuse to believe this is a conversation from a year as recently as 2006. Gnarly, dude, bro, and so were five of the six words used in their whole conversation. How out of touch with contemporary lingo can you be? Nothing like 20 somethings trying to get their groove back.
– Tyler sees the clue and is stumped as to how Rob & Kim could not find it. Kim hopes they tricked them. Tyler &James are doing fashion.
JAMES: We’ve been fitted a million times.
You do know you’re not the mannequin in this task, right? Who knew these two wouldn’t use their physical prowess.
– Rob & Kim commence. Tyler & James show up just before Bama. All three teams scramble to do the task. Kim wants Rob to do nothing as she does the task. Rob complies. Tyler & James make fun of each other for being delicate and precise. Bama checks the seams. Rob wants to do the sleeves but Kim stops him and takes over.
– Lyn says it is the wobbliest mannequin on the planet. They ask for the fashion designer to check it over.
DESIGNER: The pleats are no good.
Pleats? If I knew what pleats were, I’d take the time to make fun of Bama’s mistake. You get a free pass on this one.
– Bama get checked again but fail. Rob & Kim fail twice.
LYN: The lady was a fashion gestappo.
Maybe if you called her ‘mademoiselle’ instead of maaaam’ you might have charmed her into giving you the clue.
– Pairs of rejects for Rob & Kim and Bama. Tyler & James make one request. One is all they need because the designer grants them with their next clue. James reads the destination aloud. I suppose it is very odd for three teams to be in such close proximities that they can overhear the next route marker.
– Phil tells us teams must fly over three thousand miles to New York City. Once on the ground they must find the News Building with the giant globe. This is where their next clue awaits them.
– Kim wonders how Tyler & James finished it Rob explains they are models. Tyler & James head to Charles De Gaulle airport because it is way more international than the fascinated owl airport. I agree.
DESIGNER: Here’s your clue.
SEE! THEY FINALLY LISTENED TO ME!!!!!
– Proof that Kim going out of her way to do all of the work herself for this task?
Mom, can we go home? I’m borrrrrred.
– Bama is going to Orly. Lyn thinks other teams don’t know about Orly. Blunder music plays.
– Kim’s work is approved and she reads the clue. They rush for a cab. Onto Charles de Gaulle they go.
TYLER: New York, baby! We do know that city man. We go there every year. It feels like home turf.
That’s right. The final destination city in TAR being located in a place you’re well acquainted with automatically results in victory at the end of the game.
Forgot about them.
Hello, Dexter Morgan.
– Bama discusses the sacrifices they have made. Rob says the one thing he wanted to do was skydive. Kim asks if he’s over it. He says no. Wow. Still mad about it. Skydiving versus a million bucks. . .I love irrational human beings are.
KIM: We are doing this to win a million dollars! Not to skydive.
ROB (annoyed): We are. . .we are.
At least there’s one voice of reason.
– ROB: Don’t yell at me! Stop yelling at me!
KIM: ADFHDSHSFJDSKJLKDJ SHUT UP! I DON’T WANT TO TALK TO YOU ANYMORE! I’M DONE WITH YOU!
Priceless. And babeless. Silence. Yay.
– Tyler & James go to ticket counters. There is a 825am morning flight on Air France directly to JFK arriving at 1015am. However, no seats in economy. We’re reminded of the TAR rules. They ask to be on the economy waiting list. There is a Continental flight at 955am that gets in Newark at 1155am. Tyler & James book the latter flight and are told there is too many people on the waiting list for the 825am flight. Tyler thinks no one will be able to get on.
– Bama are at the airport of owls. There is no direct flight from Orly to New York. The agent tells them there is a 825am flight at Charles de Gaulle airport. Lyn asks to be put on the waiting list. However the agent says it is impossible to do it from this airport. They must go to Charles De Gaulle.
– Rob & Kim show up at Charles De Gaulle. They ask the agent for tickets and. . .
OH MY GOD! The agent sounds exactly like Brain from Pinky and the Brain.
BRAIN: What do I want to do, Pinky? The same thing I always do–sell tickets to American tourists at Charles de Gaulle airport. Taking over the world will come later.
