SINGAPORE – PHILIPPINES – HONG KONG – NEW ZEALAND – JAPAN – SOUTH KOREA – GERMANY – CZECH REPUBLIC – HUNGARY – SOUTH AFRICA
Guess what? Allan DID have a blog for TAR Asia 2. He did one for every episode, and is way better than any of the episode blogs that Phil ever did for TAR 14.
My favourite line is at the bottom of the above post. You’ll know which one I am referring to once you read it. A Wuspiracy.
Episode Seven: “Oppa Racing Style”
Previously on TAR: Seven teams set out from Fukuoka, Japan and caught a ferry across the Korean Strait to Busan, Korea. Communicating with confused Korean taxi drivers proved to be the biggest challenge of the day. But retrieving a coin from a tank of live squid was a “struggle” for Natasha. Terri & Henry chose to Yield Marc & Rovilson, forgetting that the boys are usually ahead.
Marc & Rovilson maintained their lead to the pit stop. Meanwhile Daichi & Sawaka were sent offtrack by Ann & Diane. They could not make up the lost time and were eliminated from the race.
Six teams still remain; who will be the next to be eliminated?
– Intro time.
– Allan introduces us to Busan in South Korea. It is an urban temple.
Allan’s Questions: None.
– Marc & Rovilson, who were the first to arrive at 10:30pm, will depart at 10:30am. They read they must drive themselves to Seoil Farm Anseong. It is an eighty kilometre drive from Seoul. It is a soybean farm.
– Rovilson is scared always being in the front because you do not know if you are doing the right thing because there is no team to copy or pass you to validate what you are doing.
I can tell you one right thing they have already done this leg: Getting rid of those stupid mustaches.
– Adrian & Collin are next to depart at 10:32am. They do not care whether they are first or second this round. Collin’s aim is just to do very well.
I hear you on that, Collin!
– Marc & Rovilson convince South Korean police officers who do not know any English to give them a three police car escort.
You’re lying, Marc. If they do not know a word of English, why would they give you a three police car escort? That is something very random for them to do upon seeing Filipino tourists.
Well, you may be a bit busier as a police officer if you lived closer to the northern border rather than a southern city like Busan.
– Henry & Terri depart third at 10:43am.
HENRY: One of the charms of our team is our convincing people to do things. I don’t rely on anybody.
Charm you say, Henry?
– Rovilson tells us that Adrian & Collin are on their tail. Collin is looking carefully for directions on the street signs once they hit the highway.
Short attention span.
– Pamela & Vanessa depart fourth at 10:46am. Vanessa keeps muttering herself to driving on the right side. It is the first time that they are driving on the proper side of the road all season.
Yeah, I’m Canadian. So what, eh? I find it odd to see cars driving on the left side of the road.
– Vanessa and Pamela use the phrase “really working hard” about seven times in their first confessional of the round.
Wow ladies, your mind seems really blown by me breaking down what you say in confessionals. Or maybe just really stoned.
Which would not be a surprise that you are smoking that Cheech and Chong given your last name.
– Adrian expresses the challenge of driving on the other side of the road too. Marc even adds onto this.
MARC: I’m used to do the Philippines where you can drive on any side of the road.
Based on the first two rounds of this season, he is not lying. Those jeepneys are willing to go anywhere.
And ten bucks says the Malaysian Moms will talk about crazy Malaysian drivers for the quadrillionth time too.
HENRY: Just gotta make a U-Turn here. Hear that woo-woo-woo, we’ll be alright.
American drivers are just as bad as Asian drivers.
– Marc continues driving on the highway with the escort and makes a great observation.
The signs are in Korean. That is great if you are the only team with a Korean escort to the next clue.
What Marc & Rovilson’s idea of a Korean escort was prior to this round.
– Adrian & Collin and Marc & Rovilson are chatting with the police officers too. Terri screams at him to stop because they do not have a map. Henry does not want to stop. She reiterates the fact they do not have a map and scream some more.
The police may not be much help considering the top two teams are no longer in the lead.
– Marc says it was a lucky break. It being we have no idea. Pamela & Vanessa pay money at a toll booth.
– Paula & Natasha begin in fifth at 10:47am. Only seventeen minutes from first to fifth? Natasha talks about how they consistently over-analyze every situation. Like over-analyzing putting a key into a lock or putting your hand into an octopus tank, apparently.
NATASHA: We need to stop dawdling.
Oh stop speaking so proper, Natasha. The only people I know who uses the word ‘dawdle’ are Charles Dickens and J.K. Rowling.
She drops the d-word so casually too as if it is no biggie smalls.
Yep. Natasha is the fifth f—ing person to mention driving on the opposite of the road.
– Ann & Diane begin last at 11:00am. Ann wants her and Diane to push themselves much more. It appears every team was only thirty minutes from first to last thanks to every task taking seconds rather than minutes last round.
– Paula talks about driving on the other side of the road yet again. Ugh. That impacts map reading somehow. Vanessa nor Ann want to make any enemies. Ann wants to be nice friendly people
If you thought our opinion on attractive married Malaysian women is offensive, just wait until what you hear what we think about Japanese people.
Rovilson is shown eating for the third time this season. He is currently tied with Marsio’s record for TAR Asia.
If he wants a franchise record, he will need to eat twenty more times before beating Marshall Hudes for the number one spot.
But seriously, Rovilson is a fit guy yet they show him whenever he is eating.
