“He’s a Little Scared of Blogging Such a Terrible Season”
SWITZERLAND – GERMANY – AUSTRIA – ROMANIA – RUSSIA – INDIA – THAILAND – CHINA – USA
This blog is very telling of the direction that TAR wanted to go for the series.
“Is it dirty to use the U-Turn? No, because it stirs things up and we like it when teams stir things up. We are sad to see Kris & Jon go because we think they could stir things up down the road.”
When Dustin & Kandice use a Yield/U-Turn it is considered a dirty move but entertaining so they end up on All-Stars.
When Margie & Luke use a U-Turn it is considered “stirring things up” and “just playing the game within the confines of the rules” to be both entertaining and heroic. Oh, and being able to play two more times in five years.
What is funny is seeing people complain about the U-Turn because it is a lousy way to lose. Well, that may be true, but some of the biggest moments in the history of the show come from U-Turns and Yields since season five.
Yes. People have forgotten that backstabbing and screwing over other teams via something outside of the race course in the form of U-Turns or Yields have been in play since season five. The main reason why it had to be introduced is because the series was on hiatus for a year after season four as CBS pondered whether or not to cancel the series.
I would personally like to see the U-Turn on each leg of the race to keep things fair and strategic just like the Fast Forward instead of “we are at the bottom so let’s use it the first chance we get without thinking” mentality.
Although we have four or five Fast Forwards per season now thanks to the lazy version called the “Express Pass”.
With seven teams and three non-eliminations to go before the Final Three, I can assure you that everyone was assuming that this round would end with a non-elimination.
Previously on TAR: Eight teams raced from Bran, Romania to Kasnoyarsk, Siberia. At the Detour, brothers Mark & Michael met with disaster while Christie & Jodi and Kisha & Jen surged ahead, but it was the flight attendants who pulled out their first win.
Targeting Amanda & Kris as a threat, Margie & Luke hit them with a new twist–a Blind U-Turn that forced them to repeat the stacking Detour. Luke struggled at the Roadblock but eventually prevailed. In the end Amanda & Kris could not make up the time and finished last. And the audience was so distraught over it that they filed a petition with over a thousand signatures from Amanda & Kris’ family that they need a second shot in the near future.
Amanda & Kris. The biggest early upset to be eliminated since Anthony & Stephanie.
Coming Up Tonight: Tammy & Victor ditch their friends and cause an uproar.
Of course their friends are Jaime & Cara and Margie & Luke. We get an extended confessional from Margie.
Seriously, the season so far has been ninety percent about Margie & Luke, Tammy & Victor, and whoever gets eliminated that week. Jaime & Cara are extremely lucky that they always happen to be in their presence to get airtime by proxy.
– Intro time.
– Phil introduces us to Krasnoyarsk. Over a million miserably cold people live there. The pit stop is a theatre that was founded during World War II.
– Christie & Jodi who were the first to arrive will depart outside at 12:34pm. They read that they must take a Trans-Siberian train four hundred miles of frozen tundra to Novosibirsk, Russia. Once here they must take a taxi to the Punk Tehnicheskogo Osmotra where they will find their next clue.
It looks equally intimidating in Russian.
CHRISTINE: A place with that many consonants in it does not look warm.
Where the f— did she come up with that logic?! I have never heard of that rule in my life.
– Christie says their biggest strength is that they are the only team who work together on a daily basis. Jodi responds that the race is work rather than a vacation.
– Kisha & Jen check out at 12:36pm. In second place, no less. This is a reverse of the first four rounds of the season.
Jen sporting a Team Canada toque as just over a year to go before the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. Kisha is wearing the least useful headgear for winter weather ever.
– Jen thinks her and Kisha are quicker than all of the other teams. Their strategy is to stay with the pact so that they can guarantee they can outrun any team they see to the mat.
JEN: Let’s follow them.
KISHA: They don’t know where they are going.
JEN: It’s beautiful.
KISHA: Beautiful my ass.
Jen times it perfectly as they stand on the verge of a huge slush puddle as a car drives by and hoses them with it.
You just got Dandrew’d.
