“Hong Kong Swan Song”
UNITED KINGDOM – GHANA – SWEDEN – NORWAY – RUSSIA – OMAN – BANGLADESH – HONG KONG – SOUTH KOREA
Previously on TAR: Five teams raced from Oman to Dhaka, Bangladesh. After Jill & Thomas got a jump on the other teams, the dating couple coasted to an easy victory.
In an Amazing Race first, the Double U-Turn allowed two teams to U-Turn two different teams. The U-Turn victims lashed out as they battled each other to stay in the race.
In the end, Brook & Claire survived and Chad & Stephanie fell short.
Four teams remain, and viewers know the final Non-Elimination Leg must happen tonight based on the current trend; therefore, who will be eliminated. . .eventually?
NUMBER OF EPISODES A TEAM HAS BEEN MENTIONED IN THE ‘PREVIOUSLY ON’ SEGMENT
CHAD & STEPHANIE 7
KEVIN & MICHAEL 4
BROOK & CLAIRE 4
NAT & KAT 3
JILL & THOMAS 3
CONNOR & JONATHAN 2
RON & TONY 1
ANDIE & JENNA 1
KATIE & RACHEL: 1
GARY & MALLORY: 1
NICK & VICKI: 0. lol.
– Intro time.
Gary’s safety glasses. Dalton will never forget those safety glasses like Sally Schumann’s knee-high socks.
– For the past seven seasons, the last NEL is used at Final Four. In earlier seasons, Phil would fully acknowledge that teams were aware the final NEL was in play when three teams were left, and would state “this leg is all about pole position for the final round”.
Not that type of pole, Risha.
But for whatever reason, Phil does not address this once Final Three NELs are banned after TAR 9. Not once will Phil ever say “teams know this has to be the final NEL, and this is all about pole position entering the final two rounds”.
Heck, Phil could act like there are some stakes without spoiling the next round’s location by telling us “this is all about avoiding the last Speed Bump penalty in the upcoming round”.
Maybe by not addressing it producers could still shock the casual audience who do not pay any attention to patterns or rules regarding NELs in TAR.
But I digress.
– Phil introduces us to Dhaka after we hear some wailing guy in the intro. He reminds us it is the most densely populated city in the world.
“It’s the equivalent of taking the population of US and Mexico, and packing them into a space the size of Los Angeles.”
Hold on a second.
During the Mumbai intro for TAR 12, I distinctly remember Phil stating that Mumbai and Los Angeles have the same population, but Mumbai is one-tenth of LA’s size.
What is TAR’s obsession with LA? Every f–king season either has the starting line or finish line there since TAR 12.
Get out of that California state of mind, producers. It’s unhealthy.
– Phil sums up Lalbagh Fort.
“Much like the Taj Mahal, it is the tomb of a princess who died before her time.”
Knowing Bangladesh, they probably roll their eyes each time they get compared to India much like how Canadians like me roll our eyes when compared to Americans.
“And did you know Bangladesh is also referred to as India Jr.?”
– Jill & Thomas, who arrived first at an unspecified time, will depart at 8:25am. Thomas reads they are flying to Hong Kong for the third time in TAR US history. Teams must leave behind the “old exotic” world of Bangladesh for the ultra urban jungle of Hong Kong over 3, 500 miles away.
Surprisingly, Vancouver’s harbour does not look much different than this.
– Once in Hong Kong, they must travel by bus and then ferry to Cheung Chau Island to search for the Cheung Po Tsai Cave.
Look at all of those houses on the island. It reminds me of those hillside towns in those South Italian villages on the Mediterranean.
– Jill & Thomas take a taxi to the travel agency. Obviously, they are forced to talk about the previous round’s U-Turn. They recap how they saw Brook & Claire as the most competitive team. Jill says it is strange to have not seen any teams since the airport in Muscat.
Look at Jill’s attitude change when she puts on a black bandana. If you had a first year Film student dissecting this, he would say the black and white bandanas present a great deal of symbolism.
THOMAS: I’d be okay with not seeing any teams until we won the million dollars.
You just proposed the concept of Lost, Thomas. That failed TAR ripoff where three teams of two had to travel on their own from Mongolia to the Statue of Liberty.
The three teams didn’t see each other for the whole race, and it made for really boring interactions.
So not only do you guys have boring personalities, but also pitch ideas for equally boring reality show spin-offs. We have a lot of work to do.
– Jill & Thomas enter the travel agency in Dhaka.
Much like last round, dozens of locals are spectators as they watch a team enter the travel agency. Is it really that exciting for them?
Or are they auditioning for Dhaka’s Next Great Security Guard and we happen to be down to our Final Five? I dunno.
– In the travel agency, the agent has an interesting flag taped to his computer monitor.
Upon further research, I have discovered it is the design of the Belgian flag used during 1830.
Yeah, that wouldn’t have been my first guess either. You can also rule out the possibility of it being the German flag upside down as well.
Trust me, I am being one hundred percent honest here. You can Google the design for yourself.
Which happened to be the debut of the infamous Chinese Junk.
– Jill & Thomas are told the next available flight is not until 11:55pm tonight to Hong Kong. This means it is a fourteen hour wait which will allow all teams to catch up.
Producers know how awful Lost was, and will not let any team go more than a round or two without speaking to another team. Sorry to disappoint, guys.
The agent is clearly not comfortable on camera as he cannot help but glance directly at the lens. Is he going to recover by re-focusing on Jill & Thomas, or is he going to proceed to break the fourth wall directly?
– Jill & Thomas decide to return to the hotel where they stayed during the pit stop.
– Nick & Vicki commence at 1:59pm. They completed the previous leg in nearly the same amount of time as Jill & Thomas did.
VICKI: Fly to Hong Kong.
NICK: Thank god.
I have never seen anybody want to leave an area since Rory wanted to get the hell out of Yasur.
I think some pavement is missing.
– Vicki says her relationship with Nick has grown during the course of the race.
VICKI: We’re still trying to work on me trying to calm him down, and it’s beginning to, like, work. Nick is actually listening to me.
Oh, Vicki. So naive. You have no idea what’s ahead.
NICK: Vicki alone has calmed me down tremendously. Before Vicki, I didn’t care for anybody’s feelings. Vicki has opened my eyes that it doesn’t get you anywhere.
Well, it’s probably what got you cast on The Amazing Race. Why abandon that to be a saint now, Nick? The viewers want to be entertained by vicious behaviour, or you shall be fed to the lions!
Something which I had hoped would occur to Maria & Tiffany at the starting line of TAR 15. If only lions roamed Los Angeles.
That’s exactly how I look when I think about the endless amount of material Vicki has produced for my blog this season. Vicki is not only great on her own, but it tears me up to think how hard she has worked into making Nick become a star over my past ten episode blogs.
“So lucky. Sorry, need a minute.”
– Okay. Nat & Kat begin the round in third at 4:05pm. They are behind Jill & Thomas by nearly eight hours which means Jill & Thomas would have beat them anyway even if they were on the same flight together.
– Nat reads they are going to Hong Kong. Kat says she has been there before, and that Nat will love it.
NAT: Am I going to be taller than everybody?
Kat is uneasy when Nat asks this question. I don’t get why this is cringeworthy.
Ohhhhhhh, because they’re going to an area that is predominantly Chinese. I get it.
Or maybe it is not a mildly racist statement. Maybe Nat asks this question first after they read about each new destination that Kat has been to before.
NAT: We’re going to Russia!
KAT: I’ve been there before.
NAT: Am I going to be taller than everybody?
KAT: Uh, sure.
NAT: We’re going to South Africa!
KAT: I’ve been there before.
NAT: Am I going to be taller than everybody?
KAT: Yeah, okay, whatever.
NAT: We’re going to Azerbaijan!
KAT: I’ve been there before.
NAT: Am I going to be taller than everybody?
KAT: F–K! I DON’T KNOW NAT, I WASN’T MEASURING EVERYONE’S HEIGHT WHEN I WAS THERE! JESUS!
– And because Kat has admitted to previously visiting a location they are traveling to on The Amazing Race, it is time to voice what all casual fans are thinking at this moment.
“This is such an unfair advantage for Nat & Kat!”
– I should note there is only one time in TAR history where I suspect, well not so much rigging as it was tilting the table in favour of a team for several episodes, to occur in this series.
“Fun fact: Did you know we speak Chinese?”
– Brook & Claire are the last ones to depart at 5:15pm.
BROOK: Fly to Hong Kong?!
Looks like Brook is taking over Eric & Jeremy’s role as speaking in the manner of an English dubbed Asian action flick.
