TAR 18 Episode 1 (Episode Blog #261)
“I Am Between the Poorly Chosen Teams and the Cringeworthy Opening Twists”
TAR 1-4: Original Era
TAR 5-9: Revitalization Era
TAR 10-13: Transition Era
TAR 14-16: Static Era
TAR 17: The Exception.
TAR 18-24: Funky and Inconsistent Era.
AUSTRALIA – JAPAN – CHINA – INDIA – AUSTRIA – LIECHTENSTEIN – SWITZERLAND – BRAZIL – UNITED STATES
After my two-part introduction to this season, I can finally start blogging about the episodes. Five teams from TAR’s most unpopular season takes on six pairs of legitimate competitors. It is time to see how this race plays out.
Ah. The California morning sun in all of its smoggy glory.
Oh, and wind turbines as far as the eye can see.
Phil introduces us to Palm Springs as the second windiest place on Earth. It probably makes the golf course a helluva challenge to play.
PHIL: It’s a city on the forefront of modern energy technology.
Okay. Palm Springs likely paid a bit of money for this spot.
Change ‘likely’ to ‘certainly’. Was that rainbow photoshopped in?
It doesn’t matter where the starting line is located. The TAR tradition is that Phil must look tiny within the first few seconds of each season thanks to a high budget helicopter shot.
PHIL: From this iconic landscape, ten teams of Amazing Race favourites will embark on one more race around the world.
“Favourites”. Air quotes are necessary, Phil. Note that he said these teams will embark on “one more race around the world” as a loophole to hint at bringing back some of these teams for a third time.
In other words, we’re chumps.
Oh, and I love how Phil is struggling to keep his eyes open because of the wind.
PHIL: One more chance to win The Amazing Race and one million dollars.
You’ve got some hair sticking up in the middle, Phil.
Two seconds in and he’s already rockin’ the Alfalfa doo.
Wow. I thought my home in the Okanagan was the Mecca of the North America Retirement Community, but teams heading to the start of the race in Palm Springs via golf cart may have us beat.
You can’t quite hear it over the windy audio, but Jet & Cord are already comparing steering this golf cart to steering a bull.
– Of course, Jet & Cord are introduced first. Their soundtrack is already playing.
PHIL: Jet & Cord, Brothers, cut in front of by eventual winners Dan & Jordan at the Shanghai Airport.
Actually, that’s not why they lost, but whatever Phil.
Jordan is not impressed either.
JET: I’d go over and kick his teeth in.
CORD: Yeah, that wouldn’t go over so good.
Their flashback is them threatening physical violence against another team. Are editors trying to be funny? If so, they succeeded.
JET: I don’t like we have to cheat win the race. I don’t think nice guys ALWAYS finish last.
CORD: I’d like to think I am a pretty nice guy.
Well, their lack of self-perception hasn’t changed.
JET: You keep thinking that, Cord.
This is coming from the guy who had a clip shown two seconds ago stating how he would like to literally bash somebody’s teeth in. Yeah, they are, uh, really swell and passive dudes.
It doesn’t matter, though. The viewers are basking in their cowboy glow.
PHIL: Margie and Luke. Mother and son, on the brink of winning it all only to be tripped up by the last task.
Three-timers get to be at the front of the line.
MARGIE: Don’t give up!
LUKE: I dunno.
“The guy who flipped us off from his car in Russia is going to win. Do you think he’s Chinese?”
MARGIE: Luke felt so bad that I was so far from let down.
Let it be known that I will never be intentionally taking funny screen caps of Luke when he is speaking to the camera in sign language. I am simply screen capping the subtitles on occasion, and I am not going to care too much about the exact screen cap that I get from that one second window.
Yes, Flight Time & Big Easy are definitely the third team introduced.
I wonder if they get super pissed if you call them Herb and Nate? And is it really that cold in California?
PHIL: Flight Time & Big Easy, Harlem Globetrotters, who were stumped by Franz Kafka in Prague.
I don’t remember the Kafka part. I think it was just Franz.
FLIGHT TIME: The last time we were on the race, Big Easy got us eliminated.
Flight Time cannot even finish his sentence before Big Easy starts laughing at himself.
Flight Time takes it to a whole new level.
Three X’s? Either Franz Kafka was into some freaky erotic sh-t or a big fan of Vin Diesel.
BIG EASY: We’re going to take the penalty for not doing the Roadblock.
Flight Time is so disappointed he can’t muster up the energy to pull somebody else’s pants down as a joke.
I love how far up Phil had to look to eliminate them.
Four hours is a long time.
FLIGHT TIME: Being Globetrotters, we’re used to winning so we’re ready to carry on the winning tradition we’re used to.
BIG EASY: We’re easy on the eyes too. So if I had to look at me for an hour, I would do it.
This is a challenge! Somebody post this screencap of Flight Time & Big Easy to YouTube and create a video called the Big Easy on The Eyes One Hour Challenge, and see how many obsessed fans would try to look at the screen for the whole hour.
Now to our fourth team.
PHIL: Mel and Mike, father and son, who broke away from the pack and wandered off course in Thailand.
Wow. Mel is grimacing in pain and the race has yet to start.
MIKE: Everybody seemed to be like in a herd, and that herd is going totally different from where we are.
Mel is wincing in his flashback. Are editors refusing to take the hint?
Phew. Mel isn’t experiencing discomfort in this shot but he is resembling Jack Nicholson’s version of The Joker. I am not sure if that is any better.
MEL: I am seventy now. Be careful because seventy years is coming on strong.
“It is as strong as Mike’s slowly receding hair line.”
MIKE: I am shaking in my boots.
He really is.
Onwards to our fifth team.
PHIL: Kent & Vyxsin, Dating Goths, who self-destructed in Italy.
“STOP THIS CART, VYXSIN! STOP THIS CART!”
KYNT: STOP THIS CAR, VYXSIN! STOP THIS CAR!
“And I’ll snag your fedora because I think it’d be hilarious.”
KENT: You’re not capable! I’ll jump out right now.
I really really really wanted to see Kent attempt a dive roll out of a moving vehicle on national television.
– We then cut to Phil eliminating Kent & Vyxsin from the race.
This is another inaccuracy presented to the audience. The leg in Italy was a Non-Elimination. Kent & Vyxsin were only eliminated because they U-Turned a team who was ahead of them during the Mumbai leg.
VYXSIN: Kent and I are looking forward to redemption.
KENT: The pink and black attack is back!
(VYXSIN starts clawing at the camera.)
I have never been less intimidated in my life.
Ready for our fifth team?
PHIL: Gary and Mallory, father and daughter, who lost their way in Oman.
There you go, Phil. That statement is actually correct.
“Look, pa! One hand!”
