I wonder why rice cakes have yet to make an appearance as part of a gross food eating challenge.
Previously on TAR: Five teams set out from Kalkata, India to take a train across to Delhi, India. Sandy & Francesca yielded Andy & Laura. The battle lines were drawn. Teams had to locate a spice stall using an exclusive Sony Cybershot as reference. Teams had to carry sacks of some of India’s most potent spices which left them gasping for air. And a donkey race turned into a game of Push and Shove. Making dung cakes had Andy & Laura in a stink then they had trouble in local transport. For the first time in the race they were last to the pit stop. Four teams remain. Who will be the next to be eliminated?
I wrote this recap at 530am. Now I’m off to class. I could have done homework but chose to do the ‘Previously on’ segment right after my morning workout. I must be crazy.
– We’re introduced to India.
WU: Founded in 500 BC, Delhi now has sixty thousand monuments and religious sites.
Sixty. . .thousand?! Geez. The only monument in my town is the clock tower, and it doesn’t even send you back to 1955 if the wiring is struck by lightning.
– Teams check out of a Buddhist temple. Sandy & Francesca depart first at 147am. Francesca reads that teams must travel to Dubai and take a taxi to Abra Station Dubai.
Caution: Yield ahead.
Oh. I see they just wanted to wait until the last two legs possible to have the Yields.
– So what does Abra Station look like?
He looks so stern.
Okay, I’m kidding. Here’s what Abra Station really looks like:
Hey. It’s episode eleven. How many more Asian jokes can I possibly utilize? Abra and Krabi may be fine. I have a feeling I will be really reaching if they travel to the Kangaskhan Museum in Ulaanbataar, Mongolia.
– Francesca is happy knowing they got through the ‘killing each other’ phase.
– Mardy & Marsio’s only goal (and the main one) is to be in the top three as they depart at 154am.
– Andrew & Syeon check out at 155am. Close departure times.
SYEON: I’m glad Andy & Laura aren’t here. I mean, they were playing the game fair and square, but I didn’t like them. The way they played. They were just lying to our face.
ANDREW: They are sneaky.
So they played fair and square but thought they were sneaky and you just plain don’t like them? I’m pretty sure you guys sneak your way through to the front of the pack on occasion.
– Andrew & Syeon believe they are the strongest team remaining in existence. Andrew alludes to Syeon’s foot injury that we have only seen taped up for two seconds in the previous leg. No idea how she hurt it, and we will likely never know.
Yep. Even with Syeon’s foot injury they still think they are the strongest. I suppose Sandy & Francesca’s inability to think things through clearly, Mardy & Marsio’s physique that is getting more exhausted and drained by the day, and the fact Zabrina & Joe Jer are women, have left Andrew & Syeon as contenders for the title with no other challengers.
– Last to check out at a remarkable twenty minutes later is Zabrina & Joe Jer at 215am. Barely saved due to Andy & Laura walking around for a minimum of thirty minutes searching for a taxi.
– Zabrina & Joe Jer don’t mind being 2nd to last all the way until they hit top three. Zabrina comments on Syeon’s speed despite limping around on the foot. She also discusses how Sandy’s physical being makes him stand out to where he could be a team of one and physically outdo Andrew, Syeon, Zabrina, Joe Jer, Mardy, Marsio, and virtually all Asians in general. Joe Jer comments Mardy & Marsio are super intelligent.
– Andrew explains to us his two alliances.
Alliance #1) Mardy & Marsio. Purpose: Just help each other in travel and tasks.
Alliance #2) Zabrina & Joe Jer. Purpose: Share money. If one team comes in last on a non-elimination then the other shall give up significant funds. A moot alliance given that every single team has always offered up money to a non-eliminated team to prevent them from begging extensively.
Sucks to be Sandy & Francesca. Andrew & Syeon really have it out for teams that descend from British subjects.
– They agree to give up 150 dollars to each other if one of them is eliminated.
ANDREW: We didn’t want to do that with Mardy & Marsio because then we’d have no money.
Well, do you know how much money would be spent on food by Marsio? I’d withhold money from them too.
– So the teams prepare to fly. Guess who’s hungry?
Marsio chows down on a cookie at 10, 000 feet.
Marsio in a past life.
– Teams are on the same flight. We don’t know when. All we know is that it is a travel length of 2, 000 kilometres westward, and presumed to be a non-elimination leg.
– Flight lands in Dubai. Mardy, Marsio, and Andrew are both wearing neat bandanas as they enter Dubai.
