Azaria, why did we have to sign up for the one season that didn’t have a non-elimination in the first six rounds?
And welcome to the next episode of TAR 12. It’s time for a mini celebration for this blog because it is the 150th The Amazing Race episode ranking blog.
Shocking, isn’t it? But it’s true. TAR 1 had a season summary, but between 10 seasons of TAR, 1 season of TAR Asia, and now seven episodes of TAR 12, this is indeed episode #150. Holy crap.
NOTE: At the very bottom I included my very first ever episode blog. You get to see the comparison between then and now.
So we’re down to five teams. This season is going by very quickly. Mainly because it feels like the rounds themselves play out quickly for this season. It seems like every episode has the lines “I bet from start to finish was no longer than six to eight hours” for the past few rounds. Excluding flight time (and possibly big easy) each round.
Savour this reference because they’re not gonna be spoken of here for a while until they appear.
There was a buzz amongst fans. Five episodes left? But only five teams with zero non-eliminations? Will it be a To Be Continued Leg and a Final Two to make up for it? Will it be a To Be Continued Leg and a two-part finale round? That would be the reasonable conclusion.
I should note when the last place team checks into the mat that one of my brothers turned to me and asked,
“Is this a non-elimination?”
“No! Phil said there aren’t any non-eliminations this season! Ha! You’re wrong!”
I should also note watching this episode is memorable to me because it aired during the winter holidays. I watched this episode live with eight other people. Normally it’s just me and my mother ninety percent of the time, and the other eight percent is if my brother or sister happen to be visiting.
Previously on TAR: Six teams set out from Vilnius, Lithuania and flew to Dubrovnik, Croatia. A critical mistake in the airport led to Azaria & Hendekea scrambling for tickets in the airport. While Ronald & Christina’s relationship continued to flourish, Nate & Jenn’s completely disintegrated. The strong teamwork paid off for the father and daughter team. While another top three finish led Nate & Jen with bigger problems to solve. Nic & Don’s trouble on the water gave a glimmer of hope to Azaria & Hendekea but in the end the siblings fell short.
Five teams remain. Who will be eliminated next? Because Phil repeated over and over pre-season and as the season aired that there would not be a single non-elimination round. And Phil wouldn’t want to be a proven liar, would he?
– Intro time.
Azaria continues to scrutinize Hendekea’s previous round’s actions as they pretend to be a team as TAR spoilers chase them all over the world.
– Phil introduces us to the city of Dubrovnik.
That dead helicopter pilot probably got some good money for this shot. I assume that guy was working for the show by this point.
Grandma wants a nice one for new empty picture frame. Smile!
Phil’s Questions: Will Ron continue to let Christina step up and take charge? And will Nate & Jenn be able to fix their deteriorating relationship before it is too late?
– Ronald & Christina, who checked in first at 219pm will depart at 219am. So despite numerous connecting flights, the previous round only lasted a total of 12 hours and 56 minutes. Considering flights didn’t start leaving Vilnius until after 600am and had connections. . .this makes Dubrovnik a ridiculously quick round. This is no surprise given how small the town is and the camera merely had to zoom out to show multiple round markers simultaneously.
– Ronald & Christina read that they must head to Split, Croatia by bus. From there they will take a ferry to Ancona, Italy across the Adriatic Sea where they will find their next clue. I must say this is the first time I ever thought about jumping from Croatia to Italy and vice versa on vacation.
– Ronald & Christina hail a cab. Christina is under the impression that the first place finish is a testament to their relationship as opposed to Ronald’s hernia muzzling his irrational ferocity. Christina says with the competition heating up that they remain cohesive and strong. Oh, and there isn’t much moisture in the air because Ronald & Christina had no problem entering a cab.
– RONALD: I don’t speak any Italian, do you? Prego is uh. . .
*Cue Christina’s ‘WTF Did You Just Say Dad?’ Screencap of the Week.
Indeed it is. I worked as a food stocker last summer, and I must confess that I stocked that very spaghetti sauce. It was a dollar-fitty.
– Ronald & Christina destroyed the other two teams on their flight because our favourite Goths do not check out until 255am. Who knew it was possible to have such a big lead in such a small place!
We waste no time with a Gothic reference after they enter a cab.
VYXSIN: The pink-and-black attack is doing pretty awesome! Kynt and I will never let each other be anything but our very best. That has probably been our biggest asset.
I feel bad for the next team that wants to call themselves The Pinks or The Pink-and-Blacks only to discover each of those team names have been taken over the past three seasons.
Look at the oogly eyes that their eyeshadow makes at one another!
And may we all eyeroll at a shirt that says ‘fallen’ on the front or the misspelling of ‘Angels exiest’ on Vyxsin’s shirt? What does exiest mean? Does it mean it exemplifies the letter ‘X’ to the best of its ability?
I thought he was crowned the Exiest Man Alive!
KYNT: I love Italy. It’s a place known for fashion style, grace. . .I think we’re going to fit in quite well, Vyxsin.
Just watch out for the devout Catholics.
– Nate & Jenn depart at 345am. I’m surprised I haven’t compared either of them to a known or obscure celebrity yet. The penalty and wet cab rejection must have taken much longer than what all of us originally thought. They were second but managed to lose well over an hour of time? Perhaps they were assessed a thirty minute penalty on top of it that went unaired because it did not affect the outcome of their placement for the next leg?