MALLORY: Help Mary full of grace, help us find this place.
Where you at, Mary?
“Oh. Middle East Tour is not until next week.”
MALLORY: Running the race with my dad for the second time. . .I’m more excited about this than I was for Miss America.
GARY: . . .
lol. Gary is shut out from speaking once again.
To the sixth team!
PHIL: Kisha and Jen, sisters, who took an untimely break from the pit stop in Beijing.
JEN: Oh! I’m about to pee on myself!
“Hey Superman! That isn’t a phone booth!”
I don’t know why, but the man standing outside of the stall amuses me to no end. Why is he just staring at Jen’s door?
PHIL: Kisha and Jen, I’m sorry to tell you, but Jen didn’t wash her hands before touching Kisha’s Travelocity Roaming Gnome. That is a thirty minute sanitation penalty and you have been eliminated from the race.
Geez, Jen. How can you see well enough to drive with the brim of your hat so dang low?
JEN: We’re here a second time to not make the same mistakes we made the first time. I will not drink four bottles of water on the way to the pit stop.
KISHA: That’s probably a good idea.
“Because I will drink SIX bottles of water on the way to the pit stop!”
Ah, our seventh team.
PHIL: Zev and Justin, Best Friends, conquered by their own carelessness in Cambodia.
And are have been busy raiding another team’s wardrobe.
JUSTIN: We’re here to win it.
ZEV: I was here to win it last time.
JUSTIN: But I was here for the–
ZEV: But somebody lost my passport!
Man. I have a feeling Justin has been pwned in every single conversation like this over the past eighteen months.
JUSTIN: From last to first and we lose this passport.
And it’s been a long eighteen months.
JUSTIN: There’s no way we’re losing this passport again.
ZEV: Do you have our passport?
JUSTIN: Not on me.
Huh. That was quick–oh wait. He was kidding.
To the eighth team!
PHIL: Ron and Christina, Father and Daughter, baffled on their way to the finish line in Alaska.
CHRISTINA: I lost our lead because I stumbled at the final Roadblock.
More like an outright meltdown.
This will be the only time she is allowed to drive all season.
CHRISTINA: We definitely had the goal of being the first parent-child team to win the race, and that goal remains the same.
Christina’s goal of winning the race remains the same. . .
While Azaria’s goal of hitting that also remains. Twelve shows in 21 days? That’s a brutal three weeks for him.
Let’s talk about our ninth duo.
PHIL: Jaime & Cara, former NFL Cheerleaders, who travelled off course to the final challenge in Hawaii.
Jaime is signalling for her fans to bow before her.
JAIME: Can we please get a move on? We’re either going front or we’re going back. Which is it?
Or not Julia Roberts?
JAIME: People either loved us and our style of racing or they hated us.
What happened to their hair?
JAIME: Do I think when Phil says ‘go’ I’ll be able to reign myself in? No, I don’t think so. If I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it.
“Do I think anyone is going to stop me from quitting my job as a police officer and transition into posing for adult magazines? I don’t think so.”
Let’s tally up Phil’s accuracy regarding how all ten teams were eliminated during their first attempt on TAR.
ACCURATE STATEMENTS: 8 INACCURATE STATEMENTS: 2
Not bad, Phil. Not bad.
– Oh, and Amanda & Kris were in the third golf cart. Oops. Nearly forgot.
PHIL: Which of these “favourite” teams will make the most of this ULTIMATE second chance?
Hopefully Kelly Wiglesworth–oh wait.
– Phil rounds up all ten teams.
Phil gives them the all too familiar instructions.
PHIL: Welcome back, everyone!
(Pause for cheering.)
PHIL: In just a few minutes you’ll be racing around the world. . .AGAIN!
(Pause for more cheering.)
PHIL: Now the last time you raced some of you came within inches of victory, but there isn’t a winner among any of you. Well now you’ve all been given a second chance to settle some unfinished business. Teams are you ready to race around the world one more time?
We get it. Jesus. They have all played once before.
– Phil explains the Express Pass twist.
Remember, this is only the second time where the Express Pass has been featured on TAR. They didn’t know how pointless it would be back then.
Although I do like how Luke doesn’t understand why there needs to be an Express Pass after Margie signs the explanation. He is as wise as I am.
Why does Phil have a clue in his back pocket? I don’t think I am going to like what is about to happen.
PHIL: Trust me, you want the Express Pass.
Trust is a word you shouldn’t be using after casting four teams from TAR 14 and Jet & Cord.
– Teams are still excited about the million bucks.
PHIL: Now since you are all returning teams, you think you know how everything is gonna go. Well think again. Because this race is going to be very very different. Starting right now.
Actually, the race is going to be very similar to recent seasons, and what is about to happen is almost identical to what happened a couple seasons earlier.
This is why trust is a tough word, Phil.
PHIL: See your bags over there?
“I defecated on all of them. Even yours, Luke.”
PHIL: Look. There’s no clue on top of any of them.
WHAT A TWIST!
PHIL: That’s because your first clue in my hand right here.
“I am a better hand model than Oswald or Danny. Suck it, Team Cha Cha Cha.”
PHIL: To get it, you’re going to have to find something in the desert and bring it to me. Your search field is on the other side of the road over there.
These paper planes are all part of a plug of M.I.A.’s new album. Hey, the budget is getting tight for TAR!
PHIL: The first eight teams to bring me what I need will be on the first flight. The other teams will be on the second flight that lands about ninety minutes later.
Luke’s dreams are being shattered as we speak.
It should be noted this is the reverse of what we will see in TAR 16 and TAR 27. TAR 16 had the infamous “only three teams on the first flight” twist, while TAR 27 gave one team a lousy thirty minute head start while everybody else was assigned to the other flight.
This format, however, is much more brutal. When the goal of TAR is to not be last, being alone with one other team trailing everybody else by ninety minutes means you have a 50/50 shot of being eliminated.
Unlike TAR 27 where you feel much safer because your chances of going home, barring no one screws up, is only ten percent.
PHIL: But there’s something else. The last team to complete this challenge will receive an Automatic U-Turn. That’s right. That team will have to complete both sides of the first Detour that you encounter. The stakes are high, and as you know, second chances don’t come free.
Second chances don’t come free? Does this confirm everyone had to pay off “Jodi” to be on this season? That makes sense now.
And this Automatic U-Turn twist is dumb. As I said in my TAR 18 Introduction, every team to be U-Turned since the twist began in TAR 12 has been eliminated from the race. No U-Turned team has ever defeated an unaffected team in that leg of the race.
You may as well copy the TAR 15 twist and save the team the humiliation of playing through a round where they are certain to be dead.
Screwing over a team because of a task involving paper planes in the middle of Palm Springs is downright stupid.