– Rob hears about the full 825am flight. He says it is worth a million dollars. Brain should have asked for a cut right then and the world would be his. However he tells them to ask the manager of the check-in to increase their odds and have their bags checked. Kim repeats the same thing to the manager of the check-in.
– Bama is leaving the Orly airport and in transit to Charles De Gaulle. Lyn recaps the flights saying they have nothing confirmed.
– Rob wonders what is taking so long. The manager comes out and says they are ready to leave. Holy crap. Enormous break. Rob & Kim may have just won the game right there. It appears none of the other two teams have a shot at making this flight. Kim feels good knowing she has the first flight. No. F—ing. S—.
ROB: Can I hug you?
AGENT: . . . .
– Lyn recaps how there were no available seats as she enters the airport. Karlyn is praying it works out. Lyn hopes the other teams went for something different. Morning arrives. Bama starts begging to be on the flight immediately. It’s full, of course. Agent says to go to check-in right away. Tyler & James are at another counter talking about their waiting list position. The agent says their chances are looking very bad. She shoos them away to another part of the airport.
– Bama doesn’t know why Rob & Kim are standing right there. Tyler pieces together they made it onto the flight. It’s the most stressful situation ever. Kim & Rob board the flight. Kim doesn’t see the other teams.
– The two teams tug at their faces while Rob & Kim smile inside the plane.
– All of the footage is re-shown. The silence breaks. James is called. Tyler & James are called over as the agent processes them through the system. Suspense music. They are approved. Tickets are printed. Tyler is a happy man. They run onto the flight. Tyler knows Bama must be livid. Bama asks if the plane can accommodate any more. Nope.
– Kim points out that Tyler & James show up. Rob tells them to their face that he is bummed to see them. It’s 50/50 now.
– Lyn isn’t a fat lady and she ain’t singing. I don’t know Bama. Only ten minutes left in the episode. You’re still sitting in the airport.
– New York City. Three thousand miles just like that. Bama’s not even on the flight. Rob is on the plane grabbing his bags. Kim thinks they will do well.
I predict first or second.
KIM: Babe babe over here.
7 and 8.
– Rob runs in the wrong direction but Kim calls him over. Tyler & James pass them into the sprint and are first into the cab. Rob & Kim are seconds behind. Kim’s driver does not know where the News Building is so Kim instructs him to follow Tyler & James. Tyler asks the driver to lose the taxi behind him. The driver says he is willing to give dodge.
Give dodge? What the heck does that mean?
– Kim freaks out enough to where the taxi avoids the exit and is alongside the opposing taxi. Dead heat.
Camera operators decide to take the time to film each other.
– Kim’s driver freaks out that the opposing driver doesn’t know how to drive. Kim explains that he is trying to lose them. I bet Kim’s driver is ready to call it a day. He didn’t sign up for no Fast and the Furious.
– Tyler brags that his driver has an E-Z Pass for the toll booth. He doesn’t know if Kim’s driver has the same luxury. The pursuit continues. Rob calls for the driver to use E-Z Pass.
DRIVER: I don’t have E-Z Pass.
The plot thickens. Million dollar card.
– Tyler & James are through instantly as Rob & Kim are stuck in a long cash lineup. Tyler knows Rob is pissed because he’ll have to figure out where to go on his own. How did he know Rob was following him without a sense of direction? Allies must know each other well.
ROB: We need the globe, babe.
– Kim calls out for directions. It’s 42nd street. Tyler & James are first to the News Building and see the clue. Tyler reads that teams must use the enclosed picture for reference to go two miles on foot to the New York neighbourhood of the East Village and find the sculpture known as The Alamo. It was created in 1967 by renowned local artist Tony Rosenthal. Once here, teams must locate the woman in the yellow cap to receive their next clue.
Also known as the big a– cube in downtown New York.
It would be really lame if this was the last screen cap for the season.
– Tyler & James know where East Village is and knows how far it is. Their lead shall increase as they are physically fit as well as knowledgable about the area. Rob & Kim show up next and run there. Rob leads the way. Tyler & James run through the rain. They stop to get a precise street name for the cube. Rob & Kim stop too. Tyler & James are walking for a few moments before running again. Rob & Kim appear to be running non-stop. James is burning. Him and Tyler go into a small jog.