What is he trying to be? The Brad Pitt of TAR?
– Marc asks Rovilson what he is eating. He admits he has no idea.
Yeah. That is a real safe thing to do in a country. If you don’t know what it is, don’t put it in your mouth.
I wish the Korean escort knew that rule too after Marc & Rovilson’s late night offer.
– HENRY: Diane is a little bit in a panic. She is like White Knuckle Driving.
Compared to Henry’s Black Knuckle driving.
– But seriously, Henry goes from laughing about the Malaysian Moms to having a panicked look on his face about .5 seconds later.
– Right after talking about not making enemies, Ann admits she would Yield Marc & Rovilson. Well that was a quick change of heart.
– TERRI: We should take exit one and hide from them. Watch their faces go crazy.
HENRY: . . .But they’re just going to be ahead of us.
HENRY: Well I don’t know what you’re talking about.
TERRI: I want them to get lost! I know how to play their game.
Why won’t you follow with the most brilliant plan ever conceived in TAR?
Intentionally taking the wrong exit to confuse other teams is a brilliant strategy.
– Marc & Rovilson arrive at the soybean plantation. It is a Roadblock.
Remember last round how teams had to undo a lock? You know, a task that was pure luck but only took minutes?
Well, we are doing another one. This time teams must search through soybean jars for their next clue.
According to Marc & Rovilson, only police officers have enough time on their hands today to set up this task.
– They must search through 1, 500 soybean jars to find their next clue. Oh, and one of the jars holds a clue as well as a fifty dollar bonus courtesy of Standard Chartered.
ALLAN: The Korean farmers are best known for creating traditional Korean food and sauces using soybean. Those teams that lack patience and perseverance will find themselves in a pickle.
Or with bad luck too.
And what do Korean farmers have to do with looking through 1, 500 jars? I did not follow Allan’s line of logic there.
Well, I cannot keep making fun of TAR Asia 2 with its luck-based tasks so far. Remember TAR 5-10 where it seemed like every other round had a major luck-based task?
Although in TAR Asia 1 they did dig up every patch of sand in Bali.
HINT: Who has the most patience?
– Rovilson volunteers. The Roadblock does not even hold back that this is a needle in a soybean jar task.
– Rovilson lifts up the first jar.
MARC: Hurry up! Sense of urgency, bro! Take your shades off you’ll see better!
Of course this is a reference to last round when Marc unlocked the padlock on his very first try.
Marc imitates Rovilson looking through the jar. . .or sitting down as he pretends to do the Thriller dance.
Searching through the pots. . .so exciting. About as exciting as opening a padlock.
– Natasha drifted a bit pulling into the toll booth and popped her front right tire.
Oopsie! Not proper English!
C’mon. By Ken & Gerard standards, you can still drive for another one hundred kilometres.
Judging by that red scratch on the inner wheel, you would think the tire was bleeding from the injury.
– So they start running away from the toll booth looking for help. Guess who has nothing to do and is willing to aid them?
Is every Korean officer sitting in their car with nothing to do this morning? Is there no such thing as crime around here?
– Commercial break.
– We resume as two officers complete the tire changing. Henry & Terri and Ann & Diane pass them on the road. What is hilarious is that Diane hits the same bump, but thankfully does not pop a tire too. Paula & Natasha’s tire change is complete.
What? I just got these dry cleaned!
– ANN: The girls seem to be apprehended by the police.
Nope. Just crappy driving, Ann.
– Adrian & Collin think that Marc & Rovilson are already one hour ahead. Pamela & Vanessa argue about directions as Vanessa insists they go left because she saw a flag.
– Adrian & Collin ask for directions. Marc announces to Rovilson that he heard a car door shut. Rovilson finds the clue in what he incorrectly assesses to be the “nine millionth jar”.
Will trade teammate for directions, eh Rovilson?
Why trade your teammate for multiple directions when you can. . .
Trade him for just One Direction. ^_^
– Marc & Rovilson read that they must drive themselves to Woncheon Resort. An amusement park with swan-like paddle boats. They will paddle to a buoy to receive their next clue.
Swan-like paddle boats in the middle of South Korea?
I never thought that swan paddle boats in the Japan round of TAR 9 would be repeated years later in another country. Does every country in northeast Asia use swan paddleboats?
– Pamela & Vanessa open the clue. Pamela is doing another roadblock because she still has the most patience. She has no idea what a soybean jar is. Even when she finds all 1, 500 of them she still expresses uncertainty.
Why are the jars designed to be much lower than Pamela? Look at how much she has to bend her back.
You would think Rovilson designed these jars for Pamela & Vanessa to open.
– So Pamela goes to open another jar.
Wow. These jars are cheap. No wonder they need to make 1, 500 of them.
Instead of starting the next leg with forty dollars, Pamela & Vanessa will instead start it with 39 dollars and 75 cents.
– Pamela describes how big the jars are and how heavy they are. She starts slapping and knocking on them hoping it will be a faster process.
Uh, you are overanalyzing things more than Natasha.
‘open’ means ‘slap’, right?
– Adrian & Collin show up to the Roadblock in third. Adrian is doing it.
Ah. A pun! I knew there had to be one for every Roadblock.
– Henry & Terri are stopped on the road as they get out to ask police for directions. Terri utters the scariest words of the season once she is inside the car.
– Vanessa coaches Pamela just to check each jar properly. Pamela then wants Vanessa to see if she has any hints. Wow. She is using the worst possible strategy to check these jars. Paula & Natasha are on the scene in fourth.