– Kisha & Jen and Christie & Jodi work together to walk to the Central Railway Station. Their train departs at 10:26pm. No wonder production made them leave at noon. I bet the previous train was 10:00am and they would have been on it if it was a twelve hour pit stop, but production do not intend to keep Kisha & Jen and Christie & Jodi as their stars through to the end of the race.
– So let’s watch the other five teams all make this train. It will be neat to see how far apart they all were at the end of the previous round. Who is next to depart?
So next to depart is–what? It is 10:20pm already? WE DO NOT GET TO SEE THE OTHER FIVE TEAMS DEPART?! Ugh. Is this TAR’s way of saying “We need to skip over everyone else to ensure we can show enough of Margie & Luke and Tammy & Victor! Oh, and maybe a bit of Mel & Mike, too!”
Well f— you Bertram. F— you.
MIKE: Let the first become last and let the last become first.
MEL: He is quoting the Bible! Thank God! It’s a miracle.
We rehearsed that before we were out here. Think that will get us the airtime? Now let’s talk to Margie & Luke to ensure Hollywood takes further notice of us.
– All of the teams complain about the windy cold weather. Margie sees the sleeper cars. Kisha likes the warmth inside of the train. Luke tells us that he has never been on a train before let alone one he has to sleep on overnight.
– Do you know how Siberian trains are not used to people from North America riding it?
When Kisha’s foot is hanging halfway off of the dang bed.
– She makes jokes about it but Jen does not laugh.
KISHA: I better not sit up fast in the middle of the night or it is over.
Never has a team member been under such an imminent threat of a concussion since Colin “accidentally” slammed Christie’s head onto a stove when they finished second at the finish line.
– Other teams are shown sleeping as country music straight out of Konami’s Sunset Riders is playing. However guess what the oldest racer this season is doing?
Just like my dad and any other person who is also a grandfather over the age of sixty, they stay up reading at one o’ clock in the morning.
– The moon is followed by the sun. We see the train continue to move. Margie brags about the sleep. Guess who is there to leech off of their airtime?
Rise and shine camera crew, Mike White knows how the game is being played in TAR 14!
– Mike tells Margie that he had an awful sleep last night. Even in Mike’s confessional we hear how tired he really is. I have never heard a team that drained during an interview.
Even he is less fatigued after running a marathon compared to Mike White at the moment.
Luke’s response to Mike’s lack of sleep.
Luke is confused by the sarcasm in Mike’s voice.
– Mike tells us that Margie & Luke were thought to be fodder at the beginning, but knows they are power players after what they did to Amanda & That Other Guy.
– Mike starts casting Luke’s new role in Hollywood.
– Margie is puzzled because she des not know what the word ‘sinister’ means. She laughs it off. Luke says that Kris was big and strong which is why they needed to be exterminated.
MIKE (to MARGIE): I will keep limpin so he does not need to U-Turn me.
I think your dad has it covered.
– VICTOR: I think allegiances are already falling.
TAMMY: Margie & Luke laid it out with the Blind U-Turn.
VICTOR: Every team knows they have to fight for themselves so it will be a mad dash to the next clue.
Margie & Luke, and Romeo must die.
If this were TAR 3, you could take this family picture with your Kodak Easyshare digital camera and send it to your parents.
– Huge orchestra plays as we are introduced to Novosibirsk.
Nothing like a good ol healthy winter smog in Novo.
Ms. Slippy’s palace is green.
– The train arrives. We see a couple odd shots of Kisha as her and Jen are first off the train. Kisha instructs to turn left. All other teams turn right. Jen tells Kisha that all other teams are heading right. Kisha sees a taxi pulling away. They decide to turn around.
– Jaime & Cara are first into a cab, but see Margie & Luke on the road in the process of getting one.
JAIME (keep motioning arm up and down): Stop, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop.
She is talking to the cab driver as if she is Jeff Probst speaking to Shannon Elkins at the Survivor Nicaragua reunion show.
Julia Roberts can get loud with taxi drivers too, what the f—.
– Mel & Mike find a taxi and are now in third. Tammy & Victor fourth. Christie & Jodi fifth. Mark & Michael eventually get into a taxi in sixth.
