BRAZIL – BOLIVIA – NEW ZEALAND – CAMBODIA – INDIA (AGAIN, SADLY) bold end bold – KAZAKHSTAN – RUSSIA – USA
Previously on TAR: Five teams set out from Delhi, India to Almaty, Kazakhstan. Along the way Dallas and Starr’s relationship continued to bloom under the watchful eye of Toni and Nick.
Once in Kazakhstan Terence & Sarah took a huge risk and raced for the Fast Forward against Nick & Starr. Only to find a challenge Terence couldn’t stomach. Toni & Dallas hammed it up at the Detour while Andrew & Dan continued to making critical mistakes including leaving their shoes behind at the Detour.
Nick & Starr won the Fast Forward and scored their fourth consecutive win while Terence & Sarah’s huge risk cost them the race. Four teams remain. Who will be eliminated next?
– Intro time. Only three more of the classic intro before we go through the next visual and audio remix.
– Phil introduces us to Almaty, Kazakhstan. It was destroyed during the 13th century by Mongols but has been rebuilt six hundred years as a political capital. Today it is now a place with a major industrial centre and more than one million residents. Old Square was the eighth pit stop.
Phil’s Questions: Will Dallas and Starr’s relationship distract either of them from the race? And will Andrew & Dan continue to make crucial mistakes?
– Nick & Starr, who were the first to arrive at 921am, will depart at 921pm.
Please tell us we are awesome.
– Nick reads they must fly to Moscow, Russia more than two thousand miles away. Once they land they must find a monastery. Then they will enter inside and light a candle to receive their next clue.
Wait, Moscow? In TAR 12 Mumbai became the first repeated city in TAR history. This season we had Delhi repeated for two consecutive legs. Only two rounds later and we repeat Moscow from TAR 9?
Mumbai and Delhi were understandable because they were the most populated cities in India that were visited in TAR 1 and 4. But Moscow? That is one of the more obscure visits from TAR 9. Just four seasons earlier. Couldn’t they have gone anywhere else in Russia? Doing two rounds in St. Petersberg would make more sense given that the city had a very famous leg back in TAR 5.
Surprisingly Moscow will continue to be abused in the future.
According to Annie Lennox, some of these locations want to be abused too. . .for foreign investment.
– Nick said it is his birthday today and that Starr made him a birthday shirt.
– Nick likes that each country has a new mystery. He goes on to describe that this is the most time they have spent together in the past five years total. If they had come in last they would be more at each other’s throats.
– They find a flight at the airport that departs at 605am through Air Astana. Also known as an equalizer.
– Toni & Dallas begin the round at 1047pm. Nick & Starr’s Fast Forward advantage is right around the norm for the previous round. It’s definitely the norm for this round considering an equalizer is on the horizon.
– Dallas announces who would like to take him to the airport. He says they have had a terrible time communicating with people in Kazakhstan. For some reason he thinks it will be much worse in Moscow where a population of eleven million versus Almaty’s one million lives.
DALLAS: Me and my mom really want to get first.
So does 95% of the audience. The other five percent love it when two slightly unlikable teams win all eight of the first eleven rounds.
– DALLAS: I want to do anything it takes to win this race for her.
Her being Toni and not Starr, right Dallas?
– Ken & Tina depart third at 1117pm. Their multiple mistakes on the Detour cost them a whole thirty minutes. It really shows how much time Terence & Sarah lost by going to the restaurant.
– Tina orders Kenny to get a taxi. Then she yells at the driver to get into the car. She defines the race as being stressful because of how you need to give it all your all at every moment. Tina thinks the conflict comes between Ken’s ability to chill out while she is always go-go-go. Ken comments that he thinks the taxi drivers have stiffed them frequently.
Look at the differences. Ken is hunched over, eyes drooped, and zoned out. Meanwhile Tina’s eyes are bulging and fidgeting with her hands.
They balance each other out in real life, understandably.
– Nick & Starr run into Toni & Dallas who wish to camp out at the Air Astana counter.
By TAR 28, teams will need to memorize the word for ‘tickets’ in the official language of each country they visit to pass the final task of the season.
– Since Toni & Dallas and Nick & Starr are together you can expect what happens next.
– Dallas tells Starr he keeps getting increasingly frustrated for each round he hears her and Nick claiming first. Music pulled straight from The Bachelor begins to play. Starr talks about how her and Dallas are bonding.
STARR: He’s a pretty incredible man.
Yep. Someone who races on TAR with their mommy is one hunk.
Starr has tongue in cheek. Dallas looks away.
Unfortunately Dallas cannot get away with doing the same thing seconds later.
Only -I- may put my tongue to the side.
– Dallas discusses how things happen in this world and blah blah blah he loves Starr.
Dallas puts a hand on Starr’s leg.
Peter attempts the same thing with Liza but with less grace.
DALLAS: But one of us is going to win the million dollars and one of us isn’t. Whoever wins it is gonna love having it and the other person is gonna be a little jealous.
Oh man. Dallas wasn’t trying to be funny but it comes out perfect. “One of us is gonna win and the other isn’t” as if the other two teams have a zero percent chance.
What do you mean we don’t have a chance of winning?!
– Nick talks about Starr’s romantic history which has been riddled with guys who take the back seat to Starr’s forceful nature. He thinks Dallas can stand his own. Nick isn’t concerned it getting in the way of the race because he knows Dallas sure won’t.
Oh how I wish I married that dentist.
– Dallas continues voicing his frustration with Nick & Starr winning so many rounds as he hangs out with them.
Heheheh it’s cause you all f—ing suck and I’m so great.
– Then awkward silence where everyone begins to frown. It’s odd. Ken & Tina purchase tickets for the flight seconds later.