British women always love their Bean.
– Pamela has the clue. Her and Natasha leave. Immediately Pamela disses her partner aloud by saying she never does any of the navigating because Vanessa refuses to believe in herself.
She really needs Butch Lockley’s poster. Yeah, believe it or not the guy above was wise and had a motivational poster as a luxury item.
– Adrian finds the clue and the bonus seconds later.
– PAMELA: You must search the pedal boats until you find one with a race flag.
Oh good. A needle in a swan boat.
– Diane & Ann approach a guy on a motorcycle apologizing that neither her nor Diane speak Korean. She asks the guy to drive and follow. She just keeps repeating it to ensure the motorcyclist is confused.
KOREAN GUY: . . .Wanna ride?
Yep. I am sure that will fit Diane, Ann, a camera operator, and sound operator.
– The driver eventually understands what they mean as Ann begs until he agrees. The plan works. They find the soybean farm right away and are now in fifth. Paula reminds Natasha ‘speed’ which means she needs to search faster.
PAULA: Speed of essence.
Speed of essence? I love the take on English phrases in foreign countries. One of my favourite parts about blogging TAR Asia.
Speed of essence involves putting your hair into a ponytail.
– Natasha complains about the smell of the soybean jar.
She hates soy and hates octopus? Sorry Natasha, but South Korea is not the country for you.
– Marc gets directions from a lady at a toll booth.
– Diane opens a jar and starts digging into the soybean jar.
I never knew the inside of a soybean jar looks like Sloppy Joe’s.
– The lady overseeing the task off-screen expresses her displeasure with Diane.
I only have to dig through 1, 499 jars thoroughly, right?
– The lady tells her the clue would just be at the top. No digging necessary.
You mean I don’t have to dig through the jar of cow manure each time?
– Diane has a confused expression on her face.
DIANE: Okay. . .then how do I find it?
Read the clue, Diane. Read the clue.
– Marc brags about taking service roads like in the Philippines. They estimate that they have been able to save three years in the process.
– Now we cut to Terri screaming as they stand outside of their car lost. It is next to impossible to transcribe but is something like this. . .
HENRY: If you want to go a certain way, just say “hey hun, let’s just try over here. Don’t just yell it.”
HENRY: The place might be right here we don’t know.
ROBB: Did you hear her screaming at me dude? Ree-ree-roo-roo-roo. Backwoods hick. I just wanted to spit in her face.
– More jar searching. Diane found the clue before Natasha. Paula coaches Natasha as to which jars she should be checking now. Doesn’t she understand it is randomized?
– Diane & Ann successfully convince a local to follow their car.
ANN: Natasha looks so hot and her back is killing her because she is so tall.
– Natasha breaks a jar as she complains about her being tall. Natasha now has the clue.
Ann is right. Natasha does look hot.
ANN: We were lucky to convince this guy to lead us there. It is not our natural beauty. It is our experience. We practice this on our husbands all the time.
– Pamela & Vanessa talk about how to ask for directions. Henry & Terri stop at a library.
HENRY: We need to have some sort of direction.
TERRI: Yeah yeah yeah yeah.
HENRY: That is not helping.
Henry’s new partner on this season.
– They find a guy who has thirty percent English comprehension.
Heh. Good stuff.
– Henry thanks the guy for taking him there while Terri screams at him to hurry up. Terri is somehow the most patient as Henry thinks they may be counting beans.
– Adrian & Collin are first to the pedal boats. Adrian finds a flagged boat.
I still can’t get over how dumb it is to have back-to-back needle in a haystack tasks. Granted it is a big needle in a small haystack here, but still, seems unnecessary. Why not just let them pick a boat and go?
Wow. That looks uncomfortable. After bending his back to search for clues inside of jars, Rovilson’s back must be killing him by now.
– Marc & Rovilson now have a boat of their own.
ROVILSON: The Terminators, as we call them, no emotion. They just keep coming at you. They’re very business-like and a very tough team.
More accurate description than Henry & Terri calling you Magnum P.I.
– Adrian & Collin return to shore. They read that they must drive to the Korean Folk Village to find their next clue. Marc & Rovilson have their clue soon after. I doubt more than two or three minutes separates them.
I should note that there is a specific TAR Asia soundtrack that is unique to the series. It is the same tune that Diane & Ann danced to in the Racers Revealed show. It sounds a bit techno-like. In fact, it reminds me of the sphere enemies and the Kraken music from the SNES video game EarthBound.
Or if you want it to be -really- hip. . .
– Adrian came up with one of the most inaccurate descriptions I have heard for a task on The Amazing Race Asia.
Yeah, pedalling a boat for a few minutes is just like that. . .
– Henry tells Terri to mark the ones she has already checked. More yelling ensues.
HENRY (under his breath): She’s got to do it her f—ing way and that’s why we always f— up.
Terri hears this. She comes to a complete halt and glares at him.
Terri gives the Tom Plant look of disapproval.
I mean “I f— up”, and you’re doing a great job. Great job, honey! I am so supportive of everything you have done this race.
– Commercial break.
HENRY: I said it’s back-breaking work. You gotta keep going so just keep going so we can get outta here.
Smooth, Henry. Smooth.
– Pamela & Vanessa are at the marina. They begin to search until they find a flagged one. The pedalling appears to be a struggle for them. We cut back to Terri searching until she has the clue. Into the car they go.