I know they fell from 2nd to 3rd while doing the cab exchange, but the 30 minute penalty could have made zero difference and thus go unaired.
– They reflect on their mishaps last leg.
It’s in black and white? Now we know it was tragic!
– Jenn believes their relationship is up in the air. It’s like they aren’t paying attention to the race at all.
– Ronald & Christina are at the airport. Christina grumbles about cats under her breath.
After a stretch of a dozen stray dogs gaining airtime over the past twelve seasons, a stray cat finally makes its way on camera.
– Christina reads the first bus to Split is 5am. Goths show up.
KYNT: We want to catch a bus to Split.
You want to catch a bus to split? Well the Siamese Twin Separation Centre is. . .
But seriously, if you didn’t know Split was a town, you would think they were trying to get away from the cops.
“WE NEED THE FIRST BUS TO SPLIT NOW!”
I sense a corny 1980s comedy sketch on the horizon.
– Ronald & Christina comment how Kynt & Vyxsin look like a performance each time or “kooky theatre” in the words of Ronald.
– Nate & Jenn show up to the terminal. The three teams celebrate that the first bus is at Split because the other two teams will not catch up.
– 537am. TK & Rachel. They celebrate going to Ancona. TK comments he has not seen any teams since Vilnius, and it adds to the tension to travel alone for so long. The second bus is at 6am. They manage to make it. The bus station is ridiculously close by. Oh, their segment is already over?
– 706am. Nic & Don are the final team to depart. Judging by how it was still daylight when Azaria & Hendekea checked in, I bet Nic & Don only beat them by five to ten minutes. Editing wasn’t fooling us that much. Nic is not enthusiastic about leaving in last. Donald hopes for an equalizer.
– Nic & Don are at the ferry terminal. They buy tickets for an 1100am ferry to Ancona. All five teams are indeed on the ferry.
NOTE: I believe this is the first time where they -only- show the last place team showing up to an unofficial route marker without showing any of the other teams until afterwards. This will be a new editing device that will be used in future seasons.
Kynt & Vyxsin put on their war eye paint. I love the serious music in the background too. It’s like they are all preparing to massacre one another this round. They have repressed their violence for far too long.
– I wonder if Kynt & Vyxsin have a special eyeliner for this occasion. Just when things are getting serious and need to kick the other players’ butts.
It’s their Go To War Face!
– The other four teams are bonding and playing cards. Vyxsin says they didn’t do that because they want to be calm and focused. We can see the teams playing cards over her shoulder actually.
Sitting ten feet away from your competition is the biggest statement of attention-seeking ever. It’d make sense if they were on the opposite end of the ferry, but to stare at them from ten feet away is just plain weird.
By the way, I think Don suggested that they play strip poker. He is always too eager to play strip poker.
Whoa! It’s only been three hands, Don! How is that even possible?
– It’s 940pm. All five teams empty out of the ferry. The four teams all run past a barrier that held the clue. The calm, collected, and walking nature of Rachel was the only one walking slow enough to not pass by the barrier and see the clue. Luckily Nic & Don were slow enough to see Rachel grab the clue behind them.
– Teams read they must drive to Empoli. Once there they must find Campo di volo Silvano Poli in Comune di Cortenuova. Oh, and teams are all given a Blackberry.
NOW we know it’s 2008. Back when Blackberries were a global hit. 2008 was pretty much the start of the Apple (iPhone) vs. RIM (Blackberry) Smartphone War.
Of course, Apple is American while RIM is Canadian. RIM was pretty much the biggest Canadian business known worldwide at the time. If you read the Canadian business section on a daily basis there will always be an article about RIM’s (renamed Blackberry–yeah, the company is renamed Blackberry and makes Blackberry phones) and how they are on a decline or on an uprise back to their monumental success in 2008-2009.
In fact, Blackberry is a major sponsour of The Amazing Race Canada where they have a weekly episode analysis after the airing of each TAR Canada episode. They also sponsour the Toronto Blue Jays heavily.
PHIL: At some point during the 220 mile drive, they will receive a message. They may not attempt to use their Blackberry for any other purpose.
A message in the middle of the night? And it’s round seven? Gee, I wonder who it can be. -_-
RIM must be annoyed that they couldn’t show off a neat feature like Auto Park. All they get to use it for is that it can receive a text message. Welcome to 2001.
– Teams comment that it is a stick-shift. Nate celebrates that it’s a stick-shift. TK decides to follow Nic & Don. Right on cue Nic announces he needs directions.
– Guess who is the victim of ‘I Usually Drive on TAR, But When I Do It’s Not a Stick Shift’ for this season:
– Vyxsin says Kynt is a freshman at stick shift driving. Therefore she has to buckle in and drive the team forward.
– Nate & Jenn pull over. They are told to go through Florence. There is an alternate route through Bologna, but the guy at the gas station says it is no good for the time being. Ronald & Christina figure this out on a map on their own map.
TK & Rachel stare at the directions blankly. That guy on the right looks so ugly that he could be a member of the Bloodhound Gang. He even has the monkey ears for that music video!
