EPISODE BLOG #291
“LILONGWE IS A LONG WAY AWAY”
CHINESE TAIPEI – INDONESIA – NOT LAOS – THAILAND – MALAWI – DENMARK – GERMANY – BELGIUM – NETHERLANDS – PANAMA – UNITED STATES
Previously on TAR: Eight teams continued racing through Thailand. Andy & Tommy took a ride on the local transportation while Liz & Marie cleaned theirs up. At the Phuket bus station, Liz & Marie spent all of their remaining money causing problems for the Twins when they reached Bangkok.
In a wild race to the finish, married couple Amani & Marcus came out on top while Liz & Marie fell short.
Seven teams remain; who will be eliminated next?
NUMBER OF TIMES MENTIONED IN THE ‘PREVIOUSLY ON’ SEGMENT
ANDY & TOMMY 4
LIZ & MARIE 3
BILL & CATHI 2
AMANI & MARCUS 2
JUSTIN & JENNIFER 1
ERNIE & CINDY 1
ETHAN & JENNA 1
RON & BILL 1
LAURENCE & ZAC 1
KAYLANI & LISA 1
JEREMY & SANDY 0
Phil introduces us to the Kingdom of Thailand.
And let’s just say they take their kingdom VERY seriously.
Phil says the diverse regions offer stunning tropical islands and ancient temples that have stood for centuries. I think you can say that about any country in Southeast Asia except Vietnam, but whatever.
He proceeds to talk about the secret garden of Kukrit and is the start of the sixth leg of the race.
Phil comes here to meditate.
Amani & Marcus, who were the first team to arrive at an unspecified time, will depart at 7:22am.
I wish Marcus would just blurt out a NFL reference right now and get it out of his system.
Amani reads that they must fly over five thousand miles to the continent of Africa. Phil repeats the same thing.
This is where the Lion King was filmed.
Eventually we get a bit more specific as we discover we are going to Malawi for the first and only time in TAR’s international history!
And that sun is in the shape of a star from Kirby’s Dreamland.
Once they land in Malawi, they must make their way to a tobacco warehouse and find gate seven.
They’re allowed to advertise tobacco on TAR?
This is not something you see on American television every day.
Six episodes in and we have yet to see a single clue box.
Marcus talks about having four kids and their youngest is a special needs child. He has to remind himself to be patient and keep working with her. Amani says it makes her appreciate the smallest of milestones.
Which means unexpectedly finishing in first on The Amazing Race is cause for a huge celebration.
Both of them repeat the mantra of never giving up and are stoked for Africa because they have never been there before.
And if you look at a map, they will find that Malawi is a very very very small piece of that. It’s also a very oddly shaped country.
It’s like if Chile wanted to keep twisting and bending itself. When you do that, you get Malawi.
Bill & Cathi depart second at 7:23am.
CATHI: Africa is just fabulous.
Why does everybody always refer to Africa as one region? It has always been a mild pet peeve of mine.
Only a slightly smaller peeve than the character of Peeves in Harry Potter. What an annoying asshole!
Ernie & Cindy are third to depart at 7:24am.
Really? They were only one minute behind Bill & Cathi despite ditching their cab and running to the pit stop on foot?
Cindy jokes about how they have made a mistake in every single leg except for the first one.
Cindy takes her frustration out on her backpack by giving it a Randy Savage-inspired elbow drop!
Ernie says mistakes are inevitable on TAR and the trick is to minimize them. Although Cindy probably wasn’t allowed to make mistakes while growing up—it was just a matter of being less perfect than others.
Justin & Jennifer depart in fourth at 7:29am. Jennifer teaches special ed kids.
JENNIFER: I would do anything for my special ed kids, and that’s how I am going to treat this race. It’s my special baby and I am going to do what it takes to win.
I think this is the first time ever where somebody said “I am going to treat this race like it is one of my special ed kids.”
Well, except for two seconds ago when Amani & Marcus made an identical comparison.
“If I go too slow, I think she’ll make her trademark face at me.”
JENNIFER: We’re going to Africa.
But where in Africa?