MICHAEL: We do know how to get hit by cars.
In Soviet Frogger, you run over car!
– Kisha & Jen are last/seventh into a taxi. Jen is annoyed because their strategy should always be to follow the pact. Because if you do not follow the pact you will lose.
All they need to do is pay money to a team to allow them to be tailed, and they will be copying the ultra super duper successful Andre & Damon Strategy!
Jen wants to do it, but Kisha just does not wanna listen.
– Julia Roberts provides sarcastic commentary about the taxi driver pulling out a cigarette and smoking as he drives. This is reminiscent of the previous season in Russia where drivers smoked as they drove.
JULIA ROBERTS: I think this is his way of relaxing after I screamed at him in English.
I think he just wants to look cool in front of Julia Roberts.
– It is a now a mega taxi race. Tammy & Victor pass Mel & Mike. Mel instructs the driver to follow Tammy & Victor.
– We are now at the route marker. Jaime & Cara are first ones there.
Least ideal place for a lemonade stand, lady.
– It is a Detour. Russian Bride or Russian Snow Plow.
We swear she is not the same pale skinned woman from the Japan Bride task in TAR 9.
One day we shall play Russian Roulette.
– In Russian Bride, they must pick a car with a four-speed manual transmission called a Lada. They will find a Soviet era apartment complex and search for one of the waiting brides. Once found they must drive her across town to a church where her groom is waiting.
And all of the Best Men happen to also be KGB agents.
– When the photographer snaps their picture, the crew will hand them their next clue.
– In Russian Snowplow, teams choose a Lada and drive themselves to a stadium downtown. They will each take a turn operating a “cumbersome” snowplow around
a training course to receive their next clue.
A cumbersome snowplow.
– Jaime & Cara and Margie & Luke both decide to drive the snowplows because Luke thinks the brides option would involve too many steps.
– Tammy & Victor are third to the box. Tammy asks Jaime & Cara and Margie & Luke what they are doing. They decide to tag along to do the snowplows.
TAMMY: We don’t have an alliance with any of the teams, but if we are in a position where we can work other teams for our benefit and make things easier, we will.
I think Tammy just read out a definition from the Darrahctionary. Saying you will not do something then describing that very thing in your very next statement since 2003.
– Mel & Mike are fourth. Mike always chooses whatever task he feels is more fun which is why he is partying with virgin brides rather than snowplows.
– Victor drives onto the road as he lays down rubber like a teen exiting an empty high school parking lot. Tammy tries to tell us that she would not do much better as Victor hits the brakes and sends everyone forward.
TAMMY: We do not break the Asian stereotype often.
Okay. I am amused.
– Margie & Luke and Jaime & Cara pull into a gas station. Tammy & Victor ask a random guy with spiky hair on the street for directions to Spartak.
Our featured local of the round.
TAMMY: Stadia Spartak.
Victor wants to drive away. Since Tammy never speaks up, he decides to do so.
Luke tries tapping on the back of the window to get their attention. Surprisingly, it fails.
The other two teams are confused until they put it together that Tammy & Victor ditched them.
– Margie does not break the woman driver stereotype as she is overly aggressive on the road and catches up with Victor. She pulls up directly behind Victor. Tammy runs out for directions. Victor watches Margie receive directions from a local in his side-view mirror. He calls out to Tammy that the local pointed in a specific direction. Margie honks at Tammy & Victor to stop.
Victor casually flips off Margie in the process.
Luke is ready to call up the Russian Mob.
Victor has the record for the world’s smallest tongue. He was better off holding up a colon and the letter ‘P’ for us to get the message. I guess the stereotype of Asians having small tongues is not defeated on TAR as well.
– Commercial break.
– We see Victor flip off Margie again.
– Christie & Jodi drag their luggage to the route marker.
Oppa Rob and Kelley Style!
– Michael is in the taxi saying he would hate driving in this town. Christie & Jodi pull out of the parking lot. Mark & Michael are sixth. Mark tries to start up the car but the dashboard is over his head. Michael pushes up Mark’s seat and they are off. Kisha & Jen are last to the route marker.