Note behind the post that TK & Rachel’s route info is just lying there. That’s important to note.
– TK & Rachel thank them and drive away.
They didn’t have any money to spare so they left their clue behind as a tip. How kind of them!
– Nic & Don tell TK that he has a general idea for where to go. Rachel quietly tells TK not to follow, and says their information needs to be kept to themselves. TK agrees.
– Nate & Jenn see the exit for Forli. Rachel is looking for the clue in her car. She can’t find it. TK reminds her that they don’t know where to go once in Empoli. They pull over and check the car at a gas station. Christina drives onto the Bologna exit. So does Vyxsin.
– TK & Rachel cannot find it.
TK: Where’d you put it, Rachel?
RACHEL: I don’t know, TK!
Wow. Anger. New emotion discovered!
– Nic & Don have the exit.
DON: Wake me up when we get there.
Don takes a page out of the Carissa Gaghan Book of TAR Strategy.
– TK & Rachel are currently in last. Rachel asks if TK checked his pocket.
– Unfortunately TK doesn’t have pockets to play out The Simpsons sketch.
– I am surprised TK & Rachel haven’t figured out that they left the clue back at the cafe. I mean, look at the extremes they are going to searching their car:
– TK sounds annoyed in his voice. Rachel is frustrated because she knows it was probably her that lost it. TK sounds really monotone as if he would abuse her if the camera wasn’t on him. TK says they could be screwed about ten times.
– Nic & Don find the Bologna exit.
DON: Bologna. B-O-L-O-G-N-A.
Uh, thanks Don. Go back to sleep.
– TK & Rachel find the cafe. It sounds like twenty people talking at once. TK asks if they have the paper.
TK prepares his serenade. Aw thank thank you, arrive derci, amorez, uh pizza spaghetti!
– One dude laughs directly in his face while everyone hollers as him and Rachel exit.
A drunken Italiano teaches TK how to laugh. Too bad TK wasn’t paying attention to learn this basic human emotional response!
– Rachel comments it is like gold. TK says it was too much for a mellow guy like him.
– Jenn receives a message on the Blackberry. It’s each of their parents. I’d transcribe the message, but then I realized I just don’t give a f—.
– Ronald tears up hearing a message from Steph, who I assume is his favourite daughter. Vyxsin tears up too. Don cannot figure out how to check the message. It just continues ringing. Nic is forced to pull over and operate it himself. Classic Grandpa Technology Fail.
– Ronald & Christina hit traffic on Firenze. So do Nic & Don and Kynt & Vyxsin.
CHRISTINA: Oh man, are we getting Detour’d?
Heh. A Detour. . .before the Detour!
Nothing out of the ordinary if you live in the Okanagan. Around the clock construction! Teams are forced to avoid the name of a centaur in Harry Potter and instead head down the exit of an actress that is past her relevancy.
– The traffic can’t be that bad, right?
– Nic & Don exit their car and are told the road will re-open at 6am. Don has driven thousands of miles in Europe and knows it is tough to drive when you get off the main road. They elect to sleep until six.
– Nate & Jenn prove themselves to be uber navigators as they are already at the route marker. It’s closed. Jenn refuses to believe they are first at a mental task. They see a board to grab a number. Jenn picks ‘1’. She is stunned.
– Ronald & Christina find an alternate road. Vyxsin is frustrated as they find an alternate route as well. Daylight comes up. TK & Rachel are still on the road. Nate & Jenn could have had a two hour lead or so by the looks of it by this point.
– Rachel skips as she picks up the ‘2’. TK jumps, dances, and gives Nate a high five. The music goes over the top as he celebrates too.
Tramel may still have the record for most air triggered by a TAR celebration, though.
– Ronald applauds Christina for doing an excellent job of navigating. Christina dismisses the compliment and continues to guide Ronald on the road.
– It’s six o’ clock. The road opens. Vyxsin is confused. She thought she saw signs for the highway but that’s no longer the case. She is tearing up. Is Kynt navigating?
Kynt pops out his own eyes after struggling to learn how to read maps for the past ten hours. Guess Vyxsin is on her own.
– Seven o’ clock. Both teams are shocked that no other teams have shown up. It’s a Roadblock and a Fast Forward.
– In this Roadblock the person must soar over the skies in an ultralight. They will scan the six mile radius for the name of the town of their next destination. They must signal it to their pilot while in the air. The pilot will then touch to the ground, and the player must tell an instructor on the ground the name of the town.
Nice shades. They look intimidating in a fashionable way.
I must say they had the opportunity to turn the name to be visible enough but in the shape of a crop circle to scare the locals. Vinci shall come back from the dead!
And yes, Leonarda da Vinci was indeed born in Vinci. It’s pretty much the only reason to go there.
– Phil tells us there is a thirty minute flight time before touching the ground and fuel the aircraft before going up for another flight. So there is potential to waste time if you have poor eyesight.
– Because this is the second of two Fast Forwards, it seems ideal for Nate & Jenn to take it. Jenn points this out. Nate immediately freaks out.
NATE: Ughhhhhh, why would I want a bigger lead? Fast Forwards make the game too complicated!
