TAR Asia season 1 finale episode ranking

Final episode

ric flair man

An all-female team has never won! Zabrina & Joe Jer, to be the wo-MAN, you gotta beat the Man!

wu smile

ric flair wu


– And this is it. The first TAR Asia season finale. Billed as “Can the weak all-female team who has never won a leg somehow be triumphant over two well-rounded couples?”

Why was Zabrina & Joe Jer’s inclusion in the Final 3 such a big deal:

a) Teams very rarely make F3 up to this point without winning one of the first twelve legs. In fact Lyn & Karlyn of TAR 10 were the first to accomplish this feat just a couple months beforehand. So the second out of 33 teams to do this. Note that Eric & Danielle hadn’t ran All Stars yet.

b) Only the second all-female team to make it to F3 up to this point after Lyn & Karlyn. Chipmunks and Charla & Mirna would join this exclusive club a couple months later, but for now Zabrina & Joe Jer were the second team to get in on the all-female craze.

c) A team had never won the race without winning at least one of the first twelve legs. Again, Eric & Danielle went on to accomplish this feat in All Stars, but the idea of a team only winning when it counts had never been observed.

So basically Zabrina & Joe Jer were accomplishing every feat that Lyn & Karlyn pioneered that same year. Everyone was starting to back off with the whole “All-female teams can never make it to the end and production needs to step in and stop those alpha male teams” rant after five years of the franchise.

People simply gave Lyn & Karlyn a gold star for their accomplishment. Nobody thought they would win heading into the finale, and they weren’t a very popular team at the time. I bet most casual viewers to this day think Dustin & Kandice and Charla & Mirna were the first two all-female teams to make it to the endgame.

Zabrina & Joe Jer were fairly popular amongst the Asian audiences, I imagine. They never were caught in a scandal nor treated any of the other teams with disrespect. The TAR Asian world waited anxiously as they tuned into the season finale to see if Zabrina & Joe Jer were the ancient Asian recipe to crack the all-female barrier.

But even if they do win, about 1, 000 people in North America will know and/or care that an all-female team won TAR Asia. Seriously. How many casual fans would have said “Zabrina & Joe Jer were the first all-female team to win”.

That’s what I mean. It would just serve as a sense of pride for the Asian audience.

Meanwhile I bet nobody would care within Asia if Sandy & Francesca or Andrew & Syeon earned the victory. Nobody would be angry about it, but the underdog was definitely tied to Zabrina & Joe Jer’s status in the game.

This is the only question heading into TAR Asia’s season finale: Can an all-female team destroy all expectations and go on to win the game?

Let’s find out.

Previously on TAR Asia: Ten teams set out from Kuala Lumpur and instantly faced dizzying heights where Sahran faced one of his many great fears, and where Joe Jer was miscounting when she was driving. Sandy & Francesca became hopelessly lost and never recovered (never?) losing all of their money for the next leg.

In Jakarta, a reptilian challenge caused tears. Mardy & Marsio enjoyed their local traditions and Sahil & Prashant raced Ernie & Jeena to the Fast Forward but Ernie & Jeena lost their way and were last to the pit stop.

In Bali, a visit to the seaside made more than what teams had bargained for. Andy tried to convince others to join him in the four hour penalty. Some teams followed suit, but those who stuck with the challenge had their persistence rewarded. Mardy & Marsio didn’t like being around Bali’s cheeky monkeys while Zabrina & Joe Jer were taken for a wild ride on a frightened elephant. Aubrey & Jacqueline were left behind.

In Sydney, teams had to choose between peeling fifteen kilograms of prawns or seeing the sights of the city from the top of a local landmark. Howard’s claustrophobia overcame him and he was unable to dive with the sharks resulting in a 4-hour penalty.

In New Zealand, locating a child on a swing caused confusion for many. And once again Sahran faced his fear of heights. Sahil & Prashant broke race rules and hitched a ride with the locals, and their one hour time penalty cost them dearly, saving Melody & Sharon from elimination.

Teams raced to South New Zealand, the home of adventure sports. A confident Andy pushed his luck and local speed regulations to the limit but was soon caught by local authorities much to the delight of other teams. Sharon & Melody got stuck in the mud. Melody had to face her greatest fear but were last to the pit stop.

After getting off a plane in Singapore to wash a car, teams then flew to Bangkok where they slept in a car park. The search for an egg shop proved difficult for some but not as difficult as the search for a pig. Zabrina & Joe Jer were last to the pit stop and had some of their money taken away from them.

The next day teams chose an express ride to Krabi on Thailand’s coast while others lost precious time. Sandy was the only one capable of smashing a coconut, and Mardy & Marsio took the Fast Forward but struggled to stay afloat. Once again Sahran had to conquer a fear and climbed a cliff face. But he and Howard were last to the pit stop.

In India, Andy & Laura stole Sandy & Francesca’s cab driver. Tension rose as they raced through the country but Sandy & Francesca found a way to pay them back. Despite being yielded Andy & Laura pushed their way to the front of the pack in a donkey race. In an ironic twist of fate, no cab driver would stop for them and were left behind.