PHIL: When I give you the word, you can run into the desert, bring me what I want, and if you’re correct, read the clue and jump into one of the 2012 Ford Focuses waiting for you. Then you can drive yourselves to Los Angeles International Airport.
This is indeed the beginning of TAR’s invasive relationship with Ford.
PHIL: Now listen very carefully because this is what I am looking for in the field. Queensland And Northern Territories Aerial Services.
“Or condoms. Whatever you pick up is completely up to you.”
“What did he say about Queensland? Is it another pageant? And what are condoms?”
Huh. I just learned a new acronym today.
– The world is waiting for them. Good luck. Travel safe. Go.
Ron went down quick.
– Christina finds PAN AM. She says if it is not correct then pick up QANTAS. Phil rejects the PAN AM paper plane.
I love how much Phil has to squint to read it because of the wind.
– Mel thinks it is QANTAS. So does Zev.
Jet is up to his old tricks.
The closest thing to snow in the California desert.
– Jet & Cord also see ‘QANTAS’. Lots of running.
Which is not good for Mel.
A seventy year old man won the opening task of TAR 18. Wow.
– Zev & Justin finish the task in 2nd. Jet & Cord in 3rd.
Phil tries to handle this mob.
– Phil glances at Kisha & Jen’s guess.
Needless to say Kisha is stumped.
Phil tosses the paper plane Luke made for him. C’mon Phil. Why do you have to be such a douche?
– Mel reads the clue next to his 2012 Ford Focus. They must fly to Sydney, Australia. The top three teams are in their cars.
CORD: It’s the opportunity of a lifetime. . .again.
JET: Saddle up, partner!
Yes, a Jet & Cord quote cues up the intro. Nothing out of the ordinary so far–
WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?!
He has the same facial hair as my dad.
– Anyways, Luke stumbles and eats it on the desert floor. Kynt & Vyxsin and Ron & Christina both have the QANTAS plane. So do the Globetrotters.
– Gary asks Mallory to systematically look through it.
– Kent & Vyxsin finish the task in 4th. Vyxsin is exhausted. Ron & Christine are done in fifth. Globetrotters in sixth. Margie & Luke seventh. Jaime & Cara eighth. Only two teams remain.
Somebody hasn’t worked on their cardio in the past four years.
– Kisha finds QANTAS. She and Jen are on the second flight. All about avoiding the Automatic U-Turn.
– Yes, this leaves Gary & Mallory all alone on the course with Amanda & Kris.
Mallory tries to summon St. Anthony.
The same saint Rob Mariano tried to ask for help when in Miami for the final round of TAR 7. You may want to request a more helpful saint.
– Commercial break. We resume. Mallory figures it out on her own. Gary & Mallory run and submit their paper plane. For some reason, Phil does not give them the Automatic U-Turn. I am glad he changed his mind at the last second. Nevermind, it’s because Amanda & Kris are still there. They get U-Turned once again on TAR.
Maybe Anthony isn’t such a bad dude after all.
– Teams are at LAX airport and immediately put on the plane. This is what happens when we are over a third of the way into the episode.
FIRST FLIGHT (10:20PM): MEL & MIKE; ZEV & JUSTIN; JET & CORD; RON & CHRISTINA; FLIGHT TIME & BIG EASY; KENT & VYXSIN; MARGIE & LUKE; JAIME & CARA
SECOND FLIGHT (11:50PM): KISHA & JEN; GARY & MALLORY; AMANDA & KRIS
– And now we get to condense a full day of travel into a ten second clip.
Now look at the moon–in HD!
I highly doubt that is a shot of the exact plane the leading teams are inside at the moment.
– Well, they may not be leading anymore. Devastating news is delivered to them by the pilot.
A medical emergency? What happened?
Did Josh pull his hamstring while sprinting for the seat that is second closest to the front of the plane?
JAIME: Oh my gosh. A man had a heart attack.
“So this is what happens to a TAR fan who boards a plane and sees Jet & Cord as well as a bunch of TAR 14 teams altogether.
Don’t look at him like that, Jaime. It’s not like he was wearing sandals with those socks. Okay, she is upset because the lead is gone.
– Teams are told that they will be making an emergency landing in Honolulu.
“Oh my god, we’re going to be last.”
“Oh my god, we’re going to be last.”
“Where did you come from,
Where did you go?
Where did you come from, Cotton Eye Joe?”
If Jet wasn’t listening to awful country music on his headphones, he would be up to date on what was happening. I hear Lips of An Angel is up next on his iPod.
“Oh my god, we’re going to be in last.”
Only when carrying teams from The Amazing Race does a captain need to apologize for somebody having a heart attack.
“Oh my god, we’re going to be in last.”
ZEV: Our ninety minute lead just evaporated.
JUSTIN: The first plane just turned into the second plane. We went from racing for first to racing for last.
“The worst part of it all is we tried to get into first class by saying we are apart of the Harlem Globetrotters, but none of the flight attendants believed us for some reason.”
– So everyone is super pissed that their lead is gone. That is by far the biggest travesty to happen in this situation.
BIG EASY: The most important thing is that the guy is fine and he’s okay.
Didn’t you listen to the other seven teams, Big Easy? The most important thing is that you guys LOST YOUR NINETY MINUTE LEAD DURING A SECOND ATTEMPT TO BE AMAZING RACE CAMERA WHORES. Dangit Big Easy, why don’t you see the big picture in all of this?
But seriously, it’s hilarious how this scene is edited. Everyone is scared and angry because they are now at the back of the pack, and only one out of the sixteen racers has any sympathy for a guy who suffered from a freakin’ heart attack flying above the Pacific Ocean.
You’ll be snickering whenever you see this scene from now on. You’re welcome.
– Ah. Now it is daytime in Sydney. Lots of scenic shots.
– Some guy introduces us to his city.
SOME GUY: Welcome to Sydney. . .Australia!
“Look at the giant pair of sandals behind me!”
This is bugging me. I know this guy.
Oh my god. It’s the pit stop greeter from the Sydney leg in TAR 2. The same freakin’ guy. He has waited sixteen seasons for TAR US to return to Sydney.
So even the pit stop greeters make a returning appearance to TAR 18 as well? What the hell could the pit stop greeter’s Unfinished Business be? Not being enthusiastic enough at the mat, or refusing to clock Phil in the face to show Aussies will always boss around Kiwis?
You may have heard of the old lady who lives in a shoe, but I bet you haven’t heard of the eccentric old man who sleeps in a sandal.
– When teams land in Sydney, they must take a train to Sydney Harbour. Once there they must board a ferry to head to Oceanworld in Manly. This is where teams will find their next clue.
Which is much more pleasant than Waterworld.
