Previously on TAR: Teams set out from Maputo to the island of Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania. At the airport, Charla & Mirna took a well-calculated risk and surged ahead of everyone else.
Eric & Danielle got pulled off the plane when the airline overbooked the flight in one of the dumbest airline glitches in TAR history. They were left behind with their rivals the Guidos and Teri & Ian.
Oswald offered comfort when he and Danny caught up with Charla & Mirna. But Charla & Mirna broke away from Oswald & Danny thanks to Cha Cha Cha knowing they have a big enough lead that they could stop for fruit prior to the pit stop.
So Charla & Mirna won their second round in a row. Nearly SIXTEEN hours later, the Guidos and Teri & Ian were seen by Charla & Mirna putting together a tinga tinga puzzle. Guidos barely beat out Teri & Ian who were the last to arrive. Six teams remain. Who will be eliminated next?
NOTE: The seventh and eighth rounds aired together as a 2 hour episode. Because of how crazy this round gets, I have chosen an arbitrary point where this episode blog will end.
– Intro time.
– Phil introduces us to Zanzibar where we are shown nude citizens running on a pier. Keep that in mind. Zanzibar is a nudist colony. It is also known as Spice Island. Gotta love how places in Africa are named for their most abundant resources. Typical Western gaze.
– It was the centre of Arab trade. Old Fort protected them and was the sixth pit stop.
Phil’s Question: After falling more than half a day behind for their second season in a row, can the Guidos climb from the bottom of the pack and even the playing field?
Luckily in an age where equalizers reign, they have a very good chance to catch up within the first twenty minutes of the episode. Unless TAR stays within eastern Africa. Then it’s impossible to freeze gameplay for sixteen hours.
– Charla & Mirna, who arrived first at 420pm, just as the Guidos entered Zanzibar, will depart at 420am.
– Charla & Mirna read that teams must fly over 5, 000 miles to Warsaw, Poland. Once there, travel to Czapski Palace (Frederic Chopin’s childhood home . . .yeah, never heard of him either) and find “Chopin” playing the piano in the courtyard. When they find the palace and musician, teams will find their next clue.
PHIL: Since flights to Warsaw are eliminated, teams have been provided with tickets on a flight scheduled to arrive the next day at 525am. However, they are under no obligations to use these tickets.
The second time in three legs with forced tickets? Does this mean everyone will be on the same flight again? It’d be the opposite of what happened last leg when production didn’t provide any tickets.
– Mirna says being in first is worse because everyone sees you as a threat rather than being under the radar. So they get into a taxi van. Mirna proposes to Charla to wait for Danny & Ozzy to split the costs of the cab. Plus they must know three of the other six teams from the previous round haven’t checked in yet.
That’s right. Teri & Ian are still in the race at this point. Crazy, eh?
– Oswald talks about having fun and being competitive for the millionth time.
OSWALD: There are no alliances. Only joint ventures.
Proof that Oswald understands the nature of this race. Tell that to racers of TAR 10 and TAR 21.
– Suddenly it’s 755am. The gap between second and third is bigger than 90 percent of gaps in TAR 6, 8, and 10. Uchenna & Joyce check out. Uchenna feels these experiences helps make the relationship grow. Joyce thinks it is needed. They think it creates the essence.
– Chipmunks check out at 800am. Both are excited about seeing Chopin playing the piano.
Back up. They know Chopin? That might be the most surprising thing I have heard all season.
DUSTIN: This season is so much more challenging. Everyone knows how to work every angle of every situation. So all the tricks we have, they have too.
Of the teams that are left minus Danielle? That’s right, Danielle. You now possess the David & Mary slot for all of my jokes. It’s going to get real old real fast.
By the way Dustin, save your “every team is a threat” speech for the Final Four, please.
– Yet again, the Chipmunks express for the third round in a row that this is the time they need to step it up.
– Uchenna & Joyce are inside a travel agency hoping a travel agent comes at the designated time. Joyce is antsy and thinks they should go ahead and call a travel agency. The other three teams are waiting for a travel agency to open. First goal is to get off The Island.
– I dunno how Uchenna & Joyce are at a travel agency before teams that had a 3 1/2 hour lead. They must have gone to a more populated town in Zanzibar. The gates for the closed travel agency opens as the three teams head inside.
By the way, the Guidos just checked into the pit stop. Six minutes into the following episode. I am amused.
– The agent with the three teams pauses to answer the phone. The three teams look at what the lady is writing. They see Uchenna’s name.
What?! I have never seen that. Uchenna calling a travel agency where the other three teams can hear him on the line is unprecedented. All Stars continues to provide the most unique situations ever observed in TAR history.
– Dustin convinces the agent to tell Uchenna that she will call him back. Uchenna catches on what is going on and asks her if there are other racers like him who are telling her to end the call. She ignores him and hangs up anyway.
UCHENNA: The person that is telling you not to take this information is competing with me.
If I was a travel agent in Zanzibar my whole life, I would start believing the moon landing is fake and that it is up to me to stop the John F. Kennedy assassination. I wish the camera would catch the moment where the travel agent starts pinching herself to see if the moment is indeed real.