Syoen and the audience adjusts to the first time in TAR history where racers voluntarily wear turbans.
– It’s a taxi race. Sandy & Francesca swapped taxis because their first one was unwilling to race and was too uncertain while asking her friends. Their new cab driver seems to be awesome. I wonder if Andy & Laura are around to steal it?
– Andrew & Syeon say alliances are fine until the final leg of the season. Mardy & Marsio intends to keep their alliance intact until the end as well.
Marsio looks like he is waiting to receive Marco Polo from the Gobi Desert into his kingdom.
– Andrew recaps his alliances one minute later. He said Mardy & Marsio’s deal was from the beginning because he thinks he can beat them. Same logic to their deal with Zabrina & Joe Jer. Sandy equates being in Dubai to the rest of the world being meaningless. He comments on the landscape being amazing.
I. . .I. . .I’m classier than that.
– Mardy & Marsio will only a yield a team if they get to the mat third.
Decent logic. Goal is just to get one team yielded. If you’re not going to do it, then you’re forcing second or third to be the bad guys.
– I know you’re curious how Mardy looks right now.
This is why Andrew & Syeon won’t give money to Mardy & Marsio. Marsio already took off his turban from the souvenir shop after ten minutes.
And there it is. The final Yield mat of the season. I don’t understand why the Yields were randomly assigned to legs ten and eleven except for no other reason than to have airtime to fill in episodes one to nine to discuss it, and then to add it in as a route marker when there are so few teams for a 47 minute episode slot.
I should note the American version has already discontinued the Yield by this point. I am curious why TAR Asia producers decided to ignore the American version discarding it and instead keep up this twist for every Asian season. If they did that, why not have it on every leg like it was originally intended, or dare I say bring back a weekly Fast Forward? Producers love to never follow properly gaming structure anymore. 😦
– Zabrina & Joe Jer are first to the mat. They choose not to yield and take their clue. Mardy & Marsio see a bunch of boats. The traffic slows down. Mardy wants to getout because he knows the clue is around the dock. He doesn’t bother anyway.
– Zabrina & Joe Jer open the clue. It’s a roadblock. Teams must complete a 9-hole golf course using only a putter and another club of their choice at the Golf Academy.
According to the numbers, I think I’d go with a Driver.
WU: If the ball is lost or the club is broken, that player must return to the first tee for a replacement before continuing on.
Ten bucks that TAR Asia saved money by purchasing clubs from a dollar store to see how many clubs Sandy would accidentally break.
– Zabrina is going to do it. Mardy complains of losing time. Marsio apologizes. They find themselves further in the city. Andrew & Syeon are stuck in the traffic. Joe Jer is in a boat with Zabrina telling her how to hold a club because Zabrina has never played golf before. I wish we were told why teams must take a boat to the roadblock. TAR Asia has consistently made errors by under-explaining details concerning continuity.
– Sandy & Francesca are second to Abra Station. They cannot yield anybody and board the boat. Sandy has done five already which means Francesca needs to do two more to set up Sandy for doing his sixth and final roadblock in the final round. Physical strength has never been apart of final roadblocks, but after witnessing Francesca’s lack of mental agility in counting the beetle nuts, something tells me Sandy can whoop Francesca at everything.
ROADBLOCK HINT: “Who wants to play a round?”
Ha. PRoduction got lazy by round eleven.
– Francesca giggles knowing she is horrible at golf. See. This is why she is doing a roadblock now.
FRANCESCA: It’s going to be damn hot.
Doesn’t that apply to every place you have been this race in Asia? You think you would be used to the heat after Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, India, and now United Arab Emirates. What’s the difference between 38 degrees celsius and 43 degrees?
– Mardy & Marsio and Andrew & Syeon get to the Yield mat in the same minute. Mardy & Marsio are third to the Yield but change their mind from their stance of “we will for sure use the Yield if we are third” from ten minutes ago. You can see the pain on Marsio’s face when he announces it to the camera.
Must. . .not. . .yield. . .friends. . .but. . .want. . .to. . .and. . .must. . .eat. . .cookie.
– Mardy & Marsio hope they can team up with Andrew & Syeon to take out the weakest links–Zabrina & Joe Jer. Clearly they are unaware of Andrew & Syeon’s strategy of taking the weakest to the end.
MORE OF THE ROADBLOCK HINT: “Who wants to play a round? This person must have patience and a steady hand.”
