Previously on TAR: Teams raced from Krakow, Poland to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Uchenna & Joyce took a gamble on a flight connection that didn’t pay off. Charla & Mirna chose not to use their Yield. But Dustin & Kandice had other thoughts. Oswald & Danny hit their boiling point. Later their tension subsided with good humour. In the end Dustin & Kandice were the first to arrive, and Uchenna & Joyce couldn’t catch up. Now four teams remain. Who will be eliminated next?
– Intro time. Which mountain peak is that supposed to be in the beginning? I wonder if Uchenna or Joyce got to keep the truck. Why is Jill in a swing?
Her childhood makes much more sense now.
I never knew she used to be a redhead.
– It’s about time I had something worthy to screen cap from the intro. Phil introduces us to Kuala Lumpur. It was originally settled by Chinese tin miners. I never knew that. And will forget that fact by the end of this episode. Editors show the Petronas Towers about five times in this segment.
Phil’s Questions: Will the Chipmunks’ decision to yield Eric & Danielle come back to haunt them?
– Chipmunks, who were the first to arrive at 1228pm, will depart at 1228am. Kandice reads that teams must fly to the “city” of Hong Kong. Once they land, teams will travel twenty-two miles by taxi to Sun Wah Kiu Dry Cleaning and Laundry.
GREATEST ADVANTAGE: Oswald & Danny because they have already been to Hong Kong in TAR 2!)
SMALLER ADVANTAGE: Dustin & Kandice but that was only northeastern China
DISADVANTAGE: Everyone else.
Twenty-two miles by taxi in Hong Kong? That will be a very expensive ride. I love how TAR makes teams enter a laundry mat as soon as they step into China. Talk about reinforcing the stereotype.
Did you know the language spoken in Hong Kong, Cantonese, is radically different from the Mandarin language spoken in the rest of China? They are not really mutually intelligible.
Yeah, I just learned that in a Linguistics class. If I had a million dollars, I’d hire a linguist from each city visited on TAR to clear up these misconceptions. But I digress.
– Dustin doesn’t know how Eric & Danielle will bounce back after being yielded. I would say the fact they finished third place last round pretty much answers that. Dustin isn’t expecting to be their friends. Kandice understands that everyone won’t love them.
– Chipmunks’ lead isn’t as big as I thought. At 129am, Charla & Mirna begin the round.
MIRNA: Charla and I have coined a new phrase. It’s called “Yield Karma”.
Can you trademark that? “That’s hot” and “You’re fired” have been trademarked.
– Mirna discusses why Yielding is dirty gameplay for the second round in a row. Of course, no real explanation is offered other than the possibility of karma being brought into the equation. Mirna discusses how her brain muscles are the only muscles they need.
Which she intends to blow out. I never took Mirna for having low self-esteem. Or she’s re-enacting what it was like to read Marshall & Lance’s letter.
– Eric & Danielle are next at 150am. Eric isn’t happy with the Chipmunks. He wants payback and retribution.
DANIELLE: We’re going to book the best flights.
ERIC: The bestest flights.
DANIELLE: The bestest.
I don’t know if Danielle took that grammatical correction seriously.
– Cha Cha Cha really sucked last round because they are checking out at 219am. Oswald reads they have eighty-eight dollars. It is likely the only funds they currently have. He tells us that Danny wasted a ton of money at the roadblock. Danny really shouldn’t have done the roadblock considering his anger. They both joke about it but are in bad shape financially. You can’t spend too many days in Hong Kong using taxis with eighty-eight dollars.
-Oswald calls for flights. China Air’s 800am flight is fully booked. They head to the airport to put their names on standby. Mirna uses a phone at an office and finds out about a Malaysian Air flight that leaves at 915am. They’re full. The only way to put names on a waiting list is at the airport.
– Chipmunks are at the airport. All counters are closed. They find out about the China Air and Malaysian Air flights. They head to wait in front of Malaysian Air counter because it opens first. It seems crucial to be the first ones on waiting list.
– Eric & Danielle see the China Air flight at the airport. Eric heads to Internet.
AGENT: We have Internet on level three. It’s at Burger King.
No matter where you are in the world, you can always find a Burger King at any airport. They really cater to the American businessman.
– Both teams walk to the counters but first an elevator ride is an order.
Which they board at the same time. Now this is awkward.
