TAR All Stars episode eight ranking

Eighth episode

Because this was the second half to a 2-hour event, I get to make up my own ‘Previously On. . .’ segment.

Previously on TAR: Six teams traveled from Zanzibar, an island off the coast of Africa, to Warsaw, Poland. Leaders Charla & Mirna struggled to keep their lead as they were stuck at a travel agency for over eight hours and ran into unfriendly locals. Eric & Danielle bickered, and found themselves with the Guidos falling over a day behind after missing a crucial flight.

Dustin & Kandice created a tune of their own as they surged to the front of the pack. Other teams recovered as they made it into the mat. . .while others did not in one of the most spread out episodes in Amazing Race history.

Six teams remain. Who will be eliminated. . .next?

– Fake intro time. I make another comment about the wine glasses.

– Phil introduces us to Warsaw. A land once under Soviet rule, but has since been on the road to recovery over the past few decades. And this palace, in the heart of the city, was the seventh pit stop in a race around the world.

Phil’s/My Question: Can Dustin & Kandice, the strongest all-female team in Amazing Race history, keep their half a day lead? Or will one of the other teams be able to make up for lost time?

Dustin & Kandice, who arrived at 1054am, will depart at 1054pm.

Pretty authentic, eh?

– Chipmunks rip open their clue.

chipmunks joke

Two teams haven’t made it into taxis and we already have a team beginning the leg. Teams are spread out so far apart between each position that nobody has talked to each other in days with the exception of 2nd-3rd and 5th-6th. This is by far one of the most depressing events to happen in TAR.

Extremely depressing. I don’t see the race could feel any more lonely or lack that fun competitive spirit when you feel like you’re racing against ghosts in Mario Kart time trial.

I don’t see how your TAR experience could be in a more miserable state.

birkenau

Nevermind. I take it all back.

– Really dramatic music plays as Phil talks about how one million people died there during the Nazi genocide. Then in a twist of dark humour, upbeat friendly TAR music plays as Phil describes how teams must sign up for one of TWO charter buses at the Polish underground resistance movement to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Then travel 150 miles through Polish countryside to Auschwitz.

– The charter buses depart four hours apart. Congratulations, you have found the biggest equalizer in TAR history. An extreme equalizer requires an extreme location like a World War II concentration camp for it to occur.

*joke removed for bad taste*

– DUSTIN: Wow. It’s gonna be sad.

YA THINK?!

– Guidos are “first” into a taxi. Eric & Danielle are last and tell the driver to follow Guidos’ cab.

– Chipmunks grab a bus pass for the 100pm bus.

DUSTIN: It doesn’t leave until 100pm.
KANDICE: Whoa.

Twelve hour pit stop followed by a fourteen hour semi-equalizer? Back to the pit stop lodge we go. I guess it’s only fitting that in a location where millions of people made sacrifices that a route marker on a lousy reality show forces the leaders to make a sacrifice on their own.

– I must say Dustin looks extremely uncomfortable with the idea of going to Auschwitz. I doubt she’s the only one.

– Back in lands where we’re comfortable, Guidos and Eric & Danielle race in taxis. Both stop at the same light and have their cars opposite one another. Both teams scream at their taxi drivers to go. Eric & Danielle’s cab is directly behind. Joe checks to make sure.

ERIC (aloud): C’mon Dan, let’s beat the old ladies.

I bet this quote makes everyone at home uncomfortable knowing we are only a couple hundred miles away from where homosexuals were judged and slaughtered. Auschwitz really hinders our ability to have a sense of humour as the previous leg finishes out.

– Eric & Danielle are successful in this foot race and are the first team to pick up the clue.

chopin piano

And after a sixteen hour day, he can finally go home. His knuckles must be sore.

– Guidos choose to do Perfect Angle. Eric & Danielle choose Perfect Pitch. Guidos wish they knew how to play the piano. Eric assumes the piano one will be easier.

– Eric & Danielle are first to the Detour.

ERIC: How do I know if it’s out of key?
*starts playing*
ERIC: That sounds bad.

You choose a Detour that involves tuning a piano when you’ve never played a piano? Well I think we know who is going to be sixth this leg.

And since when are music palaces open past midnight? Public piano playing must be a major hobby in Warsaw.

– TAR 4 Vienna music plays. Joe asks Bill to pick the hunkiest one. Bill picks up a mannequin and asks Joe to direct him. Bill gets directions that it is one hundred meters away.

– Eric & Danielle try to tune it and ask the piano player to play. Danielle knows it sounds bad. We don’t see the rejection but we assume it is.

– Guidos find x-ray place. Joe asks Bill to put it on its back and try to fix the pecs.

BILL: Try his pecs. He’s got pecs kinda like yours now.

Too much information.

– Eric & Danielle tune and ask for another try but they know it sounds off. Guidos fail on the first x-ray. Eric & Danielle realize it is sounding worse. Guidos cannot figure out what other position to put their mannequin in.

There is a reason these two teams are fifth and sixth.

– Cha Cha Cha checks out at 106am. This means the Chipmunks won the previous leg by a whopping 2 hours and 12 minutes. A reader can correct me if I’m wrong, but I am almost certain this is the largest margin for a team to win by without the aid of a Fast Forward.

– Cha Cha Cha understands it will be difficult and emotional. No kidding. Danny doesn’t like the idea of being around all that injustice and prejudice. They pick the second 100pm slot for the bus.

– Eric & Danielle continue the Detour. Eric broke a string while tightening it.

ERIC: I broke one.
DANIELLE: What?
ERIC: It’s a string. It broke.
DANIELLE: It did?
ERIC: Yeah.
DANIELLE: How did you break a string?
ERIC: Because I was tightening it.
DANIELLE: . . .

Yes Danielle, strings can break when tightened. Have you stretched an elastic band as far as it can go? That’s what it is like tightening a string.

– Guidos put the mannequin on its side. Eric thinks about whether they should switch if they cannot figure it out within the next couple minutes. He buries his face into his hands thinking about the Guidos already being finished.

