“The Devil Drives Praga”
JAPAN – VIETNAM – CAMBODIA – UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – THE NETHERLANDS – SWEDEN – ESTONIA – CZECH REPUBLIC – UNITED STATES
Previously on TAR: Five teams raced by ferry from Stockholm, Sweden to Tallinn, Estonia. At the Roadblock, Matt was at a loss for words. Tensions between Sam & Dan and the Globetrotters escalated as they battled for a taxi. And then collided in a sprint to the pit stop igniting further hostility.
Meghan & Cheyne got down and dirty at the Detour and claimed victory for the fourth time. Gary & Matt came in last marking the end of their race.
Oh, and Brian & Ericka are somewhere in all of this.
With only one non-elimination to go before the Final Three, and seeing how only four teams are left, who will be eliminated. . .eventually?
– Intro time.
– Phil introduces us to Tallinn. It is not well-known to Americans. This has been an independent country since 1991.
– Meghan & Cheyne who were the first to arrive at an unspecified time, will depart at 12:00am. They must fly to Prague, Czech Republic. Teams must fly over 700 miles. Once there they must find the old town square and find the old man in a praga. Teams must figure out that a praga is an old vintage car.
Once again, we see the return of the Super Caesar’s Palace hand. They make the man so much cooler when you only see his face at first in the rear view mirror.
His face still concealed.
Oh. The mystery is gone. I no longer have interest in him.
– Meghan & Cheyne read that there is zero dollars for this leg of the race.
Or as Meghan’s Italian expression appears to be written on her face, “Mamma Mia!”
– Producers usually give out one dollar for a leg of the race rather than zero. Zero was particularly unusual during TAR 5 to 9 when the penalty was to have all of your money taken away at minimum, and not be awarded any funds at the start of the next leg.
What would be cruel is if they took away a team’s money right before a Moscow leg when all other teams would receive 1, 700 dollars for that round.
– But seriously, why give zero instead of one? Are producers that determined to cut every budget cost they can? I mean, that’s only four dollars total that they saved.
It’s a scary sign of what is to come on the horizon. *shudders*
– CHEYNE: THIS IS FREAKIN’ CRAZ-EH!
Since when did he squeak his voice like Prince?
What’s next? He serves up pancakes to a bunch of grown men and challenges Charlie Murphy to a game of basketball?
– CHEYNE: I don’t think we’re setting our sights on winning the whole thing yet. Our goal, our vision, is to make it to the last three. So the million we’re going to look ahead to that when the time is right. but we’re not there yet.
“We’re not looking ahead to winning the whole thing yet. . .but we will finish first in three of the past five rounds in the meantime. Oh, and those other two rounds we’ll finish second. But we’re -definitely- not focusing on winning the whole thing right now. Just most things.”
– Sam & Dan begin second at 12:19am. Remember how Sam has been studying culture his whole life in college and feels he knows everything about the world?
Dan says something that sounds really dumb. Sam has the perfect opportunity to correct him and come off intelligent in the process from his cultural studies.
Another strike against America’s post-secondary education system.
– Sam repeats for the quadrillionth time that the Globetrotters are their rivals. We see a flashback of the incident at the end of the previous leg. Funny thing is that viewers will forget about this incident in about a month. That’s how dumb and blown out of proportion the Globetrotters made out the shoving incident to be.
Flight Time & Big Itchy.
Tee hee. I’ve never seen a bald man scratch his itchy shiny head before. I find this amusing.
Okay, okay! It was just a joke, Big Easy. What are you going to do? Fly to where I live and stalk me as you follow me around everywhere? Like you’d ever do THAT!
Oh. I could be in trouble.
– Globetrotters depart third at 12:20am. They pull a Laura Morett and say everything has been worked out fine between them and Sam & Dan since the last pit stop even though teams are always sequestered from each other since the TAR 13 bra incident.
– Flight Time admits they are a strong team and that they must respect everything they have done to get to the Final Four.
– Brian & Ericka, who appeared to be hours behind the other three teams, somehow depart last at 12:22am. Ah, the magic of editing. Brian doesn’t bother reading the clue.
Swing and a miss.
Every middle-aged Caucasian male has a thing for Meryl Streep, didn’t you know?
Ericka annoyingly corrects him in the background by saying “Pra-GUH!”
Who the f— does Ericka think she is?
It’s vintage pra-GUH not vintage pra-DUH!
– Brian says everything has worked out for them so far. He is going to continue being nice people and let the other teams fight it out as they sneak through.
And Brian couldn’t be more happy that Team Yellow has a taxi driver wearing yellow to drive them to the airport.
Or given Brian & Ericka’s interracial relationship, Allan would describe Ericka as “when the yellow meets the black”.
– Meghan & Cheyne enter the airport. They are told the first flight is tomorrow at 5:20am to Riga, Latvia. From Riga they will travel to 8:15am.
For some reason, TAR has yet to visit Latvia. They’ve gone to Lithuania and now Estonia by this point. Latvia is wedged in between them.
Heck, they even went to Ukraine to the south, Finland to the north, Russia to the east, and Poland and Sweden to the west. It’s like producers are calling it a s—hole not worth visiting.
Seriously. They’re treating Latvia like a war torn southeastern European nation. Even two of the North African countries you see in the picture have been visited.