HENRY: I just have to figure out where we are and can get us there a lot quicker.
Terri yells a lot less when she is the one driving.
– Collin knows where to go by reading the map. Paula & Natasha hire a driver to take them to the pedal boats. Marc & Rovilson are amazed that Adrian & Collin beat the traffic.
– Adrian & Collin have the clue. Detour. Too Ho or Too Heavy.
In Too Ho,
teams must toss three bamboo sticks into a cylinder from 4 1/2 metres away.
Allan and his hos.
Who came up with a task called Too Ho? The Godfather from pro wrestling?
In Too Heavy, teams must deliver thirty logs to a house using a traditional Korean carrying device. Teams with strength and stamina could finish quickly.
– Adrian & Collin choose Too Heavy. Unlike all of the other Detours and Roadblocks this season, both tasks are on-site.
After bending over to search boats and jars, Adrian’s back is preparing to break.
– In a surprise to no one, Marc & Rovilson show up and instantly choose Too Ho. They are going to be very disappointed.
Meanwhile Adrian’s bent over back and his walking stick makes him look like an eighty year old Amazonian native.
How Adrian will look like in twenty years.
– Pamela & Vanessa are at the buoy, retrieve the clue, and pedal back. Marc & Rovilson start playing Too Ho. The technique is to lob it in.
You could be there for hours if you can’t quite get the perfect throw.
Ho Throwing is not a spectator sport here.
– Marc & Rovilson fail a couple of times.
The fan goes wild. . .in order to cool the man who is watching.
– Adrian & Collin keep walking. It seems odd that Collin does not have to carry any wood. We see Ann & Diane give their confused Korean a hat from New Zealand and ten dollars because of his kindness.
– Henry instructs Terri to go right. We see Henry hilariously repeatedly flip a map over and over again.
Why is that map wearing green jeans? Wait a minute. . .
– Ann & Diane find a boat. Pamela & Vanessa meanwhile yell at each other how to correctly control the boat. They dock it and head out.
DIANE: Row, row, row your boat gently down the strait. . .
Barney’s I Love You song and Row Row Your Boat? Diane spends too much time with her kids.
– Pamela wipes sweat off of her face. Marc & Rovilson keep missing. Adrian & Collin find the lady. Collin begins unloading the wood. She counts each piece of wood individually as he progresses.
This is the peak of excitement in her day.
– Ann & Diane are at the buoy. Diane has the clue. They begin to pedal back. Adrian & Collin go back for more wood. Diane & Ann run into Paula & Natasha physically as Paula & Natasha attempted to exit their car.
– Paula & Natasha find the Malaysian Moms to be arrogant and have no team spirits. They think karma will get them.
Diane is not much of a talker. So much for being Sweety Sweety.
– Paula & Natasha find a marked boat and begin to pedal away. However, the boat simply won’t move. Are they too weak?
Harder Paula, harder!
– Natasha figures out the brain teaser and they begin to move. They sound exhausted already.
– Collin carries the next load of wood. Apparently each person transports their own load. Marc & Rovilson finish Hoing and receive their clue. Adrian & Collin have their clue too.
– They read that they must drive to the next pit stop at the Olympic Park in Seoul, South Korea. Of course this was the home to the 1988 Summer Olympic Games. The most infamous Olympics in Canada’s history.
Look at that roidtensity.
Canada doing well at a Summer Olympics? I knew it was too good to be true.
Allan awaits the best TARthletes from around the world.
ALLAN: The last team to reach here may be eliminated.
– Rovilson expresses his shock when he thought Adrian & Collin were well behind them but were initially ahead of them at the Detour.
You know how teams typically travel to five or six locations in each round so far? One route marker, one promotional task, a Detour clue, the Detour locations, the Roadblock clue, the Roadblock location, then the pit stop?
Wait. That’s nine locations.
For some reason, this round only had three places for teams to visit. The Roadblock clue and task was the same place, the Detour clue and tasks were at the same place, and now the pit stop.
Needless to say production saved a lot of money this round.
– Pamela keeps telling Vanessa to stay in the left lane. Pamela looks down at her map for a second only to see that Vanessa is now in the right lane. It triggers a fight. Pamela shushes her so she can read the map in silence.
– Henry & Terri have pulled over to ask for directions. Well, they are in a tricky spot that requires them to back out. Henry decides it is best that he back them out of the current area before letting Terri take over.
TERRI: Like I don’t know how to drive, huh? That’s why I have a driver’s license right? Because I know how to f—ing drive!
I told you, Henry. The second you put Terri in the backseat, she starts yelling again.
– We cut to Pamela & Vanessa’s continuing argument.
PAMELA: So close! So close! I looked down so I didn’t know where we were heading anymore! I didn’t want wrong sign to Seoul! I KNEW WE WERE SUPPOSED TO KEEP LEFT! WE’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO TURN! WE’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO TURN TO 4.1, YOU UNDERSTAND?
VANESSA: I’m asking you to calm down.
PAMELA: DAMN, LA.
Look at the animation on her face.
I really cannot do their argument justice. The way they talk in a fit of anger is so funny.
It is like the voice of a disgruntled Chinese shopkeeper when he catches a teen shoplifting.
PAMELA: I didn’t call her stupid. She called herself stupid.
VANESSA: I felt stupid because I don’t think I am stupid but the move was stupid.
Why do I have to be so stupid, stupid?