– Mel & Mike are at the apartment complex. They find it and enter the building. Their first attempt produces an empty apartment. Their second attempt is successful. Down the stairs and into the cab they go. They comment on her beauty.
– Victor struggles with driving a stick. Jaime & Cara pass him on the road. Margie has caught up too. They all enter the stadium simultaneously. Away into the snowplows they go. There are several vehicles but are different shapes. Victor is the first one to identify a snowplow while Jaime screams at random drivers at the stadium in English.
– TAMMY: A Mercedes Benz is the biggest vehicle I have ever driven.
Oh my. Something tells me that the Mercedes was an automatic, too.
– Tammy & Victor commence driving. Jaime is frustrated with nobody speaking English. Margie entered a random truck. Luke has to pull her out.
– Mel & Mike receive directions to the church. It is complicated.
– Christie & Jodi receive directions from locals who “reek of vodka” on the street.
The second round in a row where Russians invade Jodi’s personal space. Christie notices they are laughing and thinks they are being sent out of the way.
Needless to say Jodi looks more overwhelmed than a casting director in charge of putting together the all-stars for TAR 18.
– I never noticed this before but one of the guys flips off the camera!
A victory for Siberian tourism!
– Christie one-ups Jodi’s experience, though.
Which is strange because it is not like she was inviting him by running around downtown Novosibirsk in a thong.
– Mark & Michael talk about how they do not need any more brides because they are more technical than snowplows.
And the next ones in divorce court are. . .
– Victor succeeds the first time. He tries to coach Tammy by waving even though she is in a shut vehicle.
– Cara follows Jaime. Cara says Jaime will be fine but worries for herself because she can drive as long as there is no manual transmission involved.
God. Fourteen seasons and we still have to put up with teams who have not learned how to drive a manual transmission.
– Jaime is done. Cara’s turn. She even fails at getting inside of the snowplow. Luke tries to coach Margie who is driving crooked. Margie succeeds.
The snowplows seem to be quite easy if people who suck at driving are passing it with ease.
– Kisha & Jen have found a bride and retreat back to their Lada. Christie & Jodi see Kisha & Jen exit as they find a bride of their own.
– Victor proclaims him and Tammy will finish first. Tammy has indeed finished the task with what we assume is coaching by the snowplow operators that are all around them.
– Victor reads the clue that sounds like it has twenty syllables in there. All we can make out is ‘Bibliotekah’. Phil tells us it is the largest library in Siberia.
A name so long it finds its way into the blue highlighting.
– Tammy tells the instructor ‘placebo’ as they exit.
– Cara and Luke both have instructors over their shoulder as Margie and Jamie wave them on. Suddenly both are done. Dang that task was easy. They finish it simultaneously. Both teams move out together to find the library.
– Mark & Michael show up to the snowplow. I have a feeling their egos will be inflated by the completion of this task.
– Mel asks the bride if she likes his sunglasses. They show up to the church and marry her off to the KGB. They receive their clue.
– Christie & Jodi pull over for directions and ask a local to lead them there.
– Mark & Michael have completed the task in an uneventful fashion. Mark plays with his zipper. They say it was like a snap.
– Jen is struggling with operating the car. Kisha jokes around with the bride and laughs at her own joke. Yes, the Kisha Laugh.
– Christie & Jodi show up to the wrong church. The bride shakes her head right away because she probably hates the cold. Christie & Jodi find an information centre in the church. Apparently they need to head back to the centre of the city.
Everyone’s hands are red and cracked in Novosibirsk. No point spending a fortune on hand cream.
The bride prays for the groom who has waited outside for well over an hour.
– Margie & Luke spot the library. Luke writes a note that says ‘library’ and puts it on the back window for Jaime & Cara to read. Tammy & Victor see Margie & Luke and Jaime & Cara running on the road. They all find the clue at pretty much the same time.
– It is a Roadblock. Phil tells us that the racers will participate in a marathon that only the brave people of Novosibirsk do.
I don’t get it. What’s so special?
– That person must do a ten minute mandatory warm-up with two professional runners. Afterwards they will head out into the cold in their underwear and do a 1.4 mile run to the Novosibirsk Theatre where their partner is waiting. This theatre also happens to be the pit stop of this leg of the race. The last team to check in here will probably not be eliminated.
