The Amazing Race Australia 1 Episode Eight Rankings

Eighth Episode

“Old People Can’t Tell Time and the Hussein Switchback You Saw Coming”

Episode Blog #281

COUNTRIES VISITED

INDONESIA – VIETNAM – CHINA – SOUTH AFRICA – THE NETHERLANDS – CZECH REPUBLIC – POLAND – ISRAEL – SRI LANKA – SINGAPORE – AUSTRALIA

Yes, a podcast I co-host which covers every English language version of The Amazing Race just celebrated its 200th podcast as I lead a preview of the fifth season of The Amazing Race Canada.

Previously on TAR: Six teams set out from Prague in the Czech Republic where farmers Matt & Tom ran afoul of the law again, and a fall on the ice left biker Dave injured. When teams reached the Czech town of Kutna Hora, they were greeted with a religious experience.

Young couple Chris & Anastasia were first to the pit stop. . .only to find out there was more to come.

Intro time.

Chris & Anastasia exit the skeleton church.

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Chris is so excited by the Keep On Racing leg that he can’t help but put his hand down his pants.

al bundy

The Al Bundy of The Amazing Race.

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“No! We are!”

No. Sorry, Goofy Newfies.

CHRIS: I really wanted to come first in a leg. So the best leg to come in first is the leg that continues onto the next leg.

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Chris knows there is about a ninety percent chance everyone will be equalized before the next route marker, right?

ANASTASIA: Travel by train to Krakow, Poland.

krakow chris anastasia

Like that.

Teams must travel by train from Kutna Hora to Krakow, Poland. Once they arrive, they must search the train station’s car park for a marked vehicle where they will find their next clue.

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Four out of eight rounds are self-drive legs? I am impressed.

SECOND PLACE: TYLER & NATHAN

krakow tyler nathan

Nathan just wants to rest, bro.

Unfortunately who completed the Roadblock remains a mystery for the next four teams.

THIRD PLACE: JEFF & LUKE

GRANT: You have to keep racing.

JEFF: Why did you think you were going to say that?

Because the clue’s wording was odd enough that it even raised flags for Chris & Anastasia when they checked in?

krakow jeff luke downes

Finishing in third is like almost winning your first leg, by the way.

Chris & Anastasia are at the train station. They cannot understand the woman behind the counter.

CHRIS: I can’t understand what she’s saying, man.

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Did you know very few Aussies speak Czech?

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Anastasia proceeds to ask for help.

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If I were the locals and I knew the train wasn’t leaving for an hour, I would tell them that anyway just to see how frantic the tourists would be.

The train has left without them.

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Aw shucks.

Tyler & Nathan arrive at the train station.

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There goes the lead.

CHRIS: Total it’s eleven hours.

NATHAN: Shut up.

CHRIS: Arrival three in the morning.

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Tyler is ready to attack a producer.

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Two rounds ago they flew from South Africa to Amsterdam and took a 16 hour train to Prague. Then they do a full self-drive leg which is immediately followed by a 13 hour train ride without a break.

Production has no mercy.

Jeff & Luke are third to the train station. Nothing happens.

Sam squeals all the way to the pit stop.

FOURTH PLACE: SAM & RENAE

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“Yay! We survived!”

GRANT: Buuuut it’s not over yet.

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Aroo?

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The news makes Sam age about forty years.

GRANT: Better get going, girls.

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“JLP wouldn’t do this to us.”

Sam & Renae barely make the train. Sam finds Nathan’s ticket on the ground and returns it to him.

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“Give me a big hug, Sammy. I just want to squish you.”

TYLER: What are you talking about?

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It was just a hug.

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Tyler Atkins is the Wilt Chamberlain of the upper body grip!

Surprisingly, all six teams don’t make the train.

GRANT: The first train arrives in Krakow at 3:16.

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Krakow 3:16 says this leg will whoop your ass!

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“We’re not last. This leg is finally over. I can get X-Rays on my hip.

FIFTH PLACE: DAVE & KELLY

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“Wkrakow dave kelly miller 3e’re not last!”

GRANT: But don’t get settled yet. You’re still racing.

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“What? Grant, whyyyyyyyy.”

Kelly says both of them are in a lot of pain. I will be amazed if they avoid elimination.

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KELLY: I could not believe I was not allowed to go and have a hot shower.

DAVE: Bitterly. Disappointed.

Grant will not be getting a Christmas card this year.

After being stopped by police twice, switching Detours, and pushing their car halfway across the country, Matt & Tom make it to the pit stop.

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I don’t know why, but Matt & Tom are preparing for the singing of the American national anthem.

LAST PLACE: MATT & TOM

GRANT: I regret to inform you. . .that you are going to have to keep on racing.

krakow grant bowler

c wut i did thar

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Tom holds this expression for about one second too long. I can’t do it justice.

TOM: Thanks, mate!

It might be one of the most speechless reactions to being saved by a NEL that I have ever seen in series history. Just grab the clue, muster out two words, and turn around.

krakow tom warriner

Not even Tom’s hair is cooperating this leg.

MATT: We had bad luck on our side all day. Something had to give.

Dave & Kelly share the same train as Matt & Tom. Their train arrives at 6:24am. They will need a morning equalizer to avoid staying in the same position.

DAVE: Krakow! Crack the cow!

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I. . .I don’t think that’s how the town got its name, Dave.

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And so we race to Crack the Cow, Poland.

It is night time. Sam & Renae fall asleep on the train. Mainly because they aren’t forced to be in upright position for the duration of the ride this time.

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Ah. Such a smooth train ride.

NATHAN: Sam woke up a couple times, and saw two dudes standing at our door.

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You. . .you sure it’s not just the camera crew?

SAM: I just kinda remember these two men looking into our cabin.

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“They were watching me in my jammies! It’s even part of a line called Sammie’s Jammie’s!”

SAM: Every time I opened my eyes they would walk away again.

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I love how they use the camera operator to do a reenactment of this scene.

NATHAN: Then when we were about fifteen minutes from our last stop, and Tyler’s like the (bomb?) bag is gone.

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Uh oh.

SAM: Somebody had stolen their bags. With their passports in it.

RENAE: And their money. Everything. Gone.

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Well, that’s one way to eliminate the most dominant team of the season.

Everyone panics.

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“So we get to win a leg now?”

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“Back off, Luke.”

NATHAN: We’re out of the race cause we have no passports. We’re like “what do we do now?”

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At home, Richard & Joey are screaming “karma!”

RENAE: I walked a couple of doors up and noticed the cabin in between us I noticed out of the corner of my eye their bag.

SAM: It was in a random’s cabin.

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Why are Sam & Renae wearing the hockey jerseys? Did they need the extra clothes?

NATHAN: We went in and just grabbed it.

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Nathan is relieved.

NATHAN: You found it and were like “Thank god. Just our money was gone.”

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Tyler was relieved too. Very relieved.

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Normally the whole “no money” thing would be a big issue, but TAR Australia loves self-drive legs. They have a fighting chance this episode.

Sam & Renae are in disbelief that somebody would ransack the train. Nathan is just glad to have their passports, despite the frustration of going a whole leg without any money.

NATHAN: It’s the leg that keeps on giving.

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Tyler & Nathan don’t feel so bad about losing their lead anymore.

The four teams arrive at the car park. It’s a Roadblock.

NATHAN: When push comes to shove, who digs adventure?

Teams will be traveling over one hundred metres underground into the Wieliczka Salt Mine.

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Which I can guarantee you is not pronounced the way you think it would be.

This mine is a world heritage site where miners have carved elaborate sculptures from the rock salt for centuries.

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It’s one way to pass the time when you are stuck working in a salt mine all day.

The team member performing the Roadblock must push a minecart to the end of a mine shaft and dig through a pile of salt containing several crystal keys. When they find the correct key that unlocks the ancient salt king’s crypt, they will receive their next clue.

Wow. This is like a steam punk JRPG task.

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The crystal key takes the form of a triangular prism.

I for one would be nervous about unlocking the salt king’s crypt. You sure a curse isn’t going to be unleashed onto Krakow?

It is Nate’s turn to do the Roadblock. He is freaking out because he is claustrophobic. Renae will do it because she thinks it is heavy despite hating confined spaces.

SAM: Have we got to do anything you can’t do yet?

RENAE: No.

SAM: And we’re more than halfway through, right? Thank you very much.

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Ladies and gentlemen, your encouraging teammate has left the building.

Finding the right entrance to the salt mine is difficult because the clue says to go through the marked entrance rather than the main gates.

Jeff & Luke drive along Sam & Renae. Jeff tells them what time it opens.

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Remember, Jeff is confused and old. That’s important for this scene.

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It opens at six. So what time does it open, Jeff?

krakow eight

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After the previous two rounds of unintentional sabotage, Renae does not believe anyone at their word.

JEFF: I said it was eight o’ clock.

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JEFF: Why do you look at me like that?

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Why do you look at Jeff like that?

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“It was an eight but with a hole on top, and the bottom filled in.”

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LUKE: We’ve played it really straight with everyone. I didn’t want the girls thinking we had steered them all the way off course. I just looked around saying “What? Uh wuh? Like what are you even saying?” And he flipped right out.

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“What?”

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“Huh?”jason siska.jpg

Even Jason Siska is confused.

JEFF: Give me a break. I make one small mistake and I get -that- from you? C’mon. You know what, Luke? You can do this on your own.