– VANESSA: I’m stupid! I told you I’m a stupid person, right?
– Commercial break.
VANESSA: INSTEAD OF PANICKING CAN YOU LOOK AT THE MAP?!
PAMELA: WE’RE GOING THE WRONG WAY!
VANESSA: CAN YOU TRACK BACK?
The way they just exclaim in their semi-high pitched voices and rapid fire speech is hilarious. I just want to hear Vanessa say the word ‘stupid’ five more times because she pronounces it in a hilarious way.
Pamela tells Vanessa that they are going the wrong way.
Look at that expression.
It is like she is copying Lorena from TAR 12. You’re going the wrong waaaaaay.
– Pamela is flustered and cannot figure out how they can even trek back. Henry warns Terri not to yell at him if he needs to pull over and ask for directions. We see a directions montage with all six teams. It is an unusual montage. You would never see this in the American franchise due to time constraints.
– The only team no included in this montage is Paula & Natasha because they are still pedalling in a swan boat.
Don’t you see Henry talking to the shopkeeper, or are you too busy checking out those melons?
– More Chong Sisters yelling. More Paula & Natasha pedalling.
You would think Natasha is in such rough shape that she just returned from her own Korean War.
On your knees!
– Are Pamela & Vanessa any closer to being back on track?
Nope. Definitely confused.
– Pamela apologizes for yelling. Instead she starts crying as she cannot figure out how to exit the highway. They are told how to u-turn by an English-speaking lady at the toll booth.
VANESSA: I’m sorry.
PAMELA: Sorry doesn’t change it. I’m still angry about it.
C’mon now, Pamela. Be nice to your sister.
Can you look at the map a minute? Why are you paying attention to the road while driving?
– Henry talks to himself about what the exact directions from the lady were.
HENRY: When she said ‘go here’. . .
TERRI: SHUT! ARE YOU GOING OR WHAT?
HENRY: I don’t know–
Henry’s got a headache, and it’s definitely a tumour.
– You know what Terri reminds me of? Where she quietly wants to do something at first, but if her spouse rejects initially or gives a passive answer, she proceeds to yell the command and the spouse follows?
– Pamela starts crying. More crying. Vanessa orders her to stop crying so she can be told where to go. Terri keeps screaming at Henry. He looks like he has just spent an hour with Flo.
Crying isn’t going to change anything.
Henry really needs to invest in some noise cancelling headphones.
– I cannot understand literally one word that Terri says. Henry eventually exits to ask for more directions after a dramatic pause.
– MARC: Tough to have a sense of urgency when you are stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
– Collin orders Adrian to not do anything on his own when driving. He -must- follow Collin’s directions. In other words, don’t pull a Vanessa.
ROVILSON: In Manila, there are still ways to weave through the traffic where you can still get to your destination in gridlock. Here in Korea people are actually following the rules, staying in their lane, and not running red lights.
What a crazy world that would be to live in.
– The great thing about extended episodes is in situations like this. You truly appreciate how tough it is to drive yourself around congested places that can prove to be very confusing, difficult, and a test of your patience. No wonder teams only have to travel to three locations for the whole round.
– Paula & Natasha may have been dead last to the Roadblock, but are amazed to see how many clues were in the clue box for the Detour. They choose Too Heavy. The two cross a stream of rocks.
– Pamela & Vanessa continue to complain in their car. They say they have been driving for a long time. Teams checked out between 10:30am and 11:00am. Three of the teams have only completed the Roadblock, and haven’t even arrived at the Detour place. Guess what time it is?
Nearly nine hours of driving? Brutal.
– Vanessa keeps saying how her wrong turn is unfair to Pamela. The tears come.
That face is my favourite. It is like a freakin’ cartoon.
– Rovilson points out the Olympic Stadium. He wonders if Olympic Park would be next to it. Marc thinks they are driving further away from it and doubts their ability to finish first.
– Natasha loads up the next batch of logs. Marc & Rovilson and Adrian & Collin both hire drivers to take them to Olympic Park. It’s going to be a tight finish.
Paula shoots in to balance that stack. After checking jars and sitting in a car for ten hours, production really wants to punish the racers with as much back pain as possible.
– Commercial break.
– We resume to Paula correcting the stack.
It’s tough to believe that Natasha is beneath all of that.
So Paula makes the adjustment and. . .
Aaaand six pieces of wood hit Natasha in the head.
PAULA: Did I hit your head?
Apology accepted once the migraine goes away.
– Ann says her and Diane have been driving in circles. Diane is certain they missed it. Paula & Natasha meet up with the lady. Natasha sets down the stack.
Uh oh. . .
Uh oh. . .
The grace of a gymnast.
I’ll be here all week!
That’s right. Count it yourself you green-gowned b—-.
– Ann & Diane are fourth to the Detour. They choose Too Ho
– Natasha carries the second load of wood too. She dumps the wood with a bit more grace. Ann & Diane begin throwing sticks. They never even hit the cylinder on their first attempts. Paula & Natasha have their clue.
– Pamela & Vanessa are fifth to the Detour but are still convinced they are lost. They tell an outgoing Paula & Natasha that they are indeed lost. Ann & Diane miss the cylinder on an additional six or seven tosses. They switch.
– Diane & Ann try to stack the wood but it collapses anyway.
– Marc & Rovilson pull up to Olympic Park. They sprint across the park.
They run at the same speed as Ben Johnson. . .when Ben isn’t juiced, of course.
