The Amazing Race Asia 4 episode seven rankings

Seventh leg

The Inaugural and Final South Asian Winter Games



Previously on TAR Asia: Seven teams set off from Legazpi in the Philippines and traveled to New Zealand. The Richards cut to the front but The Girls refused to be left behind.

Claire & Michelle finally got revenge on Dimple & Sunaina and U-Turned them in the most blood-curdling Detour yet in Bungee and Swinging.

Faced with one of the highest freefalls in the world, Hilda could not take the plunge.

An avalanche rescue task revealed Hussein’s competitive side, but it was the Richards who came first again.

And the Ride of a Lifetime (tm TARA4) ended for Ivan & Hilda.

Six teams remain; Wu will be eliminated next?

– Intro time.



– Allan introduces us to Coronet Point–New Zealand’s first ever ski field built back in 1947. It is the most popular ski resort in the southern hemisphere.

sydney allan wu

Allan’s favourite place to be other than the Sentosa Wave House in Singapore.

– Although the American version has started ignoring this rule in TAR 12, Allan informs us that teams in the Asian version must stay for twelve hours at the pit stop.

– The Richards, who arrived first at 6:30pm, will depart at 6:30am. They read that they must ride down a slalom course on the ski hill, and go through two flags without falling over.

sydney slalom course


– Herrera and Hardin follow the arrows to the route marker.

HARDIN: Just keep going and if it gets us in the front, that’s great. If not, then it’s not meant to be. As long as you go hard and put it all out there that’s all that matters.

sydney richards

Oddly enough, this is the exact same speech Hardin gave to a second grade class in Manila when his basketball team visited a local elementary school.

Thankfully, the school’s dress code forced the Richards to change into a less douchey outfit compared to the ones they are currently wearing.

Speaking of which, do you know the name of Richard Hardin’s basketball team in the Philippines? You’re never going to guess it.

What are some of your favourite teams? Toronto Raptors? Houston Rockets? Boston Celtics?

talk n text tropang texters

Try the Talk ‘n Text Tropang Texters. I wish they had a sister team in the US called the Talk n Text Texan Texters.

– An instructor at the top informs the Richards that they will be quickly taught how to ski. Hardin is in pain putting the boots on.

sydney richards 2

How many ski hills do you think there are in the Philippines? Would it be safe to say that number would be approximately around zero?

– So how well did Hardin do learning how to ski?

sydney richards 3

Well, Herrera’s palm meets face, so let’s enjoy this in all of its screen capped glory.

sydney richard hardin

The Richards would have been eliminated much earlier if they competed in The Amazing Race Canada.

– HARDIN: What’s the best way of getting up from this position?

Richard Hardin is stuck to the point that he has to ask the instructor how to stand up.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I live twenty minutes away from an internationally famous ski resort here in British Columbia. I can assure you that I have never skied either, and would likely have someone screencapping my first time too. It is always tough to lose your skiing virginity, and is probably a lot less pleasant because you cannot use the Rhythm Method.

– So Hardin makes his second attempt.

sydney richard hardin 2

sydney richard hardin 3

It’s hard not to point and laugh at his misfortune.

guilin margie 4

“He is trying to ski for the first time and she is LAUGHING at him! And that’s just RUDE! Richard is doing this for the first time in his whole life!”

Oh, c’mon Margie. Like Kisha is ever going to stop doing that. Remember what she did during TAR 25 earlier this year?

kisha laughing at bethany

Kisha has hit a new low.

– Herrera succeeds on his first try. Hardin is on the third attempt shown. He finds a winning strategy.

sydney richard hardin 4

Pull the ol’ “I am about to kill Count Duku” pose in Star Wars Revenge of the Sith, and somehow Richard keeps his balance.

P.S. No, don’t message me about Star Wars crap. Episode 3 is the only one I have seen of the second trilogy. And no, I have not seen the trailer for episode seven. Thanks.

– Right before the finish line Hardin wobbles like a mad man.

sydney richard hardin 5

Oh my word this would be such a hilarious choke. Can he do it?

sydney richard hardin 6


– The instructor congratulates Richard Hardin on his first time. He opens the clue. Instant Detour. Pen or Pennant.

Actually it’s Pinot but Hardin did not know the ‘not’ in Pinot does not involve pronouncing the letter ‘T’.

– In Pen, teams must separate three marked sheep amongst a flock of fifteen, and herd them in a pen before receiving their next clue.

sydney allan wu 3

Allan speaking in a hushed voice as to not distwurb the sheep.

ALLAN: Sheep are notorious for being unapproachable. So all teams who can talk the talk. . .

sydney allan wu 2

Allan really takes his pwuns too seriously.

ALLAN: . . .will walk the flock.
sydney allan wu 4


sydney allan wu 5

Nailed it.

– In Pinot, teams must collect a 228 metre wine barrel, roll it to the top of this steep hill, and fill it with wine to receive their next clue.

ALLAN: Teams who handle a wine barrel, and don’t let their patience ferment can go barrelling through this challenge.
sydney allan wu 6

So effortWuss.

– Richards choose to do Pinot.

sydney camper

And resume driving in their campers that they used for most of the previous round. I dunno why, but I love seeing the same vehicles driven to carry over to a subsequent round. The purist in me, I s’pose.

– Hussein & Natasha depart at 7:00am. I forgot there are still five other teams left in the race. Natasha does not want to be in the back of the pack again.

I think she forgets Hussein is with her.

– Michelle & Claire are third to depart at 7:05am. Claire is disappointed they have not finished first yet.

– Natasha skiied once a very long time ago. Claire admits she has never gone skiing before. We watch Hussein make an attempt.

sydney hussein sutadisastra

lol f–k you Hussein, you suck.

– Natasha completes it. Geez, I could watch Asians from countries on the equator ski all day. Hussein passes the task even though he fell before the finish line.

sydney hussein sutadisastra 2

I guess it doesn’t matter if you fall before the finish line. Just getting through those marked flags is all that matters.

But then what is the point of the finish line? Because it serves absolutely no purpose if the previous flags are all that counts. Or maybe Hussein guilt tripped them into giving them their next clue.

Then it means the suspense for Richard Hardin at the end of his run did not count for anything either. This is very confusing.

– Let’s check in on Claire.

sydney hussein natasha

After Hussein nearly breaks his daughter’s legs, that is.

– So, how ya doin’, Claire?

sydney michelle claire

Well, at least she doesn’t have to backtrack too far.

– Michelle & Claire cross the finish line but are unaware that they had to go between the two flags. To the top they go!

winter games nes

I think skiers in the NES video game Winter Games have better skiing abilities than most of these Asians here in TAR Asia.

– Jess & Lani depart at 7:20am. Lani announces they have 100 US dollars for this leg of the race. Have Michelle & Claire succeeded at the ski task yet?

sydney michelle claire 2

No. Michelle isn’t even trying to anymore. She is giving Claire some unwanted attention, and sexualizing skiing for the first time since Ned Flanders was on the hill and felt like he was wearing nothing at all. . .nothing at all. . .

ned flanders nothing at all

“Nothing at all!”

– INSTRUCTOR: Wider legs, Lani! Wider legs, Lani!

hold it

Jess & Lani are the only team in TAR history to have a stripping background up to this point (Chippendales are not for a couple more years), and you are telling me that they are the ones who are instructed to open up their legs wide? Wow.

Just wow.

sydney lani pillinger

wyclef jean sweetest girl

“Closed legs don’t get her fed clues, go out there and fall on face, girl all she wants to know is ‘where the finish line at?’