– Eric thinks he has tightened the proper one. Guidos write down ‘oral surgeon,’ ‘strings’, ‘ribs’, and ‘dentist’. I guess they didn’t put him on the right side.

– Eric & Danielle are approved. Eric takes the clue and they are on their way. Guidos are stumped as they look at the x-rays. Eric & Danielle hop into a taxi van. He doesn’t look too optimistic about being ahead of the Guidos.

– Guidos finish the task and assume Eric & Danielle did the other task seeing how they didn’t show up at the x-rays. Both teams wonder where the opposing team is.

– Because the roadblock is unaired, whoever is first to pick up the ‘walk on foot’ clue is presumed to be the victor of this round. So unnecessary suspense builds. Eric & Danielle have the clue and run into the mat to see Phil.

PHIL: Eric & Danielle. . .

phil happy

PHIL: Screw you for making me stay up for another 24 hours straight. I’m sorry to tell you that even though you’re fifth, my crow’s nest is so bad that I have to eliminate you from the race.

– Eric doesn’t feel horrible about their performance, and knows he can win if he can be with everyone else. However, it’s a matter of catching up to everyone else that’s the problem. Danielle essentially says the same thing.

– Guidos run around and look aimlessly for the clue. They run away from the monument.

JOE: We’re so far behind.

Meanwhile only half a mile away. . .

uchenna joyce clue

60% of all teams have checked out before Joe & Bill have checked in. I’m curious if Eric & Danielle and Uchenna & Joyce saw each other at this time.

I should note the Guidos have never been more than 12 hours behind three separate teams. They are usually used to two teams being ahead by twelve hours. Not three freakin’ teams.

– Guidos find the clue. Joe did the roadblock. They walk extremely slow into the mat. They must have been walking around searching for the clue that they are confident even Eric & Danielle passed them. Finally we see the pit stop greeter for the first time.

prince of poland

It’s Prince! Well, the Prince of Poland anyway. How long before he changes his name to a symbol? Much like the Chopin pianist, I imagine he must have been paid overtime to stand with Phil for all of those hours.

He would have been much better as a greeter in the 80s.

– Guidos are told they are last. However it’s a non-elimination. Guidos hug and kiss Phil.
PHIL: Be careful where you go!

joe kisses phil

This isn’t Photoshopped, I swear.

So Phil informs them the Marked for Elimination rules after Guidos have stopped jumping, hugging, and kissing.

BILL: I wanna kiss you too!
PHIL: I know you do, but why don’t you kiss him instead?

Phil gets his wish as Bill opts to kiss Joe. Only Joe can kiss Phil and tell all about it.

– I’d be amused if Phil is interrupted mid-speech as Charla & Mirna depart for the next leg. Guidos understand the burden of being Marked for Elimination, but seeing they will make up about twelve hours thanks to the bus equalizer, I think Marked for Elimination is a much more optimistic position than being seventeen hours behind.

JOE: You can’t make up ten, twelve, fifteen hours very easily.

Uh, yes you can. Didn’t you see TAR 3? Or what’s about to happen to you two minutes from now?

JOE: In Amazing Race 1 we were nineteen hours behind everyone and never caught up. It’s tough to think you can actually win it.

Again, the equalizers. Stop being melodramatic.

– Charla & Mirna check out of the pit stop at 450am.

Didn’t the Chipmunks check out at 1054pm despite having a flight that was only fifteen minutes earlier than Charla & Mirna’s? If it was an ordinary round, Charla & Mirna would have been dead last. Thank god for Frankfurt.

– Uchenna & Joyce take the third and final spot on the 100pm charter bus. Who knows what they do for the next eight hours.

– Charla & Mirna snag up the first spot on the second bus.

MIRNA: Five o’ clock. That’s a really long time.

You went through a fifteen hour rest at a route marker before. Nearly twelve hours is nothing.

– It’s 100pm. Joyce recaps they are heading to the bus with the Chipmunks and Cha Cha Cha. Everyone applauds being on the first bus.

– Eric & Danielle check out at 150pm as if they were barely at the pit stop at all.

ERIC: Danielle’s not as focused on the race as she could be. She’s not used to the stress. Last race her and Dani screwed around, but I’m a very intense person when it comes to this stuff.

– They grab the ticket.

ERIC: Five pm. Aw crap.

Really? You hate waiting three hours? You should see the ticket that the other four teams pulled. I’d be jumping with glee if I were you.

DANIELLE: So let’s go get my coffee first and then we’ll come back.

You want to waste money on a cup of imported Polish coffee?! You just slept for twelve hours and you’re about to sleep for three hours more on a bus. Do you really want to be awake of all things?

ERIC: We’re not spending any more money.

And that too.

ERIC: And I don’t treat her as my girlfriend in this case. I treat her as my partner.

I don’t think you two are boyfriend and girlfriend to begin with. There isn’t one hug or one kiss shown on screen so far the whole season. I haven’t seen one, anyway. Unless you’re not a fan of PDA.

Blake & Paige and David & Mary showed more affection towards one another. And they are both siblings!

– DANIELLE: I have to feel guilty about getting a cup of coffee.
ERIC: We have limited funds. She’s never been this far in the race. Two dollars makes all the difference.

POW! Epic burn. Point, Sanchez.

DANIELLE: If we are down two dollars, I will beg for two dollars, okay?! Don’t worry about it.

Wow. She is talking DOWN to Eric? She hasn’t quite understood the relationship up to this point has she?

ERIC: Just shut up please. Just be quiet.

“X makes all the difference” followed by “just shut up”?

stassi schroeder 6

Somebody is mimicking Stassi Schroeder.

DANIELLE: I would shut up if I wasn’t being ignored every single day. You just ignore me at this point.

Good luck getting Eric to meet those conditions.

DANIELLE: You make this whole situation more miserable than it has to be.

Hey, it was CBS’ choice to not let Jeremy team up with Eric again. Otherwise you’d be left in the dust. He just wants you to shut up and drink your water.

– We now have another edition of Eric Sanchez Psychology.

eric danielle argue

DANIELLE: Grow up.
ERIC: Shut up.
DANIELLE: Grow up.
ERIC: Shut up.