Especially the Virtual Boy version.
Because this is a season of returnees, we will take a quick glance at who has the advantage going into a previously visited country.
AUSTRALIA: Nobody. Everyone is on a level playing field.
– The first plane lands. Kisha & Jen and Gary & Mallory make it to the same train. Mallory thinks she is in the top two.
– Jen asks how Mallory would know this.
MALLORY: A stewardess guy came up to us and said Flight 12 hasn’t landed yet.
I love how the Asian woman on the train is much happier about this than Jen.
MALLORY: Aren’t y’all excited?
JEN: No, I think you’re a liar.
(Cue the KISHA laugh.)
“Lie? What does that word mean, Daddy?”
Does anybody know anything about Kentucky, though?
– The two teams exit the train and board the ferry to Manly Oceanworld.
He was the runner-up in the contest to being the pit stop greeter in TAR 2. Now he is stuck hanging around ferry terminals.
I love the contrast in personalities when it comes to Mallory and Kisha & Jen.
MALLORY: Man, this is too good to be true.
Is that supposed to be a pun, Mallory?
– The “first” flight lands. All eight teams scramble to catch the train. Mel is in such good shape he heads straight for the elevator, but Mike insists on the escalator.
I do have to give kudos for Margie & Luke having to run this way. It’s really their only option given Luke’s hearing impairment.
– Big Easy makes a funny sound as they board the train. Zev & Justin are also on. Margie & Luke are on. So are Kent & Vyxsin. And Jaime & Cara.
Vyxsin really wants those doors to close. Kent is focused on something else.
– Ron & Christina are close to the train. Cara sees em.
Now she don’t.
– Luke and Jaime cheer.
At least Ron missed the train in style, though. Those flip sunglasses are trendy.
THE SECOND TRAIN: GLOBETROTTERS; MARGIE/LUKE; GOTHS; JAIME/CARA; ZEV/JUSTIN
– Mel & Mike, Jet & Cord, and Ron & Christina are stuck waiting together for the next train.
– The first ferry lands in Manly. Gary & Mallory are first to the Roadblock clue. Kisha & Jen and Amanda & Kris are right there too.
HINT: Who is ready to get tanked?
– Phil says teams will have to deal with their most primal fears. It is time to face off against the deadliest creatures in the sea.
Looks like they are ready to take away Bethany’s other arm.
– Some of these sharks are sixteen feet long.
PHIL: And a stingray as big as a queen-sized bed!
Hey, we just saw him in the intro! Did you know he is also as soft as a queen-sized bed? It’s the friendliest stingray I have ever seen.
– One team member must search for a compass somewhere on the floor of this 1.5 million gallon tank.
For the racers’ sake, I hope this is not the time they choose to jump the shark.
This would be the perfect task for Kevin O’ Leary. Are you really as bad as those sharks as you say you are? Or are you still a wimpy little baby dragon on the inside?
– If you thought this was TAR 4 where the task in an Aussie shark tank ends with retrieving the item from the tank’s floor, you are mistaken.
Once they are out of the tank, teams will see a bunch of nautical flags outside.
The Manliest flags ever to be created.
– Teams must match each flag to the corresponding letter OR number on their compass.
‘I’ as in “I give up because this task is difficult by American TAR standards”.
These two Dream Teamers are neck and neck right now!
– Once they have finished decoding the phrase, the answer will be as follows:
Go to this location.
Find the commodore–which means they have to go to Canada!
And utter this phrase.
I love how the French, Nepalese, and Haitian flags all make an appearance as nautical flags.
Oh, this is a commodore? I guess they don’t have to fly to Vancouver after all.
– Mallory volunteers for this Roadblock then Kisha. Kisha is far more reluctant.
JEN: In the first race we had a little difficulty in water.
A little Jen?
JEN: Not to fulfill any stereotype because we are African-American but no. . .we cannot swim.
CASUAL FAN: YOU HAD TWO F-CKING YEARS TO LEARN HOW TO SWIM AFTER IT NEARLY COST YOU THE RACE FOUR SEASONS AGO! UGH! WHAT’S NEXT? YOU CAN’T DRIVE A STICK EITHER?
In all seriousness, can Jen handle -any- type of fluid on the race? Either it cost her in a dash to the pit stop, or it made her lose a ton of time at the Detour.
– Amanda wants to do this Roadblock.
– Mallory enters the tank.
To the extreme!
Is the water that cold?
GARY: I think the fear of the shark is the big challenge here. Mallory is a decent swimmer and I think she’ll do well here.
“A decent swimmer by Kentucky standards, that is. I learned by diving into the family swimming hole near the creek!”
– Strange dark Sega Genesis music plays.
Mallory being thrown into a shark tank. This couldn’t be scripted any better.
– Gary coaches Mallory to be meticulous. Shockingly, she can’t hear him through the glass.
MALLORY: When I went up against a pole or a wall, I just knew there was going to be a shark.
“Why did I agree to race so soon after TAR 17?”
– Gary comments that the sharks look hungry and how he thinks Mallory hasn’t seen one of the bigger ones yet.
And he couldn’t be more happier to see this about to go down. It’s like the movie Jaws but in real life! Maybe he’ll open up his own shark tank in the middle of rural Kentucky!
– Jen says Kisha is scared.
KISHA: I am afraid of deep water and sharks. So go in deep water and sharks. . .didn’t appeal to me initially.
Kisha is so frightened she can’t even do her uncomfortable laugh.
– Jen freaks out about being in the tube. That’s right. She is more fearful than Kisha who is in a tank with the sharks. Jen is nauseous.
Jen. . .!
I don’t think Jen will be returning to Australia anytime soon.
– The five teams that were on the second train are now on the ferry together. Kent & Vyxsin are stoked about Manly.
-Somebody- has been working out during the offseason!
Don’t feed his ego, Vyxsin.
– Jaime says she wouldn’t trade the views of Manly except for an Express Pass. That has to be the most uneven exchange proposal in TAR history. The teams from TAR 14 truly are fodder.
Back in the tank, that shark is nearly touching Mallory.
Gary cheers on for the action to ensue.
Unfortunately, Mallory makes it to a compass without an incident.
– She must now exit the tank. A couple of sharks are directly above her.
Mallory may or may not be relaxed judging by the amount of bubbles coming out.
– The final train carrying the Cowboys, Mel & Mike, and Ron & Christina disembarks. Jet makes a stupid remark about how he is sick of people following him around already.
Seriously Jet? Everyone is bound to run in the same direction when you are on the platform. It is not “following”–it is coincidence.
– Ron & Christina and Mel & Mike get on the 12:20pm ferry. Jet & Cord are still asking for directions.
Oh. . .
My. . .
