“Taipei Tourism. . .Sony Style!”
THAILAND – VIETNAM – TAIWAN – CHINA – INDIA – OMAN
The budget presented to producers for TAR 24. Good luck, Bertram!
Note to self: Never go to a restaurant which serves Stinky Towu.
Previously on TAR: Seven teams set out from Hue, Vietnam and made their way to Taipei–the capital of Taiwan. At the Detour, searching for a miniature clue caused hours of confusion. When Mai & Oliver finally found it, they snuck off quietly but Sam couldn’t contain himself.
At the Institute of the Blind, Henry & Bernie struggled to communicate using Braille. While Niroo & Kapil simply could not figure out how to operate their car.
Ida struggled to eat stinky tofu at the Roadblock but Tania convinced local police to escort them into first place.
When Kapil & Niroo arrived at the Roadblock, they couldn’t continue any further.
Six teams remain; who will be eliminated next?
– Intro time. Oh my god. I just noticed something in the intro.
Hey guys, I found it!
But seriously, this is just eerie. The plane shown in the intro for each episode is a Malaysian Airlines plane. If I had blogged this season at anytime over the past three years, this would have zero significance. Now it is just eerie.
I do not break character in this blog too often, but I hope the families affected by this tragedy find a way to heal over time. In Canada I know friends of friends who were affected by the 1985 Air India crash. This is not a Canadian history blog, but if you are curious about that incident, feel free to look it up.
– This is actually a classic TAR format. Eliminate teams every episode until you get down to six teams. From there you have a non-elimination every other round until the end of the game. I imagine the same will happen this season as we have three non-eliminations to use as only six teams remain.
– Allan introduces us to Taipei. A city of three million people.
Ah! What happened to your hair, Allan? You’re bald!
– Now Allan says something every episode so far that is driving myself and many viewers at the time downright furious.
ALLAN: City Hall Square was built 310 years ago and has hosted some major events in the past. This was the fourth pit stop in a race around the world!
A race around the world, eh? Is that disarming smile your lousy attempt at Wuceiving us?
The starting line is in Thailand, we spent two rounds in Vietnam, we are spending two rounds total in Taiwan, and then we will start heading west towards Oman before returning to Thailand!
It’s a race across central Asia. We never cross the equator, the furthest north and east we travel is the East China Sea, and Oman is not that close to touching Africa or Europe.
At least in Family Edition Phil would always say “This was the fifth pit stop in The Amazing Race” instead of “this was the fifth stop in a race around the world”.
ALLAN: Teams must leave City Hall Square twelve hours after they reach pit stop.
Oh, I love English spoken that is just a few points shy of being fluent.
– Ida & Tania, who arrived first at 2:00am, will depart at 2:00pm. They read that they must drive themselves to the Sony Style Store in the New Sogo Department Store.
The NEW Sogo Department Store?
Oh, that’s part of the name.
I wonder what stores are located in the Old Sogo Department Store.
– Once they locate the Sony Style Store inside, they must search amongst 1, 000 Blu Ray Discs for the correct one that will have a message on there before they can receive their next clue.
That’s right. You can play entire clues on crappy Nokia phones, but a brand new technology in 2008 such as Blu Ray does not have enough space to reveal the clue. You just have to wait for a man standing next to you to receive your next clue.
It won’t be long before a machine replaces his job. . .Sony Style!
– Ida hires another cab to lead them to the Department Store. Where did they get the money to keep doing this? Ida says they love doing this and want to win because of their competitive nature.
– Second to depart at 2:17pm is Vince & Sam. Dang, Ida & Tania did well last round. Vince feels they made mistakes last round but still finished second. Once those mistakes are corrected, he feels they will be unstoppable.
PRODUCER: Uh, is this your attempt at trying to foreshadow your victory for the purposes of post-production editing, Vince?
I should note Vince and Tisha 31 are both using Canadian passports to run this race. Thanks to Eamon for that info.
Yeah, I thought I would mention that because this will almost certainly be an irrelevant non-elimination round.
– Ida & Tania and Vince & Sam are both at the Sony Style Store. The SSS, as the hip locals call it.
– I love how TAR Asia is the only franchise that gets stuck with visiting a mall to enter a Sony store in every season.
Entering a Bluray Disc–Sony Style!
– Isn’t it poor advertising for Bluray Disc Players to have only one disc out of a thousand to work properly? I would stick with my DVDs.
Heck, it’s 2014 and I STILL don’t have a Bluray Player. I have a VHS-DVD combo, though.
Loading. . .Sony Style
TEN MINUTES LATER
Try again. . .Sony Style!
– They all come up with a methodical method to try each disc. Vince explains his method of going across each rack of discs. We cut to a confessional of Sam explaining their rocket science method.
Vince even thinks the additional explanation is excessive.
– Him and Sam say that it is just pure luck now. Yep, mocking the task right to production’s faces.
– Mai & Oliver depart third at 2:53pm. Oliver feels they are really stupid most of the time. Mai thinks they do not take themselves seriously. Oliver agrees that they fight about the dumbest of things. We get a great confessional too.
MAI: He calls us Dumb and Dumber but that doesn’t mean we’re stupid.
THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT DUMB AND DUMBER MEANS! And why is Oliver playing with himself on-camera?
Mai, I present you a Thesaurus.
– Henry & Bernie begin in fourth at 2:55pm. Bernie believes her and Henry are calmer. She says they need to slow down their pace if Henry wants her to finish the race.
– A.D. & Fuzzie begin in fifth at 2:56pm. Fuzzie comments that him and A.D. are the only team left to not have a serious blowup with the exception of A.D.’s belching. Teamwork is never their problem.
Eamon said that A.D. & Fuzzie are both homosexuals. Due to Asian television (as well as children’s American television in the U.S. regarding Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus) not promoting homosexual figures on-screen publicly, A.D. & Fuzzie’s sexual orientation will be shoved into the closet unless they play TAR 18, and TAR 24 where it will be briefly mentioned in episode four.
Although Howard & Sahran were allowed to be open about their homosexuality in TAR Asia 1.
After the race, Sahran took his relationship with Howard to new heights.
– Henry & Bernie and A.D. & Fuzzie work together to hire a cab. Oliver walks over to hear them to talk to the cabbie.