– Why are they running so fast though?
Ah, I see Allan is standing next to their Korean escort.
WOMAN: Welcome to South Korea.
ROVILSON: Feliz Navidad.
– Allan presents them with the good news.
ALLAN: Team number one for the fifth time now!
They have now passed Eric & Jeremy’s pace who finished in fourth during the Oman round of TAR 9.
And these victories have not been small either. Adrian & Collin have been the only team to consistently keep up with them.
– Diane loads up half of the logs on Ann. She complains how heavy it is getting as if it is Too Heavy. They ask for directions. Pamela & Vanessa are playing Too Ho. Vanessa finally gets one in.
– Adrian & Collin pull into Olympic Park.
SECOND PLACE: ADRIAN & COLLIN
– They are smiling but slightly disappointed by the finish. Allan says they have been frontrunners, but have one team that they still need to take care of in the race.
– Vanessa apologizes a few more times. Pamela tells her to stop apologizing several more times. During this fit of apologize-don’t apologize is them completing the Detour and now ahead.
– Terri is now driving the car. We see it is 8:22pm. Diane is doing the second load. She tells Ann to stop stepping on her shoes but Ann says it is impossible if she is going to be close enough to hold up the stack.
– Ann & Diane have finished the Detour. We see it get increasingly dark.
– Pitch black. Henry & Terri are at the pedal boats. They are at the buoy and retrieve the clue. The other three teams are asking for directions on the street.
Seoul at night.
– Henry & Terri are back in the car. Terri throws the map at him in the driver’s seat.
THIRD PLACE: PAMELA & VANESSA
Huh? Where’d Paula & Natasha go? The crying seems so, well, er, stupid now.
Equally shocked by their finish.
– They seem too tense. These two really need to smoke that cheech and chong to relax. Both are stunned.
– Ann & Diane is confident they are ahead of one or two teams. Paula & Natasha pick up a random stranger to hop in their car.
I told you. Nobody in Seoul has anything to do today.
– Diane & Ann park the car and run onto the mat. There is a high-pitched whistle on the track.
FOURTH PLACE: DIANE & ANN
– Allan notices that Diane & Ann are not fazed by their finish. Ann explains they had been following Paula & Natasha most of the day.
– Speaking of Paula & Natasha, how are they doing with their local?
Who knew a man who agrees to join you in a car of strangers at nine o’ clock at night would be drunk.
Isn’t that a bit early to be intoxicated, though?
– Henry & Terri park their car. Oh, it’s the Detour. They decide to play Too Ho. Henry interrupts Terri that they have to take turns. I guess Terri just wanted to keep throwing. We see them miss about ten tosses in a row.
– Paula & Natasha hope they are not last.
Pleaaaaase, Mister Wu. . .
Korean woman smiles to an extreme.
FIFTH PLACE: PAULA & NATASHA
– Allan asks about the round. We hear their recap of today’s events.
NATASHA: Not used to driving on the wrong side of the road.
Oh for f—‘s sake.
– Allan does the cheesiest farewell I have ever seen.
– Henry drains one. Then a second. Then a third. They have the clue. Terri says they are quick to doing tasks but have troubles going anywhere.
TERRI: Let’s go!
HENRY: I’m not gonna go anywhere because I don’t know where we’re going.
HENRY: I gotta find this place on the map, but if she kills us, she kills us.
The camera operator and sound operator may just guide them directly to the pit stop to preserve their own lives.
– She storms out of the car and walks around a gas station.
TERRI: DRIVING! HE’S A F—ING IDIOT!
Look at Terri doing such a good job of obtaining directions!
So much for the twenty foot rule, too.
– Henry confronts Terri in a confessional.
HENRY: The stuff that you do. . .
HENRY: This race is just real. . .this game is just. . .f—ed.
I should note that Henry dropping a f-bomb is unbleeped on-air. Completely uncensored.
TERRI: Look at me.
No, I’ll look at the ceiling because the ceiling does not get angry or clench its fists.
TERRI: Look at me.
No, cause you’re the devil.
– He keeps crying. More crying.
TERRI: Now you have to tell me the stuff that I do.
– A SCREAMING match outside ensues. Henry began with politely asking her to ask somebody if she wants to figure out where to go, but Terri screamed back for him to ask. Now they are in a full out war.
They are nineteen feet apart, I imagine.
– In the confessional, Terri insists that she just wants to get out what she wants to say because it eats her. It is not her yelling at him–it is just her trying to say stuff.
TERRI: It’s not that I’m yelling at you, it’s how I say. I just want to get out what I want to say because it eats me inside. Otherwise, I’d probably be silent a long time ago. My self-esteem is up and down, up and down. People make me feel like I have low self-esteem. Even though I have Henry, I don’t feel good about myself like I am a failure. Like I never done good in life.
– We cut to Terri just yelling and running in the opposite direction before he can ask a taxi.
HENRY: F—! Stupid!
– So they eventually get to the pit stop.
LAST PLACE: HENRY & TERRI
– Henry jokes an ‘oh s—‘ reaction as he chuckles.
– They are last, but it is the third of five non-eliminations. Henry tells her they can catch up.
– The penalty is that all of their money is taken away, and will start the next leg without any money.
Henry not happy.
In fact, unlike in TAR 5-9 when they had this penalty, teams usually chuckled or were just relieved to be in the race. Not Henry.
HENRY: You kiddin’ me, right?