– Uchenna gives up after Dustin, Kandice, Mirna, and Charla work together to beg her to end the call.
– Chipmunks deal with one agent while Cha Cha Cha and Charla & Mirna deal with the other. Mirna quietly (but expressively) tells the agent to not share any flight information with the Chipmunks.
– Oswald tells us he was able to work with Charla & Mirna because he took a step back and let him and Danny channel all of their communication through Mirna.
– Mirna leans across the desk and offer to pay commission if she can pay the best flight. Dustin informs us that this is rude. Eh. Chipmunks are rude to other teams. Mirna happens to be rude to locals. . .and other teams.
Plus how can you say ‘no’ to that face?
– Uchenna & Joyce’s travel agent shows up physically to the travel agency. All of the teams scramble. Dustin provides her map from TAR 10 and shoves it across the counter. We hear 1200pm arrival and 1125am arrival keep cropping up. Chipmunks are told of a flight to Warsaw via Addis Ababa.
OSWALD: This is like a spy game.
Sorry. It’s such a sweet name for a capital city.
– Mirna asks her agent what flight the other agent booked for the Chipmunks. Hey, you just told the agent not to share yours with the other team. Sooooo unfair!!1111one.
– Chipmunks book the Addis Ababa flight and the agent smiles as they leave. Mirna’s agent is not smiling whatsoever.
MIRNA: I’m having a heart attack right now. I need emergency help.
Do the people of Zanzibar understand American sarcasm?
– Chipmunks already board their flight to Addis Ababa. The flight arrives in Warsaw at 910am. Only two hours and twenty-five minutes before the provided flights. I bet Guidos can’t make the provided flight.
– Phil recaps the Chipmunks’ flight to Warsaw. Uh oh. Prepare for teams to be spread out again.
– Cha Cha Cha and Charla & Mirna announce they have been at the travel agency for four hours. Teri & Ian are currently booking their flight to Elimination Station as we speak.
– Mirna says you can’t book flights at airports so they may as well continue sitting in the travel agency until they find a better flight. That’s how eight hours since checking out of the pit stop can go by just like that. I’m sure their sitting and waiting goes by about one hundred times slower than on TV.
– Uchenna complains about sitting in the agency for four hours too. I wonder if the travel agents were told to act as equalizers. The agent tells Uchenna & Joyce of a flight that connects through Johannesburg and Frankfurt before getting into Warsaw at 910am. Same time as the Chipmunks!
AGENT: You need to pick up your tickets in Frankfurt.
Nothing bad ever happens in Frankfurt.
**ELEVEN HOURS SINCE LEG STARTED**
MIRNA: Can we book standby tickets on this flight?
AGENT: Not possible.
315PM: Eric & Danielle check out of pit stop.
And for my next trick I will make an eleven hour lead DISAPPEAR!
– Danielle says this race has tested her relationship with Eric. They argue a bit. She claims that when she puts her opinion in that Eric gets snippy.
By “opinion” I am sure we can say “blatantly incorrect info”.
DANIELLE: So, Warsaw’s not here, obviously?
ERIC: No, Warsaw is in Poland, knucklehead.
Right next door to the Tanzanian Devil.
DANIELLE: I look like a little Polish girl.
Eric is being real attentive to Danielle.
I hear Eric only pays attention to Polish women during Oktoberfest.
ERIC: You don’t look like a Polish girl.
DANIELLE: Yeah, Polish girls are blonde.
ERIC: You don’t know. You didn’t even know where Warsaw was.
Love is in the air. Not even your double Ds can save you now, Danielle.
It’s not until this re-watch that I have noticed how much Phil specifically mentions Eric & Danielle, and how many exclusive scenes these two are given.
– Cha Cha Cha hear about a 510pm flight. Obviously, that doesn’t work. At 320pm, Phil announces Uchenna & Joyce are getting to Warsaw via Johannesburg and Frankfurt.
– Eric & Danielle enter the travel agency where Charla & Mirna and Cha Cha Cha are hanging out. Danny warns Eric & Danielle that it will be a long time before they will sit and talk with the agents. By this point I’d settle for the provided 1125am flight.
– MIRNA: We’ve been here seven hours.
At a travel agency? An OPEN travel agency? Must be an all-time TAR record. I don’t think any team has spent anywhere even remotely close to seven hours at a travel agency. I suppose it is different when the sole game is “get better tickets than the ones provided” rather than “just get whatever tickets you can”.
ERIC: Is there better flights than what we got?
MIRNA: No, the truth is we found the best flight but we decided not to go so that we could hang out with you!
The Charlie Bartlett-like expression on Eric’s face tells me he wishes Mirna would’ve had the best flight and kept her ten hour lead over him.
– OSWALD: I have a headache.
Another TAR first. It took two seasons and a seven hour session at a travel agent before Oswald’s patience wore thin. Are there martinis in this travel agency?