I am sure the taxi driver must love three people and three pairs of production crew staring at them inside of the cab. Oliver is disgusted as he walks away.
OLIVER: They can speak Chinese!
Dammit! If only they spent the first round of the game in a place where you lived and speak the language–oh wait.
Oliver’s walk and anger is a blatant copy of Marshall’s walk through the Argentine bus station in TAR 5. I hate herrrrrr so much.
Nathan is confused because he thinks Oliver should be able to speak Thai in Thaiwan.
– Mai & Oliver sat in their car until Henry & Bernie and A.D. & Fuzzie pulled away. Henry comments how Mai & Oliver tailed behind them. Oliver defends it as a decision between winning and not following. Henry wants to stop teams from gaining any sort of advantage on them. Bernie decides to speed up the car and make Mai & Oliver follow at a distance.
– More Blu Ray Disc fails. . .Sony Style. Tania does a Rachel Reilly laugh. Vince & Sam receive the congratulations message first.
Vince & Sam making up a seventeen minute deficit and getting lucky. . .Sony Style.
– Ida & Tania congratulate them on their good fortune. Vince & Sam read that it is a Fast Forward. Whoa! Do they get to count bridge stumps?
Look at Allan Wu! It is so fitting that he struts underneath the ‘Diva’ sign in his black leather jacket! A true Wuva!
– Allan explains it is the ONLY Fast Forward of the race, but yet refuses to explain what they have to do yet. Vince & Sam decide to go for the Fast Forward. They consider bluffing Ida & Tania.
– Henry is outside of the car punching in the ticket upon entering the car park. He yells to go but then says ‘stop stop stop’ because he realizes entering a moving car may be a bad idea.
The next Asian action star.
– Henry & Bernie and A.D. & Fuzzie agree that they will make Mai & Oliver split the cab, but make Mai & Oliver pay extra. Mai apologizes for honking at one of the teams because she thought it was another car trying to get in. Fuzzie likes the working relationship with Henry & Bernie.
Fuzzie is a Master DEbater. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if he has another shirt that excludes the first two letters of the second word. That one is in the wash.
– You know last round how I said that TAR Asia features more stops by traffic cops than twenty-four seasons of the US TAR franchise?
Wow. Mai should not be driving.
– Ida & Tania keep throwing in DVDs–er, I mean Blu Rays. Vince & Sam are driving to the Fast Forward. Vince says aloud that no Fast Forward is easy. They open up the clue. Yeah, they open up a separate clue in the Asian version. They discover they need to get a tattoo.
SAM: My mouth literally dropped I was like. . .
He was like. . .not literally dropping his mouth?
– Sam freaks out because he does not have a tattoo. Allan now explains the Fast Forward. They must find Kevin’s Tattoo and get a tattoo.
– The three teams join Ida & Tania. Sam does not agree with tattoos and is against his religious beliefs, but will do it anyway.
They will see you in Hell!
– Teams are all annoyed by the randomness. Sam asks if he should get it on his lower back.
VINCE: No! That’s for girls! That’s a tramp stamp!
Really? The first time I heard the words tramp stamp was two months ago. In the last episode I referenced it for the first time in the previous blog. I had no idea I would hear a contestant utter the words “tramp stamp” for the first time in TAR history. Unbelievable coincidences in life.
– Ida & Tania earlier advised teams to not mess with their rack of Blu rays. Too bad Oliver screws it up immediately by picking that same rack. A.D. & Fuzzie are second to finish. They read that they must drive themselves to the New Pingshi Coal Mine to receive their next clue.
– Geoff 26 & Tisha 31 are last to depart at 3:54pm. Geoff 26 insists there is nothing they can change majorly. He insists it is all about needing a break to recover. A.D. & Fuzzie will not go for the Fast Forward. They run to the parking lot and enter their car. They are parked besides Mai.
Luckily that is A.D.’s side. Fuzzie would stand no chance of entering the car.
– Fast Forward. Sam was hoping for a shaved head. Vince pulls out every bit of tattoo slang. Ink. Tats.
I really want the tattoo to say “F— Da Police” or something like that.
– The other teams keep going through it. Mai & Oliver rely upon superstition. Oliver refuses to look whenever the screen flicks on. Tania is legitimately angry. Henry tells Bernie to watch Mai & Oliver.
Oliver mugging for the camera. . .Sony Style.
– Henry & Bernie fail at not seeing the congratulations disc. A.D. & Fuzzie argue over not seeing signs. Now Fuzzie’s confessional at the start is ironic.
– Henry & Bernie have the correct clue. Oliver drops a S-bomb when he sees they succeeded.
The Tom Plant look of disapproval.
– Henry & Bernie decide to not go for the Fast Forward. Ida & Tania and Mai & Oliver continue experiencing bad luck. We see Sam repeat the same f—ing complaint about his tattoo as if we give a s—.
Either that lady Vince sees in the mirror is anorexic or a mannequin.
– The lady who did Sam’s tattoo is checking him out. Need proof?
“What? Just looking at that flower on the ground.”
– Vince reads that they must drive themselves to the Taipei Astronomical Museum. It is the pit stop.
SAM: We’re going to an astrological museum.
VINCE: Astronomical! Not astrological!
In Sam’s defense, Vince read the clue very slowly like he was a second grader. In addition, you see tons of astrology based tattoos in tattoo parlours.
– Ida & Tania now check one of the racks to see if they can figure out which discs have been thrown in and which ones haven’t been.
– Henry & Bernie ask a taxi driver to lead them the way. He re-enters the cab throwing out random Mandarin words before telling the camera what he just did in English.
What a lovely way to have your lead erased in TAR. I bet an overnight equalizer would have been preferable!
– Geoff 26 & Tisha 31 are now at the mall.
Note that Geoff 26 has the only clue of the episode in his hands.
– Because two seconds later he yells at Tisha 31 that he no longer has the clue.
GEOFF 26: You read it last!
The equivalent of ‘you touched it last’ in the TAR universe.
– Seconds later Geoff 26 relocates the clue in his pocket. Just after he nagged at Tisha 31 for reading it last.
TISHA 31: We’re already fighting.
GEOFF 26: I’m not fighting with you.
Uh, I think you just proved Tisha 31’s point.
– How important is the usage of side streets in the TAR universe?
