TAR All Stars episode five ranking

EPISODE FIVE

Previously on TAR: Eight teams set out from Petrohue, Chile and flew to the southern most point of the country. After winning three legs in a row, Romber’s confidence was at an all-time high. But their confidence turned to confusion during Detour. And even a last ditch lie proved futile as Charla & Mirna passed them at the roadblock. And led to one of the most memorable finishes in TAR history. Rob & Amber’s winning streak was finally over.

Now seven teams remain. Who will be eliminated next?

– Intro time.

– We are introduced to Ushuaia, Argentina. It is the southernmost city in the world before Antarctica.

Phil’s Questions: How will Rob & Amber’s elimination impact the other racers?

Now it’s time for random interviews as other players are asked how they feel about Romber’s elimination. This is unprecedented. At least Kentucky’s elimination last season to only a confessional by Bama and the Chos. This is going to be ridiculous.

IAN: It was pretty much a shocker to see Rob & Amber eliminated.

JOYCE: They’re great to beat because they’re such amazing competitors.

MIRNA: The other teams were very happy that we were the ones to beat Rob & Amber and kick them out of this Amazing Race.

heroes welcome

Everyone applauds as the beloved heroes eliminated the ferocious villains. Oh wait. This is just a reality show. And half the people either find Charla & Mirna annoying or don’t take them seriously at all. I bet the other teams are applauding that a team viewed as fodder is still in the game.

return of the jedi

The equivalent of Romber’s elimination to some of the viewers and teams.

By the way, the teams recounting their feelings when Romber left TAR is so over the top. Almost insensitive. It’s treated like a national tragedy. You would think people are recounting where they were when they found out Kennedy was shot.

– Cha Cha Cha, the first to arrive at 1202pm, will depart at 1202am. They must travel by to search Marshall Glacier for a clue next to an avalanche beacon using an avalanche beacon provided to them. To get there, they must travel by taxi to the base of Marshall Mountain Chain, and ride the chair lift to the top until they will hike half a mile.

– Oswald respects all teams here. Danny agrees. How nice. The race is not just meant for the extraordinarily athletic or extraordinarily smart. Oswald sees everyone as contenders. Except David & Mary.

– Eric & Daniele check out at 1206am. Danielle finds it annoying that Eric thinks he is the best.

Well, he does have the best single-season TAR average ever. And he has managed to carry someone who was eliminated in 8th to the top of the leader board with him. He has every right to believe he is the best.

– Danielle doesn’t care he is annoying and cocky because they are on top.

I hear Danielle loves to be on top rather than the bottom.

– One hour later at 104am, Teri & Ian are on the move. Ian thinks TAR has evolved via head games. He thinks more head games are in play this race than last race. He thinks there is a lot more psychological strategy.

By head games, he means the headaches induced by Mirna, and being in places like Cotopaxi Park that is known as the driest place on Earth.

– 155am = Guido Time! Teams have 72 dollars for this leg. Joe interrupts Bill to say he wants to be kinder and gentler.

BILL: And hope they think we’re too old to finish the race.

It worked last time.

– Joe wants to limp to the front of the pack and win.

– Chipmunks depart at 158am. Dustin says her and Kandice have been playing it safe so other teams don’t perceive them as sneaky and competitive blondes.

Good. That is solid TAR strategy. Keep it up.

DUSTIN: We can’t afford to do that anymore.
KANDICE: It’s time to stop worrying about what other teams think.

Nevermind. They’ve gone back to self-destruction mode. Only round five and they aim to piss off and betray every team imaginable. This should work out well.

– This is quite the spread for this round. Uchenna & Joyce check out at 238am. No teams at the route marker yet? I wonder how they exit the island. Is it one boat per team? We just see teams disappear into a taxi. Wish it was explained.

– Uchenna says following intuition is key because otherwise you’re not trusting God or the Universe.

– Only three minutes later and Charla & Mirna once again leave last. 8th-8th-8th-7th cannot feel good after four rounds. 2 hours and 39 minutes after Cha Cha Cha. Mirna says her and Charla muster their strength to always pull through. Pain doesn’t matter or that Charla is out of breath.

MIRNA: We’re gonna be an icicle before this day is over.
CHARLA: We’ll just be a popsicle so some of them can suck us.

Did Charla successfully trash talk the other teams for the first time in her TAR career? She may have done it without realizing it.

– MIRNA: What’s an avalanche beacon?
CHARLA: An avalanche is like when the snow falls down.

So an avalanche beacon is. . .something that beeps while the snow is falling? Well, Charla answered half the question.

– Cha Cha Cha ask what time the place opens. 800am. First equalizer since the second round. All teams catch up.
– Morning. Guidos are first in line. Teri & Ian acknowledge they are first.

