The Amazing Race 14 episode 9 ranking

Ninth episode

“Logan Will Cry Himself to Death if Tammy & Victor Win”

SWITZERLAND – GERMANY – AUSTRIA – ROMANIA – RUSSIA – INDIA – THAILAND – CHINA – USA

NOTE: I have told you many times before that the ending to TAR 14 led to my disappearing act from The Amazing Race universe until TAR 19 aired on TV. So what was the beginning of the end for Logan’s seven years of loving TAR?

This episode. Before I have said that the hay bales episode in episode three of TAR 6 is my least favourite of all-time. If I base it off of memory, this one takes the cake. It is the most un-TAR-like episode ever.

a) This starts the only consecutive three-round trip through the same country. It never happens again where TAR plays out three straight rounds of a season in the same country. The move was made because TAR 14 filmed right after the conclusion of the biggest Olympics since the fall of the USSR–the Beijing Olympics.

The 2008 Beijing Olympics were a big deal at the time. China hosting the Olympics? What about the controversy surrounding pollution and human rights? And the extravagant Opening Ceremonies? Will international powers all get along inside of China?

Well, the Beijing Olympics were an enormous success. Vancouver, London, and soon to be Sochi, all have been viewed as being far weaker than Beijing.

mario sonic

Heck, Mario & Sonic even got in on the hype surrounding Beijing.

So TAR decided to have two rounds in Beijing. But for some reason they wanted to warm up to Beijing by having a round in a different Chinese city beforehand. I honestly cannot remember which city because it really is that insignificant.

Three rounds in China following two rounds in Russia, two rounds in Thailand, and one round in India made this season have one of the least exciting routes ever.

bart the bear 3

Excluding the season where Bart the Bear was a route marker.

b) The biggest mat meltdown of all-time that Phil had been teasing in the pre-season press release occurs in this episode.

It is a meltdown that nauseates the audience. Nobody really remembers that meltdown anymore because it was not only uncomfortable but was just not entertaining for the audience. It did not quite live up to the hype that Phil had been teasing for two months.

All it did was make you hate all of the teams that still remain.

c) The round leads you to hating all four of the remaining teams unless you are a Margie & Luke fan. I cannot emphasize that this was probably the least popular group entering a season finale since TAR 6.

Yep. You had people who liked Margie & Luke and then. . .nobody who was a fan of anyone else.

Tammy & Victor, despite shown heavily all season, were not too enduring for the audience.

Kisha & Jen’s reputation dropped after their mistakes from round eight and the fight they get into Margie & Luke this round.

Yeah, Kisha & Jen are not really at fault here, but you would have a tough time finding people who were rooting for them after this episode.

Jaime & Cara? They have not been shown much, and when they are they (mainly Jaime) are yelling at locals for not speaking English. Even though Jaime is self-aware and jokes about her yelling at locals, it did not really help her popularity.

And probably never will. It is really the only bad thing Jaime & Cara do all season, but yelling at locals is a big no-no if you want to be in the audience’s good graces.

d) TAR’s ugliest incident in terms of accusations of rigging.

TAR is governed by gaming laws. Moreso than Big Brother and Survivor.

Big Brother is classified as a non-scripted soap opera. This means production is allowed to do anything it wants at anytime. A Final Four at the end, triple POV, Pandora’s Boxes, viewer votes, players vote, production votes, it does not matter. Production has free reign to keep the game as exciting as possible from week to week.

Survivor is somewhat governed by gaming rules. It cannot directly manipulate the game, but it has to prove that most of its twists and all of its challenges are set in stone beforehand. Probst can suggest players to do certain things or manipulate them to think in a specific way, but overall, they cannot directly change the outcome of the game. It is far more subtle and the series typically relies on post-production editing to make it exciting for viewers.

The Amazing Race is strict. All of its contestants, routes, and its couple of twists must be locked in and approved beforehand. Only Mother Nature is allowed to intervene during the game and force producers to use a back-up plan already in place.

In fact, the route must be locked in -before- they start casting.

And there you have the only way production can influence the outcome of the game.

Think about it. You have a route locked in. Rounds nine, ten, and eleven are in China. Afterwards you begin casting and choose a team that is from China and fluently speaks the local language?

Hmmmmm, I wonder how on Earth anyone could possibly get an advantage?

That’s right. Tammy & Victor are Chinese, speak the language, and suddenly find themselves in a three-round span with a huge advantage that was determined beforehand.

TAR producers found the lone loophole where they can determine the outcome–by casting a specific team based on the route that has been locked in beforehand. That way all you can say is this:

“How can you accuse us of rigging this season? I mean, we did plan this route beforehand so everything is fair!”

I think there was enough of an outcry that TAR never bothered to attempt something like this again. Nor did they ever really need to do so.

http://popwatch.ew.com/2009/04/13/amazing-race/

Oh yeah. Phil’s weekly blog. I have never seen The Crying Game.

I do like his digs at Mark & Michael in this blog and how producers joked about Mark & Michael thinking or having experience with everything.

coach hair

But not as much life experience as him.

This is one of Phil’s best blogs as he addresses how quick Margie was with the tasks, the panic production had when the streets flooded but were told it is a daily occurrence, and addressing just how long it took to travel by boat compared to driving through the streets.

Then he rambles on about his cycling crap again. Oh well. Good while it lasted.

COMMENT FROM JJ66: Rules are rules, but I question the morality behind Kisha & Jen not paying for a taxi ride and not receiving a penalty, versus Mark and Michael who actually paid for their ride in cash and personal goods. Maybe I missed something in the editing, but last night’s outcome doesn’t seem fair to me. Ultimately J & K’s taxi driver did agree to give them a ride for free — but it just seems wrong to take advantage of a poor cabbie that way. M & M can keep their heads high — at the end of it all, they did the right thing.

JJ66, you’re right. You can beg for rides for free, but paying taxis with goodies is immoral. Production differentiates between the two. . .somehow. If you have nothing you can ride for nothing, but the same does not apply when you are withholding funds and using your own personal possessions had before the race.

COMMENT FROM AA: I’m no fan of the stuntmen, but the four hour penalty does seem harsh. What about Dandrew peddling their sneakers to a Russian cabbie last year? Only if you’re cabbie is a sucker are you penalizd? (Sorry for the questions–thanks for the blogging while you’re riding! Keep your spirits up!)

Because Dandrew paid for the shoes with their own race money.

michael skupin research
AA. . .

michael skupin research 2

Do your research.

COMMENT FROM DG: I would think some form of barter should be allowable.what would happen if a team with no money found themselves stranded with no ability to even get to the pit stop or worse threatened and/or involved with law enforcement for not being able to pay with cash only and yes the free cab rides create the implication of a double standard.If nothing else I think teams should carry money unless the show intends to give them enough for all possible circumstances.Otherwise some short changed cab driver in a country where they aren’t very nice is gonna do something bad to a team.

We thought things should be allowable too, but then we realized how stupid that word sounds.

COMMENT FROM QUINCY: No explanation for that three-hour difference between the first team starting the leg and the second/third teams? Didn’t the brothers have a 60-minute delay last week? How does that odd up into 3 hours? This is fishy, Phil!

It is like production edited the previous week’s outcome closer than it appeared on television. You’re right. It is odd.