– Michelle & Claire cross the finish line correctly. They choose to herd sheep.

– Jess crosses first. She tells Lani it is just like roller skating. Then informs her to put her heels out once past the finish line.

sydney lani pillinger 2

Okay, now her legs are a bit too wide.

– Jess & Lani choose to do Pen as well.

– Ethan & Khairie depart in fifth at 7:42am. Sunaina & Dimple shown a second later at 7:44am. Dimple’s plan is to come in first place every leg, but has not happened yet. Khairie feels he can trust all teams except Dimple & Sunaina.

KHAIRIE: Sue and Dimple, sorry, you gotta go.

Yes, it’s not like we have already done the U-Turn and Yield for this season.

– Old school 1920s goofy mariachi music plays as we watch Malaysians and Indians trying to ski.

lori booty fall 2

aaron booty fall 2

Tragically Aaron and Lori from TAR 6 are not present to attempt this.

“We can’t ski, but at least we make it look good.”

sydney sunaina guila

Let the hilarity of Asians skiing reach its conclusion!

sydney sunaina guila 2

Good ol’ fashioned Butt Skiing. Booty scoot down that hill, Sunaina!

– Ethan nicknames himself the Polar Bear, but neither him nor Khairie have skiied before.

sydney ethan lim

Silly Asians.

– Khairie is trying to ski uphill.

sydney khairie khaire

4 Steps of Skiing Uphill

1. False sense of security
2. Slipping.
3. Crashing.
4. Acceptance.

– More falling.

sydney khairie khaire 2

Like this.

– Overall, I think Sunaina sums up this task quite appropriately.

sydney sunaina guila 3


sydney dimple inamdar

Although I think Dimple would prefer the ‘being killed’ part by this point.

– Commercial. We go to freakin’ commercial and we haven’t even left the pit start yet.

– We resume. The 20s mariachi music continues. Ethan nervously giggles. Sunaina falls some more.

sydney sunaina guila 4

I dunno. Four hour penalty may be your best bet by this point.

– Khairie screeches as he crosses the finish line. He does not know how to stop and keeps going until he crashes into a sign. Unfortunately that is the only nanosecond that his cut out.

– Ethan finished it before him.

LADY: Congratulations. That was very entertaining.

Heh. She can hardly contain herself.

– Ethan & Khairie choose Pen. They watch Sunaina & Dimple continue to fail at the task.

sydney sunaina dimple

Dimple chooses to do it in reverse. Now back to Sunaina.

sydney sunaina guila 5

8 crazy nights technical foul

That’s a technical foul.

– ETHAN: I saw Sue crash into one of the flags. I said ‘good job, keep doing it!’


– Richards want to drink the wine rather than transporting it.

jon jaclyn

Jon and Jaclyn agree.

– Herrera refuses to do any tasks involving animals. No sheep, no pigs, no nothin’.

HERRERA: We went for the wine because it doesn’t fight back.

Just like how Herrera prefers his women! Nah, just kidding.

– Hardin initially tries pouring the wine through the nozzle.

sydney richards 4

So I just pull on this and. . .

sydney richards 5

Splat! You just got wine all over the camera.

sydney richards 6

All high-class viewers watching this cry in pain as they see precious wine being spilled. down the funnel.

– Claire asks Michelle if sheep can be carried. Michelle thinks they will be too heavy. They notice Jess & Lani are following them. Michelle turns the van around and keep going. Jess & Lani celebrate getting rid of Dominatrix.

– Sunaina crosses the finish line first. Dimple finally does it. Not a great start to the day.

This pretty much explains why we should never have a Winter Olympics in West, Central, or Southern Asia. It is crazy that the two finalists are Beijing and a resort in Almaty, Kazakhstan (TAR 13 callback!).

john oliver olympics

Or in John Oliver’s talk show studio.

– Richards are on their second bucket of wine.

sydney richards 7
Richard Herrera may want to get his urinary condition checked out.

– Richards say it was very time consuming and frustrating as it took fifteen buckets to fill up a barrel. They receive their next clue. To understand their next clue, we must flashback to the pit stop rest period to see some deleted scenes.

ALLAN: During the mandatory rest period, teams recorded messages on Sony Handicams for their loved ones. They must now mail those messages at the Arrowtown Post Office to receive their next clue.

sydney sunaina dimple 2

“Dear Mom and Dad, tomorrow I will die in a ski accident. Here is my will. To my sister Nadiya, I leave you my entire collection of saris. . .”

sydney hussein natasha 2
Much like my father, Hussein is not allowed to touch electronics.

sydney richard hardin 7

Is Mr. Hardin filming a selfie of himself on the Handicam? Would it now be called a Sony Hardicam?

sydney arrowtown post office

This building looks old.

– Hussein & Natasha pass by the Richards on their way to a barrel. Richards must have a pretty big lead.

– Jess & Lani are now herding sheep. 90s Nickelodeon cartoon music plays as they attempt herding sheep. Jess roars like a lion.

sydney lani pillinger 3

I doubt Jess & Lani played shepherds in their local Christmas school plays during their childhood.

tim te jay

Tim & Te Jay a.k.a. #collegesweethearts did a better job of shepherding during TAR 25.

sydney jess lani

I don’t understand the black jacket strategy. They initially get two into the pen, but one escapes.

sydney jess lani 2

Now it’s on.

– Jess & Lani get a bunch of sheep in the pen, including two of the three marked ones. The one sheep is touching the fence of the pen, but manages to elude Lani and run away.

It’s like trying to chase down my dog Willow when she has a tennis ball. She will just keep running away from you and only drop it for you if she is bored.

sydney jess lani 3

Skiing may be harder than this.

EDITOR’S NOTE: You know what? This looks like one of the funnest days ever in TAR history. Skiing down a couple of ridiculous slopes, and herding sheep or pouring wine at your own pace knowing full well an equalizer is coming? I love that everyone is just having a good time with this.

JESS (to the sheep): You’re not going anywhere mate, it’s closed.

Oh my word. Such an Aussie way in terms of how she delivered this line too.

– Dominatrix show up to herd some sheep. They cannot even focus on the task because the sheep are awkwardly staring at Claire.

sydney sheep

It’s like they cloned Natalie Tenerelli, Ashley Underwood, Andrea Boehlke, and Grant Mattos of the Ometepe tribe. All stare but nothing seems to be going on inside their heads.

– Richards enter the post office and deliver their message. Now we get -another- flashback, but this time to their individual messages recorded.

HERRERA: Alright, hey everyone back in Colombus, Ohio. I really miss you guys. I love you. I haven’t seen you in a long time, but I’m really having the time of my life.

sydney richard herrera

“And so glad I was picked for TAR Asia 4 instead of TAR 16 in the States. Hanging out with Jeff and Jordan, Mean Lesbians, Homophobic Cowboys, Entitled Cops, and Ms. Teen USA would make me want to hang myself from a basketball hoop.”

– Okay, Herrera’s message was good. Not cheesy or stupid or corny or anything like that. No tears like you see in all family-based reward challenges in Survivor or phone calls home in TAR history.

Hopefully Richard Hardin keeps this up.

sydney richard hardin 8

HARDIN: Alright, I just want to say ‘hello’ to my girlfriend back in the Philippines. You’ve given me the drive to do, like, everything.  You know. . .

sydney richard hardin 9

Ah, crap. We’ve got Sony HardiTears on the HardiCam.