So they don’t bother with it. The first one went unaired and it looks like this one will as well. I guess Fast Forwards have become too risky, difficult, and daring since they brought in things like hair-cutting once they were reduced from a weekly Fast Forward down to one or two per season.
Let’s dismiss the Fast Forward for now.
We don’t need no stinkin’ Fast Fowards!
– Nate sighs and decides to read it after all.
PHIL: This is the only Fast Forward hidden on the entire race.
LIE! There was one in Lithuania. Way to lie, Phil. I can’t trust you anymore you deceiving lying piece of scum!
– Teams must make their way to Fabio Studio.
Just hope the studio doesn’t have a pool.
– They are only told that they will participate in a “local seafaring tradition”. What they don’t know is that this tradition is the art of tattooing. They must get a Mexican Mafia tattoo on each of their chests to receive their next clue.
Okay. This is the permanent tattoo they must receive:
Yeah. It’s tiny. It will be on the side of their arm.
– Nate doesn’t want to do the Fast Forward. TK finds it too risky. Jenn discusses this mistake with Rachel. She says nothing.
– Nate is doing the Roadblock. I think he wants to do this task rather than something else that will be much lamer than being hundreds of feet in the air in a strange contraption.
Yeah. Much better than a tattoo with random letters on your arm.
– Teams comment how cool the task is. It’s like they aren’t even doing a Roadblock. Ronald & Christina and Nic & Don arrive at the airfield almost simultaneously. Christina does not want to take the Fast Forward. She can’t find the number.
– Nic & Don discuss taking the Fast Forward. Don wants to do it on a whim. Jenn is pissed. She thinks this was their time to win a round of the race. Ronald & Christina still can’t find a number. I don’t get why they won’t ask Jenn or Rachel who would definitely help them on such a small part of the round.
CHRISTINA: You sure you don’t want to do the Fast Forward?
RONALD: Why ask me the same question that I already asked you three times?!
For once, Ronald is right. Christina shot down the idea multiple times after Ronald actively advocated for it.
Miyagi find indecisiveness to be human nature’s fatal flaw.
– The other teams hear Ronald yelling at Christina for her indecisiveness. Rachel has not heard one of Ronald’s tirades until now.
Not impressed by his parental performance.
– Rachel expresses to the camera that she has no respect for someone who yells at their daughter as Ronald talks about Christina farting around. Heh. Fart.
And who knew Rachel would have a problem with someone raising their voice.
– Ronald & Christina still can’t find the tag. Vyxsin is still crying and is stressed.
VYXSIN: It has been thirty hours since I last slept!
But only mere seconds since she last picked her nose.
– They swap drivers. The Stick Freshman is now in the driver’s seat. So far Kynt has not screwed up as Vyxsin sulks.
– Ronald sees the tags. He pulls a ‘3’.
RONALD: DUHHHH. DUH DUH DUH DUH DUH.
Uh, Ronald doesn’t quite have the rhythm. He could have at least emulated this:
– Nate sees Vinci and instructs the pilot to land. Meanwhile TK repeats the following expression several times:
He forgot the ‘vidi’ in Veni Vidi VINCI.
– Nate triggers the microphone to burst as he celebrates the land. He says it was scary. Nate delivers the correct answer. He reads they must drive themselves to Vinci and find the birthplace of, yes, Leonardo Da Vinci.
– Nate would have done the Fast Forward if he was a bit more awake. TK is still up in the air.
And so are his hands.
– Ronald is not doing the Roadblock because he would pee his pants. TK’s pilot is re-fuelling. He tells Rachel that he can’t find anything. Nic & Don enter the studio and discover the news. Nic is stunned. Don asks what ‘ff’ means.
DON: I never thought at my age I would be getting a tattoo.
Time to get inked, pop pop!
– Nic & Don are both reluctant. The same Blair Witch Project shot of Nic is repeatedly used. Probably three times in the span of fifteen seconds.
A tattoo with two tiny ‘ff’ marks on my arm? So scandalous!
– Commercial break occurs. They know they will be dead last if they go back. Donald’s 1940s mind is afraid of the idea of marking his body with permanent ink. Meanwhile Nate & Jenn have directions to Vinci. Christina instructs her pilot to go along the river. She sees it. TK’s struggles persist.
Switchback to TK in his parents’ basement with his high school buddies during the late 90s:
– Donald brands it as an investment.
– Nate & Jenn are in Vinci and see a map. Their route marker is labelled on the map. It’s three kilometres away. Nate elects to run. Jenn follows. Off to lose time Lithuania Style.
– Christina is finished the task. Nic & Don have their tattoo. They read that they can go directly to the Boboli Gardens in Florence.
– Nate & Jenn are done running and see a sign for parking by the route marker. They act as if they are surprised that they weren’t supposed to run three kilometres. It’s a Detour. They must choose between two tasks associated with the Italian Renaissance.
All hail Prince Phillip of Kiwino!
– Invention or Tradition.
– In Invention, teams make their way to a courtyard and pick a crane modelled after a design by Leonardo Da Vinci. They will use the crane to crank one large stone exactly one foot off the ground. Then they can place a mirror underneath to see the clue on the bottom of the rock.
That is really neat. Assuming putting together the crane is complex, I think this is one of the neatest tasks ever.