– Eric proposes to Danielle. . .to go to another travel agency because the other two teams have been here for seven hours. Thus, there is sufficient evidence that this travel agency is complete crap.
ERIC: They’ve been here for seven hours–
DANNY: Seven. Long. Hours.
Yeah. I’d go too if Danny was losing his mind.
DANIELLE: I don’t understand why we’re leaving for.
ERIC: They’ve been here for seven hours–
DANNY: Seven. Long. Hours.
– Eric and Danielle talk outside. Danielle clarifies why they aren’t waiting inside.
DANIELLE: Where else are we gonna go? There’s no other airlines.
ERIC: What do you mean? “There’s no other travel agencies on this whole island”.
DANIELLE: I really doubt it.
Like the one where Uchenna & Joyce were hanging out at?
ERIC: Fine. We’ll go inside then.
DANIELLE: It’s like talking to a five year old.
DANIELLE: C’mon baby, let’s go. Let’s go.
What the heck just happened? Congratulations Danielle, you continue to lose your mind more and more. Apparently your brain has an inability to function as of the third or fourth round. She just comes off terrible on TV. I’m curious how much of it is the edit.
She’s like Jekyll and Hyde.
DANIELLE: Stop being stubborn.
I believe it was Eric who wanted to change the gameplan and wanted to leave. My knowledge of words may not be the best, but I have a feeling ‘stubborn’ is not the word you’re looking for.
ERIC: Everything to you is going to be an argument.
DANIELLE: Grow up, that’s all I ask. Just grow up. Grow up.
That’s right. Grow up grow up grow up grow up. I’m the mature person but you need to growupgrowupgrowup.
I have four screen caps that will recap this argument.
DANIELLE’S GOAL: Stay inside the agency against all reason.
ERIC’S GOAL: Leave, be flexible, and get a jump on the opposing teams.
Keep in mind this is all within 30 seconds of editing.
I love this reverse psychology. When a woman has a man under mental control, it’s called “pussy whipped”. When a man has a woman under control. . .is she just “whipped” in general?
ERIC: You should do something besides b—-.
DANIELLE: Your personality is irritating and I don’t know where it came from.
Eric’s calm and collective demeanour is really out of control.
DANIELLE: I’m surprised Jeremy didn’t kill you.
Yeah. The shocker of all shockers. Because Eric was really the diva in that squad.
– Back at the travel agency, the agent spots that a flight has opened up. It’s a flight via Amsterdam that gets in at 945am. Only 35 minutes behind the leading two teams.
– Eric & Danielle have only been offered a 420pm flight by another travel agent. Maybe they should’ve stayed in the same agency to hear about the Nairobi-Amsterdam-Warsaw flight. Eric & Danielle conclude they must use the provided flight.
– Phil recaps that Charla & Mirna and Cha Cha Cha will fly via Nairobi and Amsterdam.
– Eric & Danielle talk about how they’re not getting along. Eric says right in front of her that she is touchy. She claims she is not. Eric walks away to let Danielle calm down.
– 701pm. Over fourteen hours after Charla & Mirna, it’s time for Guidos to depart. The provided flight departs at 755pm so they’re rushing to make the provided flight. It’s completely dark. Isn’t Zanzibar supposed to be near the equator? Where the heck is the sun? Guidos recap that they need to step it up and how sixth used to be middle of the pack.
– Eric thinks Guidos are freaking out en route. Guidos check in. Eric wants to hide around a corner to pull a harmless prank on them. For once, Bill smiles and laughs upon discovering them. Finally, they’re receptive to Eric’s jokes.
JOE: They’re a lot less happy to see us than we are to see them.
Danielle talks about how the Guidos are annoying. What doesn’t annoy Danielle, I wonder? Eric and the Guidos seem over their conflict.
– Joe is happy that they are in a tie for fifth. Eric is unhappy with his current position. I’m not surprised since the guy had an average finish of first or second place last time he played. Danielle probably feels like she is on her ‘A’ game this season.
– Phil recaps that Guidos and Eric & Danielle are heading to Warsaw via Kilimanjaro and Amsterdam. There is a one hour connection in Kilimanjaro.
So production PROVIDES tickets that have a one hour connection? It’s like production is intentionally setting themselves up for disaster.
– Kilimanjaro. Guidos and Eric & Danielle casually walk. Guidos ask the counter for the tickets that they are instructed to pick up. The agent rejects. Bill freaks out. Joe tells him to calm down. Danielle freaks out. Eric tells her to calm down. All four of them hate that they can see the plane but are being refused on. Plus Kilimanjaro appears to be a tiny airport so it doesn’t look like much paperwork.
– Joe tells the agent to radio the pilot that they are all ready to walk on and that they just landed from Zanzibar. We even see the tarmac heading to the door of the plane which means people aren’t inside the plane yet.
– Guidos freak out the door is still open. Eric & Danielle follow them outside.
JOE: You cannot let this airplane leave.
Whoa. This is getting melodramtic quickly. “You cannot let this plane go!” I think Harrison Ford has been less dramatic on planes.
Kilimanjaro Airport must be run by the biggest teases in the world. It’s right there.