HARDIN: Ah, this is tough. You know, like, you’re my inspiration, and, woo, this is tough. Hard. Just wanna say ‘I love you, I am coming home soon, and bye babe’.

Geez. Let’s go back to the present.

sydney arrowtown post office

And to continue the tradition of postal workers like Diane Ogden from Survivor: Africa, a chubby older lady gives them their next clue.

– They read that they must fly to Sydney, Australia and find the Circular Quay in Sydney Harbour. Teams must find a man with an umbrella in his right arm.

ALLAN: Teams must ask him the question ‘Any clue about the weather, mat?’ before they will receive their next clue.

What man has an umbrella in their right hand anyway?

fonzworth bentley umbrella

And who isn’t Fonzworth Bentley, obviously.

sydney umbrella

It’s this guy. He needs the umbrella to protect his bald head from the sun. A lesson that the Richards have learned since the Fast Forward task in Sri Lanka.

– Jess is riding the back of a sheep as she tries to get it into the pen.

sydney jess lani 4

Although Jess kinda kills the moment.

– Now they have to work on kicking all of the sheep out of the pen except for three.

– CLAIRE: The whole field was full of sheep poop. Hard ones, soft ones, and freshly steamy ones.

sydney michelle claire 4

Which is pretty close to describing what Terence tried to eat for the Kazakhstan Fast Forward in TAR 13.

– JESS: Excuse me, can you just slightly move back. Seriously.
sydney jess james

Well, hand waving won’t work. What should she try next?

sydney jess james 2

Repeatedly kneeing the sheep into the butt.

What what in the sheep’s butt, you ask? It is Jess’ knee that is what what.

sydney jacinta james

Did Jess just kill the sheep, and is now dragging it by its feet across the field?

survivor cook islands kicking and screaming

It is like she is forcing the sheep to do a re-enactment of the Kicking and Screaming reward challenge from Survivor: Cook Islands, Gabon, and Cagayan.

– So Jess stops dragging the sheep, and the sheep refuses to move. You would think it was dead.

JESS: I was like petting the sheep trying to make sure it got up because I thought I’d look like a. . .murderuh!

sydney jacinta james 2

“It was a horrible evil EVIL sheep!”

sydney sheep 2

“Shhhh shhhhh. Everything will be alright.”

sydney sheep 3

The sheep luckily jumps up and escapes Jess’ clutches as fast as possible.

LANI: She had lamb chops for dinner last night.

sydney jess lani 5

Airports are not fun, but joking about killing sheep is.

– Jess & Lani  finish the task, coach Michelle & Claire that it requires lots of patience (and crippling). They also complain about sheep feces being all over their shoes.

– Hussein is exhausted pushing barrels and carrying buckets. He is the only one not having fun today.

– Richards are already at the airport. They have built a ridiculous lead in such a short period of time. They book a 12:30pm flight to Auckland that gets them into Sydney at 5:30pm. It is the final flight of the day. Considering teams departed after seven in the morning, there is a chance teams could be missing it.

– Jess & Lani are second to the post office. Now we get to see their videos. If it’s a video to their boyfriends, this could get real interesting.

JESS: Hi Mom, I miss you heaps. We’re having so much fun here in New Zealand. It’s really hard not talking to you every day. And I miss you heaps. I can’t wait to tell you all about it. Love you heaps.

sydney jacinta james 3

I wonder what is so interesting that is just out of frame. I am so curious that I am heaply curious.

LANI: I miss you guys with all my heart. My feet are freezing and I just ate a hamburger. I love you guys. Bye.

sydney lani pillinger 4

I have never seen such a bored look on The Amazing Race before.

And is eating a hamburger really her highlight of the season? Swinging on the world’s highest swing? No. Riding on jet skis in the ocean? No. Dropping off locals in the middle of nowhere? No. Playing with pigs or smashing pinatas? No.

The cheeseburger I had a couple hours ago is where it’s at in Lani’s eyes.

The Amazing Cheeseburger: Philippines Edition coming next year!

– Needless to say that if Jess & Lani’s reaction of going to their home in the Philippines wasn’t enough, then you can imagine their reaction of heading to their birthplace of Australia.

sydney jess lani 6

Hold up. Are Jess & Lani wearing toques with arrows on it because they are in a place called ARROWTOWN? Are you f–king kidding me guys?

Just imagine the vendor in town selling those toques.

“You know what would be hilarious here in Arrowtown? Selling toques with arrows on them. Har har har.”

What’s next?

stefani apprentice 6

They elect Stefani of Arrow Corp from The Apprentice 6 as mayor just for kicks?

–  Jess & Lani run straight to the travel agent and book their flight. Jess says it is going to be barely enough time to get on the flight.

sydney travel agent

Surprisingly, they do not try to ask that guy for money. I guess they were punished for doing so at the airport in the previous round.

– We cut to a shot of Australia on the travel agent’s globe that we see in the room.

– More sheep herding with Michelle & Claire. Not a single sheep in the pen. They agree they do not have patience and switch over to the wine task. Ethan & Khairie park at the sheep task and run into Michelle & Claire. Ethan & Khairie decide to switch anyway. The 90s Nickelodeon music plays again.

– Ethan starts baa’ing and gobble gobbling but nothing is working. No progress is made.

ETHAN: You can’t go up to them and scare them like ‘booga booga’, you know?
Commercial break.

– We resume.

sydney ethan khairie

New plan: Manipulate the sheep by subjecting it to Khairie’s bad fashion sense!

sydney ethan khairie 2

There we go. Progress is being made.

sydney ethan khairie 3

Uh oh. It’s night time.

– The sheep is too heavy for them to pick up. Ethan decides to leave it.

KHAIRIE: We could build a pen around it and score one.

– Michelle & Claire are now at the wine barrels. The empty barrel could fit them both inside. They argue over their teamwork. Hussein & Natasha are still at the task. Hussein starts running with the bucket and spills some wine. They complete the task. Natasha is amazed as she sees Michelle & Claire transporting their barrel because of how small they are.

FIRST FLIGHT (via Auckland): RICHARDS. Flight is due in Sydney at 5:30pm.
sydney flight

Ah, they are practically next door.

– We see a close-up of a plane before it zooms out and includes the sheep herding task in the shot.

sydney plane

So you’re telling me this plane is the same one that the Richards are flying in, and can be viewed by Ethan & Khairie while they are doing the sheep Detour?

Mind blown.

– We watch sheep run into the pen. They need one more before the pen is shut. Ethan begins whispering to the sheep. He picks which ones need to leave. One breaks down the barrier. Ethan explains how the sheep would react when he scolded them.

sydney ethan khairie 4

Apparently the sheep use their hands like Disc Jockeys.

– Sunaina & Dimple enter the shepherding task. Sunaina thought they would be small enough to pick up, but that is, uh, not the case. They find their misconception to be hilarious.

– Ethan & Khairie recover their lost one and receive the next clue. Ethan is heralded as the Sheep Whisperer. He starts singing Baa Baa Black Sheep.

– If Probst was around, he would tell Sunaina & Dimple that there is a learning curve to this challenge.

SECOND FLIGHT (via Christchurch): JESS & LANI. Flight is due in at 5:15pm. Wow, fifteen minute lead.

– Hussein & Natasha are third to the post office. We flashback to the video they filmed together.

HUSSEIN: Hello Mama.

. . .That is all he has to say for himself?

NATASHA (crying): I miss you guys, and having a wonderful time with Papa. And. . .oh my god, I’m so happy to be here with Papa. And. . .just miss you guys so much.