COMMENT FROM ALLIE: I believe that the reason Mark and Mike got a penalty for bartering their things and the team last season did not is that last season’t team bartered shoes that had been bought with TAR money. Basically, if they could barter their own belongings it would make the race unfair. Teams would just bring from home anything they thought would have market value. It’s the same principle as not being able to bring your own money. Can’t wait for mat-meltdown ’09 (or was this still ’08?)! Should be great!

Wow. Good job, Allie. That is a sound explanation.

COMMENT FROM DENICE: I think that TAR is displaying Margie and Luke in a better light than the rest of the teams because of Luke’s handicap. While Luke is to be commended for his efforts, his spirit and mannerism is manipulative, conniving and sneaky. Jen, Kisha, Victor and Tammy (also Mike and Mel –sorry to see them go) are all participants; but neither of them have stooped to under-handiness. Margie and Luke lost my vote after the first episode. If Jen and Kisha were to be penalized, then there are certainly other teams in prior episodes who deserves the same for their failure to complete the challenges correctly.

I cannot even remember what sneaky or manipulative things that Luke did in the first episode.

COMMENT FROM DAVEJ: The reason we as viewers don’t trust what you say about time or how long something takes (as in the case of Margie’s heat exhaustion) is because you guys don’t show us a clock. The only way we find out exactly how close the race was is based on the departure times for teams at the beginning of the next episode.
I would love to see a clock during the show to know where each team is at during the race. I doubt your producers would allow that.

Farewell, Suspense.

Previously on TAR: Five teams flew from Phuket, Thailand to the capital city of Bangkok. Teams karaoked with the locals. Mark & Michael and Kisha & Jen both made a costly mistake. Margie showed off her mechanical skills at the Roadblock then took the charge at the Detour which resulted in their third first place finish. Mark & Michael continued to break rules of the race. This time incurring a four hour penalty, but were spared elimination.

Coming Up Tonight: The race heats up as Jen and Luke face off leading to the most memorable pit stop ever.

– Intro time. God this episode is giving me horrible flashbacks.

– Apparently Bangkok is described as the “Venice of the East”. Minus the pigeon poop.

– Phil refuses to ask questions all season long. This round is no exception.

– Margie & Luke, who arrived first at an undisclosed time, will depart at 9:36am. Margie reads they must fly to Guilin, China.

Yeah, I have never heard of that city either.

– Once in Guilin, they will take a taxi to Qing Xiu Lu and find the hair salon to receive their next clue.

– Margie borrows the cab driver’s cell phone to book flights. Luke says it is great that they are in countries where nobody speaks English, and thus puts themselves on a level playing field with Luke.

guilin tammy victor

Unless you are Tammy & Victor who speak fluent Mandarin.

– Nobody answers. Margie decides they will book with a travel agent at the airport.

– They are at the airport. That lead must be huge given Margie did every task in five minutes or less last round. They will fly to Guangzhou (I think that is the Bureau Capital–shirt and sock factories are everywhere). From Guangzhou they will head to Guilin at 8:30pm.

In other words, Mark & Michael will likely catch up.

– But the flight leaves in an hour. Who knows how many more opportunities they will have to fly from Bangkok to Guangzhou before 8:30pm, though.

– Jaime & Cara depart at 10:30am. Jaime says the only thing she knows about China is that it is not very populated. Which is not good for me.

That is really troubling!
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How can she not know anything more about China? *shudder*

CARA: It would really help if we did not yell at taxi drivers. If it were up to me we would have a calm tone. But then production told us that would make us too boring given how little airtime we have as it is.

CARA: I do not get in the middle of it because it will drive her to be even more upset.

Jaime’s reaction?

guilin jaime cara

Evil little grin matched with little look of terror.

– Tammy & Victor begin at 10:40am.

TAMMY: Guilin! I went there for Spring Break two years ago.

– And then it begins the China rant.

VICTOR: We’re excited!
TAMMY: We’re Chinese! I’ve been there (Guilin).

Get used to it. Each time they say they are Chinese I will break out Monica & Sheree to reinforce how repetitive this gets by the finale.

monica sheree leg 4

Because we are married to Chinese athletes. . .

– Jaime & Cara purchase tickets for a later flight to Guangzhou, but are on the 8:30pm to Guilin.

guilin agent

Agent wonders why there is a camera behind the desk.

– Margie & Luke’s flight takes off.

– Tammy & Victor purchase tickets with Kenyan Airlines at 1:15pm to Guangzhou. They are also on the 8:30pm flight to Guilin.

– 12:43pm. Big gaps between teams this round. Kisha & Jen enter a cab. Jen mimes a cell phone.

guilin kisha jen

JEN: Mobile?
DRIVER: . . .

She switches hands which is so much more helpful.

guilin kisha jen 2

“Telefono?”

– The driver shakes his head. The only guy in all of Southeast Asia who does not own a cell phone. How unlucky.

Oddly enough, the end of 2008 is when I received my first cell phone ever.

– JEN: We are now at nine legs and down to five teams. That is when the competitive spirit comes out in me.

guilin jen

That is the most specific criteria for a competitive spirit to emerge that I have ever heard.

JEN: If I see a team in front of me, that is when I knock em over.

Oooooooo. Foreshadowing.

JEN: We got a little bit of a cushion knowing Mark & Micky are behind us.

bangkok michael 2

His nickname goes from Tweetledumb to Mickey? Michael really has been belittled all season.

– For some reason we see a lone man emerge out of an airplane.

guilin man

B-Roll powers, activate!

– Tammy & Victor recap that Jaime & Cara are on the flight with them. It heads out of Bangkok.

– Kisha & Jen show up to the airport. They will take a flight that departs to Guangzhou at 3:20pm but does not head to Guilin until 9:10pm.

Seeing that 12:43pm was Kisha & Jen’s pit start time, Mark & Michael have zero chance of making this flight. They are in huge trouble right now.

– The plane takes off as Margie & Luke’s lands in Guangzhou. Margie thinks the other teams will catch up.

– Mark & Michael all alone at 4:08pm.

guilin mark michael

You will receive a two hour penalty if you beat Margie & Luke. You will receive a two hour penalty if you finish worse than Tammy & Victor. You will receive a 67 minute penalty if you do not hire a cab driver named “Charlie”. You will receive a seven hour penalty if you read Logan’s blog. You will receive a twenty-seven second penalty if you vote out Boston Rob at the first Tribal Council of Survivor: Redemption Island. If you fail to announce you will do the hula at the start of round eleven, you will receive a forty-seven minute and twenty-three second penalty. Penalties three, seven, eight will be assessed at the end of this round. All other penalties will be assessed at the start of the following round.

– Mark & Michael hail a cab. They recap the long list of penalties. We see them purchase tickets to Guangzhou. A 6:10pm flight to Guangzhou is theirs. It is unknown when they will head to Guilin.

– The first two planes land. Cara tells us the flight to Guilin is on Southern Airlines. Tammy announces that the flight is delayed. The three teams all stand together. The third flight lands. It is 8:50pm. You know how Kisha & Jen were on a 9:10pm connecting flight as opposed to the 8:30pm flight that the first three teams are on?

guilin flight

guilin flight 2

romania kisha jen

Ha ha!

– Kisha & Jen land in Guilin. They have no idea what is going on because they have not seen any other teams. The second flight with the other three teams lands in Guilin. All four teams are in cabs.

– Tammy starts speaking Mandarin.

TAMMY: It is so nice to be in a country where you speak the language and none of the other teams do.