– Suspense plays as Tyler & James are first to the cube. The next clue tells them to convince a taxi driver to take them 56 miles to Garrison in Putnam County. Once here they need to find St. Basil Academy. The first team to arrive here will win the million dollars. What the heck is the purpose of this final destination city?
– Tyler & James ask a driver. He doesn’t know the Academy specifically but knows it is Putnam County. That’s good enough for Tyler & James. They tell him not to go in the wrong direction. They’ll ask once they get to Putnam.
– Rob & Kim are at the cube then head into the cab. The driver has the precise address. Rob repeats it is worth a million dollars. The driver for Tyler & James has yet to receive the exact address. Uncertainty is laid out.
– Suspense. Back and forth. Tyler’s driver only has the highway number. Rob’s driver is much more confident. Tyler stops to ask but the driver doesn’t know. James asks another driver and he says go over the bridge and make a right. More suspense. James prays.
– Which team showed up first? We see the cab pull in. The eliminated teams clap. Cab draws closer. It’s Tyler & James. Duke whistles. Phil gives his usual speech. Neither are crying. Yet. James hugs Phil. Tyler pumps his muscular arms. This is the mildest reaction to victory. Rob & Kim step onto the mat moments later. Rob sees that Tyler & James are already on the mat.
– Phil says that they talked at lengths about the relationship being contingent on winning the race. Rob says that is not true. Kim wanted a big rock on her finger. Blah blah blah.
– Bama shows up a few hours later. Third place is theirs. I bet being first all-female to the end will be brought up. Mary cries. Karlyn can do anything she sets her mind to. Except digging through tomatoes.
– Kim says it was one of the hardest thing she has ever done. Rob is in love with Kim.
– Phil announces that Tyler & James has talked about the tough times they’ve had in the past. Here’s their chance to celebrate one of their better times with their families right now. Tyler & James look around. Phil brings out a Sprint cell phone that they can use to tell them the news. Ten minutes later, spoilers will be leaked all over the interwebs. Phil has pre-dialled the number. I’d hang up and order pizza. Delivery charge might be a b—-, but hey, it’s my million.
– Lame phone call in progress. More lameness.
TYLER (casually): Hey mom, James and I just won The Amazing Race.
Either this is bad reception or the mother is overreacting. I mean the camera and sound crew is at her home right now. It’s a good thing that Tyler is the actor in the family. A top five soundbyte for the season. I guarantee it. I just replayed it four times. Funnier each time.
I am so referencing this in future blogs.
– James`dad has been praying for him. Teams hug each other. Six Pack is featured. Tyler says that the trip was like a blur. Much like the trips him and James were on in their friends` basements.
The end. There is a promo at the end of the season finale for what will come up next season.
What if I told you the next season is an all-star?
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
3rd Lyn & Karlyn 4.85
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
4th Dustin & Kandice 3.17
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
2nd Rob & Kim 3.08 – 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
1st Tyler & James – 2.38 FF
2nd Frank & Margarita 2.38 – FF
2nd Kris & Jon 2.38
2nd Rob & Amber 2.31
2nd Eric & Jeremy 1.69 FF
Rank the Teams
1) Bilal & Sa’eed
This team was heavily promoted prior to the season. A Muslim team?! They’re really going to pull over on the side of the road to pray no matter the circumstances? How long can they last? How will other teams react? Has the U.S. truly evolved and are acceptable of all people? How will the Christian right react in terms of viewership?
These were the questions waiting to be answered as we were set to begin The Amazing Race. However all of this remains a mystery to this day thanks to the biggest bulls—-ing twist of the bulls—.
So what did we get out of it? These were Cleveland sports fanatics who happened to pray towards Mecca. Sa’eed brought nothing to the table but it was Bilal who delivered. He lasted only half an episode but his interviews were always entertaining. His refusal to shake a cheerleader’s hand will stick out.
“But it doesn’t say that this was a pIT STOP!”
That quote alone is enough to put them above last.
2) Duke & Lauren
The second father-daughter couple of the TAR franchise. It’s surprising that it took five seasons for another one to be cast. This is another case of “strict parent struggles to approve of gay child”. This one is a bit more unique because the parent is funnier and more dynamic than someone like Dennis from TAR 3.