The Cowboys are in dead last on the opening round of TAR 18. This could not be going any better at the moment.
Even if Mike is about to die from an overdose of armpit sweat.
Even Sydney’s youth are stunned by Jet & Cord running a slower race than two teams that have either a 60 year old man or a 70 year old man.
Who is following you now, guys?
– Commercial break. We resume. Jet & Cord are on the final ferry.
– Mallory is out of the tank and begins her quest to decode the cryptogram.
Sorry, but Jesus assigned cryptogram expertise to a few of the apostles. Quite frankly, he didn’t have time for that. Sounds like it could be the type of bitch work assigned to James because none of the other eleven dudes were up for it.
MALLORY: I’m thinking it’s gonna be a word scramble and it’s going to be easy becauseI’m going to start with the first one.
MALLORY: First one is a ‘F’. F. . .I. . .
Mallory is a fast learner.
– The second ferry arrives. It is within eyesight of Gary. Amanda is sitting next to Mallory.
GARY: There’s other teams coming. Don’t let them scramble you!
– Jaime yells at Cara to hustle.
– Jen critiques Kisha’s performance stating the tank helps her breathe but not move.
– Big Easy and Justin enter the tank. So does Margie.
– It is Justin’s first time scuba diving. He says it is all about relaxing.
Like if this thing in the tank manages to creep up on you from behind!
That explains why it was in the intro for this episode.
– Cara is doing the Roadblock because Jaime does not care for water or sharks. TAR 14 + Water = Not good.
– Kent compliments Vyxsin for being a pink mermaid.
If only the pink hair was freshly dyed. That would have been a disaster.
– The third ferry arrives. Ron & Christina get to the clue box. Ron moans as if he has three additional hernias attacking him at once, and stammers in his speech as he groans that Christina is ready to get tanked.
He would have volunteered himself if the clue instead was “Who is the real truth flavour?”
The Aussie sun is not cooperating with the man from the Pacific Northwest. You need to re-adjust to the South Pacific heat, my friend!
– Mel & Mike are in tenth. I bet you can guess which one wanted to do a task that involved ‘getting tanked’.
Why, the man who missed out on Mai Tais when in Phuket in his last appearance. He is bound to get lucky one of these days.
– Mallory thinks she has it and quietly meets up with Gary. She whispers him what the answer should be.
Although Donald Trump was against it, but Mallory was really hoping Miss America would let her do a Speed Cryptogram Decoding in the talent portion of the pageant.
– Kisha begins the cryptogram. Jen insists Kisha is good at puzzles.
– Margie, Flight Time (“that’s my dog!”), and Cara all grab a compass. Vyxsin keeps swimming like Dora.
– Jen looks over her shoulder to see Jet & Cord arriving at Oceanworld.
“Are you following us with your eyes?”
– Jet wants to get tanked.
– Vyxsin attempts to do a backstroke when scuba diving. Ron laughs at the danger Christina is in. What’s with the fathers laughing at their daughters in the shark tanks?
– Mike doesn’t think he could handle the tank.
Which is why a seventy year old man is doing it for him.
Hey, at least his partner isn’t Howard for this task.
– Jet is in the shark tank.
While Cord resumes the Cowboy tradition of doubling up on hats when the other is doing a task.
JET: I’m from Oklahoma. I don’t do water. I don’t even take baths.
Well, that’s one way to keep sharks away from you.
Wow. That explains why they haven’t made an alliance whenever they participate on TAR.
It is not because they want to be the Lone Rangers. . .it’s because nobody can be near Jet due to the fact he refuses to believe in hygiene.
– Gary & Mallory enter the 16 ft. Skiff Sailing Club.
While incorrectly decoding the cryptogram may lead you to the 4 ft. Scooter Smiff Sailing Club.
– The commodore is alone on the pier.
Everyone is eating without him.
– Mallory tells the commodore she is the “Devil between the deep blue sea”.
While he stares and thinks about how he is the “seaman between him and his wife’s blue jeans”.
– Mallory reads the clue and how they must join the crew and help sail a sixteen foot skiff, and race across the waters of Manly Bay.
PHIL: Upon the firing of the seaman’s gun. . .
Which requires three men to do it. . .
And likely the reason why this is referred to as ‘Manly Bay’. . .
– Teams must sail their skiff along the water course to one of the three buoys where they will find their next clue.
That’s a lot o’ skiffin’.
– Gary & Mallory read to head down a boat ramp and change into sailing gear. The distance of travel since Oceanworld appears to be rather minimal.
Producers are lining up the gear in order of arrival ahead of time? How would they know this? This show really is staged.
– Gary & Mallory are placed onto the skiff.
“Wild Oats” may be the least intimidating name for a boat. The granola is comin’ for ya!
Mallory gets a bit of extra help onto the skiff.
Alright, I think Mallory is locked in on the trapeze. You can take your hand off her knee now.
Nobody was touching Gary. They don’t even look at him.
– The skiff is really movin’. Mallory starts screaming.
I can’t wait for Mel or Ron to do this.
– Justin runs outside and begins to work on the compass. Margie is there too. Kisha seems to be talking to herself as she runs away saying she is working with Amanda.
– Cara begins the second half of the Roadblock. You can pretty much expect what is about to happen here.
Hey, it helped them defeat such legendary players like Steve & Linda. Don’t fix what ain’t broke, eh?
– Jaime acknowledges that this is like old times.
Old times which haunted me when I tried to sleep at night six years ago, but old times nonetheless.
The plan is all coming together.
“This is a picture of Victor’s decapitated head. I have been working on this illustration for two years.”
– The Globetrotters struggle to spot any flags. Then they see the flags.
– Ever wanted to see an aerial shot of a quadrillion boats on The Amazing Race?
Well there you go.
– Kisha presents her answer to the commodore. It is correct. So is Amanda. Jen reads the skiff clue.
JEN: You may not swim to the clue. Hallelujah!
Dammit. TAR producers are spoiling my fun.
– Gary is at a buoy. The instructors tell him to go out on the wire.
In which we get the least productive angle of Gary snatching the clue.
There needed to be a camera on the buoy.
Mallory is loving every moment of this.
– Kisha grabs the clue from the buoy. So does Kris.
– Christina, Mel, and Jet all have compasses. This puts Vyxsin in last.
This isn’t a-okay, Cord.
– Vyxsin is shown grabbing a compass seconds later. These teams must be all close together.
– Some guy in the water waves a flag for Gary & Mallory.
Which appears to be Mel’s stunt double.
– Gary & Mallory are on shore. Mallory reads that they must make their way on foot to Shelly Beach.
A beach in which diehard fans of Jeff & Jordan wish for nothing smaller than a tsunami.