– Brook brags to Claire that they get to see Jill & Thomas, but it does not make sense because they have yet to visit a travel agency to book any flights.
Brook does a car limbo while dozens of spectators look on.
Perhaps they were hoping Brook would slice her eye open again.
– Claire reiterates that when you U-Turn somebody you never get to see them again. She says her and Brook are the first team to stay alive after being U-Turned on the (American) version of The Amazing Race.
By default, Claire. By default. Somebody was going to survive being U-Turned last round no matter what. Unless only one of the two U-Turns was used, of course.
And why are producers building up this big confrontation as if it never happened before? I know of a particular case where it has happened in the past.
“Are you sorry you forgot to mention our Yield? You WILL BEEEEE.”
“You hippies yielded us, and now you ain’t got no clothes.”
– I know it is simplistic editing since most of the TAR audience watching season 17 are those who did not start watching the series until season 12 or later, but don’t just ignore anything that happened in season 11 or earlier. You’re better than that.
Although they aren’t really better than that since the only pre-TAR 12 event to be acknowledged is the most poorly executed and planned task in TAR history.
– Brook & Claire are in the taxi and the hectic Dhakan traffic is freaking them out.
Something tells me teams cannot wait to be on a ferry in wide open waters.
– Claire continues her speech about Jill & Thomas.
CLAIRE: Brook and I are the only U-Turned people to survive on the race. So it’s going to be really funny when Thomas has to be around us constantly. We like making him feel uncomfortable.
Claire pulling out the sassy head movement. I like it.
DuJean would be proud.
BROOK (evil voice): Make him feel uncomfortable.
You’ll certainly accomplish that with this expression, Brook.
– They continue mocking Thomas (but not Jill for some reason).
CLAIRE: When we walk into that airport I really think he’s going to poop his pants.
BROOK: We really might see him poop his pants. I can’t wait.
Oh c’mon ladies, involuntary defecation is no laughing matter!
Involuntary vomiting, however, is.
– They keep laughing after talking aloud about Thomas pooping his pants.
“Well, I’m going to avoid friendly conversation. So much for wanting to have dinner after this fare.”
– What should teams do if Thomas really does poop his pants, though?
For one, Chad shouldn’t pick him up to squeeze his butt. That would probably be the worst idea.
– Night time already. Jill is hoping she does not see Brook & Claire as they ride in a cab to the airport.
This is a pretty sweet airport name. A lot better than the airport names we see in neighbouring India which are thirty syllables long.
Somebody needs to yell “Shahjalal!” like a martial artist from Hong Kong. That’d be sweet.
– Brook & Claire, Nat & Kat, and Nick & Vicki are already at the airport. Jill & Thomas enter and. . .
THOMAS: Oh. There’s Brook & Claire.
JILL: Oh man.
THOMAS: Dammit, dude.
“We’re a bad mother, shahj your mouth.”
This is awkward.
– Brook has some Ron Burgundy-like advice for Claire.
Dhaka is the new San Diego.
CLAIRE: Take deep breaths.
This is subtle, but Nick & Vicki eagerly waiting for the big fight to occur is a small amusing moment.
– Thomas tells Jill they’ll go and say something.
“So, um, how’s the fam?”
THOMAS: Hi, girls.
Yeahhhh, it’s not gonna be that easy guys.
JILL: Don’t hate us.
THOMAS: We’re sorry. I hope you don’t take it personally.
“We did it because there was a hundred locals staring at us at the U-Turn board, and they can be weally weally scwary. We didn’t know what we were doing. We’re sworry.”
I love the “F–k you” shoulder shrug.
– They finally address the situation.
CLAIRE: We just want to know why because we’ve been TRYING to think about your logic.
THOMAS: You’re just the strongest team.
CLAIRE: But even though the doctors have won three times more than us.
THOMAS: They’ve almost been eliminated. You guys are way more competitive than them.
JILL: We feel like you’re hungrier.
Did. . .did Jill just call them fat? If only there was a food eating challenge which could remedy their hunger.
– Thomas decides to make a game theory speech.
THOMAS: The point of the game is to eliminate the best competition.
THOMAS: We think you guys are the top competition. I mean as bad as it sounds you should almost take it as a compliment.
“Yeah, it’s a compliment. Now that we’ve said U-Turning you was our way to communicate a compliment, everything is cool now, right?”
Smirk = no.
Valiant effort, Jill & Thomas. You did almost everything right to try and smooth things over. I suggest embracing the rivalry you created for yourself for the remaining three rounds of play.
BROOK: Thank you, Thomas. Thank you, Thomas.
“All hail Lord Thomas!”
THOMAS: Thomas? Why Thomas? What about Jill?
Yes, Thomas pulls the second grader “she did it too!” excuse.
CLAIRE: We know who is the mastermind behind all this!
Look at that face, Claire. There’s no way such an innocent looking man could do something so cruel. Someone put him up to it, I swear! Does that look like a mastermind to you? He just wants to settle down in a cottage that is surrounded by apple orchards.
– It seems like they are over the dispute.
BROOK: I’ll tell you what–we’ll see you out on the field.
I cannot think of a more fitting round than Hong Kong for teams to strike a gentleman’s agreement that the best warrior shall be the one who rises to the top.
I know we made a comparison between Nat & Kat and Chad & Stephanie last leg in terms of Nick wanting to use the U-Turn against Chad & Steph, but let’s compare Jill & Thomas’ decision of U-Turning Brook & Claire rather than Nat & Kat.
These are statistics from the eight completed legs prior to the W-Turn (shorthand for Double U-Turn in case you are new to this).
Nat & Kat – 3.625 average finishing position; won 3 legs; finished in the bottom two twice.
Brook & Claire – 3.375 average finishing position; won 1 leg; never finished in the bottom two; hungrier
That hunger is essentially a tiebreaker.
– The two teams break apart, and walk to their respective corners.
JILL: I feel really bad about that encounter, but there’s not much you can do.
. . .
. . .
. . .
THOMAS: I don’t.
That was the payoff for this long pause?
– Brook & Claire are in a corner.
BROOK: If Jill & Thomas were threatened before, they should be petrified now.
Five years later and they’re still petrified.
– All four teams are on the same flight to Hong Kong via Singapore (which is a really inconvenient way of getting there–not Mauritius via London TAR 10 levels of inconvenience, but inconvenient nonetheless).
Ah, a Chinese Junk. Great to be home.
And the 1, 500th time in TAR history where we see a Zodiac-related costume in a Hong Kong leg. I’m ready to start this.
– The plane lands. Teams search for a bus terminal in the airport to take them into the city.
– Who is first to find the buses and are alone?
Son. Of. A. Bitch.
– Nat & Kat and Nick & Vicki are at the bus stop. Nick expects Jill & Thomas to be ahead of them at the moment.
Eh, it’s just one misstep for today. I’m sure you will recover soon enough, Nick.
This is Jill & Thomas’ bus. How is it possible for Hong Kong to have this little traffic from the airport?
I remember exiting Pearson airport and heading into downtown Toronto in a taxi last year, and you’re stuck in gridlocked traffic for 45 minutes when leaving the airport.
I guess Hong Kong having really high oil prices has discouraged drivers to be on the road.
– Thomas explains they are heading to the ferry. What is the name of the location for the route marker, Thomas?
THOMAS: We’re heading to Chin Chong Island.
“Wait, that’s not what it is called.”
Time to head to the Ferry Terminal Presented by Panasonic!
– Nick & Vicki, Brook & Claire, and Nat & Kat are on the second bus. Vicki is already fanning her own face. It must be a hot one in Hong Kong.
– Jill & Thomas board the 4:45pm ferry. They wait.
– The second bus comes to a halt. All three teams are running to the ferry. They are asking locals for directions to the ferry. Nick & Vicki ask Umbrella Man for help.
Every nation has their Fonzworth. Love it.
– Vicki winces when running.
VICKI: Ow. Babe.
Oh, Jesus Vicki. It’s always about you.
– Thomas is on the boat waiting for the arrival of the other teams.
Thomas on guard.
So far just a bunch of backpack-less Asians. Not a ‘Merican in sight.
– Thomas is waiting for teams to enter seconds before the doors close.
THOMAS: Right before the doors lift I think these guys will be Indiana Jones’ing in.
I doubt it. Only Kynt & Vyxsin carry a whip on them at all times.
– Brook & Claire and Nat & Kat are at the terminal purchasing tickets. Brook waves for Claire to join her at the counter. Claire is angry at Brook’s insistence.
“What if I said ‘lets go Claire’? Would that be better?”
– Nick & Vicki are still outside running.
NICK: Let’s go.