– They order the agent to run out. Joe screams ‘endele’ or whatever that word is in Spanish. Danielle tells us that the provided flight from Zanzibar was a little late. Ouch. Production is royally screwing them over. If I were a producer, I’d be wondering what the heck to do when two teams are about to be stranded in one of the smallest international airports out there.
You must evaluate yourself inwards before judging others.
Video recommended for Danielle:
– DANIELLE: I will run to the stairs. I will push the stairs myself.
It worked for Jim Carrey in Liar Liar.
AGENT (runs back from plane): Not possible.
– And so all Hell breaks loose. Joe, Bill, and Danielle scream at the poor agent.
The cost of this plane ticket is more than he’ll make in a year!
– Joe, Bill, and Danielle are the only ones to provide commentary and confessionals for this scene. I bet Eric would rather be in any other place in the planet. Maybe trade Bill for Mirna and Eric may very well quit the race.
– Things get crazy. How crazy?
Joe runs outside close to the plane, and starts ringing a bell on top of his head repeatedly screaming “HEYYYYYY HEEYYYYYYYY HEYYYYYYY HEYYYYYYY HEYYYYYYY”.
You think the agents and the pilot would be fed up and upset to the point that they would cave in and let the people on the plane.
I wish I didn’t check out of the pit stop today.
– The plane begins to move.
JOE: Well I guess that didn’t work.
It’d be about ten times funnier if he did.
PILOT: Hey John, whose that guy ringing the bell in front of the plane at 10 o’ clock at night?
JOHN: His name is Joe Guido. A fifty year old American reality TV star.
PILOT: He seems like a lad I want on my plane. Let ’em on!
– Bill jokes how Joe lost it and instructs Joe to control his temper. Joe agrees. Eric finds it funny he will be three days behind the other five teams. Heck, screw the race being over while they’re in Alaska. Teams might be at the Finish Line by the time they get to Europe.
BILL: I’m not proud of what you did.
JOE: Fine. I’m glad you’re not proud of it Bill.
The way he says it is one of the funniest things to occur all season.
ERIC: Let’s go find another flight.
DANIELLE: I wanna go home. I wanna get on a flight to HOME.
Oh my. You have the dramatic nature of Flo, the perseverance of Flo, and the optimism of Teri. What an amazing combination.
– Danielle gets ANOTHER confessional. Why is she getting by far the most airtime this round? Eric knows they are several hours if not days behind the other teams.
– Because they have been bottom feeders for nearly a week, Eric & Danielle and the Guidos split a taxi van and head to the hotel. Danielle thinks she is heading to a funeral. I doubt any murderers in Kilimanjaro would want to be around your attitude for that long.
– Eric offers Guidos a deal that they will meet in the morning. Bill tells Eric that he could wake up and run off without him and Joe. Eric is fatigued by the Guidos’ constant mistrust and nervousness. He insists that if he shakes the Guidos’ hands that a deal is in place.
– Bill finds it nice that Eric made a deal that they will work together until they get into Warsaw. They will wake up at 430am. Seeing how it is well after midnight by this point, this may be a good candidate for the worst sleep ever.
It seems like a huge hallway but yet the only two rooms here couldn’t be placed closer together if they tried. That is one of the worst building structures I have seen.
– Okay. So Eric & Danielle and Guidos currently sleep in Kilimanjaro. Five thousand miles away we have the Chipmunks in FRANKFURT. Uchenna & Joyce’s plane gets in too. Both teams head to the transfer desks. Chipmunks request aisle seats while an agent tells Uchenna & Joyce to go to the gate directly.
– Chipmunks are on the plane. An agent tells Uchenna & Joyce it is too late to make the plane. Not even a discussion. They’re yanked off the flight. Chipmunks alone on the plane.
These two should have really been paying attention to this episode.
– Back in Kilimanjaro, Eric & Danielle and Guidos buy tickets for a 630am flight that heads to Mombasa then Frankfurt then Warsaw. So expect them to be screwed in Frankfurt.
– Warsaw. What the heck? 907am. Chipmunks’ flight gets in three minutes early. They’re in a taxi. Kandice insists to hurry but the driver is angry because he says he is going as fast as he can. I’m waiting to see a taxi driver that is super insecure on TAR.
I wish he was the pit stop greeter.
By the way this is the twentieth minute of the 38 minute episode and we have yet to get to the route marker.
– I’m waiting for Chipmunks to be held up for fifteen hours like Charla & Mirna were last round. Dustin talks about how she played the piano and always likes to play Chopin’s music. She goes on and on and I couldn’t care less. She is excited to meet a fake Chopin. It’s like meeting Santa Claus.
– 922am. Charla & Mirna and Cha Cha Cha are in Warsaw. Mirna is curious if she will run into any other teams. Their flight got in awfully early. Since when do flights get in early in TAR? Must be clear skies.
– Chipmunks find the piano player. It’s a Detour.