– How much does Dandrew suck? The previous round was very linear outside of the Fast Forward. All three teams were in a virtual tie with only the path walk and the Detour to go. Toni & Dallas checked in at 1047pm. Ken & Tina had to do the Detour twice and finished at 1117pm. But Dandrew?
That means it’s 12:41am.
– How did Terence & Sarah not catch up? Dandrew finished just under two hours behind the curve. Terence & Sarah must have screwed up in an equally terrible fashion but must have been unaired on TV. Otherwise Dandrew finishing the round before Terence & Sarah does not make much sense.
– The teams are given one hundred seventy-five dollars for this leg.
– Dandrew may have survived last leg but this round they start off on the wrong foot.
Literally. They aren’t wearing proper shoes. Remember how they forgot their shoes at the puppet theatre? Well, they haven’t been allowed to retrieve them since they checked into the pit stop.
ANDREW: We jacked slippers from the hotel we were staying at from the maid.
Stealing slippers from hotel? That is punishable by three years in forced labour camp under Kazakhstani Law!
Those paper thin slippers won’t last in the street too long.
– Dan says he has nothing to lose but nothing to gain because teams have such low expectations of them by this point.
– The driver takes them to the airport.
Now the driver can buy a new pair of shoes!
– Dan voices his concern about the money issue. He knows Moscow is one of the more expensive cities in Europe.
It’s true. Moscow has more billionaires than any other city on the planet. Taxi rides cost far more than virtually any other city in the world. Except maybe London.
– The goofy music plays as Dallas laughs at Dandrew’s shoes and has a conversation with them.
– Dan defends he can run in the slippers.
DALLAS: You have a point. Team Dandrew can have their own shoe line. Those could be the new Nikes.
The precursor to the individualized toe shoes that weigh .0001 pounds.
– Dallas points out a shoe store to them. There is a twenty-four hour shoe store in the Kazakhstan store. I doubt that business can be doing well. I wouldn’t be surprised if producers paid the store to stay open just to see what Dan & Andrew would do.
I remember the last time I went shoe shopping at three o’ clock in the morning.
– The first pair is over one hundred dollars for each of them.
ANDREW: What’s our total?
DAN: We have four hundred seventy-six dollars.
That’s a fair amount they have saved. I can see them getting away with maybe fifty to sixty bucks of their budget. They should really head to a Wal-Mart to buy ten dollar pair of shoes. But that defeats the purpose when a taxi will likely cost twenty.
I hear sandals are quite popular in Moscow.
– Dan finds the cheapest sneaker. They spent one hundred sixty dollars total. Dan has three hundred in their team budget remaining. It seems like a lot.
– The four teams head to board the plane at 549am. Ken rolls the ‘r’ in Mother Russia.
These statues take a rest after being featured in an Epic Rap Battle.
– Phil reminds us that teams are heading to Moscow. He has a habit out of pure redundancy. All four teams land and yell for taxis. Ken blows his whistle. Dandrew is first into a cab thanks to Andrew.
– Dan hears the price of the cab ride and is not thrilled. He repeats Moscow is expensive. Never has a team been so down about possessing a lead.
– Nick & Starr and Toni & Dallas enter cabs. Toni & Dallas’ cab pulls out ahead. Ken & Tina are last into the cab.
– Starr asks the taxi driver if he speaks English.
STARR: Do you speak English?
But what the driver said is subtitled in Russian. Guess what ‘Yeah’ means in Russian?
In Soviet Russia, yes means no!
– Starr dismisses it as a ‘yeah’ like ninety percent of us would. Seconds later it is clear the driver doesn’t really speak English. Ken & Tina don’t have an English speaking driver thanks to the fact that the driver doesn’t say a word for the whole ride.
– Teams are heading towards the monastery. Dandrew take the time to wonder which building it could be.
DAN: That red thing could be it. It looks churchy.
Eh, it’s just the St. Basil’s Cathedral.
– Dallas comment it is the biggest city he has ever visited and that the buildings are gigantic. The Mother of all buildings. Nick knows they have to settle on following Toni & Dallas because their driver does not know where the monastery is located.
– Dallas keeps asking Toni where the teams are during the ride. He hopes Dandrew are on their way back to the USA in the cab.
– Right on cue Dandrew’s driver steps out to ask for directions. So does Ken & Tina’s driver. At least their driver talks to a bus driver for directions.
– We now see the monastery. It’s Choir Time on TAR as we hear them sing for a few seconds before teams show up.
I hear they love cameras inside of a monastery.
– Nick & Starr and Toni & Dallas show up simultaneously. The women must wear scarves. Nick slaps it on Starr. Nick and Toni light the candles. Toni says it is not her faith but respects the history and the religion of the place.
But she may convert after wearing the fancy scarf.
– Nick & Starr’s shoes squeak when they receive the clue. They read they must take a taxi through the crowded streets of Moscow and head to the outskirts. Here they will find Kolosok Camp. It is a decommissioned military base.
That is what we want you to think!
Recruits Hutek and Lauder are hanging around in the background.
Although I don’t see DI McSweeney hanging around. Heh.
Hey, I am NOT making faces!
Yeah, I miss Boot Camp.
Who knew viewers wouldn’t tune into seeing two men yell at a homemaker on a weekly basis.
– But seriously, teams must take a taxi to Kolosok Camp. Once here they will find their next clue.
– Nick & Starr return to their taxi. Toni & Dallas are right behind. Starr tells the driver to go fast about ten times.
– Dandrew’s driver has returned after Dan talks to himself about winners getting breaks with good cab drivers. Ken & Tina’s driver has returned to the vehicle too.
– Toni talks about how the taxi service is more expensive than they anticipated.