Nothing to see here people.
Imma kill them.
– Really cheesy night-time piano music plays as the teams separately discuss the awkward elevator ride. Cha Cha Cha see the Malaysian Air counter with the Chipmunks sleeping in front. They decide to search for the Malaysia Air office. Charla & Mirna join Eric & Danielle at the China Airlines office.
– Cha Cha Cha finds the Malaysia Air office.
I don’t know why they zoomed in on the dress code other than for the random fans out there who want to pause it and read the whole sign. If you wore high top shoes, nobody would notice you’re not wearing socks.
– Cha Cha Cha enters the office. They ask a man to put them on he waiting list. It’s approved. Man tells them they are in group BC-4.
DANNY: Dude, you are my hero. My hero.
If only you could re-pay him in return. . .oh wait, you gave up all of your money last round. Burn!
– Chipmunks attempt to book the 915am flight. Eric is right there with them for whatever reason. Chipmunks are told chances are very slim but book standby anyway. Eric makes fun of their fake smiles when they walk away.
Please never fake smile again, Eric. That’s really creepy.
Okay. Maybe Coach’s impression of Erinn’s smile wins out. It’s like he is peering into my soul.
– Chipmunks head to China Airlines counter. Cha Cha Cha are outside of the China Air office at 430am. Charla & Mirna join them. Eric & Danielle are third on the Malaysia Air standby list.
– 445am. The agent for the China Air office unlocks the door looking bewildered. Oswald announces he will follow the agent in. Mirna jumps for joy. The agent instructs them to wait for him upstairs. Oh. That’s a buzzkill. Mirna was jumping and all excited at four o’ clock in the morning. Cha Cha Cha begs for him. The agent is bugging out.
I think the agent is wondering “Who are these people???”
– The agent agrees to let them in after much begging.
AGENT: Can you keep the door open?
MIRNA: No, it keeps the cold air out.
Translation: It keeps the Chipmunks out.
– The agent has no control over the situation. Oswald tells Mirna to be calm and only lets her talk until she is respectful.
AGENT: Let me tell you, the chances are very slim.
MIRNA: What is your name?
(MIRNA leans in.)
She really can command a ticketing agent. No wonder she always gets on the best flights. I couldn’t help but notice the over-the-top smiles on the posters in the background.
– MIRNA: There are some people who don’t need to go to Hong Kong. There’s some not-so-nice people.
Desmond knows all about that. Like those individuals who show up at his office barking orders at 445am.
– Desmond puts Cha Cha Cha and Charla & Mirna on the official list.
– Chipmunks are at the main China Air counter. They discover that Cha Cha Cha and Charla & Mirna are already on the waiting list. Way to get outplayed. Dustin asks to be bumped in front of them but the agent refuses to do so. Eric & Danielle deal with another agent at the desk. They are told they are last. As usual, Danielle is annoyed.
– Mirna asks Cha Cha Cha to give them their code if they are at the front of the China Air line. Yes, Oswald’s almighty BC-4 code. They see Eric & Danielle and Chipmunks begging at the China Air counter. Dustin claims they have been waiting ninety minutes.
MIRNA: I don’t think Desmond will fall for that.
Yes, because Mirna knows Desmond on a personal and intimate level. Why, their nephews and nieces went to each other’s birthday parties.
– Desmond caves in.
MIRNA: Look, take your padded bras and whatever you have stuffed in there and take it elsewhere.
That is the ultimate b—-slap of a comment.
– Dustin asks Desmond if it’s fair the other teams are higher on the list when she waited longer. Charla & Mirna send out Oswald to talk to Desmond. Oswald first speaks to Dustin and explains how she was outplayed.
DUSTIN: Well I guess there’s two different lines.
Wow. Dustin has gone from scheming and conniving to a flat out jerk. What did dear Oswald ever do to you?
– Desmond instructs Chipmunks and Eric & Danielle to come back at 700am. Mirna goes over to Eric telling him how both of them are always screwed over by the “giggly bubbly girls”. Chipmunks immediately notice they are conspiring.
Probably because they are right over Mirna’s shoulder.
– Mirna wants a Final Three pact against the Chipmunks. She repeats “giggly bubbly girls” about three more times. Mirna proposes to do whatever it takes the Chipmunks out of the race.
MIRNA: No more giggly bubbly phoniness.
ERIC: We agree.