No. F—ing. S—.

guilin tammy victor

It’s nice to have the race indirectly rigged for us!

– Margie & Luke point this fact out as well.

LUKE: I’d like to be in a country where everybody is deaf and people would have to use signs.

Until a retirement home has its own country, I doubt that will be possible.

– The sun rises. All four teams are still in cabs. I forgot how big China must be if they can fly from a location at 9:00pm to another place in the country and have it be daylight.

canada map

It is like flying across Canada.

– Tammy & Victor see Kisha & Jen walking on the street asking for directions. Tammy’s driver is calling for directions too because there is no address on the clue.

TAMMY: Just because we can communicate with our cab driver means “He doesn’t know where we are going”.

Heh.

– Jaime & Cara are first to the route marker.

guilin clue

And there’s our Speed Bump.

– Jaime & Cara read that they must travel to the #24 Bridge on the banks of the Li River.

jet li

A bridge named after Victor.

– Tammy & Victor see Jaime & Cara exiting the route marker. They spend time getting directions. Tammy & Victor enter the cab and start heading away. Jaime & Cara decide to follow them as well as the driver knowing exactly where they need to go.

– Mark & Michael land in Guilin.

– Kisha & Jen see Margie & Luke in a rival cab. They reflect on their distrust for Margie & Luke since the last round where they tried to get their cab driver to tell Kisha & Jen’s cab the wrong directions.

– Margie says she is surprised by Luke’s emerging competitive spirit.

guilin luke

guilin luke 2

Luke reads the subtitles to ensure it is being translated correctly.

– Margie & Luke exit the cab. Kisha & Jen exit too. Margie & Luke run by the clue box. Kisha & Jen run by it too.
guilin fight

The three teams cannot find the clue box.

guilin fight 2

Warmer. . .

guilin fight 3

I have never seen so many people spend this much time within one foot of a clue box without seeing it.

Luke is TOUCHING the clue box. He is touching it and it still does not register. If his sense of touch and sense of sight is poor, he is really going to have a tough time today.

– They decide it is not marked and begin to walk away. But then somehow they both can see the clue box from a distance.

What the heck? They are definitely short-sighted.
mark michael intro 2

Unlike these two.

– We get a play-by-play. Both see the clue box at the same time. Both teams start running. Luke and Jen both run. It is going to be a close call for a .1 second advantage when Mark & Michael are ten hours behind.

peih gee

WARNING: The following incident in China is rated PG-13.

guilin fight 4

Instead of running, Luke decides to stick his body out as far as he possibly could.
guilin fight 5

Jen, knowing Luke is deaf, tries to go around him like anyone else would in this scenario.

guilin fight 6

Jen lightly touches him on the shoulder to let her know she is there so there are no surprises. Seriously, the touch is pretty dang light on-screen.

guilin fight 7

But Luke continues to cover the clue box. In fact he stands further upwards.
guilin fight 8

Luke with the nine o’ clock elbow!
guilin fight 9

What? Did I do that?

JEN: BITCH!

– Luke tells us that Jen pushed her even though that is NOTHING like what appears on-screen.

JEN: He bodychecked me.

– We see a random close-up of a local as the gong sound effect plays.

guilin fight 10

Who the f— is she?

JEN: He gave me an elbow and I called him a ‘bitch’ because it was a ‘bitch’ move.

– Luke didn’t hear Jen, but has some fighting words.
guilin fight 11

MARGIE: You can’t be physical. You can’t push.

I like how Margie’s tone is like a first grade teacher explaining to keep their hands and feet to themselves.

KISHA: He definitely bumped her twice.

phuket cara 2

The only thing that should be bumpin.

– Margie explains to Luke that Jen called him a ‘bitch’.

guilin fight 12

O no she di’int.

guilin fight 13

Luke starts punching his open palm to demonstrate that he is going to beat Jen down like she is discovered to be Gary Hawkins.

JEN: Game on. They’re bitches.

LUKE: Good thing I am deaf and did not hear her calling me a bitch or it would have been on.

guilin fight 13

If any other father-son or mother-son team had the son involved in a physical incident, that parent would come down so hard on their child. No way Toni or Susan would have put up with that.

Now I am laughing as I think about Dallas elbowing Jen in the face.
guilin fight 14

If she wants to throw hands, I’ll throw hands.

bill rancic

Bill thinks this is unprofessional.

– During this time we saw the instant replay twice.

– Then we saw the instant replay for a third time.

– Commercial break.

– Then we see the whole incident play out in real time.

guilin fight 8

ludacris

If you’re up in Guilin
At the hair salon
And you go commando
Without panties on
And the deaf guy cuts you off
Don’t creep on ’em. . .
ludacris 2

Or he’ll throw dem bows!

– Margie did not expect it from Jen. She thinks that was wrong. Kisha said it was unacceptable behaviour. Two very different stories. Kisha intends to U-Turn them.

guilin luke 3

Why? Bitches come in all shapes and sizes. Tall people, short people, skinny people, fat people, Black people, White people, somehow Asian people, blind people, gay people, asexual people, bisexual people, people over 50, people younger than 50, and yes, even female dogs.

Since when do deaf people become the only people on the planet who cannot be called a bitch? Have you ever seen Marlee Matlin at the Roast of Donald Trump?

What makes this scene even greater is what Kisha says in the cab after saying she wants to U-Turn Margie & Luke.

guilin kisha

KISHA: Game on bitches.

Editors had fun with that one in post-production. I am certain.

– Margie complains Kisha is following them in a cab.

– I cannot believe it, but seeing Tammy & Victor is refreshing. Roadblock. They will take a raft to the middle of a river and do some cormorant fishing. These are birds who retrieve fish in the water and come onto the boats and spit the fish out of their mouths.

Yes. This was a reward two years earlier in Survivor: China. Their necks are tied tightly enough so the cormorants cannot swallow the fish, and thus are fine to spit it into the bowl.

In this Roadblock, teams just throw the same fish into the water and have the fish catch it ten times in a row. I guess actively fishing for one fish in the water would be too difficult. Once they finish the task, they will receive their next clue.

guilin roadblock

This Roadblock joke was for the birds.

– Tammy is going to do it.

VICTOR: She can speak Chinese to them so she can do it faster.

monica sheree leg 4

– Jaime & Cara show up. Jaime yells at the boat driver to take them to the raft right away. Another Jaime blowup.

– Mark & Michael ask for directions from people on the streets. Nurses. There is something peculiar about them.

guilin mark michael 2

She is the same height as them! They have found their long lost Asian sister!

MARK: I wish I knew what she was saying. She was so nice.
guilin food

We love America!

– Jen expects Margie & Luke to shove them again. They show up simultaneously. Here we go. Jen and Luke are running to the clue box again.

guilin margie

Margie is terrified.

guilin fight 15

Oh good. This will end well.

guilin fight 16

Here we go!

guilin fight 17guilin fight 18

Luke shoves Jen’s box into the box.

guilin fight 19

Momentum throws Jen a good ten feet or so.

guilin fight 20

Jen casually collects and calms herself as she removes the clue.

guilin fight 21

But Luke decides to budge Jen and sneak his hand in to get the clue! What an idiot.
guilin fight 22

So Jen has to throw her elbow up to ensure Luke cannot get away with being a jackass.

ludacris 2

Throw a bow.