Phil puts his clothes on in a rather speedy fashion.
– ROADBLOCK HINT: Who has stamina and absolutely no shame?
– Luke, Tammy, and Cara are doing the Roadblock.
– VICTOR: I was jealous because I really did want to run around Russia in my underwear.
Remember how I said Victor is not relateable?
Get him off my screen.
– So what is the temperature?
That’s it?! That is what it is in my town all of this week here on the week of November 20th. And this is the Canadian desert–the warmest part of the country! Three below? Geez, I have had to do gym class in nothing but T-shirt and shorts in far colder weather than that.
– Your eyes shall be blinded by these screen caps.
MARGIE: We would have had to forfeit the race if I had to do this.
(LUKE shoves MARGIE in confessional.)
MARGIE: Russia is not ready for that.
If I went on the race with my own fifty-year-old mother, and she had to do this task, I would have quit the race too.
– There is a lot you can tell about a person by their choice of undergarments.
Cara is sporting a blue top and leopard print panties stolen from RC in Survivor: Philippines.
The extent of RC’s recognition in this blog.
Tammy has chosen a blue top with sky blue bottoms. Not the most flattering of choices.
In the corniest move by editors ever, we see a police car in front of Tammy where they add in the sound effect of sirens wailing.
The episode would be changed to a 14A rating if the windshield wipers shot wiper fluid onto the front window of the car.
Luckily Jaime Roberts did not do this task. Considering Jaime is a Playboy model, she would have probably done this task with no clothes at all.
And since when did Cara’s bottoms turn green? Poor visual quality by editors, I guess.
– Tammy runs past Cara because Cara begins walking immediately. Apparently she runs better with all of her clothes and a twenty pound backpack on.
– We hear whistling and random close-ups of the Siberian Perverts on the street.
All perverts can be identified by a mole, says Kelly & Jon.
CARA: At first I was disappointed because just as these people were laughing at me, I was hoping someone would hoot and holler a little to pump me up.
Take note, folks: A woman likes it when you hoot and holler at her publicly when she is running in the street because of her looks.
– A man started hitting on her on the street and decided that gave her enough attention, thus she started running again.
Jamie would run in the streets in her underwear too but, you know, that cross on her neck indicates she has boundaries.
Unless you paid her to do it, of course.
– Mel & Mike are driving on the road.
Is that really helping? Or are you checking to see if your drool on the paper will turn into an icicle if left outside?
– MEL: I would not get across this town with four people and a guide dog.
So why is he not driving instead of the navigation?!
– Mike decides he has stamina and no shape.
Mel spares us of the most wrinkle-filled visuals since the ditch vault Roadblock in TAR 12.
– Michael feels “really good right now”. Mark rambles on about how his beard is making him look like one of the locals.
MICHAEL: Mark the Chameleon.
MARK: Mark Chapovskysnipatch.
Mark & Michael are consistently the worst joke tellers I have ever seen on TAR. I think they are competing with Gretchen’s “And that isn’t President Bush either” line in TAR 7.
Just look at the past few episode blogs. They go for lines that they find funny but absolutely no one at home is laughing.
– Mark & Michael park at the library. Mark is doing the Roadblock. We check in on Mike’s stretching session.
That would have been a brutal stretch for Mel.
Although I am not sure where the butt rape stretch fits into the program.
It is like the ghost from Luigi’s Mansion mini game in Nintendo Land.
– Kisha & Jen have found the right church.
JEN: How sure are you?
KISHA: I am ninety-nine point nine nine nine percent shor.
JEN: So there is a point zero zero zero one percent chance that you get you ass kicked?
Sounds about right.
– Christie & Jodi find the church last as they receive their clue.
JODI: I hope it’s not Drive.
Where to begin with this picture?
– Rocky up the stairs music plays.
LUKE: I just kept looking down and running to avoid eye contact with anyone because I was embarrassed.
Luke has chosen the traditional dark boxer briefs as most males do in their early 20s.
Luke has never looked so humiliated in his life.
