“Kamp Kasey and the Krazy Kicks in Korea”
UNITED KINGDOM – GHANA – SWEDEN – NORWAY – RUSSIA – OMAN – BANGLADESH – HONG KONG – SOUTH KOREA
Because this leg did not air as part of a two hour finale, this means Phil will be giving his thoughts on the Final Three teams at the start of the next episode.
And because my tradition is to analyze the remaining teams either the episode before or after Phil does at the end of the season is very much alive, today is the day I must do it.
I’ll go in the order they checked in at the end of the last leg.
Nat & Kat
Very few all-female teams that are cast in the US version of TAR are as well-rounded as Nat & Kat. They have a strong educational background, they are physically fit, they are sharp mentally and socially, and have a competitive spirit. Oh, and they are in their early 30s.
Sure, they have stumbled a couple of times in the standings, but have yet to make a significant blunder which would make you think they are stupid.
They have won the most legs of any of the remaining teams, and enter these final two rounds with the lead currently in their possession.
Contrast this with past all-female teams typically seen in TAR US where they are flirtatious with other male racers, portray the dumb blonde stereotype, are physically weak and unfit, petty, or are not bright enough when it comes to competitive gameplay.
Nat & Kat are such a rare casting archetype in the American version of TAR. It truly is a refreshing change to see alpha females tackle the race.
I am not sure if Nat & Kat absolutely killed it at any particular task this season other than Kat eating meat or Nat managing her blood sugar levels, but you can count on them not to waste time while out on the course.
Perhaps the only weakness the team has is Kat being too passive when communicating with locals. Nat usually does most of the talking, and Kat had a rough time with selling sunglasses.
Jill & Thomas
I feel bad for Jill & Thomas.
In any other season, they would be the bland dating couple who will make it deep into any season, but you will be indifferent to how they were by the end of the season. Perhaps they will have a couple of funny moments which make you favour them.
But they are on a season that already has legendary dating couples such as Chad & Steph and Nick & Vicki to make themselves appear to be void of any personality.
Furthermore, this is essentially the first part to the Final Three endgame. There are two all-female teams and millions of viewers eager to see history being made, and you have Jill & Thomas as the last obstacle.
I mean, how the heck can Jill & Thomas walk away from this race unscathed?
Scenario #1: They win the race, and everyone proclaims it to be a dud season because a dude from Notre Dame ruined their dreams. Also, a couple of those crazy cat ladies who watch every reality show will probably refer to Jill as a “blonde bimbo”. Once it is over, everybody tries to erase any memory of Jill & Thomas’ victory.
In the process they will have a bunch of confessionals where they have no choice but to say “we are going to show those women who wears the pants in this season” or “I’m not going to get beat by a bunch o’ girls” in a Chad-like tone.
Scenario #2: They lose, and everybody laughs at them before forgetting who they are.
It just sucks for them. Even couples like Chad & Steph or Nick & Vicki would have a much more negative reception if they were the last couple standing.
I think Jill & Thomas’ biggest strength is they never get lost when on the road. Yeah, they had a panicky moment when they took off into the woods in round four, but they recovered because of their physical abilities and survived the round regardless of their Express Pass.
Perhaps their biggest error could be that they do not think things all the way through sometimes. That is how they got their penalty during the Oman round, and got on the worst flight in the fourth round.
They are pretty dman quick, though. And sneaking onto a flight seven hours ahead of everybody else is rarely done in a modern TAR season.
I personally have nothing against them winning as I think it would be hilarious to continue the all-female curse, and I don’t see anything particularly objectionable with Jill & Thomas’ personality.
Brook & Claire
Where the heck do I begin?
One of the most entertaining teams we have ever had?
They are all over the place. At times they can behave like the Kellie & Jamie or Marisa & Brooke type where you think they will be out easily, and then other times they settle down to focus on the task at hand and can slaughter you on the race course.
Although they have finished second-to-last in the past two rounds, they have not truly been close to being eliminated. Especially given that second-to-last in the previous episode puts them SIX hours ahead of the last place team.
Brook & Claire are like a more accessible and less rude version of Charla & Mirna.
Charla & Mirna were equally entertaining and competitive, but their story did not reach the entire viewing public. Yes, TAR avoided cancellation because of Charla & Mirna’s contribution, but few people at home saw themselves as a Charla & Mirna. Their Armenian background served as another barrier they had with the American audience.
Brook & Claire are much more Americanized. Brook was in pageants, both are media personalities whether it be TV or sports, and both are polite to locals rather than shouting at them.
While Brook would kiss Desmond, Mirna would instead order him to kick people off.
Brook & Claire tend to be more aware of what they are doing as well and how they come across to others. They serve as narrators that the audience can gravitate to throughout the course of the season.
I feel the need to address how different Brook & Claire are from each other, though.
They are like Odie and Garfield.
Brook is Odie; she is super enthusiastic, friendly, and up to do pretty much everything. Nothing ever goes wrong in Odie’s world.
Claire is definitely Garfield; moody, angry, grumpy, and when she does try to do something it will never work out the she initially planned it. Meanwhile she has to put up with Odie’s super optimistic BS while racing across the world.
If Brook & Claire win this season, it will not only be an incredible barrier to be broken for TAR US, but also just because there has never been anybody remotely like Brook & Claire to win The Amazing Race.
The upside to Brook & Claire not winning is they will inevitably be invited back for a future season. . .right?!
Their strongest asset is definitely their social skills with locals. They know how to connect with people, and the fact Brook never feels held back by anything will always propel them forward.
Nick & Vicki
It is strange to talk about a team who we all know will be eliminated this episode.
After being saved by two NELS, everybody is ready for them to go home this round. Their antics were fun to watch, but it is time to transition into the final episode where the real contenders can duke it out.
But what if they have an airport equalizer work in their favour? Jill & Thomas lost a seven hour lead last round, so why not Brook & Claire lose their six hour head start on Nick & Vicki?
What if Nick & Vicki beat out just one team this leg, and then catch up to everyone else to fly to the final destination city, and then run a strong enough round to win the race?
It can happen. Uchenna & Joyce have made up that many hours during the course of the TAR 7 finale. So did Sam & Vince in TAR Asia 3.
I cannot picture Nick & Vicki succeeding at a final memory challenge, though. Could you imagine them doing the riddle from TAR 12 or one of those geographic challenges like in TAR 13? They would need something like chip counting from TAR 15 (they are from Vegas!) or the super duper easy memory challenge from TAR 16.
If they do win, it would become the first “they are so bad it’s good” victory since Flo & Zach. Ninety-nine percent of viewers would HATE it at the time, but give it about five years or so and everyone will embrace their win.
I would love for the team who thinks London is a country to pull off a highway robbery of sorts and take this title away from all other unsuspecting teams.
The only round this season where they beat the other three teams was the rural school leg in the outskirts of Ghana.
Yeah, the round of Nick’s most infamous temper tantrum is when he was able to beat Nat & Kat, Jill & Thomas, and Brook & Claire at the same time. I am just surprised as you are.
So you know what? Maybe he did have every right to throw his hula hoop.
Previously on TAR: Four teams raced from old world Bangladesh to the modern metropolis of Hong Kong.
After an intense foot race to board a ferry, Nick & Vicki found themselves at the back of the pack, and a gut busting Roadblock put them further behind.
Nick offered a way out, but a determined Vicki finished the task.
At the Detour, their downward spiral continued as Nick pressed Vicki again and this time convinced her to take a six hour penalty. On the mat the couple got a very lucky break but now face a tough road ahead.
Which of these four teams will make it to the million dollar finale? Geez, I wonder. Probably not the ones who are ten hours behind everybody else, Phil.
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: 1
– Intro time.
– Phil introduces us to Hong Kong (which is accompanied by a gong). He doesn’t have much to say other than it being a metropolis.
– Nat & Kat, who were the first to arrive at an unspecified time, will depart at 4:37pm.
And today, Nat gets to hold the clue! Although it looks like she is ready to chow down after starving herself during the pit stop.
She is smelling the glue that keeps the envelope closed. How long has it been since she got high?
It’s not a f–king seashell, Nat. You’re not going to hear ocean waves coming from inside the clue.
– Kat takes the clue away from Nat and reads aloud they will be travelling to Seoul.
Oppa Anaesthesiologist Style!
– Nat manages to keep the same expression.
She is able to take away the cash from the route info in this shocked state.
KAT: Once you land, drive yourselves to the North Korean border. . .really?
“After you fattened yourself up on a Hong Kong sushi buffet, I now get to have a buffet of my own by eating eight Americans for dinner!”