TERI: Look at you. You have it on everything. Even your hats are tagged ‘Team Guido’.
IAN: Is your underwear tagged ‘Team Guido’ too?
*The four of them share a good laugh*
JOE: You don’t wanna see our underwear.
IAN: We have paper–
BILL: We have thongs.
*The four of them laugh*

ian laugh

Who knew Ian’s funny bone would be struck when discussing paper and thong underwear.

– JOE: Sometimes they give you wedgies.

Why do we need to hear this?

– Chipmunks are next in line. Eric knew Guidos would be first in line. Danielle declares they are annoying. We are shown a flashback to the third round when Bill blocks Eric’s car. We’re losing valuable airtime. Please press onwards. Eric assumes Guidos will die on the chair lift.

– Guidos find the backpack that includes the beacon. Teri & Ian are next. Then Cha Cha Cha. Teams figure out how to use the beacon. Chipmunks walk directly past the backpacks. Charla & Mirna are next as someone lifts Charla off. Well that’s demeaning.

– Guidos follow the beacon and dig up the beacon with the clue. Bill reads that teams must fly over 7, 000 miles to Maputo, Mozambique. They’ll have to use a travel agency because travelers cannot book international flights from the airport in Ushuaia (see: The Vietnam Rule). Since flights are limited, teams are provided with tickets for the last flight to Maputo scheduled to get in at 300pm in case they cannot find an earlier flight. They are under no obligation to use these tickets.

– Chipmunks follow Cha Cha Cha but notice they have their backpack and beacon.

KANDICE (reading): At the top of the chairlift.
DUSTIN (whisper): Oh no!
KANDICE (whisper): Are you serious?
ME (whisper): Both of you suck at reading and don’t catch on it.

– Charla & Mirna pass Chipmunks and ask if they forgot their gear. Chipmunks admit it as Charla tells us that the Chipmunks are not that smart.

– Uchenna & Joyce and Eric & Danielle are led to the same beacon. Uchenna is the first to dig it up only seconds before Eric. Eric didn’t try digging. He was helpless as his obvious alliance mate beat him to the punch. Joyce is stoked they beat three teams in the process.

UCHENNA: My father is from Nigeria. Now we’re going to Mozambique.

Not this again.

creepy shoyin

At least Nigeria to Mozambique is closer than Sierra Leone to South Africa. Still thousands of miles apart, however.

– Guidos read the rules regarding the provided tickets. Chipmunks are last to grab a backpack. Ian announces with excitement as he is very close to a beacon. Oswald is confused by the double signals, and Danny gives up as he loses patience. Eric thinks he found a spot and digs it up. He has the clue.

DANIELLE: Maputo? Which city is that?
ERIC: Africa.
DANIELLE: Oh. Neat.

Africa is my favourite city too.

– IAN: Got it! Got it! Hoo-rah! Hoo-rah!

Ian’s extent of his celebratory vocabulary.

– Cha Cha Cha screw up again. Charla digs up a clue. Mirna skips along the ground.

– Guidos are already at a travel agency. The agent says she will need 90 minutes to check into the system. Wow. They should not be still in business. Guidos are stunned by this wait. I doubt they stay for long.

– Oswald forces Danny to give it a shot. He loses the signal. Chipmunks have the clue and run down the mountain. Cha Cha Cha is in dead last as nobody else is on the mountain. This GPS seems rather simple. Oswald moves in slow motion trying to maintain a signal.

– Uchenna & Joyce book tickets on a 940am flight. However tickets must be picked at a place called Rumbo Sur within walking distance.

– Cha Cha Cha has their clue as the beacon must be held up against the sound equipment because it is freakin’ annoying.

oswald tobaggon

Oswald intentionally pulls a Kelly & Jon as he celebrates being in last place. If these folks were Canadian, they would know to use a toboggan rather than wear out the seat of their pants.

– Cha Cha Cha learned a lesson today.
OSWALD: If you get caught in an avalanche:
DANNY: Never come look for Oswald & Danny to get you out.

OSWALD (in cab): I see Last of the Mohicans is taking us to a travel agent.

mohican

mohican 2

Okay. I approve of this reference. I love how Cha Cha Cha maintain their spirits and could not care less that they are in last place.

– ERIC: We need the first flight to Maputo.
AGENT: I don’t know if it’s my system but there are no flights to Maputo.

Ushuaia desperately needs improved travel agencies.

– Teri & Ian ask for first flight. Man tells them 300pm. Ian says they already have it. Agent cringes before looking at his computer screen again.

ushuaia agent

Today ain’t gonna be easy.

– Chipmunks see Uchenna & Joyce and Charla & Mirna in the same agency.

MIRNA (to agent): Please make sure we can do it before these people who came after.
DUSTIN: Keep your ears open to hear what flight they’re on.

I sense another clash in the making.

– Cha Cha Cha joins Teri & Ian.

IAN: We’re glad you’re here!