Duke seemed to have a great time chatting with locals and failed to allow his daughter to be a leader. His daughter had surprisingly little agency within the team. Duke made most of the decisions, asked for most of the directions, and did much better at most of the tasks than Lauren.
Besides Lauren being gay, not much is explored with Duke & Lauren. They learned to support each other but that was a result of Duke accepting Lauren for who she is. Everything revolved around homosexuality.
But yet, they’re a likeable enough team who had an interesting take on a story regardless of whether we’ve seen it before. Duke grew to have a light-hearted attitude which set him apart from previous TAR fathers like Jim from TAR 5 or Steve from TAR 4.
It’s a close call between Jim & Marsha and Duke & Lauren, but I think Duke & Lauren may be runner-up because they weren’t as outright hilarious. However, they’re a strong enough team within TAR 10 to be more likeable, stronger, and more entertaining than some of the other teams that we encountered.
3) Lyn & Karlyn
It’s no secret that I am a fan of Lyn & Karlyn. These two were pretty awesome. You know that bullcrap about how TAR needs an all-female team to win or make the Final Three? And how it was shoved down our throats as such a big deal over the past few seasons? Following a season where the top two teams won virtually every round possible, the idiots who rambled on about how the race is unfair and a an all-female team needs to win was at an all-time high.
So after thirty teams cracking the Final Three, who would be the lone all-female representatives? It wasn’t a young team. It wasn’t a lovable underdog. Heck, it wasn’t even a team that could keep up athletically. They weren’t femme fatales like producers were expecting from Dustin & Kandice.
Instead they were out of shape, divorced mothers, who were rather cutthroat that included a member who couldn’t be harder to get along with. It’s a shame that production refuses to acknowledge Lyn & Karlyn this season. I bet if you asked today’s fans who were the first all-female team to finish teh race and they would respond with the next two teams who accomplished the feat.
Their comeback story was criminally neglected. Neither fans nor editors took them seriously until the tenth leg of the race. All they were known for up to that point was supposedly being a leech and ditcher of the Six Pck as well as getting into skirmishes with mactors. In its original airing, they don’t get respect until the eleventh round. It’s a shame.
This is a team who I expected to be first out when I saw Karlyn failing to climb the wall to check into the pit stop. Their first four finishes were ninth, ninth, sixth, and sixth. Not since TAR 4 has a team started out so poorly.
Little known fact: Lyn & Karlyn are the first team to make it to the finish line without ever winning a leg. They never excelled nor failed during the race.
They had one of the tightest alliances in the form of the Six Pack, but were also open to breaking off from their alliance when it served their self-interests. What made them a brighter team is that despite breaking off that their allies would wait for them if they were behind. That takes an extreme level of loyalty.
Once their allies were eliminated somehow Bama appeared to be the most competitive team in the group. It was them against three duos of mactors but yet Bama quickly became the team that should be feared. Karlyn’s uber navigation skills accompanied by Lyn’s easygoing nature and perseverance made them a team that only needed improved physical ability to dominate.
The interactions between Lyn & Karlyn were hilarious towards the end of the season. We discover these two couldn’t be more opposites but yet find a way to resolve their conflicts.
It really is too bad that this team has become completely forgotten over time. Production wanted an all-female team in the finale, but unfortunately Lyn & Karlyn didn’t fit the desired prototype and thus were swept under the rug.
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) Rob & Kim
Exclude every time they say ‘babe,’ ‘baby,’ ‘dude,’ ‘honey,’ and ‘bro,’ and you have ten words from them all season.
Rob & Kim were surprisingly likable on a re-watch. However, it’s clear these two were cast only for their looks. Was there anything else compelling or a dynamic that would intrigue us? Not a chance.
Seeing Kim literally fly off her horse was entertaining. Rob being annoyed with local foreigners. . .Yeah, those were the only two quotes from them all season.
Rob turned out to be a surprisingly good narrator and his logic at times was hilarious.
Most of all Rob successfully breaking down four cars in four separate episodes will be a record he can forever cherish. If Kim couldn’t take over by the third breakdown, I imagine she must be a worse driver than Meredith or Maria.