Chopin is going to be very cold. He has to be outside playing the piano for two days straight as he waits for all six teams. Can he go to the bathroom? Can he sleep? Can he eat? No wonder nobody does classical music anymore. It’s horrible working conditions.
Plus why is Chopin staring at Kandice’s backside? After hundreds of years, we learn Chopin is one creepy, creepy, man.
This Detour celebrates Chopin and Marie Currie. Perfect Pitch or Perfect Angle. In Perfect Pitch, teams make their way three quarters of a mile to a palace and choose a grand piano. Here, they must use the provided tools to tune one key of the keyboard. Once the concert pianist has played a piece of Chopin’s music, and determined it is in tune, teams will receive their next clue.
In Perfect Angle, teams travel half a mile to the Escada Boutique. Here they must choose a mannequin and carry it 400 yards to Panoramik Laboratory. Once here, they will use an x-ray machine to locate a message hidden inside the mannequin. The message can only be read when the x-ray machine is positioned at a specific angle for the image to capture it. Once they see the message, they will receive their next clue.
– I like this Detour quite a bit. Both tasks sound like they could give me a headache. In addition, both tasks are unique and have never been done before on TAR. Well done, producers.
– Dustin thinks she can hear which key is out of tune because of how much she played the piano when she was six years old.
DUSTIN: Hopefully I can–we can figure it out and tweak it.
Your Freudian slip does not go past me unnoticed.
– Charla & Mirna have a taxi.
CHARLA: Do you like Polish hot dogs?
DRIVER (frowns):. . . .
MIRNA: Do you like Polish sausage?
DRIVER (frowns): . . .
DRIVER (frowns): . . .
CHARLA: He doesn’t like us too much.
He will have none of Charla & Mirna’s shenanigans. I bet he loves passengers who asks him questions that have heavy sexual innuendo. I love how Charla & Mirna’s faces light up with delight as the driver experiences misery.
– Cha Cha Cha get into a cab.
OSWALD: I’m sorry sir, but do you speak English? I assume you spoke English.
DRIVER: A little.
DANNY: We trust you.
Much better than harassing a male driver if he likes sausage.
Since when did Joseph Stalin become a taxi driver?
He really has gone down since his prime.
– Chipmunks are watching the demonstration for the task. Dustin announces each match he is doing. Kandice looks lost. Dustin starts playing the piano and identifies the key right away. She tries to figure out how to turn it using the instrument.
– Charla & Mirna are dropped off at a construction site. They ask a police officer but he turns his head away and looks down as if he is a criminal on Cops. His face is blurred today. Charla & Mirna comment on his obvious aversion.
Their police department sounds delightful when it ignores helpless tourists.
– Mirna tells Charla to look for anyone who looks friendly enough to talk to.
Congratulations St. Petersburg, TAR has found the least friendliest town possible! Never has TAR displayed so many frowns and blurred faces. I doubt we will see TAR re-visit Poland. Not a vibrant place at all.
– Dustin explains the task of fixing the piano. I tune out.
– I space out because my music talent ended with pretending to play the recorder in the sixth grade, and making a special arrangement to do music history in the sixth grade. I even quit Super Duper Music Looper in the fifth grade.
DUSTIN: This is gonna be fun.
Why can’t I observe the sarcasm in your voice?
– The pianist tests Dustin’s tuning. The Chipmunks cheer. They receive a sheet of music that says “Jan III Sobieski Lazienki”. Phil says teams must figure out that this is referencing a monument commemorating the king of the same name. The Chipmunks run back to their cab and head to the monument.
– Charla & Mirna ask an officer inside. He runs away and has a blurred face.
MIRNA: Do you know how to speak? With your tongue? No? You don’t know how to talk?
Never have Armenian-Americans been ignored in a country sine Mirna traveled to Turkey. The locals are ridiculous here.
MIRNA: Maybe they don’t like a Little Person. Nobody wants to talk to us. It’s like we’re the Plague.
I’m stumped too. Unless all of Warsaw watched TAR 5 or are all descendants of the Guinn and Hudes families. The idea of Colin being anything but German is too tough for me to comprehend.
– Cha Cha Cha’s taxi passes Charla & Mirna on the road. Mirna points them out inside the cab. Mirna is thankful for that 20 day lead on Guidos and Eric & Danielle. Charla catches on that they can walk in the direction of their cab because it is heading to the palace.
That’s strange. Charla & Mirna can’t be lost for too long if Cha Cha Cha have yet to find the first Warsaw clue.
DANNY (to taxi): Can you wait? We like you.
The taxi driver surprisingly complies.
– Oswald chooses the piano tuning task; Danny wants to do the x-ray task because it sounds easy but complies with Oswald’s request.
OSWALD (to taxi): What’s your name?
TAXI DRIVER: Andy.
DANNY: Andy, how do you say ‘Three Musketeers’ in Polish?
If it were a Hindi man, he would say ‘Three Musketeers in Polish’ as a joke.
– Charla & Mirna find a hotel and get directions from the first friendly man they see. They walk on foot to the palace.
– Chipmunks see the monument. There is a canoe shown that is never explained.