– We see it in slow motion. Luke says Jen threw his arm up. Jen said that he shoved her into the clue box.

guilin fight 23

I like how Luke pretends he does nothing by throwing his arms up in the air as a sign of defense.

MARGIE: KISHA, CUT IT OUT!

The shorter one is named Jen, Margie.

KISHA: He pushed her at the last clue. Unacceptable.
MARGIE: Not true. You push!

guilin fight 8

Footage suggests otherwise. And she sucks at conjugation.

– Luke is doing the Roadblock and wonders what is wrong. Jen tells Tammy about the fight.

guilin victor

I don’t get it. . .how does this relate to us being Chinese?

VICTOR (awkward pause):. . .Those birds are soooo cool. When I think of birds and smelly fish, I think of you.

– Tammy is doing the Roadblock but it is boring.

guilin bird

Fish are our friends. Not food.

VICTOR: They do not understand Chinese.

monica sheree leg 4

JAIME: I cannot believe they train the birds to give it back. If somebody put filet mignon in my mouth, I would not give it back.

CARA: It’s so cute!

guilin bird 2
Yeah. So cute when a fish dangles from a bird’s mouth. So adorable.

– Kisha jokes about the shoving incidents because she tells us that her sister is always ready for foul play. Luke is doing the task as well. Margie appears depressed. Tammy & Victor speak Mandarin.

– Mark & Michael see the hair salon. Speed Bump time. They must work as a stylist as they wash and dry hair of two waiting women.

guilin phil

Turtleneck sighting!

– There is a guide with each of them. One of them panics as Mark pours shampoo on their head. She looks visibly afraid. The woman snatched that bottle as fast as he could.
guilin mark

Shampoo halo.

– Mark & Michael are shown doing the task in fast motion as if they are Charla & Mirna in an action flick.

charla mirna action movie

When does this movie come out?

guilin mark 2

Wow. A lot of that is going to burn the ol’ eyeballs.

– I think Mark is starting to become more tolerant of Asians.

MARK: I give her a good massage. A masagi.

Maybe not.

miyagi lesson one

Mr. Masagi shall train Munoz-son.
guilin people

The Chinese men love to oogle the women in the hair salon.

– We go back to the other four teams at the Roadblock. Tammy speaks more Chinese. Luke finds the fish to be gross. He is afraid of one of the birds. He was bit by a bird.

guilin luke 4
It is far from the worse hand injury we have seen on the race. Remember when Rob broke his hand in TAR 1, Kelly in TAR 4, and didn’t we have a couple of people over the years needing a finger or wrist brace? Odd that hand injuries happen so frequently.

– Jen giggles. Evilly.

– Victor watches Tammy’s cormorants fighting over a fish.
guilin bird 3

For the first time in animal kingdom history, two animals do not fight over something that is food or a mate.

– Jaime and Jen are on their last birds. Jen is disgusted by the task. That explains why her and Kisha have never had a pet. Jaime and Jen both finish before Tammy. They read they must take a taxi to the one thousand year old structure known as the Ancient South Gate.

I think about a million places in China have the word “ancient” somewhere in there.

JEN: My ass is wet.

I don’t ask.

– Kisha does her ah-hu-hu-hu laugh as she enters the cab. Jen thinks that Luke being bitten was a result of karma. We get the most unnecessary flashback ever to something that happened in the SAME FREAKIN’ SEGMENT THAT WE ARE WATCHING.

guilin luke 5

Now see Luke’s injury in black and white!

– Jaime & Cara are next to shore seconds later. Their driver knows where to go once again. Jaime’s vocal cords get a rest.

– Luke is done too. Tammy truly sucked. Only one is left but both birds have flown away. Victor is fairly relaxed. He probably knows Mark & Michael are at least two hours behind if not longer.

– Mark & Michael are done the Speed Bump. Nobody told them the women were really transvestites.

– Tammy & Victor speak entirely in Mandarin. Victor expresses a ton of patience as they finally have their tenth fish. The camera operator goes for such a tasteless cleavage shot of Tammy.
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No. I won’t screen cap it.

– Victor tells Margie & Luke’s driver that they are driving too fast and need to go slower. The drivers laugh. Luke is done.

– Tammy tells us that she is not sure why Luke bodychecked Jen. Margie tells Luke that Jen’s version is that she shoved first. He denies it.

JEN: That was dirty and unnecessary. He will be pissed more if I laugh in his face.

Please do, because this situation is not uncomfortable as it is.

guilin teams

Rrrrivals!

– Kisha & Jen show up to the South Gate.
guilin duck

Its subtle look at us makes it a Peeking Duck.
guilin pig

Are there eyelashes on that pig?

guilin women

These two women re-enact how Luke shoved Jen.

– Kisha & Jen find the clue box without any issues. Probably because Luke is not there. It’s a Detour. Choreography or Calligraphy.

– In Choreography, the TAR 5 episode 2 tango music plays. They will head to the central island to join locals in their morning dance. They will perform the dance for a pair of judges. If it is approved, they will receive their next clue in such a subjective task.

– In Calligraphy, teams must learn an ancient Chinese art–Calligraphy.

carl douglas

Personally, Carl Douglas views kung fu as being the ultimate Chinese art.

– They must walk across two bridges to the first of four calligraphy stations. The first station they must copy the symbols to reveal the name of their next artist station. They will continue this until they reach the fourth and final station. This is where they will receive their next clue.

– Kisha & Jen choose Calligraphy. Jaime & Cara choose Choreography.

JAIME: I have the worst handwriting on the Earth. In college I could not even read my own notes.

guilin jaime

Well, it’s tough to read your own notes when the sheet is blank.

– Tammy & Victor are third to the box. Wonder what they will choose. Margie & Luke sneaks ahead of them. They choose Calligraphy.

LUKE: We chose Calligraphy because Choreography said that you must start dancing when the music starts. Obviously, how can I know when to start dancing if I can’t hear?

Between yodeling at the pit stop, dancing in the streets of Jaipur, Thai karaoke, and now Chinese dance, this season has been relentless with tasks that require hearing. It is a cruel joke by production, no doubt.

– Mark & Michael are at the Roadblock. Michael is doing it.

guilin bird 4

Creepiest bird I have ever seen.

– TAR 5 tango music plays. Jaime & Cara begin to dance as a couple. Apparently it is like a grapevine. Whatever that is. I always skipped Dance in gym class for grades eight, nine, and ten.

– Kisha & Jen fail to find the calligraphy pads. Margie & Luke catch up. So do Tammy & Victor. They write together with their backs to one another. Luke attempts to copy.

TAMMY: Sadly, Victor and I did not pay attention in Chinese school.

monica sheree leg 4

Being Chinese. . .

– Jaime & Cara describe how they met as Miami Dolphins cheerleaders.

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Jaime & Cara do not quite have the technique down yet. If only Chinese dance involved more booty shaking and pom-poms, they would have an easy time with this.

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She looks like the Asian Ms. Slippy.

– It is windy on the river as Michael plays with the fishes. I have a feeling it is a cold wind because. . .

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Mark covering up underneath a small blanket.

– Tammy explains the Calligraphy task again. Fu Yong Lang is apparently the name of the next location. Kisha & Jen have it first. Tammy & Victor next. Tammy agrres to lead them. Margie & Luke have their first stamp.

guilin jaime cara 3

Four high-yah-yah-yahs.

– Kisha & Jen tail Tammy & Victor as they read the directions.