I mean, they’ve bothered with f—ing Corsica too. Did Bertram Van Munster have a bad visit to Latvia when he was a teen? What gives?
– Meghan & Cheyne fly Air Baltic. The ticketing office opens at 4:00am. It’s odd to see teams fly on anything except Air Canada as TAR Canada 2 is currently airing.
– Sam & Dan seek Internet. What are the Globetrotters doing?
Besides looking like he is preparing to sneeze, they are squinting at the flight board.
– Sam & Dan are on the Internet. Therefore. . .
Globetrotters also decide to log onto the Internet.
It’s like they’ve taken the Andre & Damon TAR 3 strategy and inject it with Missouri flavoured steroids.
– Ericka asks her pookie to scooch over as them and Sam & Dan lie down in a terminal as they watch Meghan & Cheyne surfing the Internet.
The only source of entertainment in a Tallinn airport at one o’ clock in the morning.
Now she knows how. . .well, she now knows how Sam & Dan feel.
– Brian likes Meghan & Cheyne but tells the others that he thinks Meghan is SNEAKY!
– Meghan & Cheyne discover that a praga is a vintage car. They elect to tell the other teams that it is a back cat or that it might be a vintage car.
MEGHAN: We’re soooo funny.
Meghan is the barometer for comedic timing out of the eight players remaining? Oh god, I miss Lance & Keri and Zev.
– Globetrotters find out it is a vintage car, and Meghan & Cheyne look over their shoulder to know that their joke is pointless.
Meghan may be better off resorting to the classic whoopee cushion prank in the future.
Geez, Globetrotters try to make the laptop fry its motherboard from those eyes of intimidation alone.
– The four teams all board the same flight. For some reason, the flight attendant looks rather familiar.
Yep, it’s Meghan Rickey’s secret twin. CBS’ sequel to Adria & Natalie, undoubtedly. They’ve been switching out as partners all season long and you didn’t even know it.
Hopefully the introduction of the other leads to a lot less d—-baggery unlike what happened with these two.
– Alright. Enough already. Let’s get to Czech Republic.
For all Latvian readers viewing this blog, this is the extent of your great nation being shown in TAR. Google Earth, we thank you!
Czech Republic’s scenery. It’s great to see TAR visit Czech Republic for the first time in franchise history.
Oh. Right. Nevermind!
Could this get any more confusing?
Teams have to fly to Prague by landing in Praha International Airport. Once there they must find a praga.
That would be like if I had to fly to Ottawa and land in Ottahe International Airport, and find a vintage Canadian car named the Ottawe.
It’s like they portray Czechs as the most stubborn people out there by refusing to incorporate prefixes into their language.
Prefixes? Prefixes?! We don’t need no stinkin’ prefixes!
– Teams hail taxis in the airport.
And because this isn’t TAR Canada, they can choose taxi colours other than blue.
– Brian & Ericka are the only team not inside of a taxi. They are told using an alternative mode of transportation is the easiest way to get to the old city centre as opposed to taxi. Guess what method it is. You would think it is subway or something that does not use roads, right? Well, Ericka yells at Brian for choosing this method rather than taking a taxi like all other teams.
Wow. A bus is faster than a taxi? I think the local who told you this was the best option was trolling you, Brian & Ericka.
– Sam & Dan ask their cab driver if a praga is a robe or a jacket. The driver looks confused.
Who bears an uncanny resemblance to Bono of U2.
– The Globetrotters ask their driver for confirmation regarding a praga indeed being an old vintage car. He does not respond. The driver will regret allowing his face being shown on American television.
That may be the fattest taxi driver I have seen on TAR since that lady who drove Michael & Kathy around Stonehaven, Scotland.
– The bell tolls on a huge freakin’ clock in the old square.
Good luck reading that method of time telling.
Only Marlo’s texts of clocks to The Greeks was tougher to crack than the Czech clocks we see here.
– Meghan & Cheyne find the praga vehicle. Sam & Dan’s cab parks at the same time, therefore they follow Meghan & Cheyne to discover it is a vintage vehicle.
I am curious if Sam & Dan feel like their decision to follow a team is different because they have been closely allied with Meghan & Cheyne. This is in contrast to the Globetrotters who follow Sam & Dan against their will and are viewed as antagonizers.
– Meghan & Cheyne read that they must head to the outdoor adventure centre known as Kayaky Troja.
That is one of the ugliest places I have seen on a Europe leg.
– Sam thanks himself for seeing Meghan & Cheyne running to it, otherwise they would not have found it and admits he would have been there forever. Meghan congratulates herself for being able to do Internet research.
– Sam talks about missing out on the sights.
SAM: We ran through that so fast we didn’t get a chance to look at the centre. I definitely try to take in the sights as much as I possibly can. There’s some awesome buildings. Tons of greenery.
DAN: Sam annoys me everywhere we go. “I love this place, I wanna live here”, well, then you wanna live in every place on the planet.
SAM: Heck yeah! He’s like “I just don’t care!”
DAN: It’s not that I don’t care, I just don’t make a big deal out of it like I’m in the third grade.
Wow. Brutal, Dan.
– Meanwhile here’s something that a team should care about. . .
Why you should never take public transit.
– Globetrotters do something incredible.
They finally complete a route info task completely on their own! Seriously, how long has it been since they’ve done so?