And nothing is better than your mom being the one hooting and hollering at you on the road.
C’mon Logan. I think you are really missing what’s important here.
– Jaime and Victor meet up with them. Victor jokes around with Jaime about ditching them. He said that Jaime beat them anyway. Jaime acknowledges that Tammy & Victor will do their own thing when necessary. So no harsh feelings there.
Look closely and you will see that both figures in this statue are in their underpants.
Luke crosses the finish line to win the first ever The Amazing Race Siberian Race to the Theatre!
– They run up the steps into the theatre and onto the mat.
They would have loved this round.
– Want to see the pit stop greeter?
“Welcome to Novosibirsk. . .is this thing on?”
Luckily there is a close-up. I wonder if the thirty dancers behind her are jealous that she gets the spotlight?
And look at that, Tony Danza is finally on The Amazing Race!
– But where is Phil?
– I should note that last round was the first round where the greeter never stood alongside Phil, AND it was the first pit stop to be indoors. This is the second round ever to do these two things as well.
– But seriously, where is Phil?
Searching for a clue in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium is easier than identifying Phil in the seats.
Wow. He is stuck in a square where barely three people can stand? I hope there is not a foot race to the mat! Somebody could end up running into the corner of one of the bleachers.
FIRST: MARGIE & LUKE ^ up 3 from last week
Luke communicates to Phil in sign language that he will murder him if he won a round in his underpants without receiving a worthwhile prize.
– Phil says they have won a trip to Saint Lucia. A place where taking off your shirt is appropriate. Luke is confident he can win the race after winning two of five rounds.
– Tammy finishes the race. Jaime asks where Cara is on the route. Tammy informs her that she is walking.
SECOND: TAMMY & VICTOR ^ 1 from last week
– Victor rambles about how amazing it is to walk in and see ballet dancers.
THIRD: JAIME & CARA ^ 2 from last week
– Mike shows us his proper footwear for the run.
Soviet running shoes.
Which was made in 1944 and is made of skunk fur that is anti-resistant to the cold, provides warmth, and will help you look good longer.
– Mark is dressing up in the warmest boxer shorts I have ever seen.
And the best part about it is that they are a size small.
– Christie & Jodi say it is counter-productive to scream at each other. We hear screeching as Jen tries to turn onto different streets due to the icy roads. Christie offers a taxi driver to pay him if they can lead her and Jodi there. I thought this was banned after TAR All-Stars.
– Jen finds the roads to be chaotic as a car cuts her off and gets honked at. She holds up the road as she stalls in the middle of a road.
There was nothing in the rules about needing to learn how to drive a stick shift.
Jen freakin’ can’t drive a stick!
– Commercial break.
– Kisha tells Jen that she thinks she is releasing the clutch too fast. She turns out to be right. Jen resumes driving on the road again. Apparently it is all good in the hood.
– Mel and Michael joke about Mike and Mark running on the streets. A record scratch when a woman checks out Mike. Mark thinks he is making up a lot of time.
– The runners randomly cheer as they wait with Mark. Both teams enter the theatre.
FOURTH: MEL & MIKE ^ 2 from last week
– Mark & Michael enter the hall.
All Mark has to do is tilt his head slightly to the left and he will see Phil.
That does not work.
Phil resorts to waving.
Phil starts snapping like he is in Rockapella.
Pssst, waving, and snapping all fail. Mark & Michael are halfway into bleachers.
– Phil now resorts to whistling. This is the first time we have seen Phil snap or whistle in TAR.
Did we cast a blind team as well as a deaf team this season?
– Mark hears Phil and calls Michael up to the mat.
MARK: Mike, look who’s here! That was fun!
FIFTH: MARK & MICHAEL ^ 2 from last week
Why did Phil help them out but not us?
– Kisha & Jen show up to the Roadblock. Jen is doing it. Turns out she is not wearing underwear. Well that’s a way for the world to find you go commando.
Jen checks out these things called “undergarments”. She never knew there is something that goes beneath your pants.
– Christie & Jodi show up last to the Roadblock after Christie accidentally slams the door into Jodi’s finger. It is unknown if the finger is numb from the cold or numb from the slam.