– The lady laughs at Jaime & Cara’s dancing. The three teams all show up at the second station simultaneously. Victor tells the guy to write it fast so the other teams will struggle.

JEN: Uh, whatever he said.

– Jaime & Cara’s first dance is rejected. Jaime is annoyed that everyone is laughing at her while she is in a race. The wind continues to pick it up. Tammy & Victor, Kisha & Jen, and Margie & Luke are all approved. Wang Peng Yun Ton Xiang.

guilin victor 2

Follow the Yellow Guy on The Brick Road. . .

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Victor leads the herd of the racer species.

– Jaime encourages Cara to bump into the other racers as long as they do it fine. We are now at the third station. Once again Victor gives special instructions in Mandarin. His plea as to why they need this advantage?

guilin victor 4

What? That is a bit extreme. Will Victor’s parents make them pull a hara-kiri? Ridiculous.

Yang Qiao Xia Mien. Kisha & Jen, Margie & Luke, and Tammy & Victor all run together once again to the final station.

– Michael is still playing with the fish. He is now done. Michael found the task unusual but cool. Jaime & Cara are attempting the dance for the third time. Rejected once again.

WOMAN: No.
JAIME: HUH?!
WOMAN: No.
JAIME: What is the problem?
WOMAN: . . .
JAIME: Do you speak any English?

guilin lady 2

“I did before, but all of a sudden my English disappeared when I laid my eyes on you.

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In Chinese culture, this means “I want to smother your ice cream”.

– Jaime & Cara switch tasks because no one will tell them what they are doing wrong. Meanwhile the three teams are all at the final station. Jaime suggests to Cara what the problem with their dance moves were initially. So they run back to the Detour.

– Michael compliments the cab driver. I have a feeling they are at least an hour behind.

– Tammy & Victor read that they must go on foot to the pit stop as depicted in the picture. Apparently this is Banyan Lake. Kisha & Jen and Margie & Luke have the photos now too. It is a foot race.

guilin pit stop

It is like a screen cap from Age of Empires. You know, those canon towers?

PHIL: There they are right there. See?
guilin phil 2

F— you, Phil! They are eating a meal for god’s sake.

guilin finish

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In true Kisha & Jen fashion, they use their speed to overtake another team in a foot race to claim first.

guilin pit stop greeter

Welcome to. . .Disturbing my meal, you crazy Americans who can suck my d—!

guilin finish 2

Thank you.

FIRST: KISHA & JEN ^ 3 from last week

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– Victor congratulates them with a smile.

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– Margie & Luke not so much.

SECOND: TAMMY & VICTOR ^ 1 from last week

THIRD: MARGIE & LUKE v 2 from last week

– Phil announces Kisha & Jen’s trip to Barbados right in front of Margie & Luke. This is great. Kisha does her laugh. Victor & Tammy congratulate them.

MARGIE: Competition is definitely stiff.
PHIL: I hear things are getting stiff.
VICTOR: But it’s good-spirited fun competition.
JEN: No, it’s not.
KISHA: No.
VICTOR: No?!

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Victor is getting the Megan Linz treatment.

– Margie & Luke have their own aside.

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Margie & Luke discussing the incident last round where Victor accidentally left the toilet seat up at the hotel.

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I have never seen a parent attempt to discipline their own child on the race. Not even in Family Edition did that occur.

– Out of nowhere we do a cut to the middle of a conversation.

MARGIE: He was at the box first, she came up from behind and shoved Luke.
LUKE: Twice.

You know what this editing tells me? That Phil brought up the shoving. Because as it stands this transition makes ZERO sense.

MARGIE: Then she called him a bitch.

– Now Phil gets in the middle of it.

PHIL: Do you think there could have been a misunderstanding?
guilin phil 3

You elbowed her at the hair salon then shoved her on the bridge? Are you f—ing kidding me, Luke?

– We see the clip at the hair salon AGAIN. Jen describes how it was a bitch move. The episode just refuses to get over this incident.

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JEN: I called him a bitch because it was a bitch move. Did I mention how I called him a bitch move when he did said move of being a bitch?

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So this is what you Americans call “dinner and a movie”.

MARGIE: Jen BASHED into him from behind and reached for it.
KISHA: Wow.

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And then Jen did The Pancake.

Okay, my sign language is not that great.

– Luke is annoyed and walks away.

guilin luke 6

fez

I say good day.

guilin phil 4

Did I just get Fez’d?

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And away he goes.

Any last words from our fallen hero?
.
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Ah. The name calling is now even.

– Phil calls Luke over to get his side of the story.

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– You know Kisha’s laugh that I have been making fun of for the past nine episodes? Guess what? She decides when Luke attempts to say “It’s my turn to talk now.” is the best time to laugh.

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Ba-hu-hu-hud idea, Kisha. Hurricane Margie is in full effect.

MARGIE: Do not laugh at my son.
(KISHA laughs.)

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You f—ing kidding me, Kisha? Now is the time you choose to do your stupid laugh?

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KISHA: I’m smiling.
MARGIE: Sorry, but that’s rude.
KISHA: I’m smiling because it’s what we do. We smile.

guilin phil 5

You f—ing kidding me, Kisha? That’s your best answer?

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VICTOR: I guess now is not the time to bring up that we are Chinese.

MARGIE: No, you weren’t smiling. You were laughing at my son. And if you laugh at him again–
KISHA: I smile and I laugh.

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Victor scopes out the nearest exit.

guilin margie 3

MARGIE: HE’S SIGNING AND THEY’RE LAUGHING AT HIM.

PHIL (mumbling): No they’re–
MARGIE: YES THEY ARE! I’M NOT GONNA PUT UP WITH THIS.
PHIL: I don’t think that’s what they meant. . .

guilin phil 6

PHIL: I don’t think that’s what they meant. Kisha’s annoying laugh and her inability to put proper sentences together under pressure is the source of the misunderstanding.

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MARGIE: THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT THEY WERE DOING! WHEN HE WAS SIGNING ANGRILY THEY STARTED LAUGHING! AND THAT IS JUST RUDE! HE’S LIVED WITH THIS HIS WHOLE LIFE!

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MARGIE: AND HE DOESN’T NEED IT FROM PEOPLE LIKE YOU!
KISHA: Margie, Margie, Margie.

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How are they the fan favourites again?

– And Margie takes it to a whole new level.

MARGIE: You should understand the pressure because you’re Black and you’ve lived with it. You guys have lived with just as much. People keep telling Luke that Santa Claus is not deaf, and people keep telling your people that Santa Claus is White!

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For the first time in history, a White woman pulls the race card.

EDITOR’S NOTE: All joking aside, I do not even want to dissect how Margie thinks being Black is a disability. In high school one of my closest friends had learning assistance because he was deaf. To my knowledge, my close African-Canadian friends did not have learning assistance because they were Black.
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Bitches.

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We’re Chinese
We’re so smart

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Time for a Luke rant.

– What is funny during the rant is that Kisha starts coughing.

MARGIE: Yeah, he’s had it his whole life. You don’t understand–
KISHA: I always laugh and smile. Especially in tense situations.

WHY COULDN’T YOU HAVE SAID THAT FROM THE BEGINNING?
guilin luke 12

Not buying it.

KISHA: I apologize if there was a misunderstanding if you think we were laughing at you.

MARGIE (via LUKE): All hearing people put deaf people down. They think we are stupid.