A.D. & Fuzzie Traffic Cam.
Henry & Bernie Traffic Cam.
– Geoff 26 gets all excited and runs over to the Blu Ray racks.
TISHA 31: No! Choose a Blu Ray player.
Tisha 31’s programmed maternal instincts kick in. So this is what it is like to be in a relationship with an older woman.
– Geoff 26’s instincts as a private investigator kick in too.
You do know that somebody had to put the Blue Ray discs onto the racks in the first place, right? One of production’s fat greasy pizza-laden fingers could have touched the disc or the case beforehand.
– Ida & Tania and Mai & Oliver’s agony continues.
MAI: It’s like shooting myself in the head.
I don’t see how putting in numerous Blu Ray discs is anything like this.
– Tania’s frustration sets in as she pitches the idea of all three teams taking the four hour penalty. Ida reminds her that it is FOUR HOURS. Could this really be the third round in a row of a four hour penalty being taken?
– Vince & Sam enter the mat.
How short is that man? It’s not like Allan is a tall man himself.
He kept on that lwuther jacket to make himself more of a Wuva than ever.
FIRST PLACE: VINCE & SAM
It’s a rather subdued celebration.
ALLAN: Usually our Fast Forwards are quick and painless.
What do you mean? They hit the mat before anybody has completed a Roadblock or Detour yet.
– Allan asks to see their tattoos. Allan comments on the beauty of their tattoos.
If my knowledge of Survivor: China tribe names is correct, that black dragon is referred to as a “Hae Hu” tattoo.
– Allan asks what Sam’s tattoo is supposed to be.
It looks like Lisa & Joni’s bush.
– He thinks it is a Celtic sign.
– Allan informs them they have won a 3-day 2-night golfing trip at a resort in Thailand. He asks if they golf. Both admit they do not know how to golf.
VINCE: I am no Tiger Woods.
ALLAN: That’s no problem.
Yeah, this was filmed at the start of 2008. It would not be until 2009 when we hear about Tiger Woods’ reputation dropping to the ground.
The Young Turks wait to rank Vince & Sam’s seven mistresses that they will pick up at the golfing resort. All of them may or may not have tattoos.
– Allan uses the Tiger Woods reference as a way to introduce their golf lessons at a golfing club and get to stay in a luxury beach front village which is provided courtesy of Singha’s lifestyle drink–Bing!
Bing before it was sold to Microsoft and became a search engine.
– A.D. Drops a F-bomb on a car that cut him off. Henry & Bernie show up to the Coal MineMuseum first. It’s a Roadblock.
HENRY: “Can you dig it?”
(BERNIE points to herself.)
HENRY: Bernie, it’s going to be very physical.
I like how Henry’s insistence is making Bernie question her own confidence.
– Allan explains the task. They must dig through hundreds of kilos of coal to find a souvenir in one of the crates.
Toughest coin ever.
– HENRY: I think I should do it. I think I should do it. And then–
Henry saves Bernie the opportunity of failing at something.
– We are at the Sony Store. Ida & Tania finally succeed. They have the most awkward dance ever.
Tania tackling Ida.
The Butch Lockley.
The Vecepia Towery.
– Ida reads the clue loudly at first but Tania reminds her to read quietly. Ida does not care and they finish the clue. A.D. & Fuzzie are second to the Museum. Oh god. Please let Fuzzie do it. Yep, Fuzzie is doing it.
A.D. & FUZZIE (impersonating Booker T): Can you dig it?!
Or my personal favourite:
Here’s the scoop, kids. Whenever Uncle Baron says “Thrill me”, you stand straight up straight away and say “Yo Baron, I can dig it!”
Yeah, I miss the Nightmare VHS board games.
Fuzzie can barely squeeze through the two crates. Classic.
– Ida & Tania stop in the mall to get some juice and smoked chicken.
Is it just me or has Ida & Tania’s willpower to battle through fatigue and exhaustion similar to Natalie’s threshhold? They refused to sleep in an airport last round, and spent precious funds on hotels, meals, and here in this round they spend money on another meal. Furthermore, Tania was the one who requested the four hour penalty.
I have no idea who finishes between third and sixth this season, but if I were to bet who finishes at the bottom for the next several rounds, I would assume Ida & Tania.
– Geoff 26 & Tisha 31 have the correct disc too.
Geoff 26 just needs a rose between his teeth and he is all set to be The Mask.
Somebody stop me!
MAI: Eventually they all found the Blue Ray.
The Blue Ray?
The Blue Ray.
– Geoff 26 & Tisha 31 and Ida & Tania leave together. Geoff 26 asks Tisha 31 if they will follow. Tisha 31 tells him not to do so. Ida pulls out of the parking lot but Tania yells she is turning the wrong way.
I think all drivers in the TAR Asia franchise need driving lessons provided by production beforehand. Just for everyone’s own personal safety.
– Mai & Oliver are still at the Sony Store. They stop because they are certain all racks have been checked, but discuss that Geoff 26 was the culprit who mixed up the discs on each rack.
A diagram. . .Sony Style!
– They conclude they have to re-check everything.
Once again, Oliver is not impressed.
– They stop to examine each rack in the store like they are Eric & Jeremy. Oliver believes it will take “another four hours”.
– Geoff 26 & Tisha 31 and Ida & Tania all ask people on the streets. Tania finds an English speaking cab. Geoff 26 talks about the places he is seeing on the map rather than outright telling Tisha 31 where to go.
– Tania is in the car with Ida. Guess what? They have money problems and the round has barely started. They agree the taxi will be too expensive to take them all the way to the museum. They decide to only be escorted to the freeway. Geoff 26 is now shown asking multiple cabs who do not respond well to his anger.
– Mai & Oliver sit around and do nothing. Both agree to quit in the quietest voices they have used all season.
Mai exits stage right.
Quitting. . .Sony Style.
– Commercial break.
– We return. Mai tells him they can go eat in the mall then come back and put a couple more hours into the task. They are sooooo last this round.
– Night fall already. Holy crap. Henry has dug through to the very bottom but does not see the coin. He decides he has to dig through hundreds of kilos of coal for a second time. Fuzzie looks devastated because he is almost done as well.
– Tisha 31 points out to Geoff 26 that they going the wrong way. She even proves it. Geoff 26 is snappy about telling her to make a u-turn as if Tisha 31 was the one to screw up.