Much better than the Roadblock task in the Mushroom Kingdom’s version of The Amazing Race where all they did was return a notebook to a guy pretending to be Vinci.
– In Tradition, teams go to Piazza Guido Masi. . .
. . .where they will do a traditional local flag routine. Once they complete the flag routine to the satisfaction of the head flag routine guy/whatever his name is, they will receive a flag containing their next destination.
– Jenn recaps their horrible decision to run all the way up the hill. Ronald & Christina en route. TK lands again for a second time.
– Suddenly Kynt & Vyxsin show up. Vyxsin wants to do the Roadblock, but they agree to do the Fast Forward because all of the teams have passed through. Yeah. No clue how they reached that conclusion or how in the world that made sense.
This camera shot really captures the emotion on their faces.
– TK is airborne for a third time.
– Nic & Don are at the Boboli Gardens.
FIRST: NIC & DON
A trumpet for their arrival! Beats the heck out of a guy holding a gun trying to make you s— yourself.
Uh trump it.
And no, that isn’t the guy from the Body Break commercials in the 90s.
Back during the Renaissance, they even challenged the notion of wearing a hat properly on their head.
– Phil gives them the good news, and Don does something uncharacteristic for himself–he gets down on one knee and yells out a cheer while raising his arms.
“Yes! I stole TK’s bandana!”
– They have won a 5-night trip to a resort in Cancun. He specifies the in-room jacuzzi and deep sea fishing as well as a tour of Mayan Ruins.
– DONALD: I am really starting to get wrapped up in this race. As the odds get smaller, the odds are better to win a million bucks.
You mean as the number of teams gets smaller?
– Nate & Jenn choose Tradition. Jenn counts the rhythm out for the flag swishing and tossing. Apparently it’s in a pattern of four. Nate describes Jenn as the ultimate competitor despite being 5’2″.
– Nate has zero rhythm as he practices while Jenn has mastered it. Ronald & Christina park and start running.
– TK is up in the air.
– Vyxsin is in the air. They didn’t bother with the Fast Forward. Both teams land.
TK: This might be the most heartbreaking thing I have ever had to do.
– Keep in mind that Vyxsin has cried for the past several hours, and hasn’t had the ability to drive or direct because she is beyond exhausted. So if TK screws up for 90 minutes while Vyxsin does it on her first try would be really embarrassing.
And there it f—ing is.
– Goths have the clue and drive off (Kynt in the driver’s seat). TK worries about their doom.
– Jenn criticizes Nate for tossing the flag too far. They fail their first attempt. Ronald & Christina choose to do Tradition because Ronald finds some of Leonardo’s drawings too complicated.
– Nate & Jenn are out of sync with their flag toss but are somehow approved. It is far too subjective. Jenn is happy and feels good that Nate took direction really well and listened to her. They manage to run back three kilometres and drive away before Ronald & Christina can see them. Editing must have tricked us.
NATE (reads flag): Boboli Gardens.
Yep. Straight to the pit stop. Phil doesn’t bother giving an explanation for Boboli Gardens. He only gave a vague one for when Nic & Don claimed the Fast Forward. In all other Fast Forwards, when the first non-Fast Forward team is on their way to the pit stop, Phil tends to present new information about the pit stop and its history. For some reason, the Boboli Gardens is such a boring place that Phil decided to play the Diva Card and decided to nap on a hammock instead of shooting the clip for the Gardens.
– And isn’t it weird that we’re on a Renaissance/Florence leg but yet Leonardo is the only brilliant mind mentioned?
Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo will wait to be recognized on another day.
– TK is up for his fourth trip. He spots it. That means we’re at right around 900am given each trip is 30 minutes. They drive away.
– SECOND: NATE & JENN
– Ronald & Christina attempt it. Ronald complains a muscle is not cooperating. They try to catch it but fail. Kynt pulls over for directions. Vyxsin talks to a local. She says ‘si’ so I assume she understood. Kynt is excited to not be last.
– Ronald & Christina are somehow approved after doing a really ugly and uncoordinated flag toss. I guess the Italian Flag Recital Squad was founded upon mercy. Christina brags that Florence is close. Ronald tries to pull a Brazilian Taxi and pulls away as Christina tries to get in.
RONALD: What?. . .What?
Ronald has the bad hernia, therefore he must give Christina a bad ankle to even things out.
Miyagi believe in eye for eye.
– Seeing Christina possibly have her ankle run over is as painful as seeing the incident from season two.
They showed that Brazilian Taxi Driver who is the boss.
– Kynt & Vyxsin park in Vinci. Vyxsin pulls Kynt onto the clue box after they run. Clearly Vyxsin is the more athletic one. They choose to do Invention.
– TK & Rachel are also in Vinci.
TK does his best to communicate with the motorcycle occupant in broken English.
– Goths conclude the instructions are too hard and know on 35 hours of no sleep that it would be too silly to attempt an invention. They drive past a jogging TK & Rachel who copied Nate & Jenn’s mistake.
– TK & Rachel have the clue. They choose to do Invention as they know Goths are slightly ahead.
– Vyxsin is the one driving. Kynt wonders why Vyxsin isn’t slowing down.