– Teams must now fly 1, 300 miles to Seoul. When they land, teams will drive themselves to the demilitarized zone near the North Korean border and find Seungil Bridge.
The DMZ is full of peaceful meadows. How can they possibly be at war?
It looks like a shot you would see of the Barramundi camp in Survivor: Australian Outback or for one of the tribes in Survivor: Thailand.
– Once at the bridge, they will find their next clue.
Which may or may not include a cameo from a heavily intoxicated Paula Abdul.
Hopefully she doesn’t take one step forward then two steps back before falling into the river below. Water and alcohol is not a good combination, Paula!
Sorry, MC Skat Kat. You’ll have to find a new client to sell speed to when you gamble away your minimum wage salary.
Come to think of it, Paula should really perform Opposites Attract in the DMZ. North Korean totalitarianism and South Korean financially stable and capitalist mindsets are indeed opposites.
Although Kim would probably eat the boom box. Hey, he was really confused and his stomach was rumbling. Give the kid a break.
– For those of you stats geeks out there, teams are given 117 dollars for this leg of the race which makes for a grand total of 468 dollars between all four teams.
– Kat states their goal at the beginning was to go to every country and do every challenge. She knows it has now become a reality.
And they’re doing this together. Aww.
NAT: I think Kat and I have what it takes to get to the final race. As long as we can avoid any big mistakes, we can stay in the top three and make it to the end of the race.
How big of a mistake are we talking about? Nick & Vicki are over ten hours behind you guys.
“What do they plan to do? Drive the wrong way and go to Australia?”
– Nat & Kat talk about going to the North Korean border.
KAT (reading the clue): Do not cross the border.
What would be more impressive is if teams -did- find a way to cross the border. I doubt teams can just waltz across into the communist state.
Really? You don’t want to drive into North Korea? Are you David & Jeff and Jon & Al in TAR 4?
Somebody needs to take the role of Jeff and scream “THIS CAN’T BE RIGHT!” as they approach the rows and rows of tanks on the road.
By the way, both teams sharing a taxi at the Final Four is one of the dumbest group decisions I have ever seen.
Kat gives a worried look as if she is waiting for the camera operator to tell her it was just a prank to scare everyone.
– Nat elaborates as to how South Korea wasn’t on their radar at all (even though they had to apply for a VISA to visit there prior to the start of the season), and especially did not expect to be driving to the heavily guarded border.
I love how visiting the North Korean border is safer for production than crossing the U.S.-Mexican border.
– Jill & Thomas depart 2nd at 4:47pm. Thomas thinks heading to the border is cool. Jill is surprised.
Jill re-reads the clue to verify Thomas read it correctly. Oddly enough she looks like somebody walking home from campus evaluating their grade on a mid-term.
– Thomas believes he and Jill are the top contender in this race.
THOMAS: But you’ve got some very hungry–
Did production really have to cut to a flashback of Nat & Kat literally eating?
THOMAS: But you’ve got some very hungry, smart, and athletic women who have proven they are a force to be reckoned with.
I don’t know if Claire can be classified as athletic. Claire doesn’t even classify herself as such.
– Only 39 minutes later, Brook & Claire begin the leg in third at 5:26pm. Brook reads the whole clue in a series of inflections.
BROOK: Fly to the city of Seoul, South KOREA??? Drive yourselves to the North Korean border???? The (rolls her tongue a bunch of times) bridge, and crosses the hagatanakana river.
It is like she is reading the word scramble from the season premiere of Amazing Race Canada 3. This is all gibberish to her.
– Brook & Claire enter the hotel to book a flight.
The doorman is such a gentleman greeting tourists with open arms.
– Brook says it would be horrific if they didn’t make it into the top three. Primarily horrific because of the gigantic lead they have on Nick & Vicki.
I love how the fashion choices have progressed over the eleven rounds.
They both have their own piece of head accessory without it being one of a kajillion bandanas worn on the race.
I wonder if Rachel Reilly copied Brook’s headband for TAR 20 and 24?
– They talk about being the first all-female team to win.
CLAIRE: I just have a really good feeling that we’re going to take over, and be standing on that mat saying we made history.
What are you taking over? North Korea? Because people have tried it before. . .and it didn’t go over so well.
“Brook & Claire, you are the first all-female team to take over North Korea and reunify the Korean peninsula. You are the official winners of solving a centuries old crisis, and have won the one MILLION dollars!”
You don’t want to mess with the woman in the pink headband when she is concerned about flights. She will go Rambo all over your ass in big bright colours.
– The agent informs them about a possible flight.
I love how the agents on the other side of the room look up at Brook in her ridiculousness.
– Claire said they went to a flight agent at a hotel for this round because of the troubles they had finding a flight to Bangladesh. It is much faster than waiting to go to the airport.
This is the point in the race when nearly all teams have discovered on their own the best way to book flights.
Well, unless you’re David & Jeff.
– Nat & Kat and Jill & Thomas enter the airport together. Nat asks if it is weird they are going to the South Korean border together.
Is this the Hong Kong airport or a shopping mall?
– Brook & Claire book a 12:25am flight. The flight agent says it will take thirty minutes to complete the transaction with her colleague at the airport. Time for Brook & Claire to get some coffee.
BROOK: This is how Claire and I roll.
And absolutely nobody rolls in the same way that Brook & Claire do.
– Nat & Kat are on the same 12:25am flight.
Oh my god.
He is the first person in real life to have Phoenix Wright’s hair.
– Jill & Thomas are also on the same flight.
A baby blue ribbon? I’m jealous.
THOMAS: We’ve got a ton of time here at the airport before it leaves. All teams will have no problem getting on this flight.
Thomas is used to this given he lost his seven hour lead at the start of the previous leg. Since the flight does not leave for another six hours, he assumes everyone will be equalized once more.
Because teams have not been allowed to hang out at pit stops together since TAR 13, they are all in the dark about Nick & Vicki’s penalty.
– Victorian music plays as Brook & Claire have their afternoon tea/coffee.
BROOK: Feels really weird to wear these clothes in a place like this. Usually we’ll have on a cute jacket.
CLAIRE: I know.
– Claire cuts to a confessional where she sets the record straight.
CLAIRE: I want everyone to know we don’t normally dress like this all the time.
I love how this is the first time they acknowledge all season that these are not their normal outfits. They have spent the past eleven rounds acting as if nothing was strange with their wardrobe, but the fourth wall is finally broken.
Brook cracks up knowing the audience is being addressed.
CLAIRE: I just want everyone to know that.
BROOK: We have definitely saved a couple of outfits for the last legs. Go all out or go home. Just like the race. Just like the Brook and Claire flair.
If only Brian & Greg were saved by a NEL and could have gone out with the same flair.
– I think this is the first time where viewers are talking about two women and say “man, I hope they stick around because I can’t wait to see what outfits they wear!” and not have any sexist or harassing subtext behind it.
And why is Brook drinking that coffee as if it is the remaining milk at the bottom of a cereal bowl? That’s not British proper!
– In the airport, the late night seductive music used many times during TAR 3 is played as Nat & Kat approach a man in an airport.
The seductive soundtrack being used with Nat & Kat is not what I was expecting given the information we have after ten rounds of play.
NAT: We are travelling to Seoul, Korea.
. . .You’re going to have to try a bit harder, Natty.
NAT (sweetens up her tone of voice): And we don’t have moneeeey.
There you go. Nat is clearly new at this, but she is making progress.
“It’s just another day for this upper middle class traveling businessman. I know where this is going, and luckily I’ve got an overnight layover.”
This is the part where he expects you to bat your eyelashes, Kat.
NAT: We were wondering if perhaps you wouldn’t mind purchasing a travel book for us.
“Yes, a ‘travel book’. Let’s all three of us join together and head to purchase a ‘travel book’ at almost midnight.”
KAT: I think we definitely both know how to be girly and get our way when we need to.
NAT: We’ve had a couple little sayings during the race. One of them is you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
“We’re going to keep a low profile, ladies. I know how this works.”
“Oh. You actually did mean a travel book. Or did you mean we go to another section where we find some really interesting “travel books”? It wouldn’t be the first time.
Hell, the book above Kat’s head has bunny ears. They may not be too far off.
– They exit the shop. The man writes a note on the travel book. What does it say?
Dear Nat & Kat,
This is a huge turning point in the series. The male producers are plotting against you to let Thomas win. This is not a fake rumour, I wouldn’t waste your time or mine.
Just by watching you I feel I can trust you. That’s hard to find in reality TV.