VICKI: Babe, I can’t breathe.
NICK: LET’S GO!
Why is Nick insensitive to Vicki’s inability to breathe and disregarding this lethal issue? If this were 2015, let’s just say this would not bode well for Nick.
– Thomas greets Nat & Kat as they step into the boat.
For some reason, we confirm Nat & Kat are on the boat through the Jill Butt Cam. Seriously, what’s the point of this shot?
– Brook & Claire have their tickets and march on board.
– Nat & Kat proceed to check out the same guy walking around.
His mad swag is just for the ladies.
– Nick & Vicki are close to the terminal.
NICK: Hurry up. Let’s go. . .That’s not hurrying up! Come here!
Nick is really close to violating the twenty foot rule.
Scorpion would never have to worry about the twenty foot rule on TAR.
– This is all just for show and they’ll make the boat no problem, right?
Well, they can still do some sort of ninja somersault to get on board. Isn’t that what all late arrivals do in Hong Kong to make up time?
But unfortunately I hear ninja training has yet to catch on in Las Vegas.
– Nat says the next boat is not for thirty minutes. Therefore the three teams have a thirty minute jump on Nick & Vicki.
Thomas has a phantom high five with who we presume to be Brook.
– Nick & Vicki are in the terminal. Nick claims they missed the ferry by a minute. And he ain’t happy.
VICKI: I’m sorry. It’s my fault.
Just let Nick have his moment, Vicki.
NICK: I’m sick of you being sorry.
It just might be a long moment.
– Commercial break. We resume.
NICK: You better learn to keep up from now on cause I’m not waiting for your ass ever again.
Meanwhile, several desperate (and creepy) men in America will wait a full year for some ass in CBS’ annual Victoria’s Secret event. You can call Nick impatient all you want, but at least the dude has some ethics.
Also, I am curious to know what is sold in those vending machines.
– Vicki continues being the rational one.
Because it’s definitely not going to be the Rational Two anytime soon.
VICKI: We’ll meet up.
NICK: We’re thirty minutes behind em now.
I think she gets the message, Nick.
NICK: So I’m stressin. I’m not stoppin’ next time.
Then Nick utters the most ironic quote of them all.
NICK: You’ve got to suck it up.
Suck it up? Suck it up?!
Sucking it up is the -exact- reason why Vicki had a physical inability to run to the ferry. This is just insulting.
“How is this insulting? Wha?”
Telling Vicki to suck it up and blame her for the asthma attack is like arresting Axel Foley for disturbing the peace after he got thrown through a f–king window.
– Nick, after berating his partner for something she cannot control for what we assume to be several minutes, keeps the pressure on.
NICK: Why you cryin’?
Please tell me that is a rhetorical question, Nick.
VICKI: Cause you’re being so rude.
NICK: No, I’m not. I just don’t wanna lose. I’m not here to lose.
The two things don’t quite correlate, Nick.
That’s the equivalent of Judd Sergeant refusing to believe he is a bad sportsmanship because he gave it his damn all, man.
Gotta love Judd logic being revived nearly ten years after the fact.
– This brilliant conversation continues.
VICKI: And I want to lose? Think I’m stopping on purpose because I want to?
NICK: We can’t stop! We stop; we go home.
(I should note that someone is free to explain to Nick & Vicki the concept of a semi-colon.)
VICKI: I’m not stopping on purpose. My asthma is so bad. It’s hard for me to keep up with him, and he keeps yelling at me. I can’t do anything about it. He’s never had asthma so he doesn’t know what it feels like.
Sorry Vicki. You are on your own.
– During Vicki’s confessional, Nick walks behind Vicki.
There is some dude pointing at Nick. Dunno why. Now that Nick has had a chance to cool down, I am sure he will switch to being supportive again.
– Geez. Nick is being absolutely brutal. As they say in Hong Kong, Nick will be the captain of his Junk at the pit stop, but will be forced to voyage through the seas solo tonight.
– The three teams arrive at the other terminal.
What an appropriate name for the leading teams to visit.
THOMAS: C’mon Jill!
See Claire? You’re not the only person who has to put up with this.
– All three teams are jogging. Claire is the first to stop jogging.
BROOK: C’mon Claire
(We see teams running some more.)
BROOK: C’mon Claire.
CLAIRE: Are we almost there?
BROOK: There is no “almost there”. You’ve just got to pace yourself.
CLAIRE: I can’t catch my breath.
It would have been better if Brook said “there is no way I am waiting for your slow ass”.
– Nat & Kat are first to the clue box. Jill & Thomas are a second behind. They read that they must travel to the all too familiar Kowloon area of Hong Kong. Once there they must find the Majesty Chinese Restaurant where they will find their next clue.
Why do they have to specify it is a Chinese restaurant and even put it on their own sign? It’s Hong Kong.
That would be like if teams read “Travel to the Tim Horton’s Canadian Restaurant”.
– Brook & Claire are third to the box.
BROOK: Claire c’mon!
At least she rephrased it.
Claire’s inability to run made it seem like Jill & Thomas and Nat & Kat were several minutes ahead.
– Brook & Claire start jogging once more. Claire sighs.
And the day has only just begun.
– Nat & Kat and Jill & Thomas now have a decisive lead after more running. Claire reduces herself to a walk.
BROOK: Can we jog now?
CLAIRE: I can’t. I’m not as athletic as you.
BROOK: You can be tough.
CLAIRE: Can you not be that way?
BROOK: They’re so far ahead. They’re not athletic.
Plus Claire is drinking Gatorade. She definitely has no excuse now that her electrolytes are being restored!
– We go into another segment of Claire not being an athlete.
CLAIRE: I’m not a runner. It’s not what I do. So for me like I run a little bit and am impressed with myself.
I love how Brook smirks and poses for the camera to mock Claire’s whole confessional. Perfect.
– Their conflict continues.
BROOK: Please don’t give up.
CLAIRE: I’m not giving up–I am just doing it at my own pace.
SNAP! You just got mad zinged by Brook, yo! Are you going to take that s–t from her, Claire?
CLAIRE: Why are you mad at me?
BROOK: Let’s not talk. Let’s just focus and run.
– Jill & Thomas and Nat & Kat make the ferry. There is suspense as to whether Brook & Claire will make it.
Apparently this man holding the gate open signifies that Brook & Claire will be on the ferry.
– Brook wants to make up with Claire.
Wow. Claire is failing on all levels today. Even the lady behind her doesn’t know how to react.
Actions speak louder than misinterpreted words.
“Can they kiss it out too?”
– Nick & Vicki are still on the ferry to the first route marker.
NICK: We have the worst luck of everybody, that’s for sure.
They would disagree.
– Vicki is tired of Nick’s negativity.
Vicki is definitely the positive one.
NICK: So irritated.
VICKI: I just don’t wanna fight. I just wanna get this done.
NICK: I wish we never came.
This is the moment when Vicki is aware she is in the same position as Rebecca from TAR 6.
“I wish I had never been born!”
NICK: I’ve never had so much stress in my life.
– Nat comments how amazing every view is from the boat. Particularly whatever is over the horizon. Kat points out the contrast between huge skyscrapers and old boats.
Who got the short end of the stick on this one?
They love the sky so much that they chose to wear sky blue coloured shirts. A bit obsessive, don’t ya think?
– Nick & Vicki are running to the cave. The other teams are entering taxis as they proceed to the restaurant. Nick & Vicki have their clue. Vicki is out of breath.
– Nat & Kat are first to the restaurant and what happens next is mindblowing.
It appears that ever since TAR 14, producers have been under the assumption that Asians love karaoke. They will go to any extreme to prove that their assumption is true. . .which it probably is.
“Welcome to our restaurant! Are you ready to get down and jiggy with it? Maybe Kissed From a Rose by Seal would tickle your fancy?”
Nat points out the camera operator standing next to the clue box.
Kat cannot find the karaoke setup more amusing.
The dragon cometh with its Aras-like hair!
I should note that the song they are singing is awfully similar to Fergie’s Fergalicious.
– NAT (reading the Roadblock hint): Who’s feeling peckish?
PHIL: Hong Kong’s upscale hotels and restaurants are famous for creating enormous buffets that are both lavish and sumptuous.
Lavish and sumptuous? Thank god Phil doesn’t have a lisp.
PHIL: Hong Kong is also famous for making the impressively realistic fake food displayed in the front window of countless every day restaurants.
Really? Hong Kong is famous for this?
F–k you Jackie Chan, this VIP section is reserved for the not-so-edible piece of shrimp! Don’t make me call security, Jackie!
This is a great way to taunt pizza lovers everywhere.