8) Dustin & Kandice
They were competitive. They were horrendous socially. And they were competitive.
But do these two have much of a personality?
Give up? I sure did.
For some reason we never get to a legit personality. These two come off a bit cold to other racers and overall serve as an antagonist to the other teams. Have you noticed how the other teams talk about Dustin & Kandice a lot more than Dustin & Kandice talking about themselves? The Chipmunks/Beauty Queens/Blondes/Blondies/Barbies didn’t exactly give much insight throughout the race other than expressing hatred for the Sistuhs.
Their competitive spirit mixed with the worst strategic moves seen on TAR could’ve been enough to catapult them to the top of the list. Don’t get me wrong. I love seeing that type of team on TAR. But what happens when you put these two in the interview room? Do they have any memorable quotes? Any memorable moments that isn’t glorified by other teams? The answer is ‘no’ to both questions.
Go ahead. Make a case that these two have an engaging personality. That these two weren’t cast as competitive and socially decrepit mactors. I’m all ears, Twila.
9) 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.
10) 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.
11) 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.
P.S. Survivor Sucks thought I would give in to their favourite past time of always ranking T n T last for no particular reason. Well f— you. This isn’t 2001 anymore.
12) Tyler & James
For those of you who didn’t read my Survivor Rankings, Survivor: Exile Island is my second least favourite season in history. This is mainly because Casaya irked me and viewed them as the bad guys. When the Final Two was Aras and Danielle, the two bad guys who happened to have the flattest personalities all season long, my family couldn’t help but talk all throughout day 39. Something we never ever do during an episode of Survivor. That’s how much of a lack of interest we had in these two players.
Shortly after his victory, Aras pitches to CBS to have two of his buddies to appear on TAR. Who would that be? Yes, Tyler & James are close friends with the hat-selling mogul. That would become understandable because Tyler & James have very similar personalities to Aras. Don’t get me wrong, Aras’ win is well deserved, but did I want to see him win? Not really. He was my fifteenth favourite player that season. What about Tyler & James? No. They were at the bottom of my wish list heading into the season.
These two are recovering drug addicts. They are physically gifted. They have a bromance. James can’t read a map. They use outdated lingo like they’ve spent too much time in a ski resort or slamming drinks down with Tony Hawk. In fact I think Tyler references Tony Hawk at some point during the season.
Their strategy of tailing the Chipmunks and their successful Final Two alliance with Rob & Kim will be their legacy.
There is only one reason why I approve of Tyler & James’ win–his mom.
It’s been a full night’s sleep and fifteen hours since I saw that clip. I’m still giggling to myself aloud.
Freddy, I must inform you that somebody passed you for my favourite screen cap in the past five seasons of TAR.
When I find out which one of you took my title, somebody’s gonna pay!
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) Marrakech -> Barcelona (This leg was designed so that if the Chipmunks didn’t finish first that they’d be eliminated. With half the leg conducted in Morocco, a flight that served as an equalizer, and the gates in Barcelona being closed until the next morning made for about ninety minutes of actual racing in the final day of the leg.
Ninety minutes may even be a stretch. In addition, it was very easy to spot where the clue was in the maze and as a result we see all four teams begin the Detour simultaneously. How can Chipmunks survive finishing second or third? But hey, it’s the nature of the penalty. It’s supposed to weaken your position considerably and put you on the ledge. If they wanted to survive, why didn’t they just do a decent job on the previous leg?
Again, we see an abuse of Chipmunks dominating the airtime. A bit annoying if you ask me. Like production wants to ensure we remember the Chipmunks in the future.
Rob & Kim and Tyler & James tailing Chipmunks throughout the round neutralized them and paralyzed ’em. The new non-elimination penalty has already been mastered. If Chipmunks made stronger social bonds, I doubt the other teams would be that cruel. In a sense some TAR fans would view the move as ‘unfair’.
In terms of tasks, the roadblock was generic but the other two tasks were fresh. Search a maze for the clue? Hasn’t happened since TAR 5 when it served as the final task of the leg. And what about the detour? Tomato throwing festival versus suiting up as 9 1/2 foot tall giants? Producers really immersed themselves into the Spanish festivals.