In Dubai, a very hot game of golf was followed by a freezing challenge in the snow. In a race to the desert pit stop, Mardy & Marsio could not keep up and were stripped of all their cash.

The following day teams were “challenged” by some feisty camels. And Mardy & Marsio found the desert heavy-going. Andrew’s premonitions helped them find their clue. Sandy & Francesca were held up by the numbers challenge, but gain time when Sandy faced the food with gusto. And it was Mardy & Marsio who were surprisingly delayed by the eating challenge. They were the last team to the pit stop.

Three teams remain and will race each other to the pit stop where the first team to arrive will win 100, 000 US Dollars.

Will Sandy & Francesca’s strength and stamina seal them as a threat in the last leg?

Can Zabrina & Joe Jer be the first all-female team to ever win The Amazing Race?

Or will Andrew & Syeon take the lead with their calculated tactics and skilful negotiations?

Who will be the first team ever to win The Amazing Race Asia?

WRITER’S NOTE: I love how Sahran can conquer the same fear three times in five minutes. I feel bad for the Able Sisters that Wu had nothing to say about them other than ‘they were left behind’.

And I wonder if Sandy & Francesca checked the side of milk carton when they were lost finding a hidden child on a swing in New Zealand.

And how come we are shown Zabrina wiping Joe Jer’s nose? Not a very flattering shot.

zabrina kleenex

Now blow, my dear Joe Jer.

– We are introduced to Dubai yet again. A very brief re-introduction, mind you.

– Andrew & Syeon depart first at 328am. They checked out of the previous leg at 803am. Therefore their round took place between 803am and 328pm. Yep. Barely seven hours. That has to be the shortest leg ever in TAR. Laziest penultimate round 12 ever.

– Andrew reads they must complete a jigsaw puzzle which will reveal the country of their next destination.


Instructed not to take away a piece in order to trick really stupid soccer twins.

kami clueless

Say wha?

– When it is finished they will receive their next clue. You think the puzzle itself could reveal the clue, but okay.


Those 25-piece jigsaw puzzles can certainly be tricky.

kazooie jigsaw

Kazooie salivates as he watches this task play out. He is preparing to fly to Dubai as we speak.

– Andrew says it’s not about discovering something new but rather about sharing an experience. Syeon says it’s something money can’t buy unless you have roughly 200-300k, in which case you could probably buy the experience for yourself.

– Andrew & Syeon have already finished the puzzle. There was an extra piece, apparently. Thankfully they’re not nerds and don’t mind the extra piece.

dave lori 2


– Andrew reads they must head to Menara Tower, Kuala Lumpur. Yeah. The sight of the first pit stop of the season. Shouldn’t it be the finish line?

– Andrew reads they are given fifty bucks for the leg. Another Race first where funds aren’t awarded until after the first task is done.

– Zabrina & Joe Jer check out at 340am. This means they completed the previous leg nine minutes slower than Andrew & Syeon. Nine minutes probably accounts for the difference between luck and Andrew’s premonition. Joe Jer thinks her and Zabrina are different but work well together. Zabrina has rich and famous brothers and a TV career, while Joe Jer probably does not.

– Syeon wanted a more exotic location. I guess two legs in Dubai followed by returning to a location you’ve already visited probably doesn’t seem too intriguing. Zabrina & Joe Jer join them at the airport.

– Sandy & Francesca begin last at 426am. Eleven circles on Eye of the Emirates was probably four minutes per lap. They begin the puzzle. Luckily a flight is next meaning they could wait until dawn to complete it if they wanted to do so.

– Syeon asks the agent to not let the other two teams on the flight. She says it’s not just ‘another leg’ anymore.

dubai agent

Huh? Not an equalizer? I don’t understand that concept. All TAR personnel are required to board the same flight. It’s Asian Law.

SYEON: Today we’re thinking it’s the final.

Because it -is- the final.

ZABRINA: There’s never been a girl team that’s won The Amazing Race, but there’s never been a girl-team that’s gotten this far.

karlyn mad

JOE JER: I guess there’s not that much of a pressure to win it.

You don’t understand the idea of pressure when breaking new barriers, do you? By that logic, there was like no pressure for Jackie Robinson to do well in Major League Baseball because a Black man had never made it that far in the sport before.

– Sandy & Francesca have finished the puzzle. They will head to a hotel and ask for flight information to Kuala Lumpur. Zabrina & Joe Jer and Andrew & Syeon ask the agent to not let them on the Singapore flight but rather put them on the later Bangkok flight.

– Francesca hears about the later Bangkok flight, but it leaves an hour and extraordinarily full. The cab drives them through empty traffic. Francesca is proud knowing she will complete the race route, but would rather focus on winning at this point. Sandy & Francesca purchase the tickets for the worse flight and head for the gates.

I can’t believe I have to say this but. . .

FLIGHT #1 (via Singapore): Zabrina & Joe Jer; Andrew & Syeon
FLIGHT #2 (via Bangkok): Sandy & Francesca

We are told the two flights arrived within minutes of one another. Sadly this gap in arrival is more than the previous ten flights in the game combined. And it just so happens to occur on the final leg. Blame the Eye of the Emirates, I suppose.