Again. Why didn’t the editors not show Zabrina & Joe Jer reading this? Ugh.
MARSIO: You want to do it? It’s hot, right?
You’re not sure if it’s hot? Are you serious? You mean you can’t determine if you’re feeling hot on your own and need someone else to assume your individual perceptive experience?
– Syeon is surprised to discover they are last because she fully intended to yield a team. Syeon is going to do it. Mardy coaches Marsio how to golf. Marsio says he is not good at golf. Everyone is on an equally lack of self-esteem playing field.
– Andrew emphasizes that it is all about speed rather than quality of stroke. He instructs the driver to go faster in the gas-powered boat, but the guy refuses. Mardy gives Marsio a lesson about the hips in golf.
It’s all in the hips Marsio.
– Mardy & Marsio’s boat is slowing down. Andrew concludes they will pass them because of the weight. Syeon doesn’t think it’s their excessive weight but rather because her and Andrew are that light. I love euphemisms.
– Mardy & Marsio’s boat engine sucks. Marsio laughs awkwardly as Andrew & Syeon pass. Mardy & Marsio’s motor is indeed dead.
– Mardy & Marsio flag down help. Andrew & Syeon agree to stop so their driver can help them. The boat is fixed and they proceed together. Andrew comments how they always have bad luck. Happy to see a third person perspective rather than every team ever self-proclaiming their bad luck.
– Zabrina picks a putter and a driver. The instructor tells her where hole number one is.
JOE JER: Look at the ball.
Oh. Looooook at the ball. I get it.
– Marsio asks Syeon if she intends to outrun him. Syeon cites her foot injury. Marsio takes the most graceful leap I have seen in my life.
Look at that co-ordination.
– Francesca freaks out when her first swing is successful. Zabrina completes the first hole. Her swings are ugly. Francesca digs the ball out of the dirt. Syeon jogs past Marsio. Marsio stoops to tie his shoe. He is walking rather slow. Andrew lies on the ground in the shade. However he willingly stands up to pat his partner on the butt before going back to sleep on the ground.
Time to rest. Er, wait.
He’s up in more ways than one.
– Francesca is done the first hole. She swings and misses on the second hole.
Probst’s four year old niece can get the ball further after two shots.
Even GSP weighs in on everyone’s golfing skills:
He is not impressed by this blog either.
– Resort music plays. Syeon is done her first hole. Suddenly we see the challenge played on fast motion video. I have never seen that before. Zabrina is done three holes. Marsio hits the first ball FAR. Francesca hit it in the sand a couple times.
– A water trap. Francesca is afraid of a mulligan that she has dribbled it around the pond instead of hitting across. Marsio is a free swinger. We see him shoot about five times in the bunker. Zabrina is done the fifth hole. Marsio swings wildly on hole three’s green before getting it in.
– Syeon is done the fifth hole. Marsio seems like he is sick of running. Marsio is walking with his ball as if it is a dog.
Time to take the golf ball for a walk.
– Zabrina finishes the ninth and final hole. Syeon is done the seventh. Zabrina receives the next clue. Joe Jer reads teams must take a taxi to Dubai International Marine Club where they will receive their next clue.
From one resort to another.
– Francesca finishes the roadblock. Syeon is one hole behind. Marsio is way back on the fifth. Marsio sinks the ball in the middle of a lake.
SYEON: I got a hole-in-one.
On the green, Syeon. On the green.
MARSIO: I had to walk back to the first hole to get a new ball in the heat.
– Marsio returns to hole five.
– Francesca fans herself in the taxi. Her face is freakin’ red. All of Marsio’s speed is gone as well as his accuracy. I am guessing he will be 45 minutes behind. Mardy better be praying to the equalizing gods.
– Mardy hangs out underneath a tent. Marsio works on the final hole. He finishes.
MARSIO: Last but not least.
It’s TAR. Last is the ONLY position where you are least.
– The clue itself says to go to the DIMC. I suppose it is the lingo for Dubai International Marine Club. A place for the rich and hip.
– Zabrina & Joe Jer and Sandy & Francesca make it to the clue box simultaneously.
At least the boat wasn’t the Slice of Life.
– Zabrina reads teams must take a taxi to Ski Dubai Emirates Mall. Yep. The mall with an indoor ski resort.
Also known as the most extravagant and unnecessary invention in the history of the universe.
– Andrew & Syeon have the clue next. Syeon is excited to go to the Ski Resort because she assumes it will be skiing or snowboarding.