Neither are accomplishing either of those goals. Lena may find her clue in the hay bales before this is over.

DANIELLE: I have shut up. I don’t talk to you. We don’t f—ing talk.

danielle angry

Danielle gives the ol’ ‘Talk to the Hand’ and walks away.

eric smile

We have a winner. Eric pulls it out again. Enjoy the silence Mr. Sanchez. You’ve earned it.

– Guidos depart in dead last at 332pm. Wow. All they had was a Detour and still manage to fall over ninety minutes behind their closest competition. These two are utterly hopeless at this point.

BILL: We have 133 dollars for this leg of the race.

– They recap the penalty and see Eric & Danielle. Their only goal right now is to beat Eric & Danielle, according to them. They see the monument. How can they possibly screw this up?

– BILL: They don’t seem to have the knowledge and brain power that we have. So we shouldn’t beat them in a footrace, we should try to do it with our brain power.

Two seconds later Guidos get lost looking for the ticket dispenser at the monument. We see their surroundings almost become pitch black. That’s how you know this season was filmed in December. The Guidos ask three people about a ticket dispenser and continue to fail. Bill laughs so hard when he sees it.

BILL: We passed by it three times!

So much for that brain power.

JOE: Hello girls. We haven’t seen you in days.
MIRNA: Yeah. Long time no see.

Mirna sounds really cheerful.

Or it could be the Auschwitz talk. Very intense music. I really don’t want to comment on anything at this point. All jokes will be in bad taste. I’ll merely post the video of Liam Neeson from Life’s Too Short.

– TAR gets real heavy.

– Teams now travel by taxi to Juliusz Slowacki Theatre in Krakow.

Wouldn’t that be the worst taxi route to have? You wait outside Auschwitz to take people to Krakow? Hopefully the taxi drivers are extremely happy and funny people because that is a really tough act to follow. I mean, would you ever have passengers that enter in a good mood?

– Uchenna & Joyce and Cha Cha Cha get out of the cabs to run for the clues. Chipmunks decide to exit the cab and switch to a different driver because the current one couldn’t communicate.

– Uchenna & Joyce and Cha Cha Cha see the route marker. But this one is special. Why?

intersection

Ah yes. The most creative twist in TAR history with the least creative execution. I love how production makes this one of the dullest twists ever. “Work with another team for one task and that’s it.” They were too big of scaredy cats to have it stretch over multiple rounds.

– Naturally Uchenna & Joyce and Cha Cha Cha work together. It’s a Fast Forward. Teams travel quarter of a mile to Market Square. They will climb two towers (Fire Hall and Town Hall) and count the number of steps total. Once they have the number they will present it to the guard. If they’re correct, they will receive the next clue.

Uchenna catches on that the Chipmunks must wait four hours before working with the next team. This is an exact repeat of TAR 10. Top two teams get to Madagascar intersection, team up to take Fast Forward, Chipmunks are third and are ignored until the sixth team finds it. What lousy luck for Chipmunks.

Too bad counting steps was as difficult as eating cow lips.

kim camel

– Chipmunks find the Intersection. They are resting in the cold.

So let’s recap:

– Chipmunks check out of the pit stop at 1054pm.
– Chipmunks find out the first bus doesn’t leave until 100pm.
– Two other teams who were hours and hours behind them join the bus with them.
– They must wait an additional four hours at an Intersection. Teams that were seventeen hours behind are on an equal playing field with them.

THAT sucks. Chipmunks picked the wrong two seasons to play.

– Cha Cha Cha and Uchenna & Joyce take separate cabs to the towers. They agree not to rush it because they know the other four teams are over four hours behind. The trailing three teams haven’t been exactly viewed as huge threats. Particularly two of the three teams who frequently find a flight that is twenty-four hours late to the route marker.

– All four racers come to the same count for the first tower (111). Uchenna knows him and Danny & Ozzy experienced something very personal and intimate that one cannot replace. They like that the silence has been broken.

KANDICE: Think they took the Fast Forward?
DUSTIN: Yeah. It’s just adding numbers.

It’s not like the hesitation with cow’s lips. You would have to be terrible as a group to fail counting steps. There’s four of you. All you need to do is copy the Lena & Kristy IKEA strategy.

– Oswald is scared by the guard at the top. They come together to count their numbers. In the second tower three of them have different numbers. The only match is Uchenna and Oswald who both counted 348. They go with that.

I wonder what happens if you fail? Do they make you run it again or can you replace the ‘8’ with a ‘7’ then a ‘9’?

– 348 is correct. Oswald reads the clue. Teams drive themselves to Pieskowa Skala Castle. It’s the Pit Stop in case you have forgotten why they are doing the Fast Forward.

– Danny hires a taxi driver to lead them to the pit stop. They commence the caravan.

– Second batch are in Auschwitz. Again, I think it’s best to skip this.

– Charla & Mirna are fourth into a taxi. Eric & Danielle are fifth. Guidos are last.

Okay. I’ve been watching competitive reality TV for over twelve years. . .and I think this ranks number one for most gut wrenching moment I have witnessed. When I realized I would be re-watching this episode again, this is something I wrote on my Facebook:

currently watching The Amazing Race episode where they visit the concentration camps. I remember it being a day where I was home alone in the 10th grade (which rarely ever happens considering the nature of my household), so it was an eerie night to begin with.

I’m not one to watch horror films or anything that is depressing and mainly stuck with comedies back then. The TV show 24 is about as far as I went. I didn’t see Schindler’s List until the twelfth grade.

So it’s ten o’ clock at night, and BAM, teams are told to go to Auschwitz. Part of me wanted to stop watching for the night right there. That is the absolute heaviest material for a fun competitive reality show to cover. Really? How heavy are the photos are going to be? Is it even appropriate for a reality show to talk about something in the same hour where teammates bicker with one another or some who have worked their careers around building petty fifteen minutes of fame?

I know reality shows go to places like Mandela’s cell on Robben Island or slave trade landmarks. But Auschwitz would probably #1 at most people’s lists of ‘the most serious place in the world you can go to’.