JODI: Who has stamina and no shame. You.
I am not sure if Christie should be complimented or offended.
Christie may have been better off going Jen’s route.
I see Christie has been purchasing undergarments from the Amanda Kimmel fashion line.
– Look who is sitting at home watching TAR for the first time.
Sisqo has been watching The Amazing Race religiously ever since. Why, he rides the Trans-Siberian train every year!
Cue the one-handed cartwheels on the beach!
– Lots of honking. Jen is pixellated too. She is not embarrassed one bit. More honking from the street.
CHRISTIE: My dad is gonna die. I knew it would be bare minimum, I just didn’t know it would be my bare minimum.
– Meanwhile we see Jodi’s finger receive medical attention.
You cannot show a booty in a thong on TV, but you can show a broken pinky finger spitting out blood! Gotta love American television!
– Suspense builds. Will the WNBA athlete preserve her lead over a middle-aged flight attendant?
– Yeah. No real suspense.
SIXTH: KISHA & JEN v down 4 from last week
– Christie & Jodi enter the building.
LAST: CHRISTIE & JODI v 6 from last week
– They are saved by the fact that it is a pre-determined non-elimination round. However, next round is a Speed Bump. Luckily they do not have to hand over all of their possessions except for the clothes on their back. . .because, well, Christie wouldnot have much.
– Phil does not even comment on Christie’s bottom being wrapped in a blue sheet. He just says that teams can go from first to last easily. Christie thinks they do better on the bottom. Jodi feels they have been the underdogs since the beginning.
Next Time on TAR: Luke gets emotional over the poverty in India. And teams experience the chaos of the culture.
Suddenly Mel’s groin injury does not seem so bad.
RANK THE LEGS:
1) Los Alamitos, California -> Stechelberg, Switzerland
I give kudos to production for allowing their thrill-seeking task to be out of the way early. Doing the second highest bungee jump in the world is certainly no small feat. Believe it or not this was the second bungee jump they have done in Switzerland.
This really needed to be a longer premiere. It truly is a shame that we could not see the first scramble to the airport nor seeing teams interact with each other before the lying and deceiving would begin. Seeing teams have fun before flying to the first route marker is one of my favourite parts to each season.
There was no Detour because production wanted teams to carry cheese down a steep hill instead. Production knew they had struck gold because this had one of the most screen cap intensive scenes in the history of my blog. There is something about people falling on their butt, scooting on their butt, and rogue wheels of cheese crashing through Swiss houses that led to lots of laughter.
Overall, this was a very solid leg, and will probably be my favourite by TAR 14 standards.
2) Bran, Romania -> Krasnoyarsk, Russia
A battle for flights at the beginning was great. Four flight paths for eight teams? You do not see that happen too often.
But that collapsed when all teams were connecting on the same Moscow flight. However, for a relatively unexplained reason, teams were split between two Moscow airports to head to Krasnoyarsk. I think half of the teams were dropped off at the domestic airport while the other half were at the international airport.
The time difference was roughly four hours between flights. The equalizer at the dam was reasonable because it opened at 8:30am and stayed open relatively late.
Anyways, I loved the wood stacking and window constructing Detour. It is a Detour that could be used in Siberia or northern Canada. Both tasks appeared rather difficult. The falling stacks of wood was rather amusing.
The group of people at the Detour camping out as they eat strange food and laughing at the falling stacks as well as the drunken lady who was dancing and singing the whole time. I have never seen people so energetic in the morning.
The Roadblock added an extra layer to what was becoming a tired task. They have used multiple bobsled runs in the past where all they had to do was complete it under a specific time limit. The addition of coming up with a Russian last name that does not require you to know his name, and instead use logical reasoning, was a refreshing change to the task.
The introduction of the Blind U-Turn is a change I do not particularly mind. Whether it is a Blind U-Turn or have its senses fully functional does not matter much to me. However I do not understand why its use had to be hyped up at the start of the episode.
The only con to the episode was how much airtime Margie & Luke received, but I guess that is expected from a team that production wanted to be the first three-timers in TAR history.