– Globetrotters find a new cab driver who has an interesting car design.
Every single person who has ridden it ends up signing it. I think I even see a few sketches of genitalia on it too, and a Hitler mustache. The Globetrotters can autograph it by drawing a sketch of them pulling somebody’s pants down.
He better Czech himself, before he Reyjkaviks himself.
– They hail a taxi.
BRIAN: The gamble, I don’t think, was worth it. I’m not blaming her, I’m not blaming people who gave us the advice–
ERICKA: Yeah, but you went along with it too. So don’t blame it on me.
BRIAN: I know we went along with it.
“Why are you saying you aren’t blaming me? Don’t blame me for not blaming me.”
Yeah, wrap your head around that one, folks.
This one does not listen to a word I speak out loud.
– Dramatic couple’s tension music plays as we hit commercial.
– And we’re back. Ericka describes the bus ride as a hiccup. Brian says they did what they did and will be moving forward as Ericka rolls her eyes.
– Flight Time makes motor noises as the driver talks about how awesome his cab is built.
Big Easy echoes every word the driver says. They may not be following Sam & Dan’s actions, but they are indeed following the exact words of a taxi driver. But you know what the real kicker is here?
He may have a plush joker hanging, but the joke is on him as Flight Time & Big Easy know nothing about the metric system and are merely playing along.
– Meghan & Cheyne and Sam & Dan arrive at the kayak site. Cheyne hopes it is a Roadblock, and Meghan’s response is “hey!” as it insinuates that Cheyne really wants to do it.
Why Dan never landed the role as Dr. Evil.
– They both open the clue. It’s a Detour. Now let’s discuss Prague’s cultural history. Adventure sports can now be enjoyed in the heart of the city.
Yep, a Detour option was indeed Fast & Furious.
See, this is nearly five years before this guy took things too far.
And several years after this guy’s career should have ended.
– Fast & Furious is a man-made whitewater rafting course that is used to train pro kayakers as they make their way through the rapids they must grab a ribbon which has their next clue written on it. If they flip over, they must brave the rapids again before they succeed.
In Slow & Steady, teams have to pull themselves along a gruelling aerial ropes course. Once they reach the end of their rope, each team member will receive their next clue.
This is a much easier Detour option, eh? Well, somebody is going to quit over a task like this in the TAR franchise very soon. Mika, Nabeela, and Rex & Bob may very well be pushed out of the running for the top spot in the Hall of Shame.
– Sam & Dan decide to do Fast & Furious. If they can do it on one of two attempts, they will fly ahead. Meghan & Cheyne do Slow & Steady because the rapids scare Meghan.
– Globetrotters show up seconds later while Sam & Dan are changing clothes. They decide to do Slow & Steady.
– Brian & Ericka reach the Old Square. Since they refused to use the Internet or follow a team in the taxi, they have no clue what a praga could be. Brian’s instinct leads him to a guy on the horse.
– Sam & Dan get into their boat. Cheyne warns Meghan to go fast because the other teams will go fast. No kidding. Globetrotters launch into yet another story about the Projects.
Yes. Oh, and guess what? We hear about Flight Time’s life in the projects too.
I like how the one guy appears to be enjoying the story about Flight Time’s projects.
More like Story Time & Big Easy, if you ask me.
– If anything, there is a certain song I should be playing whenever Big Easy brings up the projects. Just so I don’t have to constantly recap it anymore.
Yes, a Coo Coo Cal reference. I can make obscure references in all genres of the arts.
– SAM: Hey guys. We’re gonna beat you.
DAN: Sam, Sam, let me paddle.
SAM: No, you’re going too fast.
Dan’s logical response?
Yes, he unleashes his inner Rashad Evans.
– Everyone takes turns cheering. Dan keeps yelling at Sam for his poor rowing skills. Sam doesn’t know why he is in the front, but believes Dan does not understand how the kayak needs to be paddled.
And a new piece of challenge commentary was born.
– Ericka -snaps- as she instructs Brian to focus.
ERICKA: We’re close. I know it.
Translation: She sees more camera crews in the area, and are following her and Brian more closely.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Camera crews follow you more closely in Survivor and TAR when you are in close proximity to a clue or a hidden immunity idol.
– Brian points out it’s the guy in the car as they finally have their clue. They hail a yellow taxi. Who knew their taxi would be yellow? It’s a sign!
– Ericka instantly becomes negative about their mistake in the taxi while Brian insists they will always rally.
And Sam & Dan are definitely giving them the opportunity to do so.
– Meghan comments on how you drop down at the start of the course, but it gets tougher near the end because you have to go straight up.
Meghan doing her best Cliffhanger impression. Thankfully it’s the character of Gabe, and not the character of Sarah who I have made fun of several times in this blog when she falls to her death.
My favourite Cliffhanger video. You will never watch the movie the same way again. Even if I did reference it back in early May. Ugh. I guess I must still really have this scene stuck in my head.
– The rope is having a little issue with holding up Big Easy’s weight.
On one hand, Big Easy discovered he still has flexibility in his body today.
– Sam & Dan go ahead with their second attempt. Sam promises to control the kayak as long as Dan only paddles on the left side. Flight Time stops for a second to encourage Big Easy who is stuck on the water.
One of many downsides to a 6’8 260 pound frame.