DALLAS: It took one hundred dollars to get from the airport to our first destination.
One hundred dollars?! Who’d the taxi companies kidnap? Chelsea Clinton?
– Nick & Starr argue with the driver over a map. The tears start to Flo.
– Nick has no idea what the driver is trying to tell him. They keep driving. Meanwhile Dandrew and Ken & Tina show up to the monastery. They are about one minute apart with Dandrew having that small lead. Tina knows they are last.
– Toni & Dallas show up at the military camp. It’s a Detour.
Boots or Borscht.
– In both choices they must don a proper military uniform and use traditional foot wraps.
In Boots, teams will join a training squad and learn a traditional parade march. When they think they are ready the teams must fall in line with this troop. They must march one full lap of the parade grounds. If the drill sergeant is satisfied, they will receive their next clue.
They look like action figures.
Clearly mugging for the camera.
– The task with stamina and coordination could find themselves double-timing into the lead.
– In Borscht, teams must serve borscht to a company of seventy-five Russian soldiers. Once each soldier has received a bowl of borscht, teams will receive their next clue.
That task sounds easy. Scooping borscht for seventy-five people sounds like a twenty minute job and is low risk.
Gryffindor awaits for their borscht feast in the Great Hall.
– Okay. This is just cruel. They do a close-up of one soldier in particular. There’s seventy-five of these guys but choose just one to show on TV.
– Toni & Dallas choose to march. Trumpets play in the background. He is stoked to see all other teams’ outfits. They watch the demonstration of the foot wrap. Wow. I would be lost. I can barely tie my own shoes.
– You could say that Nick & Starr are having taxi troubles.
Too bad the driver is saying this in Russian. He is trying his best to be helpful. Nick orders Starr to relax. The Russian driver exits the cab.
– The driver re-enters but still doesn’t know where to go. Nick prays other teams are having these issues.
– Ken & Tina and Dandrew show up to the Detour.
KEN: Dan & Andrew do a good job of travel. They just always struggle with the task.
And the timing couldn’t be more perfect as we enter one of the top five funniest moments in TAR history. Heck, it’s probably a contender for number one in my eyes.
Andrew wants to march. Dan agrees. I don’t see how this could go wrong.
– Andrew proceeds to brag about six years of marching band experience under his belt.
And judging by the look on Dan’s face, he does NOT have six years of marching band experience.
– Ken & Tina choose to march as well. They see Toni & Dallas preparing to march.
– Nick & Starr, a taxi driver, and a police officer have a discussion about where they are supposed to go. It turns out the cab has been heading into the wrong direction. Nick says the last team they saw was Toni & Dallas back at the monastery. In other words, this isn’t good.
Weirdest looking license plate ever.
– Toni & Dallas’ outfit is approved. They choose the closest squad to them. Ken orders Tina to not go into a different room to change her clothes. She doesn’t want to get naked in front of everyone. Ken doesn’t care.
I love how Ken is in a struggling marriage but even then he doesn’t feel threatened by Dandrew.
When a marriage is in mayday, even Dan & Andrew don’t have a chance to score with the unhappy wife. Classic.
– Ken & Tina’s outfit is approved. Just like that they pass Dan & Andrew. Tina coaches Ken how to move. This task is essentially one of those mildly subjective dancing tasks. Luckily it is very obvious when someone is out of sync and not being perfect. Tina is loving the marching even if the outfit wasn’t flattering. Ken thought she was cute because she is a foot shorter than all of the other soldiers.
Meanwhile Ken looks like a natural KGB agent as he stands a foot taller than everyone else.
Happy Russian soldiers are the ones who didn’t have to eat any borscht.
– Fifteen minutes has passed since Dan successfully put on the foot wraps. He yells at Andrew to put on the boots because of how long he is taking. Andrew is stunned how quickly Dan had his wraps on.
DAN: You’ve been playing with it for fifteen minutes!
ANDREW: Hey Dan. . .shut the hell up!
I love how Andrew’s comeback is just a long pause before yelling “shut the hell up”.
– We see Toni & Dallas’ march approved and receive their clue. They read they must travel by taxi to the town of Zhukovsky and find the Zhukovsky Bakery to receive their next clue.
– Dallas says it is really hot outside. In Moscow? Really? They change into their regular clothes as Andrew is -still- putting on his foot wraps and being rejected by the drill instructor.
– Dan does commentary as Ken & Tina pass him in the background. Ken & Tina have finished the task. Dan & Andrew decide to forego the foot wraps and change Detours.
But wait. Phil said you needed to put on the foot wraps regardless of which Detour option you choose. So they’re going to head over to Borscht only to be told to go back and put on the foot wraps.
– Toni asks Dallas if he saw Nick & Starr. He didn’t. That means Nick & Starr are currently in last for the first time all season. They see Nick & Starr’s cab entering the camp. Nick decides to march.
– Tina reads the clue. Ken & Tina are indeed second.
– Dan & Andrew and Nick & Starr are in the change rooms together. Dandrew head to Borscht. They think the soldiers are pissed off because their bowls are still empty. It’s funny to think that 75 soldiers have been hired to sit at a table for several hours next to an empty bowl of food.
– Ken & Tina wish Nick & Starr good luck as they exit.
– Nick & Starr’s foot wraps are approved. What was Andrew’s problem? Just like that Nick & Starr are third.
– Dandrew put on the outfit and realize something is missing. They read they need to put on the uniform underneath the apron and chef’s hat.
ANDREW: A compilation video needs to be made of all of our dumb mistakes.
DAN: Like Braveheart.
I don’t understand Dan’s reference.
They look ridiculous to serve in that outfit at a military base anyway.