I didn’t know there was a Tim Horton’s in Hong Kong!
– Here’s the lowdown: Teams must use chopsticks to poke around the buffet of food searching for only one of five items that are fake. Any real food the teams they must pick up they must eat.
What the hell is this?
– And how many pieces of real food could teams be potentially eating today?
I have to pay fifteen bucks for whenever I go out for All You Can Eat Sushi–the racers get to do it for free!
– Oh, and because the viewers might be confused as to how teams must eat food, a Dream Teamer demonstrates this for us.
Phew. Thank god for the demonstration. I was so confused beforehand!
– Once teams find a piece of fake food, they can exchange it for their next clue.
And he won’t even make you sing karaoke!
– Nat volunteers to do the Roadblock. She thought it was crazy with how busy the hotel was as the restaurant is full with people cheering.
So full that there is standing room only.
It’s Asian Connor & Jonathan!
This guy is subdued in comparison.
Nothing fires up like Nat at a karaoke-restaurant hybrid.
Unfortunately Nat gets the restaurant part of it. In the background you can still see The Dragon performing on stage. You’re missing out, Natty!
She’s really coming onto Kat!!!
I thought this was a family show!
I love how Kat’s reaction is to casually put down her backpack. Something tells me Kat does not go out to places where strange women gyrate all over her.
I wonder if the lady on the right is ostracized because she is the only one not wearing glasses?
I can’t believe Nat is missing all of this.
– Jill & Thomas are second to the restaurant. Thomas volunteers to do the Roadblock. He will miss out on the songstress gyrating all over him.
Or the singer with the dragon tattoo! The Dragon’s gyrating skills are unknown at this point.
– Thomas thinks the fake food will be hidden amongst the nastiest dish on the menu.
You think so, Thomas? Too bad. Bon appetit, motherf–ker.
How does it taste, Thomas?
– Brook & Claire enter the restaurant. They have been fighting all day and thus are in a miserable mood–
Race for the Karaoke Kure.
CLAIRE: Oh my gosh! Karaoke!
Geez. I haven’t seen Claire smile since Jon Arbuckle left her alone in the room with a fresh pan of lasagna.
BROOK: Who’s feelin’ peckish?
CLAIRE: Is it karaoke? I’ll do it. That’s easy.
BROOK: Ooookay. If you want to do it, go for it.
Clearly their eyes are on The Dragon doing karaoke and not the hundreds of people who are eating. Not to mention Nat and Thomas who are hovering around a buffet with chopsticks.
Actually, the additional info contains a spring which is attached to a watermelon. Let’s just say Claire is in for a big surprise once Brook turns the page.
– They see what the task really is.
Evidently Brook is concerned for her partner.
– Okay. Thomas continues his strategy of being -convinced- the fake food will come from the disgusting plate.
THOMAS: This is ridiculous.
Please keep it up, Thomas. You’re a growing boy as Dandrew would say.
– Brook immediately hops up on stage with Kat and Jill.
BROOK: This is hilarious.
She has only been on stage for half a second and Brook already has a game plan to put the focus on her.
It’s a Hong Kong rodeo!
Elvis is back in the house.
Now she’s just showing off her biceps.
BROOK: You’ve got this Claire!
“She gets to twerk on stage while I have to eat sushi that has been sitting out in a buffet for over three hours? What the f–k is this?”
Ever since that lady danced in the Accra market during the sunglasses Roadblock, everybody has been copying her move.
BROOK: C’mon girls! You’ve got to dance!
It is times like this where I feel bad for Jill not going to university and missed out on Karaoke Dancing 101.
Otherwise she could join in with Brook. As Wyclef Jean said, one should always have an aunt or uncle to show you how the old dances go–but in this case Brook will have to play the role of the aunt and teach her how to Hong Kong Slide.
Although she could probably leave out the armpit move.
CLAIRE: All of the Roadblocks I’ve got I have assumed would be something else and all of them have been horrible.
Brook is likely laughing because. . .is there a Roadblock Claire has liked?
“My first concussion!”
“My first arm numbing experience!”
CLAIRE: During this whole Amazing Race I don’t eat any of the food because I am really picky. I see all of this food and I was like. . .no!
If you’re not going to like the food, at the very least appreciate the artistry put into the garnish, Claire!
It is as if Claire is at summer school being stuck in class all day doing extra homework.
While her friends all get to play and have fun over the next two months.
Seriously, we need an encore.
There we go!
– Nat thinks she has found a fake piece and brings it to the chef.
All while Brook is still dancing in the background.
– Brook runs out into the audience.
Brook’s attention span is too short to stay on stage.
What is she doing? Trying to rile up the crowd in a Hollywood Hulk Hogan-like fashion?
BROOK: Let me hear you say ‘Claire! Claire! Claire!’
No need to over-annunciate, Brook. I think most of Hong Kong can speak English or pick up a single English syllable.
– In the past two minutes Kat has been heard on the audio saying “Go Natty!” twice.
Er, make that three times. TAR sure loves looping the same piece of audio.
– Nat correctly identifies the fake piece of food.
It would have been funnier if the chef verifies it is fake by trying to swallow it. If he chokes and passes out, the team member receives their next clue and a new chef takes over the task.
The Dragon is reading off of a cheat sheet! Either you go with the automated slow scrolling machine or do it by heart!
Freakin’ cue cards. He is sullying the true art of karaoke!
– Nat & Kat receive their clue and read that they must “Enter the Dragon”.
And no, it has nothing to do with penetrating the male karaoke singer on stage.
– Teams must now make their way to Avenue of the Stars.
Phil is wrong. It is just “Avenue of Stars”. What other incorrect information has Phil provided us all these years?
– Teams must figure out they are searching for a statue of Bruce Lee.
Whatever you do, don’t pick up the prop gun located near the statue.
– The Bruce Lee Statue, is, as Phil explains it, a dedication to the memory of renowned martial artist Bruce Lee.
It truly is a chiselled statue.
Why is it a dedication to the memory of Bruce Lee? Isn’t he still alive on an island with Elvis and 2pac?
– With that out of the way. . .The Avenue of Stars? The Bruce Lee Statue?! This is the first time I am seeing this. It is amazing that the US version of TAR has been to Hong Kong three times now, and yet this is Bruce Lee’s debut.
What’s great is that unlike the Macau Tower, the Bruce Lee Statue is definitely not overused overall in the TAR franchise.
Well, other than last year when TAR Canada 2 used it as a route marker in their first ever international leg before visiting Macau Tower.
And in case you choose to be a technical jerk, yes, TAR Norge 2 made a trip to the statue as well.
For such a fun landmark, it is surprising it is not used more in international versions when traveling to Hong Kong. I mean, it’s motherf–kin Bruce Lee.
Just wait until 2020 when we have the Fei Long Statue in Hong Kong.
Or 2040 once everyone appreciates the greatest martial artist of all–Kung Fury.
But seriously, TAR Canada 2 is far from the only season to visit Macau Tower and Hong Kong in back-to-back legs.
TAR Australia 1 (which included a visit to Macau Tower), TAR Asia 3 (which included a visit to Macau Tower twice), HaMerotz LaMillion 1 (which included a visit to Macau Tower), and TAR 11: Real All Stars (which included a visit to Macau Tower). Yet they all skipped the Bruce Lee Statue.
– Back to the race. Before entering the dragon, Nat & Kat Enter The Taxi. Nat says the Roadblock has the potential to take a long time for other teams.
– Nick & Vicki board their second ferry to Kowloon. Not much going on there.
– Back at the restaurant, everybody is having a good time.
Even grandma is getting into the music!
The songstress is encouraging everyone in the audience to sing.
Wait? Is it just the same song looping over and over again? Or do we only get to hear one song on the audio because that is all the producers could buy the rights for?
– Thomas is meticulously looking for a hint as to what could be fake. He doesn’t think he can eat everything on this table, but at this rate he probably will.
– Nat & Kat are already at the Avenue of Stars.
They have their clue? This means producers never forced them to do anything at the Bruce Lee Statue.
TIL that only Canadians are crazy enough to go along with posing in front of the statue on The Amazing Race.
– It’s a Detour. Ding Ding or Sampan. Phil says Hong Kong is a place with both feet firmly planted in the present and the past.
Unlike Phil’s turtlenecks which are firmly in the past.
– This Detour will force teams to decide between two “old vehicles which have stood the test of time”.
Hey, that building has a rainbow on the side. Is it celebrating the US Supreme Court ruling?
– In Ding Din, teams board a one hundred year old tram system known as the Ding Ding.
The inspiration for the knight bus undoubtedly.