VYXSIN: It’s so close it’s killing me.
KYNT: Where are the flags? Pull over.
KYNT: Stop the car. Careful! Wait! Slow down!
VYXSIN: What? I’m trying to turn around!
KYNT: In this?
Hey, U-Turns debuted this season. Why can’t we U-Turn in the middle of a narrow street with a SUV!
VYXSIN: I can turn around.
KYNT: You can’t turn around in this!
VYXSIN: Well fine. We’re gonna lose–
And here comes the most repeated line in 22 seasons of TAR:
KYNT: STOP THE CAR VYXSIN! STOP THIS CAR! STOP THIS CAR, VYXSIN! STOP THIS CAR!
Or just keep driving. I’m sure it’ll pass.
KYNT: You’re not capable. I’m going to jump out of this car right now.
Whoa. Emo much.
– TK & Rachel show up to Invention. TK says he has to use logic. Rachel thinks she’ll be good at it. Kynt & Vyxsin switch seats. Kynt describes it as a temper tantrum. Vyxsin says it’s been a trend for the day and expects TK & Rachel to beat them.
– So Kynt takes over for Vyxsin’s insanity once again. It was successful earlier that day.
Kynt couldn’t be more confused. What happened? Either he’s too busy admiring the star on his glove or he is genuinely confused by what to do in this situation. If only he was a Stick Sophomore!
How is Kynt having problems? It’s just a f—ing stick!
VYXSIN: You don’t know how to drive a stick shift!
Resumes wearing the pants in this relationship.
– Vyxsin declares something is wrong with the car and blames it on Kynt. He tells her to shut up. She says it is not going into gear. Whatever that means. They are stuck in the road.
Andre is stuck behind them willing to move wine boxes.
– TK & Rachel’s calm and collected attitude is perfect for Invention. They are making quick progress. TK says his arms are getting sore from the turnstile.
– Kynt & Vyxsin request a new car. Phil provides the typical voiceover that no time credit is given for the unlucky situation. Goths decide to run with their bags and inform us that the replacement car will be present once they return from the Tradition task.
– TK stops pushing and lets Rachel make the last turn. They put in the mirror and have the clue. TK & Rachel run all the way back and drive away to see Kynt & Vyxsin running on the road. They are surprised to find out they aren’t last.
– Kynt & Vyxsin start practicing the routing. TK & Rachel are well on their way to survival after running into disaster after disaster.
– Rachel smiles when it happens as if it is becoming more funny than tragic. Kynt & Vyxsin presumably pass the Detour on their first try. Ah, the magic of editing.
– Kynt & Vyxsin see the replacement car. Vyxsin is driving on the road. She is tearing up. TK changed the tire completely on his own.
– Suspense builds. My sister was heavily rooting for TK & Rachel. She was on the edge of her seat.
FOURTH: TK & RACHEL
We haven’t seen a team recover from that many mistakes in a leg either.
– No surprise who last place shall be.
LAST: KYNT & VYXSIN
Mr. Manson prays for their well-being.
Nobody from Slipknot is known to watch TAR. They are too busy plotting to poison the minds of our youths. Let us mindlessly rebel against them in protest by smashing windows in the streets and turning over cars!
Robin Black looks on with grave concern.
The UdriGoth’s steroids react to the Goths’ elimination.
Somehow this outfit is less ridiculous than Brian & Greg’s.
Okay, maybe Brian & Greg still have the crown.
– As they hit the mat I can recall the memory of everybody in the living room watching the episode with me:
COUSIN: Is this going to be a non-elimination leg?
BROTHER: Yeah, they always seem to have those later on.
SISTER: Yeah, I think so.
ME: NO! Phil said in an interview online with IGN that there would be no non-elimination legs this seas–
PHIL: I am pleased to tell you that this is the first of two non-eliminations.
Well f— you, Phil!
– Phil gives the bad news:
PHIL: Sometime on the next leg of the race you will encounter a new twist on the race called the Speed Bump. It’s a task that only you have to complete while the other teams keep racing. You don’t know when it’s coming. And as a result of doing the Speed Bump, you may find yourselves behind which means you’ll have to do a lot of work to catch up if you want to stay in the race.
– Vyxsin reacts by crying. She doesn’t want to go home like she wasted it. They reflect on how they got along poorly this round. They discuss the new mysterious speed bump.
VYXSIN: It’s like a three-headed serpent that can spring forward at any moment and stop us in our trap.
Or it just means you have to fit a woman into an 1800s outfit for five minutes.
I guess they went with Vyxsin’s description because it sounded cooler.
– And that’s it for this round. Phil managed to lie to me twice in one episode. Who is this jacka–?
There you have it. The U-Turn introduced three episodes earlier for the first time, and now you witness the introduction of the Speed Bump.
I must say the concept of the Speed Bump created a major buzz following this episode. What could the task be? Does that mean an episode following a non-elimination can no longer be an additional non-elimination? Will it be a frightening task or really time consuming?
Those were the questions waiting to be answered as we get set to begin the eighth leg of the race.
In 2013, I strongly advocate the removal of Speed Bumps and U-Turns. Production has become beyond lazy and uninspired with Speed Bumps while U-Turns have been nailed down to such a science that the dominating coalition knows how to use it as a block every single time.