– Kandice is shown wearing a vest as she reads a clue.
“Walk on foot to the next pit stop as you search the ground of the palace. Next team to check in may be eliminated.”
I wish production would say “Teams did a roadblock where they paddled across a pond. But since it did not affect placement, and because this task was so boring and quick, we declined to sow it”.
Believe it or not, TAR 10 excluded a roadblock with six teams remaining due to how boring it was.
And this has to be one of the most rushed rounds ever. A clue with a roadblock on sight that takes two minutes to do, and a pit stop within a two minute run? That may be the smallest area used for half a leg of TAR. It seems the only battle this round was flying to Warsaw and a dang Detour. I bet teams will remember tuning a piano and paddling a canoe for the rest of their lives.
– Chipmunks drop their packs on a bench to run to Phil. An extra minute on two teams that are still in Kenya will make all the difference.
– Phil informs the Chipmunks that they won this round by a kajillion hours on the second place team. They have won a trip to Puerto Rico.
PHIL: You get a spaaaaaaa.
I love how Phil says the word ‘spa’. I think he has a mixed Kiwi and Bostonian accent. Chipmunks embrace when they hear that there is a spot in the Caribbean where the whole ocean lights up. Isn’t the Caribbean a sea?
PHIL: You keep saying to me “we’ll be the first all-female team to win The Amazing Race”.
KANDICE: We definitely think it’s possible to be the first all-female team to win.
MEANWHILE IN ASIA. . .
Malaysians don’t count.
– Uchenna & Joyce get into a cab who only speaks Polish. Joyce is concerned because she has no idea what the driver is saying.
– Danny plays a song from Super Mario Bros. 3. He laughs hysterically.
OSWALD: Danny and I have been best friends for thirteen years. Now I find out he can play the piano.
I’d say he is hiding some other things too.
– Danny figures out which note is off-key and begins to tighten it.
– Charla & Mirna have the clue.
MIRNA: Perfect angel.
‘Angel’ and ‘Mirna’ doesn’t go well together anyway.
– Charla & Mirna choose to tune a piano and get a taxi. Charla wishes she knew anything about a piano. At the Detour, Danny breaks the string from over-tightening. The staff has to fix now.
Chipmunks might be checking out before any of the other five teams check in at this rate.
– Uchenna wants to pass the other teams. Him and Joyce walk inside the museum. Joyce thinks she hears the piano. It ends up being a room with someone on the toilet.
PERSON ON TOILET: WHAT ARE YOU–Oh, it’s Joyce from The Amazing Race! Can I have your autograph on this piece of toilet paper?
The only Polish word I can understand.
– Uchenna confirms this is the right location with a local. However, something isn’t quite right. Joyce thinks Chopin could be on the second floor. Let the wild goose chase continue.
– Cha Cha Cha waits for the technicians to fix the string and essentially reset the task. There is no way that can be a quick task. Charla & Mirna join them at the task.
MIRNA: So what do you do? Clean it out and rub it a bit?
CHARLA: I think he’s tuning it.
– Charla & Mirna start on a piano.
MIRNA: They all sound out of tune to me. Is the string just dirty? What if we tune them all.
Wow. If you can do this task before switching to do the x-ray task will be an amazing feat.
– Joyce finds somebody who provides proper directions to the right palace. Mirna still hears a note that sounds bad. She asks the pianist to play it. He shakes his head no. Charla asks him to play it again. He does and says it is incorrect.
– Uchenna & Joyce find Chopin. Joyce doesn’t know if she can tune a piano but decide to do it anyway.
UCHENNA: We don’t know where we are in the pack. We haven’t seen anybody in close to 24 hours.
The only time I can think of where a team is two positions ahead of last and two positions behind first while making zero contact with other teams for a full day is perhaps John Vito & Jill in the third round of TAR 3. And even then I doubt it was more than 15 to 20 hours.
– Danny refuses to tighten it and lets Oswald do it. Oswald breaks a string. Neither of them can do it. They contemplate switching. Charla & Mirna contemplate switching. Mirna says she has been there for an hour. We hear an out of tune piano as it goes to commercial break.
CHARLA: It sounds like an ambulance is coming.
– Cha Cha Cha decide to do it once more. Third time’s the charm. The pianist plays a sheet of music.
Much to his dismay.
– The pianist verifies it.
This seventeen year old Polish boy has officially made his mark on American television. If he were in the States, he’d be considered a minor. Did Cha Cha Cha ask him for consent?
OSWALD: If I were in town, I would ask for your number.
– Danny encourages Charla & Mirna to stick to it. Oswald is proud of himself for their endurance on the task. Both comment on how good the pianist looks.
– Mirna convinces Charla to switch tasks. They find another frowny cab who will take them to the mannequins. Away they go.
– Uchenna & Joyce arrive at the palace without seeing another team thanks to Cha Cha Cha’s completion and Mirna’s switch. Joyce doesn’t play piano anymore, but knows what middle C should sound like. I assume that’s the one out of tune. Her and Uchenna begin to tighten.
– Charla & Mirna pick up a mannequin at the Escada Boutique.