Andy & Tommy commence in fifth at 8:06am.
Swing and a miss.
We need a substitute. This is going nowhere. Tommy needs a TAR 30 partner swap just to have somebody open the damn envelope.
Andy slaughters the envelope on his third attempt.
Andy & Tommy hail a cab.
ANDY: This guy is crazy. We’ll take him.
ANDY: This guy almost got into an accident just picking us up.
If this guy got into an accident just when pulling over to the side of the road, I can’t imagine what he’ll be like when driving you to the airport, Andy.
Laurence & Zac start in sixth at 8:07am. Laurence reads that they have 365 US Dollars for this leg of the race.
“And you must buy first class tickets for this flight.”
Bangkok has pandas?
Zac asks his dad if he is winded.
So he’s not winded. . .he is just severely dehydrated and exhausted.
Jeremy & Sandy are last to depart at 9:22am. I didn’t realize they were that far behind everyone else.
SANDY: Fly to the warm heart of Africa. Whoaaaa.
SANDY: Alright, we’re going to Africa.
JEREMY: Let’s go.
We get a much clearer shot of Jeremy & Sandy at the pit start than we did last round.
Did I go colour blind or is that cab not pink or green?
SANDY: Jeremy and I have been dating for about eight months now but we had a pretty strong friendship.
JEREMY: I think it’s hard to transition from friends to dating. For us this race is for us to figure out what our relationship is really all about.
Worst case scenario they are friend with benefits when this race is over, I guess.
SANDY: Let’s do this. New day, new day.
Amani & Marcus are first to the airport. There is only one flight to Malawi. Everyone is on the same plane.
JUSTIN: We’re all together. One big happy racing family.
Except for Laurence. He sits alone in first class. Producers gave him a bye for this leg.
Lilongwe is a very appropriate name for their next destination because it is indeed a very “long way”.
Alright. This is our first visit to a country in Africa since TAR 17 and–
Our first shot is of somebody carrying an object on their head! C’mon Amazing Race! Why do you guys always have an obsession with locals in African countries transporting things on your head? It’s like this every time and you have even used this as a task multiple times (Botswana and Zambia)!
They also add in the same soundtrack that they use whenever they go to Africa since season five or seven. I can’t remember which exact season it was when they debuted that track. I am going to say it was the South Africa leg in season seven, but I’ll have to look into that.
I wonder how many of those pots has tobacco in it?
He does not like to be on camera.
What is this statue? This guy looks sad even in statue form.
Apparently it’s of a guy named Hastings Banda. Former leader of Malawi.
OK, he wasn’t the happiest of guys.
Holy shit he lived a long time.
Especially when the life expectancy of Malawi is younger than my dad and the country is full of tobacco factories.
By the way, did you know there was a really popular trap hip hop song made about President Banda?
I couldn’t resist. Desiigner is terrible.
Hasty Hastings Banda banned high banners.
And yes, yours truly would not be allowed into Malawai under Banda rule. . .even if my hair was covered by a bandana with a picture of Banda on it.
Alright. We land in Lilongwe.
SANDY: Do anyone know the tobacco warehouse?
(They get into a taxi.)
JEREMY: Let’s get out of there fast.
SANDY: We’re now on our way to a tobacco company.
Jeremy & Sandy are first into a cab followed by Justin & Jennifer. Jennifer has never been to Africa before and wants to take it all in visually. Ernie & Cindy are third.
CINDY: We learned that over sixty-five percent of the country’s income comes from the sale of tobacco leaves and so I am guessing that is why we are going to the tobacco warehouse now.
I think this is more of a case of “Cindy learned” rather than “we learned”.
I was not expecting dried legumes to be in the runner-up position.
And they are right up there with the big players.
However, it has one of the lowest smoking rates in the world.
To quote Scarface, you never use your own supply.
Andy & Tommy are fourth into a cab. Neither of them have been to Africa.
TOMMY: I’ve never been to Africa. There’s no snow in Africa.
You think an entire continent is flat without any mountains, Tommy?
Laurence & Zac are fifth into a cab. Amani & Marcus are sixth. They think they are in very good shape because Bill & Cathi are behind them.