Play the idol at the pit stop and save yourself. All the producers will be figuring a way to eliminate you, so act like you are going home.
You should try and get Thomas out. No matter what, when you play the idol, you will be safe.
xoxo BFFs forever JT
Okay. It actually says:
“Nat & Kat,
Calm winds of following seas. Best ????
13:6:10 (June 13th, 2010) – Edgar ????????
NAT & KAT: Calm winds of following seas?
MAN: It means bon voyage. Pleasant journey. That kind of thing.
NAT (sarcastic): Oh. I like that.
Nat is counting down the seconds before her lone act of flirting can come to an end.
– The man, knowing they really meant that all they wanted was a travel book, picks up his bags and walks away.
MAN: You guys be cool.
NAT & KAT: Alright, thanks again.
. . .
And he’s gone. Charm off.
It should be noted that this was a clever way to get around the rules.
In TAR 1-3, teams were allowed to beg for money.
In TAR 5-9, teams were only allowed to beg for money if they just finished last on a NEL and needed to raise funds.
Since then, there has never been a situation where a team has begged.
Nat & Kat get around this rule by politely asking somebody to purchase something of monetary value on their behalf and present it to them as a gift.
I absolutely love it when teams think of ways to outwit producers. Whether it be Doug Roobaker or getting a guidebook from Lonely Planet, any team who can bypass the rules of the race earn bonus points in my eyes.
Something tells me there will be a rule in place for TAR 18 where you can’t ask a local to buy a map for you.
– We fast forward to later in the evening.
Because Hong Kong is no longer part of the British Empire, the sun is allowed to set.
– So the plane is about to leave and–
Why are we back at Statue Park?
Oh right. Nick & Vicki are still in this thing. They not only arrived at unspecified time, but depart at an unspecified time as well.
WAYS TO FIGURE OUT WHEN A TEAM IS DEAD AT THE START OF THE ROUND ON THE AMAZING RACE
1) The most common way to know a team will be out is if all other teams are on a plane with a specified departure time, but the duo in last gets on a plane where its departure is unknown.
2) Everybody is shown what time they check out of the pit stop, and the last place team’s time isn’t even freakin’ displayed.
Since Nick & Vicki had a six hour penalty, the earliest possible time could be 11:26pm because that would position them as quitting immediately after Brook & Claire finished the task.
However, a more reasonable time would be somewhere hovering around midnight.
NOTE: According to Wikipedia, Nick & Vicki checked out of the pit stop at 11:45pm. This amazes me because that means they quit the Detour right around the same time that Brook & Claire finished the leg.
– Nick & Vicki are in a cab and ask the driver to go as fast as he can.
“Did you hear us?”
“And the players gonna hate hate hate, and baby I’m just gonna shake shake shake. . .”
Yeah, the cabbie is not a very social one.
– Nick talks about how the race has been a great way to acknowledge the flaws in their relationship.
And by flaws, he means his temper tantrums as producers show us a clip show of Nick being angry.
Do you know how sitcoms always air a clip show of past footage when it is the week of Thanksgiving? Well, here we get something exactly like that but just all of the times Nick says “Shut up” on the race.
Oh, and one of the clips shows Katie & Rachel in case you forgot they were on the race.
NICK: Good job reading it.
VICKI: I’m sorry, babe.
NICK: It’s fifth grade reading.
VICKI: I’ll take that–
NICK: Just go!
NICK: I’m not doing something so stupid like this!
(NICK tosses ring.)
VICKI: Babe, don’t throw!
NICK: Shut up!
NICK: Shut up; you have no common sense in your whole body.
NICK: If you stop, we go home.
VICKI: He keeps yelling at me!
*Cuts back to the present*
NICK: I was totally out of line.
Were you out of line?
Nah, I’m sure it was fine.
– Nick says he has treated Vicki like scum and promises to never blow up like that again.
He has held to his promise for two entire minutes.
– Nick delivers an ironic statement.
It would be cool if Ken & Gerard were brought back, but some things in life just aren’t meant to happen.
THOMAS: At the present time we are on this flight with Nat & Kat and Brook & Claire. We have not seen Nick & Vick but that doesn’t mean they aren’t right on our tail.
And it would be so cool if they were.
NICK: I have a feeling we’re still in this.
Based upon being seven hours or more behind everyone else who all checked out during the daytime.
No way. This can’t be. Are they really going to catch up?
“It’s gonna be close!”
Thomas checks around for Nick & Vicki while wearing the commemorative Bunn-Eh neck brace.
Vicki is working her magic!
Could it be?
AGENT: The first available flight is 12:25.
Holy crap. They do have a chance of making it on.
You may not be coasting after all, Nat!
You better be nervous, Jill & Thomas.
Or not. Suspense is over. The Seoul plane is gone.
– Nick & Vicki receive the devastating news.
The editors even translate the agent’s broken English. Laugh it up in the editing booth, guys.
Vicki follows this up with the funniest question of all.
Somebody is either not paying attention or is in serious denial.
VICKI: The flight all of the other teams went on already left.
NICK: Daaaang. I can’t believe that.
With a six hour penalty heading into this round. . .I kinda can.
– The agent comes up with a second flight which will be right on everybody else’s tail with Cathay Pacific.
Okay. Maybe not that close.
I love how Nick clarifies that she meant 9:30am as opposed to 9:30pm. Yes Nick, she meant you will be nine hours and five minutes behind rather than twenty-one hours and five minutes behind.
– Commercial break. An ad appears during this break.
Yeah. When teams are going to be arriving in Seoul at the start of the day, and Nick
& Vicki won’t get there until late evening, not even an equalizer can keep Nick & Vicki alive.
It is rare to see a team dead like this by the end of the first segment of an episode. Producers could have left out Nick & Vicki’s 9:30am departure time, but chose to eliminate all suspense. They want to reinforce the fact that a team being nine hours back, has a Speed Bump to complete, and competing in the middle of the night is royally f–ked.
As I said before, TAR 21 is the next occasion which sticks out in my mind as production not bothering to hide who will be eliminated.
It is incredible, though. Every penultimate round since TAR 12 has always had a crazy ending with a team choking late in the leg, and ultimately collapse under the pressure. That competitive blunder cannot happen this season.
Instead it was spoiled by last episode where a racer wanted to sleep under the pressure.
His was anything but a Dallas overlook because of how badly he wanted to win or Jenn insisting to take a bus or the other Jen who tried to hold it in as long as she could or Big Easy who couldn’t unscramble a five-letter word.
– We resume.
NICK: I can’t believe that.
VICKI: It’s alright. . .There’s not much more we can do. Hopefully somebody gets lost. . .or something.
NICK: It really comes down to a miracle.
“In the meantime, what do you want to do for the next nine hours?”
– We cut to the first plane landing in Seoul. We see various clips of Seoul.
Such as the all too familiar Seoul Tower.
Freeze! Look at all those people in downtown Seoul.
Freeze again! Why is nobody mugging for the camera?
It’s a slow jog for everyone. They know there is plenty of time before Nick & Vicki show up.
– Teams are jogging through the airport and load their bags into the vehicles. Lots of honking. Brook tells Claire not to yell at her, and vice versa.
– Thomas gives his thoughts on the Korea issue.
THOMAS: Just looking at the map and seeing how close North Korea was, not only knowing the issues between North Korea and South Korea, but also North Korea and a lot of the free world. It’s unbelievable.
Are you insinuating North Korea isn’t free? Kim is FREE to eat whatever he wants! That’s freedom of choice right there, my friend!
Jill is frightened.
Ah. Thomas’ gaping mouth is always a tell that he is uncomfortable.
– Anyways, teams start driving. Brook & Claire joke about the border.
BROOK: Maybe we could create an alliance with North Korea to look out for the other teams, and put em in timeout or something, that would work for us.
“I’m just sayin’.”
Create an alliance with North Korea? Who do you think you are? The USSR?
Lisa Ling was the only American woman to be allowed in North Korea. She would be able to make this alliance work.
In true Donald Trump fashion, Brook & Claire dive deeper into the solution for this diplomatic issue.
Brook and Trump even have the same lips when talking about these issues.
Speaking of Trump, there is something he said this week that is aligned with the thoughts of a racer from a previous season.
What is funny is Trump and Kelly both have the same opinion about POWs.
“You’re a loser and not a hero because you got captured. We prefer winners.”
BROOK: You know what? There’s conflict.
BROOK: Let’s go right to the HEART of it and put on our journalistic caps.