It doesn’t help that Sam & Dan splash his butt with their paddles as they go by him.
– Dan yells at Sam to guide it multiple times. Sam yells at Dan to shush multiple times. Once. Twice. Thrice.
– Brian hopes there is a task ahead that other teams will struggle with this round. Not like it matters since we all know it is the final non-elimination by default.
– We see a showdown between Flight Time and Meghan & Cheyne. Meghan finds great pleasure in seeing Big Easy struggle for the first time given he is always strong and athletic all season long. She somehow forgets the other times so far where Big Easy’s frame backfires.
We don’t need to see that zoom-in of the glove anyway.
– Because Flight Easy is done first, the instructor asks him if he can go down first regardless of Meghan & Cheyne already being done as a team altogether.
I guess I can go. Big Easy is having blood rush to his head rather than his ego for once.
– Meghan & Cheyne yell at Flight Time for taking his time going down at a one-person-at-a-time-ladder. I have never seen Meghan & Cheyne fight with another team all season.
But Flight Time going down and stalling was all just a ploy for the instructor to grope Flight Time. A very hands on approach to getting to know his favourite Globetrotter!
– CHEYNE: Hey, this is ridiculous! C’mon, he’s slowing us down on purpose. We can’t go!
FLIGHT TIME: . . .Hey, shut up!
I wouldn’t yell at him if I were you, Meghan & Cheyne. He will pull your pants down when you least expect it.
Teams look like they are freezing to death in Europe.
Big Easy is copying Brian’s strategy for keeping warm.
– Brian & Ericka continue on in their cab.
– Dan proceeds to yell at Sam some more. It’s their third attempt.
Oh, that brings us to the end of the episode.
– Flight Time encourages Big Easy as he looks like he is ready to swallow the next person he sees whole.
It’s like one-upping the Alex Linz impression that nobody cares about.
– Flight Time and Meghan interact on the ground. He claims that he did not intentionally stall until her and Cheyne pointed it out to him, and only bothered with doing so at that point. Meghan does not appear mad anymore, and claims it is not a big deal.
FLIGHT TIME: I don’t play like that.
FLIGHT TIME: He was like “he’s slowing us down on purpose”, and once he realized that I could, then I decided “why not?”
“I wouldn’t slow down intentionally to help further myself. C’mon, I got a little more sense than that. . .Yeah, I intentionally slowed down once another team pointed it out to me.”
– Meghan & Cheyne have the words “Stavoske” and “Divadlo”. They must figure out it refers to Prague’s Estates Theatre which is where they will find their next clue.
– They run off. So do the Globetrotters as they point out Sam & Dan are still struggling. They argue more in the kayak.
And they finally have it.
Oh wait, no they don’t.
– Commercial break.
– We resume. Brian & Ericka have shown up. Sam & Dan prepare for their fourth attempt. I assume they wasted one hour. Dan wants to switch Detours instead of making a fourth attempt.
– Globetrotters see Sam & Dan changing to switch tasks. Apparently they have no interest in finding a taxi of their own. Meghan & Cheyne find a local who will help them and guide how to claim a taxi.
He’s just chilling with his son in front of a random business’ building.
– Instead of fighting over a taxi, Meghan yells to the Globetrotters that she knows where they need to be going.
BIG EASY: We’re gonna follow them anyways, so when she invited to help us, let’s do it.
– Cheyne is annoyed that Meghan volunteered the info, but yet he acknowledged that the Globetrotters would follow them anyway.
Seriously, I now know how these two feel when dealing with Andre & Damon during the fifth round.
– Brian & Ericka have chosen to do Slow & Steady and will start only a minute or so after Sam & Dan.
BRIAN: She has a fear of water, and I have a fear of heights, so it’s funny why we’re doing the high rope course, but I decided to conquer my fear a little bit.
“Funny how I point out that I’m the one sacrificing myself by conquering my fear for the team, but she refuses to do the same. It’s like I get to play the Zack Behr Martyr Role in the process!”
– Dan comments on the ropes course.
DAN: This is uncomfortable!
ERICKA (shaking her chest a bit): It’s going to feel good for me!
Wait. Did Ericka assume Dan meant that he said it was uncomfortable because of his junk? How odd.
– Meghan & Cheyne work together to lead Big Easy to the route marker as they run along the train tracks. No one is around.
I wonder if the graffiti reminded Big Easy of a residence that he used to live at in the past. Specifically, perhaps one from his childhood, maybe?
Nope. He doesn’t elaborate upon the graffiti. Good.
– Sam & Dan complain. Sam asks Dan how he is doing so well at it. Dan yells at Sam to move faster. Sam really is choking at this Detour. Ericka and Sam both complain of the pain. Sam whines of the difficulty. Brian tries to coach Ericka but she snaps for him just to go and leave her alone.
– A lady tells Meghan & Cheyne about how to transfer a subway to Mustek. Cheyne -really- wants a taxi that he sees. Meghan calls out “Cheyne, Cheyne, Cheyne” as the lady and Meghan are still talking. He does one thing in particular that is shocking rude.
“I shall help out you young Americans. You’re always so fun and nice to us.”
“Shut the f— up, woman. That notebook is like a klondike bar to us.
“And we’re keeping the pen too, you bitch.”