– And just like that they are back to being behind Nick & Starr. Starr understands that only the Detours and Roadblocks are in your control during TAR, and attributes it to their longtime success.
– Andrew puts on the foot wraps before Dan this time. They decide to march. Nick & Starr is done the Detour.
– So far all three teams have completed the march without a single wrinkle. In fact it is safe to say they have done the march very easily. Even Dan & Andrew could do it, right? They see the demonstration. Now it’s time to practice. The instructor gives one tip to Dan before they proceed.
The soldiers suppress giggles.
– Nick & Starr re-enter their cab as Nick tells Starr to chill out.
– They practice once more. The “I Just Threw Ken & Gerard into the Thames” music begins to play.
He is about as stiff in movement as a lead-filled plastic action figure.
Dan does his best impression of Captain Strong from EarthBound.
Look at how far Dan kicks out his foot.
My favourite is the reaction of the military trumpet player. He absolutely loses it.
His feet are facing opposing directions. I didn’t think it was capable for somebody to be that bad at marching.
He is a foot behind everyone else.
DAN: No, no, no. I went straight that time.
– Dan tells us in a confessional that he is not musically inclined and this task was arts based.
DAN: I am not arts based. I am sports and TV based.
– We see Dan marching out of line some more and they keep being rejected. Andrew cusses out Dan. The arm movement is great.
– Surprisingly they switch to serving Borscht. Dan had the feeling that he couldn’t quite get it.
I knew I should have stayed home today.
– Toni & Dallas show up to the bakery but it is the wrong one. Ken thinks the taxi driver may have understood where they are going.
– Starr fears they may be lost a few more times. Nick cannot wait to be done with the cab. The driver looks pretty sick with that cigarette.
Although I think the latter is the one who is the true Mac Daddy.
– Dallas nearly runs past the clue before Toni yells at him. Somebody got a little excited. It’s a Roadblock. In this Roadblock must become a delivery person. They must deliver fifty sacks of flour to the bakery in front of the door. This is a task built for Dallas and Kenny. Their lead will be enormous.
DALLAS: She kept yelling at me. I wanted to tell her ‘hey lady, have you ever carried two of these sacks of flour at once? I was doing her a favour’.
I love how Dallas ridicules another middle-aged woman as he sits next to his mother.
That won’t do! Be careful! Follow the instructions!
You can tell she is loving this and embracing the role.
– Toni doesn’t want Dallas to pass out by pushing himself too hard when they both know he is the best out of all remaining players to do this task.
TONI: Nobody else is here. We’re in the lead. Take it one at a time.
Uh oh, somebody’s acting out against mommy.
Yeah, the English language sucks to learn, eh?
– Ken & Tina show up. Kenny is going to do the roadblock. He sees Dallas’ eyes and breathing heavy. Kenny knows it will be tough. Dallas isn’t underestimating Kenny who is built for this task too. Toni grows concerned of Dallas’ stamina.
– Starr grows increasingly frustrated with the taxi driver’s speed.
– The military men are -still- laughing at Dan as he puts on the outfit. He acknowledges that he is a crazy American who can’t march in the military uniform. Andrew jokes around with the army guys as he pours the borscht.
DAN: It smells like crap.
That soldier was way too eager for that high five.
– Ken is finished 21 bags. Dallas complains of fatigue as he does 32 bags. Kenny finds his background in the NFL is a tremendous background for enduring pain.
Such as the pain of losing to me.
– Dan & Andrew have served 70 bowls of borscht.
DAN: You’re a growing boy.
This quote always kills me the most.
– Dan loves how much fun he had with the Russian soldiers.
The guy on the right looks familiar.
For once we get to see Andre Drazen not glued to his cell phone.
Although his younger brother Alexis is nowhere to be found. Probably still walking around with his own theme music.
DAN: Maria Sharapova.
– Dan & Andrew have finished a task that was relatively easy.
There was a U-Turn offered this round but it went unaired because it was not used. In round three you may remember the U-Turn wasn’t used despite Nick & Starr encouraging other teams to U-Turn Frowny McFrownerson.
Anyways, this U-Turn was the second of only two on the race and went unused as well. For the first time ever, a Yield or U-Turn went unused for a whole season of TAR.
Obviously this didn’t sit well with production because the U-Turns and Yields are only in play to create drama and friction between teams. If nobody uses them for a whole season then the twist is not doing its job.
So guess what? Production has a meeting in the offseason and revamps the U-Turn twist that guarantees it will be used at least once per season no matter what. You can probably guess what this change is by now, but I will let it be a surprise for those select few.
That’s right. Nobody kills off U-Turns, mothaf—as!
DAN: Bakery–yum yum.
That’s not English or Russian.
– Dan thinks these long cab rides will result in them losing money. Nick & Starr are still lost in their cab. Nick is now in Starr’s seat.
STARR: You can’t open that door. I already tried.
What kind of cab is this? I know Halloween is approaching, but isn’t it early for a scary taxi prank?
– Dallas has already finished the Roadblock. The shopkeeper presents him with the clue. She smirks after handing him the clue.
– Dallas reads they must take a taxi back to Moscow and find the Neskuchny Sad Park. It’s a depressing place I hear. It is a “fun garden”. The pit stop is in the middle of the city centre. Major traffic according to Phil.
DALLAS: Being in first is great momentum heading into the final couple legs.
The bastard cheated on me again!
If it was dentistry, Nick could be a real star!
– Nick & Starr tell the cab they are done. So the cabbie takes off, right?
In Soviet Russia, “go away” means “stick around”.
– Nick groans when he sees the roadblock hint is “Who has a strong back?”
SHOPKEEPER: He’s not fit.