– Ida & Tania convince officers at a police station to lead them to the coal museum for free. Wow. They are so lucky. Henry has the coin. Fuzzie’s glasses indicates that picking out the coin may be a bit tough to pick out. Too bad Fuzzie cannot wear his glasses while doing this task.
I for one am just happy somebody is wearing a bandana that is a colour other than green.
– Henry & Bernie receive their clue. It’s a Detour. Pick or Nose. Nah, Pick or Pail.
In Pick, teams drive to a local mall and retrieve three objects from a crane game. Once they have the three objects, they will receive their next clue. Except instead of Allan calling it a crane game, he calls it something that I have no idea how to interpret. Lost in Wulation.
That is so Sailor Moon.
Or so Mario Party.
Fun fact: I have never played a crane game. They are practically outlawed in Canada. In fact, a law in Alberta forces crane games to have players be able to have an infinite number of tries on a single credit until they have a prize.
Another fun fact: In China, you can play for cigarettes in these crane games.
ALLAN: Although this task looks relatively simple, teams that can master the Wall of Cheese Machine can claw their way into the lead.
In Pail, teams must drive themselves to the Grand Tong Temple. When they arrive, they must collect a rod and bucket from a water station. They must pour water into the bucket and deliver it to a monk at the top of the hill.
Am I the only one afraid of the monk being able to reach through the computer screen and punch me square in the jaw?
ALLAN: Although teams may have seen this task in martial arts films, they may soon realize that this labour intensive challenge is no cake walk.
– Henry & Bernie choose Pick considering walking around a temple at night can easily lead to a sprained ankle. Mai & Oliver return to the blu ray task. Oliver says a good burger put his head together and they prepare to search through the tasks.
– Geoff 26 & Tisha curse with each other. Tisha 31 quietly says under her breath that she is so done after the race.
– Commercial break.
– We return. They wonder if they will be together after the race is over. My guess is no because both seem like tough people to handle in a relationship. Thankfully nobody cares.
TISHA 31: You don’t have to f—ing swear at me.
– Fuzzie finds the coin! It must be around ten or eleven at night. He is amazed that none of the three trailing teams have shown up yet. If Fuzzie dug through an entire container to find the coin, he must have at least a two hour lead on the three teams.
Look at how he eyes up Fuzzie. Why doesn’t he mine his own business?
– A.D. & Fuzzie surprisingly choose the task that does not involve walking. By the way Fuzzie emphasizes the amount of time that trailing teams are spending, it must be hours and hours of wasted time.
– Ida & Tania show up to the Roadblock. Tania is doing it. Finally a task that involves her getting dirty against her will. Geoff 26 wants Tisha 31 to talk to her, cyborg-to-cyborg.
Oooooooh, Geoff 26 is shaking.
– Geoff 26 wants Tisha 31 to look at the map with him. He asks yet another vehicle for directions. He is told it is “straight, straight, straight, straight”.
– I question Tania’s reading abilities.
Because BOTH are pushing the crate!
– Henry tells Bernie to stay on her side of the road. A bus cuts off A.D. Tania’s bandana is almost hiking up the bandana to her eyes, but eventually takes off the bandana entirely. Henry lectures Bernie about her hazard lights but she has no idea how to use them.
– Oliver points out how Geoff 26 rotated discs at random so it is impossible to tell which ones are used and which ones aren’t. He is not happy with Geoff 26. Geoff 26 & Tisha 31 are lost as they ask a guy to pay them to lead them there. Tisha 31 is crying. Geoff 26 decides to forget the local and wants to drive. However, the local should not be ignored. Why?
I find it hilarious that the local is never shown and you can hear his voice offscreen as Geoff 26 & Tisha 31 argue as if he is a drunk guy on the street.
– Tania does not have the coin yet. Henry & Bernie keep driving. Geoff 26 & Tisha 31 talk to a police car. The police have been a huge help in Taipei. Tisha 31 spots the marker.
– A.D. & Fuzzie are first to the crane game. Vince & Sam’s lead must be six hours by now. Geoff 26 & Tisha 31 show up to the mining site. Geoff 26 is going to do it. He shows up and taunts Tania in the most unintentionally hilarious way possible.
Geoff 26 knows Tania is armed with a shovel, right? He may get Behrooz Araz’d from 24.
– Geoff 26 does not want Tisha 31’s help to push the crate before the task begins, but she nags him to let her help. He reason?
– How are Mai & Oliver doing?
– A.D. & Fuzzie land a green teddy.
Ted is next.
– Henry & Bernie are at the mall. Fuzzie is amazed that Henry & Bernie have just shown up. He thinks they could have pushed it to be faster, but chose not to do so. A.D. & Fuzzie have all three bears. They read to drive themselves to the Astrological–er, Astronomical Museum.
– Henry & Bernie have their bears seconds later. He asks Bernie if they can go faster to be first among these teams. Bernie tells him that she is annoyed that he criticizes her driving.
– Oliver announces that they have gone through 187 discs on their second run. Henry tells us that they “left literally minutes” after A.D. & Fuzzie.
– How exciting has the episode been today?
Where are all of those Blu Rays going to be after this task is done? Crammed into the same landfill that holds the E.T. Atari 2600 cartridges?
– A.D. & Fuzzie are out on the street asking for directions. They speak fluent Mandarin too. Henry informs Bernie that the pit stop is on the other block. A.D. drops a S-bomb when he sees Henry & Bernie running. They are each holding a bear as they step onto the mat.
SECOND PLACE: HENRY & BERNIE
That is what we call a bear hug.
– Henry announces that he has presents for Allan. He presents Allan with a bear and something else. . .
What is he putting on Allan’s head?
Men at wurk.
THIRD PLACE: A.D. & FUZZIE
ALLAN: A.D. & Fuzzie. . .
A.D. & FUZZIE: Allan. . .
I love how they have done that at every pit stop. Nobody calls him Allan.
FUZZIE: We’re glad they beat us so we’re three and not two.
FUZZIE: So we are trying to get every number.
A.D. is too consumed by her bears to care about the conversation.
– Mai & Oliver are in the shopping mall.
Being told to go on after you persevered through to the end. . .Sony Style.
