“A Girl Was Eliminated After Being Unlucky for Ten Hours–Let’s Do It Again!”
Previously on TAR: Six teams raced from Dubai to the Netherlands. At the Roadblock, Ericka’s miscounting of the bells tested her emotional strength. In the Dutch countryside, Sam & Dan had one goal in mind, and after a showdown against the dating couple in a game of golf, the brothers staked their claim.
At the Detour, the Globetrotters got down while poker players Maria & Tiffany struggled to get up. Only to find the other side of the Detour equally as challenging.
This gave Brian & Ericka an opportunity to inch ahead and barely stay in the race as Maria & Tiffany folded.
Five teams remain; who will be eliminated next?
– Intro time.
– We have two non-elimination rounds left. Because TAR stopped doing Final Three non-eliminations after season nine, I think you can figure out what will happen this round as only five teams remain.
– Phil introduces us to the area. Eh, let’s move.
– Sam & Dan, who arrived first at 9:33am, will for once depart twelve hours later at 9:33pm. They read they will fly 700 miles to Stockholm, Sweden. When they land they must travel by train and by ferry to the Tivoli Grona Lund amusement park. There they will find their next clue next to the Fritt Fall.
Total friiiii. . .total friiiiiii. . .Fritt Fallin’.
If they have to get on any of the rides, this would be another point in the race where Mika would have quit.
You’re saying this is your only first place finish of the season?
How quickly we forget things.
– Sam says it can get difficult at times. Like, going down waterslides. They argue over turning left and/or right.
DAN: Sam, you want me to go right here?
SAM: Go right here.
DAN: And do what?!
SAM: And then take the next right.
DAN: This makes me mad.
DAN: Stop laughing! It’s just gonna piss me off if you just laugh!
SAM: Just calm down.
DAN: So frustrating. Stop, you’re laughing.
SAM: Of course I’m laughing.
– Sam discusses how they have twenty-one year of sibling rivalry and how they scream at each other and embarrass their family in the process.
Sam and Dan–tarnishing the reputation of the Mcmillen name since 1988.
– Megan & Cheyne depart second at 9:48pm. Cheyne says him and Megan have been together for four and a half years. Marriage is in their future. He thinks running a strong race is a great sign of compatibility and partnership.
Didn’t run a race that showed a sign of great compatibility and partnership.
– Globetrotters depart third at 10:32pm.
If they were departing first, I could have said something witty like “Flight Time has been on fire lately”, and then insert a graphic from NBA Jam with the flaming basketball.
– Flight Time tells us about their attitude change since round six. They decided they are here to have fun but play to win at the same time.
And also have a duel with Shola & Doyin for the most intimidating stare in TAR history.
– Also, Big Easy reveals it is Flight Time’s birthday today.
But since they departed at 10:32pm, he must finish this round in less than 90 minutes. Of course, Big Easy is saying this in the post-round confessional where in fact tomorrow is really Flight Time’s birthday.
FLIGHT TIME: It’d be icing on top of the cake with a cherry on top if I could finish in first place on my birthday.
And you know what? If Flight Time & Big Easy not only win this leg, but also win cars as their prize, I am calling an Oprahspiracy.
– Flight Time opts to take a detour of his own.
Flight Time will find any excuse to spend a part of his special day in his birthday suit.
FLIGHT TIME: We can head down there and say we went to use the Internet.
I guess that’s why they call them Flight Time & Big Sleazy.
– Gary & Matt depart in fourth at 11:08pm. Gary says that being the oldest competitor left means he has more motivation to compete with everyone.
Maybe Maria was sixty years old after all. I mean, did you see how feeble she was when she swung that hammer?
MATT: He’s never seemed old. He’s always ahead of me. I’m always trying to keep up.
– Sam & Dan are first to Schipol airport at 12:15am. We sense an equalizer. Megan & Cheyne are next there.
Why plant sunflowers in a country that is cloudy and rainy all the time?
– The top two teams check out available flights. They announce a 6:55am is shown on the board as well as 9:25am.
And much easier when they are highlighted for all teams to see. They really are making this season much easier than others. You don’t even have to sift through the list for yourself!
– Dan is shocked to see Megan & Cheyne in the airport as if they assumed their lead was much bigger. The airline counter does not open until 5:30am as expected.
– Brian & Ericka depart last at 1:38am. Geez, over 2 1/2 hours behind Gary & Matt? Maria & Tiffany must have spent roughly six hours or so at the Detour.
– Brian reminds us that they are driving on the same path that they walked in the previous round in wooden clogs. We get an unnecessary flashback.
BRIAN: The whole reason on this race is to show her family that we’re a good team. Erika’s mom has had some difficulties with her being married to a White guy. So I’m glad that we get another chance to show people we’re a good team.
Maybe Ericka’s mom is disproving of the marriage not because you are White Brian, but because both of you fight all the time and drove her nuts. Hence why she correctly projected a divorce.
Also, does anyone else find it a bit troubling that only the minority in the relationship is the one who is accused of having a racist family?
And do you find it hilarious too that Brian gets away with accusing his in-laws of being racists without it being controversial on television?
– The sun rises. 5:30am is here. All teams request for tickets on the 6:55am flight.
6:55AM FLIGHT: SAM & DAN, MEGAN & CHEYNE, GLOBETROTTERS
– The one awkward agent leans in to hear Flight Time.
That eyebrow raise is a bad impression of The Rock.
Now there’s a great impression of The Rock!