CLAIRE: Maybe we can solve something. Get the two leaders together. Talk it out.
BROOK: Here’s your new challenge–get a bullet proof vest and travel to the border and good luck.
CLAIRE: What side do you pick?
“Pick your bet!”
This is exactly how Brook & Claire solved the problem between the east and west in ‘97.
– Brook decides to pay attention to where she is driving and stop proposing peace treaties.
– Nat & Kat complain about how the signs on the highway do not have any English.
However, I think I could guess what that umbrella means. Half of Canada is on fire, and these lucky bastards get all the rain in the world.
– For the tenth time in nine minutes, Nat brings up the task of driving to the border.
NAT: Driving to the border–it was just such a politically charged adventure. I thought everybody had a little extra excitement.
TMI, Nat. TMI.
– Oh. Nick & Vicki’s plane is just preparing to leave Hong Kong.
“Don’t worry, you guys got this!”
NICK: Our mood today was just to stay positive, have as much fun as possible, and hope for the best.
Nick having as much fun as possible.
– In a deleted scene, Nick throws a fit on the plane because he does not have access to ESPN Ocho’s dirtbiking competition. If only Korean Airlines was welcome to the Ocho.
– Jill & Thomas park on the bridge. So do Brook & Claire. Lots of running. Nat & Kat are a little lost.
It has been a while since the teams have experienced round in a cooler climate.
– Thomas reads they must choose a rafting guide and ride a raft down the river.
In TAR 4, teams visited Rafting, South Korea. Today we take this in the literal form.
– Afterwards they will ride a humvee to the US Army Base at Camp Casey.
Which is a bit better than the base at Kamp Krusty.
Last week, Trump claimed 2, 300 of these Humvees were stolen from Camp Casey.
Brook & Claire pull out the rain ponchos for the first time this season. So much for flairin’ up the DMZ.
If Sukhi & Jinder read this clue, they would be asking “which way is downriver?”
– Jill orders Thomas to hustle in getting changed as Nat & Kat and Brook & Claire are right behind.
JILL: Hurry up! Let’s go! Let’s go! You took longer to get dressed than I did!
“You took long to get dressed. . .like a WOMAN!”
To be fair Jill, you are like 4’10”. There isn’t exactly a whole lot to dress.
The guy standing alone with the umbrella is lonely. Does he just hang out in the DMZ all day?
– Jill & Thomas take their raft down to the water.
Thomas fell right on his butt. Good stuff.
– Jill & Thomas start rafting. Water gets into the boat. A super Asian soundtrack starts playing. Claire also falls on the rocks but it is not as funny as Thomas’ tumble. She did squeal in a funny manner, though.
– Nat & Kat are heading down to the rocks too. Really light-hearted music plays. It reminds me of a song from the original Land Before Time when Littlefoot hatches from the egg.
– Brook & Claire are riding down the river with some interesting guides.
The first person to say “Is that Michael?” automatically loses ten points. I love the other guy’s sunglasses in the pouring rain.
By the way, the thing perched at the front of the raft is indeed the camera. Well-disguised for television, might I add.
Thomas is lovin’ it.
KAT: I went white water rafting many years ago. Obviously not in South Korea and definitely not in the DMZ area. So this was a whole new experience.
Really? You’re in the DMZ? I didn’t know!
Man, Nat & Kat are truly amazed to be in the DMZ.
What is there to worry about, Claire?
– Luckily nobody pulls a Teri & Ian and successfully avoids falling out of the raft. Nat & Kat’s raft hits a rock or something and is stuck.
Yes, retreat! You know what would be a great prank?
If right before the end of the task, they bring in a raft with North Korea’s colours from the other side of the river, and have it approach each team’s raft. Have one of them start chanting something in unison that translates to “You want to jump over a cookie” and see how much the teams start freaking out.
– Brook & Claire start celebrating on the raft.
Paddlin’ Cowboys in South Korea. Yee Haw!
Not to be confused with Isaac & William’s friend online who loves westerns, Mr. Haw Yee.
– Claire is terrified of another wave. She resorts to quoting 40 Year Old Virgin.
Sorry Zev & Justin. They beat you to a 40 Year Old Virgin reference by just one season.
Well, unless you count Connor & Jonathan who compared Katie & Rachel’s chests to a bag of sand.
– Jill & Thomas’ raft is nearing the Humvees. Military music commences.
If this were TAR Canada, the team who wins this season would win a Humvee each.
– Thomas gives another North Korea speech.
THOMAS: Being that close to North Korea and being that close to the DMZ was a pretty wild experience knowing what’s happened there. It’s a serious situation.
If only Jill was in the same Korea Relations 304 course that Thomas took in university, she may have had something to add.
– Jill & Thomas think the upcoming task will be a little rough because they “are dressed in helmets and in an army truck”.
That’s right, guys. You are about to directly engage with the North Korean army.
Not necessarily conscription, but conscription if necessary as William Lyon Mackenzie King would say.
Unfortunately this is the type of people you’re going to get when conscription is enforced.
Sorry William Lyon Mackenzie King.
Wait, you don’t know who William Lyon Mackenzie King is? Let me educate through this ballin’ rap.
– Brook & Claire enter the army truck.
I am sure their pink striped socks is well-suited for combat.
BROOK: This is what Claire and I do. This is how we roll. It is a normal day for Claire and I. I feel like I am in my own element at home.
Brook & Claire look like third graders ready to go trick-or-treating as their parents find the busiest cul-de-sac in town. It’s so much easier to walk on a flat surface!
– Nat & Kat are in a Humvee too. Nick & Vicki get into the fourth vehicle–nah, just kidding.
– We see Camp Casey. Oh god. It looks like the opening to every army you have ever seen.
Second to none?
I hear San Diego is the second largest city–everything from third to none does not compare.
I think they need a wider road for running. And what’s that one guy off on his own in the grass?
The Korean Tae Kwon Do master is not impressed.
I think he needs Kelly to show these recruits how it is done.
It’s like a bunch of recruits trying to be the next GSP.
– Jill & Thomas find the clue box. We see the Speed Bump board as well. Thomas is hopping with excitement. It is a Roadblock.
– Phil says this camp is just a few miles from North Korea. There is lots of US troops maintaining a vigorous training regiment in various martial arts, including Tae Kwon Do.
As opposed to Joe Son Do.
– Phil says teams will need to master the timing of the exercises to avoid the blows of a two hundred man fighting machine.
I would love to be the man to earn the distinction of punching Phil Keoghan in the ribs on camera.
I wish Jon Montgomery hosted this task instead of Phil. At least Monty would participate in the drills alongside the cadets.
Leave it to a US military group to hold a Tae Kwon Do lesson on a football field along the Korean border.
– The Roadblock task is far lamer than anyone could imagine. Teams will pick a headband and must match it with one of the two hundred soldiers on the field.
PHIL: They must find the soldier with the matching headband, and try not to get hit.
Unless you are Pam from Archer. Then you really want to get hit.
Is that a First Nations headdress inside of the star? This is such a random conglomeration of Korean, American, and Aboriginal symbols woven into this headband.
Wow. Even the US Army has more female representation than TAR’s winner circle to date.
– Once they complete the task, the soldier will do a leaping jump kick to break a board and reveal their next clue.
Camp Casey knows what’s up. However, the task would be much more interesting if they made the racers attempt to do this.
ROADBLOCK HINT: Who’s ready to be all they can be?
– Thomas volunteers to do it. I guess Jill is not ready to be all she can be. Untapped potential.
Up the stairs Rocky! To the. . .Schoonover Bowl?
Did they really name a football championship after that crying loser from TUF 10?
It is insulting teams can touch the headband but cannot wear them. Oh well.
THOMAS: Oh my god. There’s so many of them.
They are not robots, Thomas.
In twenty years from now, these men will be replaced by cyborgs.
– Brook & Claire are at the clue box.
BROOK: Who’s ready to be all you can be? MEEEEEEEEEEE.
CLAIRE: You can be all you can beeeee. Eeeeeeek.
Where did Squealing Claire come from?
– Brook & Claire keep squealing as they run to the football field.
Brook & Claire’s colours do not quite fit in with the black bandanas and camouflage.
What the heck is that move?
Why doesn’t she get a buzz cut like everyone else?
– Brook is having issues already.
BROOK: They all look the same!
The last time I heard somebody say that in a crowded area within South Korea, things did not bode well for them.
– Brook apologizes for getting into a soldier’s grill as she checks out his bandana.
Just pray the sensei does not call for a right hand.
– Brook keeps talking to him as if he is responding telepathically.