ALLAN: I am not kidding you right now.
He can’t even look at the host.
– Terri rants in a confessional into the credits that she does not like to beg and that begging is not the right thing to do. Oh, and then she talks about how she does not like to beg.
– According to Allan Wu, the fight was much nastier than shown at TV. He physically refused to hand over his money. Without Terri’s presence, the situation would have been much uglier.
Read Allan Wu’s blog about it below. He was hyping this fight because it is the first and only time in TAR history where somebody fights with the host, but for some reason, editors took it out.
I should note the main reason of conflict is because this non-elimination penalty was not in the rule book. Instead the rule was like in TAR 10 and 11 where they are Marked for Elimination. Or the non-elimination penalty that Edwin & Monica had in round one.
This marks the first time that two different non-elimination penalties are used in the same season, and given Henry’s outburst, this was never attempted again in franchise history.
See? An amazing blogger compared to Phil.
Next Time on TAR: It may be called TAR Asia, but yet we find ourselves heading to central Europe. Will Henry & Terri be saved by producers in terms of money? And can Marc & Rovilson preserve their current series record for best team average ever?
Rank the Legs:
1) Singapore, Singapore -> Manila, Philippines
This was ten times better than the opening round from TAR Asia 1.
Go-karting and descending a mall is replaced by eating balut, flying to another country, no equalizers, and a wicked 181 metre high tower traverse. I should also note that the teams are a bit more compelling and more extraverted than the crowd gathered for the first season. No Sahil & Prashants or Sahrans.
The only slight con is that Marc & Rovilson occupied more than a quarter of the airtime while the first place team, Pamela & Vanessa, were shown half as much as them.
Oh, and the tricky non-elimination in the opening round for the second season in a row was a nice fakeout by production. We also see the introduction of the TAR 10/11 non-elimination penalty being introduced to the East.
2) Manila, Philippines -> Auckland, New Zealand
You know what’s left out of this description? The side trip to Hong Kong for one task before heading to Auckland. In Hong Kong they went to a pier before going to a bank where teams spent two to three hours counting coins and notes.
Everybody was on the same flight to Hong Kong. But guess what? After the task, everyone was on the same flight to Auckland. Hong Kong had zero bearing on the round.
However, these lame equalizers were made up by teams having to drive themselves around Auckland. In addition, there was SIX destinations around Auckland that teams visited. One of these tasks was a gruelling Detour, a jump off a bridge, using a Sony Cybershot through a heritage site, visiting a winery, going through a haunted house, and lastly finishing in a haunted forest.
Teams appeared to finish from first to last about eight to ten hours apart. Well, the last place team, Brett & Kinar, was ordered to skip -two- tasks in order to check in at the mat. And they could not even blame it on a late flight because everyone shared the same one.
Seeing Pamela & Vanessa collide with another civilian vehicle is extremely rare for the franchise. Usually teams wipe out in their own vehicle, sometimes smash into an object, or get charged with speeding. But seeing a civilian car crash right into them? The last time I can recall that happening is during the Cancun round of TAR 3 with the bus.
3) Rotorua, New Zealand -> “Tokyo”, Japan
The fifth round of the game but only our second equalizer as teams head to Tokyo.
It is no secret that I love visits to Japan. In the future, we will see numerous TAR visits to Tokyo where every appearance involves a MXC-inspired gameshow.
But this is back during the TAR 9, 12, and TAR Asia 2 days where we never reduced ourselves to that.
And for two visits to Japan already in the books, every task was brand new. Cosplay? Icebar puzzle? Navigating the confusing metro streets at night using trains, taxis, and your own two feet?
And this was all immediately landing in Tokyo after a nine thousand kilometre trip from New Zealand. Just look at a map to appreciate the distance.
Yes, because this race is exclusive to contestants from Oceania and Asia, a team is bound to have an advantage. This time it was an advantage for the slow-moving Daichi & Sawaka.
Much like BJ & Tyler in TAR 9, and Ronald & Christina in TAR 12, they suddenly found themselves dominating the round as they could communicate well with every local as all other teams became increasingly confused and frustrated.
I don’t understand the song about cherry blossoms other than that they needed to work in some more product placement.
As for the fact that it was a classic To Be Continued leg where nobody is punished for coming in last, and the fact that this pit stop was located 1, 1000 kilometres away from the previous route marker, AND that it was an equalizer for all seven teams to ensure the standings came down to a taxi ride. . .well, this is where the rating for the episode drops.
In fact, having an equalizer for all teams after the final route marker but before checking into the pit stop is absurd to the point that I do not recognize their placements. Instead, I consider the order in which teams arrived at the Tokyo bullet train station as the true end of the round.
The trek through Tokyo would be Daichi & Sawaka’s lone shining moment for the race. Somehow the only other thing they knew how to do was to be near the bottom of the pack and indirectly ask locals on the street for help.
4) Manila, Philippines -> Manila, Philippines
What I loved about this round? There were no equalizers. Well, there was buses that left every fifteen minutes, but nearly every team had their own bus multiple times during the leg.
I think it is even more important this happened because the previous round was a non-elimination. So how you finished on the first leg carried over directly to this second round.
I must say this has to be the most forgettable trip to an orphanage in the history of TAR. In fact anytime you integrate product placement into a round will certainly make it an unmemorable task. And when it is the same product placement in the form of Caltex, you get a lot of snoozers.
Although if it were not for Caltex’s heavy advertising, TAR Asia may never exist in the first place.