Then they must ride a particular portion of the route searching amongst thousands of signs for three that when put together will reveal the location of the next pit stop.
The Pit Stop at Philips Statue Square?
I have a couple questions about this task:
a) Are teams told where to sit on the bus?
b) Do they know to exclusively search amongst signs that are red and yellow only?
Because if the answer is no to either of these options, I think this task is near impossible.
I know in TAR 13 and TAR Canada 2 they had similar tasks, but both were on foot in a limited area.
Or if you want to generalize it even more, you can include all of the really easy tasks at amusement parks in TAR 9 and Asia 4 or the Italy field searching task from TAR 12.
Also known as TK Being Hit By a Blue Shell face.
– When teams have the answer they can disembark and move on. But if the ride ends before they know where to go, they must repeat the route all over again.
The loud bell of the Ding Ding nearly rattled Phil Keoghan’s Brain Brain.
In 1996, the Ding Ding expanded to serving Toad’s Turnpike.
– In Sampan, teams pick wooden cage with two parakeets and board a sampan–a traditional vessel used for trade.
Nanananananananana. . .Sampan!
If I was bored, I would teach the parakeets to say “F–k you, James Duthie” by the end of the task.
– Teams will then head into Aberdeen Harbour and search amongst hundreds of boats for the matching registration number attached to their wooden cage. When they match it up, they can trade their parakeets for their next clue.
The fact this task was scheduled for night time is cruel. This probably exceeds TAR 3’s “search for the dua nuoc boat” during a torrential downpour.
Clearly there has been a budget cut to clue envelopes. No red and yellow colours anymore? Geez. Did producers run out of coloured ink and had to rely on black and white print?
– Nat & Kat choose Sampan.
– Claire and Thomas keep eating. Jill cheers him on. Thomas examines a piece.
Just eat it.
THOMAS (to the chef): Is that it? It can’t be real. It’s too hard.
That’s exactly how Bolo drew the conclusion regarding Lori’s implants.
The chef is freaked out by Thomas’ enthusiasm.
I assume the patrons were drugged because I refuse to believe a crowd of people would cheer this enthusiastically for Jill & Thomas.
BROOK: It’s okay, Claire. Now you can just focus.
What are the rules if Claire gets sick all over the buffet table?
One minute you’re twerking. . .the next you are burying your face into your hands.
– Nick & Vicki are done with the ferry and hail a taxi.
– Nat & Kat find the Jumbo Kingdom Dock. The parakeet cage comes with a bird whistle.
Unfortunately the owner is a germophobe and doesn’t want anyone to use the bird whistle. But you can hold it and look at it, though!
– Nat & Kat choose the boat with what they coin to be the “Lady Driver”.
The drivers are like The Price Is Right modeling of sampans. All they need is a beach ball to play with for a second.
If the Asian female driver does a good job, she will successfully crack two stereotypes simultaneously.
– I can assure you that this Detour task will not be the most exciting to watch.
It would be more exciting if those were laser guns.
– Kat explains the task was difficult because the registration number was always in a different spot on each of the boats.
– Jill & Thomas find the statue.
But not before they had to sit in the taxi at an awkward angle.
– Thomas reads Sampan as Sampun. Clearly he didn’t take Boat Pronunciations 205 in high school.
– Nick & Vicki enter the restaurant. Claire wonders how much food she has ate. Vicki opens the clue.
VICKI: Who’s feelin’ peckish? I have to do it, I guess.
And this is why you use up more Roadblocks earlier on in the race–you never want to force yourself into a situation that you’ll absolutely hate.
BROOK: C’mon Claire. You got this; you just have to DIG IN. Just gotta look for it!
“You gotta DIG, woman!”
BROOK: She is supposed to be on a diet for a wedding.
Extreme close-up of Brook’s laughter.
– Brook claims Claire has already eaten the equivalent to two or three plates of food.
I hear the fourth plate is the best yet.
– Nat & Kat are chillin’ with the parakeets. Kat tries to use the bird whistle but she says the parakeets are just as bored as they were before Kat used the whistle.
Parakeet whispering is an ancient Chinese art that has been passed down verbally through generations.
NAT: We had really mellow parakeets. They were just so chill. Were they even alive?
That’s just evil. What do you plan to do to them?!
Escape Polly! While there’s still time!
NOTE: The parakeets are used to help workers in mines located several hundreds of feet below Hong Kong. A necessary sacrifice to potentially save many lives.
No wonder the parakeets don’t respond to Kat’s whistle–they are scared.
– Jill & Thomas are on the Ding Ding.
Area code shoutouts to the Two-nine-eight and the nine-one-foh!
But not the six-oh-fo. Sorry Ginja Ninja.
– Jill & Thomas are on the top floor of the Ding Ding. That makes things a bit less brutal.
Those eyes are creepy.
THOMAS: It’s going to be something distinct. It’s going to be something that stands out.
THOMAS: Look at the ground even.
JILL: It said ‘sign’.
THOMAS: Jill, just keep your eyes open!
– We head back into the restaurant as Claire and Vicki continue to have a feast.
Ah, we call this the Phoenix Two-Point.
– Question: Who is more eager to cheer their partner on during this task? Nick or Brook?
There’s your answer.
BROOK: C’mon Claire. You got this!
– Claire is getting full. Very full. Brook insists she is okay.
CLAIRE: I’m going to throw up.
That is the happiest I have seen Nick laugh all season long. Who knew it would take Claire announcing her preparation to vomit to cure Nick’s foul mood?
– You know how your forehead gets sweaty when you overeat? Claire has that right now.
Hong Kong is not known for its sympathy.
BROOK: Claire. Just stay in one area. Look really hard.
CLAIRE: This is torture.
“Being under British rule–now that’s torture!”
– Claire inserts the next piece of food and–
Oh no! She’s totally gonna do it. Claire Bear is ready to unleash some verbal sunshine and rainbows all over the buffet.
In front of an audience, no less! Careful Claire, the buffet table is sacred in Hong Kong culture!
CLAIRE: Dammit! I feel like I’m going to barf and faint!
Happy you didn’t volunteer for this Roadblock, Brook?
– By the way, Kapil & Margie are technically the first Barf and Faint team to compete in Amazing Race history.
Now that’d be a season I would watch.
Oh my god. The one guy leaning out of the way, and the look of horror on The Dragon and Karaoke Songstress’ faces are priceless.
While everyone else is laughing. Nick is laughing at her dumb esophagus.
The camera operator is sprinting to keep up with Claire as she runs into the fancy bathroom. Is a male camera operator allowed into the women’s bathroom?
Don’t just wait at the door! You need to capture the vomity goodness if you want to bring home that Emmy!
Here. We. Go!
Ouch. Claire shuts the door on him and all of us. Unfortunately we will have to rely solely on the microphone. Unbelievable. Claire blocking us from the vomiting visual infuriates everyone.
Rank The Teams
1) Gary & Mallory
2) Chad & Stephanie
25) Lisa & Joni
403) Hussein & Natasha
404) Brook & Claire
Claire blocks the camera operator from recording footage of her vomiting. What a selfish selfish person. Unforgivable.
– Commercial break. A much needed one for Claire. We resume.
CLAIRE: OH! MY! GOD!
– Brook checks in to see if Claire is okay.
BROOK: I know. It’s brutal.
“How do I convince her to keep going?”
CLAIRE: I have never puked so much in my life. I was like The Exorcist.
Claire spreading her Christmas cheer everywhere.
CLAIRE: I’ve never puked so much in my life. It was horrible.
Brook had to smell it. She agrees.
– They create a new game plan. All with calm Asian music playing in the background to downplay what we just saw.
CLAIRE: I don’t know how I’m going to eat after I puked. I’m going to have to come back.
BROOK: Yeah. Just keep puking. That’s what you did in (????) the one time upstairs. Just like go back. I know. Just keep puking.
There is one stall out of order. Can you guess which one?
– The crowd applauds and cheers her return. Fantastic. One guy even does a polite golf clap.
It’s like a curtain call. Except rather than the curtain being red, it is green, orange, and reeks of fish.
Wow. She is really happy.
“I hope one day I grow up to be just like you.”
– Nick wants Vicki to stop being concerned about Claire.
NICK: C’mon. Don’t worry about her. . .ralph number one!
We hear Nick utter a legitimate belly laugh. He is laughing at his own commentary.
NOTE: According to the Online Slang Dictionary, ralph is a synonym for vomiting. Thank you Nick for teaching me some Vegas slang!
– Suddenly Vicki is hesitant to poke around in the food. Even Claire is acting slower.