Jason Mraz’s less catchy alternative.
– Brook presents her bandana to a man.
It would have been funnier if he wiped his crotch with it then gave it back to her. He totally looks like the type of guy who would do that.
– Thomas makes his first guess and he is right.
Your reward: Watch a sweet freakin’ high kick.
– Thomas compliments the performance. Brook is still in agony. Thomas reads they must make their way on foot to the subway station and find Seoul World Cup Stadium. This is where they will find their next clue.
– It is a quick Roadblock because Nat & Kat have just arrived at Camp Casey. Kat agrees to do it.
– Brook has another bandana and starts making up her own moves.
CLAIRE: Focus, Brook, focus.
(BROOK does her high kick.)
CLAIRE: . .She’s not being focused.
Eh, Claire tried her best.
BROOK: I’m surrounded by ninjas!
“This is totally going to be the episode title. . .right?”
– Brook makes her next pick.
She chooses the shortest woman possible. C’mon Brook, you just need basic logic to figure out who to rule out from the get go.
– Holy crap Brook is right. She starts egging on the Tae Kwon Do expert.
BROOK: C’mon. Show me how tough you are.
“Swing batter batter swing.”
I think Brook has a future as a Tae Kwon Do expert.
– So we get prepared for the woman to break the board and–
What? That’s bulls–t!
He totally stole the spotlight by performing the kick without any sort of jump. Way to steal her thunder, buddy!
But don’t you dare steal MY thunder buddy!
Brook is showing off those skills.
And can Brook have any more of an 80s karate look right now?
She is awfully close to looking like Jimmy Lee.
– Brook claims she can read Korean now after completing that task.
– Jill & Thomas have entered the subway station. Jill is on the lookout for Brook & Claire.
JILL: Brook & Claire–haven’t seen them yet. Can’t miss em. They are just pink pink pink.
Only way you will see another person in all pink is if the DMZ has an annual cosplay festival today.
And of course, it wouldn’t be an episode of TAR 17 unless editors included yet another quick clip of the Jill Butt Cam. Seriously guys? Three episodes in a row where you have a pointless shot like this. You guys do know these are just forty minute episodes, right?
Just because this is a Korean leg doesn’t mean you automatically get to be included in this episode blog, PSY!
I know Nick & Vicki being nine hours behind means you have less exciting footage to show, but this is just ridiculous. -_-
– Kat matches the bandana. We see the greatest warrior of them all.
I think a piece of that board just landed in North Korea. That’s what happens when every adult gets to live their childhood dream of being able to perform Guile’s double somersault kick.
– Jill doesn’t see Brook & Claire as she and Thomas get on the train. Will Brook & Claire make it? Not if Brook is still stuck on the barrier as she is right now.
“Uhh, little help?”
The guard shoos Brook to the start of the gate.
– Brook & Claire are on the platform and see they barely missed the train.
BROOK: How did we miss that?
Well, it wasn’t because you were taking a selfie.
– Nat & Kat meet up with Brook & Claire. Nat is happy to be on the same train together.
NAT: Still haven’t seen Nick & Vick.
“They could be anywhere. I am so uneasy!”
They are hot on your heels as they begin crossing the East China Sea!
– Jill & Thomas enter World Cup Stadium. Jill trips over the rope.
It is not surprising seeing how the rope reaches the top of her legs.
Thomas gives a shoutout to his fans.
All zero of them.
And what is with TAR and soccer stadiums as of late?
We had to put up with this in TAR 16 as well.
I haven’t seen a stadium this empty since the finales of TAR 4 and TAR 8.
– Phil informs us South Koreans are major players on the international sporting scene.
PHIL: But what is it that makes them so successful? Whether to see if it’s a modern approach to training or a holistic approach to health and nutrition.
Judging by these two, I’m going to rule out the approach to health and nutrition.
That is some sweet grey hair that man possesses.
Dammit Phil, you’re blocking him!
– This Detour choice is between Full Throttle and Full Bottle.
– In Full Throttle, teams make their way on foot or by subway to the Mok-dong ice rink. Once there, they must don state of the art speed skating suits and skate a two-person relay for a total of twenty-four laps. When they finish, the coach will hand them their next clue.
If TAR 3’s Austria leg is anything to judge by, this task will be ignored.
– In Full Bottle, teams make their way on foot or by subway to Namdaemun Market. Here they must put on delivery uniforms and carry a total of six ginseng roots to a holistic centre. If all six bottles are delivered without being broken, the pharmacist will hand them a glass of ginseng tonic to drink. Once the glass is empty, they will be handed their next clue.
I think that root may be on roids. It’s 2010. Do we have effective drug testing yet?
How the heck is downtown Seoul this empty?
As long as ginseng is not a banned substance, Koreans will continue to guzzle it down.
Well, unless they drink so much that the pharmacists start looking like these women, and the brutal hangover sets in once they wake up in the morning.
And knowing how fatigued Phil is doing #12showsin21days, he may want to sample some of the ginseng himself.
– Because the second side of the Detour has a million instructions that involve navigating downtown Seoul, speed skating is obviously the better option.
– Thomas reads over the clue.
THOMAS: Speed skating. We suck at delivering stuff!
JILL: We do?!
Sorry. Jill’s exasperation when she hears they suck at deliveries cracks me up.
JILL: Can we take a cab?
THOMAS: It just said “For either Detour you must travel by subway or foot!
Thomas really is spoon feeding the information today.
– Brook & Claire and Nat & Kat both have the clue at the stadium. Both teams choose to ice skate.
BROOK: Can you ice skate?
CLAIRE: No. I haven’t ice skated since I was seven.
Oh, Claire. I can definitely relate.
BROOK: I’ll go really fast to make up for it. I can ice skate really good.
She wasn’t joking being an Ice Princess in the eyes of her husband.
– Claire mocks Brook in a confessional as she imitates Brook in the most slack-jawed yokel voice possible.
CLAIRE: I don’t know how to ice skate, and I know Brook she’ll be like “I was a professional ice skater when I was seven. I won three gold medals and bluhbluhbluhbluh.” It’s just like ‘this woman has done everything’ and me I’m like ‘uh, yeah, haven’t done that before’.
If this were season one where the filming schedule lasted 39 days, Claire may have been ready to spit watermelon seeds into Brook’s eyes by the tenth round.
– Brook talks down to Claire in the most passive-aggressive tone possible.
BROOK: So what are we doing Claire? What are we doing? We have to decide and get there quick. Guess we’re doing the ginseng cause Claire said she doesn’t know how to ice skate.
CLAIRE: We’ll ice skate but don’t sit there and scream at me when–
BROOK: No, let’s go. We’re doing the ginseng.
CLAIRE: No, I’ll ice skate just so I–
BROOK: But what we got to go, though. Whatever we’re doing.
Brook’s plan worked.
– Jill & Thomas are on the subway and give one of the more ironic confessionals of the episode.
THOMAS: We didn’t see any teams. That’s a good sign meaning we’ve got a little bit of a head start on these guys.
A little, Thomas? A little?
A little nine hour head start.
– Nick & Vicki get help in the airport from one guy who insists to follow him.
This is where miracles begin.
– Brook says she is being a good team player by doing the ginseng thing, but Claire says they will not have to because of Brook’s attitude about the situation. They are distracted by this fight to the point it works to their own disadvantage.
The blunder music plays as they hail down the taxi.
This is where miracles continue.
– Commercial break. We resume. The subway or on foot rule is repeated to us by Nat & Kat.
CLAIRE: If I suck at ice skating, I suck at it. If Nick & Vicki show up, then we’ll run as fast as we can and beat them in a foot race.
How much do you expect to suck at ice skating? Are you expecting to flip over and hit your head on the ice, splitting your face open, be rushed to the hospital to get seven stitches, be medically cleared to continue, and then be super cautious when finishing the task until Nick & Vicki are present?
Everything has been coming up Milhouse for Nick & Vicki since they met this guy.
NICK: We’re putting all of our eggs into one basket. That’s for damn sure.
By following a local who speaks near perfect English? I may be hesitant to agree with that.
– Nat & Kat rush to the subway but miss the next departure. Jill & Thomas celebrate not seeing any teams.
– Because Brook & Claire are already at the ice rink. They change into their outfits and it ain’t pretty.
Can’t. . .breathe.
BROOK: Okay. The attire. . .that was disgusting.
Not a fan.
BROOK: It was like a latex spandex. . .tight all over your body not easy to move in suit. Not the Brook & Claire flair when it comes to the ice skating suit. Not what we would have chosen.