9:25AM FLIGHT: GARY & MATT; BRIAN & ERICKA
Just like that a team that is over two hours behind you will now be tied for last with you.
A throat punch may be in that ticketing agent’s future.
Brian looks like he wants to shoot the man in the black hat.
– First plane lands in Stockholm. Somehow Megan can tell us that they must go to the train without her lips moving. Sam & Dan are first to a ticketing machine. Megan & Cheyne run to another machine.
One minute until people over the age of 50 have sex on the train.
– Meanwhile Globetrotters go to the platform to buy tickets. Sam & Dan and Meghan & Cheyne both have tickets. Where are the Globetrotters?
Uh, which one is the any key?
Meghan & Cheyne aboard.
Do we have to enter 8-3-5 as the ticketing code?
Sam & Dan are aboard the train too.
– SAM: The Globetrotters are definitely our rivals at this point. They are the other all-male team, and are very athletic. They pose a huge threat to us.
DAN: Uhhhhh, aren’t you forgetting someone, Sam?
– The second flight departs for Stockholm.
– Sam & Dan and Megan & Cheyne exit the train. Megan yells ‘ferry, ferry, ferry’ repeatedly instead of ‘Cheyne, Cheyne, Cheyne’ for once. Sam comments that he is happy the Globetrotters are not present.
– Globetrotters figure out the ticketing system and are on the second train.
– Sam & Dan and Megan & Cheyne comment on the beautiful scenery of the amusement park.
Almost seems like a screenshot from SimCoaster.
– They read that one person from each team must ride the Frit Fall. However, it is not a Roadblock for some stupid reason. While riding, they must try and spot an arrow pointing in the direction of their next clue. This arrow is only visible for fifteen seconds before they plummet twenty-four stories in less than three seconds.
When they think they have the direction of their next clue, they must go and find it.
Who positioned this arrow?
– Cheyne and Sam are going to do this task. I can’t believe Mika could have gotten away without doing another solo task.
I hear Natalie Spooner struggles with heights too.
Awkwardly close zoom-in.
– They team up once again. Both of them choose a side. Sam identifies the arrow and shouts its discovery to those down below. One racer soiled his pants. Can you figure out who it is?
Beware: Soiler Alert down below.
Cheyne “S— My Pants” Whitney.
– Both teams have their next clue. They read that they must play a game of Roaming Gnome Ring Toss. When they’ve landed a ring on one of the giant hats hiding a gnome, the game attendant will hand them a roaming gnome containing their next clue.
If this game is open to the public, locals are going to be very confused when they read the bottom of the gnome.
The Swedes truly love their Pippi Longstocking.
– Both teams succeed within their first few attempts. The segment is done within seconds. They look at the gnome’s butt to see it is a Detour. They must choose between to crucial aspects of Swedish history. Either Alfred Nobel’s invention of dynamite, or the Vikings who were great crusaders of the eighth century.
Nobel Dynamite or Viking Alphabet.
Is Sweden really this boring? That’s everything they have contributed after thousands of years of Swedish history? And here I thought Canada was dull.
– In Nobel Dynamite, teams must fill sandbags to create a protective bunker in a rock quarry. Once protected, they must set off an enormous explosion to unearth a box containing their next clue.
The Travelocity Roaming Gnome picked the worst day to join the Dream Team.
Sweden’s tourism would boom if this was added to the brochure.
– In Viking Alphabet, teams must decode a message using the Viking alphabet. Once they decipher it using the letters on runestones that stands for “Find the Strong Viking”. After finding the strong viking, they will receive their next clue.
You know why everybody wants to be associated with badass Vikings?
Because of their educational system regarding the Norse alphabet! And of course deciphering a message on the most phallic looking rock I have seen in my life. In fact if you combine the two Detours it would look something like this. . .
Who would do that when watching this Detour, though? Who would have a TARgasm when seeing dynamite?
Oh right. Him.
– Obviously, Sam & Dan and Megan & Cheyne prefer blowing something up rather than an explosion.
– Flight Time & Big Easy are at the amusement park. They have the clue and read that nobody over 6’4″ can go on the ride.
BIG EASY: The clue may as well say “Big Easy, you can’t ride this thing because you’re the only one on the race over six-foot-four.
Also, while they are reading the clue something curious happens.
That’s right. For the only time other than its triple use in the second Dubai leg, the theme music is revived.
Eye Scrunch Time.
– They finish and casually go to the ring toss game. Surprisingly, they miss several shots. Flight Time is shooting like a Washington General. Somehow Big Easy makes two shots. He declares himself to be on gnome duty.
– Obviously, they choose dynamite too. Americans love explosions.
– The second flight lands. Gary & Matt ride an elevator down to the platform. Brian & Ericka are already there and have purchased their tickets. The train closes. It leaves without Gary & Matt. Suddenly they’re last.
– Gary & Matt are alone at the platform. You would think not a single soul is alive in the entire Stockholm airport too.
I wasn’t kidding.
– We resume and re-watch the whole incident again.
– Megan & Cheyne and Sam & Dan convince a local to lead them to the next route marker. Sam brings up where the Globetrotters could be if they had a perfect race at the amusement park.
– We cut to the Globetrotters as Big Easy is driving, and Flight Time is holding the gnome.
Yep. Time for the Globetrotters theme again!
FLIGHT TIME: Wanna name him? Wanna call him Sweet Pea?
BIG EASY: That’s dumb.
FLIGHT TIME: You ain’t comin’ up with nothin.
BIG EASY: Louisiana Shorty.