That qualifies as Jeff flipping out?

We cut back to the confessional.

LUKE: You want to tell your version of it?

JEFF: I will in a moment.

LUKE: Here’s the floor.

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We go back to their fight at the salt mine.

JEFF: I made a mistake. That’s what I got. So, OK?

LUKE: I don’t understand why you are so sensitive this morning. I am relying on you for information for both of us because I am driving and doing that sort of stuff.

JEFF: I made a mistake.

LUKE: You had the right time. That’s all.

JEFF: That’s it.

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Ten bucks says he references his age.

We cut back to the confessional.

JEFF: I’m doing the best I can. I am a 60 year old guy sitting on the back. Yeah, I made a mistake with the time. Then I got that look. And that was just enough for me to crack at.

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That look.

JEFF: I made a mistake.

LUKE: I had the right time. That’s all.

JEFF: That’s it.

LUKE: I don’t want to talk anymore.

Luke re-enters the car and sits there.

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Jeff squirts water out of frustration.

Commercial break. We resume. Sam & Renae have one of the stupidest conversations I have ever heard–and they can’t blame being old as the reason why they had it.

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Oh, Sam.

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SAM: What are we near?

RENAE: I don’t know.

SAM: A very cold place. Greenland?

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To not completely embarrass Sam on this blog, I think we should all let this go and attribute this, uh, geographical mishap to fatigue from non-stop racing for over 24 hours straight.

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“Is Poland closer to Antarctica or Greenland? Maybe they both border this country?”

Tyler & Nathan are second to the salt mine. Sam & Renae are third. Chris & Anastasia are fourth. All four teams enter the mine. Each team enters the shaft one at a time.

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Jeff is in higher spirits after resting in the car until eight o’ clock.

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This shaft is one bad mother.

Nathan is anxious.

NATHAN: How do we get out if we need to get out?

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No. She is lying, Nate. You’re just stuck in there like I was stuck in a Cuban elevator for thirty minutes during a power outage.

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Trust me, Nathan–there are worse places to be in Krakow.

Jeff & Luke are now ninety metres below the surface. Luke begins pushing the cart as Jeff trails behind him.

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WHO IS THE THIRD PERSON IN THE SHADOW?! Maybe Nathan was right to be afraid of what is below the surface! AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!

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Nathan picks his nose to relieve the tension.

TYLER: Look at it dude! Whoa!

Nathan talks about how Tyler is making it worse.

NATHAN: Tyler was like “Whoa, look at how tiny this is!” Thanks for making it much worse.

TYLER: We’re going deep deep down into the earth!

Nathan starts pushing the cart.

TYLER: Push it dude! Get it on the roll, mate!

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Translation: Push it with momentum.

Sam & Renae do their not-so-secret handshake.

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Boo-yah!

Luke makes it to the crypts and begins digging for the key in his cart.

LUKE: When you think of a key you think of a shiny key, whether it be old or new.

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29 matt

Or if you’re Matt Ladley from TAR 29, you have many many many keyes.

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Aussies are exposed to their first needle in a haystack of the series.

Luke finds something that is really out of place and assumes it is a key.

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Paint it green and it is the same rod that will save the astronauts in space.

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It does not quite fit.

LUKE: I haven’t been map reading that well but I am not failing shapes at this stage, so when I saw a small triangle, I knew what I had to find.

Nate says his fear of the shaft left when he entered the big crypt room. Sam & Renae’s cart joins them.

Matt and Dave decide to do the Roadblock. Kelly does not like running from behind.

Chris muscles the cart into the room.

CHRIS: Digging is more down my alley than hers. I’ve dug before. I know it’s not a skill.

booker t

It is for Booker T. Can you dig it, sucka?

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“I dig a tunnel, I dig in neighbour’s trash cans, I dig holes outside to practice for Australian Survivor, I dig for buried treasure, and at night I dig Anastasia.”

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Chris is the meerkat of Amazing Race Australia.

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I really hope the brakes are on for those mine carts.

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Man, everyone looks like zombies. No time for sleep in Europe.

Luke has his magical triangular prism. The crypt is unlocked. Nate asks what the key looks like, but Luke keeps it closed in his palm without saying anything.

NATE: If I was in first, I would show what it at least looked like because I haven’t found one yet, but that’s just the way they play it. It’s something to watch out for.

If I was in first, I would show me too to help me out.

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Nate raises a fist to the trouble-making father-son duo.

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None of them want to look in the same direction, eh?

mario party look away

It’s like the Mario Party Look Away mini game all over again.

Jeff & Luke open the clue. It’s a Detour.

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They have already ditched all of their salt mine clothing.

Grant says teams must pick between Herd or Hoedown.

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I see Grant has ditched the skeletons this round.

In Herd, teams must drive to the Polish countryside, build a sheep pen, and herd three marked sheep into the pen to receive their next clue.

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The sheep covered in blood are the marked ones, by the way.

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Nice feather in your ear.

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I can see this round is going to be very physical.

In Hoedown, teams must drive to the town of Zakopane and dress in highland costume and learn the intricate Polish axe dance. Once the judge is satisfied with their performance, they will receive their next clue.

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This looks dangerous.

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I will be stunned if anybody chooses this task.

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Even if the judge looks like Steve Martin.

Jeff & Luke do not want to dance.

Nathan does not find the correct triangular prism. Neither does Renae. She says she is competitive.

SAM: You’ve got to dig deep.

For once, this is literal.

Chris says this task was luck of the draw as he also fails with his prism.

Renae finds the correct prism. The crypt opens and Renae squeals.

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And jumps a few feet into the air as well.

Sam asks for a kiss after Renae retrieves the clue.

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Tyler is going to be sooooo jealous.

Chris has the key and waits for it to open.

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SALT KING: Thou shall be patient. . .and we intend what we say.

Man, Chris is getting a taste of his own medicine.

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I for one never knew the Poles had hieroglyphics in the 19th century.

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Tyler is comically distraught.

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The elevator isn’t the only thing that goes up in this shaft.

RENAE: I can’t dance, man. You know how I am with coordination.

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A model that can’t dance? It’s like a pig that refuses to eat shoes!

ANASTASIA: I think we’re gonna herrrrrrrd.

Anastasia says it in the most Aussie tone possible.

Chris & Anastasia and Sam & Renae drive away.

Nathan is getting frustrated being the only one at the Roadblock.

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So is Tyler.

Nathan decides he wants to push the cart over.

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Hump that salt, Nate Dogg!

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If the cart’s a rockin’,

don’t come a knockin’!

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It would be terrible, but it would be hilarious if the momentum goes in the wrong direction and traps Nathan underneath the cart.

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Can he do it?

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He looks like an Olympic ski jumper!

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Whoomp, there it is.

Nathan finds the key instantly.

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NOTE: Nathan had to pay 1, 000 Euros in damages for the mine cart for this incident.

Tyler & Nathan choose the same task that the other three teams–like sheep. How fitting.

Jeff & Luke are lost about four times because Luke is navigating while Jeff drives. They even went back to the salt mines at one point.

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If only this map were a series of shapes.

Chris & Anastasia argue over directions.

ANASTASIA: Turn.

CHRIS: No, you’ve gotta follow it. Do you know what I mean?

ANASTASIA: No, I don’t know what you mean.

CHRIS: You don’t know what I mean by following a map?

ANASTASIA: No, because you’re going too fast and I can’t see the street names.

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But they were doing so well.

ANASTASIA: He has a different mentality on following a map.

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Chris reacts like a muppet.

CHRIS: Do you know where we are now? Are you watching on the map? That’s all I want to know!

ANASTASIA: Yes! It’s one straight road ahead!

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Chris needs to get it together, man.

CHRIS: I would SMASH the navigation! I would never make a mistake in my life!

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Must go to happy place.

CHRIS: I’m not giving you advice on how to read a map so you know where you’re going.

ANASTASIA: I told you to slow down so I could read the freakin’ streets that are coming up! But yewwwww would rather drive seventy kms an hour rather than forty like a tourist!

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Lover’s paradise.

ANASTASIA: Slow! The Hell! Down! Slow down so I can look at the street signs!

CHRIS: Why are you screaming at me? Why are you getting angry?

ANASTASIA: Because you’re pissing me off!

CHRIS: Slow down for you OK? Not to zero, though.

ANASTASIA: If I say slow down to zero, you’ll slow down to zero.

CHRIS: Yes, boss.

ANASTASIA: Good.

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SHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

And Chris utters a word that I think would make the online community go ballistic in 2017.

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Good thing there’s not a fan favourite vote!

Tyler & Nathan don’t have a map due to having no money. They happen to pull over at the same gas station as Sam & Renae, and ask Sam & Renae if they can follow them. They comply.

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“Hey girls, did you know the farm closes at one o’ clock this afternoon? Jeff told me.”

Sam & Renae quickly realize they need to turn right but doesn’t give enough time for Tyler & Nathan to switch lanes as well.

krakow car

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“How about no?”

NATHAN: We’re just driving blind going “this is ridiculous.”

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Nathan will never waste a dollar again.

Renae feels bad that Tyler & Nathan are left behind. Sam? Not so much.

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I don’t know if it was so much their decision as it was “lose control of our car and we don’t want to die on the Polish freeways”.

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Tyler & Nathan experience the fog of war.

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If Nathan knew this is how their luck would turn, he would exchange it for jumping into every puddle in the world.