– Oliver was happy the shop was closed. Mai wants to head to the coal mine instead of going for the Fast Forward in case it is taken. Obviously there is no point doing that if they are six or seven hours behind. Oliver tries to explain why going for the Fast Forward is smarter right now.
– Tania has yet to find the coin. She is sitting in coal. Oliver agrees to Mai’s suggestion of going for the route info. They must be a minimum of six hours behind. Oliver asks a local where the coal mine is. The local asks what a coal mine is, and it leads to Oliver doing a mediocre job of miming it.
– Tania went through the entire container. She has to go through it again. This is the break Mai & Oliver needed. Mai & Oliver ask a cab driver how much it would cost to lead them there. They ask somebody nearby if he can foot a part of the bill. Not happening. Oliver caves in and agrees to the price.
– Geoff 26 thinks there would be an envelope at the bottom. Nothing at the very bottom for him too. Tania eventually pulls out the coin. She just holds the coin, pushes her lips together, and glares at Ida as if she found a middle finger staring at her in the pile of coal.
TANIA: I’m so frustrated I’m not even excited about it.
Three bowls of stinky tofu would be more pleasant than today.
GEOFF 26: Please show me.
TANIA: You will know it when you find it.
Geoff 26 is in disbelief that somebody is actually helping him. A little.
Yeah, Tania is genuinely over her dislike of Geoff 26 & Tisha 31 because all of her hatred is directed towards production.
– Ida & Tania read the clue and decide to do Pail. I hope the path at the temple is lit. Geoff 26 decides to start using his hands. Mai & Oliver’s taxi has stopped on the road. His car was fixed yesterday, but it broke down for him. Even the taxi drivers are having a rough day.
– Mai & Oliver are in a black hole. They have no money and stuck on the streets of Taipei in what appears to be two or three in the morning. They are not even at the freakin’ Roadblock yet.
OLIVER: The plan right now is. . .I don’t even have a plan.
It is impossible to hate Oliver. In fact, it is tough to hate any of these teams anymore, really. Production is not giving them any relief. The first three rounds were all tough, but they were in awesome locations. Round four was in downtown Taipei.
But today they have been stuck in shopping malls and a coal mine within the same city. Mai & Oliver have spent over twelve hours and the only thing they have accomplished is driving to the shopping mall. They could not even finish the Blu Ray task. They pick a taxi and it is a taxi that was freshly repaired just one day earlier. . .and it is broken down already. This is just twelve hours after eating stinky tofu.
I think this could be the first round in TAR history where a scheduled non-elimination is canceled because Mai & Oliver are progressively falling further and further behind. They need to go to a police station and convince them to help or else they have to wait until five or six in the morning when Taipei is awake again. Their only hope is if Geoff 26 & Tisha 31 quit the Roadblock.
Aaaand they just finished the task.
Yeah. You know you’re out when I pull out M. Bison to break the news to you.
– Geoff 26 & Tisha 31 decide to do Pick. They want to do that task because they passed by the mall earlier. Geoff 26 hires another taxi for him to follow. Ida & Tania ask multiple people who do not know where the temple is located.
– Ida & Tania are at the temple. Tania confirms with Ida if they have the strength to lift the bucket. Ida says she does so away they go. Geoff 26 & Tisha 31 are at the Pick Detour. They have both bears quickly. Geoff 26 hopes Ida & Tania chose the other one.
Short women + Heavy bucket + Steps going uphill = I should have been cast for TAR Asia 1 or 2.
– Some of the water is dripping from the bucket. Ida & Tania bicker regarding Ida’s strength.
Making them do a second trip would be hilarious.
– Tisha 31 scores the final bear. This task looks like it takes no more than five or six minutes. They have the clue. Geoff 26 announces that he knows where it is. He hires ANOTHER taxi to lead him to the pit stop. Where is he getting this money.
– Ida & Tania reach the top of the hill. The monk tests the water.
They barely pass.
– Ida & Tania are relieved and read the clue. It is crazy that this is only round five.
– Mai & Oliver decide that they will sleep in the car until morning. Oliver also points out that they got nothing done.
Sleep it off, Mai. Sleep it off.
– Ida & Tania are excited as they run into the car and drive off.
Sadly another spell of Asian driving results in a crash with an immovable and also inanimate object. Tania tells Ida to drive because “it is just the door”. Not like they are responsible for the vehicle.
– Ida & Tania convince a local to lead them to the pit stop at three or four o’ clock in the morning. You would never find locals like this in BC.
– Geoff 26 & Tisha 31 step onto the mat. They offer the greeter a white bear. After hearing they are fourth, they give Allan the pink one.
Allan is not allowed to complain about receiving several teddy bears when he is dealing with players that sorted through 1, 000 faulty Blu Ray discs, a needle in a coal stack, and a silly claw game to go along with it.
– Geoff 26 kisses Tisha 31 all over the cheek. He and Tisha 31 said it was a big day for them rather than for the race itself.
GEOFF 26: It was the best day of all the races.
I don’t know about that.
– Ida & Tania now check in.
ALLAN: Ida & Tania. . .
TANIA: Uh, yeah?
FIFTH PLACE: IDA & TANIA
– Morning has arrived.
Allan has been stuck in that same lwuther jacket since one o’ clock yesterday afternoon.
Allan taps on the window to say the sky is blue, and Oliver tells him the sea is green as a briefcase is dumped onto the street.
Nah, just kidding. This is the first time ever where a TAR host has shown up to a team’s car and eliminated them at their vehicle. Producers didn’t even give them the courtesy that they did for Brett & Kinar where they led them to the pit stop last season, or wait until they showed up at the next route marker like Singaporean Sophie & French Born Aurelia.
This is still a non-elimination right?
Uh. . .we changed our minds.
– Allan acknowledges it has been a long and difficult day for them. He says all other teams have checked in, and as a direct consequence, they have been eliminated.
LAST PLACE: MAI & OLIVER
Not signing up for TAR Asia All Stars.
They talk about how they underestimated the difficulty of the race, and how their friendship was tested to the core.
– My favourite part at the end?
Allan directing them the way back to Thailand. Yeah, just go to the end of the street, hang a left, and you’ll be home.
– Down to five teams and we are less than halfway through the season.