– Sandy & Francesca is excited to not see any of the other teams. In fact they’re first into a cab. Zabrina & Joe Jer and Andrew & Syeon sprint through the airport. Zabrina & Joe Jer gets passed by Andrew & Syeon’s cab. Joe Jer thinks Sandy & Francesca landed earlier. Andrew & Syeon pass Sandy & Francesca. Zabrina & Joe Jer pass Sandy & Francesca.

– Francesca is pissed. Sandy tries to get the driver to move faster.

– Zabrina & Joe Jer are first to the clue box. They read they must fly to Kuching, Sarawak.

WU: Teams must travel to Kuching. The capital of Sarawak. Kuching in Malay means ‘cat’.


Even as statues the cats are looking to escape to freedom. I wonder where the huge litter box is?

– The city has several extravagant cat statues. They must find one of the flagged cars at Kuching Airport and drive themselves to the correct statue where they will find their next clue.

– Joe Jer says she knows where the cat statue is and they head to the airport. Andrew & Syeon are Malay too which means they will know where it is too. Sandy & Francesca have the clue too.

I must say that it is very weird for teams to head back to the starting point, Kuala Lumpur, only to continue on to another city. Very weird.

– Sandy & Francesca pull over at an airport to call for flights. Sandy tells Francesca to be calm. She couldn’t be more stressed. And stress by TAR standards means you express it at 1/10th the level of Flo or Jonathan Baker.

– Andrew & Syeon sleep in the airport. It’s probably two or three o’ clock in the morning. The other two teams are on the phone.

kuching map

Kuching is a series of tubes.

– Sandy says they were told it is impossible to get lost on the way there. Zabrina & Joe Jer request that Sandy & Francesca do not get allowed to be on the flight.

– Sure enough all three teams end up on the same flight. Back to the norm.

– Zabrina & Joe Jer hire a cab to follow. Sandy & Francesca and Andrew & Syeon continue to run aimlessly. All three teams enter their cars at roughly the same time. Francesca can’t figure out how to unlock the trunk. She does it easy enough. She couldn’t be more stressed. Sandy tells her to calm down.

– Joe Jer is paying a cab for the whole day to give them directions. Sandy & Francesca overtake them on the road, thus spoiling their plans.

– Andrew & Syeon are using a map book rather than spending the money on a cab. They want to SAVE the money.

– Andrew & Syeon pass Zabrina & Joe Jer and derail onto another street. Sandy & Francesca refuses to turn off as well and panic as a result. She is fine sticking with the directions the guide gave them. Andrew & Syeon and Zabrina & Joe Jer exit without seeing a clue at a cat statue. It’s the wrong one. Andrew & Syeon continue driving and find the clue at a different statue.

– Andrew reads that teams must head to the Old Courthouse where they will find their next clue.

– So Syeon shows Andrew the directions again. Andrew struggles to interpret. Zabrina & Joe Jer ask their cab to lead them to the other statue. Francesca instructs Sandy to head back to the little cats.

– Zabrina & Joe Jer have the clue. Off to the courthouse they go. Sandy & Francesca see the clue box. Probably all ten minutes within each other.

– Andrew & Syeon arrive at the court house. Twenty-seven minutes to go in the episode. Zabrina & Joe Jer show up in the same frame. They lose a couple seconds as they instruct their cab driver to wait.

– Andrew & Syeon have the clue. It’s a Detour.

Prepare yourself for the most original Detour names in the history of TAR.
Brain or Brawn.

Give em a break.

In Brain, teams must find a flagged stall at Indian Mall Street. There they will find a Sony Cybershot Photograph as reference to assemble a bench using the tools provided with no instruction.


It wouldn’t be a TAR Asia episode without a Sony product. Besides, how else can producers afford to pay out 100, 000 US Dollars?

– In Brawn, teams must locate a marked food stall and transport thirty kilograms of food on their shoulders across to a boat.

– Andrew & Syeon choose Brain. Zabrina & Joe Jer are tired of markets, so they decide to do Brain. Knowing how assembly tasks have been gone in the past, I would say Sandy & Francesca are about to make up a ton of time.

– Francesca complains to Sandy that he is going the wrong way. She declares they would have been out long ago if the race was all about finding clues.

Or all about saving  yourself by being last on non-eliminations.

– Sandy & Francesca see Zabrina & Joe Jer exiting the courthouse. The three teams must be within two minutes from first to third. Zabrina & Joe Jer are told by their taxi driver that running to the market on foot would be faster than driving there. So they follow his advice.

– No need to discuss what option Sandy & Francesca chose.

– We see a couple of excellent shots of the Sony Cybercam.

joe jer camera

Joe Jer is fixated by the camera.

– Sandy & Francesca are instructed to walk. We see them run. The other two teams begin assembling the bench. Joe Jer thinks they should have been doing the base rather than the top of it.

– Sandy & Francesca are choosing Brain? What the heck? They really don’t have Brains if they chose that one. Syeon says she wasn’t nervous during the task. I can’t imagine Francesca’s stress level handling a concentration-based task well.