C’mon, Brook. You are just upset the suit wasn’t pink.
– Jill & Thomas show up at the rink through legal means. Jill refuses to believe Brook & Claire are already there.
JILL (in a motherly tone): Thomas, are you almost ready?
THOMAS: Yes, I’m putting my skates on! Shut up!
JILL: Sorry dude, I’m just (trips into the wall)–wah oh!
Can Claire even see in that helmet?
Jill has officially tripped during all three route marker locations this round. Hilarious.
– Nick & Vicki follow the man to a convenience store. Why does the man need to stop?
Well, at least he was upfront about it.
– Nick & Vicki also admit they “need to toilet”.
You know what? This has to be a fun round for Nick & Vicki.
Think about it. You start the round knowing you have a zero percent chance of remaining in the race. This is already the second time you have been saved by a Non-Elimination round.
It is like you have been eliminated from the race yesterday, but producers are letting you do a bonus round without any benefits or consequences. This has got to be one of the most relaxing rounds of play a team has ever experienced on The Amazing Race.
– After needing to toilet, the man re-emerges with an offer for Nick & Vicki.
MAN: Are you hungry? One one.
Nick & Vicki are both eating something in the car anyway. The man keeps pressing them to eat more calories before heading to the border.
Eventually Vicki accepts the food. He returns to his car as they continue their voyage.
NICK: I knew you were good for something.
Ouch. But does he really want her, though?
Okay. Maybe he does want Vicki just a tad.
– We go to the ice rink. Brook coaches Claire to skate in the middle.
The real task will be for the coach to stop himself from laughing at the teams’ ice skating abilities.
Claire doesn’t know what to do.
– When I was skating in elementary school, I always had to use those walkers. Watching Claire brings back awful memories. Brook completes the first lap and tags Claire. She freaks out about Brook possibly pushing her too hard.
Tagging her on the butt? What is Brook? A baseball player?
– Brook comments on Thomas’ skating technique.
Running Thomas. . .on ice!
BROOK: I just loved watching Thomas. Click. Click. Click.
CLAIRE: He was like running.
BROOK (out of breath from laughing so hard): He’s running and I’m almost dying laughing.
– Brook then talks about Claire who was taking her sweet time on the track.
Brook is acting as if Claire was skating like a baby pony on ice.
– Brook tries to convince Claire to speed up but refuses to do so.
CLAIRE: This is not very elegant.
THOMAS: Don’t worry, Jill. We’re all gonna fall on our asses at least ten times.
(Two seconds pass when JILL tags THOMAS.)
I am amazed she doesn’t have more serious injuries judging by the number of times she has fallen thus far.
Remember how many times we saw people fall during the ice skating task from the second round of TAR Canada 1? Good times.
– Jill stumbles some more.
The ice rink is the last location where I want to be testing my flexibility.
– Jill & Thomas are ahead of Brook & Claire. Time made up on a penalty just like that.
But at what cost?
– We cut to Nick & Vicki. We are over twenty-nine minutes into the forty minutes of running time and they have yet to reach the first route marker. They follow the friendly man until he pulls over in the middle of nowhere.
Why are there no other cars on the road around here?
Oh right. North Korea.
– The man jumps out of his car and asks for the clue.
MAN: Picture! Picture!
Or maybe just wants a picture of Vicki. Who knows.
And Nick is in a love triangle just like that.
– The man shows the picture to the Korean army.
“Why do you want us to look at a picture of Ed Asner?
– The friendly man comes back to Nick & Vicki’s vehicle with the army’s answer.
He presents unhelpful news but in the friendliest of tones. How can you get mad at the guy?
NICK: He says “they also don’t know, but just follow me.”
Nobody thought it was possible, but I think Nick & Vicki have fallen further behind.
– Jill & Thomas have just six laps to go as Jill tags Thomas.
If only Jill had taken out Brook as well. I love how Jill has done so much damage to herself as if it were a six-person short track speed skating qualifier, but really it’s just her alone doing this to herself.
– Brook prepares for the next tag.
BROOK: On the bum–right where I like it.
She might like it a little too much.
THOMAS: Stay on your feet, babe.
JILL: Thank you Thomas. You don’t have to remind me of that.
Yes, as if Jill is intentionally bruising herself on purpose.
– Jill & Thomas are just one lap ahead of Brook & Claire. Thomas comes around once more.
Jill has trained herself to fear any sort of physical contact which could knock her onto her butt.
– We keep watching as Jill is shown trippin’ onto her butt once more before finishing. Jill & Thomas are done the task.
JILL: Did you see how many times I fell? It was ridiculous.
– Thomas reads that teams must make their way to Han Riverside Park. It has an alternate name of Yeouido Hangang Park. They will search for a statue to find their next clue.
Am I the only one who finds this odd?
How fitting for teams to travel to a statue in the shape of an airplane–where Nick & Vicki spent most of their time for this leg of the race.
– Brook & Claire finish the task just one lap behind.
BROOK: It’s America for the gold!
Claire definitely feels like a champion at the moment.
– Brook & Claire go to change.
BROOK: Well, cross that off the list.
Yes, the ever expanding list of things Claire never wants to do but was forced to do them anyway.
– Brook & Claire and Jill & Thomas both successfully hire a cab.
– Nat & Kat have arrived at the ice rink.
NAT: I grew up in Arizona. So I have a lot of experience with ice skating.
Since when did Nat suddenly turn into Ronda Pearson?
Oh, Nat was being sarcastic. Ronda Pearson remains to be the only female ice hockey enthusiast in all of Arizona.
Okay, don’t taze me Ronda! I’ll just. . .I’ll just keep talking about the race.
– During this time Kat skates on ten feet of ice in the longest time possible I have ever seen.
Almost. . .
Almost. . .
– Jill & Thomas’ driver laughs at them when Jill asks if he knows where to go.
The guy is such a prick. I love it.
– Jill & Thomas are still trying to figure out how Brook & Claire beat them there.
JILL: We didn’t even make one wrong turn.
JILL: And we got on the train ahead of them.
– Brook & Claire also have an interesting taxi driver.
CLAIRE (sarcastic): Thank you.
CLAIRE: Am I solo? No, I’m married. Getting married.
In South Korea, the ring don’t mean a thing.
CLAIRE: Yes, you are a comedian.
He is so winning.
– Jill still stresses over how Brook & Claire were able to beat them to the rink.
– The taxi driver starts mocking Brook & Claire by doing some sort of weird wolf howl and laughs.
– Brook imitates the guy’s laugh. She and Claire must really hate the guy.
You’re only going to encourage him to make wolf howls some more, Brook.
– Nat tags in Kat.
KAT: I am channeling my inner Apolo Anton Ohno.
You mean you are going to turn into a douchebag who gets addicted to ballroom dancing?
– Jill & Thomas exit their cab as they run into a park.
JILL: Sir, do you speak English?
THOMAS: No! No! C’mon.
THOMAS: Listen, you can’t ask old people.
Considering most of the audience for TAR is outside of the 18-49 demographic, I believe Thomas just pissed off the majority of the viewers.
Never have I seen such a disrespectful comment directed towards the elderly since I saw Ray and Meredith interact in TAR 7.
JILL: Whatever Thomas. What about this guy? Is he in your age range?
Remember, this is 2010. Judging a person’s age was still a difficult thing to do. The How-Old app had yet to be released to the general public.
– Brook & Claire are dropped off, and Claire finally escapes from the–
“Excusez, Miss Solo.”
“You don’t want to know what I learned at Camp Casey earlier today, old man!”
– Claire tries to say ‘bye’, but the man offers to shake her hand.
The handshake goes on for an awkward period of time. He is leaning his right cheek towards Claire. I can’t figure out why.
EWWWWWWW. Old person kiss!
BROOK: Kiss count is up to nine.
It should be noted Claire was diagnosed with camel flu when she returned to the United States at the end of this season.
There was an unaired clip where Brook had kissed the Korean taxi driver too and wished to date him. A couple years later, an audio tape leaked of her dad Hulk Hogan saying some not-so-nice racial phrases to describe Brook’s interest in the taxi driver.
– What’s hilarious is that Claire was eating/chewing food the whole time. I have never known somebody to ask for a kiss from a woman who was in the middle of consuming food. Wait until she swallows the damn thing, otherwise it’s just weird.
Thomas meanwhile asks for directions from a guy he deems to be a young stud.
– The officer is silent. Thomas proceeds to mime an airplane.
The cop will direct him to the airport.