Back in 2008 I didn’t feel this way. Both twists are refreshing and work out really well within the context of the season, and was welcomed by the audience for a couple more seasons. However, they scream the need for retirement once TAR 19 hits. They are the two longest running twists that have been preserved in their current format after the Fast Forward.
Lastly, the introduction of the Fast Forward does indeed spell the end of back-to-back non-elimination legs. They are gone now that the Speed Bump is present. Why? Well, the whole point of the Speed Bump is that the stakes are raised. It would seem lke such a pathetic twist if it was another non-elimination round. Therefore, TAR All Star is the final season to carry the same number of teams in three consecutive episodes.
– Next Time on TAR: Kynt & Vyxsin pull out all the stops to stay in the race. Ron reverts to familiar behaviour. And the Roadblock has one of the most controversial decisions made by a local who is hired to work for production. Oh, and it’s TAR’s first ever re-visit to city that already had a full leg in a prior season!
Rank the Legs:
1) Dubrovnik, Croatia -> Florence, Italy (Awesome round even though it is a non-elimination. The reveal of the Speed Bump was an intriguing and buzz-worthy twist.
The leg was very long. Teams were forced to drive themselves for 220 miles in a country with relatively high density population. This made navigation tested moreso than any other leg this season which was awesome. Their stamina was finally tested.
Plus the ferry ride to Italy looked like a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
I liked the Fast Forward task. No more hair-cutting which made producers look creative for once. Instead teams had to permanently mark their body for the first time in TAR history. So that was neat.
The Roadblock was simple unless you’re TK, but the contraption was very Vinci-like and fit in with the adventurous aspect of the race.
As for the Detour? The Invention task was super cool. It was like watching Treasure Hunters. Tradition could have been less subjective in terms of judging.
Add in TK & Rachel’s and Kynt & Vyxsin’s one-uppsmanship in terms of mistakes on the race and you have a near perfect round of TAR. Add in the errors that other teams couldn’t avoid making and this race truly looks like anybody’s game.
Oh, and did I mention how much the casual audience cheered that there was only two non-elimination rounds?
Such a great round.)
2) LA -> Tony Clifden, Ireland (One of the funniest TAR episodes ever. From the starting line where Nic & Don stalled the rolling of the credits, to Ari’s infamous proclamation, teams taking several wrong turns, funny trips, funny falls, ironic quotes, inappropriate insults, and the word ‘bitch’ being used in about a hundred different ways, this was a very memorable opener.
The tandem bike was neat. The ‘sign up for X charter that leaves in the morning’ continued, and you know you can expect entertainment when high-strung teams are required to lead donkeys. Production has learned that the best way to eliminate a mean-spirited and/or crazy team is to give them a donkey. Look at Jonathan &Victoria.
Ari & Staella are the perfect first boots for this season. They came into the game thinking they were 150 to 200 percent certain they would win, but alienated themselves so early on that they were stuck all alone to complete the task and eliminated in the blink of an eye. I admire their ability to take their elimination rather well.)
3) Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso -> Vilnius, Lithuania (This leg was extremely smooth. Teams spent the first 17 minutes of the 43 minute episode strategizing for flights which will become a rarer and rarer aspect of the race. In fact this is the first time since the middle of TAR 11 that flights have truly mattered.
I liked that teams had to drive themselves around the capital and navigate the relatively crowded and narrow streets. The tasks were all fine. Jenn counting the posts is one of the most underrated moments in the TAR franchise because it is tough to believe that somebody could develop such a horrid counting system.
The roadblock was great on paper, but producers failed to understand that splitting everyone down into four final locations was a big mistake. Why? Because the teams that were assigned the hair salon took the longest of all teams while the restaurant was quick to find. Hopefully TAR producers revise this if they attempt a task like this in the future.
The Detour was fine. In fact it was really inspired as teams counted amidst a hectic festival or would have to learn stilts which have a steep learning curve. That did not seem like a pleasant Detour. Although I question if counting pickets in a picket fence is an activity in Lithuania midsummer festivals. Plus those costumes may be the most ridiculous things I have ever seen.
And much like Burkina Faso, there was too many ‘follow the marked path’ to clue boxes and the pit stop once they reached the outskirts of town. It seemed too easy.
The only way this leg could be better is if Jennifer’s lack of proficiency with a stick shift led to the bus hitting her car, thus forcing producers to -only- cast teams who can use a stick.)
4) Ransdorp, Netherlands -> Bingo, Burkina Faso (I think this beats the Dutch leg in the previous round because it is a new country, and they spend time in a town called ‘Bingo’. It is surprisingly not a retirement town.
The camel milking task, while requires a great amount of skill, may be controversial due to the fact that not all camels are equal and some may have more milk than others This unfairly led some of the teams down the bottom of the pack while others rose to the top.
The number of marked paths was frustrating as a viewer because it made teams travel in packs together and follow the first team to spot a marker. That’s what happens when every route marker is within a two mile radius.
Lorena’s freakout may be one of the season’s highlights. Ronald’s hernia was referenced a bit much for a single episode. Between the train ride and the moonlight dancing, we had a lot of character development for each team. Every team benefited from this character development with the exception of Shana & Jennifer who did not particularly enjoy being in West Africa.