What makes the situation more interesting is that the remaining players at that point consist of a married gay couple, gay friends, Armenian cousins who were polarizing amongst the audience, African American couple, and two more women.

What always throws me off is they do the super intense music whenever someone mentions Auschwitz then it switches into the super jovial upbeat light-hearted music one second later, and the pattern continues.

The rest of the round nobody really makes fun of each other too much or cause fights, and even though it feels like the super competitive spirit is gone, teams are inducing vomiting on national TV just for the sake of completing a task and advancing further into the race. Even the team who gets eliminated is content and no bitterness is there at all.

But within a few days here comes the next round and the craziness resumes again. It never gets over the top conflict between teams, but there’s that feeling where mugging for airtime or aiming for post-race fame is gone. All of the players on the season go from being the most famous people of their program to disappearing.

As a viewer, I never know how to react to such an unusual and uncomfortable combination being presented before me because I don’t know if my own reaction is appropriate and if I should feel good or bad about how I feel. It’s very tricky.

And as a racer, I imagine they’d have the same emotions as a viewer but have it magnified about ten times more because you’re the one racing in a competition you signed up to play and would do your darndest to win, and provide enough TV material for producers.

It’s 330am and I may regret one of my marathon posts when I wake up, but an episode of a gameshow rarely makes me feel this way.”

I never get emotional when watching competitive reality TV except for when I was so pissed in the sixth grade that Jenna Morasca won Survivor: Amazon. Or when you see how small Nelson Mandela’s cell was. But this? It beats any moment in a landslide.

UCHENNA: I can’t keep my mind off the concentration camp. It still has me freaked out. Man has been cruel to each other forever. One of these days we’re gonna get it. Hopefully we do it before we all destroy each other.
JOYCE: It’s definitely gonna happen one day.

Oh boy. The way the editors cut it makes it sound like Joyce agrees that everyone will destroy each other. Is that the message production wanted to send? We’re all bound to screw each other before the end of time?

– Mirna comments on how dark and foggy it is. Eric’s goal is to beat the Guidos by thirty minutes.

– Triumphant music plays. Seems odd after something like Auschwitz. They step onto the mat together in unison. Phil informs them that they are all team number one.

PHIL: Guys, I have one prize to give away. I’m going to leave it up to you as who gets it.
DANNY: We’ll give it up to them. It’s yours.
PHIL: You’ve won a prize to a resort in St. Lucia.
OSWALD: We won’t be giving away a million dollars though.

And with that act of generosity, Oswald and Danny have secured themselves a spot as the first three-time TAR players. We know it’s your master scheme.

Don’t worry Oswald, I bet Uchenna & Joyce would go through another million dollars. Sadly vitro is not cheap when it fails over and over and over and over and over and over again.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Since TAR 4, any teams who step on the mat together in first place have played Rock-Paper-Scissors or some other mini game for the prize. It has never been shown on TV though. After they decide who gets the prize they will re-shoot the team who won the duel entering the mat first followed by the team who lost the duel exactly one minute later.

For whatever reason, Production wanted to show footage that confirmed only one prize is given away when a team hits the mat first.

Why do they prevent more than one team from winning the first place prize?

Because in TAR 4 during the opening leg, Amanda & Chris, Steve & Josh, and Millie & Chuck stepped on the mat together to win three major prizes from American Airlines. I bet American Airlines was pissed that their giveaways tripled for one episode, and immediately pressured TAR to never let it happen again.

– Chipmunks have thought for hours for who they want to work with. Guidos are #1 in their eyes, Eric & Danielle are second, and Charla & Mirna in third.

– We see fifteen seconds worth of suspense build as if it is the end of the episode. Yet we have another thirty minutes to go. Charla & Mirna exit the taxi.

– Chipmunks freak out. They could wait for Guidos and merely finish a minimum of 30 minutes ahead of them rather than fight with Charla & Mirna. But would you wait for two teams are always a kajilion hours behind?

– Chipmunks talk. Kandice caves in and tells Charla & Mirna where the clue is, and proposes they work together. Charla & Mirna agree without any conflict. It’s a Detour. Teams must choose between two iconic Polish foods. Eat It Up or Roll It Out.

Oh. So they swapped out the gross food to the Detour rather than the Fast Forward. These will clearly take much longer than counting steps.

In Eat It Up, teams travel by taxi 1.5 miles to an old market. Each team member must use a traditional methods to make one three-inch link of Polish sausage. Similar to the TAR 6 task.

bolo sausage

It’s finger-lickin good.

– Once they have made the links, a chef will bring out eight feet of sausage. Each team member must eat two feet of sausage. That’s more than half the size of Charla!

– In Roll It Out, teams must their way 1 1/2 miles to Krakow’s old Jewish quarter and find the bakery. They must roll out twenty bagels. Once finished, they will take a basket of bagels on foot one quarter of a mile to a restaurant where the waiter will hand them their next clue.

– Chipmunks and Charla all ask Mirna to eat the sausage.

MIRNA: I’m not a big eater.
tom green freddy got fingered

Mirna would you like some sausage?

This explains why Charla ate caviar and ostrich egg in TAR 5.Mirna’s stomach must be much bigger than Charla’s, yet she is the one potentially passing on two foot sausage.

Isn’t this ironic too? Mirna teases a taxi driver about Polish sausage. But when push comes to shove it in your mouth, Mirna is ready to walk away?

– Mirna is agitated and tells Chipmunks to decide. So off to eat some sausage. Chipmunks cheer while Mirna pretends to vomit.

– Guidos get to the theatre one second ahead of Eric & Danielle. It’s an Intersection so it doesn’t matter who has the lead. It’s now a race to see if the Guidos can make up thirty minutes of time.

– Eric proposes to team up. Guidos accept as if they have a choice. Joe decides they should eat the sausage.

Of course. Joe and Bill instantly decide to eat sausage. -_-

DANIELLE: How big is twenty-four inches? It’s big isn’t it?

danielle sausage

Eric hasn’t looked more uncomfortable in his life.

joe sausage

Joe provides a visual of what 24 inches looks like. Eric is frightened. Joe, Bill, and surprisingly, Eric are more than game for eating sausage.