FLIGHT TIME: What? That’s Ghetto.
BIG EASY: Harlem Gnome?
FLIGHT TIME: Harlem Gnome?
BIG EASY: Yeah.
What are you talking about, Flight Time? This Louisiana Shorty once bust a cap up the Expedia’s Clown Ass. He’s more ghetto than you can imagine.
– Brian & Ericka board the ferry in fourth. Gary & Matt inform us they are fifteen minutes behind Brian & Ericka.
– Brian reads the clue. He makes Ericka do it because he has a fear of heights.
They could ride together!
– Ericka straps in as Gary & Matt board the Fritt Fall. I hope she is rewarded with an apple fritter at the bottom.
ERICKA (upon reaching the top): I got it. Mmmm. Mmmm. Mmmm. Aw hell naw. . .
(The descent begins.)
Roadblock: Who can push back in her eye sockets at ground zero?
– They proceed to the ring toss. Ericka owns another task as she gets it on her first toss.
BRIAN: The guy is supposed to win his girl something at the fair not the other way around. But hey–
I had a dream that not only a woman, but a woman of colour can win a corporate sponsoured task on a reality show to provide for her and her Caucasian husband!
– Gary & Matt are last tot he amusement park. Matt gets locked in to do it. He sees it. Fifteen seconds is a really long time to spot an arrow within the vicinity. Off to ring toss they go. Gary gets it on his second toss. Whoa, kids crowd the game. I guess it is open to the public after all.
She watches awkwardly.
Really? Warning is spelled with a ‘V’? The Svedish stereotype continues.
– They are told to put on safety clothes.
This dynamite bunker is legit.
– Flight Time is stoked to blow something up. He repeats ‘blow something up’ several times. Big Easy knows they are creeping up on the other teams.
FLIGHT TIME: Big Black ugly man too.
BIG EASY: No, that’s you.
If I said it, I would come off very racist.
FLIGHT TIME: Hey! We’re here! We found it!
See, Cheyne greets them like a normal team would. Sam & Dan? Not so much.
DAN: Did your FANS help you get here?
Yes. Much like Antoine Dodson, the Harlem Globetrotters’ second largest fan base is in Sweden.
Maybe Dan thought they were both wearing those earmuffs by that point because teams say how little they can hear with those headsets on.
– Sam & Dan identify that using their hands is the fastest way. The other two teams use tiny shovels. Megan wants her and Cheyne to use the same bag because it is tough to hold it open, thus allowing some of the dirt to fall out.
– Two of the teams start signing “we’ve been working on the railroad” for a couple seconds.
First time “dawg” has been subtitled in TAR history.
– Cheyne disagrees with Megan’s method of working on the same bag. She gets annoyed.
I’m glad we met him.
– Gary & Matt try to pronounce the street names. Hassabloghen and Zubaglaghen then Karlplugen. Suddenly they’re back where they started. Gary & Matt are falling further behind.
– Megan asks Cheyne to help encourage her. A million dollars on the line is not enough.
the same airhorn supplied by Flight Time & Big Easy from their basketball game, no doubt.
Hooray! Senseless destruction!
– Sam & Dan find the clue in a metal box. They read that they must drive to Bogs Gard Farm in the town of Vasby.
PHIL: This is the site of one of the most infamous and daunting challenges in Amazing Race history and where teams must find their next clue.
You mean when Aaron unrolled only one or two hay bales before finding a clue?
Or when Jon only had to roll one or two as well?
See, that’s another thing that annoys me about the hay bales roadblock’s legacy. It wasn’t a hard challenge. Many teams only had to unroll three to ten hay bales max before snagging their clue. It was just one team who suffered from really bad luck and were hours behind because production did not think through the task.
It would be like sitting down and having one person play roulette for ten hours while everyone else played for ten minutes to be the #toughesttaskever.
– Globetrotters are second to set off the explosion.
– Megan & Cheyne are third to the explosion after not filling the bags full enough initially. Meghan makes a confessional at the time as Cheyne prepares to drive saying how it was horrible teamwork because Cheyne refused to listen to her.
MEGHAN: I’m so frustrated. I asked Cheyne like five thousand times to work with me.
CHEYNE: Babe, c’mon. The task is over. Are you just going to–
MEGHAN: No, Cheyne. You just didn’t even listen to me the whole time.
– Gary wants Matt to turn right, but it’s an illegal turn. They are lost. Gary cannot identify where they are on the map. He claims it does not show any of it.
– We resume. Gary & Matt pull over. Gary runs out to get directions from a local.
– Brian & Ericka are at the bunker.
ERICKA: I cannot even think about beauty at this point. If I’m dirty and stinky, I don’t care.
(Cuts back to task.)
ERICKA: The dirt is getting in the nails. I’m not that rough. This thing’s killing me.
I think she does care a little.
And why are we getting a profile glance of Brian? Odd.
– Globetrotters decide to turn around and go back. Flight Time hopes the “damn brothers” don’t find it.
– Sam commands Dan to go right. He continues his commands until Dan parks the car, and they run out in the rain.
– Megan & Cheyne park too. They made up time just like that as both teams are running. Sam & Dan race each other to the box. Dan wins while holding the gnome. It’s a Roadblock.
PHIL: This was the site of one of the most unforgettable Roadblocks in Amazing Race history. The task appeared simple enough: Teams were asked to unroll hay bales in search of a clue. But one team, Lena & Kristy, struggled for nearly ten hours unrolling one hundred hay bales without finding anything.