IAN (confessional): Danny & Oswald race very similar to us. They race with character and with honour–
TERI: And they speak Spanish.

Both save puppies from burning buildings, they both quit smoking, and Oswald can do a one-handed cartwheel.

Oh. I see what’s going on here. They want to use Oswald for his Spanish. No need to pretend you have character and honour.

– *Eric & Danielle walk in to see three teams*
ERIC (giddiest voice ever): HUH HUH! EVERYONE’S IN THIS ONE! HOO HOO!
*Cue overdramatic cut with drums as each team reacts to Eric’s presence*

What an oddly but hilariously edited split second clip.

– Cha Cha Cha and Teri & Ian are confirmed at a 940am flight. All it takes is some Spanish. Charla & Mirna are confirmed to be on the 940am flight. Chipmunks are on it. So are Uchenna & Joyce. Eric & Danielle. And Guidos at their own agency.

– Guidos walk into the airport and see everyone there. They think a break is in order as they head to the airport’s cosmetics area.

BILL: There’s nothing like a fresh shower with Gio.

joe spray

Whoa, Joe. You’re going all out.

BILL: We’ll be smelling like a French whore.
JOE: Doesn’t matter to me.

I’m sure Gio loves two 50 year old gay men using their productive on national TV proclaiming it makes you smell like a French whore. Brilliant marketing tactic.

– All teams traveling via Buenos Aires, Sao Paolo, and Johannesburg. Once in Maputo, they will choose a marked car with a driver and direct them forty-five miles to the Apopo Training Field where they will find their next clue.

A place called the Apopo? Hopefully Ian is armed when he enters.

ADVANTAGE

Biggest — Cha Cha Cha (South Africa and Namibia)
Big — Uchenna & Joyce (Botswana and South Africa)
Small –Guidos (Zambia)
Disadvantage — Charla & Mirna (Tanzania but they were eliminated there)
None — Everyone else
– Exotic music plays for a second before the plane lands. Uchenna & Joyce are first to the Training Field but it is closed.

– Eric wants to play with the Guidos by passing them on the road for no reason. So Eric tells the driver to pass. Joe freaks out and tells his own to go faster. Then Eric tells the driver he has changed his mind and falls back. Eric’s stress is relieved as he finally pulls off his first prank of the season.

guidos head

guidos head 3

guidos head 2

– For what it’s worth, the way Danielle laughs makes it sound like she has no idea what’s going on. Eric is having the time of his life. Eventually the two cars park.

JOE: You need to watch your speed, guy.
ERIC: We weren’t speeding. What was funny is we weren’t even trying to pass you. We just wanted to watch your reaction.
JOE: You need to watch your jokes, guy.
ME: Guidos, calm down. Just admit the joke was on you and it was hilarious.
JOE: You need to watch your comments, guy.
ME: Oh c’mon. We’re all friends here.
JOE: You need to watch your dinner, guy.
ME: My dinner. . .? OH! My Singapore Curry Noodles are burning. Thanks, Joe!

– Cha Cha Cha is there in fourth. Then Teri & Ian. Then Chipmunks.

oswald move

BILL: So now everything is fine.
ERIC: I don’t care. You guys are being freaks about it.
BILL: If you don’t care then why. . .
ERIC: Our driver was going to pass but I said “don’t pass don’t pass them”.
BILL: Who’s yelling? Okay, don’t even talk to him any more. Peace, peace, peace.
ERIC: Freaks, freaks, freaks.

oswald move 2

Slick move, Oswald. He’s not much for confrontation. By the way, it’s the first time I’ve heard a grandparent complain about somebody yelling when talking to him. Maybe Bill has a hearing aid installed.

DANIELLE: They’re bipolar. It’s like they’re Jekyll and Hyde.

Danielle really can’t expand on Guidos further than ‘Jekyll and Hyde,’ eh?

JOE: We won’t let this negativity affect us.
ERIC: Gosh, weirdos.

joe weird

Eric might be onto something.

– Gate opens. All cars travel together in line. Bill refuses to yell at Eric’s jokester behaviour so they come off as the bad guys.

– It’s a roadblock. “Who smells a rat?”

In this roadblock one person must–

phil rat

Whoa. Did Phil abduct a pet rat? Did he name him Mr. Bigglesworth by any chance?

mr bigglesworth

We don’t gnaw on our roadblocks.

– In this roadblock, one person must get up close and personal with a rat. In a country known in the past for guerrilla warfare, trained rats are used to save lives on a daily basis by locating leftover landmines. Team members will guide a rat to search for a buried race flag above a deactivated landmine. Once the rat gives the signal, the experts will dig for the flag and hand the team their next clue.

Players are so lazy nowadays that they can’t do their own digging. And aren’t players at the mercy of how fast the experts can dig? Faster diggers may result in a minor time advantage.