All of this stems from too much aggressivity when wrestling at a clue box. The only reason why this conversation is going on.

guilin margie 6

MARGIE: THIS IS HOW HE EXPRESSES HIMSELF AND WHEN PEOPLE TAKE IT AND LAUGH AT THE WAY HE–
guilin kisha 3

KISHA: Margie, no one’s laughing at Luke. Plain and simple.

guilin tammy victor 3

Need to think of something less awkward than what we are seeing right now. . .

bound 3

guilin victor bound 39

Ah. Better.

**CONFESSIONAL TIME**

JEN: It’s a competition. People are gonna get aggressive and you can give us evil looks, but we’ll just look at you and smile. It might piss you off more.

MARGIE: Jennifer and Kisha were standing there laughing (imitates KISHA’s laugh) and ‘haha’ you know because they felt like ‘oh, we got away with something’. And so, it’s just been a bad day and I want it to be over.

– Jaime & Cara realize they need to complete the whole routine. Jaime was right and have the clue. Instantly they hit the mat.

guilin jaime cara 4

Hey Phil, what’d I miss?

FOURTH: JAIME & CARA v 2 from last week

CARA: Were there five on this leg?
PHIL: Yep. Okay.

– Mark & Michael do the Choreography Detour.
guilin mark michael 3

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Little People in Big China.

Suddenly they are at the mat. I think Mark & Michael would have been a ton of fun this round.

LAST: MARK & MICHAEL – from last week

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Can we use our personal possessions to get back into the race?

– Phil says they ran it hard all the way to the end. Mark & Michael compliment each other’s performance. We see a highlight reel of their adventures. Both are appreciative of the experience.

MICHAEL: It’s humbled me. I always need to come back to the right size that I am. And it’s shown me places and people that I wouldn’t otherwise experience.
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Like pretty wome–oh.

– We see them walk into the sunset with their heads held high. After all, making it to round nine is no small feat.

Next Time on TAR: Asian-Americans and African-Americans struggle at a swimming challenge, and you won’t believe it, but Tammy & Victor inform us they are Chinese.

CONFESSIONAL COUNT

TAMMY.VICTOR 11.2
MARGIE.LUKE 12.11
KISHA.JEN 6.12
MARK.MICHAEL 5.5
JAIME.CARA 5.5

RANK THE TEAMS:

1)

Brad & Victoria

The sequel to Fran & Barry, but with improvised vision.

They did quite well by finishing in the middle of the pack both rounds. However, come round three and they made a mistake that far too many racers make:

Intentionally getting yourself on an earlier flight alone but the arrival time is in the middle of the night when you are bound to run into an equalizer.

Even if the 730pm flight panned out for Brad & Victoria, they would have been on the exact same 630am train as the other eight teams. What else should they expect at two o’ clock in the morning?

This is famously known as the error that Uchenna & Joyce made in All Stars where they ended up about twelve hours behind.

The episode was equally boring as the Uchenna & Joyce boot thanks to Brad & Victoria’s flight delay putting them on the mat roughly eight to twelve hours later. I wish we would know how their face was cut up. Did they both face plant on a twig?

Brad’s drug addiction is something we did not learn about until their final appearance. I am not sure why production did not want to incorporate it into his edit beyond the ten second mention, but I must admit that not bashing us over the head with that fact made Brad & Victoria much more ‘real’ than the other teams.

It is too bad that they were gone early because they are one of the 50+ year old couples that have a legitimate chance to win The Amazing Race. Those teams appear rarely on the race.

2)

Mark & Michael

An all-male team cast as fodder? I never knew they made such an animal!

But this season we got Mark & Michael. I must admit that I really thought nothing of Mark & Michael for the past five years until this re-watch. I mean, what is there to talk about other than having penalties in back-to-back rounds?

They were not shown too much because their storyline was downplayed and they ultimately come up short in communicating with Margie & Luke compared to other teams, thus being deemed irrelevant to the season.

Seriously. Pay attention to that fact since I blogged the first episode. Anybody who had a positive relationship with Margie & Luke (Jaime & Cara, Mel & Mike) and those who had a negative relationship (Kisha & Jen and Amanda & Kris) were brought back for a future season.

And who are the only teams from this season that get excluded from the next all-stars? The teams that did not have a relationship or storyline involving Margie & Luke.

Do you see how irritating this season is now? It was really all about Tammy & Victor and Margie & Luke from day one.

But back to Mark & Michael. They were hilarious for reasons never seen before in the TAR franchise–they were oblivious to everything. To other teams, to their own actions, to the actions of others, and to the basic rules that have governed TAR for the past seven years before the season aired.

There might be one person in a duo that is oblivious but never before are both players sharing their own little world equally.

Can you think of any team cast in the first fourteen seasons that could not tell the difference between transvestites and women?

Or not realize that bartering your own items while still possessing cash is a big no-no? Or interrupting the layout of a Detour to sabotage the other teams? Or not knowing to call an airline ahead of time to book flights? Or not realize that you are talking with a fellow racer rather than a ticketing agent? Or not see Phil staring right at you when you enter a room even after he snaps his fingers and whistles?

Mark & Michael did all of those in just nine rounds.

The only bummer is that even though they survived seventy-five percent of the total route, their elimination round is uneventful. Heading into the episode the only thing I remembered is them dancing in slow motion at the Detour.

And the fact Mark & Michael are #2 out of eleven teams in this season’s team ranking shows you how terrible this season really was.

3)

Steve & Linda

I wish I could have done more to make the comparisons of Steve to Goofy. Sadly there is only so much you can do in two rounds.

The lesson here is that Linda is terrible at racing. I think her only skill was spotting the yellow sign. Otherwise she qualifies for the short list as one of the weakest racers in TAR history.

I should note that Steve & Linda DO NOT have an abusive relationship. The screen caps and the yelling and the crying just make it appear that way.

I found them to be more ‘real’ and entertaining than Preston & Jennifer. Other than that they had zero business being on a show as competitive as TAR. It is a miracle that they even made it to round two overall.

4)

Preston & Jennifer

Before I re-watched this season I remember them for nothing except the piggyback ride in the final seconds of the episode.

In fact, their inability to piggyback on the pack is what did them in. They couldn’t even find the first train station and were saved by the 745am departure time.

Preston & Jennifer may be one of the worst 20-something mactor couples in terms of being able to perform well at TAR.

a) They couldn’t find a train station that everyone else found.
b) They must have sucked at driving to end up on the last flight
c) They screwed up a physical challenge such as transporting cheese.
d) They were at the pit stop location before Christie & Jodi, but ran into the wrong direction.
e) A piggyback ride was believed to be necessary in the first round’s final seconds.

There really is nothing this team could do well and definitely deserve finishing in dead last for TAR 14.

Production really wanted to have their next Nathan & Jennifer judging by a couple of their ridiculous arguments, but it is tough to have another Nathan & Jennifer when you cast a team who struggles with every dimension to the race.

5)

Mel & Mike

Cast only because of Mike’s “fame”. In fact, those quotes are not enough. Mike is “”famous”” because of his appearance in School of Rock and Undeclared, and his writing credits for Dawson’s Creek, School of Rock, and some other shows in the decade leading up to TAR 14 that nobody really cares about.

Mel is a great speaker. Add in that he is the oldest racer to make it to the seventh round and you have a candidate for one of very few older racers who could do fine if he returned in an all-star format.