– Andrew & Syeon are finished. They read they must drive to the Sarawak Cultural Village thirty-five kilometres away. They will search the longhouses for the ‘correct clue’. It looks like we might see some big time gaps here.

– Sandy & Francesca are second to complete the task. Zabrina & Joe Jer drop to last just like that. Zabrina claims they were at the task for an additional ten to fifteen minutes after Sandy & Francesca left.

– Syeon sees the location in the map book. Andrew pulls over to ask for directions. If only they had a cab. Syeon circles around the block to see Sandy & Francesca right behind them. Joe Jer concludes her and Zabrina had neither brains nor brawn.

– Francesca tells Sandy to get off the highway. He does as she asks somebody where tourist information is. Andrew & Syeon are heading into a market. Syeon proclaims her map sucks. Sandy & Francesca both exit to ask for directions. Zabrina & Joe Jer head to a petrol station because their cabbie was low on fuel.

– Sandy & Francesca hire a guy to lead them to the Cultural Village.


He was just gonna stand outside and hold an umbrella over his head for a few hours, but okay.

– Andrew & Syeon are lost. Francesca says she will cry if the cab stops to ask for directions. Syeon cannot figure out how to exit Kuching. Andrew asks who he thinks is a Chinese dude on the street. Zabrina hopes no other teams have hired a taxi driver. Andrew asks more people for directions. Wow. They really need to hire a cab. But it doesn’t matter because, as my buddy likes to say, it’s. . .

– Sandy & Francesca ask a cabbie to wait as they head into the Cultural Village. Zabrina & Joe Jer are only a few feet ahead of them. It’s suddenly become a 2-team race. Zabrina & Joe Jer have the wrong clue. So do Sandy & Francesca. Zabrina & Joe Jer fail. Sandy & Francesca fail too. They cross paths. Oh so many longhouses.

– More failures. TAR Asia really likes the fake clues task. Sandy & Francesca have the real clue. Zabrina & Joe Jer are second to have the clue. They seem to be seconds apart.

– They read they must use blow pipes to hit five pineapples in Sarawak Village.

sarawak blow

This is how they do it.

kelly blowpipe

What is with Malaysia and blowpipe tasks on TAR?

– They must hit the correct colour in consecutive order. Syeon says they are relying on the map too much. Too bad Andrew didn’t have a dream about road travel.

red yellow pineapple

I have a feeling GMOs may be coming into play when it comes to red and yellow striped pineapples.

francesca blow

This is too funny.

zabrina blow

This is a family show!

joe jer blow

This is what I like to call a Blow-Joejer. Joe Jer is a big blowhard as she fails to fire the blowgun’s dart. Zabrina steps in to coach her.

zabrina coach

Anybody will coach you how to blow for 100, 000 dollars. Just ask Jenna Lewis.

– Okay. That’s enough. Sandy connected with the wrong colour. Zabrina succeeds. They keep missing with their shots. Francesca lands. They must connect three darts each. Joe Jer is done. Sandy has three.

– Sandy & Francesca are DONE. It’s a roadblock. In this roadblock teams must drive thirty-two kilometres to Permai Rain Forest Resort and do the treetop challenge. High up but very physical too.

FRANCESCA: “Who can swing like Tarzan?” Me.

TARZAN = SANDY. What are you thinking?!

– Zabrina & Joe Jer have their clue. Zabrina is gonna do it. Zabrina & Joe Jer struggle to figure out which way to run. They choose a short route. Sandy & Francesca ran back the way they came but that proves to be a much longer run. A few minutes is lost.

– Andrew & Syeon see Zabrina & Joe Jer. They park and run the path to the longhouses. They see Sandy & Francesca on the way too.

SANDY: Does it say drive?
FRANCESCA: No, it says ‘make your way’.
(ZABRINA & JOE JER drive.)
FRANCESCA: It says ‘drive’!

I would have loved to see a team run for 32 kilometres.

– Zabrina & Joe Jer have found the rain forest. Andrew & Syeon find the clue in the longhouse and proceed to the blowdarts. That was a quick thirty kilometres.

– Sandy & Francesca pull out. Zabrina & Joe Jer are lost finding the numbers originally. But they suddenly find them. Zabrina takes to the rope course. Francesca is next to gear up and prepares to go up the ladder. They seem awfully close. Zabrina hesitates as she is afraid of the fault. Sandy instructs her to go faster.

SANDY: Sprint-sprint
FRANCESCA: Sprint sprint my a–.

Sandy would have torn through this course.

– Andrew & Syeon are still blowing darts. One yellow pineapple away.

– Zabrina preserves her lead as she goes across a rope bridge. She receives her clue but must do a Flying Fox to return to her partner.

zabrina dangle

Little help.

– Andrew & Syeon finish the task. Andrew volunteers himself for the roadblock.

– Zabrina & Joe Jer read they must head to Baku National Park. It’s the final pit stop. Nope, not the Finish Ling but rather the final pit stop. First team to check in wins a million dollars.

JOE JER: We didn’t think about the money until we saw that final clue that says ‘first team to get to the pit stop wins 100, 000 dollars’.