Danielle isn’t even there. I s’pose Eric represents her in all aspects of the race, anyway.
A hotel bakery is as good as any place to join hands to form. . .
THE MOST POWERFUL AND DEADLY ALLIANCE OF ALL TIME!!!!!!!!!!!
Meanwhile Eric turns to the camera wondering how in the world he has found himself wanting to make a racing alliance with Mirna. He is truly desperate.
– 730am. Cha Cha Cha is on the China Air flight. No other teams are allowed despite Mirna begging. Oswald gives Mirna his stand-by code to use as her own because she has helped him throughout the season. It’s all about karma.
Is that allowed? Could that be airport fraud? What is the significance of stand-by codes? What can it magically do with flights that are fully booked? And why did it take eleven seasons for it to be mentioned?
– Eric & Danielle ask if Cha Cha Cha is indeed the only team on the flight. It turns out to be the case.
DANIELLE: What do you want to do?
ERIC: Go stand in a puddle and drop your hairdryer into it to kill ourselves.
Danielle is tired that this sounds like a good option. She pinches her unibrow to try and wake up. I must say she looks ready to resign.
– Cha Cha Cha’s flight takes off at 800am alone. Eric & Danielle go to exchange money. Chipmunks and Charla & Mirna run to the Malaysia Airlines counter. Mirna is first. Mirna claims she is first because she has Oswald’s confirmation number for the flight. Dustin butts in saying Mirna is second. Let’s say the situation gets aggressive.
– Mirna is silly enough to say the code aloud. Dustin wants the agent to talk to her first. Mirna continues to block them.
KANDICE: Don’t be intimidated by her. Are you kidding me?
– The agent agrees to replace the other people on the waiting list with Mirna. Kandice steps in to say she is really first on standby. Dustin proclaims Mirna as the winner of the pushy award. Mirna turns to a security guard to say Oswald came to her at four o’ clock in the morning to help out to reserve. Dustin STILL insists she was first.
MIRNA: We reserved it first.
DUSTIN: But we were at the airport first.
So if I’m first to the airport and don’t visit any ticket counters, does that automatically make me at the top of every standby list? Uhhhhh, no. Chipmunks are being beyond ridiculous.
Dustin continues to slap Mirna’s hand.
MIRNA: No touching.
DUSTIN: I don’t want to touch you.
I think you just did. Several times. And still are, in fact.
MIRNA: No touching.
Dustin finally complies.
MIRNA: Good luck Yield Queens.
KANDICE (aloud in front of ticketing agent): Oh my god. She is so manipulative.
Well that’s a bit of irony for you. Just admit that Mirna does it better Kandice, and your life will be so much simpler.
By the way, if I was a ticketing agent, I would be ready to vomit from how hard these three women would be trying to charm me. It is about ten times more annoying and pouty than it is charming. I would punch each of them square in the jaw if my job wasn’t on the line.
AGENT: You’re on the waiting list.
CHIPMUNKS: Are we first?
MIRNA: No, you’re second.
CHIPMUNKS: Whoa, wait a minute!
INTERCOM: Malaysia Airlines flight 304 ready for boarding.
I made up the last line, but I have a feeling this argument could last for hours with no results.
– Suspense music plays. The agent caves in and tells the Chipmunks that they are first on the waiting list. Chipmunks are about to walk away but still hear Mirna begging in the background. The Chipmunks still hold that they were at the airport first which continues to be the dumbest reasoning besides Mary’s judgment of road signs.
Did they just threaten to rape Mirna? Well this would be a Race first.
– The agent tells Charla & Mirna that she can probably get them on the flight. Eric attempts to exchange Polish money but the counter at the airport says they can’t do so. I suppose Polish money isn’t the highest in demand for currency exchanges. I doubt it’s even top twenty.
– Eric & Danielle get back to the Malaysian Airlines counter. Eric discovers Chipmunks and Charla & Mirna have overthrown them for tickets on the flight. That’s what happens when you exchange Polish money. Dustin tells Eric that he should be next.
As if Dustin remotely cares. She just wants to cuss out Mirna indirectly. I feel so bad for Eric. He is only used as a tool by the other three teams to get back at one another while no one wants to help him. On top of that, Danielle antagonizes Eric with her lacklustre spirit for the race. I feel horrible for Eric.