Commercial break. We resume with Dave & Kelly arriving at the salt mine before Matt & Tom. Kelly is nervous.

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Very nervous.

Matt & Tom find the overalls to be a bit tight.

TOM: You had to squeeze your shoulders in, and the middle part was cutting you down centre. The legs were a foot above his ankles.

MATT: It was the wrong size, alright?

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We call this outfit “Wedgiealls”.

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Did we really need this shot, editors?

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How it cut Tom down centre.

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Not a pair of jeans that fits just right.

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Tom can’t stop laughing.

TOM: The legs were about a foot above your ankles.

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They’re like MJ pants.

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Tom realizes his partner has turned into Michael Jackson.

Matt pushes the cart as the camera operator follows him.

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It’s like he’s wearing nothing at all! Nothing at all! Nothing at all!

Dave is searching for the key.

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It is the first time in history where a biker gang member is digging through a minecart for a key to a king’s crypt.

Dave finds a crystal (a.k.a. the key).

DAVE: Is that what I’m looking for? What the hell is this?

KELLY: You’re looking for a key. That looks like a crystal.

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krakow kelly miller

KELLY: Is it worth anything?

Dave tosses it.

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I think the crystal is worth approximately $250, 000 Australian Dollars.

Sam says her navigation skills are strong because she is first to the herding task.

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And they’re going to need that extra time gained by the looks of it.

Matt tries using the crystal. After seeing Nate fail with the crystal, Dave also tries. They both catch on that the crystals are in fact the keys.

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Woops.

Matt is the first one to get lucky and unlocks the crypt.

DAVE: That was bitterly disappointing to fall back to last again.

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You know it is not a good round when you use the phrases “bitterly disappointed” and “bitterly disappointing” to describe two separate events.

Dave finds the key.

DAVE: The Jew Sucker!

I don’t know what Dave was trying to say, but I re-listened to the clip several times and cannot hear any other words. Kelly celebrates when the crypt opens.

KELLY (flatly): Yazzah.

krakow kelly miller 1

Yazzah–the word you utter when you have given up on the English language.

The farmers and the bikers choose to Herd rather than dance. Is anyone surprised?

College football music plays as Sam & Renae tackle sheep. Chris & Anastasia and Jeff & Luke show up together.

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The overhead cam is not playing in Renae’s avour.

Chris yells at Anastasia to not bother with the sheep until they make the fence.

Jeff & Luke decide to close all of the sheep in and then pick out the three they needed.

JEFF: Mob them all in there. Pick the ones that we needed, and presto.

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Presto!

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Or. . .not.

JEFF: That was until the sheep decided they would smash the fence down.

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Jeff & Luke just got outsmarted by sheep.

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“But hey, at least we aren’t running this leg without any money!”

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“Where is this covered in the woolbook?”

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“Out here there are no wooles.”

Chris proceeds to tackle one of the sheep.

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Chris’ tackle turns into doing the fence doggystyle. Ouch.

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No barrier can protect us from Hurricane Chris.

This completely random guy is shown laughing at Chris at the top of his lungs.

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Who the fuck is this guy? Go home.

CHRIS: I didn’t realize sheep were so quick.

ANASTASIA: They’ve got horns.

You could say the wool was pulled over their eyes when it comes to sheep.

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“You try to tackle us and we fuck you up.”

CHRIS: The horns?

ANASTASIA: Yeah. They got horns.

CHRIS: WHERE ARE THE HORNS?! GOAT GOT HORNS!

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“WHERE ARE THE HORNS?! UNDERNEATH THEIR TIBIAS?!”

Renae starts riding a sheep like it is a pony.

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PETA is going to be REALLY pissed!

ginuwine pony

But not Ginuwine.

Renae’s hands come into play for the second sheep.

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RENAE: It’s funny when you get frustrated or angry because you get stronger than you normally are.

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You won’t like it when Renae is angry.

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“Please don’t drop me.”

What’s with Australian women being cruel to sheep on The Amazing Race?

brisbane jess lani 4

“We’re not murderuhs!”

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Yee haw!

The sheep tries to escape.

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It is really desperate to escape.

Tyler & Nathan are fourth to the sheep herding. They somehow find it. Tyler & Nathan take a passive approach.krakow tyler nathan 15

Nathan runs away. He has Dollyphobia as well as claustrophobia.

Sam & Renae’s sheep is really fat, according to them.

RENAE: I’m going to chuck it over.

RENAE: We had one really fat sheep. It was about fifty kilos.

SAM: No, I weigh fifty kilos. It was way heavier than me.

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I guess it is not flattering for your friend to say “you weigh the equivalent to a really fat sheep.”

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The strain on her face.

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Do you even lift, bro?

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Let’s hoist up Dolly XL.

krakow sheep 5

“WOOOOO! LED ZEPPELIN RULES!”

The sheep looks like it is crowd surfing at a rock concert.

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“We did it! Disco time!”

Sam & Renae read they must drive to Cape Stylchen in Czorstyn.

SAM: Drive to Cape Stylchen in Czor or something or rather.

Or. . .that place.

Remember how Sam & Renae were nearly eliminated because they had to wait a long time for Mo & Mos at an Intersection?

krakow grant bowler 3

Well, guess who’s back. Back again.

This is the first ever English language season of TAR to have more than one Intersection in a single season. Sam & Renae’s navigational skills will soon be irrelevant.

SAM: Renae and I just absolutely annihilated the sheep task.

Because Renae nearly annihilated the sheep!

RENAE: A bit of woman power and a bit of heart and it gets you across the line, doesn’t it?

krakow renae wauhop 11

Also known as kicking ass.

Chris struggles with his second sheep.

krakow chris pselletes 10

Oh my.

Chris & Anastasia get it into the pen. Chris tackles the third sheep.

krakow chris pselletes 11

“You are now my pillow.”

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“Ow, you’re pinching my skin.”

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Chris runs past the clue giver while Anastasia takes a second to acknowledge him.

Jeff & Luke finish the task afterwards.

krakow jeff luke downes 14

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But somehow this happens.

Tyler & Nathan herd all of the sheep into the corner.

TYLER: We were thinking we were really smart going “yeah, we did it straight away”.

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No money no problems.

krakow sheep 6

It was too good to be true.

The same old man from earlier starts laughing it up again.

krakow man

Does he just spend the whole day here?

krakow sheep 7

It’s like they are the speed walking club.

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Nate mocks the old man.

TYLER: Go that way, Nathan. Run that way.

NATHAN: We want them to go that way.

TYLER: Yeah, but, uh, I’ll tell you when to run them down.

NATHAN: We are.

TYLER: Uhhhhhh.

Teamwork is not their strong point.

Tyler & Nathan complete the challenge. Tyler says they finished it so fast that they were only two minutes behind the other three teams.

krakow tyler nathan 18

Everyone is going in the same direction.

Tyler & Nathan run by a gypsy trying to sell them something near the farm.

krakow gypsy

“A piece of cloth, boys?”

NATHAN: No.

krakow gypsy 1

GYPSY (angry): Okay!

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“To hell with you!”

Dave & Kelly are fifth to the farm. They don’t know Matt & Tom have not shown up yet. Then they do.

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The team that outwits Matt & Tom when it comes to navigating.

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At least Dave doesn’t have to do this challenge on skates.

Matt & Tom say chasing sheep is natural for them and the Detour choice was a foregone conclusion. They are stumped as to how Dave & Kelly keep getting ahead of them.

Dave & Kelly have all of the sheep fenced in.

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Psssst. Out the back door, guys!

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Far out. . .of reach!

krakow dave kelly miller 12

DAVE: We’re missing a bloody Pole.

KELLY: Is there another Pole?

map of poland

In Poland, I hear there are millions of Poles.

Sam & Renae and Chris & Anastasia show up to the Intersection together. Anastasia is eager to team up with them.

ANASTASIA: They’ve proven themselves so many times!

krakow chris anastasia 13

So what task will Sam & Renae help Anastasia out with today?

krakow intersection

RENAE: Choose a woodsawing station and saw four pieces from a large timber log.

Uh oh.

Grant explains teams must choose a log and pick a double-handed saw to cut four slices. Teams must swap partners after each slice. When they have completed four slices, they will receive their next clue.

krakow logs

Anastasia also wants to be Intersected with Maria & Tiffany for this challenge.

krakow logs 1

They love their TAR Asia tasks.

krakow logs 2

This looks tougher than TAR Asia 4’s version of this challenge.

invercargill ivan evetovics 2.jpg

And Ivan won’t be around to intimidate the physically weakest players into performing this task for this go-around.

krakow intersection 1

Oh, they even get a special Intersection clue at the end of this task.

Sadly the Richards are not around to make birth control jokes about the Rhythm Method. Anastasia meanwhile should be relieved that there isn’t any single-person sawing for this task.

CHRIS: When I saw what the Intersection was, I was like. . .no.

ANASTASIA: With a team of three girls and one guy, you’re at a massive disadvantage.

krakow chris anastasia 14

Hey, it could be worse. Your one guy could be Hussein, Anastasia.

invercargill hussein baron 2

Hussein kept telling Natasha how to saw the log incorrectly and kept blaming her for the technique while the lumberjack said Hussein was the one screwing up. Hussein even stood off to the sideline and started blowing into a whistle to irritate Natasha.

Hussein was just the worst.

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“So we’re not getting first this round, eh?”