HUSSEIN: missyou. loveyou.

sydney hussein natasha 3

Okay, now here is one of Hussein’s quirks that has been ongoing for seven rounds. This scene pretty much solidified it for me.

His reactions to everything are always extremely delayed. For instance, Natasha is crying here for several seconds and he holds the exact same smile. He is as if he is frozen in time, and cannot change his expression in response to the events going on around him.

It takes him an additional fifteen seconds after this before he even puts his arm around Natasha, but the same freakin’ smile does not change.

Perhaps the best way of putting it is that Hussein analyzes each individual social change as if he witnessed somebody moving a chess piece on a chess board.

“Why did this person make that move? Where are they coming from? How will things work out in the future on this path? Hmmmm. What should I do? Which angle am I tackling this from? How it will affect me down the road? Okay. I have come up with a plan. Now it is time to react.”

sydney hussein natasha 4

“Sutadisastras. . .Out!”

– Hussein does a fist pump when he sees Australia is the next destination. He asks which way to turn, and Natasha tells her right. He asks her again and she repeats ‘RIGHT!’

sydney hussein sutadisastra 3

If Hussein competed in an Ugly Scarf Contest, he wins it hands down.

sydney natasha sutadisastra

Natasha chose a rear-facing seat because of how much she cannot stand to look at Hussein’s ugly scarf.

– Sunaina states it was a miracle. And it was a miracle. I can only say it is a miracle because I cannot understand any other word that she and Dimple say in their confessional.

sydney sunaina guila 6

Roadblock: Who can manipulate their own face into looking like Michael Jackson?

sydney sunaina dimple 3

Sunaina’s expression of terror when Dimple has a confessional.

– Michelle & Claire are now in last as they describe chasing down bucket after bucket. Ethan & Khairie are now at the post office.
sydney hand

Look at the way the Handicam fits so naturally into Khairie’s hand!

ETHAN: Hi Mami Me, Mama. Miss you guys a lot.

KHAIRIE: I am enjoying the food here as well. They have really large portions. Cool.  Love you cousin. Thanks. Ciao.

sydney ethan lim 2

Ethan’s mini afro hair refuses to stay in frame.

sydney khairie khaire 3

Or Khairie is just really short.

– My guess is that their video was not terribly exciting.

– So Sunaina & Dimple are fifth team to the post office. We’ll finally see Dimple speak for an extended period of time.

DIMPLE: Hi Mom, I really miss you a lot. And I’ve never been away from you for so long.
sydney dimple inamdar 2

And you’re done.

SUNAINA: This is like the most fun thing I have ever done in my life. I am having the most amazing experiences. I love you very much.

sydney sunaina guila 7

“And they knew they could have the Handicam task later on this season because they knew an East Indian team could survive halfway into the race for once.”

sydney sunaina dimple 4

Sony: Bringing Asian racers closer together since 2007.

– Sunaina & Dimple are also excited about Australia. Michelle & Claire eventually finish the wine task. Claire is tired and frustrated. They are last to the post office.

CLAIRE: Hi Mom, hi Dad. I told you I was going on a sabbatical. I lied. So, uh, I’m actually on The Amazing Race with Michelle.

sydney claire goh

Considering she is nicknamed “Rebel Girl”, Claire revealing that the reason for her disappearance is to be on a family oriented game show is probably their best case scenario in mind.

MICHELLE (crying too much): Hi Mommy, hi Daddy. I really miss you guys and this race has taught me a lot. I just hope you guys are going to be proud of me and I really hope Claire and I win this and make you proud.

sydney michelle ng

Michelle Ng? More like Michelle CRYIng! Ohohohoho.

sydney michelle ng 2


– Sunaina & Dimple are next to the airport. Hussein & Natasha join them. Now Ethan & Khairie, and lastly Michelle & Claire. The last flight departs at 4:30pm. If the conditions do not improve, they will be stuck in Queenstown overnight. Teams are stuck waiting inside of the plane.

– Commercial. We resume. Captain magically changes his mind and opts to brave the big winds.

sydney michelle ng 3

The conditions were fine all along, I bet. It was later revealed te captain found it amusing to screw with these people on a competitive reality TV program.

sydney ethan lim 3

CAPTAIN: And to an Ethan Lim, I also need to announce that Santa Claus is not real. Details for takeoff will be announced in a few minutes.

sydney ethan lim 4

CAPTAIN: This is your captain again. Flight will take off as scheduled, and Santa Claus is indeed real. Sorry for this misunderstanding.


– Jess & Lani arrive first in Sydney. They board the subway. We see Richards casually stroll onto the subway fifteen minutes later. Wow, it is really dark. And raining. Lots of people are wearing umbrellas. Jess & Lani are asking strangers if they know anything about the weather. Jess tells her to stop and come up with a strategy because they have done full laps without any success.

– Jess finds the bald dude and reads that they must head to the Hilton Hotel’s grand ballroom. They must enter the Hilton Bed Making Challenge. Teams must make a bed to the Hilton’s high standards within three minutes. If they fail after four attempts, they will receive a ten minute time penalty.

The team who makes their bed in the fastest time will receive a prize at the next pit stop.

sydney bed

Poor woman. She is stuck in a large room all alone at a luxurious hotel being paid to go back and forth making beds all night.

sydney bed judge

And these people just shake their heads in disapproval at her job.

sydney bed judge 2

Or maybe it would be worse to be hired as Bedroom Statues overnight. Just stand there and be expressionless like Kelly & Christy.

sydney bed 2

And being forced to stare at a bed all night is just cruel.

– Richards are barely jogging out of the subway. They comment on the plethora of umbrellas in the area. Jess & Lani are already in the great ballroom.

– Jess asks Lani the last time she made her bed. She claims it has been a really long time, and probably because she stumbles home drunk at four o’ clock and passes out until one in the afternoon the following day.

sydney jacinta james 4
“Hey, I found a penny!”

– Richards keep approaching strangers about the weather. They finally get a worthwhile response.

HARDIN: Any clue about the weather?

sydney weather
sydney weather 2

Aaaand okay, bye.

There was someone else who said it was going to rain upon being prompted with the question, though.

ollie williams rain

“It’s gonna rain!”

– Jess & Lani have made their bed, and do not have to lie in it. Their time?

sydney bed 3

Ouch. That is a lot of time to make up in the next three attempts.

– Hardin sounds traumatized as he recalls asking every man if they have a clue about the weather, mate. Jess & Lani make a second and third attempt that works out to 3 minutes and 23 seconds. Jess had to do all of the corners for Lani. Needless to say Lani is not a very big help.

– Their final time is 3 minutes and 21 seconds.

sydney jess lani 7

And probably penalized an extra thirty seconds for jumping on the bed like a monkey who is about to fall off and bonk his head.

sydney bed judge 3

I love how there is a lady who works at the Hilton that laughs at strangers that cannot make a bed in less than three minutes.

“lol bed making amateurs! I bet they are so stupid they couldn’t even tell the difference between a surgeonfish and a clownfish!”

– So the penalty commences for Jess & Lani. Jess makes one of the dumbest moves in The Amazing Race history.
sydney jacinta james 5

She voluntarily sleeps on the ground despite there being thirty extremely comfortable beds in the room.

stacy kimball survivor fiji

Screw Lucy saying she thinks there will be a vote split at Tribal Council in Survivor: Fiji, Jess voluntarily choosing the least comfortable sleeping option may be one of the dumbest things I have ever seen.