– Phil reveals it is one of the hottest surfing spots in Sydney.
Bethany Hamilton just orgasm’d from her couch.
– It is indeed the pit stop for this leg of the race.
In what is one of the most crowded pit stops to be used on TAR. Is that guy going to take his eyes off the woman in the black bikini?
PHIL: The first team to check in here will win the Express Pass giving them an advantage over everyone else in the race.
And that hat Phil loves wearing more an more in recent seasons gives Phil an advantage over UV rays and skin cancer.
I have always wondered if Phil is aware how stupid the Express Pass twist will become in seasons down the road. He probably giggles to himself whenever he is told to call it a HUGE MOTHERF–KING ADVANTAGE THAT GUARANTEES YOU VICTORY IN THE GAME!!! but really is just a cheap hook to draw new viewers into the show.
– Kisha & Jen have their clue.
– Kent notices Vyxsin is having a rough time finding the exit of the tank. It gets amusing fast.
SCUBA diver grabs Vyxsin’s arm.
Vyxsin looks down.
She is about an inch away from kicking that shark’s fin. That screencap is no lie. The dark space on the left hand side is Vyxsin’s leg. Thank goodness the SCUBA guy is aware.
But I thought all pink-haired women are free to be in contact with sharks and whales without incident. Look at Sasha Buckler! Why would dangerous sea life change their mood and go after pink-haired women?
Oh c’mon Phoenix! A pit stop greeter and now a f-cking killer whale have Unfinished Business too! This is getting out of hand.
Oh, and Vyxsin is still freakin’ out. She is ready to protect her face with the compass.
– Vyxsin said she could not relax her body enough to take deep breaths and let go. Every time she tried to use the gear she would be huffing and puffing rapidly.
She mimes her breathing process for us.
– The SCUBA instructor grabs her arm again. I have a feeling they have no choice but to show Vyxsin the way out.
“Nobody is allowed to die on reality television. This isn’t Survivor: Bulgaria.”
– Commercial break. We resume. Vyxsin says she is at her wit’s end. Then she backs away from the end and has wit again. We go into an emotional scene about how Kent recently lost his father a few months earlier. She used that as a way to think about something which trumps her current emotional state. Sure enough she is out of the tank.
Vyxsin held onto the bandana as well. Classic Vyxsin.
– It’s a one-way race for first place as nobody is near Gary & Mallory.
It is not an official race arrow, but it helps.
– Mallory starts yelling a bunch of words while out of breath.
Phil and a rare shirtless pit stop greeter await their arrival.
– Mallory begs her father, who has a history of running marathons and triathlons if I recall correctly, to hurry up and keep with it.
This guy is trying too hard at evolving his modeling career. He is seconds away from grabbing his surfboard and saving a drowning person in the water.
– Gary & Mallory make it to the mat.
“Welcome to Sydney.”
“. . .Oh shucks, did you say something?”
– Phil gives them the good news.
FIRST PLACE: GARY & MALLORY
Hug it out, Kentucky.
– Phil hands them the Express Pass.
Producers must love it when Mallory wins a leg of the race. This is what we missed out on in TAR 17.
PHIL: . . .But you guys are still racing. Here’s your next clue.
GARY: Oh no!
PHIL: Rip it right here and you’ll be on your way. No rest. You’re still going.
MALLORY: Whoa! You’re serious.
Phil is always serious.
MALLORY: Whoa! You’re heading to the Outback and Beyond.
MALLORY: Holy smokes.
MALLORY: . . .
PHIL: Mallory! There’s no time to dilly-dally! Just keep goin’.
“Get the f-ck out of here! Scram, bitch!”
MALLORY: I’M EXCITED! I’M EXCITED! OKAY, YOU KNOW THIS IS OUR SECOND CHANCE AND–
PHIL: Stop talking and go!
I am surprised Phil didn’t pick her up by the hair and toss her from the mat.
MALLORY (aimlessly running): AHHHHH!
I won’t be shocked if Mallory accidentally kicked up sand onto everybody’s blankets.
SECOND PLACE: AMANDA & KRIS
THIRD PLACE: KISHA & JEN
– They have a much more subdued reaction when hearing they are still racing. It is not much of a surprise since they went through that at the end of their previous TAR experience.
– Justin completes the Roadblock. They are currently fourth.
– Margie submits her answer.
MARGIE: I am the devil and the deep blue sea.
You don f-cked up, Margie.
– Jaime & Cara are on their heels. Margie tells Cara the answer is wrong. She tries it anyway. Gee, it’s wrong.
According to viewers of TAR 14, only the first half of the answer is correct when applied to Margie and Jaime.
– Much like how Jaime & Cara and Margie & Luke repeat their old habits, so do Flight Time & Big Easy.
FLIGHT TIME: Actually I didn’t finish the flags. I got the first two lines and we decided to follow the other teams because we didn’t want to fall behind.
In Flight Time’s defense, Big Easy couldn’t even get the first five letters in his previous Roadblock. Let alone two lines.
– Big Easy sees Justin running to the skiffs.
FLIGHT TIME: ZEV!
“What? Are you talking to the guy wearing the Harlem Globetrotters shirt thinking he’ll be the one to help you out?”
Big Easy leans in to perform the Roadblock for Flight Time.
FLIGHT TIME: What was it?
JUSTIN: I am between the devil and the Deep Blue Sea.
– Big Easy exclaims he owes them one, and trails off.
– Justin says he likes the Globetrotters and they are his boys. A reference to racing with them in TAR 15 is made. He says the Globetrotters are good guys and now owe him.
Sam & Dan may disagree with that statement.
– The Globetrotters return to the skiff club where Margie & Luke and Jaime & Cara have been standing. Either they went back to the flags already or the Globetrotters only had to run a couple feet to ask Zev & Justin for help.
– Jaime comes up with a brilliant tactic.
You know TAR 14 teams suck when they have to rely upon the Globetrotters to solve a word puzzle.
I wonder if this is the closest producers would allow them to get to Flight Time?
Nice try, guys. Big Easy pretty much blocks all four of them from reading Flight’s lips.
– Margie & Luke walk down to talk to Zev & Justin.
Where Justin is having his own issues at the moment.
JUSTIN: We already helped somebody else out.
Gee, I wonder who this mystery team could be.
– Jaime & Cara are walking along the railing above and ask for Justin’s help too.
JUSTIN: I already helped him. I’m not helping everybody.
“Why is everyone following me? Who am I? Uncle Kracker?”
Justin is like a bride on her wedding day. Everyone is interrupting her special day as they all ask for her attention regarding various issues they will run into today.
JUSTIN: Margie & Luke and The Girls seemed surprised we didn’t help them. We don’t really know them from a hole in the wall. (laughs) It was pretty easy to say ‘no’ at that point.