JOE: It will hurt us if she eats the sausage.

And Eric finds it surprisingly pain-free when she doesn’t.

– All immaturity aside, because Danielle refuses to eat two feet of sausage, the four of them go to make bagels.

– Eric knows this situation isn’t bad because he is virtually guaranteed staying alive. Charla & Mirna and Chipmunks go to eat sausage.

DUSTIN: At least I’m hungry.
CHARLA: I don’t even like sausage.
MIRNA: You and me both, sister.

I love it when optimism and pessimism collide.

MIRNA: After the naked mannequin and now sausage. . .

At least I’m not the only one who has a mind that goes straight to the gutters. I don’t know if a junk joke is one I would make right after visiting Auschwitz though. Mirna must be one sexual creature if her sex drive isn’t killed by a concentration camp.

– Dustin, Kandice, Charla, and Mirna are all preparing to eat sausage together. Two feet of it. Each. Together as a group. And all being captured on film. I don’t know how I feel about this.

Again, why isn’t Danielle eating sausage?! Joe & Bill are eating sausage too. Heck, Eric is the only one who wanted to take one for the team. No wonder Eric & Danielle broke up prior to the race because she is obviously not into that sort of thing.

CHEF: You must make one three-inch sausage each.
MIRNA: That’s not much at all.
(Everyone else giggles.)

You can always count on sausage to bring smiles to female enemies.

– Guidos are in the Jewish Quarter. Them and Eric & Danielle exit the taxis to search. Neither taxi knows because they are from Auschwitz rather than Krakow. They all stand frozen in the cold. It is the least inspired desperate search I have seen. I guess Eric & Danielle don’t care knowing they have a guaranteed buffer.

DUSTIN: Crank it up.
MIRNA: Female bonding over sausages.

I just said the same thing, Mirna. I was in the gutter before you!

dustin sausage

Ms. California spanks butts and now has her hands firmly gripping the sausage? I think the judges need to re-think their decision.

Because I am crossing my legs in discomfort.

dustin sausage 2

And now she is moving her hands up and down on it?! Oh god.  Even Victoria the Playboy Model who did this task in TAR 6 knew when to keep it PG.

– The women coach each other onto how to do it. We see close-ups of Dustin’s hand on the sausage.

dustin sausage 3

Okay, I blurred out all of the graphic images. It’s safe for children to watch now. Consider me your WordPress FCC.

– A taxi driver comes out of the building and tells the Guidos that he doesn’t know where the place is. Neither taxi driver could find it. Guidos tell Eric to convince Danielle to do the other Detour option. Danielle is frustrated with being lost to the point that she is willing to switch.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Danielle is so bad at the other task that they switch again. It’s the Danielle way.

– Joe asks a couple to take them to the sausage factory. They agree. It’s after midnight in Krakow as four Americans and two tourists head to a sausage factory. How odd. This wasn’t the brochure.

– CHIPMUNKS: Let’s wash our hands before the meal.

This is the most polite action that will be taken before we witness what is about to occur.

MIRNA: Can we do a quick prayer before we eat?
CHIPMUNKS: Sure!

I love how Chipmunks are doing whatever Mirna says and pretending to get along. Anything to get her to complete the task fast.

And is anyone getting a kick out of them washing their hands and praying before the most disgusting food challenge in TAR history? The most civilized prep followed by the most degenerate style to consume food.

mirna puts sausage in mouth

Bon appetit! Aren’t you going to use a fork and knife? Or put it into smaller pieces?

And why is she eating the sausage like a carrot?

bugs bunny

KANDICE: Why does mine look so much thicker than everyone else’s?

The chefs took one look at you and knew what you could handle, Kandice. I mean, you got the name Chipmunk because you have a wide mouth.

MIRNA: Don’t look at it, do it!

Something Mirna has done many times before.

– Eric & Danielle and Guidos walk in on them eating sausage.

ERIC: How’s the sausage, ladies?
MIRNA (Polish accent): It tastes like. . .poop!

If I am Charla, Dustin, and Kandice, I do enjoy the image of poop in my mind as I am undergoing a difficult food eating competition.

– Dustin encourages Charla & Mirna. Guidos encourage Danielle. Danielle is nervous about the task while the three men grind sausage. Mirna commends Chipmunks for eating so fast. Two seconds later, Mirna cusses out Charla for eating so slow.

mirna belch

Washing hands-Pray-Forget utensils-Belch.

Mirna’s belching is far more obnoxious than my brother after he eats pizza and drinks pop. She could be Master Belch.

– Guidos and Eric & Danielle have their sausages approved. Eric and Guidos are encouraging Danielle. Danielle tells them to stop it because she is enjoying it for the time being.

– Charla has eaten barely anything as Mirna continues to get on her case. Dustin finds them hilarious and how they bark at each other. Guidos encourage Danielle, but see Eric is the slowest one of the bunch. As it should be.

– Suspense music plays. Joe is first one done. He beat the Chipmunks et al despite a likely 30 minute deficit. If only this task wasn’t an Intersection, Guidos would have more of a chance winning this round.

– Charla watched Joe’s last bite. Mirna and Chipmunks try to get her to concentrate.

DUSTIN: Charla, we don’t want to be eliminated after doing this.

– KANDICE: I am done. Waiter, get this thing out of my face.

Such a diva.

– More suspense music plays. This episode could’ve  been cut down by two minutes if it weren’t for all of the suspense. Dustin is done next. She does a celebration act.

miss california vomits

ERIC: Miss California, ladies and gentlemen!

I have laughed out loud each time Eric says this. It’s perfect timing and the perfect thing to say.

By the way, I think my mom would be so proud. I made inappropriate jokes about women eating sausages, showed one belching, and showed one in the process of vomiting.

P.S. Well, it seems Dustin spits out the sausage rather than swallows.

P.P.S. Yes, I’ll likely make the same joke near the end of TAR 14.

– Mirna is done.