Dustin really can’t avoid aggressively touching people.
George Senior is better at not touching people than Dustin.
– Chipmunks have their tickets and run to the gate. Charla & Mirna are approved and run.
I think every Little Person in America will be cringing when they see this clip.
– Eric & Danielle are the only ones not on the flight. They get on a different flight that leaves at 905am and connect through Ho Chi Minh City to get into Hong Kong at 320pm. Danielle knows they are dead last.
Have you noticed how Eric & Danielle have lost out on every single standby flight so far thus season? At least they weren’t teased with being on the plane then being kicked off from it like in South Africa.
– It’s 1155am. Cha Cha Cha are in Hong Kong. Danny comments on the nice bridge into the city. Danny begs the driver at the end of the ride with the “this is all I have” line. Turns out he has a bit more money in his pocket but proclaims to the driver he is begging. The driver accepts. Oswald thinks Danny is awesome for pulling it off.
– Cha Cha Cha has the clue. It’s a Fast Forward. Danny instantly says they’ll do it. May as well. You have the lead.
– In this Fast Forward, they will travel by taxi five miles to Hong Kong’s old international airport where high-speed movie stunts are being shot for an Hong Kong action movie. They will get into the car with a professional stunt driver for an action-packed stunt car sequence. When the car skits to a halt, they will receive their next clue.
Cha Cha Cha will have the record for most Fast Forwards used–three. And they managed to do the easiest ones ever. Go to a hotel with a pool, count steps, and sit in a car. Meanwhile other teams have had to shave their heads, eat cow’s lips, or cross-country ski across a long distance.
And I am sure they are doing this task to avoid spending more money on taxis.
– 1255pm. Charla & Mirna and Chipmunks’ flight gets in. That means Eric & Danielle are about 2 1/2 hours behind. But that doesn’t matter. Why?
Everybody knows one non-elimination leg is left as well as the new tradition of the “two legs we pretend to be one” rounds. Since this round has a Fast Forward, everyone knows it has to be a traditional non-elimination. The following leg must be the 2-part rounds because nobody on Earth would plan that twist for the Final Three.
– Charla uses the wheels on her shoes to go faster in the airport. Chipmunks run behind. Both teams are into taxis. Cha Cha Cha are at the studio and suit up. The man refuses to tell them what the stunt will be until it happens.
– Charla & Mirna have the laundry clue. Charla assumes Cha Cha Cha would take the Fast Forward. So they go with the Detour.
PHIL: Teams will have the option of doing one of two tasks associated with Hong Kong: Kung Fu Fighting or Lost In Translation.
I suppose having the laundry task on the Detour could have been much more offensive. I’m surprised they didn’t go with the whole idea of “Hong Kong–the capitalist part of China”.
I think there’s only one appropriate way to respond to this. . .
It’s out of sync to keep up the authentic nature of kung fu flicks.
– In Kung Fu Fighting, teams travel five miles to Tonkin Street and find a building. They must climb an eleven storey piece of bamboo scaffolding while a staged kung fu battle goes on between stunt kung fu experts to reach the top and receive their next clue.
Look mom, no hands!
Flying scissor kick!
Seriously, this is the best Detour task in the history of TAR. Ninjas fighting around you as you climb a building? I’d fee like Jackie Chan or Jet Li. Or the guy who played Liu Kang in Mortal Kombat.
– In Lost in Translation, teams make their way four miles to Kowloon City and find Nga Tsin Wai Road. Here they must search amongst thousands of symbols that look like Chinese signs. They must match up the sign in their photograph with a sign on the road. I can assure you it looks dang near impossible. It’s Hong Kong. Every road overwhelms the feces out of you if you’re a first time visitor.
– Charla & Mirna choose kung fu. They pass Chipmunks who enter for the clue. Charla & Mirna head to Tonkin Street. Chipmunks say they can only do kung fu once, so may as well be in Hong Kong. Cha Cha Cha is done suiting up and enters the car. Danny is told to get his sunglasses off. Oswald warns this is his only clean pair of pants.
– Mirna thinks the scaffolding will be hard for Charla to reach the rungs. Charla agrees so they switch to Lost in Translation.
– Cha Cha Cha start the stunt car chase.
That car got air NBA Jam style!
Danny concurs by making his Kris face.
And there goes Oswald’s only clean pair of pants.