– Everyone decides who is going to do it in a quick montage. We’re introduced to the guides and rats. Joe’s rat is named Nelson.

Roadblock performers: Charla, Uchenna, Joe, Eric, Ian, Oswald, Dustin

JOYCE: He has a collar. That’s so cute!

Maybe Joyce doesn’t need to produce a baby of her own after all. Just buy a pack of Mozambique rats and your marriage is saved, Uchenna!

– Uchenna and Joe explain the task to us.

OSWALD: Danny doesn’t like rats because he is afraid of them.
DANNY: They’re huge. That’s not normal.

DANIELLE: Those rats are huge!

OSWALD: I’ll set you free after and I’ll take you to a nice lab, where they’ll apply make-up to you.

I think my conscience is cleaner if rats are used to deactivate mines rather than for first world cosmetics.

mrs frisbee

Hurry, Mrs. Frisbee! We need to escape from Oswald’s cosmetics lab in Miami!

IAN: When I was in the military I became very afraid of rats. But you know what I change my opinion. The rat was friendly and it is doing a wonderful thing.

That’s the great thing about Ian and why he was cast by producers to return for another season. He is dynamic. He changes. Prior to the eleventh round, the only images he held of Vietnam was from his days serving in the Vietnam War. Two rounds later and he has never had more fun with the locals than any other country in the world. Prior to today he hates rats because of military experience, but after seeing rats in another setting, suddenly it’s a 180 turnaround.

Men who are 45 and older who are willing to change organically in front of a TV viewing audience is virtually impossible to find. Luckily we have Ian.

IAN: What’s his name, George?
GEORGE (the guide): Tupac.
IAN: C’mon Tupac! Find me a mine.

Ian’s two sons are laughing their heads off. They could not imagine their patriotic father exclaiming “C’mon Tupac!” in a cheerful and upbeat manner.

tupac

And if Ian pulls this rope one more time I’ll start sniffing the grass–oh I love the fresh mowing job. I told you. Quit pulling the rope.

By the way, I think Tupac has the missing fourth word from the Survivor slogan on his left arm.

MIRNA: It’s just like a cat, Charla.
CHARLA: . . .Yeah.

rat

Here kitty kitty kitty.

– Joe’s rat starts digging. GuidEs dig up a flag and GuidOs have a clue. Teams must direct their driver 50 miles back into Maputo and find Praca Dos Trabalhadores. This building designed by some renowned engineer is where they’ll find their next clue.

– JOE: When we retire, maybe we can come here and get jobs as rat trainers.
BILL: They’re very cute.

guido dog

The fire in his eyes.

– Oswald thinks he found a mine. Uchenna too. Both call for searches. Ian wants a check too.

ian outfit

You know who is watching this episode closely and is preparing to visit Ian?

stacy london and clinton

“I am horrified by that hat! Let’s fly to Maputo and put this Big Kahuna of a poor fashion sense to rest!”

I just hope Nick Arrojo doesn’t give him a Bob.
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Okay, okay, okay. When I was in elementary school I always watched whatever TV show my sister was watching on the weekend. Miami Ink, Trading Spaces, and What Not to Wear was on very frequently.

– Oswald, Ian, and Uchenna all have clues. They trail behind the Guidos. Uchenna & Joyce are stoked to be third out.

– ERIC: Come on, Xena.

A rat named Xena? Sweet.

– Charla couldn’t be more disgusted by a rat. Almost as disgusted as when she sees chipmunks.

rat cleaning itself

Or the fact that Charla’s rat is cleaning herself. Heh. If you guys ever wanted a screen cap of a rat cleaning itself, here it is.

– Xena is a true warrior as she finds the clue for Eric. Him and Danielle head out. Dustin has the clue. Suddenly Charla & Mirna are in dead last. Sadly seventh will be their best finish all season.

– Charla & Mirna are in a definitive last place position. Guidos think they have found the fastest way to the city centre while Uchenna & Joyce take a different route. Charla has the flag. I have the impression that all seven teams are very close. Eric & Danielle follow Uchenna & Joyce. So do Teri & Ian and the Chipmunks.

– Guidos are at the building. It’s a Detour. Pamper or Porter.

In Pamper, teams make their way to the Bem-Vindo Ao Mercado Central Cioade de Maputo. Uh, the Maputo Central Market. Here they will find a stall. They need to choose a nail polish kit and convince people to paint their nails. Phil mentions it is a job usually done by men. I am assuming masculine men, because otherwise, it wouldn’t be a big deal for Phil to mention to North Americans.

What kind of backwards society is this? Masculine men paint nails? What’s next? Women take pride in their barbeque grills?

– Teams must earn thirty meticais (one US dollar) to receive their next clue.

In Porter, teams must make their way two miles to Mercato Janet. Once here they will use their hands to fill ten large 45-pound bags of coal and sew each of them shut. Then they will carry one of these ten bags to a specified address where the owner will hand them their next clue.