Oh no. You’re not offended, are you Margie? Ugh. Let it out now.
Margie is becoming surprisingly meta.
– But seriously, Justin raises a good point.
Margie & Luke and Jaime & Cara have an alliance that date back to the first round of TAR 14.
Ron & Christina and Mel & Mike worked together early in this round.
Kisha & Jen, Margie & Luke, Mel & Mike, Jaime & Cara, and somebody else I can’t think of right now all have prior history.
Ron & Christina and Kynt & Vyxsin also have a tight bond.
Jet & Cord are too busy thinking their camera operator is being a floater and following them because he is playing dirty.
Gary & Mallory are occupied with their own eccentric qualities.
Zev & Justin and the Globetrotters would be fools to not see this and decide to align. At least for the early part of the race until these alliances are broken up.
– Zev claims he goes sailing every morning at six o’ clock.
Justin, however, does not.
– Globetrotters worry about being big guys, but have good balance.
From the Eastern Conference!
To the Western Conference!
Back to the Eastern Conference!
– Big Easy trying to grab the clue is amusing.
I hope the buoy is padded.
– We head back to the Roadblock where the remaining teams are fighting.
Father-child pairings keep up the alliance. I wonder if Christina wishes Mel could adopt her?
I really wish Christina accidentally had a ‘W’ between the ‘K’ and ‘I’ at the bottom.
Also, Christina writes the letter ‘E’ like somebody who is looking at the number ‘3’ backwards.
– Christina and Mel run together to submit their guess.
Cord looks like he would hunt them down if he had his ol’ hunting rifle with him.
– Kent yells at Vyxsin to hurry up and finish the puzzle.
Don’t break her concentration, man.
I must admit that Kent truly has been working out in the offseason.
– Everything is so close together that Margie & Luke encounter Mel & Mike and Ron & Christina on the exact same path. Margie organizes them into a huddle. Christina decides they will all say the answer together if Margie shows them where skiff club is.
Mel notes the word ‘between’ is missing but does not inform her of this.
This is why you don’t have tasks at the Starting Line. Because when you land in the host country for the leg, you only have time for a couple tasks and a pit stop that will all be clustered in the same area. Everyone is artificially nipping at each other’s heels.
– Jet is done decoding the compass.
JET: This must be it.
“Just need the last letter. . .”
“And I’m good.”
Oh. . .that’s. . .neat, Jet. I didn’t know you learned how to speak Russian.
Kent is drinking water like a baby cow. This is hilarious.
– Kent yells at Vyxsin to finish the puzzle.
VYXSIN: I got the first seven or eight words. And then I was like “okay, I sorta solved it. Let’s run away!”
In Mixed Martial Arts, somebody’s first fight in the UFC after a long layoff or making their debut suffers from something called “opening round jitters” where they perform horribly and ditch having finesse in their wrestling and striking abilities.
Vyxsin is most definitely having these same jitters. She has craved a TAR comeback over the past three years, and is too fired up for her own good.
– Christina gives the commodore the correct answer. Then Mel. Then Jaime. Then Margie.
– Jet & Cord run to the commodore.
JET: This is the 16 ft. skiff club, correct?
Awkward pause ensues.
CORD: My part of it?
JET: . . .We’re missing something.
– Kent & Vyxsin see Margie & Luke preparing to embark on their skiff. Kent asks for the answer. Margie obliges.
Now she knows how Justin feels.
– Why did Margie help out a trailing team when she herself is in eighth or ninth place?
MARGIE: It just made sense to maybe have a team we feel like we might be able to beat at the finish line to help them along.
WOW. Margie of all people burns Kent & Vyxsin in the biggest way possible.
If Margie is crapping on you, Kent & Vyxsin are in store for a not-so-flattering edit this season.
– Jaime & Cara board their skiff. They are given specific instructions.
That was not a wise move.
If only this were Kisha & Jen.
Since when did Cara turn into Rupert?
– Jaime says she is impressed they did not panic despite being shark bait.
JAIME: I hate to rush you -boys- but we’re in a race.
Oh c’mon Jaime, all skiffers are true men.
I love how the teammate who has posed for adult magazines is the one who explains these particular instructions.
“Are we just not doing phrasing anymore, guys?”
– Ron & Christina, Margie & Luke, Mel & Mike, and Jaime & Cara all collide with the buoy for their clue. For some reason both Jaime and Cara went for theirs. A skiffer is sitting on Jaime’s foot as Jaime screams at him.
JAIME: Offmyfootoffmyfootoffmyfoot! Thank you.
Only one round into the race and Jaime is literally shoving her foot into somebody’s ass?
She is doing what Red Foreman threatened for so many years.
– Justin asks Zev to set the pace as they run to Shelly Beach.
– Kent & Vyxsin choreograph their riddle answer for the commodore.
They even perfect Synchronized Clue Grabbing. It’s their best performance of anything they have done thus far in the race.
Kent & Vyxsin love riddles that involve the Deep Blue Sea.
“Deep Blue Sea? A f-cking shark ate me!”
– Margie is exhausted (but not Thai exhausted). Ron & Christina and Mel & Mike run together.
– Jet is alone at the Roadblock.
CORD: I have no idea what we’re missing.
A four hour penalty in the season premiere of TAR 18. Mel & Mike will beat you. The TAR 14 teams will beat you. A frazzled Kent & Vyxsin also beat you. This couldn’t be going any better.
– Jet is struggling to the point the ’24’ style split screen makes its HD debut.
Is this the first time Phil has worn sunglasses at the pit stop? His fashion sense continues to evolve.
FOURTH PLACE: ZEV & JUSTIN
Justin calls Phil a sly dog and they take off.
FIFTH PLACE: FLIGHT TIME & BIG EASY
My god. Step aside, Ari & Staella. This may be the most satisfying first boot of all time.
SIXTH PLACE: JAIME & CARA
Jet’s natural instinct is to flip off Jaime & Cara when he sees them on screen.
SEVENTH PLACE: MARGIE & LUKE
Because Phil doesn’t know “keep on racing” in sign language, Margie has to deliver the news to him.
Judging by how sunburnt Luke’s face was seconds earlier, he is not thrilled about entering the Outback.
Oh, and I love how Jet’s hat is off.
EIGHTH PLACE: RON & CHRISTINA
Cord’s patience is once again being tested.
Mel’s shirt is what Dan & Jordan really needed in the TAR 16 finale.
NINTH PLACE: MEL & MIKE
– Vyxsin reaches out to grab a clue off the buoy.
Vyxsin messes up the simplest part of the task.
Kent attempts to pick up the rebound.
The whole crew nearly capsizes. Did anyone get it?