– Production pretends Cha Cha Cha died until they reveal inside them the car. Oswald notes the Travelocity gnome with the clue. They must now drive themselves to the Hong Kong Jockey Club. Danny takes the gnome because they are told to take it to the pit stop.
– Charla thinks Lost in Translation sounds too difficult. Mirna wishes Charla could make a decision. Charla decides kung fu fighting will be no problem.
You know Hong Kong is the business epicentre of the universe when Rich Uncle Pennybags has taken his holdings to Hong Kong. I think the new version of Monopoly may want to re-think the property named “Oriental Avenue”.
– Chipmunks are at the kung fu task. They walk in on them on a break.
This is a siesta for a kung fu fighter.
– The task doesn’t look too difficult. It’s just really really cool. A bunch of yelling. Mirna’s driver doesn’t know Tonkin Street. Naturally, she takes to asking locals.
Dustin proceeds with kicking one of the kung fu-ers.
Dustin really needs to understand the meaning of ‘no touching’.
– Charla yells at the driver to start driving once Mirna gets back into the cab. The Chipmunks retrieve the clue and head down the marked stairs. Kandice reads teams must take a taxi to Star Ferry and head to Hong Kong Island. Then travel by taxi four miles to the abandoned building known as the Old Police Headquarters.
Back in TAR 2, spotting the star for star ferry was an actual task which Oswald & Danny completed.
– Chipmunks get into a cab. Suddenly it’s 320pm. Eric & Danielle flag down a cab.
DANIELLE: We need to start badgering people cause I know Mirna’s definitely not polite. So, I mean we need to be in their face because apparently being nice doesn’t really get you too far.
That’s why you’re in the Final Four, Danielle.
– Charla & Mirna find the task. Mirna wonders how Charla can do it considering each rung is longer than Charla’s legs.
MIRNA: Can you tell these kung fu fighters to go away a little? We intend to make love, not war.
What is up with her? Do you mean to tell me Mirna has never seen a low budget Chinese action flick poorly dubbed in English in her life?!
– Eric sees it on the map. He announces they will walk. Danielle observes it as being identical to New York City. It’s also four o’ clock in the afternoon. Why is traffic moving so slowly? Is there a problem? Let’s ask our friend Juntao who is a few cars ahead in traffic.
I love that movie.
– Mirna hates how much shaking there is. She begins to attack the ninjas. Cheesy kicking sound effects are stolen from Mortal Kombat. They also increase the speed of the attacks on-screen to make it more cheesy. Mirna makes her own sound effects as she attacks.
Mirna kicks one to crash into the other. Who knew she was a black belt at Bambu Fu!
Oh, it’s on.
I should note that when this scene originally aired that I had never heard my mother laugh more in my entire life.
– Chipmunks board the ferry. Mirna makes sound effects all the way up and continues to do so when she is finished the task. Charla struggles but eventually makes it.
MIRNA: Charla continues to disprove everyone’s expectations of her.
Not mine. I knew she would struggle a bit which is exactly what happened. So. . .
This would make for a great action movie poster.
MIRNA: The Star Ferry to go to Hong Kong Island.
DRIVER: Hong Kong Island, Star Ferry.
– Mirna asks if it is correct for him to drive through a tunnel. Maybe when the driver says ‘Hong Kong Island’ aloud that something could be wrong. But Mirna doesn’t catch on.
I’m sorry, but you can’t blame this one on the cab if he indeed takes you to Hong Kong Island’s Star Ferry. He told you where he was taking you.
– Chipmunks’ ferry ride is over. They enter a cab. Charla & Mirna see a ferry preparing to leave. Eric & Danielle have the laundrymat clue. Like any team who wants to have fun, Kung Fu Fighting is what they choose to do. Mirna barely makes the ferry. Charla asks someone on the ferry where Old Police Headquarters is. She is told it’s back in Hong Kong Island. BACK in Hong Kong Island? The ferry is heading for Kowloon.
Eric & Danielle may have a chance to not be non-eliminated after all.
– The lady is helpful enough to tell Charla & Mirna to stay on the ferry because it turns around to Hong Kong Island. Knowing how populated and busy ferries must be at 5pm in the afternoon, I doubt they lost too much time. Thirty to forty minutes at most. Charla thinks Eric & Danielle will catch up.
DANIELLE: Who knows how long it will take the girls and Charla & Mirna to do this task.