Heh. She just goes out of her way to criticize Nick’s fitness.
– Nick does two bags in his first trip. He is surprisingly strong. He keeps this up for his second trip, right?
NICK: Dallas could probably palm these.
STARR: If you need to take a break, take a break!
Kid, trust me. Don’t take a break!
– Dan talks about how the tortoise beats the hare and how he has been the tortoise the entire race. I think a tortoise’s marching skills is equivalent to Dan.
– Nick is done his final bag and completes the task. Him and Starr search for taxis. Multiple taxis reject them.
– Dan & Andrew show up. Dan is doing the Roadblock. He loves “caveman” tasks.
– Starr jumps out in front of a car trying to flag them down.
STARR: How do we get them to stop?
NICK: You wave them down politely.
– Nick and Starr have confessionals about Starr’s aggressiveness and impatience while Nick is calm, collected, and smart. Finally their weakness shows. They struggle some more.
– Dan is only doing one bag at a time.
DAN: This is the quickest anyone has done it.
Uh, Dallas and Kenny both did it twice as fast.
– Nick & Starr are still walking after Dan has made twenty-five freakin’ trips.
1 bag but studly.
– Dan brags how great he is at “neandrethal caveman tasks” and how manly it is.
– Nick & Starr have practically walked to Moscow by this point. Dan is exhausted and opens the clue. Nick & Starr have flagged a cab. Dan & Andrew now have a cab too. Dan & Andrew are happy they have their cab too.
– Nick & Starr’s taxi has stopped. Starr is freaking out. The driver repeats the name of the place on the clue. Wow. Nick & Starr could be last.
I believe this is the expression where you say “We need to find a pistol so we can play Russian Roulette if Dan & Andrew beat us”.
That driver looks so old he probably found the monastery.
– The driver exits to ask for directions.
STARR: What’s our freakin’ luck with these things?
You’re complaining about luck after winning four consecutive rounds on TAR? Wow.
STARR: My god what a pain in the ass.
Maybe you wouldn’t have such a pain in your ass if you would stop letting Dallas spank you at every pit stop!
– We head to commercial break.
– Nick & Starr have found a new taxi driver who seems to understand them conveniently after a commercial break.
– We cut to Dan & Andrew. For some reason, Dan brings up the fact that he was not a fan of buying the shoes. Although he didn’t really need to pay forty bucks for his own shoes just because Andrew was buying a pair. They have 120 bucks and feel they will be short after six hours of driving. Somehow they have avoided paying him the whole time. How convenient.
– Ken & Tina and Toni & Dallas both see the library which is described in the clue. For whatever reason they must head to the library before walking to the park.
STARR: You’ve said that a million times.
The shrugging of the shoulders tops it all off as if he has done his best to comfort this young American girl.
– DAN: This was a carefully planned out strategy so that we can have the greatest comeback ever.
– Starr thinks their luck has gone out the window. She is nervous now that they have driven over an hour. Clearly she doesn’t come from a city of ten million people.
– Ken & Tina run out. Tina wonders if they are even at the right gate and thinks ditching their cab driver may have been a mistake. We see Ken & Tina and Toni & Dallas running on the streets and into the park.
PHIL: Toni & Dallas. . .
TONI: Say it, Phil.
PHIL: Say what?
SAY WHAT AGAIN!
DALLAS: C’mon man, say we’re team number one.
PHIL: You really want me to say it? Then get on your knees and beg for it, you nancy boy mothaf—er. You’ll get that one eyebrow raise when you’ve f—ing well earned it.
Toni literally bites her tongue.
Okay, you’re team number one.
Ah. Finally official. For the first time in their lives, Dallas is the one covered in flour before they sit down to eat dinner.
FIRST: Toni & Dallas
– Phil tells them they have won a trip to a resort in the Dominican Republic.
Did you know that you pronounce ‘Dominican’ differently from ‘Dominica’?
TONI: It was all him today.
When you have to march, carry bags, and carry your backpacks, it’s a fairly easy round. It was entirely reliant upon cab drivers come to think of it.
PHIL: Mother and son. Team number one.
It is indeed a first.
Although this is the only other mother-son team we’ve had as reference in the franchise.
It’s surprising that the second mother-son team cast is actually a top competitor.
– Ken & Tina step onto the mat a second later.
SECOND: KEN & TINA
KEN: We’re coming back.
You won three rounds in a row at the beginning. How is only climbing back to second coming back?
Ken says at the beginning they were unhappy with each other. But now they feel they are stronger because they have calmed down. Apparently being unhappy worked seeing how they won rounds two, three, and four. Since then it has been poo-poo for rounds five, six, seven, and eight. Round nine is a happy medium.
– So it’s a cab race between Nick & Starr and Dan & Andrew. Dan & Andrew have yet to beat Nick & Starr all season long. The race has been building up to this moment. Starr keeps whining and freaking out at the cab driver.
NICK: Crying and freaking out isn’t going to help anything.
But sucking your thumb and staring into the distance with wide eyes will.
Do you bite your thumb at me, ma’am?
STARR: We’re totally lost and we’re not going to the right place.
NICK: You don’t know that and you don’t know that. And how is crying going to help either of those?
You may not be going to the right place, but Nick certainly put Starr in her place.
– Starr yells at the driver to stop. Nick advises her to relax. The cab ride is over. Nick calms the driver down and thanks him for putting up with Starr. Him and Starr begin running. The comeback won’t happen after all.
– Dan & Andrew’s cab ride is also over. Dan begins to pay the cab driver. The blunder hiss music plays. This can’t be good.
Possessions are fleeting.
They put their heads together to solve this problem. Maybe the cab driver knows someone in the mob and Dan can start doing odd jobs for them Grand Theft Auto style starting today.