The giants were fun as teams dressed up as the Burger King mascot or knock-offs of Disney characters. Seeing James inside of a woman’s skirt for the first time in his life was highly amusing.
Then the tomato throwing. Kim. Babe. We have a winner. One of the biggest blowups in ten seasons? Certainly. I am curious how the sound personnel reacted to her screams. The decibels skyrocketed for a couple minutes. I love how it took only five minutes for her to resort to screaming. Mr. Green would not hesitate to slap her like a maid.
Rob & Kim uttered the word ‘baby’ or ‘babe’ eighteen times. That is a deduction for this leg.
The leg was okay. It was just a foregone conclusion that Chipmunks would be eliminated once we found out that the Barcelona Maze was an equalizer.
The most shocking thing about this leg is that the detour and pit stop will be the only visit to Spain in 21 seasons of TAR. I thought it was impossible for a populated western European country to be this neglected on TAR.)
9) 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.)
10) 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.)
11) 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.)
12) Barcelona ->Garrison (This was the easiest leg ranking since the very beginning of the season. Easily the second worst episode of the season. It would have been the worst but the spontaneous pit stop from the premiere saves this round from the bottom.
This leg marks a historic moment for TAR. Never before has the final leg of the season featured a route marker in three separate countries. Sure, TAR 7 had three different areas as well, but Puerto Rico is part of the US so they don’t count.
However, besides Kim falling on her butt, this is the only good thing I have to say about the finale.
An amateur mistake was made this season. The final destination city could not have been less thrilling. Find a globe? Run to a cube? Ride to finish line? That was it. TAR 7 had the tricky clue. TAR 8 had the enormous puzzle. TAR 9 had the epic flags showdown. But TAR 10? Huge step down. Gino’s Pizza from TAR 6, the farm maze in TAR 5, the White + White riddle in TAR 4, and the animal memory task from TAR 3 all trump what happened this year.
It’s rough when you have to go back to the show’s second season to point to less exciting tasks. The showdown ended with a taxi driver not having E-Z Pass with ten minutes to go in the episode.
It seemed every route marker was an equalizer. The viewers resorted to sitting back and waiting for the announcement for the final destination city of the game. The first half of the episode clearly was going to mean nothing. Unless they were going to end the race in Paris. That would have thrown the teams for a loop.
We almost had a case of TAR 6 where there was going to be one tem alone on the first flight to the finish line. I highly suspect production interference made it possible for Tyler & James or Bama to be granted access on the flight. Who knows, they may have arranged for Tyler & James to be on it because they knew it would take hours for Bama to find a cube that was two miles away on foot.
The least exciting victory in race history occurred. The best moments were Tyler’s mom and the announcement of TAR All Star at the end of the credits. The audience was in a stir as they speculated who would be accepted onto an all-star.)
13) 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.)
Nearly 400 pages in my Word doc later, and we are at the conclusion of TAR 10. Surprisingly, most of the superfans I’ve talked to during the course of TAR 10 all say this season is a blur to them. Some of them said they haven’t seen all of the episodes.
Prior to this, I must say I remembered almost nothing about this season. TAR 10 was almost as big of a black hole as TAR 9. This season I only re-watched once. Much of the tasks and some of the destinations slipped by me. Thankfully that has been rectified now.
Overall, it was a strange season. Five of the six teams were all involved in extremely loyal and co-operative alliances. Those who didn’t have allies fell early during the game. Except for Tom & Terry who would have expanded the Six Pack to the Eight Pack before they came up with the name of the alliance.
The circumstances surrounding the constant hero editing of Kentucky and the tears after their elimination accompanied by the super duper villain edit of the Chipmunks was far too excessive. Something that had never been done before.
With twists like the Intersection, three countries in the finale, the Final 4 Morocco detour dilemma, raise your own money, the 30 minute penalty, and eight countries that would never be seen or heard from again made this for a very unusual TAR season. So how does this season stack up?
Things That Didn’t Work
1) The spontaneous pit stop halfway through the first round. It eliminated the team with the greatest potential and seemed to serve no purpose other than to shock the audience and the players in the season opener. We could’ve had one less non-elimination leg or eliminate two teams via Intersection but TAR took the dumbest approach possible. If I knew this would happen, I would’ve settled for eleven teams to be picked and skip the twist instead.