Er, sorry. Stacy Kimball. Dammit, Dreamz.

sydney lani pillinger 5

See? Lani has the right idea.

– Okay, Jess eventually hops onto a bed too. And no, not the same bed.

– Hardin finds the correct man.

HERRERA: Baldy! I wouldn’t have missed this guy.

– Richards jump into a taxi.

– Final flight gets in at 7:27pm. Dominatrix and Ethan & Khairie  have a cab. Ethan initially thought about taking the train but was told to catch a cab.

– Sunaina & Dimple and Hussein & Natasha were told by everyone they spoke to from Sydney that the train would be faster. Split right down the middle.

– Jess & Lani are about to open the clue, but Richards walk in. Herrera says it was a downer, and Hardin adds that they thought nobody else was even in Australian airspace.
sydney richards 8

Such a role reversal. Richards were so happy because they left Jess & Lani to cry in an airport. This round Herrera looks like he is preparing for a heap of weeps.

– Now we cut to Lani who gives the shortest confessional thus far. She summarizes the current state of things.

sydney jess lani 8

LANI: On our way out they ate our dust!

The expression on Lani’s face is what kills me. She tries to state it as if nothing important happened, and that it was to be expected of the situation.

Like “they just lost the basketball game by 23 points” or “it took us two attempts to herd all that sheep, and we saw them taking six attempts”.

In other words, an indirect way of saying you are awesome, and they are not.

– Insta-Roadblock.

LANI: Who can fly through the air with the greatest of ease?

– In this task, that person must head to Circus Art School in Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre. Here they must execute a flying trapeze routine to receive their next clue.

sydney allan wu 7

And Allan is wearing a baseball cap. What’s next? He is going to be sitting at home eating nachos and drinking beer while watching a game?

ALLAN: While this circus act is challenging, teams that have a firm grip of these moves will still breeze through the trapeze.

sydney allan wu 8

Did Allan just do a fist pwump while uttering the pun within his explanation? Is he going to wink next time or snap? Maybe even say ‘BYAAAAAH’ like Howard Dean?

– Lani does not like heights, and volunteers Jess for this Roadblock.

– Richards begin making the bed. Hardin stands around clueless. Maybe maids always make his bed for him while on the road visiting other basketball teams.

sydney richards 9

He’s not even looking at the bed! What is he looking at, anyway?

sydney woman

Missing his “girlfriend”. Riiiiiiight.

– Sunaina & Dimple, Ethan & Khairie, and Michelle & Claire are all at the harbour. Hussein & Natasha are there too. Hussein has the worst Aussie accent ever.

rush hour 2 jackie chan

It reminds me of when Lee tries to imitate Carter in the Rush Hour movies.

– Richards burn through all four attempts. What was their final time?

sydney 420

Yeahhhhhhh, Four Twent-eh!

Seriously, how many times have we seen 4:20am, 4:20pm, or 4 minutes and 20 seconds uttered in these blogs over the years? It has been a surprising amount.

beijing traffic 2

Or that time in TAR 14 where they show the part where a traffic light is displaying the number ’69’ for a second. No other numbers. Just ’69’.

– Herrera said their bed always looked like somebody had just slept in it. They are stuck with the ten minute penalty.

sydney richard herrera 2

“Oh yeah? That man who is sitting on the edge of one of our beds in a perfectly upright position and staring at the wall without blinking? Don’t worry, he will be out of here in ten.”

I think we learned Mr. Herrera is an insomniac. It reminds me of when Marge Simpson tries to sleep while sitting on a couch that does not exist.

– Hussein thinks the man is hiding. Ethan & Khairie spot the guy and wave over Dominatrix. They have the clue in third and fourth respectively. Sunaina & Dimple have it next. Hussein & Natasha receive the clue in last.

wii party u lost and found square

It is like the Lost and Found Square from Wii Party U. Except of everybody being a dog or a cat around the area, they are bald guys with umbrellas.

– Richards finish penalty. Herrera shall do it and they hail a cab. Lani grabs the ‘1’ tag off the Roadblock. Jess goes up the ladder. Time to re-do the TAR 8 round twelve Roadblock minus a fat Linz brother doing it.

– The remaining four teams are all making beds. Ethan is annoyed by Sunaina & Dimple complaining next to them.

ETHAN-KHAIRIE: 3 mins 40 secs.
DOMINATRIX;  mins 04 secs
SUNAINA-DIMPLE: 7 mins 41 secs.

– Ethan & Khairie are on their third attempt. Two minutes and 35 seconds, but it was too sloppy that it was not acceptable. They do a fourth attempt. It ends up being a ten minute penalty.

– Dominatrix have 3 minutes and 29 seconds on their fourth attempt. Penalty for them too. Sunaina & Dimple and Hussein & Natasha receive the penalty too. All four teams are in the same room. Therefore everyone is within ten minutes of each other.

– Natasha orders Hussein to calm down after he sighs and sweats.

sydney penalty

For the first time ever in TAR history, every single remaining team receives a time penalty on the same task. What is this? Round 244 in franchise history and we have a task where everybody fails to meet the requirements? Incredible.

a) I can’t believe producers freeze up all racers together like this right in the heat of the leg.
b) Everyone will be too scared to work at the Hilton Hotel in Sydney
c) Who the hell wins this prize? Nobody’s bed was approved within three minutes.

– Penalty is over for everyone. Khairie, Michelle, Dimple, and Hussein are doing the Roadblock. Natasha could not do it because she does not feel well.

sydney michelle claire 4

I just noticed that Claire is probably wearing a hat with the letter ‘C’ on it so viewers know she is Claire. This is the first time producers have provided a clue for who is who in same-sex teams in TAR Asia.

– Michelle’s reaction to learning she must perform a flying trapeze routine?

sydney michelle claire 6

Trapeze? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

– Jess makes her first attempt on the trapeze. She misses. Music sounds really dramatic.

LANI: Oh nooooooooooo.

– Commercial. We resume.

LANI: Oh nooooooooooo.

Did we really have to replay that?

sydney jacinta james 6

May I point out that those are some weird jean shorts?

– HERRERA: I see this huge apparatus with people in spandex. I’ve got my spandex on. I’m ready to get this on.

Yes, nothing excites Herrera more than spandex. Feel free to disregard this information.

sydney trapeze

I think this one is the same size as the TAR 8 trapeze, but taller.

sydney trapeze 2

I see no injuries happening here. Well, except for the fire dancers in the bottom right hand part of the screen.

– Jess said she could not do it, but the Richards know she stepped up her game once she saw the Richards.

sydney jacinta james 7

Most 20-year-old-somethings typically quote the hip hop lyrics “it ain’t trickin if you got it”. Especially in the songs that Jess is stuck listening to at a strip club.

But in the world of trapeze? If you are trickin, you do got it.

– Jess apologizes for taking so long, even though it was only three attempts. Better than bed making.  They have their next clue and read that they must head to Hyde Park at Archibald Fountain. It celebrates the association between Australia and France in the First World War.

LANI: Do not delay Allan Wu awaits.

sydney allan wu 9

In the span of 24 hours, he has gone from ski goggles (skiing task) to toque (Detour) to baseball cap (Roadblock) to pit stop (we get to see his hair!). Such a transformation.

– Lani is proud of Jess.

JESS: You really didn’t let me down and that’s great.

But the trapeze artist did. Literally.

– Herrera appears to complete it quickly. Hardin is pumped. The fountain is in the vicinity of St. Mary’s Cathedral, apparently. Hardin claims Herrera is the man.

sydney knee

While Hardin is enjoying his Sydknee.