– Zabrina has never gone skiing but will do it anyway. What’s funny is that she asks the driver “What is Ski Dubai?” as if she has no idea skiing exists there.
– Andrew requests Syeon to jump on his back as they run back to a cab.
They play out a metaphor of Survivor: Redemption Island with Natalie Tenerelli and Rob Mariano.
– The three cabs get there simultaneously. Francesca smacks her head against the door. Sandy takes her bag as she complains about the pain. Teams seem lost looking for a ski resort in a mall. You think a ski resort would stand out at a shopping mall.
– Mardy & Marsio have their clue at the boat. Ouch. I forgot the last thing they would want is another strenuous activity. From heat to freezing. Andrew & Syeon’s cab took them to the opposing end of the shopping centre from the resort, but they didn’t retrieve their bags from the cab. Now they must run all the way back.
– Sandy & Francesca have the clue. It’s a Detour. Hack or Hike.
A tropical Asian in snowgear? Dang. There is no way Wu has this in his personal wardrobe. I think an American producer on the crew must have loaned it to Wu for the week.
– In Hack, teams must hack away at a 150 kilogram block of ice. They will use a hammer and ice to get it out. Pretty much same as the task seen in Big Brother 2 and the Alaska visit in TAR 2. So pretty much this task will work in Sandy’s favour because he can use his fist.
– In Hike, teams must head to the bottom of the steepest slope to transport a 25 kilogram bag EACH from the bottom of the hill to the summit. Once they get to the top they will receive their next clue. I bet the incline isn’t too bad.
Oh right. It’s a ski hill.
This resort leg is really punishing Mardy & Marsio’s physique. Play golf in heat? Run in heat? Either battle through ice or walk up a steep slope? All they need is to have
– Sandy immediately picks Hack because he knows he can use his chiselled body to chisel the block of ice. Zabrina & Joe Jer are choosing to hike because they don’t have the strength or technique to chip ice. Better just to do the mindless task. Andrew & Syeon are at the clue box.
– Sandy & Francesca see the ice.
FRANCESCA: We’re going to have to be clever about this.
Again, you have Sandy.
– Zabrina is so weak.
How weak was she?
– Zabrina is so weak that Joe Jer had to lift up her bag and put it on Zabrina’s back. I sense a slipped disc coming soon because I hear the best thing is to put an object on your back that you cannot lift yourself.
For American viewers: 25 kilograms is well over 50 pounds.
– Syeon doesn’t think she can hike. Therefore they pick Hack. Of course Syeon won’t be chiselling.
– Mardy & Marsio are still outside the boat waiting for cabs. The chances of them making up time on the Detour is nearly impossible. Zabrina is somehow making her way up the slope.
– Mardy & Marsio find their previous cab driver on the street. They get in and race to catch up. Zabrina stops entirely for a moment. Joe Jer lends out a hand and supports Zabrina. It’s more comfortable watching this snowy climb than when Chuck pushes Wynona’s backside up a wintery slope with his mullet.
When I think of Dubai, I think of people struggling to ascend its snowy slopes.
Plunk. Zabrina sits and does nothing. However the route marker is in sight. At least she didn’t pull a Wynona and collapse Chuck’s mullet-ridden skull.
– Mardy & Marsio show up to the Detour. Mardy doesn’t think Marsio has the energy to hike. They shall square off with Sandy & Francesca and Andrew & Syeon. Syeon is threatened by Sandy’s strength and Francesca’s sneaky nature.
– Sandy breaks one of the equipment in half. It doesn’t matter because they have the clue moments later before we even
– They must head to the Gold Souk. Translation: Gold Market. Apparently Dubai is referred to the City of Gold. 275 shops within a 500 square metre radius. They must find the correct gold shop to receive their next clue.
– Andrew & Syeon make progress. Marsio puts on an outfit that doesn’t require him to change into a larger size for once. The strangest series of production errors is finally over. Zabrina continues the pattern of walking and falling in her persistence.
– Andrew & Syeon have their clue. They finish. Mardy & Marsio make their way to the bags. Apparently they will do Hike after all. Big mistake, I reckon. Zabrina & Joe Jer make it to the summit to take the clue. Now they must get back down. And what better way to get back down?
Descend down the hill via booty scoot.
Kelly & Jon right behind ready to overtake them.