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I should note this two-person saw is MUCH higher and much more dull than the one used in TAR Asia 4.

invercargill hussein baron 2

The top of the log was lower than Hussein’s knees.

Here it is up to Sam & Renae’s chest. It is going to be much harder to generate power.

Sam & Renae are having a hell of a time.

RENAE: It is going to take about an hour just to get halfway through.

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Holy crap.

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An hour to get halfway through this slice. I hope their navigational skills are really really good.

Oh, and keep in mind that Renae just finished lifting two sheep that were each over fifty kilograms.

Meanwhile, the sheep are launching themselves past Matt & Tom.

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Look at that air!

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It’s like a piranha!

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Oh my!

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The sheep has motorboated Tom!

The Harlem Globetrotters theme plays as one sheep escapes from Dave again.

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Their necks must hurt.

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Really hurt.

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He is down for the count!

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He is going to have to replace his tiger balm with sheep balm!

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Matt explores a career in dentistry.

Matt & Tom finish the Detour in fifth place.

TOM: Sheep are really just short hairy cattle.

MATT: Woolly.

TOM: Woolly.

krakow matt tom 10

Short and hairy would actually be an accurate description of the guy who gave them their clue.

Dave & Kelly are still trying to finish the task.

krakow dave kelly miller 13

Ladies and gentlemen, we got ’em.

krakow dave kelly miller 14

I spoke too soon.

DAVE: AH! Stick this!

krakow dave miller 7

Stick this and what? I have a feeling there will be a lot of bleeping.

KELLY: We just need to get that one–

DAVE: I know. Let me breathe again.

krakow dave kelly miller 15

blu cantrell

Since when did Dave turn into Blu Cantrell?

krakow dave miller 8

And stay out!

DAVE: This is just like the ongoing nightmare of the never-ending leg.

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Dave is too exhausted to recognize how awesome the shepherd’s hair is.

Your fun has yet to begin, Dave.

Sam has taken her jacket off. So has Renae.

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The guns are being put to work.

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Sam should be proud.

shahla kara 2

Shahla & Nabeela would have quit by now.

SAM: Anastasia watching us realized that she didn’t know how she was gonna do it.

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Ninety percent of success is just showing up. . .right guys?

krakow chris

Chris is such a pervert.

krakow castle

Oh, he was talking about the castle.

Tyler & Nathan are surprised to find themselves in third.

TYLER: You’re kidding, we found it.

(TYLER sees it is an Intersection.)

TYLER: You are kidding.

Nobody is kidding, Tyler.

Where are Jeff & Luke, anyway? They got beat by a team without any resources.

krakow walk

Jeff & Luke join the 2:00pm walking tour.

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LUKE: We need to get here as fast as we can!

JEFF: We decided it would be a really good idea to ask some walkers what would be the fastest way to the next point.

krakow map 1

The fastest way to drive around the lake? Well, here you go. . .

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“Why are you guys looking so rushed?”

LUKE: The worst people I have now decided are the worst for asking directions are walking sightseers.

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“Next time I will run you over with my car.”

LUKE: We went on the most picturesque drive. We saw mountains, we saw beautiful homes. We went through quaint little villages. It cost us the best thirty-five minutes.

krakow landscape

“This is some fantastic B-Roll, guys.”

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“That’s not in our contract.”

NATHAN: Couldn’t have asked for a better team as long as they can get here soon.

LUKE: Want to go somewhere? Ask a taxi driver. Don’t want to go somewhere? Ask people who do this.

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krakow jeff luke downes 18

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Polish walkers are now delirious?

Tyler & Nathan are bored.

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Nathan has taken up an Amazing Race modeling career.

TYLER: Is that another team? It’s another team. That’s another team.

Is it another team, Tyler?

krakow teams 1

It is another team.

krakow clue 1

Why not include any of the additional information in the main part of the clue?

Luke notes that Sam & Renae and Chris & Anastasia have had a 45 minute head start but barely have half of a slice done. Tyler says the task was really slow for him and Jeff too.

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Anastasia cannot bear to watch when it will be her turn.

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Now that is effort!krakow nathan joliffe 15

Nathan is not looking forward to his turn.

RENAE: No matter how tired, how angry, or how hungry we are, we never give up.

SAM: It was a big eye-opener that -we- could do this.

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YAY!

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“We are one-quarter of the way through the task!”

Chris & Anastasia begin to cut.

Matt & Tom see the flag.

TOM: We are marginally on track to not come last.

Too bad it’s an Intersection.

Matt & Tom are fifth to the Intersection. This isn’t good for them.

TOM: You must choose one other team to partner with. We may as well choose Dave and Kelly.

MATT: May as well.

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I don’t think you get to -choose- anything, Matt & Tom.

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Since only a pit stop remains, this could really screw them over.

NATHAN (looking out into the distance): Cowboys.

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“Brace yourselves. The Cowboys are coming.”

Matt & Tom pretend like they are at a funeral as they wait for Dave & Kelly to show up.

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Hold onto your butts, this leg is approaching its conclusion.

Matt & Tom speculate how long it will take for Dave & Kelly to show up.

MATT: A couple minutes, maybe.

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It might be more than a couple minutes.

krakow dave kelly miller 17

At least they didn’t ask any walking sightseers.

krakow sklep

Uncle Kracker hangs out at Sklep.

DAVE: You’re a gentleman and a scholar!

Dave says they are now backtracking roughly twenty kilometres.

Chris attempts to coach Anastasia.

CHRIS: We’re not trying to push down–we’re trying to pull out.

ANASTASIA: Try to keep it straight and don’t touch it.

krakow chris pselletes 13

You would think Chris is the one who would have a hard time with pulling out, but that’s just me.

We see the many faces of Anastasia’s frustration with this challenge. She says she cannot get a pace going or move the saw.

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It ain’t budgin’.

ANASTASIA: I didn’t want to give up, letting the entire team down.

Luke is done with his sweater.

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“Let’s pause, boys.”

krakow luke downes 11

“Did it just get hot in here or is it just me from touching all of this wood?”

We call this segment Stripping Downe With Luke Downes.

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In the words of Liliana Gomez from Survivor: Fiji: “Don’t drool.”

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“Watch my muscles work in rhythm with the saw.”

RENAE: Maybe I’ll take in the scenery.

krakow sam schoers 7

RENAE: No, I’m not talking about that scenery.

Renae is such a perv. She hopes Anastasia never gets a pace going so she can stare at Luke all day.

krakow renae wauhop 13

Hands up, Renae!

.

.

.

SAM: HA! HA! I just got what you meant!

One of the most delayed reactions ever.

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At least the joke landed.

Tyler says Jeff works hard and is a machine despite being sixty years old.

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The machine is ready to power down.

Jeff & Luke cut their first slice.

Why is this an Intersection when two of the Intersected teams are working together in their original pairs?

Dave & Kelly finally make it to the Intersection.

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Thanks to this guy.

DAVE: Sorry gents, we’ve been geographically embarrassed for some time.

krakow teams 2

They look like they are checking into a pit stop.

Dave & Kelly are in a lot of pain before they start the task. They see Chris & Anastasia are still having a lot of trouble with cutting.

Dave & Kelly and Matt & Tom are the only Intersected team that uses opposite pairs. Matt is doing the first cut with Dave.

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Dave is a wolverine.

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And Bambi is looking like. . .well, Bambi at the end of Bambi.

ANASTASIA: I was thinking it was going to take at least an hour to cut each one. I was thinking I can’t do this. I would be leaning on it with as much weight as I have, and it was just not happening.

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Chris is ready to slit his own throat from this task.

At the challenge, Chris stops to console Anastasia.

CHRIS: I love you!

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The challenge nor the love is my guess.

ANASTASIA: I would cry and then I would stop, think to myself “you have to do this so you can help the team”.

Chris & Anastasia return to the task at hand.

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A task which Anastasia is not looking forward to at all.

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Sam mimes the technique for Anastasia to copy.

Dave and Matt complete the first slice. Dave sees that the other two teams are still on the same cut as when he and Matt started.

krakow dave matt

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Dave really wanted that hug.

Luke tells Tyler & Nathan that Dave and Matt did not use a technique but rather used brute strength. Nate says Jeff & Luke’s support and advice helped them to complete the second slice.

LUKE: You’ve just got to try and gently take it in.

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Take ‘er in, boys!

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Anastasia is not doing well.

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Sam & Renae have been on break for so long that they are back to being cold again.

RENAE: We’re not doing very good with our situation right now.

SAM: If they can’t finish their piece of wood, we face a penalty.

krakow anastasia drimousis 14

Which is looking to be increasingly likely.

SAM: You guys are doing so good! You’re halfway there.

RENAE: Once you get through this one Anastasia, you don’t have to do another one.

Thank God.

Chris stops to embrace Anastasia again.

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If Chris & Anastasia quit right now, then nobody has to waste any more energy completing this task.

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“They’ll let us win?”

Anastasia sounds like she is having an orgasm while continuing to work through the cut.

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“The other teams are just too damn good. I give up!”

ANASTASIA (in second grader voice): I tried my best!

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ANASTASIA: Like, it’s just not happening.

We CUT to a commercial break. Then resume. More crying. It’s hilarious.

Luke and Tyler slice through the third slice.

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Full steam ahead, boys!

Jeff and Nathan take over for the final slice.