The school task was a TAR first. It was creative and had a ton of skill involved. Personally I think ten words was too easy and should have been bumped up to fifteen given the fact they could make multiple guesses.
The leg was unique and had a good concept on paper, but its shortcomings can all be explained by the screencap of five teams huddling around the pit stop mat.
Good, fun, and creative leg overall, but definitely could be re-worked in the future to make it more well-rounded.)
5) Vilnius, Lithuania -> Dubrovnik, Croatia (One of many rounds this season that seemed too easy and had virtually zero navigation.
In fact, I only place it this high because Dubrovnik is perhaps the best location they have ever visited in Europe.
The tasks were neat on paper but were too easy in execution. Plus teams didn’t travel more than about six or seven miles the whole round. Super lazy.
This leg is also saved by some of the best strategy involving airport and airline scrambles. For once, booking a flight quickly and making fast decisions was critical to finish this leg early enough.
I could have ranked this leg lower simply due to Azaria & Hendekea’s premature exit from the season.)
6) Clifden, Ireland -> Ransdorp, Netherlands (I wish this round required more teamwork. The only way you had to have teamwork is if you chose the biking option for the Detour.
It was a short distance for teams to travel, and the whole task seemed to take no more than four to five hours in round two. I will give points for the ditch vaulting for being amusing even if it could be done in five seconds.
The round was completely character-driven. Everybody played in their necessary roles and made the round a treat to watch them play.)
7) Bingo, Burkina Faso -> Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (This leg is the worst of the first four episodes for one reason:
It was too easy.
Both Detour options didn’t even seem challenging whatsoever. None of the teams ever said during the Detour “Wow, this is difficult and/or frustrating!” for either task.
The roadblock was a neat change in difficulty. Teams trying to figure out how to balance the bikes before embarking to find a market stall a mile away allowed for interaction with locals and needing several skills to complete the task quickly. It was the only time teams struggled for the whole episode. Vyxsin, Rachel, and Shana all experienced setbacks.
The most annoying thing about the leg is that it is the first time I can recall that a team starts out a round less than two hours behind everyone else, and U-Turned to only be put twenty minutes further behind, that they weren’t given a chance to give up. All of the tasks combined didn’t seem to take more than an hour to complete.
Therefore, Lorena & Jason were screwed over. If this were TAR Asia, or virtually any TAR season, a bus or a plane or a train would have simply clumped them in with several other teams. But for whatever reason, this leg was stuck to pre-determined taxis on an extremely linear race course. There wasn’t much variance in how you can accomplish anything this round.
And the “Imma come at you bro” drama that was promoted for virtually the whole episode had zero pay-off. Why not just pretend like Lorena & Jason aren’t there to trick the viewers into thinking TK & Rachel are last like they do in previous years? Reminding us of Lorena & Jason’s presence only made the episode drag for the whole hour.
And that dancing task needed to be significantly re-worked. I can’t get over its lazy format.
Plus Vyxsin’s tears were a bit too over-the-top for the camera. That same image of the kids gathering in front of the camera was really beating the viewer over the head.
In short, this leg was lazy.)
****POST ORIGINALLY FROM TWO YEARS AGO****
The Amazing Race 2
USA (2), BRAZIL (2), SOUTH AFRICA, NAMIBIA, THAILAND (2), HONG KONG, AUSTRALIA (2), NEW ZEALAND (2),
– Teams continue to eat, sleep, and mingle with the others.
– There’s about twenty million more confessionals compared to the first season.
– Phil isn’t wearing a turtle neck in the first episode!
– Route markers are red and yellow, and clues are indeed in sealed envelopes permanently.
– Airport security is huge thanks to recent 9/11 incident.
– Prizes for finishing first on random legs. That’s what happens when your budget increases.
– Phil checks in every team as opposed to only the last placed team in season one.
– Teams were allowed to tie at the pit stop
– Slightly less time spent in airports
– They cast a gigantic jack—.
– Just like the first season teams are leaving twelve hours apart with rare exceptions. Does that occur in present-day Amazing Race?
– Teams ‘may’ be eliminated are used only on non-elimination legs. Everyone knows the pattern. (Glad they eventually change this.)
– Teams are yet to be penalized for coming in last place on a non-elimination leg. (Glad they eventually change this.)
Blake’s first quote: “I’ll tell you what scares the hell out of me: Second place.”
Deidre’s first quote: “We’re going to prove them wrong.”
Gary’s first quote: “We’re willing to do everything except felony.” — Do traffic laws not count?
– The Nevada opening is incredible. That truly looks like the end of the universe.
– Claire quote: “If we’re out first, I’ll die.” — I’d take that bet.
– I’d totally slip Fat Maria some tongue.
Will quote: “Tara is the calming one.” — Tara and calm uttered in the same sentence? Unbelievable.
– Hope & Norm are too boring for TV and don’t excrete likeability. Why were they cast?
– I hate voiceovers.
***END OF RETRO POST***
TAR 12 episode 7 vs. TAR 2 episode 1 ranking
I understand now why episodes take much longer to recap now. TAR 2 episode 1 was like the Gordon Holmes of episode recaps.