Now in an Amazing Race Switchback, teams will search thoroughly through 186 hay bales for one of seven race flags to avoid the same thing. This time around the farm is also the pit stop for this leg of the race. The last team to check in may be eliminated.
For some reason, Lena’s hay-covered underwear is part of the flashback.
The third round is the only time they did well in their short stint in TAR 6, but ultra bad luck and production stupidity sent them packing. Now producers hype up their elimination to benefit from more ratings!
Ugh, I hate reality TV sometimes.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The rumours of a Second Chances season skyrocketed once this Switchback task aired. Everyone thought they would be brought back along with Zev & Justin, Toni & Dallas, and several other teams who made blunders on their own or because of producers.
Sadly, 19 seasons later, and Lena & Kristy have yet to be invited back.
Yes, this is the first official Switchback. I should note the use of Switchbacks are very inconsistent over the next nine seasons.
TAR 6: 20 clues in 270. Maximum you could roll by bad luck is 249. 7.4% contain a clue.
TAR 15: 7 flags in 186 hay bales. Maximum you could roll by bad luck is 180. 3.76% contain a clue.
Essentially, all five teams will be guaranteed to roll the same number as one another.
– Sam has never seen the task before while Dan has. Sam is doing the Roadblock.
DAN: Just start doing it!
(SAM touches the hay bale.)
DAN: No! No! Roll it out!
SAM: Oh my gosh!
DAN: No! It unrolls!
SAM: No it doesn’t!
DAN: See? You’ve got to do that! Just keep rolling it!
SAM: Shut up! Dude, I am.
Sam: Not a Hay Charmer.
DAN: I should have done this one.
Eh, I’d be content with sitting out.
DAN: Meghan & Cheyne are here!
SAM: Shut up!
– So Meghan & Cheyne show up. They have an equally hilarious exchange as they watch Sam attempt the task.
MEGHAN: Do you want to do it or do you want me to?
CHEYNE: . . . . . .
. . . . . . .
– Cheyne has an excuse in his confessional.
“Translation: I don’t want to dirty up my Nike jacket.
– Megan throws down her backpack.
MEGHAN: Cheyne. Speak. Me or you?
CHEYNE: . . . . . . . . . .
Dan couldn’t be more intrigued by Cheyne’s silence.
– Meghan gives up.
MEGHAN: Fine, I’ll do it. Because you don’t want to do it.
CHEYNE: . . . . . . . . . .
– Meghan runs to do the task.
CHEYNE: Alright baby, you got this. C’mon baby. Just relax. You’ve got it baby.
MEGHAN: I wish he would have just said ‘do it’.
– While Sam & Dan have a “you shut up”, “no you shut up” argument, Meghan asks Cheyne to talk to her throughout the task.
CHEYNE: Hey babe, do you want your gloves?
“Here’s your f—ing gloves.”
– Meghan says the bales are extremely heavy. Flight Time & Big Easy are now on the scene which triggers Dan to yell at Sam to go faster.
In most cultures, this means “back the f— off”.
DAN: SAM! SAM! There’s two hundred of these and you’re only on your second one.
SAM: Hey! Just leave me alone for ten minutes!
SAM: Don’t talk to me for ten minutes.
DAN: Stop spending so much time on one!
SAM: You’re not helping at all! Shut up!
– Big Easy is going to do this task because of being shut out from the amusement park, and the fact he is the only one taller than the hay bales.
FLIGHT TIME: Thank you. Now do me a favour and don’t find that flag until after Big Easy finds his.
FLIGHT TIME: Same thing for you too, Sam & Dan.
– Sam says the hay bale is as heavy as a bitch.
Which I am guessing is somewhere between 110 to 160 pounds on average.
– Big Easy handles it well. He shreds it.
– We cut back to the dynamite site. Brian & Ericka fill up more sandbags. Gary & Matt join them. Matt convinces Gary to disregard the shovel.
“We want to attempt the hay bales too!”
Uh, knock yourselves out, Shahla and Nabeela.
Ahhh!!!!!! A Charlie Horse after the first hay bale.
– Brian sets off the explosion. Ericka cheers. They slowly walk out of the bunker as they quickly speak with Gary & Matt.
BRIAN: It’s a blast. Pardon the pun.
Wow. Laziest pun ever.
Yeah, in a game of rock, alphabet, dynamite, dynamite will beat the alphabet every time.
– Back to the hay bales for what will undoubtedly be ten minutes of boring television. Meghan says this is the toughest thing she has ever had to do in her life. Dan screams at Sam some more for spending too much time playing with the unravelled hay.
DAN: Oh my gosh. We’re going to be here all day if you do that. Do you realize that? Dude, you’re taking forever! Just unroll them! Sam! No! Stop doiiiiing thaaaaat!
SAM: SHUT UP!
Waaaaah. I’m going to whine for six hours until you finish this task!
– Big Easy and Meghan progress through the task with much more support. Meghan expresses fatigue. She wants it done before the remaining two teams show up. They are presumably 2 1/2 hours behind.
SAM: What, Dan?
DAN: Just unroll it and be done with it!
SAM: Just leave me alone.
SAM (to camera): He doesn’t realize I stopped listening to him over ten years ago.
DAN: Stop going through them like that!
up his statement.
– Big Easy references himself being from the projects and how they never had hay in said projects. Yeah, if you haven’t watched the previous seven episodes, you are now fully caught up on everything about Big Easy other than his father. But something needs to back up his project talk to make it more interesting. . .