– Zabrina & Joe Jer cheer on Mardy & Marsio. Marsio’s speed decreases up the hill. Sandy & Francesca enter the cab. Joe Jer reads the clue at the base. Francesca asks to be taken to a modern jewellery shop.
FRANCESCA: What’s a modern jewellery shop?
A shop that sells modern jewellery.
– Joe Jer complains anytime they have a lead it is taken away by a physical challenge. However she forgot the part where Sandy & Francesca made it to the clue box inside the mall first right before the Detour. Andrew & Syeon yell at the cab for parking in a spot at the opposite end of the mall.
– Sandy comments it is a great place to be. It’s much better with all of their physical tasks.
ANDREW: You’re fragile.
SYEON: I’m not fragile. I am delicate. Delicate-ish. Delicate-cycle.
– Marsio bends over to get his breath. He kneels.
You’ve gotta dig, Marsio!
– Andrew thinks Mardy & Marsio is smart. Syeon agrees. Joe Jer understands this task is very difficult.
– Francesca explains to Sandy that ‘souk’ means market.
Mardy & Marsio making up a ton of time!
– So Mardy takes the rope while Marsio takes the bags. Marsio tumbles. So does Mardy with just rope.
– Sandy & Francesca look at a wall that lists the location of every market stall. Mardy & Marsio continue to make the trek. Marsio collapses at the summit. Mardy does too.
Spike that rope!
– Sandy & Francesca exit an elevator. They are aware teams can catch up on a golden stall-in-a-market task. Zabrina & Joe Jer cringe in traffic. Mardy & Marsio might be doing worse than Wynona because they can’t even get down.
– Ready for the strangest three-second shot in TAR Asia history?
WACKY FLAILING INFLATIBLE ARM-FLAILING SMILIN-BLUE-AND-YELLOW SPIKY HAIRED TUBE MAN! WACKY FLAILING INFLATIBLE ARM-FLAILING SMILIN-BLUE-AND-YELLOW SPIKY HAIRED TUBE MAN! BECAUSE OF AN ERROR IN A SHIPMENT, DUBAI IS NOW OVERSTOCKED WITH WACKY FLAILING INFLATIBLE ARM-FLAILING SMILIN-BLUE-AND-YELLOW SPIKY HAIRED TUBE MAN!
– Mardy & Marsio have their last clue. We see Sandy & Francesca continue to tour the market systematically. It’s not just a wild goose chase. Joe Jer calls the modern jewellery market. Marsio comments on Zabrina & Joe Jer’s determination. Joe Jer obtains the directions through the cab driver’s cell phone. Sandy & Francesca head to a new market. They have the right place. Joe Jer hands the phone to the taxi driver to receive directions.
– Sandy & Francesca have the clue. They must look for a marked 4-wheel-drive vehicle and have a driver take them to the Margham Desert Camp.
Look familiar? Well it should. Not only is it copying the 4-wheel drive task from TAR 5’s visit to Dubai, but the pit stop was at the same Bedouin camp from that season as well. I don’t understand why they don’t drive themselves to shove in that extra task like they did in TAR 5. Having a driver do for you to avoid traps in the sand dunes seems rather Minor League-ish.
Golfing, boats, 4-wheel drive, skiing, hiking? This is by far the most resort-y leg of TAR ever created.
– Marsio thinks his brain is fried from the golfing game. His body went from the extreme heat of golf to the extreme cold of skiing, and thinks he will be hospitalized soon. I wouldn’t be surprised. Andrew & Syeon ask for directions from locals. They enter the stall. Zabrina & Joe Jer’s plan evidently didn’t work or their cab really sucked.
– Zabrina & Joe Jer wander the streets. Mardy & Marsio have exited their cab as well. It’s gonna be close, apparently. Nevermind. Zabrina & Joe Jer have their Gold Souk clue. Mardy & Marsio find the clue. Marsio promises to buy a lot of gold at the shop if he wins a million.
Quickest million spent ever.
– All four teams are in cabs. Zabrina knows she almost always finishes second to last.
– Sandy & Francesca and Andrew & Syeon are suddenly in 4-wheel drive being driven around. Sandy & Francesca hit the mat first.
What’s with the torch in the background behind the greeter? Is she gonna snuff out Sandy & Francesca?
“Sandy & Francesca. . .the tribe has spoken.”
Oh. I didn’t mean to entrench upon your lines, Probsty Boy.
1ST: SANDY & FRANCESCA
– Every team is in 4-wheel drive now. Everyone is enjoying it. Syeon limps in the sand to the mat.