Chris and Anastasia swap positions.krakow anastasia drimousis 17

I don’t think it will help. Sam says they are halfway, but that looks like it is closer to a third to me.

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Keen observation, Dave.

Dave starts clapping.

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“We won’t even be bottom two this leg.”

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Yeah, Dave & Kelly are safe.

Anastasia starts crying in the confessional because the other girls were able to do it except her.

Dave starts chuckling.

DAVE: Hohohohoho, Kel. This is going to be good. This is going to be a four hour penalty.

KELLY: Don’t be cocky–

DAVE: You’ll be alright.

Dave wants Matt & Tom to work a bit faster to guarantee Anastasia crumbles.

krakow intersection 2

Dave -knows- Kelly can do this.

CHRIS: I don’t want to see her in agony. Even caused by myself, it hurts me to say it.

And he meant it.

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It looks like this is it for Anastasia at this task. Sam & Renae insist she is not letting them down.

RENAE: There’s nothing you can do when someone does their best, and we saw that.

krakow chris anastasia 23

This task went about as well as their personal relationship.

CHRIS: It was the best thing we did was quit because otherwise we’d have to put up with six more hours of sawing, and instead had a four hour penalty. Kelly still had to cut one–it might take her four hours.

Could that really happen? Could we have two teams take identical penalties which saves the team who took the penalty first?

krakow kelly miller 2

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Chris is so devious.

Sam & Renae’s penalty is only two hours because they cut one slice.

I have a question. Dave has sliced one piece. Kelly has sliced zero. If they take a penalty, does that mean it would be three hours?

They read that they must drive themselves to the Dunajec Castle in Niedzica, Poland. It is a 14th century castle and overlooks a beautiful lake.

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And they’ve had a BBQ going while waiting for Grant Bowler.

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It will be a long night waiting for teams to serve penalties.

Dave bids Chris & Anastasia farewell.

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Anastasia can’t walk either, for some reason.

DAVE: See ya later!

krakow dave miller 12

Dave always loves trolling teams.

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If I was Nate, I would be paying more attention to the sharp blades in my hands.

Anastasia talks about Dave’s injuries and Kelly being a woman. This task looks brutal.

Matt & Tom complete the second slice. Dave & Kelly are up.

KELLY: I might die of hypothermia.

The final slice falls for Nathan and Jeff. The Intersection is over. They all hug for a long time.

krakow hug

krakow hug 1

Tyler & Nathan went from being nearly ejected out of the race to having a 50/50 shot at winning this leg.

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But first, more hugs.

Matt makes a fire.

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He looks like those Crocodile Dundee salsa commercials.

krakow fire

I thought Australian Survivor doesn’t premiere for another month.

Sam & Renae locate the pit stop.

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Guess who you will be hanging out with for the next two hours?

NOT FIRST PLACE: SAM & RENAE

krakow sam renae 34

NOT SECOND PLACE: CHRIS & ANASTASIA

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Anastasia is smiling. She really doesn’t believe Kelly will do it, eh?

krakow time 1

One second has passed. So far nobody has checked in.

krakow chris anastasia 27

Chris makes sure the penalty is on track.

Tyler & Nathan tell Jeff & Luke they will follow them to the pit stop and let them check in first. Because they aren’t Richard & Joey, Jeff & Luke comply.

FIRST PLACE: JEFF & LUKE

SECOND PLACE: TYLER & NATHAN

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The all-male teams sure love working together.

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“That look” returns when Luke nabs the $10, 000 prize for this leg.

krakow tyler nathan luke

Luke is a gorilla as he slaps everyone’s chest.

Jeff knew it was as his day as he knew he deserved it and from the graciousness of Tyler & Nathan.

Dave & Kelly complete the third slice as if it was nothin’.

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krakow kelly miller 4

Kelly disproved Chris & Anastasia’s theory that any female racer wouldn’t be able to fully complete this task. The biker triumphs over Bambi.

Dave and Tom do the final slice.

KELLY: You did it three times.

DAVE: Yeah, I was so lucky. Great planning.

All four talk about how they didn’t cry or take a four hour penalty. Speaking of penalties. . .

krakow timer

We are halfway there.

THIRD PLACE: SAM & RENAE

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As if there was any suspense to what place they finished in when they were there the whole time. Why do they have to pretend that this is a surprise?

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Even Grant doesn’t understand the point of it.

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They may freeze to death outside before their penalty is over.

Dave and Tom have just the last tenth of the cut to finish it. The two hours of sleep is catching up with him. Because of having to backtrack to properly do the cut, Dave is highly discouraged.

DAVE: I wasn’t enjoying it anymore.

Were you enjoying this task to begin with?

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Dave is ready to pass out.

krakow blade

The blade is not pointed in the ideal direction.

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If Dave & Kelly or Matt & Tom get help from walking sightseers, Chris & Anastasia may have a shot at staying alive in this thing.

The final cut is complete.

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The group hugs never end.

Tom doubts if any time was made up.

Dave & Kelly follow Matt & Tom’s car.

krakow dave kelly miller 19

Dave wants to pass Matt & Tom on the road.

Both teams park at the castle and start running.

krakow teams 5

Matt & Tom are right behind Dave & Kelly.

The bell on top of the castle starts ringing. It’s like watching a freakin’ movie as teams race against time at night and the bell rings to heighten the dramatic tension.

krakow tom warriner 2

Matt & Tom race up the stairs.

KELLY: Why did they have to put it up stairs?

krakow grant bowler 8

“I took an elevator.”

krakow matt tom dave kelly

How have Matt & Tom not run past an older team that has been in chronic pain for three legs in a row?

krakow kelly miller 5

Kelly won a sprint. I repeat, Kelly won a sprint.

Dave holds Kelly’s hand at the mat. Dave stumbles backwards.

krakow pit stop

“Do I have to catch this bloke?”

krakow dave kelly miller 20

Dave nearly dislocates Kelly’s arm as he pulls her off the mat.

krakow pit stop 1

The Intersection never stops.

FOURTH PLACE: DAVE & KELLY

DAVE: How did that happen?

krakow dave kelly miller 21

Kelly can’t move her arms; she is as stiff as a robot.

FIFTH PLACE: MATT & TOM

krakow matt tom 14

They move up a spot after coming in last on a NEL.

Which means. . .

krakow chris anastasia 29

“I don’t have to run the race with Chris anymore!!!”

krakow grant bowler 9

Grant’s heart is broken.

LAST PLACE: CHRIS & ANASTASIA

krakow chris anastasia 30

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This is the happiest I have seen them.

CHRIS: I think we proved to ourselves that we can be number one.

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Is Grant. . .crying? No, it’s just cold wind blowing into his eyes.

krakow chris anastasia 32

CHRIS: I think the race let us see each other at our worst. In particular, me. Anastasia seen me at my worst, and she was going to decide “is his worst too much for me or can I work on it?”

ANASTASIA: Since we withstood anything that the race threw at us, we can pull through and be together for life.

NOTE: Chris & Anastasia broke up before the episodes even started airing. No, I am not joking. That really happened.

krakow chris anastasia 33

“I said wait to break up with me! AND I MEANT IT!”

Next Time on TAR: The final five teams race to the Middle East. It is an odyssey through the desert, and one team won’t make it to the pit stop.

CONFESSIONAL COUNT

TYLER.NATHAN 11.18

DAVE.KELLY 12.7

MATT.TOM 7.4

SAM.RENAE 12.9

JEFF.LUKE 5.11

CHRIS.ANASTASIA 7.8

Rank the Legs

1) Macau, China -> Port Elizabeth, South Africa

It took four episodes, but we finally get some original material. After copying tasks from prior seasons of TAR Asia, nothing is repeated as the cast exits Asia for the rest of the season.

What is even better is we visit a part of South Africa that has yet to be seen on The Amazing Race. In other words, not Cape Town.

This round earns a lot of points for being an extreme self-drive leg. After flying for a full day, teams were forced to drive six hundred kilometres only to be equalized until the morning.

Richard & Joey’s storyline was set up perfectly for this round. After pissing off everyone else this season, it did not come as a surprise that they would be the only team to be U-Turned. Add to this that they were stuck in the mud more than any other team, Richard wasting time wanting a better goat, and both of them going insane during the Detour was great entertainment.

This round had the perfect balance of tasks. A couple of scenic locations, a difficult driving challenge through mud, a Detour where you pick between either coordination or skill, a record-breaking bungee jump task, and lastly a fun goat-herding challenge.

This is when TAR is at its best.

There was lots of fun moments this leg. Most of them came from Alana & Mel nearly dying as they learn how to drive a stick shift. Matt & Tom were pulled over by the friendliest police officer ever, and Mo & Mos barely surviving elimination yet again despite not even being able to stand up on a ferry just a day earlier.

An episode like this is why I love The Amazing Race, and why it makes me sad when I watch a season like TAR 24 or the majority of TAR 28 where the soul of the series continues to fade away. Or the season premiere of TAR Asia 5. What the hell was that?

2) Cape Town, South Africa -> The ‘Dam, Netherlands -> Prague, Czech Republic

I will award this round fifty points for traveling to two separate non-bordering countries properly in a single episode (as a reader pointed out, TAR Asia 1 and TAR Asia 2 had done this before). We saw teams fatigued before they were even at the second challenge.

The twist of providing the leading teams with comfortable accommodations while providing the trailing teams with a punishment is something I don’t recall seeing before. Unless you’re Danny & Oswald and take it from your own pocket.