Hmmm. This sounds very familiar. Almost identical to the Kuwait task from TAR 10 except there is the extra layer of carrying a bag to an address. This is what All Stars should be all about. Taking previous tasks and pushing them to the next level.

JOE: I say Porter.
BILL: Yeah, guys painting nails is just too weird.

Shame on you for thinking that, Bill. Not a progressive thinker. Especially not in the way you lead your life.

Oh wait.

– Cha Cha Cha conclude that Porter will be easy because people will not paint nails for a lot of money. Dramatic drum plays as Cha Cha Cha enters their truck.

– Eric & Danielle pull over on the side of the road. The other teams who followed him to the left stop as they hear Eric peaking his head out of the window and shouting “SIR! MAPUTO!”

– Charla & Mirna tell the driver to go straight as opposed to heading left like everyone else. Is that a solid decision? Who knows.

eric truck

That is NOT how you sit in a truck.

– Chipmunks decide to keep driving because Eric doesn’t know and neither does Teri & Ian. Teri tells Ian just to go straight. Charla uses her faux Spanish to get directions. Suddenly Charla & Mirna are third. They ask a man to lead them in his car to the central market.

– Guidos convince a man to lead them to Mercato Janet/coal packing place. Charla & Mirna search the market for the marked stall. They have it.

– Charla & Mirna convince the man who led them to the market to get his nails painted.

MIRNA: Your wife will be so happy.

charla mirna nails

Real men get their nails painted. Real men wear Soliantu buffs. Real men get their nails painted by Armenian-Americans.

– Mirna abuses her faux Spanish to the max as she waves her arms frantically. Guidos are at the coal market. The rules state that locals cannot touch the coal but they can hold the bags open. So Guidos convince the kids to open the bags as they stuff the coal into it. Bill complains his hands are hurting. Joe says Bill should sew because he is a better sewer. Or because Joe just doesn’t want to sew.

– Mirna’s faux Spanish is flat out amusing. Just talk normally, dangit.

– People are holding out banners on the road. Military is out in trucks. Why? According to Cha Cha Cha, it’s World AIDS Day. Danny talks about how it is a very emotional day because loved ones have died due to AIDS. The only person I know who died from AIDS is Eazy E.

This is one of my favourite scenes in TAR history. Why? Because it demonstrates that the world doesn’t stop just because it’s part of a race course for an American reality show. The Earth does not stop rotating and real life events play out. Producers acknowledging that World’s AIDS Day happened on the race course is a great move in the editing department. They could have replaced those ten seconds with more of Ian’s hat or Mirna trash talking the Chipmunks, but here, all of that is put to the side as true reality takes over. If only for a moment.

– Uchenna & Joyce have the clue. Turns out going left was the wrong move. They decide to fill charcoal. Cha Cha Cha join the Guidos. Danny drops in another joke about his manicurist being angry with him again. Mirna pretends they are Hollywood manicures.

MIRNA: Look how pretty you became.

Because the customer was a real ugly b—- before. The pink nails made her look like night and day.

– Chipmunks choose to paint nails. They did well with this task last season but feel compelled to do something new. Eric & Danielle’s driver disobeys their directions.

Isn’t the driver assigned by production? Aren’t they supposed to practically be slaves to the teams? That is a major disadvantage if a driver goes rogue and ends up affecting the outcome of the game. Unless the U-turn would have been illegal on that road, I think this should be just cause for a time credit.

– Danielle breaks down and cries because of the driver. Hold yourself together, Pinkie. Ian busts out Italian as he receives directions to the market. Charla paints nails but the man attempts to run away without paying. Charla, not afraid to be aggressive, steps in front of the man. He gives a donation. Mirna hands the meticais to the man who led her to the market and asks if they have enough. Apparently they had more than thirty a while ago. Charla & Mirna run back to the stall and hand in the money.

Geez. You don’t keep track of when you finished a task? That could explain your 8-8-8-7 string.

– Teams must drive to a nearby place called Fortaleza. It was completed in 1871, and the oldest building in Maputo.

Isn’t Maputo the least centrally located capital city in history? It is in the most southeastern point of the country. Why couldn’t it be like Santiago and be in the central part of a long skinny country? It would be like if the American capital was in Miami or Australia’s capital in Hobart. Everyone would be scratching their heads.

– Charla & Mirna run with their guide screaming. If you listen to the audio, you would think Mirna is doing a White Man’s offensive impersonation of an Islamic fundamentalist. I’m surprised they leave it in the episode.

CHARLA: What do they call the men who get the manicures?
ME: Oswald & Danny?
MIRNA: Metrosexuals. They have metrosexuals everywhere in the world.

– Uchenna & Joyce start loading up bags. Guidos have six bags. Bill is starting to sew bags.