Yep! The Globetrotters official theme is playing for the third time in just over twenty minutes. I can go a lifetime without hearing that song again.
– So Flight Time & Big Easy have a dialogue that is difficult to follow.
FLIGHT TIME: What’s your hood?
Ah. A new piece of info about Big Easy after six more rounds of gameplay.
– Brian & Ericka park at the farm. They run. Brian coaches her to run as if Gary & Matt are running right behind them. Gary & Matt are now at the farm too. Neither team is at the farm.
– Flight Time coaches Big Easy how to properly break up the hay bales.
That horse has a smaller mouth than Dan right now.
– Big Easy tosses some hay around until he spots the flag.
FLIGHT TIME: That’s what I’m talking about! It’s my birthday!
It’s my birthday! You gon buy me a hair transplant, right Big Easy?
– Cheyne comments that Big Easy’s flag is big. Meghan says Big Easy is so freakin’ lucky.
SAM: Hell no! Big Easy found it, of course! They are the luckiest team in the history of the race! Why wouldn’t they find it? Dammit!
And the list goes on.
Sam punts the hay in anger.
Some people may experience hay fever during this task, but I think Sam has hay rage.
– We see the band begin to play.
It’s his birthday, remember?
Velcome to Sveden, Vlight Time and Vig Easy. Happy virthday.
– Phil confirms that they are indeed team number one.
Phil has to get on his tippy toes to offer Big Easy a celebratory kiss.
FIRST PLACE: FLIGHT TIME & BIG EASY/HERBERT & NATE
– They have won a trip to Turks and Caicos (the unofficial 11th province of Canada which we are trying to annex). No, seriously. I am not kidding. Look it up. We’ve been trying to do it since the early 1900s.
Canada’s Hawaii is why we are pursuing it.
– Flight Time knows it is the icing on the cake to win a trip for his birthday. Herbert says that Harlem Globetrotters travel around the world, so this is what they do and are here to win the race.
They may be dancing while at the top in first place for now, but they will not look so tough when they realize the ninety year old roaming gnome has more hair than both of them combined.
– Sam has come to a lone conclusion. And what would that be?
Apparently this episode has turned into “Editors re-air the same repetitious words about ten times in the space of twenty minutes”.
– Sam and Meghan are both tired. Meghan wants Cheyne to help her make the “damn decision”.
SAM: Here is freakin’ Brian!
MEGHAN: Oh no! This is so hard.
– Brian comments that other teams have gone through a lot of the hay, thus increasing everyone’s odds. Gary & Matt open the clue. Gary is going to do it.
MEGHAN: If Brian finds one, I’m going to freak out.
Welcome to Lena’s world.
Why is that subtitled?
– We finally see the information for the Roadblock clue.
Yes, you read that correctly. “You may not take more than one Race Flag per team”.
That means producers feared someone would be sadistic enough to find one after an hour or so and think, “you know what, let’s see if I can find a second one just for kicks”. In other words, Lena was forbidden to take twenty hours to find two flags instead of one.
Also, DON’T FORGET TO BRING YOUR GNOME.
Bold and capitalized.
If only their clue said DON’T TAKE A TAXI; YOU MUST TRAVEL ON FOOT TO THE PIT STOP.
– Meghan whines. Sam did not expect this level of frustration as he tells Dan to shut up some more. Meghan cries.
MEGHAN: I can’t do this anymore. I’ve been doing this for two hours.
Two down, eight to go if you’re Lena. Twenty percent of the way there.
TAR 15 is truly a sign of how much they have downgraded the difficulty of each season over the years. Just wait for TAR 24 and you’ll understand why many people such as myself consider TAR 24 to be the easiest season ever planned.
SAM: I’m going to kill my brother!
DAN: Sam! Keep pushing over there!
SAM: Shut up! Stop talking! You’re such an ass! What do you think I’m doing?
BRIAN (mocking): Daniel, it’s harder than it looks.
DAN: I know. He’s done about seventy of them.
– Dan finally has an epiphany.
DAN: He told me just to shut up so I’m not talking.
“I’m just going to sit quietly and cuddle this gnome. . .”
– Dan is finally encouraging. Matt is stoked to be caught up. The odds are in their favour.
DAN: They’re going fast over there.
SAM: Of course they are. They haven’t been doing this for over an hour and a half.
– Matt screws up Lena’s numbers as he tells Ericka that a team did it for eight hours instead of ten in TAR 6.
ERICKA: Nah uh.
– Meghan has it. She decides to surprise Cheyne by hiding the flag in her fist, and whining that she cannot do it anymore. So she runs over to Cheyne for some water and. . .
– Cheyne laughs loudly and his voice squeaks as he expresses his love for Meghan by. . .
Slapping her on the bum. What a true gentleman.
– He proclaims his love for her as they hit the mat.
SECOND PLACE: MEGHAN & CHEYNE
CHEYNE: It’s all her. I was so overwhelmed with pride that that was my girlfriend and that that she’s my partner. She’s such a strong woman. So happy she’s my partner for life.
“Uhhhhh, you can scooch off the mat now, Meghan & Cheyne.”
– MATT: My dad’s doing great. He looks tired. But he’s worked with hay all his life.
Fifty years of living with hay have led to this.
– Brian cheers when he is third to grab the flag. Ericka cheers even louder. Brian parquors his way along the flag.
– Brian joins Ericka. Sam is further discouraged.
THIRD PLACE: BRIAN & ERICKA
If you got it, flaunt it.