– Francesca swings next. She is lovin’ it. Andrew & Syeon make it to the Rain Forest. Francesca reads the clue slowly. They run. Zabrina & Joe Jer get to the motorboats that will transport them to the park. Sandy & Francesca are second. Joe Jer sees Sandy & Francesca’s boat in the distance.

If a motor fails, it may be the most controversial ending in TAR history. Well, except for Freddy & Kendra’s victory.

freddy gate 6


– We see a montage of Andrew doing the roadblock. He is done.

– Boat race to the pit stop. I wish teams had to navigate themselves by boat. It would’ve been such a cruel ending task. Navigating by boat in several square kilometres would be such a gruelling task.

– Andrew quickly reads the final clue. They head to the boats. Sandy is praying for a straightaway. Andrew is not happy to see only one boat on the beach. Zabrina sees the flags. Andrew buries his head into his hands. Syeon must console him.

andrew head

The international symbol for ‘Oh, what could have been’. Could have been a champ but ended a chump.

– Zabrina & Joe Jer disembark from the boat. Sandy & Francesca jump off next. It looks like a very long beach run. Zabrina & Joe Jer aren’t even running! They’re either walking or it’s a light jog.

– We see the teams at the finish line. I think I just saw Sahil & Prashant smile.

– So who won?

zabrina joe jer win

Two people who don’t have a penis. That is indeed a first.

– It’s the smallest finish line setup I have ever seen. The mat is tiny. They couldn’t afford a big velvet map of their own. Wu congratulates them as the winners of 100, 000 US Dollars. Lots of cheering, clapping, and tears.

14 cities, 8 countries, 39, 000 kilometres. 1 Survivor.

– Wu informs them of being the first all-female team to win in a TAR franchise. Zabrina is ecstatic about that. Joe Jer says the key is not to worry about make-up. Ah. So groundbreaking. She saves the confessional by saying to play to her strengths.

– Sandy & Francesca are second. It would’ve been funny to see a team win in a 10-team format despite finishing last on leg 1 and leg 10. Francesca wants to cry the more she gets hugged by others. Andrew & Syeon is smiling in front of teams, but clearly disappointed in confessional.

– More crying and hugging ensues. Sandy wishes he could have won but loved the experience enough to walk away with it. Francesca reminds me a lot of my sister.

andrew syeon devastation


ZABRINA: This is a great starting point to embark on a different journey. That’s what I’m hoping for.

JOE JER: On your next Amazing Race.

ZABRINA: On my next Amazing Life.


Better than the Who Dey? chant from the Linz Family to roll to credits.


Wait, it’s not over? One last shot?

credits shot

NOW the season is over.

But not really. One week after the finale there is an Amazing Race Asia Memories segment. It’s like a recap episode but instead placed at the end of the season. For some reason I like this increased level of sentimentality.

Confessional Count


Rank the Teams

1) Andy & Laura

They attributed everything in the universe to bad luck including receiving a ticket for driving forty kilometres over the speed limit, but were entertaining regardless.

They had this odd personality where every team simultaneously hated them and loved them. Andy & Laura’s strategies such as re-arranging maps or stealing taxi drivers that other teams raved about were original and great, but playing too hard when it was unnecessary seemed to rub teams the wrong way. Why not just stop with the map trick?

Those 7th place finishes in each of the first four rounds were hilarious. It’s like they aimed specifically to finish seventh for the first third of the season. Even when they were in the lead and Laura suffered that ankle injury just short of the pit stop.

Speaking of which, Laura was a real trooper. We only heard her ankle injury referenced once or twice in the following six rounds. It’s not like that crybaby Dave where he would not shut up about his Achilles tendon every dang second.

For quotes that made me laugh consistently, and for having such low expectations for the locals and the racers around them, but somehow pulling an impressive streak of top tier finishes, I applaud Andy & Laura for being a great team to watch in TAR Asia.

P.S. They’re also the only team to have a rift with any of the other teams. If they were in the US version of TAR, they would be edited as a relatively tame team while Charla & Mirna would spit in their mouths like Roberto Alomar and the Weaver Family would pull that lever full of bibles and crosses on top of Laura’s head.

So congratulations on getting an unlikely villain edit. Well done.

2) Mardy & Marsio

90% of ranking Mardy & Marsio this high is because of Marsio. The guy was downright hilarious. He was shown eating food on-screen more than any other contestant in TAR history. He was like Brad Pitt’s character from Ocean’s Eleven in terms of shown food consumption.

They may be the most unlikely team ever to emerge with a period of domination in the race. The last time I can think of being this surprised was when Ken & Gerard were seen as a major threat in the last ten legs of TAR 3.

Their mental agility was strong compared to other teams. Their extravagant use of monetary funds was amusing at times. From massages to backpacks.

Refraining from yielding Andrew & Syeon in the previous round may have cost them the race. I don’t blame them though because I would have banked on an equalizer too. Oh well.

They will forever be the Asian Kevin & Drew. Arguing with each other over nothing, but still finish strong each round as well as be popular amongst other teams.

Some will say they were robbed due to not being given a chance to make up any time in the twelfth round of the game. I am convinced it was impossible to make up more than twenty minutes for the whole episode combined.