Although Fran & Barry would be ideal.

Some of their jokes were a bit forced and playing up for the camera, but hey, they need to advance their careers somehow.

I am sure production liked them because they were able to be entertaining characters without needing to argue with other teams.

We shall always wonder why they never took the unaired Fast Forward. Oh well.

And yes, they are dropped to fourth because their “”fame”” is the only reason why they were cast for this race.

6)

Christie & Jodi

They would be ranked higher, but it is for what Jodi does in the future that her and Christie are brought this low.

Christie’s bubbly moments were unlike what virtually anybody could bring to the TAR franchise. She was unintentionally funny.

Jodi was way too serious and just. . .ugh, no sense of humour at all. Then she manages to screw up a season down the road.

Plus Jodi was terribly skilled as a racer. The only time her and Christie had a decent finish is when they were lucky to be at the correct airport to head into Krasnoyarsk alone with two other teams.

And those two teams? Kisha & Jen and Mark & Michael.

Jodi could possibly be the worst racer we have encountered in the TAR franchise to make it as far as seventh.

7)

Amanda & Chris/Kris & Jon

I did not like how they were the only returning players in this cast. If you are going to bring people back, it should be in an all-star format. No different with Survivor and Big Brother.
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I seriously have nothing to say about Amanda & Kris. Like. . .what the f— is there to say?

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) Phuket, Thailand -> Bangkok, Thailand

I liked the old school aspect to the teams being lost and traveling to preserve their travel gear. Losing your stuff is apart of real life traveling and evaluating the time you spend retrieving certain stuff made this episode feel like season one over all again.

Mark & Michael are not only oblivious to the people around them (again) such as mistaking transvestites as women, but oblivious to the rules as they managed to rack up a total of four infractions in these two rounds. Seeing them get struck down after each moment of brilliance was hilarious.

Margie also was a one-woman wrecking crew this round. Seeing her just beast it through the propeller Roadblock, taking the bags, and slaughtering the dentures. Granted this round overall seemed to play out rather quickly. Who knows if Margie was just that good or if a knowledge of what you are doing made everybody take anywhere between a minute to ten minutes to complete those tasks at the most.

Kisha running barefoot through flooded streets all the way to the pit stop without her passport may be one of the dumbest moves ever made. If her and Jen took their bags in the first place, they would have finished second. But instead they had to waste time begging for free rides and constantly worry about their bags.

Seeing Jen’s reaction to being declared fourth as opposed to dead last by fifty minutes was a highlight for the season.

Jaime & Cara were pretty much invisible this round. The only times we saw them were the two times that Jaime freaked out at drivers or calling one “meek”. That was it. I think editing wanted us to hate Jaime & Cara because we have not been given anything else about their edit for the past few rounds.

The only reason why this is not at the top is because the day in Bangkok seemed too easy and too fast.

Also, what exactly is the bargaining rule? Can you not settle a cab bill with your personal possessions when you still have money? That makes sense. If you are not allowed to use personal possessions at all, then many teams in the past have tried breaking that rule because we have seen shoes and watches offered in the past.

4) Novosibirsk, Russia -> Jaipur, India

It is somehow in the top half out of the first six legs of the season. As much as I rag on production sending teams to India for the eleventh leg in TAR history, they were able to come up with some unique tasks. In fact it beat the India rounds from TAR 12 and 13.

The tasks were original except for the Speed Bump. Feeding camels was neat to see before they go on to be a bunch of divas in Abu Dhabi.

Jaime freaking out at taxi drivers for no good reason was great too.

The sweltering heat really took its toll on teams. I just wish the camel task and the Shakers tasks were a bit tougher.

But do you know how they have run out of ideas for India? Because they decided to plop a red phone next to a sacred tree. I never thought production would stoop so low as to make teams listen to a call centre.

Mark & Michael provided most of the entertainment this round as they were oblivious to their awful jokes and their offensive ululating like they were doing a bad Leo & Jamal impersonation.

The two huge negatives are the over-the-top Margie & Luke moments of emotion, and yet another freakin’ “there is poverty but they are all so harmonious” clips. There must be an hour of that footage total that has aired on TAR over the years.

But why this leg is up to number three for the time being is because of two things:

– Man spontaneously kicked by camel.
– Pit stop greeter playing a flute up his nose.

5) 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!

6) 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.

7) 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.

8) Bangkok, Thailand -> Guilin, China

I remember virtually nothing about this round other than ‘Follow Victor to the Mat’ and some of the shoving. Jaime, Cara, Mark, and Michael are all invisible. Tammy & Victor say they are Chinese about a quadrillion times.

The birds are neat, and the Detour would have been fine if it felt like a real Detour, but it was all overshadowed by Tammy & Victor cruising to the mat along with two teams ready to choke each other out.

The mat meltdown was not even that good. Eighty percent of it was because of Margie & Luke overreacting and exploiting Luke’s hearing disability, and Kisha’s laughter takes the other twenty percent.

It is one of the few times where Phil looks completely annoyed.

I know nothing about where they went because the whole focus was on the shoving incidents and Tammy & Victor bragging about speaking Mandarin. There was zero adventure.

There was not a shred of suspense between Jaime & Cara and Mark & Michael. It is one of the few times where editing could not care less about manipulating how close the race for last was at the end of the episode.

I doubt anyone even remembers that this round was in a city called Guilin. I mean, where is it? What are the major landmarks? The people? The whole adventure aspect was ripped from this episode.

And somehow it is not the worst episode this season.

9) Jaipur, India -> Phuket Thailand

This was a lame design. A zoo where you just move between two stations is not challenging. Neat, but not challenging. That picture seemed easy to figure out if you spent at least one minute on the street.

The ‘Pick a Drawer’ task may be the lamest task I have ever seen on TAR that does not involve gas stations or climbing up onto a big chair.

Nobody bothered with the Fast Forward, thus making it the first season ever where a Fast Forward was offered but ignored for the whole season.

And there was no reason to not have a Roadblock. It just gives the weaker players a free pass.

Did we really need to see that many monkeys?

The only things that made up for it this round is that Tammy & Victor and Margie & Luke received far less attention this round. Jaime & Cara, Mark & Michael, and Kisha’s sneezes provided ninety-nine percent of the entertainment. I think Mark & Michael may be my favourite characters because of how odd and unique their personalities are.

Oh, and their penalties for doing things that are clearly stated in the race rules. Nobody has received two penalties for breaking race rules in the same round. A one hour penalty is unheard of in TAR.

Lastly, Margie passing out after being declared the Bionic Woman was a great example of dark comedic timing. Phil could not have said it at a better time.