2ND: ANDREW & SYEON
– Plenty of suspense built as we the two remaining teams running.
3RD: ZABRINA & JOE JER
– Mardy & Marsio try their best to run. It looks uncomfortable to watch.
I personally think this is an awesome shot.
WU: Mardy & Marsio. . .you are team number four.
MARSIO: So we’re last.
Very good, Marsio. I think Marsio should be our captain.
WU: I am sorry to tell you you’re the last team to arrive. After all you’ve been through would you rather continue the race or relax right now and be eliminated?
MARSIO: I want to continue because I think we deserve another chance.
WU: It’s a pre-determined non-elimination.
– So it is indeed a non-elimination since F3 non-eliminations have been dissolved since TAR 9. They give up their money. Marsio loves making more money anyway. And. . .
MARSIO: I love making more money and even eat burgers.
Ah. Marsio. Food is on his mind more than a million bucks.
Next Time on TAR: Only two episodes left. Stakes will never be higher. Four teams come against all odds to stake the race. One team will run out of luck this time. Who will make it to the Final Three?
ZABRINA.JOE JER 5.1
Rank the Legs
1) Kalkata -> Delhi (I never expected the best leg of the season to come from an India episode. As I said last round, India episodes rarely do well anymore because it is the most repeated location in TAR history. How many India legs do we have by TAR Asia? Ten?
Anyways, the biggest issue I have with this round is editing. The middle of the episode with the Detour and Yield specifically. The editing is so dang confusing and impossible to figure out where everyone is until after the Detour has played out. That’s not a production error but rather an editing error.
I loved the tasks. This was no ordinary delivery–either pick leading a donkey and have onions on its back to make you cry or personally handle really heavy bags of chile peppers that want to trash your throat while simultaneously surviving the scorching heat.
Add in car emissions and a saturation of people in the streets of Delhi and you have chaos. Lovely.
The ten-episode story arc with the Yield finally paid off. We can argue if being hit with the Yield truly put Andy & Laura out of the race or if they were in the wrong place at the wrong time as they searched for a taxi to take them to the pit stop. No way to prove which argument is true.
The roadblock was original too. I wish we knew exactly how many dung cakes players needed to make, but I can assure you there was a lot. In addition we witnessed teams become exhausted as they lifted buckets of dung from the courtyard and up the stairs to smash it against the wall. Apparently this is a way to pass time in East Indian rural villages.
Then the final dash where Zabrina & Joe Jer pull the upset to take out Andy & Laura shocked the audience, and made the players ecstatic as the biggest threat to win the mil since 7th place was eradicated, had finally been eliminated from the game.
2) Kuala Lumpur -> Jakarta (Tasks were more original this round. None of them had been repeated from traditional TAR. A snake pit had never been done. Simultaneously singing while steadily pushing a cart had never been done. Searching Walkman music also had never been done. Oh, and I suppose the plate dance has similarities to TAR 10’s round one Beijing paddle dance.
Again, every team was easy-going. Did I mention how refreshing that is? The editing remains to be unsteady and inconsistent, but at the very least the music soundtrack had smooth transitions and were relevant to the scenes.
I should note that this was TAR’s first visit to Indonesia. Therefore, we need to credit production for picking an unvisited location.
Ernie & Jeena’s downfall seemed unfair because we were never given the proper criteria for how much soya sauce could or could not be spilled. Although their terrible navigation throughout the episode made their elimination to be absent of any surprise. Sahil & Prashant claiming the Fast Forward based on a self-admitted gamble was perhaps the highlight of the episode.
Overall, I think this worked out better than the premiere. Just wish we knew what time that Air Asia flight left Kuala Lumpur!)
3) Sydney -> Auckland (This was a fun round. Andy & Laura were not medically evacuated which prevented this leg from being anti-climatic.
I don’t understand why teams were constrained to the same flight. That appears to be the rule all season long.
I enjoyed the trick of having the child on the swing right beside the ferry where teams landed. Seeing teams overthinking it as they ride through taxis, private vehicles, and walking around libraries was amusing.
Rugby and Rigging was a good Detour.
Ferries didn’t screw over leading teams like the ferries in Sydney did.
The biggest problem I have is why Sahil & Prashant were not given a clear reasoning for their time to be penalized. Why one hour? I have never heard of a one hour TAR penalty. In addition, they broke the same rule three times. Shouldn’t they be counted as three separate infractions? I do not understand this. I know teams likely checked within a twenty minute time span at the pit stop, but one hour was such a random number as if production picked a number that would guarantee a team’s elimination.