This is Cha Cha Cha’s wet dream. They’d trade in seventeen Polish pianists for these guys. Do all Polish adult men have blonde hair and six packs?
– CHARLA: Why is it all men? Do they not have any women mannequins?
Nope. The franchise of women mannequins and increased rights is not on the political table until 2013.
– Charla asks a police officer but he declines to help and walks away. He is envious of the shape of the mannequin. Cut down on the donuts, buddy.
– MIRNA: DOES ANYBODY SPEAK ENGLISH? IT’S LIKE TALKING TO A WALL! This is so stupid. I don’t want to be around these people and I don’t wanna be here.
I’m curious if anybody in the crowd can understand English as they pass by. I’m curious what their reaction to those statements would be.
– You know what the most mysterious thing about this whole situation is?
An American camera operator and sound operator are standing in the middle of Warsaw. Two American women are yelling in a foreign language while carrying a half naked mannequin. Not to mention one of them is a Little Person. Warsaw must be a bizarre city if everyone can successfully pretend they are a ghost. I bet at least a few would recognize the most widely known team in TAR history. If it were me I’d be jumping up and down screaming like a five year old.
– Cha Cha Cha find the monument. Danny opens a clue box, wears a lifejacket, then opens a clue elsewhere. And suddenly him and Oswald check into the pit stop. They really don’t like to give much airtime to Cha Cha Cha. Despite being super likable and popular, they always get a reduced amount of airtime. They are ecstatic to hear they are second.
– Charla & Mirna find a woman who speaks English. She leads them. A leg falls off the mannequin.
YOUNG WOMAN: Oh gosh he has a broken leg.
CHARLA: It’s okay. He’ll get fixed at the hospital.
Mannequins are covered at the hospital? No wonder healthcare is going down the drain. Taxpayers ensuring the well-being of mannequins. Bah.
Mirna puts the mannequin on her back. It looks heavy. Let’s give Mirna a hand for her efforts.
That’s not what I meant. -_-
I understand Mirna is religious, but isn’t re-enacting Jesus on the cross going just a tad too far? Maybe she was impressed by Kimo’s entrance into UFC 3.
Yeah, a 2 part video reference. We pull out all the stops here in TAR All Stars blogging.
– Mirna wants to x-ray his chest first. Yeah. Nice excuse. Charla stays in the room and puts her hand on the mannequin in front of the x-ray. Mirna attempts to get Charla out of the x-ray. Maybe Charla wanted to pick up some radiation on her hand.
CHARLA: I was just covering his private. . .part.
What? You think the makers of the mannequin built a penis into it? And if the mannequin did have a penis, Charla has enough of a problem that she would cover it? She is aware it would be plastic right? The only reason I would be interested in seeing it on TV is if Polish male mannequins are circumcised before being put on displays in boutiques.
– Joyce thinks Uchenna has tuned the piano perfectly. The pianist plays and approves. They have the sheet of music and run out to a cab. Uchenna thinks the driver knows. Joyce is happy they managed to do a task fast.
– Mirna sees tweezers in the x-ray so she writes down ‘beauty parlour’. It’s wrong. Mirna knows it has to be the angle so she puts the mannequin on its side. Both of them think the task will take forever.
– Uchenna & Joyce’s cab is at the monument.
I wonder if the cab driver knew there would be an extreme close-up of him airing on national television.
– So Uchenna has the clue, then one second later has the next clue. I assume he did the roadblock because his nipples suddenly become visible through his shirt.
Hey, what else was I supposed to go on? Neither of them are wearing a lifejacket. He must have been wet very recently.
– They see Phil and check into the pit stop after their bags suddenly disappear off their bags. I think about 99.99% of all footage was removed from this episode. A round with extended travel is bound to remove a ton of expository scenes.
– Phil tells them they are team number three. What would your reaction be if you have not seen any teams for over 24 hours in addition to missing your original flight, but yet hear you finished in the top half?
Probably something like this.
Uchenna can’t believe he just dove for milk.
UCHENNA: FO REAL?!
PHIL: For real.
UCHENNA: For real.
– Joyce knows her and Uchenna communicate really well when they have a common goal, and that they can rely a lot on each other. Now it’s a matter of applying it to outside of the reality TV environment. It’s tough to deal with real reality.
– Mirna spots the clue and writes down the message. Much better than piano tuning. They arrived in Warsaw at 922am. Now it’s sunset as they head into the cab towards the monument.
MIRNA: I feel like we’re in last place. I can’t imagine another team having a worse day than we have had here
*Camera cuts to Frankfurt, Germany*
I would like to nominate this quote for the best example of dramatic irony in TAR history. I laughed out loud when I heard this today. Completely forgot about it. Brilliant work by the editing crew to cut from Mirna’s quote to showing Frankfurt. We don’t see the Guidos or Eric & Danielle for a few seconds which makes it even funnier. The audience knows the joke instantly because we forget that there are two other teams in existence.
– ERIC: We just got off the flight. We’re in Frankfurt, Germany. Not even in Warsaw.