MIRNA: Just tilt your head back and swallow.
CHARLA: I should throw up. I’m going to put this knife down my throat

I used to have a mild eating disorder in high school, but the one thing I would NEVER do is induce vomtiing. Sticking a utensil down my throat is probably the most disgusting image I can think of in my mind. It sounds vile. And a knife? Aren’t they sharp? Ugh. I would watch twenty teams visit Auschwitz this round to do the ceremony rather than see Charla induce vomiting.

– Danielle puts her hand up to block out Charla vomiting directly behind her.

CHARLA: I don’t know how to do this.

Oh c’mon Dustin & Kandice. You two were probably more self-conscious than I was in high school. You tell her how to get the job done. Pass on your experience.

– Charla figures it out. Do you know how I know that the audio is matching up to the video of Charla vomiting?

charla vomits

Danielle’s facial expression is priceless. At least Charla is stalling the other teams from eating. And in addition Danielle has to eat with two filled puke buckets behind her. This task is brutal.

Note that this is the second round in three rounds that Charla has vomited. Her stomach won’t be digesting food anytime soon.

bill ears

Dear Diary,

My final day in TAR was watching and listening to a Little Person use a knife to make herself puke into a bucket while I ate two feet of sausage at midnight only about an hour away from the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Bill

charla done

What’s better than women in conflict bonding over sausage? Women in conflict bonding over someone vomiting sausage.

And why in the world is Kandice looking into the bucket?

charla puke

Looks like my sister after a rough night of drinking.

– Joe is done. Guidos could be very close to finishing. They encourage Eric & Danielle. Charla is a bite away too. Danielle beats out Eric and Charla. Eric is done too.

– The Intersection is over. Teams must make their way to the nearby parking lot and choose a marked car to drive themselves 20 miles to Skala. Once there they must find the Pieskowa Castle to find their next clue.

The Castle? Isn’t that the location of the pit stop? Guidos are praying a team gets severely lost.

– Guidos talk about the time penalty for the thirty millionth time. They attempt to get directions before heading into a cab. So do Eric & Danielle. Cab drivers struggle to understand the location. I guess they agreed to work together some more.

– Charla is finally done. The two all-female teams read the instructions and head to the parking lot to pick up a car. Eric sees this and wonders out loud if they drive themselves. So do the Guidos. Eric reads the clue and confirms they were about to screw up.

So even if the Guidos were on their own and finished the Detour ahead of everyone else, they would have been hours and hours behind after accidentally taking a cab to the route marker. Haven’t you guys learned from La Maquina?

– Charla commands Mirna to follow the Chipmunks. Chipmunks get into a car, but get out to hire a taxi to Skala.

KANDICE: Everyone is walking real slow to their cars.

Except for the Chipmunks who sprinted. Vomiting after a meal sure has its advantages.

MIRNA: I’m going to vomit and I’m supposed to drive a car?

Eh, there’s always the sound operator to puke on or the camera operator. It’s why they make the big bucks.

CHARLA: I wanna die I feel like.

Am I the only one who finds this in bad taste since they visited a concentration camp only hours earlier?

– Guidos see the parking lot with car lights on.

BILL: That must be Mirna trying to start a car.

Heh. I guess Bill has watched enough TAR to know that Mirna cannot operate a stick shift. Again. It’s All Stars, people.

– Eric & Danielle are last to the car. Mirna cannot figure out the brake. Guidos are fourth out of the lot. Eric & Danielle are fifth. Mirna cannot figure out how to get the brake down. She invites a taxi cab driver to follow her to her car and figure out which one is the brake. He does it no problem.

It takes a real man to lower a lever.

– Mirna screams at Charla for telling her to drive. Eric & Danielle and Guidos are lost. Charla & Mirna stop and pull over for directions. There are two taxi cab drivers on the road who both give directions. Mirna wants only one. They ignore and both taxi drivers drive ahead of Charla & Mirna. Mirna presumes they are last.

– Guidos stop to get directions at a gas station. Eric stops someone on the road but she doesn’t know. Guidos receive successful directions. Eric hires a taxi to follow.

– Mirna argues with the two taxi drivers. She emphasizes only one, preferably the one driver who knows rather than the other. Only one indeed knows.

DRIVER: One hundred.
MIRNA: I don’t have one hundred dollars!
(DRIVER walks away.)

– Guidos re-iterate the 30 minute penalty. Joe knows that Mirna can’t drive which is the one thing working in their favour.

– Mirna screams at the taxi driver some more and presents some cash.

MIRNA: I am a young girl! You think I’m made of money!

While a camera operator and sound operator hired by a top TV network are present and follow you everywhere you go?

DRIVER (slams door): Bye bye!
obnoxious cab

Is he slamming her car door. . .?

obnoxious cab 2

He slams it so hard that Mirna nearly breaks her wrist stopping the slam. I don’t know what it is about Poland, but it appears everyone in the whole country minus that one lady has a “Let’s be Rude to Charla & Mirna” policy. I don’t know if this is karma being served to Charla & Mirna or what.

I’m surprised people only miles from Auschwitz can be this rude to people.

– Mirna, knowing she’s last and with no other taxis in sight, has no option but to beg the rude cabs for their help. She asks for sympathy because she is a woman at two o’ clock in the morning.

mirna cry

Some more crying ensues.

– The driver laughs as Mirna cries. He runs back to her and agrees to lead her to the castle for fifty dollars. Mirna is absolutely ridiculous to trust this cab driver. Oh well. She has nobody but herself to blame if it all fails.

MIRNA: God help me get out of this country.

– Guidos discuss the 30 minute penalty yet again. Bill boasts about his navigation skills. They seem to be well on their way. Eric & Danielle’s taxi driver pulls over. He doesn’t want to take them all the way. He directs them on the map, takes the money, and runs.

– Mirna’s cab pulls over. He wants to confirm the exact location. Mirna asks Charla for the clue. She doesn’t have it.

MIRNA: What are you doing in the backseat? You’re not looking at the map, you’re not holding the clue, what are you doing Charla? What are you doing?
CHARLA: I’m just doing nothing.
MIRNA: I don’t understand. Am I supposed to do everything?
CHARLA: No. Just yell at me.
MRINA: Am I–
CHARLA: Yeah, you’re doing everything. You’re right.