If you told me what was entertaining about Mardy, I’d be at a complete loss. I have nothing to say about him as an individual. The camera was fixated on Marsio whenever he spoke or moved all season.

3) Andrew & Syeon

I found them to be adorable. Why adorable? They were the youngest couple in the game, and were very soft-spoken as they ran their way through the race. Neither of them had physical strength, particularly Syeon who is just flat out tiny, and watching Syeon simultaneously run and limp cracks me up.

Plus the fact Syeon couldn’t hold it during a crucial portion of the leg is something you think Carissa Gaghan would suffer from on Family Edition.

These two incorporated two unique deals from day one that got them to the end of the game. Unfortunately their competitive spirit kept them out of the winner’s circle. If TAR Asia had enough seasons for an all-star cast, I am certain they would be cast.

4) Sandy & Francesca

Sandy is perhaps the first TAR Caveman to ever be cast for the show. I can’t think of anyone who has been more muscle-bound than him. He broke hammers and chisels. Do you know how tough it is to do that? And seeing him dig about fifty giant holes on a beach in Bali is perhaps the most impressive physical feat in the history of The Amazing Race.

Francesca’s high strung nature and equally aggressive gameplay when it came to the Yield was certainly welcome. She could definitely be entertaining in confessionals and present some good quotes from time to time.

It would have been a shame to lose this team on round number one as what would have happened in any other of the eleven editions of The Amazing Race that had occurred up to that point.

Overall, they were solid. No physical pun intended.

5) Zabrina & Joe Jer

Well-mannered. Good narrator. Broke major gender barrier for the TAR franchise to finally shut up the whiny fans who think TAR is unfair to all-female teams.

They never did anything outlandishly stupid, and they are downright likable. They are perhaps the least conniving team in TAR history up to that point to take down the title. Well-rounded gameplay that is never dominating is sometimes all it takes to win The Amazing Race.

I wish I had more to say about them, but I really don’t.

6) Able Sisters

I don’t typically put the flirtatious team high on any of my rankings, but at the very least I put them above Ernie & Jeena. The Able Sisters weren’t flirts in the traditional sense. They didn’t come off as lazy or attempt a showmance. Their charm was strictly limited to begging money from rich businessmen at airports.

They seem like the most brilliant people on the planet. Not only did they quit a task, but would have been eliminated anyway. They probably saved an additional hour or two of digging achieving the same result.

7) Ernie & Jeena

One of the strongest teams who happen to be married for at least ten years. A fit older team is rare on TAR. Their biggest weakness was surprising because it came in the form of mentally navigating the confusing metropolitan cities. If it weren’t for navigation, these two would have fared much better. Bad luck with cabs also contributed to their demise.

Jeena’s Type A personality made for some entertaining interactions during their limited presence on the show. Both of them had a great sense of humour. Going from first to last in what appeared to be a very close four hours of racing around Jakarta may be one of the more unusual events to occur in TAR history. That twenty minute detour (as opposed to the Detour/task) was the difference between first and last. Usually it is not that narrow of gap from first to last in TAR’s earlier years.

8) Melody & Sharon

Neither of them have a memorable quote. Sharon seemed to be the crazier of the two thanks to her extreme level of perseverance at the beach digging task in Bali.

Confession: I thought these two were in their early 40s. Absolutely convinced and made the assumption for the six-episode run. You did too? Well, look their ages up on Amazingracewikia. Yeah. I was -way- off.

They are probably the lightest pair to ever compete on the race besides Carissa Gaghan and Austin Black. Yes, I would say they are even lighter than Charla.

I must say they were robbed in their elimination. They should have been saved due to a penalty for the second leg in a row, but I guess producers are too obsessed with Andy & Laura attempting to fulfill the villainous role.

I liked Melody & Sharon although it was clear they could not be a strong team after the Bali mishap. The fatigue was starting to show. At least Melody got to do a bungee jump and cry for ten minutes afterwards.

9) Howard & Sahran

I always have a tough time applauding production for  approving a team to be on the race who have so many liabilities that render them to be out of contention for the title.

In case you can’t figure it out, Howard & Sahran were cast because they added to the ‘diversity’ for the season and provided entertainment value. But it came at a price. Sahran flat out refused to do many of the height related tasks, and Howard had several phobias of his own that ensured this team could not make it far in the race. In fact, I think they beat a lot of close calls to stay alive for eight rounds.

Without these phobias they would be #1 on this list because they were great television. I understand why production cast them. But I think they really should have moved on to another team to take their spot on the show.

10) Sahil & Prashant

I have virtually nothing to say about Sahil & Prashant. They are from Mumbai. They are models. And much like Robb Zbacnik, they hate being beat by a bunch o’ rules.