Brook is catching up to Jill & Thomas, but Claire is dragging due to the fact she is losing her will to live after ice skating and kissing a wrinkly old comedian.
Jill & Thomas’ lead is officially gone. The cop doesn’t have a clue.
– Brook & Claire are first to the airplane statue.
BROOK: Make your way to the next pit stop!
CLAIRE: Awesome, awesome. Let’s go. Let’s go.
“Read the hell up and read the damn clue, Brook!”
– Phil informs us the pit stop for this leg is the Temple of Heaven which was built in 1897.
Wait. The Temple of Heaven is a pit stop on The Amazing Race?
This is a throwback to the very first season where it was also the location of the pit stop in Beijing, China during the eleventh leg. How the hell did they transport the temple from Beijing all the way to Seoul? Production value has shot up!
– The Temple of Heaven is an imperial shrine built for the one and only emperor of Korea.
Just like how Phil is the one and only host of TAR US.
– Brook & Claire take to the streets of Seoul (not before another instance of “C’mon Claire!”) and catch a cab.
Granted it’s not tough to catch the attention of a taxi when you’re wearing all pink.
– Jill & Thomas keep repeating the word “fly” to the patrol officer but he remains silent. Thomas tells him not to worry about it, and they move on.
– Nat & Kat’s coach is demanding they go faster, but they stick to the same painfully slow pace. Both had a ton of fun during this sloth-like task.
– They skate back to the entrance, and Nat informs her coach she is available for the next Olympics.
So that’s who took Victor An’s spot at the 2014 Winter Olympics! I think Russia got the better part of that exchange. If only South Korea tried to pick up the Hamelin brothers rather than Nat & Kat.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Yes, I do watch quite a bit of short track speed skating. Short track speed skating, Ski Cross, and Snowboard Cross are the only three winter sports I watch.
In other words, I only like the winter sports where people collide with their opponents.
– Nat & Kat have their clue and have a cab.
– Jill & Thomas see the clue box.
THOMAS: How does nobody know what an airplane is? There is a huge airplane.
This does not qualify as an airplane, Thomas.
– Brook & Claire are at the temple. The run to the mat.
But not before running past the unassuming local guy.
Phil has a top notch bodyguard for today.
For once, a racer’s costume is equally ridiculous as the pit stop greeter’s.
The tassels are flipped to the left after he slices up the eliminated team.
PHIL: Brook & Claire. . .
I think they know about the penalty.
PHIL: . . .You are the first team to arrive.
“Are you going to take the bait and celebrate?”
BROOK: . . .
CLAIRE: . . .
Yeah, not happening.
PHIL: However, you took a taxi from the Detour decision point through to the Detour. You were meant to walk on foot or take the subway.
Brook does a Cartman-like yell accompanied by a black-and-white flashback to their penalty.
PHIL: You broke that rule. It’s a nine hour penalty. So you’ll need to wait out that time before I can check you in.
Things just got a lot more interesting!
– Commercial break. We resume. The penalty is recapped.
Man, 8 1/2 hours of their penalty has already passed. Jill & Thomas and Nat & Kat have both checked in.
Okay, okay. I’m kidding.
The penalty is the standard thirty minutes. Nobody has arrived yet.
– Jill & Thomas have a taxi.
THOMAS: Temple of Heaven.
DRIVER: I don’t know.
THOMAS: Call. Or find anybody who speaks English.
Jill is overwhelmed.
“You want me to call English?”
I am very curious to know who he is calling.
JILL: Is anybody answering?
THOMAS: I need to speak to someone!
“Shut up, you American. It’s my mother. She thinks I went back to business school.”
“Talk to the hand because the face don’t wanna listen!”
– Nat & Kat are at the Airplane Statue.
– Jill & Thomas’ driver is SHOUTING into the phone. He definitely is calling his mother.
“And I said I will NOT go to Uncle Lee’s 80th birthday, Mother! What? You’re reinstating my curfew? I am forty-six years old, Mother! Just because I live at home doesn’t mean you can tell me what to do!”
He said something in Korean. . .and I have a feeling it wasn’t nice.
– Jill & Thomas start freaking out and try their darndest to open the door and get out.
Doors are their greatest foe yet.
– Jill & Thomas are on the road and find a new driver.
JILL: Alright, good good. He’s younger. Let’s go. Good.
Heh. Now Jill has the same prejudice towards older people.
Although an intense Jill & Thomas may be unwelcome in the eyes of any Korean taxi driver, regardless of their age.
There sure have been a lot of penalties this season.
– Jill & Thomas are at the Temple of Heaven. They run by Brook & Claire and onto the mat.
PHIL: Jill & Thomas, you’re the second team to arrive.
JILL & THOMAS: Yeah, we know.
“Just tell us we are one of the three teams racing for the one million dollars, already.”
PHIL: But Brook & Claire did incur a penalty.
PHIL: You are the first team into this leg of the race, congratulations.
“F–K YOU, CHAD & STEPH! EVERYTHING BALANCES OUT!”
I’m beginning to not like this guy.
– Phil informs them they are officially one of the three teams who will be running for the one million dollars.
But we all know they just want to hear that prize.
PHIL: And coming in first has its benefits.
THOMAS: Yes it does.
Not those types of benefits.
“Between now and the start of the next leg. . .you get to play with these red and yellow tassels dangling in front of me. Don’t be shy, just start flicking them. It’s like a kitten and a string of yarn, for crying out loud.”
– They have won a trip for two to Iguazu Falls for five days. Well, the Argentine side of it.
They’d probably still prefer Rio.
The gnome has to settle for cucumber eyes rather than funky fruit hats.
– Jill & Thomas are confident; Jill feels they deserve to be in the Final Three and worked hard.
– Nat & Kat are third to the airplane statue. Brook & Claire’s penalty keeps ticking away.
What did the Gatorade bottle ever do to you, Brook?
– Nat & Kat enter a cab. Nat tells the driver she is very late.
– Brook & Claire’s penalty is over. They are called back to see Phil.
“Gee Phil, I wonder what place we finished for this leg?”
SECOND PLACE: BROOK & CLAIRE
PHIL: You are one of the three teams racing for the one million dollars.
CLAIRE: With a timeout! With a timeout!
They had thirty minutes to rehearse this. Clearly choreography is not their strong suit.
What is Brook doing?
– Phil reminds them they could be the first (American) all-female team to win The Amazing Race. Just one leg to go.
– Nat & Kat are at the Temple of Heaven.
THIRD PLACE: NAT & KAT
Nat cries when she hears she is third.
– Phil brings up the all-female trivia to them as well. Nat thinks it is about time.
Stop being so overdramatic over a feat not being accomplished in seventeen seasons or the entire 9 1/2 year history of the show.
– Speaking of it being about time, Nick & Vicki finally reach the Seung-il Bridge.
Hustle guys! You’re still in this!
At least the helmet matches the colour of his bandana.
NICK: We knew we were WAY behind everybody else. We knew this was our last leg.
It’s pitch black and they have yet to do their Speed Bump.
NICK: Don’t squirt me!
We don’t need Phil to tell us the Speed Bump is to clean a tank. It reminds me of the plane cleaning task we saw in TAR 11’s Guam leg at the military base.
– They talk about boring relationship stuff and how Nick wouldn’t change Vicki whatsoever.
It’s strange to hear Nick talk like a rational human being for an entire episode.
– After Camp Casey’s Speed Bump, Nick & Vicki are supposedly sent straight to the pit stop.
“Welcome to the country of Seoul!”
Pssst. The pit stop greeter was joking.
– Nick & Vicki say they had a great time. Nick learned his tough guy image gets him nowhere in life.
VICKI: I went this entire race without killing him so I think it’s a good thing. It can only get better from here.
– Now it’s UFC promo time.
THOMAS: We’re here for one thing only and that’s to win this entire race.
NAT: It would be an honour to be the first girl-girl team to win.
BROOK: I feel so much pressure to be THAT team.
THOMAS: I could care less about any history making.
NAT: We believe in ourselves. We believe that we can.
BROOK: We want that title!
THOMAS: We’re going to win the million dollars.
So. . .Kat, Claire, and Jill are all left out of the promo, eh?
Could this really be the all-female team to win the race after all these years?
“No, because neither of them have a penis.”
Next Time on TAR: After a season of smashes and crashes, emotional highs and lows, history is on the line. A pair of high-spirited home shopping hosts and two determined doctors battle against the last man standing.
It’s the season finale you won’t wanna miss unlike other finales which you can miss. Which team has what it takes to win the one million dollars? And watch for a lame announcement regarding the next season of The Amazing Race.