Furthermore, the $50 Roadblock race bonus at the bow and arrow task was also a creative twist. None of the other versions had ever done that before either.

However, this leg blatantly copied three of the TAR Asia 2 challenges that they also did in Prague. Back in 2011 I doubt too many people had watched the TAR Asia seasons prior to TAR Australia, but I can’t help but penalize production for a lack of creativity for the majority of the episode.

Dave & Kelly accidentally making fun of a blind man, Tyler & Nathan describing themselves as underdogs, Matt as Robocop, Jeff & Luke unintentionally misdirecting Sam & Renae, the princesses being called fat, and Mel’s twinging elbow strain all contributed to an entertaining round of play.

And just think of Jeff & Luke did not give away their arrows, Matt & Tom would have been eliminated! So close, guys. So close.

3) Port Elizabeth, South Africa – > Cape Town, South Africa

This round is hilarious. I thought this season would suffer after Richard & Joey’s exit, but that is not the case.

I have two complaints with this round. One of them is that the Intersection is as weak as the American version. Why doesn’t any of the franchises want to do something more with the Intersection? Just one lousy task and that’s it?

Although it was funny to see Intersected teams lose each other while driving on the road to the same place.

The other complaint is that they copied a luck-based task from TAR Asia 2 in the exact same location. I love how Anastasia thought it was necessary to one-up Collin’s accident. The air she got was ridiculous.

Speaking of Anastasia, the reason why this episode ranks so high is because of how volatile Chris & Anastasia were from start to finish. The wine Detour blowup is memorable for any hardcore TAR fan. They were even fighting in confessionals from start to finish this episode. Not to mention they lost their keys in the desert, needed Renae to release their key, and Anastasia nearly died. I imagine more absurd fights are on the horizon.

Mo & Mos’ adventure this leg started out with a series of bathroom breaks prior to jumping out of a plane. Or their pointless search of a random beach that didn’t have their next clue. I can picture their friends and family cringing at home as they make their jihad jokes when firing at clay targets on the shooting range.

The Detour featured a classic pun–Guns or Rose. I guess that is a thing. Neither Detour seemed difficult unless you are a couple preparing to break up. It wasn’t a terrible Detour, but not brilliant either.

The skydiving task may be a tired formula in TAR by this point. Thankfully Alana, Dave, and Mo provided a bit of entertainment within it.

Dave & Kelly donating an extra map to the orphanage led to one of the more amusing moments of the round.

The Matt & Tom vs. Tyler & Nathan rivalry continues to build without it being too boring. Luckily all four racers are somewhat entertaining.

Mo & Mos were -this- close to surviving the leg. It would have made a better ending as Chris & Anastasia being eliminated would have been the best way to cap their shitty day.

Lastly, Luke overplays how old his dad is on screen. It never gets old. . .unlike his dad.

4) Melbourne, Australia -> Lombok, Indonesia

A Starting Line task where nobody is penalized? Wonderful.

A NEL that doesn’t involve a stupid Speed Bump? Wonderful.

A round where the prize up for grabs is an Express Pass? Meh, but I’ll forgive this since the twist was still relatively new.

This round loses points for being the closest thing to a copycat of another prior TAR leg that I have ever seen. When half of the tasks are identical, nearly every single location is identical, and the host’s own puns are plagiarized, I think that is a bit extreme.

I know it is tempting because this Lombok leg was well-constructed in TAR Asia 4. It had the freakin’ Ethan & Khairie vs. The Richards fight to set the tone for a very competitive leg.

But c’mon, replacing a tomb with bakso soup is not enough to make this its own leg. We still had a clue covered by a net in an outrigger, the rice cake massacre, diving into the water, counting money, and riding a cidomo to a pit stop.

The only interesting part about seeing a group of people repeat a leg from a different season is if it plays out any differently. Knowing how exhausted teams were by the time they needed to count the money demonstrated that this was a true test for everyone involved. My initial assumption that Tyler & Nathan would stroll through this round easily was erased halfway through the episode.

Sam & Renae obliterate eighteen seasons of TAR US’ history with young blonde all-female teams by slaughtering everyone on their way to the pit stop. They were also responsible for slaughtering that poor asterisk. It gave you ten thousand dollars and THAT is how you repay it?

One of the weirdest trends was seeing Mo & Mos repeat fellow Muslim team Bilal & Sa’eed by having a horrendous opening leg. Luckily, they were saved by a NEL unlike their Cleveland counterparts.

The lopsided rivalry of the intense Richard & Joey versus the goofy and giggly Anne-Marie & Tracy begins here. I hope this lasts for a while because it is a hilarious storyline. Anne-Marie & Tracy must be oblivious to the target on their backs. By the way, I love Anne-Marie & Tracy win round one of this war.

After Alana & Mel were awful with self-driving in Melbourne, I cannot wait to see how they handle driving in foreign countries.

Chris’s roided up reactions to everything during this leg amused me. So was Dave & Kelly’s commentary.

Lastly, Liberty vomiting after kissing a dozen Lombok men. Did their cheeks nauseate you that much?

Overall, this round was anything but its own original piece, however the cast and the fact this was a strong leg in TAR Asia 4 makes up for it. A seventy-minute episode did not drag whatsoever.

5) Zimni, Czech Republic -> Niedzica, Poland

Despite it being a To Be Continued round, there wasn’t an equalizer that resulted in all six teams being forced together at the start of the day. Yes, the gap narrowed at the salt mine, but it wasn’t enough to make Dave & Kelly and Matt & Tom be on an equal playing field with the other teams.

Tyler & Nathan being robbed on the train is one of the most shocking moments in TAR history. James & Abba will suffer a worse fate just over a year after this season airs, but James & Abba weren’t the extreme frontrunners like Tyler & Nathan had been all season long. It would be like if Colin & Christie lost their passports at the end of the tenth leg of TAR 5–the strongest team being taken out in the unluckiest way possible.

Thanks to it being a self-drive leg and having many allies, Tyler & Nathan mounted a comeback and nearly won this round. If you had any doubts they were going to win this season, they were certainly removed after this round of play.

Surprisingly, none of the tasks in Poland referenced World War II like they did during TAR 11: Real All Stars’ visit. It’s just castles, salt mines, and views of the lakes and mountains.

The salt mine task was a bit too much of a needle in the haystack for me. The crypt was cool, though. And Nathan nearly damaging the equipment was amusing as well as Matt being forced to damage his own equipment thanks to the tight overalls.

Dave & Kelly continuing to pile on fatigue and physical injury was amusing. Every time they beat Matt & Tom on navigation and how pissed Matt & Tom were also added a dash of hilarity to the episode.

The Detour, where it was so lopsided that everyone chose the sheep anyway, was full of funny moments. Renae lifting up fat sheep, sheep escaping through every pole or hole possible, and the cute little way they all run away from the contestants had me laughing. It was also a fun task to watch.

It was painful to see the Intersection be the last task before the pit stop. I know it wasn’t the shortest drive in the world, but nearly everyone checked into the pit stop in pairs.

Now for the Intersection task itself–the TAR Asia 4 woodcutting challenge on steroids. The log was three times as high, and the tools used required A LOT of physical strength. Was it too unfair to the group that had three women and only one man? That’s up for debate. Can you imagine if Charla & Mirna had to do this task?

There was hope for Chris, Anastasia, Sam, and Renae when Sam & Renae made it through their first cut, but Anastasia’s lack of strength made it clear that the lead they had since the previous round was going to be sacrificed. At least there was suspense if Kelly had enough in her to complete this challenge. The editors had me wondering because of what happened with Anne-Marie & Tracey and Mo & Mos at the zodiac challenge earlier in the season.

But Anastasia was the only one who couldn’t do it. The four hour penalty was assessed, and Sam & Renae were caught in friendly fire as they had a two hour penalty dumped on them. I think Sam & Renae should not have received a penalty at all because they weren’t allowed the chance to prove they could make the second cut.

Jeff & Luke finally nab their first victory of the season. It was well-earned as this was Jeff & Luke’s most entertaining episode to date. What time is it, old man?

It would be interesting to see how social media would have reacted to Chris & Anastasia if social media platforms were as big in 2011 as they were now. Something tells me Chris would have had a much tougher time dealing with the public reaction.

Overall, this was a solid round but too much TAR Asia copying, an oddly placed Intersection, a Detour where one option was extremely unappealing, and a luck-based challenge drops it in the rankings.

6) Prague, Czech Republic -> Zimni, Czech Republic

If I recall correctly, this is by far the shortest episode out of the first seven episodes (while other episodes were up to seventy minutes of running time, this one is only 43 minutes).

Matt & Tom set a new record by being stopped by police TWICE in the same round. Somehow they were not detained or fined by law enforcement in either situation.

The ice hockey challenge proved to be difficult as we saw some extremely painful falls by our dear Aussies. Dave’s incidents were cringeworthy to watch.

Production trolled teams by setting up a Detour task that they knew would be borderline impossible for everyone involved. Seeing three teams fall for this trap was funny.

Sam & Renae receive bad advice from a fellow team for the second round in a row as Matt & Tom were unaware of how to properly succeed at the Russian spy challenge. The comrade was always good for a laugh as he repeatedly insulted Tyler.

You could see this season being taken to the next level as the showdown at the beer stacking between the three trailing teams became more physical than what I was expecting. With five rounds left in the season, we could very well shift to it being a cutthroat battle.