Do they have to backtrack to the buoy? Or does Kent have the clue?
– Jet thinks he has it. He and Cord run through the streets once more. Kent & Vyxsin have directions to Shelly Beach.
JET: This is the ???? Sea Sailing Club at the AG Commodore Manly Wharf to Sailing Club.
(COMMODORE shakes head.)
“Do you follow what I am saying? Wait, we don’t want you to follow. Nevermind, we do. No, we don’t. Yes, we do.”
. . . .
JET: You’ve got to be kidding me.
– Back to Oceanworld Jet & Cord go.
TENTH PLACE: KENT & VYXSIN
HOORAY! The most problematic team in TAR history is officially out! Now we just have to slowly eradicate the TAR 14 fodder! It will be an uphill battle, but I think we can get there.
PHIL: But there is some bad news.
VYXSIN: What did we do wrong?
“It has come to our attention that, Jet & Cord, the team Bertram and Elise want to build their franchise around while alienating the majority of their viewers, aren’t allowed to go home this early. You have been bumped down to last place because of this. Sorry.”
Okay. I am kiding. What is the bad news?
PHIL: . . .You’re still racing.
Good one, Phil.
VYXSIN: That’s fine! That’s great!
Jesus. When Kent and Vyxsin see a clue, neurons fire in their brain as if the yellow and black sealed envelope symbolizes crack. They are addicted to racing.
– Phil tries to tell Kent & Vyxsin they are way back, but Kent has other things on his mind.
I can confirm that Kent did in fact slap the greeter on the butt. Nobody really thinks anything of it. If it were the TAR 27 Rio pit stop greeter, I am sure there would have been buzz about it on social media.
Vyxsin may be the only racer who consistently runs in a skirt on The Amazing Race.
– Oh yeah. Apparently Jet still being stuck at the Roadblock is a huge deal.
CORD: If he gets it wrong, I am cutting the flags down and taking them with me so we don’t have to run back here again.
This is the part where Phil should mercy kill Jet and go out on the course to eliminate him and Cord.
Prepare to be Dana & Adrian’d, my friend.
JET: Oh my goodness. I don’t know. I don’t understand it. I don’t get it. We’re gonna be screwed. I have no idea what I’m doing.
– The suspenseful ‘about to break into commercial’ music picks up. Then. . .
SON OF A BITCH!
Do you know what this means? Anytime a round ends with ‘TO BE CONTINUED’, it goddamn means there is a zero percent chance of somebody being eliminated.
Yeah, I know all Keep on Racing rounds in TAR history have never eliminated anyone, but this solidifies it is a Non-Elimination Leg. Mainly because it hints that what goes on this round directly carries over to the next round.
That means Jet & Cord won’t have a Speed Bump.
Jet & Cord, much like Lori & Bolo, Meredith & Gretchen, Weavers, Dave & Lori, Chos, and Godlewskis, earn a huge freakin’ freebie.
It should also be noted this is the only opening round NEL other than TAR 15.
It is like producers intentionally chose to have an opening round NEL during the two occasions of all eighteen seasons where it would piss me off the most. Screw you, guys.
Let’s see how this gets hyped up for next week.
Next Time on TAR: As the race continues for ten other teams, will the Cowboys crack the code? As Ron revisits old habits, the race takes a toll on Mel, and hopefully in a comedic way because we’ll need a lot to recover from how this round ended.
FLIGHT TIME.BIG EASY 3.2
Rank the Legs
1) Palm Springs, California, US -> Manly, Australia
We go from the TAR 17 premiere. . .to this. -_-
It is one thing to cast a bunch of teams from an unpopular season and your one-dimensional homophobic fan favourites thinking they will deliver. However, it is another thing if they all pretty much fall flat and you rely on the other five teams to be interesting for the audience right out of the gate. It has been a long time since so many characters could be written off after one episode.
Furthermore, it was a stupid decision by producers to essentially model this round after the disastrous TAR 15 season premiere. A Starting Line task which gobbles up more than a third of the airtime? Hitting a team with such a tough penalty in the second round that they may as well give up? Not eliminating anybody in the season premiere just because producers were too scare to lose any of their favourites in an upset heading into the race?
I don’t get it. The Express Pass, while a twist which needs to go away badly, is understandable to present. Just because a minor twist didn’t work the first time is not enough evidence it will fall equally hard in a second appearance. One could argue the Express Pass has as much unfinished business as the other contestants.
Let’s talk about the tasks. The paper planes task was neat in concept. I love how it ended up being an anti-reward where eight teams were suddenly in an 8-way tie for last because of some dark comedy in the form of a heart attack taking place on their plane.
It is a shame the dash to the airport did not matter because the paper planes task determined everything. This is also the reason why none of the teams were shown interacting with each other. All of that valuable airtime was assigned to the paper planes, tragically.
With all eleven teams so close together in Sydney, there appeared to be a tiny time gap in terms of when everyone finished the round (except for Jet & Cord). Even the top three teams on the “second” plane saw all of the other teams entering Oceanworld while solving the Roadblock, and likely had only a fifteen to twenty minute lead on them at most. Meanwhile the other seven teams were neck-and-neck due to mass alliances and not having a chance to separate themselves from the pack.
I personally loved the Roadblock. They took the shark tank Roadblock from TAR 4 (Reichen was much more afraid than Jon was!) and supersized it with a word puzzle as well as a secondary location to find. Sure, the location seemed to be very close by, but eh, it was a valiant effort.
The skiff task was alright. I wish it wasn’t so close to Oceanworld, though. It made for an easy round of navigation for teams.
This round showcased how none of the teams have really changed. Alliances were predictable, Jet & Cord said everybody was following them, Kent & Vyxsin are the most flustered team, Kisha & Jen still can’t swim, Mallory was ridiculously upbeat, and Zev & Justin laugh at everyone else’s personalities. Unfortunately there wasn’t that comedic moment which never really stuck out.
Gary & Mallory, the only team to experience the Express Pass in their original season, happen to be the ones who win this reward.
Zev & Justin and Flight Time & Big Easy successfully dodge the Starting Line Penalty in TAR 15 and TAR 18. Phew.
I feel like I am forgetting somebody. Does anyone know who?
P.S. How dull was this episode? Well, it is the shortest season premiere blog I have done in about four seasons. That signifies a lack of comedy, compelling moments, and overall action. It may rank only behind TAR 15, TAR 24, TAR 8, and TAR 26 when it comes to bad season premieres.
P.P.S. The Skiff Sailing Club had the gear apparently set up in the order of arrival. I love the visual joke on screen where Gary & Mallory’s gear is shown first with Kisha & Jen’s gear next to them in the frame. Even the skiff club forgot about Amanda & Kris.