Next Time on TAR: Five teams left as we exit Taiwan. Oh, and do you know we still have six episodes left this season? Yeah, prepare for three non-eliminations in a span of four episodes.
LADY RUNNING INSTITUTE OF THE BLIND 0
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 Edwin & Monica 10.0 (Only team to finish last for the first two rounds of the race.)
10th Neena & Amit
10th Lisa & Joni 10.0
10th Kevin & Drew All Stars 10.0
10th A Black Family 10.0
— F +–
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 Isaac & William 7.5
9th Jim & Marsha 7.33
8th Aiello Family 7.0
8th Singaporean Sophie & French Born Aurelia 7.0 (French Born Aurelia sadly does not know the English words for ‘team averages’. :/)
8th Tom & Terry 7.0
8th Dave & Margaretta 7.0 R.I.P. Margaretta
9th Lena & Kristy 7.0
10th Hope & Norm 7.0
7th Niroo & Kapil 6.75
9th Rogers Family 6.5
8th Susan & Patrick 6.5
6th Henry & Terri 6.44 Used Their Yield; Finished last on a non-elimination round THREE times. R.I.P. Henry.
6th Lenny & Karyn 6.43
9th Brett & Kinar 6.33
8th Pailin & Natalie 6.33
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
10th Ernie & Jeena 6.0
11th Amanda & Chris 6.0
6th Andre & Damon 5.86
7th Daichi & Sawaka 5.83
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 R.I.P. Nancy.
6th Gaghan Family 5.5
10th Alison & Donny 5.5
6th Tian & Jaree 5.43 FF
8th Sahil & Prashant 5.4 FF
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
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
6th Mai & Oliver 4.8 – In a car
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
5th Paula & Natasha 4.45
5th Uchenna & Joyce All Stars 4.33 – FF
8th Shola & Doyin 4.25 – FF
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
2nd Pamela & Vanessa 3.92
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 Diane & Ann 3.75 – Yielded
4th Jon & Al 3.73
6th Charla & Mirna 3.71
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 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
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
1st Adrian & Collin 2.23 FF
2nd Eric & Jeremy 1.69 FF
lol 3rd Marc & Rovilson 1.46 Used Yield and Yielded
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.
Rank the Teams
1) Mai & Oliver
First off, their elimination may be a contender for the most unfair round ever designed in TAR history. The Sony Store shopping mall challenge where you had to pick the correct disc out of a thousand was devastating.
Before that they raced reasonably well, and were entertaining to watch. They are the first team ever to be furious when winning the first leg of the race. They almost quit right then because Oliver did not want to carry Mai’s bags all the time. Knowing they did not even forfeit the Sony Store task, you could say they have had one of the biggest attitude shifts of all time.
Mai’s funny quotes of contradicting certain phrases, or not understanding what people mean was a great running joke all season. Remember her suicide comment or the one defending her and Oliver’s stupidity?
Usually really young and smaller racers are not cast together because you need a certain amount of life experience and skill to do reasonably well at The Amazing Race. Just ask Marisa & Brooke. A rich actress and her shopaholic friend is not going to be a strong team.
But Mai & Oliver faired well. A 4.8 average over the course of five rounds, and that last round could be null and void towards their stats considering how BS it was to search through thousands of Blu Ray discs.
So yeah, a surprisingly strong, funny, ditzy, and explosive young team who did well until a huge dose of bad luck put them out of the race for good.
This elimination was not their fault, and the fact they were willing to sleep in a car until the round was over says a lot about how much willpower they truly had when they knew they were dead last.
I give Mai & Oliver a nod for their efforts.
2) Neena & Amit
A very likeable team. The last cousins to race on TAR were Charla & Mirna.
Yeah, those are impossible shoes to fill.
Neena & Amit were not shown much even in their one episode run. They were genuinely enjoying themselves, asked for directions as often as they could when their taxi was lost at the end, and they performed well at every task.
It really is just a case of a strong team going early due to multiple bad taxis.
I wish them nothing but the best.
3) Niroo & Kapil
They finished ninth, fourth, seventh, and seventh. Due to a major equalizer happening at the start of each round they played, you cannot say they were Margie & Luke 3.0’d or Singaporean Sophie & French Born Aurelia’d out of the game by not recovering from a poor performance in the round prior.
Several teams have fallen to “I finished poorly in round five, and because there was no equalizer in round six, I was done”. As I said above, Niroo & Kapil did not fall to that problem.
With this team and Neena & Amit eliminated in the first four episodes, TAR Asia’s first experiment with casting teams from India did not work out too well. Neena & Amit led for most of round one, but bad luck made Niroo & Kapil the representatives of India on the race course.
It did not go well at all.
And it does not change anytime soon.
Niroo & Kapil seemed unfriendly. None of the teams hated them like Oliver or Geoff 26, but you did not hear teams praise them or wish to ally with them during the race either. In fact Niroo felt entitled to being helped by the younger teams whenever he grew frustrated and weak.
They did well at changing oil in cars and if Kapil could carry some of Niroo’s weight. They also found the best flight in round two to give them their lone good performance of the season.
It was clear this was a weak team at the beginning when they struggled with the opening food task. Niroo was spent by round two. Both of them would be grumpy and done with it in a Natalie sense when it came to a few of the tasks. Okay, comparing them to Natalie is a bit insulting. But that joy just seems to evaporate from them.
The key to their defeat was indeed their inability to find a solution for the key in the ignition. Why not ask a local to help them take the key out? Instead of standing on the side of the road when you cannot do it on your own after an hour.
But Niroo & Kapil must have been slow to fall several more hours behind other teams to the point that not only were they the only team to arrive at the pit stop after sunrise, but also skipped the Roadblock entirely.
If Niroo & Kapil did not have their ignition troubles, there is no way Niroo & Kapil survive the round anyway. Kapil had a zero percent chance of eating the stinky tofu.
Now to end Niroo & Kapil’s legacy on a positive note. They were never nasty to another team. Their arguments were funny and genuine. I would say Niroo & Kapil’s authenticity is what made them fun to capture in each episode. I bet several father-son relationships in India related to Niroo & Kapil’s interactions.
And I will leave it at that. Good people who were not designed to do well at The Amazing Race. When it comes to expanding TAR Asia into the India market, that is not exactly a bad thing.