– Suddenly somebody checks into the pit stop. It’s unbelievable. Phil is absolutely astonished.

Okay, it’s really. . .

charla mirna nails 2

It’s these two. And the only reason they found this place is because they could see the pit stop greeter’s manicure from their car.

mozambique greeter

Enough of this. She means business. She’ll welcome them to Mozambique whether they like it or not.

– Charla & Mirna have not come close to winning a leg of TAR since the third round of TAR 5. That’s nine rounds. Even Danielle has been closer to winning a leg than Charla & Mirna over the past few years. Heck, even Kentucky has won a round.

Knowing Charla & Mirna, they stay calm, cool, and collected when they win a round of TAR.

charla mirna win

Or they produce one of the most erotic positions at a TAR mat ever. I refuse to elaborate further. That can be saved for a whole other blog.

– They have won a trip for two to Aruba. They get massages, dinner with champagne, and a snorkel tour. Phil acknowledges this is their first victory.

MIRNA: Just because someone is a little shorter or a little skinnier doesn’t really matter.

This is coming from the woman who stated last round that she is stuck with all of the work because Charla isn’t equipped to handle the race. I’m sure Mirna is doing her best to back peddle now.

– MIRNA: And if coming in first makes people have a little respect for us, then that’s a wonderful thing to accomplish.

Good luck.

– Eric & Danielle choose to fill charcoal because Eric thinks it will be tougher to convince people to paint their nails. Plus Danielle could be a basketcase right now. Cue Green Day.

– Teri & Ian are the last team to the Detour clue. I thought they already had the clue? They choose to do charcoal anyway. Teri asks how big the bags are and Ian points out that they don’t know. I love how Teri is the only one to question that this task could potentially be very difficult. 450 pounds of charcoal total between the ten bags certainly gave Charla & Mirna a huge advantage. Ian comes to the conclusion that finding people who would let him paint their fingernails would be difficult.

– Joyce is sewing the bags. Oswald whines about his fingers. The Chipmunks are approached by a little girl.

KANDICE: Do you have any money?
LITTLE GIRL: No.
DUSTIN: GO HOME!
KANDICE: I’ll paint them for free cause you’re so pretty.

Heart. . .aches. . .seeing. . .Kandice. . .do. . .something. . .charitable. . .and goes against. . .her. . .competitive. . .nature. ARGHHHHHHH.

– Oswald knows painting nails would have been easier upon reflection. Chipmunks are done already. It seems one Detour option was over the top while the other task was unbelievably easy. Dustin feels it is worth celebrating.

dustin spank

dustin spank 2

So this is what Ian meant when he said that Kandice jiggles.

This scene really perked up Akon.

– Eric & Danielle find the charcoal task and ask the teams how long they have been working on it. Bill specifically comments that Eric has arrived.

– Teri & Ian ask wildly where Mercato Janet is. Teri discovers it is the wrong market. It’s finger painting time.

– Chipmunks check into the pit stop. Kandice asks if they can paint the greeter’s nails. I’m afraid Mirna took care of that. They hug upon hearing they are second.

PHIL: Pretty in pink in Mozambique.

chipmunks pink

That is an excessive amount of pink.
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Wait, Phil Keoghan is a fan of Molly Ringwald and John Hughes? Was he the Ducky during his Kiwi days? He secretly wanted to be in high school forever.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Believe it or not, this is the first time in TAR history that two all-female teams finish in 1st and 2nd during the same leg. People will undoubtedly grumble and attribute this to pure luck because they picked the better Detour option. However they also did better than most teams did in terms of navigating back to Maputo.

– Cha Cha Cha’s sewing skills move them ahead of the Guidos. They are done sewing and begin moving. Guidos are done and find a guide. Joyce asks Uchenna to glance at the Guidos to see which direction they are heading. Eric grimaces as he works.

– Teri & Ian finds themselves at the nails task. They choose to do it to stop wasting time. One woman rejects and thus Ian is immediately discouraged. He doesn’t think anyone will respond to him. Not when he goes back to being Mr. Grumpy Pants.

– Cha Cha Cha asks for directions. The guy they find doesn’t know. Teri begs Ian to try for five more minutes. They find two women.

TERI: Thirty Nelly Furtada’s?
WOMAN #1: Too much!
TERI: How much will you pay?
WOMAN #1: Twenty.
IAN: And how much will you pay?
WOMAN #2: Ten.
IAN: Okay. Come!

WOMAN #2 is a smart cookie.

– Guidos catch up with Cha Cha Cha. The woman freaks out when Ian sloppily paints her nails. After only two customers Teri & Ian are done. Easiest Detour ever?