Scratchin. Muh. Head.
P.S. How many more Sony products will be showcased this season? I have a feeling we have several more to go.)
4) Bali -> Sydney (I was convinced Howard & Sahran would have been eliminated because of their storyline thus far. Their equal abilities to freak out and be fearful of many things was supposed to cost them the race, but it’s all for naught when it turns out to be a non-elimination.
Once again a team who takes the four hour penalty is the team that finishes last for the second leg in a row. That must be a fairly odd circumstance seeing how Sahil & Prashant were in dead last heading to the pit stop. Those fast ferries that were available to trailing teams really made for an unusual second half to the episode.
The Handycam task was original and neat regardless of the obvious sponsour plug. I wish producers told us the criteria that had to be met for a participant to be considered ‘out of key’.
Andy & Laura overcame numerous obstacles to keep their lead until the unluckiest thing of all–Laura damaging her leg, reduced them to their fourth consecutive seventh place finish. And with a non-elimination keeping it at eight teams, it is very possible for them to be seventh for a record fifth time in a row.
I feel bad for Howard & Sahran. They were in sync at the top of the leaderboard for the past 1 1/2 legs and suddenly fall (in a manner that differs from Laura) at a roadblock task that appears to be because of Howard literally not handling the pressure. A glorious fall which once again I wish led to their elimination.
I should note that this is the only season I can think of where three consecutive legs have led to teams all boarding the exact same flight. In episodes that are 48 minutes long compared to the US’ 44 minutes, we see more route markers in this version than the first eleven seasons of regular TAR.
Mardy & Marsio still dominate the edit as TARAsia’s Kevin & Drew, no doubt. We haven’t learned too much personal info from all of the teams. I think it has indeed been very task-oriented. Maybe this is because we have seen zero conflict form after the first four rounds. Four episodes without conflict would be unacceptable to American producers. We see previews of conflict erupting next leg thus I may change my tune for the next leg I rank.)
5) Delhi -> Dubai (A clear theme for this leg–do every resort-like activity possible within Dubai. Teams seemed to all finish this leg within a span of thirty minutes. For some reason the length between teams checking in has drastically decreased over the past few rounds.
I enjoyed the fact that the Dubai leg did not overlap with TAR 5 too much. In fact, the only overlap was the location of the pit stop. They did unique activities like golf in extremely hot temperatures, visited the world-famous and recently-built indoor ski resort that still blows my mind can exist in a city that frequently cracks 40 degrees Celsius, and searching for a gold shop within a market maze.
For a leg where I was expecting a non-elimination, there was still some comedy throughout. I found myself entertained in a 50-minute episode despite it being a non-elimination and a Final Four. Producers should be proud of themselves for doing so.
Oh, and remember how a Yield on the eleventh round went unused and can’t even factor in as a ‘what if’ because Mardy & Marsio were probably more than 30 minutes behind Andrew & Syeon? Yeah. That’s why you don’t put Yields on back-to-back legs.)
6) Gibbston -> Bangkok (Moar equalizers! Moar Caltex!
Washing the car in Singapore is a unique task. I mean, it was poorly thought out to have teams finish faster based on the colour they picked, but at least a sponsoured task was not completely lame.
We see the first repeat route marker in the TAR universe thanks to the Fountain of You–Wealth. Then Singapore ended up being irrelevant. I was expecting them to go to AXN Headquarters to go all out with sponsourship this round.
Bangkok was fine. Confusing streets and drivers provided a rare experience so far in the race after easier legs in Australia and New Zealand. Teams seemed truly drained as they slept in cabs and prepared to murder their cab drivers the following morning. The temples were neat. The Detour was fine.
But the ‘find a clue on the temple grounds amongst fake ones’ and ‘find a capsule with a clue amongst fake ones’ seemed unnecessary and repetitive. I think this round would have been better to be an elimination round because the anxiety and stress surrounding cab-racer communications would have made for a great end to the episode. But alas, it was the third non-elimination round of the season. Very average round.)
7) Kuala Lumpur -> . . .Kuala Lumpur (It would have been funnier to either have the pit stop at the pit stop of the stadium or to make them go back to the starting line of the race.