– Ethan & Khairie are third to the Roadblock. Dominatrix fourth. Sunaina & Dimple fifth. Hussein & Natasha still last. Ethan believes Khairie will do well at this task. He mocks Khairie’s warmup pose.

sydney ethan lim 5
Ethan the Polar Bear spares no one with his mockery.

paul varelans

Just like how Paul the Polar Bear Varelans spares no one with his college wrestling background. Although he may back down to Marco Ruas foot stomps!

FUN FACT: His sister lives in my town. I have yet to run into her, but I know she lives within city limits. If Paul’s sister happens to be reading this, please feel free to message me. I would love the chance to talk to Paul Varelans about his early experience with the UFC.

– Michelle looks freakin’ tiny on the trapeze.

sydney michelle ng 4

It makes me wonder if somebody like Chuck & Wynona or Big Easy were in this season. Would producers be forced to scrap this task because the professionals just aren’t strong enough to carry all of that weight? Big Easy is 260 pounds. Adrian Davis from TAR 16 or Ryan & Chuck from TAR 7 would be big dudes too.

Heck, Bilal & Sa’eed would be disqualified too because of their sheer weight.

bilal denial

“But it didn’t say you couldn’t accidentally tear their aRMS OFF!”

– Sunaina wanted to do it because she would be really good at it, but Dimple was insistent upon doing it.

– Natasha is keeping her fingers crossed that her dad will make up time.

sydney natasha sutadisastra 2

Please please please please please.

sydney natasha sutadisastra 3

Please please please please please.

sydney hussein baron

I don’t think Hussein’s body was designed for the circus.

sydney hussein baron 2


– Natasha asks if Hussein is okay as he hops off the net.

sydney natasha sutadisastra 4

Uh oh. What happened?

HUSSEIN: My right foot got cramp. I said ‘oh, this is not good day for me’.

sydney hussein natasha 5

Are you KIDDING ME?! That’s a Hilda version of “No I’m not okay”. What does a foot cramp have anything to do with a trapeze? That is all upper body strength, and tucking your feet onto a bar.

I did Level 1 out of a possible four levels when I did the gymnastics unit in high school, and even -I- pulled off a Skin the Cat. I usually can do nothing other than long distance running or swimming, but heck, even I have some mobility on a high bar.

Hussein couldn’t skin the start the upper part of a cat. This is horrendous. We even see a shot of his foot.

sydney hussein foot

What’s wrong? Nothin’!

– Oh, now the story changes. He says it is his knee.

– Khairie thinks first time is the charm. Michelle barely misses a couple of times. Dimple was uber close. Hussein is back on the platform and tries once more. He grunts, and is really close.

sydney hussein baron 3

Did I say ‘really close’? I mean not close at all. That is as far as Hussein’s arms will bend.

– Hussein does it for a third time. Yeah. Another terrible job.

NATASHA: Almooost.

lol no.

SUNAINA: Everybody could see what she was going through and what he was going through and it was really sad.

sydney sunaina dimple 5

Sunaina Guila: Cast for the sole purpose of keeping it 100 on TAR Asia 4.

sydney hussein natasha 6

“Hey, do you guys know if TAR ever burns through all of their non-eliminations by Final Four? Er, I mean Final Five? Er, Final Six?”

Phew, thought for a second that Hussein was going to give up completely.

– Shockingly, the tiniest person is first to complete this. Although Michelle looked like her body was being jerked around by the trapeze artist.

sydney michelle ng 5

Like this angle. I am amazed she did not suffer from some sort of muscle strain.

– Michelle reads that Allan Wu awaits.

sydney michelle claire 7

THE Allan Wu?

– Khairie succeeds. They are currently fourth. Dimple smacks her knee against the platform while on the trapeze.

sydney dimple inamdar 3
Wow. This is painful. Now that is what I call a potential injury.

sydney sunaina guila 8

Sunaina’s nightmare of being defeated by Hussein at an athletics task is finally coming true.
sydney dimple inamdar 4

Dimple’s body is in limbo as she keeps dangling in the air without holding on to anything.

– Hussein cannot even tuck his legs anymore. Dimple gives it one more attempt and succeeds. They have their next clue.

– Hussein is only able to tuck one more leg. He comes to a conclusion. Something that any courageous man would do.

sydney hussein natasha 7

He’s never gonna let down
He’s never gonna around
And you

Heh. Couldn’t resist.

NATASHA: He had that face where he really wanted to give up.

sydney hussein baron 4

The Giving Up Face.

NATASHA: I said “Dad, you’ve been teaching me not to ever give up, and you’re giving up right now.”

sydney hussein natasha 8

“Except for that time he let me quit gymnastics because he thought it was pure unadulterated bullspit.”

NATASHA: We’re going to take the four hour penalty. Starting from right now it’s 11:47.

sydney hussein natasha 9

I love how Natasha examines her watch to understand how long it will truly be. They probably have enough time to walk back to the grand ballroom and sleep in one of the beds for a couple hours before returning to receive their clue.

sydney hussein natasha 10

But for Hussein it is four hours of catching up on his favourite Ian Rankin murder mystery novels! Or maybe he’ll go with Tony Hillerman tonight. It’s all up in the air.

– Commercial break. We resume.

JESS: I can’t wait for this pit stop.
LANI: I know.

sydney jess lani 9

Exhaustion definitely setting in.

– Lani & Jess run onto the mat.

sydney jess lani 10

After blasting Ethan & Khairie for taking advantage of their Malaysian advantage at the start of the season, I don’t think Jess & Lani can really complain as they dominated here on home turf in Australia.

ALLAN: Jess & Lani. . .

sydney allan wu 10

“I awaited you.”


sydney jess lani 11

“We can rest easy! We’re frontrunners! Yay!”

ALLAN: I have some more news for you also. For being the first team to see me here in Sydney, Australia you just won. . .
sydney allan wu 11

“Dwum roll, please. . .”

sydney allan wu 12

ALLAN: Your next clue! If this episode was posted on Christmas yesterday, it would have been my d–k in a box. Sorry.

sydney jess lani 12


LANI: . . .What for?
JESS: What?
LANI: Huh?

sydney allan wu 13

ALLAN: The race is still going. This is a virtual pit stop.

“You do know this happens every other season, right? I expected you both to clue in by now.”

ALLAN: Congratulations, you two did really well. The race continues (clapping). C’mon!

sydney allan wu 14

“And if you really don’t want to keep racing, then you can go f–k off! Yeah! Take that!”

sydney jess lani 13

Not impressed.

sydney to be continwued

Next Time on TAR Asia 4: The girls struggle to get a grip. Lani tears up the tracks in style. Then comes the ultimate protein diet that will turn their guts inside out.

Wow. A season of TAR burned through all three NELs before the sixth place team was eliminated. We effectively went from Final Three to being the final NEL for most seasons to Final Four being the new standard and then. . .Final Six?

In the first four seasons of TAR US, NELs did not even -begin- until six teams remained. Heck, TAR 3 and 4 did not use any of them until five freakin’ teams were left.

I prefer NELs being later on because it does the following:

a) builds up rivalries
b) great times to start showing how fatiguing the race truly is, especially in earlier seasons where the filming schedule would be as long as 39 days.
c) ensures the stronger teams survive to the end rather than a really weak team becoming a Cassandra Franklin-like goat and having no chance to win at the end.