– So Cheyne whisks Meghan away as he refuses to talk to the Globetrotters. Meghan reminds him of his rudeness just now but he does not care about it one bit. I like how the Globetrotters respond to the whole thing.
“Wanna give us a try? We promise not to rip it from your hands. Mainly because locals will think you’re being mugged if they don’t understand the context of the situation.”
– MEGHAN: You’re being really rude. Ridiculous!
(Gets into cab.)
MEGHAN: You’re being rude.
CHEYNE: I’m trying to win a race–
MEGHAN: You’re being really rude to everyone around you.
CHEYNE: I’m trying to win this race, babe. I saw a taxi coming and they could have grabbed it.
MEGHAN: There was no reason to be rude in that situation. You just left them there.
CHEYNE: We left them there? Are you kidding? We’re not trying to help them. That’s ridiculous. This isn’t a Hold-Your-Hand Game.
CHEYNE: At this point it’s a little ridiculous. If you don’t agree, where’s your competitive spirit?
Ah, I see someone else wants to lecture Cheyne on politeness as well.
Cheyne, why you gotta be so rude?
I’m gonna snatch that notepad, and snag that cab anyway. . .
I’m gonna snatch that notepad, and snag that cab anyway. . .
– Globetrotters are told that a train comes in ten minutes. They board the train and obsess with Sam & Dan in return as they point out they are still on the river doing the ropes course.
That’s what happens when you are the ones who get the pants pulled over your eyes.
– Dan coaches Sam to use it like a swing. Brian is far ahead of Ericka.
BRIAN: Babe! Try two hands!
ERICKA: I’m fine! Just worry about you!
Eh, Brian appears to be doing fine. I’d worry about you too, Ericka. Sam is even going faster than you.
– Brian comes to a complete stop as he watches Ericka slowly progress with a half-hands effort.
BRIAN: Use two hands!
ERICKA: I am using two hands! Please stop!
BRIAN: Watch me–
ERICKA: Damn, I’m trying!
That’s her “Stop in the name of duck love” face, if I’m not mistaken.
Priceless. Just when he thought they could get out of last place.
– Cheyne says they have to move past the incident, and apologizes for being rude. He refuses to help out other teams anymore. Meghan counters that he could be nice about leaving them and not hang people high and dry. She says the Globetrotters will be on a mission to mess with him.
Be on a mission to troll another racer? Nah.
– Oddly enough, we segue from a Mika reference into a coincidental Roadblock hint.
ROADBLOCK: Who can remain composed under pressure?
ANSWER: Not Mika.
– Oh, it’s “composed” because Phil starts talking about composers like Mozart. The legendary opera by Mozart called Don Giovanni.
– They must search the Estates Theatre for a miniature mandolin. Once found, they must bring it onstage to an actor dressed as a character from the Don Giovanni opera, which premiered here many centuries ago, to receive their next clue.
– We get a funny ten second clip of the actor singing something from the opera.
DON GIOVANNI: Phil you tazen so rowing tah tongue toe!!!!
He’s like a natural Andrea Bocelli but minus the whole eyesight thing. Or he is like Steven Segal, but with talent.
– Phil explains teams will take part in operatic history, which is surprisingly a real word. The mandolins are tiny and hidden amongst six hundred seats.
This task is the “Make the Weaver Family Hate Everything About Montreal and Olympic Stadium Except Ted” one.
That’s one tiny mandolin you’ve got there, sir. It’s the same mandolin that Don Giovanni plays. Yes, all Italian mafia leaders play a mandolin.
Don’t you remember when Don Vito Corleone family busted out a mandolin to celebrate the day of his daughter’s wedding and again at the meeting of the five families to make the others bust out a little jig when discussing his son?
– Once they have it, they must bring it to Don Giovanni himself.
Who proves to be an entirely different person from who we saw earlier. We’ll never know the first man’s true identity, sadly.
– Cheyne made Meghan do hay bales, but he gets to do this task and reading a scroll in invisible ink. He begins checking the rooms. Meghan reminds him to be systematic. He discusses the theatre’s beauty.
But instead he mugs for Don Giovanni from the two balcony seats. I wonder why the balcony seats are empty?
“I wish we were in The Amazing Race 7.”
“Why is that, Statler?”
“Because even if it was a game of Checkers, we couldn’t be beat.”
“Oh, eh heh heh heh.”
“I got another one, Waldorf.”
“What’s that, Statler?”
“I’m glad six out of the last eight are men.”
“Why is that, Statler?”
“Because our ex-wives are total c–ts!”
“Oh, eh heh heh heh. . .wait, what?”
– Split screen as Globetrotters jump off the train and board the subway. God, Meghan & Cheyne must have a big easy one hour lead on them. Sam and Ericka both struggle.
– Ericka says it hurts like her first time.
– Meghan repeats for Cheyne to knock out a bunch of row before everyone gets here, and before we are told it is Big Easy’s birthday. Cheyne presents Don Giovanni with what he thinks is a tiny instrument.
– He hands it to Don Giovanni.
Don Giovanni examines it thoughtfully.
He laughs as he shines his flashlight into the lead’s eyes.
Before giving him his clue, Don Giovanni decides to point and laugh at Cheyne’s junk.
You know what they say: Tiny mandolin means. . .