For some reason, hearing somebody vomiting to the point it echoes throughout the restaurant makes a buffet seem less appealing.
BROOK: C’mon Claire. you can do it.
– Claire thinks she has it and presents it to the chef.
– The crowd gets all excited when Claire’s food is being judged.
I am not sure if karate dancing will make a difference in convincing the judge, Claire.
What has the sushi done to you, Claire?
– Claire’s fake food is approved.
How is Brook so eager to jump around and scream with a partner who just finished vomiting in the bathroom?
– The whole restaurant is roaring. Brook & Claire are both going bonkers. One of the craziest task celebrations I have ever seen.
Brook leaps onto the chef.
Even Claire starts hugging random people. I don’t think the kiss count will be increasing, though. Unless they want an orange ring on their cheek.
Brook begins howling like a freakin’ werewolf as if it is full moon.
The most kung fu-like pose I have ever seen.
– Neither stops screaming when grabbing their bags and runs out of the restaurant. The crowd is worked up.
If you want to re-ignite the 2014 Student Movement in Hong Kong, just bring back Brook & Claire and you’ll pick up right where you left off.
– I feel like there is only one song which is appropriate for this celebration.
(Although Claire did get some release.)
– Brook & Claire enter a taxi.
CLAIRE: I have barf breath.
We have confirmation.
– Nat & Kat are saying the parakeet boat search is taking a long time. Blah blah blah. Jill is losing patience on the ding ding.
You know what else an idiot would do?
Not properly sit on a bus! What if it comes to a screeching halt? Thomas would fall out of the Ding Ding and onto the pavement of Hong Kong.
– Thomas says he even looked at incoming Ding Dings, but neither of them saw any signs. They get into a cab and switch to the harbour.
– Nick coaches Vicki to not pick at the food right away. Only pick it up if it looks different.
Vicki’s tattoos > The Dragon’s Tattoos.
She does not use chop sticks properly. Do her parents have no honour?
– Vicki is coughing and beginning to struggle.
And Nick is beginning to strangle.
– Vicki admits she is pretty picky with sushi. I doubt that is the problem. Eating hundreds of pieces of it may be the problem. Nick repeats to not grab the first thing she sees.*
* Unless it’s his junk.
– Jill & Thomas grab a parakeet cage and board the boat. Nat & Kat say they have been searching for over a long time. Jill & Thomas’ boat runs into them.
JILL: We went to the other Detour.
NAT: Was it hard?
JILL: It was terrible.
NAT: This is terrible.
JILL: Well that’s good to hear.
– Brook & Claire are third to the Bruce Lee Statue.
I cannot wait for TAR 34 when a new statue will be built in Hong Kong to replace Bruce Lee.
The Chin Statue. You know, Bruce Lee’s relative.
– Jill finds the correct boat. That was quick.
JILL: Sir, we have some birds for you.
Was Thomas trying to be an asshole and correcting her?
And here he goes taking all of the credit for finding the boat.
– Thomas reads the pit stop is Statue Square. It is located in the centre of Hong Kong, and was a monument to honour royalty from colonial England.
Leave it to England to come up with the blandest name possible for a monument.
The Glorious Dead? I was not expecting that to be the words on the statue.
– Jill & Thomas order their driver to transport them back to the harbour.
Perhaps he is so sick of Jill & Thomas’ demands that he took a direct route to the correct boat.
– Nat & Kat advertise they have well-behaved parakeets. They find the boat and the teenaged driver.
NAT: Six oh four four seven C.
I totally thought we were going to see the peace symbol after 604, but thankfully Graig isn’t around. Therefore, it is just another four that appears after it.
Isn’t it past his bedtime?
He probably got away with it because his mother is out late taking Nat & Kat around the harbour. Maybe it’s not a school night.
Oh right. This isn’t North America. Every night is a school night.
– Jill & Thomas run on the streets yelling at taxis to take them. No luck. Nat & Kat are there too. Nat & Kat are shown on the same screen hailing a cab. Their cabbie offers to call one for Jill & Thomas, but Kat orders him not to do so. Jill & Thomas eventually convince another cab to take them.
And there goes. . .
. . .The lead.
Thomas is so pissed he can’t even keep his mouth open to express his displeasure.
– Brook & Claire have their parakeets and enter the Sampan. Claire thinks the parakeets are angry by their whistling.
For some reason, parakeets hate all-female teams.
*Sqwak sqwak* Dan Foley and Terry Deitz are our favourite Survivor players. *sqwak* *sqwak*
– Brook attempts to imitate the annoyed parakeets.
Apparently the parakeets are related to Stephan Hawking.
CLAIRE: At one point the parakeet had its whole head in the water as if it wanted to drown himself.
So that’s what happened to my cockatiels at home. My mother claimed they died of old age when I was younger. 😦
– We cut back to the restaurant. People are starting to leave.
“Sure, karaoke was fine for the first three hours. . .but they never brought us our food. We wanted to try the buffet, but four Americans managed to eat everything on the whole table.”
We refer to that table as “The Late Night Crew”.
Watching everyone else eat is making Nick hungry.
– We get a lot of suspense built as to whether Nat & Kat or Jill & Thomas will finish in first place.
Is that a red and yellow route marker hanging on each shoulder? And does she have a cigarette tucked behind her ear?
– The suspense keeps building.
In New Zealand, it is not rude to point.
The first person to say it is Paula Taylor loses ten points.
– Nat & Kat step onto the mat.
FIRST PLACE: NAT & KAT
And Nat didn’t even have to vomit.
Nat before she finds out they have won a trip to Rio de Janeiro.
Nat after she finds out they have won a trip to Rio de Janeiro.
How does the gnome stack that much fruit on his head?! Impressive.
– Nat & Kat are proud and glad to be doing this race with each other. They have the “girliest” moment of the season.
Get a room.
– Jill & Thomas check in.
SECOND PLACE: JILL & THOMAS
They are happy.
I know this because gaping mouthed Thomas is back.
– Brook & Claire are still searching for the boat. Vicki hands in what she thinks is fake food, but it is real.
She looks like she is on the verge of quitting.
– When Vicki is rejected, the crowd has a reaction as if Vicki was called to the principal’s office. These guys are hilarious.
The latest gossip in the magazines is that Vicki is in troubleeeeee.
NICK: Drink it like a pill. Don’t chew it. Put water in your mouth then swallow it.
“How else do I get through dinners when you are cooking?”
(VICKI chews and swallows it.)
NICK: You’re not listening. You are not even supposed to chew a mussel. You’re supposed to swallow it.
“How do you not know how to properly eat a mussel, Vicki? Were you raised by f–king wolves?”
– Vicki is gagging.
Vicki! Don’t move a mussel!
Ralph number two! Fight!
It’s only funny when Claire ralphs. At least she knew how to consume a mussel.
It’s like the camera operator doesn’t want to capture the vomiting this time.
Geez. She just finished cleaning the other stall, Vicki!
Sigh. We have to rely on the audio once more.
– Nick follows Vicki into the bathroom.
A lady exiting the stall after hearing Vicki vomit and see a six foot American biker dude enter is her cue to leave.
NICK: We can just take a penalty and go through if you want to wrap it up. You can’t keep throwing up all night.
Wow. So it’s not even the first time Vicki vomited during this task?
NICK: You got to draw the line somewhere. This isn’t worth it. That’s for sure.
So encouraging. You’re not even the one vomiting, Nick!
VICKI: Oh my god.
NICK: This is stupid!
How about you TP the exterior of the hotel as an act of revenge, Nick?
– Commercial break. We come back to more vomiting.
NICK: You just want to wrap it up now or what?
VICKI (in between coughs and puking fits): I don’t want to quit.
I never thought the person vomiting would have more determination than the guy who has no tasks to complete.
NICK: It’s supposed to be fun. This isn’t fun.
“Watching my partner vomit is SUPPOSED TO BE FUN!”
VICKI: I don’t like to quit anything that I start. If I did pass out that time, it’d be the only way I’d take the four hour penalty.
Meanwhile, Nick’s threshold for what he could cope with is. . .much lower. Much lower.
Well, time to wipe away the vomit missy and show the buffet who is the motherf–king boss!
– The life of the restaurant is gone. It must be past midnight by this point.
It must be closing time soon.
VICKI: I just want to get this done fast.
So do they. She has wanted to clear the buffet table for the past twenty minutes. It is really throwing off her evening routine.
NICK: Just look real closely, sweetie.
Maybe Nick doesn’t want Vicki to quit so fast after all.
– Nick keeps pushing his pill strategy.
NICK: Water and drink at the same time, babe. That way you don’t even taste it. It’s just like taking a vitamin.