Well that’s a bit insulting.
– Charla & Mirna make a wish on bracelets and throw them into the ocean.
MIRNA: I wished we’d make it home safely. . .and a million dollars too.
I’m sorry, no takesies backsies, Mirna.
– Danny wants to hire a taxi. Oswald asks how much money is left. Danny says there is twenty bucks. They get to a toll booth that asks for twenty dollars.
A twenty dollar toll booth? That’s the most expensive toll booth I have heard of in my life.
– Chipmunks enter Old Police Headquarters. Dustin reads “Who is Ready to Break Down the Barriers?”
PHIL: In this roadblock, teams must enter the stunt world–Hong Kong style.
Isn’t that what the car crash Fast Forward and Kung Fu Fighting on bamboo scaffolding all about too? This is the only episode of TAR where all tasks are based entirely on a specific theme. Jackie Chan funded this episode, no doubt.
– In this roadblock, teams kick down front doors of rooms until they find one with a clue inside. Clues are not specified where they are hidden. We see Kandice kick down a bunch of doors.
– Cha Cha Cha step into the mat. Before the greeter and Phil can say anything, Danny begs for money because they are down to zero. For real this time.
That gnome must be worth something.
She pretends nothing happened and welcomes Cha Cha Cha.
– They celebrate their first place finish. Phil reveals they have won a trip to Hong Kong. Because of Cha Cha Cha’s shopping habits, they are ecstatic.
PHIL: In Travelocity’s biggest travel package on the race.
Better than seeing the ocean light up or visiting Whistler? They better not be playing around.
– They’ll celebrate Chinese New Year (which makes much more sense than the arbitrary nature of the First World’s New Year, seriously look it up). Hotel room, luminous fireworks, and parades. I guess this must be super expensive because it is all they get.
– Kandice has the clue. She reads teams must travel five miles to Victoria Park and find the model boat pond and the Travelocity roaming gnomes on a boat. They will be at the opposite side of the pond pulling a string attached to the junk. If they can pull the junk the entire length without the gnome tipping, they will receive their next clue.
Like any bright woman knows, slowly tugging at the junk ensures best results.
I didn’t mean it like that. And yes, that will be the only junk joke I make.
– Because the Chipmunks have money, they can pay to follow a cab five miles. Charla & Mirna head into a cab on Hong Kong Island. Eric & Danielle have yet to make it to the Detour. Chipmunks are at the Park. Dustin and Kandice feed the rope from opposite sides. Dustin takes the gnome and clue. They must head 1.5 miles to the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
– Charla & Mirna are at the roadblock. Charla is doing it.
CHARLA: My legs are very strong and I love kicking things.
I wasn’t expecting her confessional to end on that statement. By the way, none of the doors get knocked down by Charla. Kandice smashed ’em down like a champ.
– Eric & Danielle are at the Kung Fu task. Mirna hears how loud it is when Charla successfully knocks down a door. Eric insists they must climb it up fast. Danielle complains about he is shaking the scaffolding from climbing so fast. Danielle shrieks when confronted by ninjas. What a rookie.
-Eric is a mile ahead of Danielle. They finish and have the clue. Eric thinks Charla & Mirna could have taken a while. Mirna yells at Charla to not take too much time in each room about a trillion times.
– Chipmunks check into the pit stop.
– Charla has the clue. They follow somebody on the road. Charla warns they are going back where they were. Mirna tells her to sit down and relax. Sure enough they are back where they were as Charla projected. It’s dark now.
– Eric is doing the roadblock. He absolutely blasts the doors away. Another faulty Chinese consumer product. Eric has the clue in what is edited to be little time.
– Mirna complains about the slow roads and cars honking. Danielle wants to hire a cab. Eric doesn’t want to and wants to go in a direction based on gut instinct. He admits he does not know what he is doing. For once, Danielle may be right.
– Traffic starts clearing up for Charla & Mirna. Danielle nags Eric for not listening to her once he realizes going through the tunnel is a bad move. Of course this leads to a confessional from Danielle regarding Eric’s stubbornness.
ERIC: We’ll still get there. I’ll just turn around.
Me thinks Eric knows this must be a non-elimination and is not fazed by the Marked for Elimination penalty.
– Danielle complains as Eric warns her not to start with him. Charla & Mirna are at Victoria Park. Charla does most of this task. They have the clue and head to the pit stop.