CATHI: We love your country already. It’s very spacious.
Cathi is already picturing relocating her Oregon farm. She also gets the official CBS episode title quote this round.
We go from the spacious outskirts of the city into the industrial district.
It’s like that floating movie logo of a neighbourhood you see at the start of Harry Potter movies.
We cut back to Jeremy & Sandy.
SANDY: Now we are on our way to–
JEREMY: On our way to warehouse.
SANDY: Tobacco warehouse.
JEREMY: Right here. This is it. Pull up to that thing up there. That little bit.
SANDY: You wait for us please.
(They run out and grab their clue.)
JEREMY: Roadblock. Who’s ready to put up bale?
Am I the only one that finds the ‘No Smoking’ sign hilarious?
Teams will now take part in the production of Malawi’s biggest cash crop: Tobacco.
Phil isn’t joking.
Wearing a workman’s uniform, teams must steer massive bales of tobacco through a bustling maze-like warehouse using only a short-handled dolly. Once they’ve picked up and transported ten 200 pound bales to the drop-off zone, the foreman will hand them their next clue.
Phil is clearly the smaller man here.
Why are teams being forced to wear orange jumpsuits? This isn’t prison.
SANDY: You’re doing it. It’s heavy.
JEREMY: I’ll do it. I’ll do it.
Jeremy puts on the orange jumpsuit. The workers are dancing inside.
SANDY: It’s chaos. It’s chaos. It looks really hard.
“We still get paid while we dance and laugh at Americans, right?”
SANDY: You’ve got it, babe!
JEREMY: Choose a handcart. Pick up the bales in the grading area and deliver it to shed nineteen G.
“Are you serious?”
“We have to deliver it to the G Unit?”
SANDY: You’ve got it?
JEREMY: Yeah, I’ve got it.
Justin & Jennifer and Ernie & Cindy arrive at the Roadblock simultaneously. Justin and Ernie are doing it. Moving tobacco is a man’s job, apparently.
JEREMY: Those bales must have weighed two hundred pounds. So it was a rush—it was hard work.
It’s a shame both all-female teams were eliminated prior to this Roadblock. I am curious to see if the bales of tobacco would have been too heavy for Liz or for Lisa or if it’s just the men bragging about how much they could lift, bro.
SANDY: Jer does not know what he is doing. Auhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Hopefully this is the path to lead the way.
Ernie and Justin talk about the ultra super duper heavy bales.
Justin plays Bumper Bales with the locals.
The local’s ass is doing a great job of blocking Justin in.
SANDY: Oh my god. They’re crazy.
It’s a blockade!
SANDY: Get out of the way! We’re in a madhouse in a warehouse and their workers are trying to get in the way.
The dance hall never stops.
Dana & Matt are soooo jealous right now.
JEREMY: I was loving this Roadblock. It was a lot of fun. Guys were distracting and yelling everywhere. To experience what goes on here was incredible. It was awesome.
Jeremy has his own fan club.
Ernie is eager to chase Jeremy down.
Ernie receives some sweet chin music during the pursuit.
The locals keep chanting and dancing.
Including karate dance moves. High kick!
The locals at the factory in Malawi are just like the locals at the factory in Mother Russia!
JEREMY: Is this my line?
Jeremy delivers the first bale.
JEREMY: Use the dolly to deliver ten of those bales in a line to get your next clue.
Jeremy is Prisoner #447.
Laurence volunteers himself for the Roadblock in fourth. Andy decides to do it in fifth. No rock-paper-scissors for the first time all season. Zac says his dad is owning the orange jumpsuit.
Amani & Marcus are stuck in a parade of traffic. It turns out to be a wedding engagement ahead of them.
If you’re in last and if it’s a NEL, you may as well attend and have fun.
Andy makes the same bumper cars joke that I did during the Roadblock.
Wisdom = Strength.
Bill & Cathi and Amani & Marcus are stuck in the same traffic. Cathi says they were the two teams stuck at the back of the plane too.
Commercial break. We resume. The traffic is starting to lighten up.