I don’t think it works that way with a bunch of noodles.
– Vicki doesn’t think she can eat anymore. Nick orders her to focus. Vicki thinks she has the fake food.
VICKI: Gosh. I don’t know.
Heh. Maybe not.
Vicki’s hand is visibly shaking when she presents her plate. I think she will stop if this plate is rejected. Furthermore, I have a feeling producers will make her quit or the restaurant will shut down in a Mai & Oliver fashion.
The chef should say ‘no’ regardless. Vicki would be crushed.
Is it true? Could it be?
It would be funnier if the chef was Italian so he could say “yippee, you got it!”
– Vicki takes the clue.
VICKI: I was like “we’re still in the game”.
Oh boy. Poor naive Vicki.
– Brook & Claire describe searching for the boat as a needle in a haystack.
Claire looks like she is done. The other two teams must be at least three hours ahead at the pit stop.
A task where you sit still and search for a number must be Brook’s worst nightmare.
BROOK: Can I scale the Empire State building? Can I like go climb Mount Kilimanjaro? I would way rather do that than find a boat in the middle of the night.
Meticulous boat searching is just not her thing. Claire probably prefers number searching over vomiting sushi or taking a watermelon to the face. Brook has had it easy this season.
– Nick & Vicki have arrived at the Bruce Lee statue. It is raining, but yet we did not see rain in the clip with Brook & Claire. My guess this is much later in the night. Nick & Vicki choose to do Sampan.
– Brook starts yelling out their number. No response.
“I guess that’s a no.”
– Nick & Vicki are at the Jumbo Shrimp Dock and pick their parakeets. They embark on their Sampan but do not run into Brook & Claire.
NICK: It’s going to be so hard at night time to do this.
Especially if you refuse to use your flashlight.
There you go. That’s the spirit.
– Claire starts calling out too. She sees the boat number and receives the clue.
I should note the parakeets did not even move or make a sound during Brook & Claire’s sudden movements and loud cheering. Those parakeets really are dead.
– Brook & Claire have their clue. They say Nick & Vicki have yet to be seen.
– I assume it is around two or three o’ clock in the morning as we switch to Nick & Vicki. Nick expresses his feelings about the task.
It is like he is going meta and is complaining to producers rather than us.
VICKI: Babe, what does that one say? Can you see?
NICK: I don’t know anything. This is ridiculous.
Well you did know that England is the capital of London–oh wait.
How in the world is Vicki the more enthusiastic one after everything she’s been through this round?
– Nick’s rant continues.
Plotting to kill these birds may result in the same trial that Bart Simpson went through after killing a mother bird with a BB gun.
As somebody who has been a vegetarian for roughly seven years, I am appalled by Nick’s threat. . .but on the other hand watching somebody throw a cage of parakeets into Hong Kong’s waters would be hilarious.
VICKI: I don’t understand why we’re missing it.
NICK: I don’t understand either. I just know I’m ready to be done.
– Brook & Claire hire a taxi. They are frantic because the whereabouts of Nick & Vicki are unknown.
If I had to quantify everyone’s energy level at three o’ clock in the morning on a scale of 1 to 100, Brook & Claire would be a 90 right now and Nick & Vicki are hovering at a four or a five.
– Nick & Vicki keep searching.
NICK: Dude, I don’t know what to tell you. We’ve looked at everyone of those damn boats.
“Except the ones on the right.”
Whoever’s number is assigned to Nick & Vicki are probably praying they come by soon.
– Vicki tries to give Nick a pep talk.
I don’t think Nick feels the same way.
NICK: I’m not going to sit out here until sun up. That’s for damn sure.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Okay. Let’s address what the viewers are thinking at home. Ever since TAR 10, the final NEL of the race has always occurred at Final Four. Therefore, everyone knows that there is absolutely no reason for Nick & Vicki to quit because they will be stuck doing another leg of the race regardless.
So it is in their best interest to stick it out until sunrise because we all know it is much less than six hours away.
Or they could have mocked the race by not only quitting this task, but also take the additional four hour penalty if Nick successfully convinced Vicki to forfeit the Roadblock.
So everything we see play out at the moment is comedic because it is impossible for them to escape this race for a few more days.
– Oh yeah. Nick’s frustration is escalating.
NICK: Sit out here look like a fool looking for a damn boat in the middle of the night with a flashlight.
“I manufactured those flashlights, Nick. Tear.”
NICK: I want to go to bed. I don’t care if I have to sleep outside.
Just pay the Sampan driver thirty bucks and you have accommodations for the night.
Why do they always have to search the same side at all times? Does Vicki lack that much faith in Nick to do anything?
– Vicki once again responds in this battle of optimism versus pessimism.
No, Vicki. Quitting after going through everything is an excellent strategy. You survived the asthma attack. You survived Nick. You survived sushi. You survived a crowd that is obsessive about karaoke. You survived Chin. Just give up now and you don’t have to worry about surviving the absolute final task of the whole round.
– It would be hilarious if they switched to doing the Ding Ding task right now.
NICK: I don’t care if you don’t like to quit. It’s over. Alright. I’m done.
The only thing Vicki couldn’t survive was Nick’s lack of persistence.
– We now cut to Nick’s confessional.
NICK: I am just physically and mentally tired. We started off so good then all of a sudden bad really fast.
Nick. Stop being so dramatic. We know this is all for the camera. Classic editing trope where Nick is going to change his mind then him and Vicki will complete this task, go to the pit stop, and only be a few hours back of the other teams.
He is just going to sit down for a minute. I can promise you this is all an act.
Wow. Okay. He is laying full out on his back, and even has his legs crossed. Maybe he will be lying down for a minute.
NICK: If you’re gonna waste your time you waste your own damn time. I feel like this is pointless.
This takes me back to the Flo & Zach days. Nick is being as counterproductive as possible while Vicki essentially has to race for two people.
All Nick needs to do is throw his bike helmet into the river.
NICK: I would much rather take the six hour penalty; I could care less.
Again, I need to reiterate sunrise is two hours away or less. Nick is sacrificing an additional four hours if they decide to quit instantly.
NICK: I haven’t got any food today. I haven’t got any sleep in the past two days. This isn’t worth it to me.
Vicki just ignores him. Great.
VICKI: Nick sleeping right now kinda makes me mad.
Kinda? Kinda??? KINDA?!
– I am sure Nick is back up on his feet as he will have a change of heart.
Okay. Maybe not.
VICKI: I’m so tired also. He’s almost making me quit. And I don’t want to quit. This is probably the worst day ever. I’m on my own.
Sounds about right.
Vicki will become legendary if she finishes this task alone. Afterwards she can yell at Nick and state she will “never wait for his lazy ass” ever again.
– Oh yeah. Brook & Claire’s taxi arrives at the Statue Square. The driver tries to hand them something but they are already sprinting to the mat.
Brook is too fast!
– Brook & Claire are smirking as they wait for Phil to give them the good news.
Perhaps they overheard about Nick sleeping in a boat from the camera operator.
They would be even more excited if they know what is going to happen to Nick & Vicki very soon.
THIRD PLACE: BROOK & CLAIRE
But for the time being, they shall enjoy this moment.
– I think it is just starting to get light outside as Vicki is determined to complete this task.
VICKI: This is gonna be hard to do by myself. So tired. I don’t wanna give up but I need help from him.
He is helping by shutting his mouth without spewing negativity for once.
It reminds me a bit of the tomato task in TAR 10 when Kim threatens to ditch Rob at the Detour, and walks away as if she is fine with Rob doing it all by himself. Seconds later Kim realizes Rob is not bluffing as she returns to scream at him to leave.
Oh. This is Rob & Kim, by the way. They won’t be mentioned again until the intro for TAR 26.
– Evidently Nick is not asleep as he speaks up once more.
NICK: Geez Luis you are the hardest headed person in the world.
You know Vicki, you could just roll Nick into the water and he would be too lazy to fight back. Then you can finish this round in peace. I doubt producers will penalize you for doing so.
NICK: Get me outta this place.
Well, he did lay down for the past hour.
NICK: It’s four in the morning. Are you really asking me if I’m done?
NOTE TO SELF: Nick has never worked the graveyard shift as a Sampan driver.
NICK: Crazy. Get me out of here. Can’t wait to be home.
You can tell Nick is a recruit because he has no idea this round will certainly be a NEL.
VICKI: It’s been a long day. If he’s not gonna do it, I’m not gonna try to do this all by myself. I’ve given it 110 percent today. I have nothing left. If he wanted to go through that I’d still stay but I don’t know what else to do.
How did the camera operator get this shot? Wouldn’t he be in the water?