– Eric asks for directions. He is told to turn around. Mirna hires a taxi driver willing to take her to the pit stop. The cab is driving very fast. Perhaps the fastest driver in Hong Kong.
– Eric & Danielle are at Victoria Park. Charla clarifies the location of the Jockey Club with the cab driver. Eric has the clue. He recalls seeing it on the map. Danielle points out a cab but Eric claims he knows where it is. Mirna asks a security guard where the infield entrance is for the Jockey Club. They are simply told ‘over there’.
– Eric pulls over at a gas station for directions. He is told to go to Happy Valley. Danielle sees another taxi. Eric doesn’t want to because it’s a pain. Danielle points out it’s a pain to be lost and asking for directions all the time. Eric claims they have directions and know where to go.
DANIELLE: I can’t understand why we can’t ask and follow it.
ERIC: Because we only have twenty-eight dollars.
DANIELLE: Who cares.
ERIC: I care.
Cha Cha Cha cares. Uchenna & Joyce care.
– Charla & Mirna ask a man to hop into their car for five minutes. Eric & Danielle drive in a complete circle back to the gas station where they just were. It’s like me navigating the streets of Liberty City in Grand Theft Auto III.
– Eric decides to ask a cab. Danielle goes ahead to run out and convinces the cab to lead them. They’ll be down to about as much funds as Cha Cha Cha.
DANIELLE: He was mad that I could possibly be right about something.
No. I think he’s mad he screwed up on directions for locations only five miles and 1.5 miles away.
– Charla & Mirna find the pit stop. Only two seconds of suspense music. They are third. Slow music plays as Eric & Danielle slowly walk onto the mat. Where’s the hustle?
– They’re last, but in a surprise to no one watching this live it is a non-elimination. They both joke whether or not it’s a good thing they weren’t eliminated. They have the Marked for Elimination penalty. Eric admits Danielle was right about taking a taxi earlier. Danielle wants to show people she is stronger than they think she is. Eric says they are a team. So it’s on, I guess.
– Next Time on TAR: Round 11 marks the beginning of what should be the sixth consecutive season to have two legs pretending to act as a single one. Or will the tradition break? Plus the biggest Final Four deal in TAR history is made when integrity is exchanged for funds.
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) Kuala Lumpur -> Hong Kong (One of the strangest Final Four dynamics form, and it is all thanks to the All-Star nature of this race where we have seen each of these teams compete in more legs than virtually any other team in TAR history. Cha Cha Cha’s alliance with Charla & Mirna to oppose the Chipmunks left Eric & Danielle on the outside with no one willing to help them unless it was to push back their enemies.
This leg felt very inspired with life in Hong Kong. Traveling through crowded and confusing streets as teams battled ninjas on scaffolding, being filmed in a car crash, and kicking down doors at an abandoned building made this round distinct.
The money woes of Cha Cha Cha was edited in a great way as we see it constantly alluded to knowing it will play an important role soon.
I wish the tasks were made more difficult, though. This was probably the easiest challenge catalogue for any leg since the season premiere.
And a non-elimination we all see coming makes this episode a mellow experience.)
7) 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 footage from confessionals where teams discuss Rob & Amber to be used in the episodes.)
8) Skala -> Kuala Lumpur (This leg has never clicked for me over the past six years. All I ever remember is “Eric & Danielle get yielded” and “Uchenna & Joyce miss a flight”. I was genuinely surprised by the Detour and Roadblock tasks. The cookie task didn’t a ring a bell for me. Or the patterns. I’ll forget those tasks by this time tomorrow.
The Roadblock isn’t terribly memorable either. Collecting newspapers when nothing is on the line for any of the teams?
This round and the Roadblock task begin the “Cha Cha Cha self-destructs” storyline. Between the arguments and Danny making one of the dumbest financial decisions ever on TAR, this is the lone credit I give to this leg. I didn’t recall the Roadblock task, but I knew it involved biking and Danny wasting his money at some point.
I suppose when nothing is at stake the round falls flat on its face. The one great thing about this round is we do not have any equalizers. This round is played straight up which puts it above the worst legs of the season.
Otherwise this round is rather deflated. Perhaps the disappointment in Uchenna & Joyce being royally screwed was too much.)
9) 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.)
10) 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.)