Heading out to Pila and directing an animal that I never heard of before was definitely a treat. It is tough to go to a location that the “real” TAR has been to before, but find unique things to do.
That Roadblock seemed rather difficult, come to think of it.
I approve of the Detour. Do a task that will have a small variant in how long it will take compared to a high risk-high reward option made for a great dilemma. Do you chance it on hoping you can fix a bike quickly or do you sort through 250 pairs of shoes?
The insight into the public transportation of the Philippines, and truly understanding the how common the sight of jeepneys are in Manila, produced an interesting bit of info for viewers during the episode.
I would say that dropping boxes off at the orphanage should have been more difficult to navigate, but after seeing what happened with Pamela & Vanessa, may be it was difficult enough.
Lastly, seeing Edwin & Monica finish dead last in each of the first two legs is a highlight for the franchise. Granted there was no equalizer to make it as two distinct last place finishes, but still funny to think about when it comes to the TAR franchise.
And the round needed more carabao.
5) Auckland, New Zealand -> Rotorua, New Zealand
This leg was awesome.
No equalizer. Check.
Teams forcing to drive themselves rather than take taxis. Check.
Random Caltex appearance. Check.
Terri being crazier than her usual self. Check.
TAR 5 sledging. Check.
TAR 5 Hell’s Gate mud bath. Check.
An elimination? Check.
So what’s wrong with the episode?
Because French Born Aurelia was eliminated due to starting this round over eight hours behind all other teams. Her and Singaporean Sophie were out before the leg even began.
Words cannot describe how tragic it is to lose her by the end of round four.
A tough Detour where teams had to either weave or play with sticks.
6) Busan, South Korea -> Seoul, South Korea
You know in TAR 1 how every episode felt like a travel documentary, and the tasks took a backseat to the difficulties of travelling?
That is how I would describe this episode. About ninety percent of the footage was the inside of a team car. Ten to twelve hours of driving for all teams meant they were in a pressure cooker as they went through busy roads and confusing streets of a country that does not speak English.
There was no suspense as to who would finish first or who would finish last. That seemed to be their absolute last priority when editing this episode.
Just think that this was round seven of thirteen. The halfway point of the season. It is amazing that these racers were up for playing another six rounds.
The Roadblock of opening jars was lame.
The Detour however seemed quick, but it is much better than any of the tasks we saw overall this round or last round. South Korea really sucked for tasks this season.
And do the police officers have nothing to do in this country?
Seeing Henry completely break down when dealing with not only Terri but the non-elimination penalty of money being taken away was a huge part of this episode.
I had to drop the rating for this episode simply because the pace was a bit too slow, and editors leaving out the full blowup from Henry at the host is a major injustice. How can you leave out something that has never happened in twenty-three seasons of TAR in the West?
7) Fukuoka, Japan -> Busan, South Korea
This may be one of the worst rounds of TAR ever designed. Remember Paula’s quote during the episode?
PAULA: The real challenge is getting to the challenge rather than the challenge itself. . .
That about sums up this round.
Slither Detour and the Padlock Roadblock were shown in REAL TIME for EVERY team. That is absolutely ridiculous when you see that seven teams are still in the game. Most challenges take twenty minutes to two hours. But both of these tasks took no more than a minute for each team.
The only task not shown in real time was Taekwondo, and we saw most teams do each individual kick. We just didn’t get to see the reset between each time the instructor grabbed a new board.
Ninety percent of this round was spent in a taxi and it certainly showed. Henry & Terri kept their cool which meant that nothing exciting happened in a taxi. Nobody was super lost. The only reason you may think that is because the round was so short that losing thirty minutes to a bad cab is extreme given the length of the round.
I cannot get over the fact that each task took no more than three minutes. In fact Marc & Rovilson completed every task in SECONDS. Family Edition never went to that extreme.
If your tasks are easier and shorter than a round of Family Edition, then you are insulting the intelligence of other teams.
Even Austin Black Family would have blown through the Taekwondo task, the Slither Detour, and the padlocks.
The seventh place team should have been eliminated in Tokyo, and this round should have been the non-elimination.
If Henry & Terri Yielded any team behind them, that team would undoubtedly be gone. No way that Daichi & Sawaka lost by more than ten minutes.
Daichi & Sawaka seemed to switch Detour options almost right away. I doubt they lost more than ten minutes.
Yeah, Sawaka’s Detour option combined with being tricked by Diane & Ann single-handedly sent her and her brother home.
Perhaps the only memorable highlights from this episode is that Marc & Rovilson finished first for the fourth time in six episodes, and keeping up with Eric & Jeremy’s team average ratio of 1.33 after six rounds. The seventh round is when Eric & Jeremy fell to fourth. So Marc & Rovilson may take the lead.
I have nothing else to say. My episode blog probably makes the episode far more entertaining to read than it is to watch. I found myself getting bored because of how obvious it was that there was very little usable footage. I would not be surprised if they forced Marc & Rovilson to put on the fake mustaches to distract viewers from the fact that was going on.
So here it is. A contender for the worst episode in series history. No, franchise history. What a waste of an awesome location.
P.S. Yes, Sawaka really did sing for 45 seconds as the episode faded into credits.
Yeah, there was never an opportunity to integrate a clever Gangnam Style reference while they were in Seoul. My apologies. So I’ll just add in Gangnam Style to close out this round’s ranking. Again, so sorry.