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
10th Ernie & Jeena 6.0
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
8th Sahil & Prashant 5.4 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
7th Melody & Sharon 5.0
9th Steve & Josh 5.0 – FF
9th Pat & Brenda 5.0 – FF
5th Fran & Barry 4.89
6th Howard & Sahran 4.88
–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
5th Uchenna & Joyce All Stars 4.33 – FF
8th Shola & Doyin 4.25 – FF
–B minus–
3rd Ray & Yolanda 4.23
4th Linda & Karen 4.17
3rd Charla & Mirna All Stars 4.15
6th Mary & Peach 4.14 (Two failed FF attempts.)
5th Paolo Family 4.13 FF
5th Lynn & Alex 4.11
5th Andy & Laura 4.00
3rd David & Jeff 4.00 – FF
4th Oswald & Danny 4.00 – FF
5th Gary & Dave 3.89 – FF
2nd Kelly & Jon 3.85
1st Zabrina & Joe Jer 3.77
2nd Sandy & Francesca 3.77
4th Jon & Al 3.73
6th Charla & Mirna 3.71
3rd Blake & Paige 3.69 – FF
5th Millie & Chuck 3.67 FF
1st Eric & Danielle All Stars 3.62
4th Mardy & Marsio 3.58 FF
6th Jonathan & Victoria 3.56
4th Monica & Joseph 3.50
3rd Andrew & Syeon 3.46
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
9th Aubrey & Jacqueline 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 Dustin & Kandice All Stars 2.92
2nd Bransen Family 2.85
1st Linz Family 2.77
3rd Joe & Bill 2.76 – FF
8th Rob & Amber All Stars 2.75
1st Flo & Zach 2.69 – FF
3rd Ken & Gerard 2.69 – FF
4th Oswald & Danny All Stars 2.67 FF x2
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
18 legs Danielle 4.78
19 legs Teri & Ian 4.63 FF
13 legs Kevin & Drew 4.38 FF
20 legs Charla & Mirna 4.00 None
21 legs Joe & Bill 3.71 FF
22 legs Uchenna & Joyce 3.64 FF x2
*31 legs Eric & Danielle 3.48 FF
23 legs Oswald & Danny 3.30 FF x3!
25 legs Dustin & Kandice 3.04 None
26 legs Eric 2.65 FF
17 legs Rob & Amber 2.41 None

* I determined Eric & Danielle’s average in this last section by adding up all of their individual points from TAR 9, then adding up their total points in All Stars and dividing it by 31.

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) Dubai -> Kuching/Cha-ching if you win (The finale was something to be desired. There was a minimal use of equalizers and teams were forced to drive themselves.

It was a rare time in TAR history where the area you visit gives two of the three teams an advantage (Andrew & Syeon and Zabrina & Joe Jer are Malaysians).

The repeat of hiding clues in longhouses was worthy of a quality facepalm. No idea why they wanted to repeat that task of all tasks.

I didn’t mind that blowdarts and the Detour qualified as two of the tasks in the finale. They both required a lot of skill which would trigger a lot of stress in a 100k situation.

The treetop climb as a final roadblock, however? That was lame. It should have been a puzzle. Instead it’s an easy rope course where nobody had a chance to make up time. The only way it could have been better is if they added in a heart monitor where players must keep their heart rate below a certain number like the task they did in The Mole 2. That would’ve been sweet.

But it was not meant to be. A boat race to the finish line just seemed weird. If there is anything we have learned in TAR, it’s that boat motors are too unreliable. I think waiting it out in a boat who has a pre-determined course rather than a cab requiring directions appeared “off”. I don’t know if it’s better or worse, but if a motor died on Zabrina & Joe Jer we would have had a public outcry.)

9) 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!)

10) 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.)

11) Dubai -> Twenty kilometres across the city (In recent seasons of TAR on television, budgets have been cut to where teams staying in the same region or even the same town for the following leg happens from time to time. However, they still move throughout a big city and typically assigned tougher tasks to make up for the reduction in leg length. I thought these legs were the shortest in TAR history and clock in roughly around six hours at the shortest.

TAR Asia’s second Dubai leg may have set a record for quickest leg, though.

a) Their route marker was about five minutes away from that pit stop.
b) This route marker held a Detour.
c) The Detour took place about a mile away.
d) The Detour was completed for them by the camel guides. Therefore not much discrepancy in time lost.
e) They were assigned a driver to drive them to the Eye of the Emirates.
f) The Eye of the Emirates was a task that was process of elimination. It appeared to take anywhere between two to thirty minutes.
g) The restaurant roadblock task seemed to be nearby.
h) No two teams ever converged at the roadblock, meaning teams worked quickly through the meal. No more than 30 minutes here. Probably closer to ten minutes each.
i) The house was another needle but in a much smaller haystack. Probably ten minutes total.
j) The pit stop was in the exact same district as the Wild Wadi slides. None of the tasks were in the core of the city, and were done early morning, thus reducing traffic on streets.

The only task that required any sort of skill was the brain eating roadblock. Everything else was completed for teams or it were several needles in haystacks.

The only reason I praise this leg is because it is virtually the only leg all season without an equalizer. So that will keep it out of the bottom two spots, and at least the brain eating and the Eye of Emirates were original.

I am still outraged that Andrew & Syeon’s assigned driver got lost without a time credit given, and Mardy & Marsio’s assigned driver was stuck in the sand for twenty minutes.

I would say this leg and the two below it in this ranking are in a league of its own. They are the scraps in this season where production didn’t seem to understand how to produce a show.