And the round in Siberia proved that it is drastically different from the previous four Russian rounds in TAR where they spent it in major cities west of the Urals.
3) Salzburg, Austria -> Bran, Romania
Gymnastics. Loading up a gypsy cart. Minimal equalizers. A quote from Young Frankenstein. Running aimlessly through the woods. A new country. Scrambling for the best flights.
These are all makings of a great round of TAR. In fact I would have ranked this as the best round of the season by far because this is the only new country of the season and the tasks were great.
But then it had to be ruined by showing Tammy & Victor for the majority of the episode! Just look at the confessional counts of the episode. For once Margie & Luke were pushed to the side in favour of Tammy & Victor of all people. We saw a minimum of a five minute breakdown of each of their tasks.
Production is trying way too hard to make us like Tammy & Victor. It is not like they were hidden in the first two episodes either. Why keep showing us a team that mildly annoys us and has a personality that is impossible for the viewers to identify with as they watch?
To make things worse, the only team other than Brad & Victoria to be shown was. . .virtually no one. We had the first Jaime blow-up, a bit of Kris & Jon because of their blunder, and Mel & Mike’s victory.
But other than that it is impossible to think of a single thing that the other teams did. It was entirely from the perspective of Brad & Victoria and Tammy & Victor.
Ugh. They ruined the best round of the race by doing this. Now it is an episode that many TAR viewers have forgotten because Tammy & Victor are people you try your absolute best to forget!
4) Krasnoyarsk, Russia -> Novosibirsk, Russia
The underwear run should have been longer and more gruelling. No navigation to the pit stop was a bit annoying (unless you were Mark & Michael).
Too much focus on Luke and Victor yet freakin’ again.
Not seeing teams check out of the pit stop annoyed me.
The snowplows were far easier than the bride task. Like people who never drive cars were completing the snowplows on their first try.
The only thing that saves this round is that teams had to drive themselves to a couple of route markers using the Lada and struggling with a stick shift. It shocks me that there will always be players who do not learn how to drive a stick upon entering the race!
And another indoor pit stop at a theatre two rounds in a row was repetitive. These two rounds have been molded into one in my memory for the past five years. I thought the last round was going to be underwear running and the bobsled Chekhov puzzle, but realized that those were both Roadblocks.
Two rounds in a row in not only the same country, but also the same climate, and also using identical locations for the pit stop really drags down this episode.
Oh, and it was a non-elimination.
5) Stechelberg, Switzerland -> Salzburg, Austria
The round was constructed with zero equalizers. I do not understand why we needed a two minute dedication to Margie & Luke at the start of the episode, but for some reason it was there.
The Roadblock was your usual paragliding task, but seeing it reduced to a one hour jog down the mountain made for some boring television to the point that production did not include any of it except for Linda’s wrong turn on TV.
We saw the growing gap between Kisha & Jen. Seeing Jen’s increasing levels of frustration with Kisha’s older siblingitis was fun to watch.
Watching Mel narrate ten minutes of the episode was annoying because you knew that he is only narrating due to the minor celebrity status of himself and Mike. The part where Mike tries to scale the gate was definitely worthy of being on TV as Phil looks on trying not to laugh.
Pie throwing acting as a needle in the haystack task was boring. The Segway obstacle course was overly linear and straightforward to the point that barely any of the footage made it on TV.
Seeing the woodcutters was neat. The pit stop location was gorgeous.
Mark & Michael being idiots by not asking for a cell phone inside the cab was amusing.
Then watching Steve & Linda’s interactions for the whole round was definitely the meat and potatoes of the episode. Linda’s performance in these two rounds qualifies her as one of the worst racers in terms of ability to appear in the show’s history. Wonderful people, but Steve & Linda were not built for TAR.
The only person with worse abilities than Linda are the abilities of the casting director for TAR 18.
The trend of seasons that visit Europe are weak overall does not slow down thanks to the kajillionth trip to Germany and Austria.
P.S. When this episode aired on TV I was quite sleepy. Rewatching it today and that has not changed.
P.P.S. What was up with the one minute dedication to Margie & Luke between the ‘Previously On’ and Intro segments? Ridiculous.