– Guidos and Cha Cha Cha find their respective addresses and knock simultaneously.

bil nazi

It doesn’t help that Joe’s charcoal mustache makes him look like a member of the Secret Police. If there was a contest for unluckiest charcoal mark on your skin, that would be it.  The worst part is the way that the Guidos aggressively knock on the residence’s door.

It doesn’t help that Mozambique was a former colony of Germany. If you know what happens in TAR in two legs, you know this is mysterious foreshadowing.

– Uchenna & Joyce are done. Uchenna insists they can ask someone on the way as he hoists the bag onto his shoulder. Eric commands Danielle to hurry as she asks where “the girls” are. Uh oh, Danielle. While Dustin and Charla were the last two to finish the roadblock, they are miles and miles ahead of you. She will be in for a real surprise.

– Uchenna & Joyce see Cha Cha Cha and Guidos coming out of the Detour and assume the address is around there. Oswald comments that Danny looks like a raccoon.  Uchenna & Joyce enter the wrong area and appear to be lost. Danielle wonders how her and Eric got so far behind. They are done sewing. Danielle convinces several young boys to lead her to the address. They run ahead of Eric who yells at them to slow down because he is carrying forty-five pounds of charcoal.

– Eric & Danielle and Uchenna & Joyce see each other on the street. Eric & Danielle find the right house and have their clue and run back. Uchenna & Joyce are lost on the street and are bummed that Eric & Danielle have their clue thanks to their young kids.

Children really manifest themselves to ruin Uchenna & Joyce’s lives in the darkest of ways. The Universe is playing one cruel joke. Children being the demise of Uchenna & Joyce on TAR? That is too much.

– Eric & Danielle see Uchenna & Joyce again and get back into the truck. Uchenna & Joyce find their address and have the clue. It’s a scramble to the pit stop.

– Teri & Ian are in disbelief that they are third.

teri ian reaction

There’s something about Mozambique that makes Americans very erotic.

– Joe intimidates a driver to lead him to the pit stop. Oswald & Danny joke about how dirty they look. Eric directs the driver as Danielle repeats to hurry. Uchenna & Joyce struggle with the map. Bill tells the driver to follow the cab. It’s not the fort. Cha Cha Cha sees the Phil.

OSWALD: I’m hugging you!
PHIL: No way!

oswald phil

And now we prepare for 80s cartoon chase.

oswald phil 1

This is the most absurd thing I have seen in 21 seasons of TAR.

oswald phil 2

Is this really All Stars?

oswald phil 3

Time to put on the 80s music because this is as Scooby Doo as TAR gets.

Phil calls the game to an end and doubles back to the mat. He checks them in and is surprised they chose the charcoal. Oswald says they are not here to sissyfoot it. For once fulfilling the stereotype would have proven to be to their advantage.

– Guidos ask for directions from the same cab again. They clarify where to go. Eric & Danielle command the driver to go faster. He cuts somebody off. All three teams shout to go faster and hurry. Quite the suspense.

guidos eric

Suspense ends when Guidos maintain their lead over Danielle in a foot race. Jeremy would’ve been an optimal partner for this part. Or the whole race thus far, really.

ERIC: Dammit, Danielle.

I feel content blaming her too.

– Guidos are fifth and relieved. Eric & Danielle are somber as they finish sixth. Bill is stoked that Eric & Danielle tried to run like Olympic athletes but outran them.

ERIC: I feel like we should’ve beat them. They remind me of old women who are past their prime. She got beat by a bunch of queens.

Eric’s popularity may have dropped a bit.

joe nazi

Although Joe’s popularity may be plummeting faster than Eric’s thanks to that mustache.

– Uchenna & Joyce sprint to the mat. They are shocked to hear they are last. But it’s a non-elimination. However, the rules are different from the last time they finished last on a non-elimination round. Marked for Elimination is back. You know the rules. Uchenna says to stay the course and be calm. Joyce says they’ll work very hard on the next leg to avoid the 30 minute penalty.

Next time on TAR: One of the craziest back-to-back rounds of TAR you will ever see until TAR 21.

Confessionals

Uchenna.Joyce 7.2
Dustin.Kandice 1.1
Joe.Bill 4.5
Charla.Mirna 0.3
Teri.Ian 2.4
Oswald.Danny 5.3
Eric.Danielle 3.3

Rank the Legs

1) Calama -> Puerto Montt (Okay, it was a round with rather easy tasks. None of them involved skill. However, everything else about the leg was great. There was the one and only scramble for flights during the episode, and teams drove themselves for the entire round. None of the teams can blame a dang thing on taxis.

The conflict between the teams were organic and set up what is to come for the next several rounds. Guidos vs. Eric & Danielle, Rob’s disrespect for Eric continues, Charla & Mirna vs. Everyone in sight. This makes the round crucial and ultimately a bridge to what will occur the remainder of the season.

Overall, a cast delivers as much as it can as all nine teams had something interesting going on. It’s just that production couldn’t provide a leg that was all-star worthy. Wish we went to a new doggone country.