This round does have a lousy ending, though. No prize given to Chris & Anastasia for finishing first, and whoever finishes last on this leg will not be penalized despite it being a Non-Elimination Leg. Sigh.

A mid-season NEL leg can be dull most of the time, but here it holds up reasonably well. A self-drive leg, a unique penalty for failing at a task, and a physical active route info all contributed to a decent round of play.

Oh, and there was abseiling. I almost forgot about it since it was only shown for two minutes.

7) Lombok, Indonesia -> Hue, Vietnam

Although this leg ends in Hue, we cannot glance over the fact that we were in Ho Chi Minh City for one task before equalizing all of the teams.

For the second round in a row, we get an excessive amount of overlap with a TAR Asia leg. Well, two TAR Asia legs if you include the carabao task from TAR Asia 2.

I like how teams were given even less instruction with the dynasty coins task compared to when it was run during TAR Asia 3 (it was also twenty degrees Celsius warmer back then to balance things out).

The Detour was extremely physical. Either you relied on the carabao to drag you through the mud to find a clue, or you caught a bunch of chickens and had to carry the heavy weight over a long course. Considering multiple teams switched tasks, nobody had any energy left.

However, forcing half of the players to run up and down stairs during what would normally be billed as a mental challenge led to them scrounging what little energy they could to finish off the leg.

Perhaps my biggest beef with this leg is underediting the broken deal between Alana & Mel and Richard & Joey right before the pit stop. Both teams were minutes away from being eliminated, and Richard & Joey gave into temptation to guarantee they stayed alive. Since both teams entered the pit stop seconds apart, we should have seen Grant Bowler host a mat chat on the spot.

In fact, Ryot & Liberty could have been told they were eliminated and start crying while Mel and Joey engage in a shouting match. That would have been great TV.

Rich & Joey was not the only team to piss off everyone this episode. Chris did his part as he infamously berated Anastasia at the airport in Lombok. Furthermore, the name-calling continued until Anastasia was the first to complete the Roadblock over ten other teams. Then things changed.

We saw alliances begin to form and enemies made. I don’t understand why we needed a double equalizer before the true round could start, but whatever.

I do find it funny that this cast got to travel by plane rather than bus or train to Hue. Special treatment for Aussies!

Mo & Mos and Anne-Marie & Tracy staying alive through the first elimination was the ideal start to the season. Ryot & Liberty were not the best choice for first boots, but it is not the worst option out there. Besides, we saw how physically fit Liberty was in the first episode–I am surprised she held up through this round without vomiting again.

While wonderful storylines developed and amusing moments were present, the lack of originality and a missed opportunity for the editors drops this episode down a bit in the rankings.

8) Hue, Vietnam -> Macau, China

Let’s get this out of the way: For the third leg in a row, many of the challenges and locations are unapologetically ripped off from TAR Asia. The fortune cookie search, placing Zodiac lanterns in the correct order, dancing in a lion costume, playing a simple card game in a casino to win points, and A-Ma Cultural Village being used as the pit stop were all apart of TAR Asia 3.

This episode used too many luck-based challenges. That is always disappointing.

The only Fast Forward of the season appears, and features the famous traditional head shaving challenge. Whether you are annoyed this task is unoriginal or like the nostalgic factor is completely up to you.

Seeing Richard & Joey go from the team viewed as underperforming and pissing off everyone else in the race go to “lucky bastards” who jump to the front and take the Fast Forward and skip three-quarters of the leg sets up the team everyone wants to knock out of the race.

This round contains one of the most frustrating moments in TAR history. The bottom two teams, beloved Mo & Mos and Anne-Marie & Tracy are at the final Roadblock. Mo & Mos decide to take a four hour penalty, thus setting up Anne-Marie & Tracy to beat them by default. However, Anne-Marie & Tracy quit -after- them despite knowing it would guarantee their elimination, and end up going home in what could have been a case of having all-time great characters.

We had name-calling in the form of Chris referring to Dave as a fat oaf, a kung fu task where Renae accidentally punched concrete to make her hand bleed, and Anne-Marie & Tracy successfully performing an aerobic lion dance.

Oh, and Mel being angry with Alana’s hesitation to step up for a Roadblock was funny. We’ll have to work on that, Alana.

This round featured a TAR franchise first which has yet to be repeated: An Express Pass which saved a team who had a 50/50 shot at being eliminated. Sam & Renae used their Express Pass in an episode where editors buried them. This round in Singapore was absolutely brutal for them.

P.S. How dapper were Matt & Tom? They were as dressed up as the Texan guy from The Simpsons.

Rank the Teams

1) Mo El Leissy & Mos Haroun

Oh God. . .I mean Allah.

Mo & Mos are the first Muslim team in TAR history to last more than half of an episode. While Bilal & Sa’eed appeared to be more strict with their religious beliefs and took themselves seriously, Mo & Mos couldn’t be more relaxed. I believe Mos is a comedian and Mo works in media.

Mo & Mos couldn’t handle much of anything. They couldn’t handle heat, they were taunted with ice cream when they were in last place, they couldn’t figure out a mental puzzle, they couldn’t properly attach a trailer, they couldn’t stand on a boat, and Mos relied on a Salbutamol inhaler when trying to keep up with other teams.

Some people may view five episodes as a short run on TAR, but look at how many times Mo & Mos escaped elimination:

a) They finished in last place on the first leg, but saved by a rare opening NEL. Lucky.

b) They took a four hour penalty at the end of round three. This was minutes before Anne-Marie & Tracy also took a four hour penalty. Very lucky.

c) They were dead last in round four, but Tyler & Nathan U-Turned Richard & Joey to buy Mo & Mos enough time to make it to the pit stop. Super Duper Lucky.

d) If they avoided the 45 minute hourglass or Anastasia landed her ATV at a slightly different angle, they would have barely survived round five as well.

What a whirlwind for Mo & Mos.

2) Richard Toutounji & Joey Toutounji

They are sharp entrepreneurs. They are super physically fit. They are the most motivated team we have ever seen.

And excluding a lucky Fast Forward. . .they performed worse than Anne-Marie & Tracy. That is both hilarious and awesome.

I don’t think we have seen a team be as extreme as Richard & Joey, and always be at the bottom of the rankings.

FUN FACT: Up to this point in TAR history, no team has this low of an average (7.25) and still have a leg win under their belts.

Richard & Joey probably see themselves as the fiercest competition in this season. Hell, even when they were eliminated they viewed themselves as Tyler & Nathan’s equals. I really hope Richard & Joey watched this season and read my blog with a sense of humour.

I love it when teams contrast expectations of the audience heading into the season. Richard & Joey could have been another generic competitive romantic couple who get to the end of the race, but instead we witness a really fun trainwreck that gets routinely defeated by middle-aged department store employees and out-of-shape brothers who have been penalized multiple times.

Going into this season, the number one team that my friends were mentioning was Richard & Joey. TAR Australia 1 is synonymous with the catchphrase “Focus, Believe, Achieve.”

A team who was eliminated in 9th place and hogs this much attention must be doing something right.

And hey, Joey is one of only two women in an English-speaking version of TAR to get her head shaved. Richard & Joey never had a subtle presence in these four episodes. . .even if that’s the reason why they were ultimately eliminated. Hopefully betraying Alana & Mel isn’t a move that has haunted them too much at night.

P.S. Yes, I thought I read something where Richard & Joey make it to the Final Three. You can imagine my shock when they are bested by Mo & Mos. If they hadn’t been U-Turned, Mo & Mos would have definitely been eliminated this round. What a miracle.

3) Anne-Marie Brown & Tracy Read

The self-proclaimed tortoises hare’d their way out of the race.

Up until the last five minutes of episode three, Anne-Marie & Tracy were one of my favourite characters this season.

A little over a month ago, somebody on Reddit brought up how much they laughed at me making fun of Peggy & Claire from TAR 2.

You know, Peggy & Claire. The team from TAR 2 who everyone rooted for because they were old, had no chance of winning, and were praised for just not dying in the first couple of episodes. When they were eliminated, the additional confessionals from other teams were as if it was a memorial for a national dictator.

A couple days ago, my good friend Ben told me “Well, you liked Anne-Marie & Tracy but not Peggy & Claire. Anne-Marie & Tracy were really just Australian Peggy & Claire. How times have changed.”

I feel the need to counter this comparison on record.

a) Anne-Marie & Tracy were frequently hovering around eighth or ninth in the first three legs. They were never dead last until near the end of this episode, or if they were it was a tie for it with other teams.

b) They didn’t sleep through their alarm clock, have one person who was grumpy the whole time, or missed a flight that got them in twenty-four hours after everyone else.

c) They beat alpha warriors Richard & Joey both times. Richard & Joey avoided round three because of the Fast Forward. They never truly beat Anne-Marie & Tracy on a level playing field.

d) They couldn’t pay to get out of the cawwwww pawwwwk.

Anne-Marie & Tracy repeatedly stated how they were going to be tortoises who would triumph over the hares. Never give up. Never say die.

But in a discreet editor’s joke. . .Anne-Marie & Tracy blatantly quit, and commit the hare-iest act possible.

What is frustrating about this is they had FOUR HOURS to luck out with the Roadblock. They knew Mo & Mos had a penalty.

There are other times where teams have taken a four hour penalty in the past, but did so with the -slight- chance they could survive. It is almost quitting, but it is also partially a strategic move. Or teams who have quit when they already knew they were going to be eliminated.