You work for Fedor now.
– Starr insists they must run through the gate to get to the mat. Nick is flabbergasted because the clue contradicts what Starr is saying.
Thirty kilometres = why did you waste your money on shoes?
If the cameras weren’t on them, he wouldn’t hesitate to take out his pistol and shoot each of their legs and take their passport on his way out.
I feel bad for Dan. He is in so much despair as the driver doesn’t intend to budge an inch.
Much like Tina if she were a Russian taxi driver.
– Nick & Starr meanwhile are lost in the woods.
If only they could jump up onto Kenny’s shoulders to see over the fence.
– Dan offers up his shoes one hundred dollars American. He claims they are Italian.
Dan fires back at Mother Russia’s expenses by doing some inflation of his own–pricing forty dollar shoes at a gift shop at 250 percent inflation. The driver kicks back his shoes.
– Dan holds up his wallet. For a while. Every dollar he has.
You can tell how much the driver wants to burn Dan’s hands with his cigarette.
– The Cold War continues as Russia and America remain at a stalemate.
– Dan & Andrew run into the garden. Suspense builds even though we know who has to be third this round.
No upset here. Nick & Starr defeat Dan & Andrew for the ninth round in a row.
– Starr thinks she is last but Phil tells them they are third. Quietest celebration ever.
– LAST: DAN & ANDREW
PHIL: Dan & Andrew, you are the last team to arrive. I am sorry to tell you that you are still in the race.
He probably heard about all of their problems this round and know they are absolutely screwed given what is on the horizon.
At least they made it to the mat with shoes this time.
– Next round they shall encounter a Speed Bump. Andrew recaps all of the problems. No money and a Speed Bump for the next round. And this Speed Bump coming up will spell death for them.
Next Time on TAR: Dan struggles with some new moves during the Speed Bump. And during the race for the Final Three, one team loses their passport and all of their money.
P.S. Yep. The next Speed Bump is a dancing task. Speed Bumps typically take ten to fifteen minutes. Much like the marching task. But a dancing Speed Bump where no other options are available? Everyone thought Dan & Andrew would have the most humiliating exit of all time.
They are up against a team that has won five out of nine rounds, another that has won three out of nine rounds, and another team that just won this round as well as finishing in the top three almost all season long.
Dandrew’s best finish all season up to this point? Fourth. By finishing last this round they tied for their best finish all season. Everybody else has hundreds of dollars while they sit at zero and must dance to a judge’s satisfaction while everyone else skips that task.
I can assure you that everybody except super hardcore fans online thought Dan & Andrew had a 0.0001% chance of making it to the Final Three.
P.P.S. The passport blunder. I have to talk about this right now. This was indeed teased for the next episode. I remember this week clearly because the story was in mainstream headlines. There hadn’t been so much buzz about TAR all season but here it was–a team would do the unthinkable by losing their passport.
Trust me, this was a huge story leading up to when the next episode aired. Everybody was making a case online for why each of the four teams could lose it. Everyone was explaining their theories. People were convincing to the point that you thought all four teams would lose their passport.
Remember, this is a time when losing your passport had never happened before. Unlike by the time you get to TAR 21 where you expect it to happen at least once every two to four seasons.
As of TAR 13, thirteen seasons and seven years of the franchise had been played without the word “passport” ever being uttered in an episode.
I should note even before the season aired that Phil teased in the pre-season interviews that “the biggest blunder in TAR history occurs this season”. Once this preview aired everyone knew this is what Phil was talking about.
One of these four teams may blow a million dollars because they will make a mistake ten times worse than losing your shoes and filling up a diesel car with unleaded fuel in the same night: Losing the one piece of identification that is absolutely necessary to enter the United States and claim the million bucks as yours.
And unless you looked up spoilers, you refused that this could happen to anyone except Dan & Andrew.
Rank the Legs:
1) La Paz, Bolivia -> Tauranga, New Zealand
This was by far the greatest designed round from the first four episodes of the season. It wasn’t a five hour day once you entered the country like the first three rounds.
Teams started before dawn and didn’t finish until just before or just after dusk.
That made the round a big grind. Dandrew, Starr, Aja & Cabbie, and Marisa & Brooke all suffered from the attrition of the round. Heck, Starr was hysterical by the time she hit the pit stop with what she thought was a broken arm.
This was easily the toughest gnome finding task of the season. Teams appeared to take several minutes before spotting a gnome several blocks away. Remembering its location and figuring out how to get there once you left the rooftop seems much more difficult than simply searching for it in a hole or around a Lithuanian house.
The roadblock irked me because it took no longer than a minute total. Too bad Amanda & Chris weren’t around to take forty minutes. The only thing to make up for the task’s easy difficulty is that the Maori warriors intentionally messed with the minds of contestants.
I loved how Starr had to pay the price for what she did in the previous round and once again couldn’t get Kelly & Christy off their back. What’s even funnier is that Nick pretended to help them when really he wanted them to suffer. Then Kelly & Christy end up demolishing the task to make Nick’s diabolical plan blow up in his face.
Given that Detour tasks have seemed really easy thus far, it is no wonder why so many teams switched out from the kiwi crushing to the Blow Kart racing. I think Blow Kart racing was neat because I never knew vehicles like that existed in the first place. New Zealand is truly the capital of adventure sports.
Also, I enjoyed the task of undoing the Gordian Knot. No idea why it had to be done in New Zealand specifically but it was neat regardless.
And lol @ Kelly & Christy running up the entire summit for no reason.
All in all it was a fun round. Sadly the last fifteen minutes of airtime plays out really rushed when you watch it. You’ll notice the choppy commentary in my episode blog for this round but that is because we switched scenes every four seconds. No joke.