One last thing that bothered me is how they spent another round in a country where two teams (Romber and Uchenna & Joyce) would have a big advantage, and everyone else is at a disadvantage compared to them. That’s one of the logistic issues when doing an all-star. You have to do countries where everyone is on a level playing field. Sadly, another round that tips the race course in favour of another team is not the answer.

One last thing that I liked is that David & Mary were eliminated. The three weakest teams are gone. From the fourth episode until the end of the game, this feels like a true all-star race.)

2) Ushuaia -> Maputo (Yes! A new continent for this season! Yes! A new country to add to TAR’s catalogue! Yes! A unique roadblock!

But production did a terrible job with the Detour. One appeared to take two minutes max while the other option appeared to take well over an hour. Teri & Ian seemed to be about an hour behind all teams but come in third ahead of every team that did the charcoal option? That’s ridiculous. I think the nail polish task should have raised it up to ninety meticais. I am curious who was in charge of going with thirty meticais. Did they have a Dream Team test it out but they ended up struggling?

Cha Cha Cha chasing Phil is easily a top ten moment in TAR history. I don’t think any mat entrance has matched that since. I think Tramel & Talicia would like to come back and regain their crown.

This episode avoided taxis. Anytime you present taxi help as optional rather than mandatory is always the way to go in TAR. Teams each being assigned their own driver is a classic element from the first two seasons of TAR.

Visiting sub-Saharan Africa is always a wise choice because you get some unusual encounters compared to the WASPy nature of Europe. Teams are thrown out of their comfort zone. The growing rivalry between Charla & Mirna vs. Chipmunks and Guidos vs. Eric & Danielle makes the season a bit more fun.

And LOL at Guidos’ charcoal mustache. A comedic episode overall, but was in desperate need of possibly fewer equalizers and a more polished Detour. At least last round had the exciting finish.

3) Puerto Montt -> Ushuaia (This is when teams should have gone to the next continent. But half a leg in Chile and half a leg in Argentina? I was over these locations at this point. The tasks weren’t great either.

The stardom showdown between Romber and Charla & Mirna makes this episode an instant favourite for most people. Seeing a team go from finale bound to running a horrible leg and being eliminated in the biggest upset of any round in TAR’s history had people talking. There was no reason for Romber not to win this leg. They were in the perfect location that has been so good to them this season and their past race.

The teams used several modes of transportation except train. That was a bit neat. Also, I approve of the callback to other teams providing letters.

If you switch Romber to finishing 3rd or 4th, you would end up with the worst leg of the season by far. There was virtually no other exciting things going on this round. Nothing that indicated to you this was a race at an all-star level.

The biggest compliment about this round is that producers no longer have a reason to use only footage from confessionals where teams discuss Rob & Amber to be used in the episodes.)

4) Miami -> Quito (The season premiere of any all-star edition of any competitive reality TV show is always a top ten episode of any franchise. Why? Because of the unlikely interactions. You can’t help but feel giddy as Ian groans at Charla & Mirna, as David and Drew physically fight over a car, teams going from goons to gods, and gods to goons. Who can finish at the top of the all-star pact or falter to the bottom? How do they match up against our expectations? So many great storytellers for the first round make minor events seem like the funniest things in the world.

Then there’s the jokes editors throw in. Gutsy Grannies reference thrown in for good measure. Themes in how teams continue to treat each other. You should watch a different show if you didn’t enjoy the premiere.

The only way I can penalize this episode is that the difficulty of these tasks were lousy. Cotopaxi seemed to be tricky for teams but it did not translate well on TV. Producers could have been more harsh, but with so many teams to catch up on in a one hour episode, I believe a one episode grace period is in order.

And Poor Drew. He probably gives enough hope to people like James & Abba to try their luck at a Craps table.)

5) Quito -> Calama (Both tasks were great. However, that flight to the final task is what ruined the episode. Add in a one-lane road to the pit stop with only one exit, and suddenly you have the bottom four teams having no choice but to travel as a pact to the pit stop. Luckily they screwed up on the same turn, but the fact production opened the door for complete chaos is not something I approve.

Drew’s 2-episode glamourous return was well worth it. We were graced with the opportunity to witness the least enthusiastic racer in TAR history. Charla & Mirna broke the record for blowing a situation out of proportion.  Mary giving directions based on the number of words was a series first.

Drew eliminating Phil from the pit stop was great. He just shuns them. There is no rule that you had to stand there as the sad music plays and Phil requests a life transformation from you.

Eric sounding like a lost kid as he followed Oswald and Amber and repeated ‘what is it’ over and over is an underrated moment. Or Charla falling.

Overall, the cast and tasks delivered. It’s just that one flight that knocks it down. Split charter flights would have been a better alternative if production was stuck in a crappy situation.)

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