What is also frustrating is that this wasn’t a physical or painful task. All you had to do was switch out lantern after lantern until you got one right. It is not like a Maria & Tiffany situation where they could claim being too physically drained to continue, or a Marshall & Lance situation where they are dead last and Lance can’t physically go on.

This just required a will to stay in the race. If they quit, they know they are gone. That would be heartbreaking if you were a big Anne-Marie & Tracy fan. Knowing the tasks that come up in leg four, Anne-Marie & Tracy not being apart of that is sad and disappointing.

But let’s move on to Anne-Marie & Tracy before their heartbreaking forfeit. They were hilarious. Well, they found everything hilarious, anyway. We all know people like Anne-Marie & Tracy–they get married, work in a department store for twenty years, and raise a family until they are in their 60s until they retire and watch game shows while calling each other on the telephone all day.

To have something like The Amazing Race Australia come before them blew their minds. They are thrown into a cast full of reality TV archetypes. Models. Competitive entrepreneurs. Aspiring actors and actresses. Physically fit people. Country folk. Aggressive personalities. Pokah playas. Younger people. You know, the usual spectrum.

Anne-Marie & Tracy didn’t fit in with any of that. It is like TAR Australia was secretly creating a new twist on the Joe Schmo Show. And that is certainly what it felt like for Anne-Marie & Tracy. “We beat Richard & Joey twice? Are you kidding me?”

I love how much they laughed at every good or bad thing that happened. Why, I bet they were in the theatre giggling while watching The Schindler’s List because Liam Neeson’s voice is amusing to them or something.

Yes, Anne-Marie & Tracy lose a lot of points for quitting. Yes, they were tired from a round that lasted until two o’ clock in the morning, but who isn’t tired on The Amazing Race?

But they make up for it by being able to keep up with the other teams and possessing much better personalities than Peggy & Claire along the way. And hey, that counts for something.

P.S. Yes, I was annoyed by Anne-Marie’s quote of “nobody expected us to make it this far” when they were the second team eliminated. Uh, Anne-Marie: Lots of people expected you to be the first or second team out. If Anne-Marie rephrased it as “nobody expected us to beat some of the other teams like we did”, then yeah, I am right there with her.

4) Chris Pselletes & Anastasia Drimousis

I SAID RATE US HIGHER. . .AND I MEANT IT!

I will be honest–you could make a case to shift Chris & Anastasia elsewhere in these rankings and I would agree.

Some teams bicker and it feels like it is a front for the cameras to get airtime.

For Chris & Anastasia? The bickering was authentic because the words and phrases that came out of their mouths were so absurd. They had two major blowups that every fan of this season can clearly remember. It’s the principle of the thing.

In Psychology, we learn about romantic relationships that are divided into two categories: Companionship and intense romances.

Chris & Anastasia are definitely the latter. One moment they are shouting at the top of their lungs in anger and the next you would think they are the most loving couple in the whole race.

Rather than Dave & Kelly who spend the whole season dissing each other for bad driving or bad map reading.

Muscles and Bambi’s reputation improves by the end of the season. Dave no longer feels compelled to flip off Chris by the eighth leg of the season. Teams willingly ally with Chris & Anastasia without mentioning how volatile of a couple they can be on the race.

Either I am living in the 1920s, or Chris & Anastasia may be one of the nuttiest couples to ever run the race.

And yes, I meant it.

P.S. They broke up before the episodes started airing on TV. Shocking, I know!

5) Alana Munday & Mel Greig

Alana & Mel were always doomed to finish this season in seventh place. If it weren’t for Richard & Joey’s Fast Forward, they would have had a leg victory to their name to ease the pain.

Speaking of Richard & Joey, Alana & Mel would find themselves in a rivalry with them by the end of the second episode. It was one of many many bridges that Richard & Joey managed to burn in their brief run on the season. Focus, believe, deceive.

Mel is a shockingly good narrator. You can see why Mel has spent her career in radio for the past decade. I feel bad for Alana who was a bit of a punching bag in the edit until she did her first Roadblock in the fifth round of play.

There was quite a few laughs with Alana & Mel. Most of it immature potty humour, but the rest was solid material. That scene where the Indonesian guy wants Mel to lift up her shirt is a scene you definitely wouldn’t see in TAR US.

Their storyline did have a conclusive ending. Alana stepped up to lead the team in their final leg, and there was really nothing else they could do about their position. They found themselves in last place almost ten minutes after they caught a break in their final round of play.

Whether it be stopping for a bathroom break while Dave & Kelly wait for them at an Intersection, Alana being absolutely terrified skydiving, or trash-talking Richard & Joey, Alana & Mel were strong secondary characters in the season.

It’s just tough to trump Anne-Marie & Tracey or Mo & Mos’ legacy.

6) Ryot Wilson & Liberty Wilson

One is a poker player. One is a dog groomer. . .oh, and they are both related to a famous actress who is never mentioned.

Liberty vomited due to physical activity, exhaustion, and weird diet. She hated stairs.

Ryot loved running with carabao in circles.

Neither of them were shown bonding with other teams except Sam & Renae. They wore matching shirts.

Ryot likely never turned out to be the villain that production was thinking he would be.

They exceeded expectations until a poor Detour decision of attempting the carabao task threw them out of the race despite a bronze medal in the season premiere. Unfortunately, they have a strange distinction of falling from third to being the first team eliminated over the course of two legs.

At least Yani & Nadine and Edwin & Monica knew to be consistent in the first two rounds. Ryot & Liberty will be looking at the evidence from the first round that they had potential to make a deep run in the race.

Oh well. Somebody has to go home first. And somehow it wasn’t Anne-Marie & Tracy nor the team who had to suffer through a thirty minute penalty.

Team Averages

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.

Therefore their average is 8.2.

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.

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

5th Fran & Barry 4.89 TAR 9

6th Howard & Sahran 4.88 TAR Asia 1

–C + —

3rd Lyn & Karlyn 4.85 – Yielded TAR 10

7th Ivan & Hilda 4.83 TAR Asia 4

7th Teri & Ian All Stars 4.83 TAR 11

5th John Vito & Jill 4.8 – FF and saved by NEL once TAR 3

6th Mai & Oliver 4.8 In a car TAR Asia 3

7th Schroeder Family 4.75 TAR 8

9th Connor & Jonathan 4.75 TAR 17

6th Lake & Michelle 4.71 – Used Yield TAR 9

6th Brian & Greg 4.71 TAR 7

5th Erwin & Godwin 4.70 TAR 10

3rd Adam & Rebecca 4.69 FF and Used Yield and Yielded, saved by NEL once TAR 6

9th Duke & Lauren 4.67 TAR 10

3rd Hussein & Natasha Saved by 4.64 NEL once TAR Asia 4

6th Gary & Mallory 4.625 TAR 17

5th Lori & Bolo 4.6 – FF, saved by NEL once TAR 6

6th Jet & Cord  4.56 – U-Turned, saved by NEL once TAR 18

2nd Teri & Ian 4.53 – FF TAR 3

6th Chris & Anastasia 4.50 TAR Australia 1

8th Kris & Jo–er, Amanda 4.50 U-Turned TAR 14

5th Paula & Natasha 4.45 saved by NEL once TAR Asia 2

4th Louie & Michael 4.36 saved by NEL once, used U-Turn. & trained wolf cubs TAR 16

5th Uchenna & Joyce All Stars 4.33 – FF, saved by NEL once TAR 11

8th Joe & Heidi 4.40 – Blind U-Turned with Injured Knee; TAR 16

1st Dan & Jordan 4.33 – FF once TAR 16

3rd Brent & Caite 4.33 – Used U-Turn TAR 16

4th Jess & Lani 4.3 TAR Asia 4

4th Kisha & Jen 4.27 Saved by NEL once, U-Turned once TAR 14

3rd Brian & Ericka 4.25 saved by NEL once TAR 15

8th Shola & Doyin 4.25 – FF TAR 2

–B minus–

3rd Ray & Yolanda 4.23 saved by NEL once TAR 9

5th Gary & Matt 4.22 saved by NEL once and c—blocked once in Saunabuss TAR 15

3rd Nicolas & Donald 4.18 FF and U-Turned TAR 12

4th Linda & Karen 4.17 Saved by NEL once TAR 5

3rd Charla & Mirna All Stars 4.15 TAR 11

6th Mary & Peach 4.14 (Two failed FF attempts.) TAR 2

5th Paolo Family 4.13 FF and Used Yield TAR 85th Lynn & Alex 4.11 TAR 7

5th Andy & Laura 4.00 – Yielded TAR Asia 1

5th Carol & Brandy 4.00 – U-Turned. May or May Not Be Mean. TAR 16

3rd David & Jeff 4.00 – FF, saved by NEL, grew goatees TAR 4

4th Oswald & Danny 4.00 – FF, saved by NEL once TAR 2

2nd Jaime & Cara 3.92 TAR 14

2nd Pamela & Vanessa 3.92 TAR Asia 2

4th A.D. & Fuzzie 3.90 – U-Turned and saved by NEL once TAR Asia 3

5th Gary & Dave 3.89 – FF TAR 2

6th Sunaina & Dimple 3.875 – Used Yield, U-Turned TAR Asia 4

2nd Kelly & Jon 3.85 Saved by NEL twice TAR 4

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