If only the parakeets could be Vicki’s partner rather than Nick. At least the parakeets are more supportive.
Vicki officially announces they are taking the six hour penalty.
“You guys have it easy! Back in my day it was twenty-four hours or you suffered through it!”
VICKI: It was the worst feeling to walk away from the Detour and take the six hour penalty. It’s really hard to swallow.
Just like those mussels, evidently.
NICK: Today sucked. Everything about today sucked.
Today did suck. . .but not for you, Nick.
– Nick & Vicki stroll onto the mat.
I like Vicki’s scarf.
– Because Nick & Vicki are recruits, they are 99% sure they will be eliminated.
Meanwhile, Phil and the producers are uneasy as they are heading into the penultimate leg with a team that will be a minimum of eight hours behind the 3rd place team.
LAST PLACE: NICK & VICKI
PHIL: Nick & Vicki, you are the last team to arrive.
PHIL (unenthusiastically): I’m sorry to tell you that this is a non-elimination leg and you are still in the race.
“However, I have been talking with Bertram and Elise over the past hour and we have decided to go with a Final Two this season.”
Nick is excited to still be in the race.
This is ridiculous. Nick & Vicki being allowed to continue on with the race after quitting is dangerous.
It is the exact same way Joan Rivers won Celebrity Apprentice. Quit right before the end of the season, but production allows you to come back and win it all.
PHIL: The next leg of the race is going to be super tough because you have a six hour penalty and you have a Speed Bump, and you guys are a LONG ways back.
So far back that the next round has zero suspense. Maybe if the Hong Kong Sampan driver was related to a Russian maestro, the Speed Bump could be cancelled again for Nick & Vicki.
– Vicki talks about how horrible Nick’s temper was and that they need to listen to each other more. She does not want to quit the race. Nick promises to be better to her and apologizes. Vicki wants to see the changes and is done with the excuses.
I think Vicki sums up Nick’s performance in this round perfectly.
And that is how you end up eight to twelve hours behind all other teams heading into the penultimate elimination round.
Fans praise the show for being fair when a pre-determined Non-Elimination saves a team they love. However, they always complain the show is fixed whenever a team they “love to hate” is saved by a Non-Elimination Leg. I can assure you plenty of people were outraged that Nick & Vicki were not eliminated.
Never has a TV audience been more outraged by the lack of consequences for one’s actions since the Casey Anthony trial.
Next Time on TAR: As teams head to the North Korean border, the race kicks into high gear. Who will stay afloat, who will fall down (hopefully an older lady from Montana), and who will earn a spot in the Final Three?
NUMBER OF EPISODES A TEAM HAS BEEN MENTIONED IN THE ‘NEXT TIME ON’ SEGMENT
KEVIN & MICHAEL 2
BROOK & CLAIRE 2
NICK & VICKI 2
NAT & KAT 1
CHAD & STEPHANIE 1
GARY & MALLORY 1
RON & TONY: 0
ANDIE & JENNA: 0
CONNOR & JONATHAN: 0
KATIE & RACHEL: 0
JILL & THOMAS: 0
WHY IS THIS EPISODE IMPORTANT
As I stated before, every US season starting with TAR 10 always had its last NEL at Final Four. This was changed for three major reasons.
1) Viewers find Final Three NELs extremely boring because they know that’s what it will be before the round starts.
2) The teams are aware of it and tend to slack off, thus producers are not inspired to create a strong round of play. Remember the 25 minute Jamaica episode in TAR 7? Or Hawaii used as a location for leg 12 in TAR 2?
3) The changing NEL penalty methods in TAR 10-12 resulted in producers deciding they do not want Marked for Elimination or the Speed Bump to occur in the final leg of the season.
That’s why they switched to Final 4 becoming the new norm for the last NEL. Plus viewers get back-to-back rounds of excitement to finish off the season.
Well, Nick & Vicki are single-handedly responsible for putting an end to Final 4 NELs. The furthest a team has been alone in last heading into the penultimate round was TK & Rachel in TAR 12, and that time gap was a little under three hours which they made up at the airport.
Nick & Vicki nearly triple this, and that’s just for the 3rd place team. I do not mean to spoil the outcome of next round for you, but it becomes clear within the first five minutes that Nick & Vicki will find it impossible to catch up.
Starting with TAR 18, the TAR Asia 4 strategy of using up all of the NELs by the time you get to five teams or more will be standard until TAR 21, and then fully reinstated in TAR 25 when a new twist is unveiled.
I find this interesting because the TAR tradition in early seasons was to wait until a maximum of six teams remained before you use any NELs. By TAR 18, the exact opposite is what will be expected.
This is also similar to Survivor’s near future with Redemption Island–twists which ensure your stars are guaranteed to stay in for a higher number of episodes, and your players with less entertainment value can be invisible all season long.
Unlike Redemption Island where the side effects were that it messed up the integrity of Survivor and reduced the excitement for each episode, TAR using early NELs could artificially preserve their stars but not affect any other aspect of the game in a negative way. Except, of course, knocking out “deserving” players in early upsets.
BROOK ROBERTS.CLAIRE CHAMPLIN 9.7
NAT STRAND.KAT CHANG 6.7
NICK DECARLO.VICKI CASCIOLA 5.12
JILL HANEY.THOMAS WOLFARD 6.8
Rank the Legs
1) Gloucester, Massachusetts, USA -> England, United Kingdom, London (according to Nick Decarlo)
2) St. Petersburg, Russia -> Muscat, Oman
3) Dhaka, Bangladesh -> Hong Kong, China
Oh my word. Much like Lorena & Jason in TAR 12, a NEL round pretty much served as an elimination regardless.
Despite the massive equalizer to destroy Jill & Thomas’ lead at the beginning, this did nothing to keep the teams close together.
Vicki’s asthma attack in the first scramble for the ferry put her and Nick behind the others immediately. Claire also struggled with exercise as the first couple of route markers required a lot of running.
Then came the sushi Roadblock. Two out of four people vomited. Nat and Thomas did not take too long, but it was a feasting marathon for Claire and Vicki. Hours and hours of eating sushi that was sitting out on a buffet table. My stomach gets queasy thinking about it.
Oh, and the fact the restaurant loved karaoke along with its enthusiastic crowd made it ten times more exciting. Brook & Claire firing everybody up made things escalate from a little crazy to downright ridiculous. The fake piece of food was very well-crafted too, by the way.
You knew Nick was done with the round the minute he pushed for Vicki to quit the Roadblock. It was a rare moment in TAR history where the non-participant wants their partner to throw in the towel. This is after the asthma incident where Nick yelled at her for not hustling.
The Ding Ding and Sampan Detour was very difficult as it was designed as a night time task. I am convinced nobody had a shot at finishing Ding Ding. The instructions for it were freakin’ wide open. Unlike the hay bales task in TAR 6, it was equally difficult for everyone and had cultural significance. Therefore, I approve of it.
As for the Sampans, the task at least was achievable and featured fun parakeets to keep the audience entertained during a boring task. Of course, the task was a bit more exciting on top of that thanks to Nick throwing one of the biggest temper tantrums on the race. The screencap of Nick laying down while Vicki keeps looking for the registration number will always crack me up.
Then to the crazy ending: Nick & Vicki taking a six hour penalty at four o’ clock in the morning. This triggered the biggest format change TAR will witness until TAR 22 as Nick & Vicki will be so far behind entering the penultimate round of the race. Since they were not eliminated this leg, producers had no way to find suspense as to who will be eliminated in the next episode.
I love it when teams find a way to screw over producers’ master plans in unexpected ways. For some reason, the Nick & Vicki incident will be forgotten by TAR 21 as producers restore the last NEL to occur at Final Four.
Overall, I liked this round for its great difficulty and putting teams through quite a few gruelling tests. Oh, and the vomiting. Gotta love the vomiting.
P.S. My only beef with this round is that none of the teams did a kempo karate pose at the Bruce Lee statue. Don’t you guys know how much I love martial arts? I was finding an excuse to plug Carl Douglas’ Kung Fu Fighting.
4) London, England -> Accra, Ghana
5) St. Petersburg, Russia -> St. Petersburg, Russia
6) Muscat, Oman -> Dhaka, Bangladesh
7) Accra, Ghana -> Riksgransen, Sweden-Norway Border
8) Accra, Ghana -> Accra, Ghana
9) Riksgrandsen, Sweden/Norway -> Narvik, Norway
10) Narvik, Norway -> St. Petersburg, Russia
I also do a weekly podcast about The Amazing Race for YATNcast. We cover all English-speaking seasons of TAR.