Plus. . .PHIL’S DAD!!!!!
2) Taurangua, New Zealand -> Siem Reap, Cambodia
I enjoyed it.
Okay. Going to a new country is always a ton of fun. You get to visit the most memorable and most unique places in that country when it makes its TAR debut. The floating island community is to this day recognized as one of the most intriguing places visited in TAR.
Oh, and freakin’ Angkor Wat. A modern wonder of the world for the past millennium. It’s right up there with TAR’s visit to The Sphinx. Actually, no. Sphinx and Pyramids were much more awesome.
Anyways, some of the tasks seemed to go by too quickly. The handpump task was just way too easy. . .unless you’re Dandrew.
It was one of those “will our boat break down or not?” leg designs. Luckily the teams weren’t bunched up. Seeing a team go home because a boat broke down seems dumber than a bad taxi because boat travel is a rarer form of transportation in TAR, and there is nothing you can do about faulty boats because you’re not even the one driving it.
Also, the diesel trucks traveling in an ultra linear fashion was also a matter of luck. You had to hope your driver wasn’t slow enough to be passed by other teams as they all traveled in a convoy to the harbour.
No equalizers! I love a round without equalizers. Even if it tragically comes at the expense of Aja & Cabbie.
Plus Kelly & Christy and Dandrew’s fight over “Who could make dumber errors” was a fun storyline that played out this round. Yet somehow neither were eliminated. Aja & Cabbie must have been hours and hours behind but yet it was still daylight. Seeing how teams landed by 705am, the round probably didn’t take more than seven hours total. That isn’t a whole lot.
3) Delhi, India -> Almaty, Kazakhstan bold
Heading into this re-watch I forgot everything about this round except for the Fast Forward blunder and the cow Detour.
And it’s not surprising because it occupies ninety percent of the episode. There wasn’t a single memorable landmark visited in Kazakhstan this round. In fact, can you think of a single memorable Kazakhstan landmark at all?
No, you can’t. That’s why TAR needed to find the strangest places possible to use for tasks.
Cow costumes, eating sheep’s butt, and hunting for golden eggs all contributed to a strange mixture of animal tasks for the round.
Also, the round can be forgettable if you’re not a Nick & Starr fan. Seeing them win a fourth consecutive round with ease probably doesn’t settle well with you. However, there was a bright spot as Toni & Dallas emerge simultaneously as allies and worthy opponents. But still. You hated they got the record, didn’t you?
Did Dandrew ever pick up their shoes? It’s left in the air as a cliff hanger. We saw how hopeless of a team they were as they finish next-to-last for an equally impressive streak compared to Nick & Starr at this point.
Lastly, Borat. This leg would not happen if it weren’t for the movie Borat. Editors included numerous obvious and subtle references to the controversial but ridiculously popular documentary throughout the season. The round would seem awfully lame if you knew nothing about Borat.
4) Salvador, Brazil -> Fortaleza, Brazil
Funniest round of TAR in a long time. Everyone delivered.
a) Tina’s sense of entitlement and telling everybody and their mother that they single-handedly increased the size of the plane even though it was really because Kevin Smith was on board
b) Terence being such a mixed bag of right and wrong and crybabyitis. This leg was all about Terence & Sarah from start to finish. He is simultaneously hated and loved by every team.
c) Kelly & Christy continue their quest of inspiring everyone on this season to make horribly dumb decisions. Oh, and did you know they are divorced?
d) Nick & Starr play such an antisocial game because Nick’s sphere of caring does not lie outside of Ken, Tina, and Starr. Also, forcing Starr to kiss seamen is downright amusing.
e) Anthomania. Anthony’s obsession with failed cars.
f) Marisa & Brooke pretty much acting like twelve year olds as they run through the race. I mean, handing out candy and squealing whenever they saw nudity on the beach.
g) The Detour was fairly creative. Even if one of the options was a mirror of a Detour from eight seasons earlier.
The only issue I had was the lacklustre roadblock. But seriously, the huge errors and personality quirks that the teams suffered from makes this an incredible episode from start to finish.
5) Delhi, India -> Two blocks down the street in Delhi, India
This round is well-constructed for being its own round, but is super forgettable.
It was ANOTHER India leg. The franchise’s tenth or eleventh in thirteen seasons. Not only that but it was ANOTHER Delhi leg. Two Delhi legs in a row.
Teams either traveled on foot or by taxi. No trains, planes, buses, boats, or ferries. The least amount of transportation required in TAR history.
No round before had relied only on taxis. Sadly this was only the beginning of the franchise’s budget cuts where rounds would be doubled up in the same city.
The Holi Festival was great because I hadn’t seen anything like it in TAR. Dozens of men throwing dye and water in everyone’s face, regardless if you were participating or not, was downright hilarious.
Kelly running twenty of twenty-one feet to the ladder only to run twenty feet back multiple times provided endless entertainment. Or Terence shoving civilians onto the ground? Then producing mucus for Sarah and the viewers after the task? Hilarious.
The Holy Water Speed Bump was pretty good because it was relevant to the everyday life of people I wouldn’t normally think about. Passing out Holy Water on a daily basis is a foreign concept to me.
The Detour seemed to take a total of fifteen to twenty minutes unless your names are Kelly & Christy or Dandrew. Searching number tags is a task you would expect after thirteen seasons while crushing peppers looked much more interesting.
Crushing peppers should have been a roadblock, now that I think about it. But then we would miss Kelly looking like a squirrel avoiding the crosshairs of a bow and arrow.
Ken & Tina catching up and securing fourth is how it should have been at this point in the season. It proves that bad taxis are pretty much the only reason why Kelly & Christy and Dandrew both beat them in the previous round.