Frankfurt must be the least favourite city amongst TAR racers. If you’re in Frankfurt you’re never in the lead. Assume you’re last and hope for the best.
Also, I have never heard Eric’s voice in agony. When he says “we’re not even in Warsaw” might be the most depressing tone he ever takes in his TAR career. As if he has accepted he is days and days behind.
JOE: Other teams could be anywhere.
Like the finish line.
JOE: We have no idea if they had any kind of problems like we’ve had problems. But dear god we’ve had our share of problems.
What Joe is hoping for is a miracle.
– Mirna opens the clue. She is the only one reading so I imagine she did the roadblock. They check into the pit stop.
PHIL: Charla & Mirna, you’re team number four.
MIRNA: Are you kidding, Phil?
PHIL: I wouldn’t kid with you. You’re still in the race.
This is perhaps the only time in TAR history where 66% of all teams assume they are stepping on the mat in last place.
– Frederic Chopin Airport. Guidos and Eric & Danielle just got into Warsaw. Let the final showdown begin.
ERIC: We were supposed to get here this morning so we’re a sweet twelve hours behind schedule.
Eh. That’s nothin’.
JOE: We have calculated out that we have been traveling for over thirty consecutive hours.
And that’s with planes. Not even those miserable Vietnamese or Thai cross country trains that take eons to travel small distances. How in the world can either of these two teams have enough energy to finish out the remainder of the season? You would need to be the most competitive person on the planet to have motivation to keep driving forward. The fatigue factor alone would make some seasons seem more bearable to live through than these past three rounds of TAR.
BILL: We’re under the gun to catch up.
I think that gun already fired at you several times, Bill. That’s what that twelve hour delay was.
– We see the palace. No taxis from either team? Guess we’re being shown the Detour. Chopin has been playing the piano for an awfully long time–
WHAT?! For the first time ever, we’re being shown a team starting the next leg before the previous leg has finished. And this will be the only occurrence in the first twenty seasons of TAR. I suppose because this aired in a 2-hour block with the following round, it only makes sense to show it in one continuous stretch.
PHIL: With teams spread so far apart, Dustin & Kandice are beginning the eighth leg of the race while two teams have yet to finish the previous leg.
This is not new for the Guidos. It has happened to them about five or six times in their career. This is Eric & Danielle’s first case of being so far back that it’s ridonkulous.
Next Time On TAR: Production sets up a route marker that dares me to make a joke at the risk of losing a portion of my blog readership.
Rank the Legs
1) Stone Town -> Warsaw (This is one of the few times where I can remember the day when I watched the premiere of this episode. My parents and my siblings were out of town. I was left alone in the house to watch TAR. Because I live in a house with five or six other people, the idea of being alone for a full night always freaks me out a bit.
When you’re thrown into a unique situation, all of your sensory experiences go to an extreme. That’s what happened when watching this episode. For a round where solitude and loneliness is the prevailing theme, I couldn’t help but feel moved by the editing crew’s techniques as we saw an unprecedented spread of teams. Chipmunks break the record for biggest non-Fast Forward lead on second place team, and I believe the biggest lead ever on teams who don’t get eliminated.
The travel from Zanzibar to Warsaw was such a grind for each individual team that production cut out a roadblock and cut down the Detour coverage in favour of showing the eight hours spent in a travel agency for teams or a tiny percentage of the thirty hours of straight travel that the trailing teams went through.
It is quite the mindf— when TWO-THIRDS of all teams sincerely believe they are stepping on the mat in last place, when really last place is 6-12 hours behind them. An incredible level of isolation is required for teams to make that assumption.
No other teams have experienced this type of mental attrition. Have seasons past been more physically demanding up to this point? Yes. But the level of mental attrition is nowhere near what we witness in this round and the one before it.
And the fact we are shown Chipmunks departing before two teams start the first task of the round is priceless. A Hall of Fame worthy episode of TAR. And we don’t even see a team get eliminated.)
2) Maputo -> Stone Town (One of my favourite episodes in TAR history. Seven teams spread across several dhows and several flights. Teams had to actively strategize to get from Maputo to Dar es Salaam by going further away from where they need to be. Figuring out flights took days as opposed to mere minutes. Every flight to the destination city was full to the point that putting yourself on priority standby and leading the lines became the name of the game.
Teams having team-on-team interaction in the dhows led to some memorable relationships forming. Charla & Mirna with Cha Cha Cha? Chipmunks with Uchenna & Joyce? And the dhows were a very unique form of transportation.
The tasks weren’t too bad either. It looked like it only took about two hours once in Zanzibar, but regardless were solid enough tasks. The puzzle appeared to be much faster than transporting logs, however.
Nearly a full day from first to last gave the round a classic feel as if there was not any over-the-top equalizers or heavy production intervention as if we were thrust into the TAR 1 days.
I find it amusing that the Guidos find themselves a full day behind most teams. The running joke continues to cap off a spectacular episode.)
3) 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.)
4) 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.
5) 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.)
6) 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.)
7) 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.)