The most impressive thing about this leg is that it may have been a record short leg AND there was only four teams. That’s not much footage to work with for a 47-minute episode. Every task was shown individually for each of the four teams in an in-depth edit, but somehow I never felt bored or sleepy watching it. And this was after midnight, mind you.

In other words, this was a penultimate leg where the skill level was reminiscent of Carissa Gaghan climbing a ladder as a roadblock clue.)

12) 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!)

13) 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?)


Yes, I will be ranking TAR Asia 1 on the same scale of the other eleven TAR seasons that have aired to date. So where does it fall?

1. The Amazing Race 5 – 9.2/10
2. The Amazing Race 7 – 8.8/10
3. The Amazing Race 3 – 8.7/10
4. The Amazing Race 9 – 8.6/10
5. The Amazing Race 2 – 8.5/10
6. The Amazing Race 11: All Stars 7.2/10
7. The Amazing Race (1) – 7/10
8. The Amazing Race 10 – 6.5/10
9. The Amazing Race 4 – 6.25/10
10. The Amazing Race Asia 1 – 4.55/10
11. The Amazing Race 8 – 4.0/10
12. The Amazing Race 6 – 3.9/10

Sadly, I must give it a failing grade. Why?

a) Too many legs that reached a TAR Family Edition level of awfulness. Remember the leg that had nothing but go-karting and jumping? Or LEGS, rather?
b) Too many locations and the tasks within the location were a duplicate of what already took place in TAR. They need to emerge as their own series–not repeat the road that has been travelled.
c) Too soft of a non-elimination penalty. There was a reason why being stripped of your cash was ditched after two seasons (TAR 5 and 6). Recovering funds was too easily either through begging from locals or through the other teams all playing fair by giving them enough money for the leg.
d) Teams should have been able to drive themselves more than they did.
e) Why not offer regular Yields and Fast Forwards?
f) Too many tasks repeated in the same season. It started to get old after a while.
g) Too many well-mannered and calm teams. We’re not asking for downright nasty people, but a team like Sahil & Prashant have nothing memorable about them. Sharon & Melody, anyone?
h) Product placement interfered with the race. Washing a car? Get a clue from multiple Caltex gas stations? The Sony Handycam karaoke task is cringeworthy too.
i) The number of equalizers became a running joke halfway through the season. It seemed like there was never a chance to get more than a one hour lead unless a time penalty was assessed.
j) I can’t get over how dumb the digging at Bali beach was. It was unfair on so many levels.
k) The unsynchronized nature of the soundtrack with what was going on-screen stuck out for about eight or nine episodes until the editors finally figured things out.
l) Any reason not to have an eleventh team? Nope.
m) Five non-elimination rounds where penalties don’t matter can really make a season drag for a chunk of viewers.
n) Too much focus on Singapore/Malaysia/Indonesia. Did not truly represent Asia.
o) A team winning after finishing last on a non-elimination may be a minor annoyance to some.
p) Not applying Andy & Laura’s penalty until the FOLLOWING leg was a complete robbery of Sharon & Melody. Other penalties wound up being equally inconsistent.

I have to give a failing grade when we think about all of those factors coming into play.

But it’s not like I’m saying it was absent of good moves made by production.

a) Casting was indeed diverse. Unlike TAR where one team gets an advantage if their hometown was visited at the end of the game, teams in TAR Asia all took a turn of having an advantage once or twice throughout the season. A benefit only observed in TAR Family Edition. This makes things fair.

b) Producers didn’t rip entirely from the American producers. They came up with their own unique tasks, structure, and lingo. Remember “pit start”? 48 minute episodes instead of 42-43?

c) Refreshing to see a season of TAR play out without forced conflict. Teams respecting one another is nice to see. Reminiscent of a season like Survivor: Africa. It’s a breath of fresh air for the average TAR viewer.

d) It’s neat to see a series try to form its own identity when eleven seasons of TAR have aired overseas. What do you incorporate? What do you try to create on your own? It was neat to see how a new crew of producers tried to figure out what the heck they should do for a reality TV spin-off.

e) Zabrina & Joe Jer’s victory creates a major milestone for the TAR universe, thus making this season very distinct in the minds of viewers. It’s important for each season to have a memorable moment or preserve an important legacy for the franchise.

So there’s definitely improvement for producers as they understand what worked, what didn’t, and what changes will need to be made for a second season of TAR Asia.

But TAR Asia 2 isn’t next in the TAR timeline.

We return to “real” TAR in the form of TAR 12. It is the third of four seasons in TAR’s Transition Era. In addition, it was the first season to air following the first TAR All Star. That means every team you have ever known from the first eleven seasons are ditched and never mentioned ever again (minus two 2-minute exceptions when we get to the Switchback tasks four seasons down the road). So it’s time for the new stars to begin to emerge. I’ll see you then.

Lastly, I have this spare screen cap of Dawson Leery that I intended to use at some point during the season. Unfortunately I never had the chance to use it. So I’ll just leave it here for now.

dawson reaction

Concerned why he is still relevant.

That’s all I have to say about TAR Asia. 250 pages later. This is Logan signing off.

This entry was posted in The Amazing Race Asia, The Amazing Race Asia 1, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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