4) Pailin & Natalie
Pailin & Natalie looked like they were going to be a tough team. They finished fourth on the first leg, and prided themselves upon being the Beauty Queens who could ear scorpions better than everyone else in the race.
They looked like they could be a more dominating version of Dustin & Kandice.
But episode two came along and we discover that only one of them had a desire to break the competitive model stereotype. Natalie was not disgusted by eating scorpions, but the idea of sleeping in an airport put her over the edge. From that moment onwards she had no desire to compete. The only reason she stuck it out is to not make herself look bad on television and because Pailin really wanted to play.
Somehow they pulled out a seventh place finish. Perhaps a night of sleep would change Natalie’s mood. That was not the case. Natalie was more determined to do nothing like Flo than ever. She never ran once more. She dropped slurs on the locals. She was disgusted with being dirty.
It was like my aunt was on The Amazing Race.
She went to the car repair task and made Pailin do 99% of the work. In fact she was sabotaging the challenge as she did not help Pailin lift a tire, and did not use a wrench to screw in the bolts. She used her freakin’ fingers. For some insane reason, she volunteered to do the Roadblock but appeared to quit after putting in little thought or effort. Natalie claimed she was going to vomit but she never looked pale or sickly.
She took the four hour penalty to doom her and Pailin for good as they took their time to complete the last couple of tasks. Natalie may be the first racer in TAR history at that time to be happy that she was eliminated early. Rarely do you see someone be ecstatic that they do not have to be on the adventure of a lifetime anymore.
Sadly, we learned little of Pailin because much of the focus was on Natalie’s two-episode story arc of quitting.
In short, Pailin is very competitive and would do whatever it takes to win. Even lose a leg in a Cyclo.
Natalie may be the least competitive person ever. I think she went out of the race as if she has her head held high and better than everyone else around her, but in reality she comes off as being one of the weakest people to ever compete in franchise history.
4) Isaac & William
This team is viewed as having the most boring intro shot in franchise history. Kicking up a soccer ball. Not even a head turn.
Well, that translated to their personalities. After two episodes they had the least amount of screen caps of any team. For a team that is second out, it shows how little airtime they received in the first place.
They liked sports. They liked God. They do not like chickens. . .dayum! Okay, no Chicken Morris screencap necessary.
They also know that Ho Chi Minh City is located in Vietnam.
The first two teams ousted in this season are simultaneously the two nicest and most boring teams.
Well, Neena & Amit had far more personality. But man, Isaac & William never really gave us much. Becky Lee was also from South Korea, and she is considered to be Survivor’s most boring contestant ever.
Are there no big personalities in South Korea that can be cast on Survivor or TAR? I have a couple of Korean friends, and one of them knows every Dave Chappelle joke from heart. So I know entertaining Koreans are out there, but my goodness, how are they not being discovered by casting?
Rank the Legs
1) Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam -> Hue, Vietnam
The Amazing Race 24 episode 4 just finished airing when I blogged for this week. Oh my word. Comparing the two seasons is like night and day. TAR Asia 3 looks like a real season of TAR while TAR 24 has been designed for babies.
A brutal twenty-five hour bus ride opens up the episode. Most teams were crammed onto the bus without air conditioning. In Hue, they had to get down and dirty to repair a Jeep in the hot sun. Next they had to do a Roadblock that required lots of walking, focus, and concentration in the heat. The Detour was the easiest part of the episode as most teams were happy to sit down and do some artistry with incense.
But then came the Cyclos. Henry & Bernie’s crash may be one of the most brutal things I have ever seen. All that they needed to do was land wrong and they could have been medically evacuated. Other teams crashed too. Fun times.
No subjective tasks nor any video games integrated into the episode made for a brutal race course. Granted, far fewer tasks than the previous 90 minute episode that aired a week earlier, but the 25 hour bus ride and a full day spent in the heat appeared to zap everybody.
The round ends on an unusual note as Natalie repeatedly sabotaged her and Pailin on purpose to guarantee their elimination from the race. Other racers knew that Natalie had signed up for the wrong show. Her initial goal of breaking the supermodel Miss Universe stereotype instead solidified as Natalie declared the idea of traveling into third world countries and not staying at five-star hotels as being an experience for less than humans.
Yes, she can eat scorpions. But doing typical things that most people do when traveling or repairing their cars at home is something that she believes no human should experience. I doubt she has ever camped in her life.
Oh, and how can we forget Mai & Oliver repeating what the other person says? Niroo & Kapil arguing? Henry abandoning Niroo? And everyone hating Geoff 26’s antics? This was a great episode overall.
But yeah, if it weren’t for the Cyclos, the ending would have been dull. I am assuming this is why they did not announce Natalie’s penalty until only eight minutes of airtime remained.
2) Hue, Vietnam -> Taipei, Taiwan
Everyone ended up on the same flight. I guess that is bound to happen when an airport is closed until all seven teams catch up to each other. They were bound to be on the same flight.
Of course this was more entertaining than usual thanks to Ida & Tania wasting their money on a hotel and fancy breakfast while the other six teams slept outside of the airport in Hue.
And what’s even better? It was a full night leg in Taipei with no equalizers. Furthermore, Ida & Tania wasted all of their money on comfort, food, and hiring taxis all to finish first and receive two. . .phones as their prize?
The Detour was neat as teams went through a neat miniature museum and it was a rare appearance for tangrams in the TAR universe.
The Institute of the Blind hosting a Braille task may have been another charity sponsourship for Caltex/Standard Chartered/Sony/Nokia/whoever else sponsoured this round, but I do think it was a great task to decode Braille which incorporated teamwork.
Lastly, a Roadblock that produces the second food eating challenge in four rounds was brutal. This one could not have been easy considering everybody except A.D., Henry, and Vince vomited. Although A.D. did burp about 200, 000 times in the process. I imagine he vomited in his mouth a little.
Even though Taiwan was used as a location just months earlier for its debut in TAR 12, they did not overlap any of the locations or tasks. That was awesome. In addition, while teams used public transit in TAR 12, teams here in TAR Asia 3 had to drive themselves through the confusing streets and freeways.
The only thing left to be desired in this round is that no particular event stands out other than Niroo & Kapil struggling with the most unique way to get yourself eliminated from the race, and Kapil forfeiting a food challenge within seconds.