It took fifteen episodes with these two, but Mirna might be onto something.

– Chipmunks see a sign as they continue to follow the cab. Guidos are in Skala. So are Eric & Danielle. Suspense music plays. Chipmunks are at the castle.

DUSTIN: Roadblock–who wants to be a knight in shining armour?

In this roadblock, teams will experience what it feels like to be a medieval knight. They will put on a suit of armour and lead their horse to the stableboy. They will be let inside the gates and head to the pit stop where their partner is waiting.

This is the easiest roadblock I have heard in my life.

– Dustin is doing the roadblock. Guidos exit the town of Skala. Bill tells Joe to take a u-turn. Mirna doesn’t know the road they are being led on and hope the taxi driver knows where to go.

– Eric & Danille and Guidos continue searching for the place. Charla sees the castle. They have the clue.  Charla asks Mirna if she should do it knowing it is do-or-die moment. I’m guessing the tally is lopsided because they have some serious hesitation to Mirna doing the roadblock. Charla accepts she may be on a horse and agrees to do it.

– Dustin leads the horse. Charla starts leading the Little Person. Guidos see Eric & Danielle ahead of them. Mirna screams at Charla to walk in a straight line. Charla walks in a circle thus leading the horse to walk in a circle. Mirna is agonizing over the length of time Charla is taking to travel a short distance.

– Everyone else looks like a regular knight in their costume. But geez, Charla’s looks borderline offensive.

charla knight

At least production was kind enough to have a specially tailored costume beforehand.

warwick bear

Better than the alternative, I imagine.

– The last two teams get to the roadblock. Eric and Bill are doing it. Danielle and Joe waste no time commenting on Charla’s costume.

charla knight 2

Did that comment need to air? We go from Holocaust to induced vomiting to laughing at Little Persons in ill-fitting costumes? Editors must have thought they were drunk putting this episode together.

– Dustin hands over the horse and checks in. They’re third. After losing eighteen hours of time.

– MIRNA: Charla, the Guidos are coming!

C’mon. How do you know it’s the Guidos? Joe doesn’t have his charcoal mustache. I’m really glad there wasn’t a charcoal task right before going to Auschwitz, now that I think about it.

charla falls

charla falls 2

Hey, it’s not funny to watch a Little Person falling down!

Okay. Maybe it depends on the context.

– Mirna helps Charla up. Both teams seem to catch up on Charla. Mirna tells Charla to not let the horse eat dinner.

MIRNA: Horsie, I have sausage!

Oh, she brought the puke bucket with her? Or did Mirna have a sex change after the task like Charles Lindbergh?

– Charla falls again! Now this is just for comedic laughter.

– All three teams claim they are handing the horse over to the stable boy. Suspense music plays. Does there need to be suspense music for everything this round? So who steps on the mat? It’s Charla & Mirna.

– Guidos are fifth but we can see Eric & Danielle in the background handing over the horse. The thirty minute penalty begins. Eric & Danielle are told they are fifth. If only they could have navigated Skala. Brain power failed them. They are eliminated.

– Bill says doing the race is the best time they’ve spent together.

JOE: He’s been my knight in shining armour for the past twenty years.

Oh please. You did not use that line as your farewell.

Next time on TAR: Charla & Mirna infuriate Eric & Danielle. And even Oswald & Danny hit their boiling point.

Confessionals

Uchenna.Joyce  6.4
Dustin.Kandice 6.4
Joe.Bill 9.11
Charla.Mirna 0.7
Oswald.Danny 3.1
Eric.Danielle 13.5

Team averages

Bulls— Bilal & Sa’eed N/A
— F minus–
12th Debra & Steve 12.0
12th Gina & Sylvia 12.0
11th John Vito & Jill All Stars 11.0
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 Kevin & Drew All Stars 10.0
10th A Black Family 10.0
— F +–
10th Megan & Heidi 9.5 (Wow. They sucked.)
9th David & Mary All Stars 9.0
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
–D minus–
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
–D+–
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
–C minus–
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
6th Joe & Bill All Stars 5.25
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
–C + —
3rd Lyn & Karlyn 4.85
5th John Vito & Jill 4.8 – FF
7th Teri & Ian All Stars 4.83
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
–B minus–
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
–B+–
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
–A minus–
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
–BEST OF THE BEST–
8th Rob & Amber All Stars 2.75
1st Flo & Zach 2.69 – FF
3rd Ken & Gerard 2.69 – FF
2nd Colin & Christie 2.54 – FF
2nd Tara & Wil 2.53 – 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

Combined Team Averages (Repeats Only)

11 legs David & Mary 6.91 FF
11 legs John Vito & Jill 5.36 FF
19 legs Teri & Ian 4.63 FF
13 legs Kevin & Drew 4.38 FF
21 legs Joe & Bill 3.71 FF
17 legs Rob & Amber 2.41 FF

Rank the Teams

1) Teri & Ian

If you’ve kept up with this blog, this shouldn’t surprise you. I think these two are the best overall older couple to run the race. In terms of personality, performance, and entertainment value, these two blow all of the other older teams in TAR history out of the water.

This season they continued to deliver as they changed into a progressively more light-hearted team. However, there was a slight role reversal as Teri came off grumpier and Ian seemed to be a lovable goofy man. If they were able to win a leg, I’m sure we would have seen another legendary set of facial expressions.

Much more dynamic couple than Rob & Amber. That’s for sure. They were eliminated this season thanks to some karmic retribution. They could have been hours and hours behind in the fifth round in dead last, but they stumble upon the opposing and much easier task out of sheer luck. The following round they fall to the back of the pack and get eliminated. I feel content with their elimination despite rooting for them since the start of the season.

But oh well. We still got six rounds out of them, and thus puts an end to their TAR legacy. I am content with a total of twenty episodes from these two.

2) Joe & Bill

“We are just two gay grandpas!”