So that’s it. Phil has set up the storyline for the finale. It is two pairs of vaginas hoping to topple the lone penis standing in the race to make history in the US version of TAR.
Of course, we went through this Final Three scenario before in TAR 11: Real All Stars when Charla & Mirna, Dustin & Kandice, and Eric & Danielle were in the Final Three.
This devastated nearly all of the viewers as Eric & Danielle, the team with the smallest fan base heading into the season and were under the radar for most of the season, came out of nowhere to win the crown. By the end of it I was the only fan of Eric remaining.
Seriously. People were either hardcore Charla & Mirna fans or hardcore Dustin & Kandice fans. Nobody was a hardcore Eric & Danielle fan.
It is an identical situation for TAR 17. Nobody really cared for Jill & Thomas all season long as much as they did for Brook & Claire and Nat & Kat.
This truly was the most buzzworthy season finale, but in the saddest development of all, Phil’s added hint for what is to come for next season overshadowed the best season TAR has had in years.
Can a Jill & Thomas victory take anything away from this season? Will Nat & Kat or Brook & Claire’s historic win inevitably make the next ten seasons of TAR look like crap? We shall soon find out.
NUMBER OF EPISODES A TEAM HAS BEEN MENTIONED IN THE ‘NEXT TIME ON’ SEGMENT
BROOK & CLAIRE 3
KEVIN & MICHAEL 2
NICK & VICKI 2
NAT & KAT 2
CHAD & STEPHANIE 1
GARY & MALLORY 1
JILL & THOMAS: 1
RON & TONY: 0
ANDIE & JENNA: 0
CONNOR & JONATHAN: 0
KATIE & RACHEL: 0
BROOK ROBERTS.CLAIRE CHAMPLIN 7.8
NAT STRAND.KAT CHANG 10.6
NICK DECARLO.VICKI CASCIOLA 3.4
JILL HANEY.THOMAS WOLFARD 8.10
Below is a list of all teams from seasons I have blogged to date, ranked by racing average.
e.g. Don & Mary Jean finished 9th, 8th, 8th, 8th, and 8th. Add up the numbers and divide it by the number of legs they have played.
Because of how long this list has become, I only show the relevant section where the eliminated team from this episode has fallen amongst the ranks of what TAR history has to offer.
Therefore their average is 8.2.
6th Gaghan Family 5.5 TAR 8
10th Alison & Donny 5.5 TAR 5
6th Tian & Jaree 5.43 FF TAR 4
8th Sahil & Prashant 5.4 FF. Beaten by a bunch of rules. TAR Asia 1
8th Katie & Rachel 5.4 Had all of the tools to finish with a 5.4 ratio TAR 17
4th Meredith & Gretchen 5.36 Saved by NEL twice TAR 7
7th Monica & Sheree 5.33 FF TAR 4
7th Marshall & Lance 5.33 TAR 5
9th Monique & Shawne 5.33 TAR 16. Praise Jesus.
9th Debbie & Bianca 5.33 TAR 7
7th KevJumba & Michael 5.29 TAR 17. NEL once + Heather & Eve Syndrome.
7th Gus & Hera 5.29 TAR 6
4th Nick & Vicki 5.27 TAR 17 Saved by NEL twice
6th Joe & Bill All Stars 5.25 Saved by NEL once TAR 11
8th Bob & Joyce 5.25 TAR 5
8th Lorena & Jason 5.25 U-Turned TAR 12
5th Mark & Michael 5.22 Saved by NEL once but came up just short TAR 14
3rd Andrew & Dan 5.18 Saved by NEL once TAR 13
7th Silver & Gold/ Wil & Grace 5.17 TAR 3
6th Kelly & Christy 5.14 TAR 13
5th Chad & Stephanie 5.11 U-Turned TAR 17
7th Ray & Deana 5.0 FF TAR 7
7th Melody & Sharon 5.0. Screwed over by weird penalty for another team. TAR Asia 1
9th Steve & Josh 5.0 FF TAR 4
9th Pat & Brenda 5.0 FF TAR 1
9th Mark & Bill 5.0 Wah. TAR 13
Rank the Teams
1) Nick & Vicki
I kept going back and forth as to whether I rank Nick & Vicki just above Gary & Mallory or just below them.
If TAR 17 was Gary & Mallory’s only appearance in the TAR timeline, they would have ultimately won this coin toss.
However, Nick & Vicki were never invited back, and I feel they deserve some recognition for what they contributed to this season.
In the minds of many casual fans, Nick & Vicki are viewed as plain ol’ quitters. Nick’s desire to forfeit the Detour during the Final Four NEL in Hong Kong is the reason why only two seasons between TAR 18-24 will feature a Final Four NEL. The other five seasons will transition to using all of the NELs by top five or earlier.
If you can get past this incident, Nick & Vicki were a unique team. Nick has a personality that you would never see cast on a show like TAR.
He is not family-friendly, he does not have the type of patience of a man who would put up with the whole reality TV casting process, nor the type who would seem interested in being on a reality TV show in the first place.
But he went through it all and got cast. With Vicki. Vicki is a bit more believable as someone who would want to be on TAR, but it is amazing she was willing to drag Nick onto the race with her.
They didn’t know what a battlement was nor that London is a city rather than a country.
Remember Vicki doing the geography Roadblock in Ghana? She had the whole damn continent covered.
Some will say they are the least deserving of anyone to make it to the Final Four because they finished last in two NEL rounds. Well, that’s not true as their first NEL save was actually a production error because the Russian maestro decided to screw over everybody at the Detour.
So yes, the only time they got saved was when Nick was just done with the clowning around and goofy nature of the race. Probably all of that clowning around reminded him of his grandmother’s house.
But in all seriousness, seeing Vicki be super rational as Nick openly mocked her asthma, told her to shut up repeatedly when it was him that didn’t have an ounce of common sense in his body, and Nick having to sell sunglasses to the locals of Accra provided a lot of highlights.
Just think about the content of the conversations Phil was forced to have with them each week. Phil probably had too much fun messing with them all season long.
In short, Nick & Vicki managed to be the bickering dating couple but did so in the most entertaining light possible. They weren’t like Joseph & Monica, Garrett & Jessica, or Rob & Kim where you patiently wait for them to be erased from your screen.
For what Nick & Vicki contributed in just one season of TAR is pretty impressive. Especially for being categorized in the relatively bland bickering young dating couple archetype. They did it in their own unique way.
2) Gary & Mallory
3) Chad & Stephanie
4) Connor & Jonathan
5) Andie & Jenna
6) KevJumba & Michael
7) Katie & Rachel
8) Ron & Tony
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
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) Hong Kong, China -> Seoul, South Korea
This is the weakest round of the season we have seen in a while.
Perhaps the funniest thing about this round is that they did in white water rafting in the same county, Cheorwon, which was used in TAR 4 where teams visited a town called Rafting to do the ice water Roadblock. Apparently you either do rafting the activity or visit Rafting the city when in Cheorwon.
Okay, not really funny so much as it is a coincidence.
Or that other coincidence where the pit stop was at the Temple of Heaven which shares the same name of a pit stop used in China during TAR 1?
The eleventh round of TAR 17 was in South Korea with four teams just like how the eleventh round of TAR 4 was in South Korea with four teams too.
Seventeen seasons in and things are bound to repeat.
The biggest contrast between this visit and TAR 4’s visit is that this was a summer round as opposed to being in the middle of the Korean winter.
The outcome for this leg was confirmed just seven minutes into the episode. Knowing a team was nine hours behind without an equalizer in sight meant that you were stuck watching the round for the drama and comedy rather than for the competitive elements.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t quite as much drama and comedy this episode as one needed.
The ice skating task was alright as Jill fell a bunch of times and Thomas tried to run on skates.
Brook & Claire entered a military base next door to North Korea and wandered the streets of Seoul in bright pink clothes. This was before Brook mentioned her three gold medals in ice skating.
The Roadblock to match a recruit’s headband at Camp Casey might be the biggest letdown of any task to be held at a military base full of Tae Kwon Do experts. There were so many more cool things they could have done given their location, but ignored all of those possibilities. Sigh.
Brook & Claire knowing they would receive a penalty was amusing.
Jill chastising Thomas for discriminating against old people before doing so herself was one of the best pieces of subtle comedy all season long.
Oh, and did you know they travelled close to the North Korea border? Did you know that? Or did you know that we are just one round away from history being made by the first all-female team potentially winning a season of TAR in the US?
11) Narvik, Norway -> St. Petersburg, Russia
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