Oh, it’s rejected. He just wanted to laugh at Cheyne’s junk in general. Maybe Cheyne’s rudeness is an offset of Little Junk Syndrome.
He worked hard to find that mandolin and they’re LAUGHING at it!
Yes, because Cheyne’s rudeness totally didn’t put them an hour behind.
– Sam nearly finishes as Dan encourages him. Dan is told to not lose his ribbon. Brian claps his hands as Ericka turns to tell him to keep going even though they cannot finish until Ericka is done.
– Big Easy is doing the Roadblock. I will be amazed if he can bend to check under so many seats.
MEGHAN: Cheyne. Cheyne. Another team’s here.
Oh god. Cheyne. Cheyne.
– Cheyne finds two more instruments.
I think Cheyne just wants to steal these instruments to help with the formation of his new ska band in San Diego.
– Flight Time and Meghan enter an all too familiar position of sitting together as their partners are still out on the course.
– Sam & Dan finish and try to steal Brian & Ericka’s cab. The only problem?
It’s happening in plain sight of Brian & Ericka. The driver is within shouting distance of Ericka who has no problem sacrificing precious time to yell at the cab driver to stay put.
– Sam has been trying to get Dan to move to a new taxi all along, but Dan keeps begging. Dan equates this to putting them in last if this does not happen. Dan even promises to pay extra.
– We resume the same twenty seconds.
Should I intentionally piss off another team to guarantee avoiding the Speed Bump or should I keep them happy to rally against the Globetrotters and grab a different taxi because Ericka is hopeless on ropes?
That is a rare time where a team successfully steals another team’s taxi in plain sight of another team. All because Dan promised to pay the driver an unspecified additional amount. So much for yellow being their lucky colour.
– Sam is annoyed that Brian & Ericka are angry with them for it. Ericka ensures us that the fire is lit for Sam & Dan’s move. She intends to go for the jugular just like she said rounds earlier.
Throat dry after a long day of choir practice? Quench your thirst and refresh yourself with the new Coke Zero!
MEGHAN: Cheyne. Cheyne. Cheyne. Cheyne. Cheyne. Can you hear me? C’mon Cheyne. Just keep looking.
– Big Easy can’t help but comment on this. I have a feeling editing spliced it together to make it sound like it was said five times in a row and Big Easy is taking advantage of it, but it wouldn’t surprise me.
Do you know what Meghan’s favourite song was when growing up? Because she may not even be trying to say Cheyne’s name after all.
Cheyne, Cheyne, Cheyne! Cheyne of Rudeness. . .
– Brian awaits for Ericka’s arrival. She finally gets to the platform. Brian has a present for her.
He didn’t want her to move faster because he wanted to get to the next route marker and catch up. Brian just wanted to smack her bum!
– Brian wonders how they can get ahold of the taxi now. Ericka insists they will not work with anyone anymore. Sam & Dan are at the theatre. Sam asks Dan what he is doing as he fails to see Dan is about to grab the clue.
– Dan is doing this Roadblock as Sam is annoyed because he has performance theatre experience. Dan rolls his eyes at revealing this information.
If you ever wanted to see the bottom of a racer’s shoe, here you go.
– Sam sits down with Flight Time and Meghan, and does not hesitate to share how cultured he is.
Oooooh, they’re so impressed.
– Sam shares with them that Ericka was still on the rope course, and admits to tstealing their taxi. Therefore, we see Brian & Ericka entering a stranger’s yard to ask the stranger to call for a cab.
Luckily, the stranger was bright enough to lock up their bikes this time.
– She solves the clue for them but she utters the word “theatre” in a really funny voice. Yes, even funnier than Pierre & Michel from TAR Canada 2.
What shirt is her son wearing? Trang World? What the heck is Trang World?
EDITOR’S NOTE: It is a French T-shirt store that manufactures clothing meant for mountain gear and other outdoor sports. Trangowrold!
– Cheyne opens more doors.
Are they going to need to hire that plumber from Hotel Mario to shut all of the doors?
What’s this? Flight Time is standing up? What is he doing?
He’s mugging for airtime. It’s a Christmas miracle!
– Oh, and a hearty laughter from Mr. Giovanni as he laughs at Dan’s mandolin.
Ah huh huh huh! I laugh at your s—ty mandolins!
– Sam is not yelling at Dan for getting it wrong. He encourages him. Brian thinks Sam & Dan’s conscience is eating them alive. Ericka speaks on behalf of sanity by saying their conscience may be content with the decision and may not be eating itself.
– Flight Time wants paramedics to be sent upstairs because he has not seen him for five minutes. But no, that’s not enough.
Yes, we now present Phantom of the Camera Whore. Flight Time begins singing very loudly.
FLIGHT TIME: Where am I? Big Easy?
DAN (loudly from the balcony): Shut up.
Because Dan cut off Flight Time’s opera, he has some unfinished business. Once Flight Time’s operatic talents are discovered, he becomes a true all-star.
Oh yeah, and Big Easy hands Don Giovanni a bag of sand that was taken from the set of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Yes, I nearly put in UHF’s parody in here for the third time in this blog but elected not to do so.
– Chairs are being checked. Big Easy pumps himself up as he thinks he has found it.
It’s a tiny mandolin. . .case.
Don Giovanni has a belly full of laughter.
BIG EASY: Man! Can’t keep laughing at me like that, man!