BRIAN: I could not ask for a better wife. She encourages me. I’m so proud of her.
– Dan expresses his empathy as Sam keeps pushing. Gary kicks around the hay on the ground. Matt directs Gary to more hay bales. Dan encourages Sam to take a break.
Exhaustion to the point that sitting in a pile of hay is the most comfortable position.
– The split screen is utilized for the final showdown. More unravelling. Some more. More. And more.
The McMillens refuse to be Mormon’d unlike Lena.
– Dan proceeds to yell.
DAN: Oh my god! Shut up! Shut up!
Which oddly enough were Sam’s words for the past four hours.
– Dan consoles him and empathizes with him some more. Sam lightens up the mood quickly.
Ah. Good ol sibling rivalry.
– Sam even does some heel clicks in mid-air.
Look at him go!
FOURTH PLACE: SAM & DAN
– Phil breaks out his sarcastic tone.
PHIL: Wow, that was like a replay of season six.
Who knew it would be a replay of season six by copying the exact same farm and the exact same task held at that farm, and with the same low odds. Oh, and having a team nearly ousted from bad luck.
– Dan cries over being such a jerk and yelling at his brother.
You yelled at your brother for not rolling hay bales properly. They are all treating it like this task was Guantanamo Bay on steroids.
– Sam & Dan claim they don’t care for the million, and realize today was a reminder to spend more quality time together.
Uh, that’s a lie.
Barely a quarter of the way to Lena’s time from TAR 6 before he snags the fifth of seven flags.
GARY: Son of a bitch.
– They run into the mat. Suspense music plays.
LAST PLACE: GARY & MATT
So this is what happens when every useless team has been eliminated.
PHIL: I’m sorry to tell you that. . .this next leg of the race is going to be a tough one because you are still in the race.
Classic relief from a Keoghan fakeout.
– Matt proclaims his dad to be Superman and never gives up.
Gary flashes us the flag to prove that he is indeed one tough sonofabitch.
– GARY: We’re going to take it to the limit.
The official anthem of Montana.
– I should note this is one of those rare credits where a DJ record scratched music plays. Typically it is always the same BUH. . .BUH. . .BUHBUH that plays in the closing credits. It won’t be until TAR 22 where a remixed song plays nearly each week in the closing credits.
Heh. Knew it.
Next Time on TAR: In Tallinn, Estonia, Matt is at a loss for words. And Sam & Dan clash with the Globetrotters.
Yeah. Short preview, I know.
FLIGHT TIME.BIG EASY 3.2
Rank the Legs
1) Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam -> Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Where to begin with this round?
I am not sure how much production intervened to ensure all nine teams were on the same flight, but hey, sometimes you have to give them benefit of the doubt, right?
Cambodia is a rare location for the series, so visiting a place like Cambodia earns big points right there.
Two unique clues were also used in this episode. The opening made teams speak in a whisper like a 1970s foreign journalist as they entered a cafe to receive their next clue. The costumes the journalists wore were amusing. So was Canaan’s refusal to initially read the clue.
The following clue being a picture of Jacqueline Kennedy which also is hanging at her suite on the opposite side of town was really creative. I thought that was really neat.
The Detour of Matching Scarves Like TAR Asia 3’s Handbags versus Selling Helmets to a Family of Four seemed relatively easy. But hey, the leaderboard did shift which means teams were better at it than others.
Although Brian & Ericka got freakin’ lucky.
The monkey Roadblock was really easy for the first two maneuvers, but the final one was difficult enough to shake up the leaderboard a bit too. I just think the first two tasks took a total of thirty seconds to complete. I wish it was five to ten maneuvers. Perhaps the scorching heat that day is what discouraged producers from pushing them.
The pit stop location was neat too, and interactions with taxi drivers and locals were fun.
Then the huge blunder for the leg. Zev & Justin rallied from dead last to make the first flight thanks to standby tickets. They were first to clear Customs, and hail the best taxi driver in TAR for years.
Everything went smoothly for the rest of the day minus Zev’s Roadblock performance, but the taxi driver made up a ton of time and arrived at the pit stop first.
Once there, and undoubtedly told about the prizes they won off-screen, Zev & Justin only find one of two passports. It was depressing to see the most well-liked team (unless you count Maria & Tiffany’s perspective) kick absolute butt on that leg, but find out they made a bigger blunder than Toni & Dallas.
Keep in mind Dallas lost their passports and money in TAR 13, but he was choking so much at each task that I can guarantee you him and Toni would have been eliminated no matter what.
In Zev & Justin’s case, I was expecting them to hit Final Three or Final Four of this season, but Justin misplacing crucial items for the second time in three rounds led to their elimination.
Cambodia has not been re-visited since despite being a great location in TAR 13 and 15.
P.S. Who can forget monkeys, unicycles, the band, and Lance challenging Phil to a fight after him and Keri missed ANOTHER clue?
2) Cai Be, Vietnam -> Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
No equalizers. They started out the day by traveling a couple hours via taxi to Ho Chi Minh City. The chaotic nature of Ho Chi Minh City and its ties to American history on an American program is always neat to see.
The Teri & Ian moment for this season came through Marcy whose experience became a side story for this round. Perhaps if she made it further her and Ron would have had a more dynamic edit.
The tasks were fine. Disassembling VCRs saw a shift in the leaderboard which means there was some skill to it. Same with the Child’s Play Detour with hauling the heavy animals across a few blocks to collect balloons.