Team Averages

Bulls—
Bilal & Sa’eed N/A
— F minus–
12th Debra & Steve 12.0
12th Gina & Sylvia 12.0
11th Preston & Jennifer 11.0
11th Anita & Arthur 11.0
11th Ari & Staella 11.0
11th John Vito & Jill All Stars 11.0
11th Vipul & Arti 11.0
11th John & Scott 11.0
11th Ryan & Chuck 11.0
11th Team Seinfeld/Avi & Joe 11.0
11th Dennis & Erika 11.0
11th Deidre & Hilary 11.0
11th Matt & Ana 11.0
10th Lisa & Joni 10.0
10th Kevin & Drew All Stars 10.0
10th A Black Family 10.0
— F +–
10th Steve & Linda 9.5
10th Anthony & Stephanie 9.5 (Why them?????)
10th Megan & Heidi 9.5 (Wow. They sucked.)
10th Kate & Pat 9.0
9th David & Mary All Stars 9.0
9th Peggy & Claire 9.0
10th Meredith & Maria 9.0
10th Dennis & Andrew 9.0 FF
9th Marianna & Julia 8.33
10th Russell & Cindy 8.33
8th Don & Mary Jean 8.2
10th Kellie & Jamie 8.0
10th Kim & Leslie 8.0
8th Danielle & Dani 7.8 – Yielded
8th Marisa & Brooke 7.75 – Sucked.
9th Jim & Marsha 7.33
8th Aiello Family 7.0
–D minus–
8th Tom & Terry 7.0
8th Dave & Margaretta 7.0
9th Lena & Kristy 7.0
10th Hope & Norm 7.0
9th Brad & Victoria 6.6666666666 – Fran & Barry 2.0
7th Christie & Jodi 6.6666666 – Mark of the Casting Director Devil
9th Rogers Family 6.5
8th Susan & Patrick 6.5
6th Lenny & Karyn 6.43
9th Wanda & Desiree 6.25
7th Aja & Cabbie 6.2
7th Paul & Amie 6.2
8th Steve & Dave 6.2 FF
6th David &Mary 6.13 FF
–D+–
10th Ernie & Jeena 6.0
11th Amanda & Chris 6.0
6th Andre & Damon 5.86
7th Dave & Lori 5.83
5th Kami & Karli 5.8
8th Michael & Kathy 5.8
7th Cyndi & Russell 5.8
7th Shana & Jennifer 5.8 Used U-Turn
9th Heather & Eve 5.75
5th Nancy & Emily 5.67
6th Gaghan Family 5.5
10th Alison & Donny 5.5
6th Tian & Jaree 5.43 FF
8th Sahil & Prashant 5.4 FF
–C minus–
4th Meredith & Gretchen 5.36
7th Monica & Sheree 5.33 FF
7th Marshall & Lance 5.33
9th Debbie & Bianca 5.33
7th Gus & Hera 5.29
6th Joe & Bill All Stars 5.25
8th Bob & Joyce 5.25
8th Lorena & Jason 5.25 U-Turned
5th Mark & Michael 5.22
3rd Andrew & Dan 5.18
7th Silver & Gold 5.17
6th Kelly & Christy 5.14
7th Ray & Deana – 5.0 FF
7th Melody & Sharon 5.0
9th Steve & Josh 5.0 – FF
9th Pat & Brenda 5.0 – FF
9th Mark & Bill 5.0 – Wah.
5th Fran & Barry 4.89
6th Howard & Sahran 4.88
–C + —
3rd Lyn & Karlyn 4.85 – Yielded
5th John Vito & Jill 4.8 – FF
7th Teri & Ian All Stars 4.83
7th Schroeder Family 4.75
6th Lake & Michelle 4.71 – Used Yield
6th Brian & Greg 4.71
5th Erwin & Godwin 4.70
3rd Adam & Rebecca 4.69 FF and Used Yield and Yielded
9th Duke & Lauren 4.67
5th Lori & Bolo 4.6 – FF
2nd Teri & Ian 4.53 – FF
8th Amanda & Kris – 4.5 Blind U-Turned
5th Uchenna & Joyce All Stars 4.33 – FF
8th Shola & Doyin 4.25 – FF
–B minus–
3rd Ray & Yolanda 4.23
3rd Nicolas & Donald 4.18 FF and U-Turned
4th Linda & Karen 4.17
3rd Charla & Mirna All Stars 4.15
6th Mary & Peach 4.14 (Two failed FF attempts.)
5th Paolo Family 4.13 FF and Used Yield
5th Lynn & Alex 4.11
5th Andy & Laura 4.00 – Yielded
3rd David & Jeff 4.00 – FF
4th Oswald & Danny 4.00 – FF
5th Gary & Dave 3.89 – FF
2nd Kelly & Jon 3.85
1st Zabrina & Joe Jer 3.77
2nd Sandy & Francesca 3.77 – Used Yield
4th Jon & Al 3.73
6th Charla & Mirna 3.71
–B+–
3rd Blake & Paige 3.69 – FF
5th Millie & Chuck 3.67 FF
5th Kynt & Vyxsin 3.63 Used Yield
1st Eric & Danielle All Stars 3.62 – Yielded Twice
4th Mardy & Marsio 3.58 FF
6th Mel & Mike 3.57
6th Jonathan & Victoria 3.56
4th Joseph & Monica 3.50 – Yielded
3rd Andrew & Syeon 3.46
1st Freddy & Kendra 3.46 – Used Yield and Yielded
2nd Ronald & Christina 3.45
4th Nathan & Jennifer 3.40 – Never finished in 1st
1st Chris & Alex 3.38 – FF
1st Chip & Kim 3.38 – Used Yield
4th Kevin & Drew 3.36 – FF
3rd Brandon & Nicole 3.31
5th Terence & Sarah 3.25
1st TK & Rachel 3.18
4th Godlewski Family 3.18
4th Dustin & Kandice 3.17 – Used Yield
–A minus–
7th Peter & Sarah 3.17
9th Aubrey & Jacqueline 3.17
3rd Weaver Family 3.15 – Yielded Twice
1st Reichen & DK 3.15 – FF
1st Uchenna & Joyce 3.15 FF
4thToni & Dallas 3.10 Still in Russia
4th Derek & Drew 3.10 – FF
2nd Rob & Kim 3.08 – FF
3rd Ron & Kelly 3.00 – Yielded
6th Azaria & Hendekea 3.00
4th Hayden & Aaron 2.92
2nd Dustin & Kandice All Stars 2.92 – Used Yield
2nd Bransen Family 2.85
1st Linz Family 2.77 – Used Yield
3rd Joe & Bill 2.76 – FF
–BEST OF THE BEST–
8th Rob & Amber All Stars 2.75 – Used Yield
1st Flo & Zach 2.69 – FF
3rd Ken & Gerard 2.69 – FF
4th Oswald & Danny All Stars 2.67 FF x2 and Used Yield
2nd Ken & Tina 2.64 FF
2nd Colin & Christie 2.54 – FF and Yielded
2nd Tara & Wil 2.53 – FF
1st Rob & Brennan – 2.46 FF
1st BJ & Tyler – 2.46 FF and Used Yield
1st Nick & Starr 2.45 FF
1st Tyler & James – 2.38 FF
2nd Frank & Margarita 2.38 – FF
2nd Kris & Jon 2.38
2nd Rob & Amber 2.31
2nd Eric & Jeremy 1.69 FF

Combined Team Averages (Repeats Only)

11 legs David & Mary 6.91 FF
11 legs John Vito & Jill 5.36 FF
18 legs Danielle 4.78
19 legs Teri & Ian 4.63 FF
13 legs Kevin & Drew 4.38 FF
20 legs Charla & Mirna 4.00 None
21 legs Joe & Bill 3.71 FF
22 legs Uchenna & Joyce 3.64 FF x2
*31 legs Eric & Danielle 3.48 FF
23 legs Oswald & Danny 3.30 FF x3!
25 legs Dustin & Kandice 3.04 None
26 legs Eric 2.65 FF
17 legs Rob & Amber 2.41 None

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

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