Oh, and Nick & Starr winning a third leg in a row. . .eh.
6) Siem Reap, Cambodia -> Delhi, India
This round drops to #4 solely because of how many times TAR has visited India. In fact, they did multiple tasks in Delhi back in the inaugural TAR season. This would mark the tenth pit stop in India. Ten pit stops in thirteen seasons is ridiculous.
But the round itself was designed well. Ironing clothes and putting together a necklace full of rupees were two creative ideas. Spraypainting and newspapering an auto rickshaw was great too.
Plus the confusing streets were so confusing that most taxi drivers couldn’t handle driving around the nation’s capital. I bet there are places in India that you don’t visit as a taxi driver for several years because of the enormous population and side streets.
The culture shock of India is repetitive by this point in the TAR franchise, but it is always neat to see a clip of teams freaking out or potentially shutting down. These six teams handled themselves well.
One of two non-eliminations being used this round was a surprise for viewers. But what was an even bigger surprise is that Dan & Andrew weren’t the ones that finished in last place.
7) Los Angeles/Where else? -> Salvador, Brazil
The least memorable tasks in a premiere ever? I forgot about baristas, churches, military base, boats, and the descent.
Heck, the only memorable task before I watched this episode was Dandrew crawling up the steps, but that’s because Dandrew can make anything they do memorable. Even if they eat a bowl of Cheerios they would be more interesting than any other team doing anything except Anthony & Stephanie.
But seriously, Dandrew isn’t the only redeeming factor to balance out the uninspired and rehashed tasks this task. There was a lot of hilarious moments of foreshadowing and character interactions that are downright entertaining. In fact. that essentially takes over the episode.
Perhaps the reason why the competition aspect doesn’t engage us is because all eleven teams check in within a space of about eight minutes. It was far too chaotic for the viewer to follow. That’s what happens when the pit stop is barely a minute away from the end of the Detour. If I was an editor I’d have a tough time making it cohesive on screen.
Get used to appreciating the characters while they last. Anita & Arthur are a fitting first team to be eliminated and made enough of a contribution to the series.
Lastly, this episode receives a major positive boost because Anthony & Stephanie survived, and frankly back when this season originally aired in 2008, that is what we all only cared about.
8) Fortaleza, Brazil -> La Paz, Bolivia
(The round was too short. Seriously. We needed ten minutes spent on Sports Bra Gate. At the time it seemed relatively minor, but in the grand scheme of things we never knew it would forever change the series. After this season teams would no longer be able to mingle with each other at the pit stop.
It’s funny because Christy could have slammed a door too hard, or the wind could have picked up to blow away the sports bra. If Starr really did it, she should have her house egged for making pit stops seem extremely bland for these past five years and making teams estranged from one another.
Newspaper reading wasn’t original given that we saw it as a task just six episodes ago.
The Musical Marching seemed rather bland for a Detour option. I hated that the speed of the musicians was not a fixed speed and differed from crew to crew. They should have been forced to keep up with the speed of the teams.
I can see why Phil Keoghan and Bertram both hyped up the fast wooden bikes. That looked like by far one of the most dangerous tasks in TAR history. I was expecting a team to get med evac’d. Christy is very lucky to escape with a few scratches and bruises.
I am curious how much more exhausted Mark & Bill would have been if they stayed in the high altitude longer. Despite being given a drink to deal with the altitude, teams really had a tough time with being focused or handling the physical tasks.
The roadblock was neat. It is one of the few times where judging was objective. You either fit the criteria or you didn’t. The funny capes and costumes must have been a hoot to wear.
It is too bad that the round ended on a bummer of a note as Mark & Bill check in seventh but a time penalty allowed Fan Least Favourites Kelly & Christy to pass them.
Oh, and did we mention this is the round where Nick continues his quest to be the first edited sociopath in the history of TAR? Prepare to watch TAR’s equivalent to Lord Heidik continue to go through the race.
P.S. lol. Nobody used the U-Turn despite all of the hatred being present.)
9) Almaty, Kazakhstan -> Moscow, Russia
Yeah, there wasn’t much hesitation to put this episode at the bottom. If there was ever a bridge episode in a season of TAR, this would be it.
Moscow is nothing new for the TAR universe, and none of the locations wowed the viewer.
This round is hampered by the fact that ninety percent of people expected this to be a non-elimination leg, and thus you never felt like even if Nick & Starr came in last that they were truly vulnerable. It took too much of the excitement away from Toni & Dallas’ victory and break Nick & Starr’s huge four round streak.
I honestly forget about the Roadblock because it seemed to be a straightforward but not lethal ‘caveman’ Roadblock. Both Detour options seemed rather easy for three of the four teams.
The only reason this episode ranks as ‘good’ is because of Dan & Andrew. Starting the round with less clothes than the previous leg for the first time since the TAR 7-9 non-elimination penalty where Phil took all of your possessions, helped make Dan & Andrew’s race journey even more laughable.
Then there’s the fact they spent 160 bucks on shoes.
Then there’s the fact they gave up every dollar they had and sat on the side of the road until the taxi driver took the money and walked away.
Oh, and the marching. Dan’s experimentation with the military march is immortalized. Besides Tara & Wil’s last minute TAR 2 defeat, my brother’s girlfriend always brings up Dan’s marching.
Next round may have the almighty passport blunder to make TAR 13 memorable, but this round helps immortalize TAR 13 as a goofy season because of Dan’s marching alone.
Imagine if Dan had to do the line dancing Roadblock from TAR Canada? He would be taking the four hour penalty almost immediately.
Surprisingly, this round will not finish dead last in the rankings. That will belong to the final episode.