Lance & Keri have officially taken the crown from Fran & Barry. Like, Lance & Keri missed the post office clue, the pit stop, lost on the way to the Roadblock, the lady holding the clue at the end of the Detour, and MISSED THE CLUE THEY WERE HOLDING IN THEIR HANDS!!!
Never before has a team screwed up on every single route marker during the leg.
And somehow they still survived.
The locations were fun. The interaction with locals was necessary after ignoring locals for the first two rounds. Doing a labour related task within the community was great.
I have no complaints about this round except why Marcy & Ron were silly enough to choose Word Play which looked really tough on paper.
The premiere was awful. The second round was passable. But this round? Now we are finally back on track with what Amazing Race is supposed to be like.
P.S. I enjoyed the uniqueness of grabbing the bullet from a dragon’s mouth, needing to open the bullet, and seeing the picture of the post office inside. I thought that was a nice way to start the round.
3) Dubai, UAE -> Zoutkamp, Netherlands
Ah yes. A season which only visits two continents, and round seven marks the transition into Europe.
I loved the character scenes at the start of the round, and I also love that they had to self-drive as well as self-bike most of the round.
On paper, all they had to do was count 63 bells and play either three holes of Croqolf or have a classic circus game/folk dance/herring feast.
You would think these were four Detour options, but it’s not. I love that they finally threw a physical round at them. The worst of it up to this point has been either paddling or enduring heat. Very little running or co-ordination required up to this point.
Counting bells was really easy for five out of six teams. I am puzzled how Ericka spent two hours on it.
The swim to the golf area then play golf was neat. The three teams who completed it all did it fairly easily.
The other Detour option seemed really easy for Brian & Ericka and Harlem Globetrotters. Hit the bell which takes ten seconds, learn a dance which takes ten minutes, then eat a herring full of onions which appears to take just under a minute.
Wasabi bombs are probably tougher than a herring for most teams. How Matt was compelled to switch at the sight of herring is beyond me.
Earlier I said that the top five teams alive at the end of the episode are on their own playing field while the other six teams were bound to go at one point or another.
But after seeing Gary & Matt’s performance, Ericka’s performance and Brian’s reading comprehension, and Big Easy’s inability to do most tasks, I see only two contenders now.
Sam & Dan and Megan & Cheyne are truly in their own league. The other three teams are one tier below, and the first six eliminated teams all are terrible in one way or another.
What is the most shocking thing is to learn that only Sam & Dan, Megan & Cheyne, and Gary & Matt are the only three of the top seven teams who know how to swim up to par.
I am usually annoyed with pit stops that are really close by because they tend to be too easy to find, and place that much more emphasis on the tasks rather than skill level.
Now to the controversial part. Was Maria & Tiffany screwed due to being the only all-female team where a woman had to hit the top of the High Striker?
The answer is no. We saw how close Tiffany was after three laps of swimming, several rounds of golf, and nearly thirty swings later. If she put that same energy and form into her first swing, Maria & Tiffany probably finish near the top.
And can we comment how out of shape Maria was for most of the season? We also touched upon how poor Tiffany’s cardio was from time to time.
And if Maria & Tiffany were screwed at the Detour, who cares? They were saved by America’s first ever opening round non-elimination after they quit the task, and when Zev & Justin lost their passports. Those are two rounds where they should have been out in eleventh or ninth already.
Just because Maria has one good round in the previous episode suddenly doesn’t make up for how crappy they were before, and declare their elimination to be a “robbery”.
Overall, this leg looked weak, but two teams managed to suck so badly that we are given the false impression that this was one of the toughest rounds ever.
4) Phnom Penh, Cambodia -> Dubai, United Arab Emirates
I love self-drive legs. . .but I HATE needles in haystacks.
ROADBLOCK: Search the desert for one of few urns that contains water.
DETOUR: Find a snowman in a huge mound or build it yourself.
It was TAR’s second trip to Dubai (previous trip was in TAR 5). Much like TAR Asia 1, they checked out the desert and the indoor ski resorts.
Our first Fast Forward since TAR 14’s unaired orphanage Fast Forward was ignored by all teams, and Megan & Cheyne were the first team to claim it since Nick & Starr ate cow butt before Terence’s vegetarian stomach could.
The race car Fast Forward would oddly enough be re-used in a United Arab Emirates trip in TAR 23.
The main storyline for this round was heavily centred around Brian & Ericka helping every team not named Flight Time, Big Easy, Lance, or Keri.
The initial trip to the tallest tower on the planet was neat. Seeing how it was making the skyscrapers downtown look miniscule in comparison, you get a sense that this is one building you would be terrified to do some tower jumping.
Maria helped repair the reputation of Asian female drivers by puncturing her radiator when she ran into a visible stake.
The other continuing story of the round was Maria & Tiffany finishing sixth, Mika & Canaan finishing seventh, and Lance & Keri finishing eighth for the fifth round in a row as the other five teams continued to play for who actually has a chance in Hell of winning the season.
Dan’s ladle breaking through no fault of his own was funny. I love that he acted like he could not scoop out water without Tiffany’s ladle when the bowl portion of his ladle was still functioning.
The round ends on a depressing note as Lance & Keri get beaten by Mika & Canaan. The lion is put to rest. One day he shall roar again.
5) Dubai, UAE -> Dubai, UAE
Hello, budget cuts! I hate it when they do back-to-back rounds in the same city. Having two rounds in the same country already annoyed viewers in the earlier seasons.
The Detour was by far the best part about this round. Counting the gold rate versus assembling hookahs appeared to be two difficult tasks if you weren’t a mathematically sensible person or knowing how to put things together.