And yet they were villains for thirteen straight episodes in TAR 1. Come time for TAR 11 and their villainous reputation is essentially gone. In fact, the only team they fight with is the mildly “douchey” Eric & Danielle. And I don’t think there are enough Eric & Danielle fans for Guidos to be viewed as the antagonists once again.

They ended up to be bumbling buffoons this time. Their La Maquina error led to following Charla & Mirna but ditching them to make a run for the pit stop. Perhaps their only villainous act all season that was awarded a thumbs down by the crowd.

Otherwise they were seen as eccentric. More clothing was tagged with ‘Team Guido’. Their dog is mentioned more than any other dog in TAR history including Hachiko in TAR 9.

Blocking Eric & Danielle’s car, the La Maquina incident, falling over sixteen hours behind in multiple rounds, taking a shower using French cologne, discussing their thong wardrobe, flirting with Phil, Joe ringing a bell and screaming at a Kenyan airport, and failure to find a ticket dispenser all led to nobody taking them seriously this season. Ever.

The great thing about the Guidos is they can have fun when they are a million hours behind but still keep a very competitive spirit. This is much like how they handled the conclusion to TAR 1. Other teams such as Eric & Danielle or the Chipmunks don’t have the attitude to be entertaining when a million hours behind. They simply lose all energy and get humbled.

3) Rob & Amber

This would have been the perfect farewell for these two. After being a duo in Survivor All Stars and finishing in the Final Two, then going on TAR 7 and making it to the Finish Line, then an invitation two years later for one last chance to extend their stardom where they go home early would have been a fitting end.

Fourth round. Poof. They’re gone. Two games of Survivor and two games of TAR. That should have been a competitive reality TV career.

At least we know they’re done with TAR. Amber has three kids and virtually no motivation to play again. As we know, Rob is far from over as he has played Survivor TWO more times.

As of December 2012, I declare that we will not see him nor Amber anymore.

Rob & Amber had a tough time stirring up any real controversy besides the last twenty minutes of the fourth episode. Producers and editors tried to milk their anti-social behaviour as a way to make them out as ‘too ahead to talk with other teams’. In fact, they were essentially being shown doing nothing.

However, their competitive nature and a fitting end to a long drawn out saga puts them higher than some of the teams who had no business being back at all.

4) John Vito & Jill

Bad directions from locals and perhaps bad luck from an overnight sleep at a restaurant sent them out the door.

It was nice to see them return and disappoint my sister yet again. However in a field of such crazy teams, they are probably ecstatic to avoid the chaos that will no doubt ensue any moment.

Go Team Friends With Benefits!

5) David & Mary

Fan favourites who recorded the 78th best average in TAR history came back. . .to perform the exact same way. No new dimension to their relationship other than David unwilling to go with his gut regarding Petrohue and the wrong turn that Mary wanted to take because it ‘had the most words’.

This is All Stars. They barely survived two eliminations and sure enough eliminated in the first round of TAR that they had to do entirely on their own. Three times in a row they finished ninth. They wanted to play aggressive and not have alliances, but sure enough they get by on an alliance and get burned within two rounds.

The most surprising thing is that Rob & Amber or another skilled team didn’t help them along the way to ensure they had a weaker team with them in the final legs of the season.

And if you have a team so weak that others are considering that strategy, production should have really re-considered another team to play in their place.

6) Kevin & Drew

I have to put these two last. Drew, particularly. Yes, seeing the least enthusiastic player ever attempt to go against all TAR convention was a treat to see. It was like Drew was parodying the show. But if this were to continue? It would have been annoying in episodes three and onwards.

Plus you can’t help but feel a team like Ken & Gerard would have appreciated that spot ten times more than Drew. I wish Drew was more grateful for it.

I can’t believe he made production stop for six hours to watch footage that didn’t matter.

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) Warsaw -> Skala (I didn’t expect myself to rank the episode this high. For some reason I always remembered this episode as being terrible.

But upon a re-watch, there is a lot of subtle gems in this episode that we really don’t see in TAR.

The biggest thing of course is a visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Perhaps the most memorable route marker in TAR history. It is the heaviest location TAR will ever visit. You can’t top Auschwitz. You just can’t. So for production to take that leap is really ballsy and should be rewarded. I approve of my emotions being challenged for once.

This leg was a night round for all teams. It must have been around 7pm-8pm when the first bus arrived at Auschwitz. It made for a leg traveled entirely in the dark which is something we rarely see in TAR. Can you think of a round in the past where all teams must play through in complete darkness? It is probably what made this round so freaky and eerie as a viewer. The light never comes.

The Detour was amazing. One task was easy to find but tough to perform while the other task was hard to find but easy to perform. Classic Detour logic that stems from the Tunisia Detour in round one.

Seeing Chipmunks and Charla vomit is a series highlight. Charla inducing vomit is hands down the grossest image I have ever seen in a round of any TV show.

Charla & Mirna bickering with each other and continuing to find unfriendly locals and also seeing more in-depth analysis of other teams helps build characterization to finish out the remainder of the season.

With several many crowning achievements why does this episode rank so low?

Because the massive equalizer was unnecessary. They could have at least made the teams travel to Auschwitz in three buses rather than two. I don’t understand why they went with two buses except to make Guidos and Eric & Danielle much more competitive.

The Intersection did nothing in TAR 10 thanks to production being too scared to do anything with it. What happens with the Intersection here in TAR 11? The exact same thing! There was zero benefit except force the Chipmunks to lose their fifteen hour lead entirely. Stupid stupid stupid.

Oh, and the Fast Forward offer is the easiest Fast Forward I have seen since production reduced each season to have only two Fast Forwards for another set of stupid reasons. Counting steps? Why can’t they eat two feet of sausage each?

And the roadblock was lousy. Lead a horse down a straight line? Unless you’re Joyce, this should be done within ten minutes and without any variance between the time gained or lost for each team. And the pit stop was twenty steps away? This was even worse than the unaired roadblock + run to the pit stop combo that we saw in the previous episode.

It’s like production is becoming lazy when finishing out a round of TAR.

6) 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.)

7) 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.)

8) 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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