What were they thinking?
2) The Intersection. I’ve discussed it at great lengths before, so I shall summarize. They had such great potential with creating this twist but chose to mitigate it as much as possible.
So why have it?
3) The season finale. What’s the point of going to Spain and France if all it’s going to come down to is who gets picked from a waiting list for the final flight? And why have zero tasks in the entire finale that won’t ‘wow’ people?
Did they give up on the finale because they wanted us to crave the return of Chipmunks and Kentucky?
4) Needle in the haystack tasks. There weren’t as many this season as TAR 8 or TAR 9, but at this point they are getting stale and repetitive. Luckily we see very few of them in TAR 9.
5) Mactor heavy group. Kellie & Jamie, Rob & Kim, Tyler & James, and Chipmunks were all chosen. . .and Kellie & Jamie were the only ones who didn’t have a flat personality. I’m not against mactor teams, but if you’re going to pick them, at least make them interesting or dynamic! The non-mactor teams minus Vipul & Arti all had personalities. This goes against all logic.
Things That Worked:
1) The only season where alliances impacted how the game played out. It was neat to watch a season used this as a central storyline. Personally I don’t need to see it repeated again. Much like the format to BB 2000. Once is enough.
2) Six new countries. The life saver of this season. Mauritius and Madagascar proved to be too boring for a re-appearance, but some of the other countries held their own. Kuwait happens to be the smallest but also toughest place in TAR to navigate. The Ukraine has its share of confusing streets. Finland has some natural wonders like the mud pit. Spain was awesome for the thirty minute it appeared. Mongolia had teams ready to kill each other and the animals. Morocco had some great tasks before we bid it farewell for a minimum of six years.
So if you want to see unusual TAR destinations, this is the season to pick. You won’t be disappointed.
3) The new non-elimination penalty. It was worth a try. The impact was significant in two out of three rounds which is how it should be. With teams finding a way to recover from previous non-elimination penalties, seeing one that matters is refreshing. I suppose when teams start piling on their clothes that taking away money and clothes makes no difference. Unless you’re BJ from TAR 9. Then you accept the challenge but still win anyway.
4) Rob damaging four cars. Great stuff.
5) Vietnam roadblock where teams can keep doing the task to accumulate more money for racing. I wish TAR would attempt this a couple more times and see if a team racks up 500 dollars and risks it just so they can get by for the remaining legs of the season. Loved this twist.
So what’s my official rating for TAR 10?
1. The Amazing Race 5 – 9.2/10
2. The Amazing Race 7 – 8.8/10
3. The Amazing Race 3 – 8.7/10
4. The Amazing Race 9 – 8.6/10
5. The Amazing Race 2 – 8.5/10
6. The Amazing Race (1) – 7/10
7. The Amazing Race 10 – 6.5/10
8. The Amazing Race 4 – 6.25/10
9. The Amazing Race 8 – 4.0/10
10. The Amazing Race 6 – 3.9/10
I feel good about this position. Points are deducted for the premiere, finale, and mactor casting, but eight new countries, introduction of Intersection, new penalty, and unique twists boosts it up greatly. TAR 4 had fewer countries and more twists taken from past seasons. TAR 10 truly held its own. In the midst of the 4-season transition era, only All Star would come remotely close to sharing TAR 10’s format.
If you’re looking for an odd season, then watch (or re-watch) this season ASAP. It’s nowhere near being the strongest overall, but it isn’t devastatingly terrible like TAR 6 or 8.
If likable or compelling winners impacts your enjoyment of a season. . .your rating will likely be much lower than mine. Just sayin’.
Next time on TAR: After Dustin & Kandice were eliminated, Early Show hosts outright said that they weren’t available to be interviewed because they were participating in TAR All Star. With the promo at the end of TAR 10’s finale, everyone was pumped up but also very uneasy by the idea of a TAR All Star. With the failures of Survivor: All Stars and Big Brother: All Stars, everyone was expecting TAR to hit a new low.
However, the really low expectations were more than exceeded. Eleven seasons before a TAR All Star, and with Phil Keoghan having the rare opportunity to be a producer and hand-pick the cast, this season did extremely well.