The route was fine for the first round of the first ever Asian edition. Production did a good job of avoiding any landmarks already seen in Kuala Lumpur throughout multiple seasons of TAR. The teams are all friendly and cordial which makes it an extremely unusual competitive reality TV show. Nobody screams. Nobody shoves another. Nobody gets into arguments with locals. This is the calmest and most respectful group of people I have ever seen. Well, until Sandy goes a few more days without his muscle milk.
The jungle trail to the pit stop is unique and inventive. The rest of the tasks were fairly textbook TAR. An eleventh team being cast would have been a better idea than a first round non-elimination merely because the non-elimination penalty is not very effective when teams cannot be devastated by the penalty.
If I had to describe the round in one word: Calm. Yes, I described a race as being calm after one episode. Shows how crazy those dang Americans are.
And whoever is in charge of timing the use of the TAR soundtrack needs to be fired. I think the editors of The Amazing Hunt do a better job with music.)
8) Bangkok -> Kingler (You know what’s always the most difficult part in the ‘Rank the Legs’ section each season? Anytime there is an island resort leg. Why? Because they have absolutely nothing in common with any of the other legs each season. No taxi drivers, everything is ‘go here and use some sort of water transport’ then a task that involves buoy checking/some other luck thing then followed by rock climbing prior to the pit stop. During this you just pray your boat’s motor doesn’t die.
If I compare it to other island resort legs I would say that it was terrible by those standards. I didn’t mind the equalizer (for once) because island resort legs rely on daylight for the whole day. However, I had major issues with the Detour, and found the Roadblock could have been altered to have more skill, strength, and overall brutality involved. Also, the Fast Forward task was extraordinarily lame. If you are reducing yourselves to three random Fast Forwards per season, how about putting the time and effort into making them memorable!)
9) Krabi -> Kolkata (There have been several India legs in prior seasons of TAR, and I would say many of them fared much better. Because the bar has been set high for India legs, this round inevitably falls to a sub-par section of the ranking.
Oh, and the fact it is a TBC leg deducts several points as well. Do I need to repeat why I hate TBCs in TAR? Just make it a dang non-elimination or a temporary one instead of letting a team run scot-free.
All of the tasks had been done before, and pretty much all from TAR 7. Transport stuff on your head. Shine shoes. Eat a massive meal. Count stuff. Head to the rooftop to trigger a To Be Continued leg. I was waiting for Uchenna & Joyce to pass Andy & Laura during the milk transport.
Seeing Sandy & Francesca brag about their cab only to have it stolen was a highlight. But that was negated by the numerous equalizers.
This leg was fairly crappy for those reasons, but it could also be crappy because of the number of times they all had to run to the bathroom after that spicy and calorie-laden meal.
10) Auckland -> Gibbston (Remember how we did Go Kart laps at the beginning and then a big bungee drop last leg? Well, let’s make them drive 250 kilometres. Then drive into a gas station and show them filling up their vehicle with gas. Then drive some more. Then either drive a few kilometres around a track or bungee jump. Then drive some more. Then guess what? Yeah. Drive on a Quad doing one lap. Then guess what?
I said GUESS!
Yes. We make them bungee jump.
Then drive some more. Then rig a penalty to not take effect this leg thus sending a less villainous team home.
Everyone okay with this leg design? I think there is a good balance and a variety of tasks to this leg. I do not see anything wrong with this picture. This leg is going to be the bomb!)
11) Jakarta -> Bali (Easiest ranking ever for the bottom place. This will never be topped for its terribleness. Not only is watching teams dig in sand for 30 out of 45 minutes of an episode, but everything else was so dang rushed that it was impossible to follow what was going on for the next three tasks.
I should note that I have never seen production screw things up as badly as they did with this leg. Scratch that. The hay bales from TAR 6 was worse because they could see it on paper how screwed over a team could get strictly by examining odds.
Here producers gave everyone the same forgiving plot of sand, and once they were awarded big boy shovels rather than the tiny shovels everyone disregarded for 3 1/2 hours, the task played out in a fair manner.
You know what’s the craziest thing of all upon reflection? Hours of operation were set up so that any team who completed the roadblock in less 90 minutes would be able to do the Detour and finish out the leg. If teams took any longer, they would be stuck waiting around until 900am the next day. Do you know how messy that could have been?
Or did producers ensure the task was impossible that everyone was guaranteed to be equalized right before the end? If so, wouldn’t they know how messy things would get with a four hour penalty being awarded right before an overnight equalizer? No matter how you look at it there wasn’t anybody assigned to logistics for this round. Is the carefree surfer attitude of Bali the reason for this?)