Racers ten minutes ago.
– You know what I think?
I think he regrets killing the wrong guy in theatre. Don Giovanni would definitely earn himself a lot more popularity and be more worthwhile than ailing Honest Abe.
– Meghan calls out to him to check the chairs. Cheyne is confident he has it, and completely mocks Giovanni by imitating his music when he hands him the mandolin.
Translation: Suck my tiny mandolin, you operatic bitch.
– Cheyne cheers as his shirt tightens up. Him and Meghan leave.
Dan stirs to hear San Diego Beach Bum Rudeness from down below.
– Meghan & Cheyne exit. Big Easy proceeds to slam them in a confessional.
BIG EASY: I was so happy to see him get that thing and get out of there because I didn’t have to not hear her keep saying “Cheyne, Cheyne can you hear me” . It was worth it at the time.
– Cheyne reads that Prague Castle is their next pit stop. It was built 1, 200 years ago, and is the largest ancient castle in the world.
– Flight Time does not let Big Easy dare have Dan find it before him. Cheyne thinks it is anyone’s game and that Brian & Ericka could still catch up no problem.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The camera operator slipped him a ten for using the sound byte from the script provided.
“We’ll find a mandolin, laugh in our face, pull down a few pants”.
Hard Way to Die Easy.
– Big Easy follows Dan, but this strategy is dumb as Dan found it just a couple seats before him. Wow, Big Easy is not a strategist.
BRIAN: Who can remain composed under pressure?
(ERICKA looking like Brian will answer himself.)
It’s the Yin before the Yang on this one! And it looks like Ericka will score him a Win by tugging on his Wang tonight if he agrees to do this.
BRIAN (after nodding): My baby.
Not in the script, I’m afraid. Ericka is not impressed that she must do yet another task against her will.
ERICKA: You think I can?
BRIAN: Yes, you can do it.
– Dan presents the mandolin. Him and Sam celebrate. Second place is theirs. The recenge on the Globetrotters is done. They prepare to exit when. . .
ERICKA (loudest whisper ever): Don’t say anything to them!
PSSSST. I THINK THEY HEARD YOU, ERICKA!
– Brian tried looking at Sam & Dan in the eye simultaneously, but claimed both pretended to read the clue and looked down.
BRIAN: I found it very cowardly. It was kinda cowardly they didn’t look or apologize.
Or Sam & Dan thought interacting with you would be very, oh what’s the word, awkward.
I mean, you two do yell a lot.
Brian & Ericka give a tutorial on how to give proper eye contact.
Robb Zbacnik. . .not so much.
But maybe just because he didn’t want to be picked by a lady who says “GOLFER!” like a deranged crazy lady.
Not that crazy.
– Sam & Dan exit after our Survivor: Thailand tangent.
Oh yeah, and Sam is cultured in case you don’t know.
Oh right. It’s Anguish Time because he knows he cannot follow Sam & Dan to the pit stop and pull their pants down right before checking into the mat. Oh, the humanity!
– Ericka comments on the beauty of the place. Sam & Dan enter a taxi that is rightfully theirs. Meghan & Cheyne see a race arrow and start running.
Producers once again insert post-production footage of a camera operator zooming in on Meghan’s behind as she runs. They Lamastered it.
– Meghan & Cheyne find Phil and the pit stop greeter.
Who goes from being a granny to a chauffeur for this leg of the race. I wonder if he is hired to take Phil to each route marker for the next Prague leg?
FIRST PLACE: MEGHAN & CHEYNE
It’s a hat trick. . .in his pants!
– Phil informs them they have finally won a useful prize. They will be heading to Hawaii. Spaaaaa and golf. It is a course designed by Jack Nicklaus.
Yes, Nicklaus. Not the other Jack Nic——- who actually matters. They couldn’t get him to sponsour a golf course.
I think Jack Nicklaus is losing his mind more than Alex Trebek–he worked a gnome into its blueprints.
– Meghan & Cheyne thinks everyone else will be discouraged by always having to run behind them except for the camera operator who hoards several hours of Meghan Running footage like she was on freakin’ Baywatch.
Knows they have no competition.
– Back to the opera house as Brian and Flight Time sit together.
BRIAN: This one does not like sitting.
– The search continues.
ERICKA: I shouldn’t have to search every chair. This is ridonkulous.
She really said ridonkulous?
Okay, Monica Padilla.
– Big Easy is tired of hearing Don Giovanni singing, and hands him a tiny mandolin. He is encouraged to see the man smiling but not laughing.
Hey Big Easy, Donimber Giovannilake’s eyes are up here.
– Flight Time & Big Easy read the clue inside. They run out of the building as Ericka keeps up the search. She is frustrated, oddly enough.
– Sam & Dan and Globetrotters are both shown in a showdown racing to claim taxis. Dan points out that they see Globetrotters on the street. Both desperately want second place which offers zero perks just like third place.
Coincidentally, this sign only applies to Flight Time & Big Easy.
– Both teams enter a taxi. Brian is bored as Ericka describes searching for things as Brian’s bigger strengths.
ERICKA: He probably should’ve done this yet again.
Brian does his best impression of Jeff watching Sundra and Becky make fire.
He would break up the monotony of opera.
– Taxi showdown is on.