I will miss Niroo & Kapil yelling at producers and arguing with each other. Their elimination marked the worst race average for any seventh place finisher in TAR franchise history.
3) Chiang Mai, Thailand -> Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Depart in the middle of the night. Wait until a flying fox canopy tour opens.
Then go to a plantation. Dodge paintball snipers.
Then go to the airport. Fight for flights to Vietnam.
Then play a F-Zero knock-off where you may actually screw up and lose 90 seconds of time.
Then head to a flower stall where you may have to sleep outside until morning.
Then load up baskets of chickens or do an impossible rowing task before you switch to catching chickens and transporting them.
Then go to a post office to help out a charity for a couple of hours (or minutes if you were in Miss Universe).
Then head to a pit stop via the local zoo.
Include being transported by long bus rides for some of these tasks on top of that.
No wonder why this episode had to be hyper-extended. Even at the end the pit stop check-ins felt really rushed. Production wanted to induce vomiting in round one, but decided to drain teams of all energy by round two. The rests at the canopy tour and flower stall were just a few hours rather than a full night. No way teams slept for more than a couple hours during that 40-48 hour period.
By the end of this episode you had a really good sense for every team excluding Isaac & William who remained to be bland until their elimination. You understand why everyone hates Geoff 26. Ida & Tania are suddenly your favourites. Henry cries as much as Henry from last season. Natalie comes off as a super spoiled brat. Oliver may be the most serious and humourless person ever seen.
This episode did several things right. Although no one chose to do a rowing task because paddling without sleeping for 40 hours is impossible due to the amount of concentration required.
But what it did wrong irks me. Teams were assigned to different charities. Some of them you could be done in a matter of ten minutes while others looked like it took well over an hour. I like that TAR Asia regularly does charitable donations, but you have to keep in mind that it is a race. Teams know not to be big enough jerks to say “hurry the heck up” during this.
And did watching teams play System Rush Revolution urge anyone to buy a Nokia phone as soon as they watched the episode? Although it did lead to Geoff 26 showboating. So I guess it was worth something.
And how many paintball snipers were there? Did they roam or were they set in a fixed spot? Because some of the snipers could have gone rogue and just chased down the same player over and over again. I mean, it was not like the players could fire back and kill the sniper. They were defenseless. I wish production would reveal how they tried to make that task fair.
Other than that, I was shocked that a 68 minute running time did not drag at all.
4) Bangkok, Thailand -> Chiang Mai, Thailand
Thailand makes a rare appearance at this point in the TAR franchise. Only the fourth appearance total for a relatively safe country at the time.
Tuk-tuks may be the least flattering way to take teams to the starting line. Unless production will be going for a gritty and rough motif all season long, tuk-tuks go against the epic nature of TAR’s opening cinematography.
This has to be the most disgusting opening task to a season. It should be a difficult task halfway through a season. I find it odd that it is not only a food eating task, but results in half of the teams vomiting. I think Pailin & Natalie did so well because they had not eaten any food since the conclusion of the last pageant.
Then we were glued to the buses for half of the round. The idea was executed so poorly that after a complicated formula for departures, seven out of ten teams were on the last bus together. Neena & Amit finished fourth on the Buddha Search task but had to wait hours for the trailing teams.
The Detour was original. Well, not doing an eight kilometre ATV course. But putting together those rice balls had never been done before, and seemed brutal on your back and hands.
The shortened hose at the gas station was hilarious, and it was really bizarre to see a first place team preparing to quit on the first leg. That has to be one of the more unbelievable things I have ever seen.
“You just won five THOUSAND dollars!”
“F— your VISAS, we quit.”
So yeah, a really tough premiere compared to the wimpy premiere in TAR 24, and it provided more than enough entertainment.
5) Taipei, Taiwan -> Taipei, Taiwan
Most of the time staying in the same city means the round is lame, short, and is the worst round of the season.
I can safely say that one out of those three is true.
Let’s review the locations. A shopping mall, a coal mine, a shopping mall, an itty bitty portion dedicated to a temple, and then a building downtown.
Let’s review the tasks. Searching through 1, 000 Blu Ray discs for one clue. Searching through hundreds of kilos of coal for a clue. Playing a twenty second crane game or the one team who went to a cool temple to lift a bucket. Then an astrolog–er, astronomical museum. Well, the outside of the museum.
Because Vince & Sam finished the disc task first, they went for the only Fast Forward to get bland tattoos and finished the episode about eight hours or so ahead of everyone else. Their lead was bigger than Colin & Christie’s. Yeah, never thought that would be possible.
Three teams were stuck at the Sony Store for hours upon hours. In fact, the task was impossible to the point that Mai & Oliver were kicked out of the store! They started the task at the very beginning of the round, and were the third team to show up. Can you comprehend just how long it took if they could not succeed at putting discs into a Blu Ray player after eight or nine hours of doing so?
Lena would rather unravel hay bales again if she played in TAR 15 rather than do the Blu Ray task.
Ida & Tania did not celebrate or look happy when they found the coin in the coal. The happiest team in the whole season did not bother to smile. That’s when you know you have gone too far.
Ugh. There is a difference between making tasks that are so tough that teams will quit compared to tasks that hinge upon luck to the point that you have to kick them out.
The latter was true. Is it really the toughest race when I have ten thousand hay bales, and only six of them have a clue? No, that’s just called being an asshole.
I feel horrible for Mai & Oliver. They should not have been allowed to go through an experience like that. In addition, I know for a fact that this was supposed to be a non-elimination round, but how many freakin’ penalties would Mai & Oliver have to take to finish the round in a reasonable amount of time? The Roadblock, the Detour, and then traveling to the pit stop?
Furthermore, what would Mai & Oliver’s reaction be when they see the Roadblock was another needle in a haystack task? They would quit on the spot. Mai’s body could not handle a shovel, and Oliver would want to knock himself out with the shovel too.
A non-elimination format that I assume was supposed to be 6-6-5-5-4-4-3 for the last seven episodes or 6-6-6-5-5-4-3 or 6-6-5-5-5-4-3 had to be thrown out the window. That has to be the first pre-determined non-elimination in history to be cancelled.
Now we are stuck with three non-eliminations in what will most likely be a span of four episodes. And the locations are about to get exciting again. Ugh.