But there have since been cons:

a) Super predictable if you stick rigidly to it. Viewers will skip the episode if they know nobody is going home.
b) Super predictable for the players too. Teams stop caring about rushing to the mat if they know it is a NEL. This is evident even in later seasons where Final Four becomes the new standard for having a final NEL.

So naturally, producers starting in TAR 3 started throwing curveballs. They experimented with back-to-back NELs, and in later seasons would have a NEL earlier and earlier and earlier. Heck, TAR Asia 1 used one on the very first leg in Asia 1, 2, and 4.

Unpredictability is pretty much the only reason to have early NELs anymore. You never want your teams to become too comfortable and race in a safe manner. We saw this in round ten of TAR 25 where the Wrestlers were indifferent to being told they were last.

The other benefit to early NELs is that momentum does not stop for the viewer later on in the season.

In short, the benefits for early NELs are:

a) Unpredictability for viewers and teams.
b) Second half of the season carries a lot more momentum.

Obvious cons are:

a) Saves a team who doesn’t really need saving (Lila Abu Lughod reference?) like Don & Mary Jean.
b) Goes against the classic structure.
c) Prevents an underdog come-from-behind win at the end of the season that will inevitably be talked about for a long time.
d) A stronger team ends up having more enemies as they have more teams to compete against heading into various twists.

Yes, I understand why early NELs are necessary and love that all of them are used here in TAR Asia 4, but we must point out why they were not ideal to do in the first place.

And hey, we are going to see a rapid fire conclusion. No more safe spots. Hussein’s penalty is the last reprieve that a team will get. We will have three teams eliminated in a row followed by the season finale where a winner is crowned. Enjoy the quickest endgame in TAR history.



Rank the Legs

1) Legazpi, Philippines -> Queenstown, Mount Coronet, New Zealand

This is the first round where we were spared from a sponsour-related task. The worst of it was a Caltex station or an Axiata jersey. No route markers or direct promotional tasks, thankfully.

Also, this was the first self-drive leg of the season. It was about freakin’ time. Watching Ethan & Khairie get pulled over for driving TOO SLOW was hilarious, and seeing them be punished for running too fast on the rugby pitch. New Zealand traffic issues are too common in TAR.

I enjoyed watching Jess & Lani cry after they begged for tickets in the airport. Sure, an equalizer and Ivan’s slow driving spared them at the lumberjack route marker, but that initial doubt as teams had a big lead on them was fun.

Finding a fisherman hours from the airport was good for a route marker, I guess. The lumberjack was physically demanding, the Detour/Switchback fusion was a classic thrillseeker’s TAR staple, the rugby task was highly improved from TAR Asia 3, and the avalanche locator Roadblock required great mental agility.

I just wish teams had to work a bit harder to find the pit stop on their own. -_-

Plus how often do we see snow outdoors in the TAR Asia franchise? It is quite the rarity.

Who can forget Hussein trolling his own daughter at the lumberjack task? And not quitting a task on his own for once? Somehow they beat five other teams this round.

Lastly, the U-Turn marked a rare time where direct payback for an earlier Yield/U-Turn occurred. Dominatrix punished Sunaina & Dimple, but Sunaina & Dimple became the first to survive a Detour.

In short, I loved the balance of this round.

2) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -> Colombo, Sri Lanka

Yes, round three is our first clean round of the season.

What was with the Axiata route marker in Kuala Lumpur before heading to Colombo? Was it just a way  for the trailing teams to have additional time to catch up and show up to Colombo together? But the temple was an equalizer anyway.

Yeah, this had to be just for the sponsour money.

Other than that the only complaint is that the Detour had a counting task which we already saw in the premiere. It is a bit too early to cycle through similar tasks in a season. TAR 16 had a few counting tasks too so I really am getting sick of them.

I enjoyed seeing the Yield revived. I dunno why but I like it when vintage twists are acknowledged by the franchise.

The ice carry (in Sri Lanka of all places), the sewing Roadblock, and selling peanuts were all good tasks. Also the task of surviving the lethally fast taxi drivers or the lethally priced fares for the cab rides.

Watching Manas & Sahil’s approach of asking other teams to pay their own cab was intriguing to watch because that had not happened since the mugging non-elimination penalties in the American version. Yes, Asia 2 used that penalty but Henry & Terri somehow did not need money from other teams after they protested at the mat.

Also, I wish I had Jess & Lani with me whenever someone tried to rip me off.

My favourite part is how surprised I was that it was a non-elimination round. Outside of TAR Asia 1, TAR 3, TAR 5, and TAR 6, this is the first time in a while where a non-elimination surprised me. Nobody had opened the season with two of their three non-elimination legs being used in the first three rounds.

It means teams will be eliminated rapid fire for the remainder of the season. And that’s not such a bad thing compared to other American ones.

In conclusion, the Yield did nothing and Hussein is a sewing beast. The end.

3) Galle, Sri Lanka -> Legazpi, Philippines

The most expensive leg in TAR Asia history. Planes, buses, Jeepneys, boats, kayaks, tuk-tuks, jet skis, and Jeeps. That is truly an adventure.

The Detour of catching pigs or doing a dance becomes an international TAR staple whenever Legazpi is a destination.

I -love- that teams were able to decide between traveling by bus domestically or by plane. That had never been done in TAR before. Two teams knowingly made the wrong decision while six teams all took a bus into the lead, and guaranteed to survive the round.

It was also a truly great episode for comedy. Proper pig catching techniques, people dissing Manas & Sahil’s racing abilities, Hilda’s tambourine usage or lack thereof, Manas shaving his head for good luck only to be ousted, and the amusing Jeepney designs.

Oh, and what TAR Asia leg would be complete without an easy Caltex task that has nothing to do with actual racing? Well, to make it ridiculous you turn it into an Intersection of course! I did not like how close the Intersection was to the end of the leg because it served as a minor equalizer, and the only task after the Intersection was a Roadblock dependent upon luck. Producers put as much effort into that Roadblock as Manas did into catching pigs.

The Legazpi environment was great, though. It is a bummer they are suffering from major storms at the moment here as 2014 comes to an end.

By the way, where were Sunaina & Dimple this round? They were rarely shown.

And how the heck did Hussein & Natasha survive again?

4) Queenstown, New Zealand -> Sydney, Australia


Wow. A season of TAR burned through all three NELs before the sixth place team was eliminated. We effectively went from Final Three to being the final NEL for most seasons to Final Four being the new standard and then. . .Final Six?

In the first four seasons of TAR US, NELs did not even -begin- until six teams remained. Heck, TAR 3 and 4 did not use any of them until five freakin’ teams were left.

I prefer NELs being later on because it does the following:

a) builds up rivalries
b) great times to start showing how fatiguing the race truly is, especially in earlier seasons where the filming schedule would be as long as 39 days.
c) ensures the stronger teams survive to the end rather than a really weak team becoming a Cassandra Franklin-like goat and having no chance to win at the end.

But there have since been cons:

a) Super predictable if you stick rigidly to it. Viewers will skip the episode if they know nobody is going home.
b) Super predictable for the players too. Teams stop caring about rushing to the mat if they know it is a NEL. This is evident even in later seasons where Final Four becomes the new standard for having a final NEL.

So naturally, producers starting in TAR 3 started throwing curveballs. They experimented with back-to-back NELs, and in later seasons would have a NEL earlier and earlier and earlier. Heck, TAR Asia 1 used one on the very first leg in Asia 1, 2, and 4.

Unpredictability is pretty much the only reason to have early NELs anymore. You never want your teams to become too comfortable and race in a safe manner. We saw this in round ten of TAR 25 where the Wrestlers were indifferent to being told they were last.