The Roadblock? That seemed much easier than what Big Easy made it out to be.
Traveling by taxi was a bit boring. Why not drive themselves like last round?
And combining the pit stop with a ten second task that should have been uneventful is lazy.
Seriously, this round would have been very unmemorable if not for Mika being a three year old in disguise.
I should give kudos for Maria & Tiffany doing the best of any team this round. This will be the lone time I give them any credit without a backhanded remark.
Hopefully nothing ridiculous happens next round too. . .oh wait.
6) Tokyo, Japan -> Cai Be, Vietnam
Producers must have known it was going to be a two-hour two round season premiere beforehand, because there are very few tasks this round.
Placing mud against fruit trees, walking to a farmer’s festival to herd ducks, and walking to the pit stop were the only things they did.
Yes, there was a flight and bus scramble, but none of that mattered as all teams were on the same plane and all teams were equalized at the docks.
The best part about this round is that editors went back to traditional TAR 1 style of editing. There were few tasks, and were crammed into the end of the episode. Their focus was instead on ten of the eleven teams. I say ten because Marcy & Ron were rarely shown for the whole episode.
A surprising amount of focus was on Maria & Tiffany and Sam & Dan. The Globetrotters may go on to play three times, but they were really near the bottom for airtime. Zev & Justin stole the show for their rollercoaster ride as Justin choked with losing the clue but Zev not only gave away his jacket to a stranger but made up a ton of time at the duck herding task.
Maria & Tiffany could have been the first team in TAR history to play two rounds of TAR and finish with a 11.0 average, but the Roadblock being a duck herding task which Tiffany did when she was a kid may be the biggest miracle they could have hoped for.
We learn about Tiffany’s identity because, well, she flat out revealed it to a stranger with teams within earshot, and made the episode about her. God she’s so selfish.
Oh, and the Speed Bump was super easy as usual. People have been complaining that the Country Singers had it too easy with Speed Bumps in TAR 24, but viewers forget that easy Speed Bumps date all the way back to TAR 15. Serving soup or transporting a typewriter?
Even with the faults of this round, it was still ten times the first round. Because instead of it being a cheap game show, this round truly felt like we were watching The Amazing Race.
Oh, and Garrett & Jessica were eliminated. How tragic.
7) Zoutkamp, Netherlands -> Vasby, Sweden
I liked that it was self-driving for the whole leg. The amusement park was a thrill, but a bit too easy considering only one of them had to do it rather than both. That seemed unnecessary to restrict them like that when it wasn’t a Roadblock.
Travelocity managed to get the TAR Asia-like unnecessary additional task plug, but those are usually necessary to help pay for the show and give out cool prizes. Unlike TAR 24 where they contribute to extremely dull prizes.
The Detour was lopsided. Who in their right minds would choose to learn the Norse alphabet when you can FREAKIN’ EXPLODE DYNAMITE IN PUBLIC THROUGH A LEGAL AND TELEVISIED FASHION! I feel bad for the Vikings who had to stand outside all day. If they knew dynamite was the other option, I bet they would not bother to show up.
TAR debuted the Switchback twist where they duplicated the geography and circumstances of a past task. This time it was the dumbest Roadblock in production’s history–the hay bales Roadblock. A Roadblock so dumb that a team was stuck doing it for ten hours without any other method to find the clue faster.
Sure, this season made it a non-elimination knowing how dumb the task is, but it should never have been brought back again. Switchbacks should do Hall of Fame tasks. Not Hall of Shame tasks.
And why Lena & Kristy were not brought back for TAR 18 (okay, I know because Jodi Wincheski is the most biased casting director ever) or for TAR 24 is beyond me. Maybe TAR 30 will be their time?
Nevermind. The Globetrotters will take their spot and play for a fourth time instead. Tough break, ladies.
8) Los Angeles, USA -> Tokyo, Japan
Oh god. Where to begin? The design for this round is worse than I remembered. I fully understand now why I quit watching TAR until TAR 20 after this episode aired.
Nothing makes sense. I know this world cannot function without a few idiots in the mix, but did all of them need to be working on the design for The Amazing Race 15?
Every decision they made needs to be followed by a chorus of “Why?!”
Why did they need to eliminate the first team at the starting line?
Why did we need a task at the starting line? What does searching for license plates have to do with the city of Los Angeles or Tokyo?
Why not let teams drive to LAX and determine their own order for flights?
Why do a task at the starting line when you can only do two tasks in Japan?
When the starting line task is essentially in a studio, why did we need the Tokyo task to be in a studio too? What does a game show inside of a Japanese studio have to do with Japanese culture?
Why make it an equalizer at the Roadblock to negate any reason for putting teams on separate flights?
Why make it a randomized order of who eats the wasabi rolls rather than the order of when they arrived?
Why have those unique graphics that make it look like they are meant for a Nickelodeon or YTV game show?
Why have the pit stop immediately after the Roadblock?
Why couldn’t Maria & Tiffany keep track of their tourists?
Why have a non-elimination in a round where you eliminated somebody at the starting line? That is extraordinarily insulting to Eric & Lisa.
What a waste for an awesome location like Tokyo.
I will go on record to say that this is the worst leg design in the history of The Amazing Race. It was awful from start to finish.
P.S. Not only did Eric & Lisa skip out on Elimination Station, but they also refused to be at the Finish Line. It was their stance against putting up with this awful twist which prevented it from appearing ever again.