Mentally executing Don Giovanni after hours of singing is also on.
SECOND PLACE: SAM & DAN
THIRD PLACE: FLIGHT TIME & BIG EASY
PHIL: If you had to pick which team you’d want out, who would it be?
SAM & DAN: Meghan & Cheyne or the Globetrotters.
PHIL: You’re not so worried about Brian & Ericka?
DAN: Not so much. We stole their taxi.
– Big Easy announces they’re crashing the party.
THIRD PLACE: FLIGHT TIME & BIG EASY
And for what feels like the fourth or fifth time this season, Sam & Dan and the Globetrotters enter the mat simultaneously.
– Flight Time mocks the tension regarding stolen taxis without explicitly saying Sam & Dan’s names.
Not a big fan of Flight Time and Big Passive-Aggressive Easy. . .er, I don’t really know.
– We see a series of fade-in and fade-outs as Brian bets her it is underneath a chair.
Becky and Sundra went to matches. . .Lena started her next hay bale. . .Melody is digging in the sand. . .zzzzzzz.
Don Giovanni practices what it is like to experience civilian life as him and Brian philosophize the meaning of life.
BRIAN: I bet you it’s underneath one of those chairs.
(ERICKA looks under a chair.)
ERICKA (casually): Got it.
“Yeahhhh. . .I’m hot s—.”
LAST PLACE: BRIAN & ERICKA
Yep. They’re finally last. Time to cue their farewell music.
Logan made a sh–ty reference. . .and Allan is all yellow.
– PHIL: Enjoy the race?
BRIAN: Blessed. We had an angel almost every single leg.
PHIL: You have one more in you?
PHIL: This is a non-elimination leg. You guys are still in the race.
Which does not make for an attractive cut.
– Phil informs them of the Speed Bump and is really dramatic about it. Ericka describes Sam & Dan’s move as being dirty. Brian believes he and Ericka can win by playing fair.
– A unique orchestra of suspense soundtrack plays into the credits. Very Phoenix Wright-ish.
Next Time on TAR: A night in Prague brings out the teams’ dark side.
FLIGHT TIME.BIG EASY 6.7
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) Stockholm, Sweden -> Tallinn, Estonia
A new country added to TAR’s catalogue after fifteen years? Hell yeah!
TAR’s only visit to Estonia was surprisingly tame. Sadly, pit stop departures were once again an arbitrary amount of time, and had teams waiting nearly 30 hours to get on a ferry and cross the Baltic Sea.
While the Brotherhood of the Blackheads came off as a rather racist secret society, it ironically enough only had White people inside. The four teams could solve the key task easily as they copied each other in pairs.
The toughest part of the leg occurred as the Roadblock was a very Treasure Hunters-esque puzzle. Find a candelbrah, identify the number, and match it with room number. Once inside, pick up scroll on piano and use a candle (without any brothers) to reveal the location of their next clue.
The Detour/final task of the round and pit stop being combined for the fourth round in a row shows laziness and a lack of budget on part of producers. The order of finish miraculously changed in the two minutes it takes to run to the tower because the Harlem Globetrotters have zero sense of direction.
Gary & Matt were given a ton of airtime in their farewell round. Seeing how they were the least shown of the top five teams for the first eight rounds, I am glad they finally received the attention they deserved. Matt being c—blocked by his dad’s singing in the Saunabuss as his hopes of getting laid by the blonde-haired woman evaporated, messing up directions, Matt not knowing what a candelbrah was, their Sicilian taxi driver, and their tearful farewell as Zev made fun of Gary’s emotions.
Oh, and then that whole accusation of Sam & Dan throwing an elbow at the Globetrotters on the way to the pit stop after the Globetrotters stalked them the whole round as if Flight Time turned into Caleb and Sam & Dan fused together to become Amber.
Seriously, Globetrotters forcing them to share taxis and tailing teams against their will from the second they set their foot in Tallinn really dropped their credibility.
4) 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.
5) Tallinn, Estonia -> Prague, Czech Republic
A new country for the TAR US catalogue is sadly tainted by stupidity on the part of producers.
An unmemorable needle in the haystack Roadblock is compensated with an amusing Don Giovanni impersonator. Sadly a crappy needle in a haystack leg cannot be forgiven because a caricature is placed front and centre.
The teams broke off every single bond except the one between Sam & Dan and Meghan & Cheyne as the four teams screwed each other over when it came to working together or stealing taxis. It really made up for the lameness of this round.
This round is given a boost because this is a new European country for TAR to visit. Only three more European countries will appear in the TAR universe, if I’m not mistaken.
The Detour was a bit lame. Traversing a rope course against a near impossible boating task made all teams choose one by default. Well, Sam & Dan had to fail the boating one three times, but yet again we see a lopsided affair when it comes to Detour options.
Miraculously, nobody quit traversing the ropes.
You know why else I thought this leg was better than several others? And not just because there was a really fat taxi driver? Because the pit stop was not ten feet away from the most recent task. Teams had to take a taxi to the pit stop for one of few rounds this season.
Oh, and there was the final non-elimination this round which had to occur by default. I doubt Brian & Ericka ever felt in danger.
Lastly, I believe Czech Pragas work better than Hungarian Travants or Mongolian Jeeps.
6) 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.
7) 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.
8) 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.
9) 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.
10) 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.