The other benefit to early NELs is that momentum does not stop for the viewer later on in the season.

In short, the benefits for early NELs are:

a) Unpredictability for viewers and teams.
b) Second half of the season carries a lot more momentum.

Obvious cons are:

a) Saves a team who doesn’t really need saving (Lila Abu Lughod reference?) like Don & Mary Jean.
b) Goes against the classic structure.
c) Prevents an underdog come-from-behind win at the end of the season that will inevitably be talked about for a long time.
d) A stronger team ends up having more enemies as they have more teams to compete against heading into various twists.

Yes, I understand why early NELs are necessary and love that all of them are used here in TAR Asia 4, but we must point out why they were not ideal to do in the first place.


For a NEL, this was a fun round. Particularly watching Asians trying to ski for the first time. Between this and those who did the trapeze, there was a lot of bruising for people like Dimple and Hussein. So many epic crashes. I swear some of the instructors threw banana peels onto the course. It was ambitious for producers to force non-skiiers to do a full on skiing task. Yeah, it would be really easy for most, but they knew full well how brutal it would be.

I loved the Detour where they did a twist on herding sheep. Herding ‘x’ number of sheep is simply not enough. You need to isolate specifically marked sheep and herd them into a pen. Nobody is allowed inside. Jess killed one, and one took a nap on Ethan and Khairie. Heck, Michelle and Claire even switched.

Kiwi crushing like in TAR 13? No, we’ve moved onto grapes as the alternative is to transport wine. It was time consuming and very physically demanding.

Between all of this, there was a lot of self-drive with the same camper from the previous leg.

The only downside to this round is the blatant inclusion of sponsours. Every team delivering their Sony Handicam message to the post office, and the only task truly deemed impossible in TAR history known as the Hilton Hotel Bed Making Challenge really eats up a ton of airtime.

And yes, I am listing the cheesy crying (I am looking at you Rich Hardin and Michelle Ng) as a negative for this round.

Plus it is BS that Jess & Lani did not even receive a prize for coming in first. Even Jaime & Cara won a prize for winning a leg involving a Virtual Pit Stop. It truly was a slap to the face of Jess & Lani.

But on the other hand, I got to hear Jess say ‘murderuh’ and Lani’s over-the-top ‘oh nooooooooo’.

Searching for the bald man with an umbrella is a bit of a needle in the haystack, but I like that teams did full laps without spotting the guy. It was amusing for them to ask random strangers if they have a clue about the weather, and witnessing their confused reactions.

Lastly, we have the trapeze task. Sure, a copy of the TAR 8 task in Montreal, but hey, it has not really been repeated since. Not exactly being repetitive considering how many rounds of TAR we have seen over the years.

The biggest knock against this round is that the teams do not really interact with other teams outside of sympathy over Hussein’s lack of flexibility to perform the trapeze task.

Also, if you hate NELs then you will love every round after this because we will go on to witness team after team after team being eliminated.

Overall, it was a fun round.

5) Colombo, Sri Lanka -> Galle, Sri Lanka

I love that this round goes from plane to train to walking on foot to bus to tuk-tuk to crossing on a tightrope.

That is a lot of modes of transportation in one round, and this is not even the round notorious for the extensive transportation used.

The equalizer was at the beginning, and the route doesn’t mess around for the remainder of the leg. I like how Alan & Wendy start off with a strong lead, but completely screw up by not researching the bus system properly. Vintage TAR at its finest.

Compared to the previous Sri Lanka round, there is very little crossover with other franchises. Sure, it was unoriginal that there was another lock-based task just two rounds since Kota Kinabalu, or that the coconut rope course was nearly identical to TAR 6, but I do not want to be greedy.

Wait. TAR 12’s Learn Ten Words was the other side of this Detour.

And TAR 4’s Match a Mask with a Performer was an active route info.

And the Fast Forward was a head shaving task which we have seen at least three or four times by this point, and was the first offered outside of India.

And Dialog’s sponsourship was already used two rounds ago, and Hilton just one round ago.

And searching through a pile of cell phones for the clue was identical to searching through a pile of Blu-Rays for a clue, but far less time-consuming.

In other words, nothing was all that original about this leg other than the constant struggle with transportation.

I loved Jess & Lani witnessing somebody vomiting, Alan praying for a car crash, and Hussein nearly falling to his death. Lastly, nothing says a good time like having traffic cops laugh at your passport photo.

That was fun.

P.S. There was an original component to one of the tasks. The treasure chest could only be unlocked if you knew Sri Lanka’s history.

6) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -> George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Running backwards up a narrow staircase at the starting line? Counting steps at Batu Caves? Driving yourself to a route marker that was aired just a few months ago in the US version, and directly acknowledging it?

Refusing to properly explain a soccer penalty shootout task?

Creating a Detour where ten teams all pick the same Detour where one member pretended to clean a window and the other took a picture?

All of the teams finishing within an hour of each other?

Sorry, that was Bethany Hamilton ranking this leg.

I am glad nobody was eliminated because nothing really happened this round. I applaud producers for trying two unique tasks and a unique visual for the starting line, but re-using Kuala Lumpur and Penang so soon again made it feel stale.

Not to mention my ears burn from hearing Amazing Grace. By the way, did teams ever start forming relationships with each other? I feel like we learned almost nothing about everyone other than a few occupations and country of origin.

Nothing very laugh out loud funny either other than Hilda becoming the new Terri and Jess picking up locals that do NOT like being used.

Losing in your home town is always fun to watch, but seeing you finish in first place for that round comes off as boring as Tammy & Victor. Sorry Ethan & Khairie.

Maybe I just have something against having any more rounds in that whole peninsula. Los Angeles, northeastern China, and the Malay peninsula will always be under fire in these blogs.

I will praise them for doing a Roadblock and a Detour in the season premiere. Lots of tasks squished into one episode, come to think of it.

7) George Town, Penang, Malaysia -> Kampung, Malaysia

What a dumb round design.

An equalizer halfway through the leg?

Give a lousy twenty minute advantage for a team eating 275 chicken balls knowing that failure to complete one of the tasks will automatically give five teams a four hour penalty?

Petting the anaconda looked dangerous.
The underwater puzzle Roadblock was complicated.
The Detour was on par with most tasks in TAR history. Adventure task versus coordination.
Self-drive legs are always what TAR is all about.

But a four hour penalty for a team failing to complete the underwater puzzle Roadblock within ten minutes? Four hour penalties should only be assessed if a team QUITS a task.

angry video game nerd 2


Allan never explains this crucial detail before the task starts. We just see Claire be led out of the water being told time is up fifteen minutes later, and the screen displays a four hour penalty for her. Viewers are led to believe that producers made up this penalty on the spot, but we know there is no way this can be true.

Maybe Allan said it aloud and producers replied “no, when you say it aloud, the twist sounds stupid”.

Well, if it sounded dumb when Allan says it then maybe the idea is REALLY STUPID IN THE FIRST PLACE!

Following TAR 16’s unnecessarily high levels of nastiness towards each other, it is nice to watch a season where everybody gets along. The closest thing to a rivalry is Sunaina & Dimple simultaneously hating and loving Michelle & Claire who they nicknamed Dominatrix.

Lastly, the Richards should be given ten bucks just for spooking Hilda twenty feet from the pit stop mat. Classic.

And screw you TAR 24 for copying half of the round and ruining any good task that occurred for this leg. Shame on you.

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