We go back to the warehouse.
SANDY: You’ve got it babe! Oh my god they’re crazy.
It’s like a speedway course as Tommy drives towards his lane with fans on either side cheering him on.
“This is our next home!”
You would think a tobacco factory would stop locals from having enough cardio to dance, but not here.
Laurence refers to himself as an older guy who has to pace himself or else he will die. Cindy talks about the high and happy energy.
Well, we know when this episode was filmed.
I don’t know why Andy is busting out dance moves that have been ditched since the 1960s.
“This is what a dance is, right?”
We get a new dance move from a local.
“I go this way!”
“Then I go that way!”
Amani & Marcus stop at a different gate, but only for a brief moment. This lets Bill & Cathi go up to sixth place.
Ah, we get to see an up-close shot of this terrible pun.
Bill is going to do it because they need to make up time.
BILL: When it’s time to cut the hay, it’s time to cut the hay.
This is Bill’s way of saying “it’s on like Donkey Kong.”
Amani & Marcus are last to the Roadblock. Marcus is gonna do it. It’s one big sausage fest at this factory.
AMANI: HAHAHAHA. I’m trying not to laugh at the uniform. HAHAHAHAHAHA.
MARCUS: Y’all don’t be laughing at my outfit.
QUESTION: What’s with the bulge in the back of his pants? I don’t remember Marcus being that big of a fan of squats.
Ernie is pushing another bale of the tobacco.
Ernie looks so dorky in that outfit and the way he keeps crashing into people and objects along the way.
It’s like somebody revived Cosmo from Singing in the Rain and made him do this Roadblock. This is who Cindy is engaged to—a guy who hangs out with Gene Kelly while running into random shit all of the time.
Justin is a bit more stable than Ernie.
JUSTIN: There is tobacco everywhere so really quickly it became hard to breathe.
JENNIFER: It smelled like my dad. My dad has been smoking as long as I have been born. It smelled like a piece of home.
They don’t even need the phone call to home as a reward.
Just go to a tobacco factory, take a few deep breaths, and take it all in.
Although a tobacco factory is a bit unhealthy by TAR’s standards. I would have preferred this task take place on a tomacco farm so there is some sort of nutritious benefit when inhaling.
Marcus said it was total chaos.
MARCUS: I felt like a rookie all over again.
MARCUS’ NFL REFERENCES COUNTER: 7
It didn’t take long this week.
JEREMY: We’re good. This is our last one.
You know who would be great at this Roadblock?
Gerard. Because Ken is heavier than any of those tobacco bales.
Jeremy is first to finish the Roadblock.
JEREMY: Thank you.
The clue is his. It was a job well done.
The one guy is punchdancing because of how impressed he is.
Jeremy high fives the whole tunnel.
SANDY: Let’s go, babe. Route Info: Make your way to Memorial Tower amd search the area for your next clue.
(They re-enter their cab.)
JEREMY: Let’s go.
SANDY: Memorial Tower, sir.
JEREMY: Woo. Workout.
Phil doesn’t even explain Memorial Tower. The graphic titling it MEMORIAL TOWER is the most we are going to get.
I assume Memorial Tower is a fairly well-known monument since Lilongwe isn’t exactly known asa city with a bunch of landmarks.
Ernie finishes the Roadblock in second place.
Nobody can resist the tunnel.
“Gotta quit smokin’, man.”
CINDY: It was hard to breathe in there without doing anything.
Now imagine how hard it was if you were the one doing something.
Justin is third to complete the Roadblock.
The locals are so encouraging.
“I’ve got the golden ticket! It’s ours Charlie, we won!”
Justin & Jennifer exit the factory in third.
Amani is starting to get nervous.
“This is just the worst!”
Justin & Jennifer’s driver is not very talkative.
Jennifer wants a more talkative driver.
Justin points out that Marcus is struggling much more than Bill because Bill has done similar activities on his farm.
Tommy is done the task.
CROWD: Money! Money!
I see Tommy has earned himself a nickname.
Andy & Tommy return to their taxi and pump up their driver by shouting “we’re racing buddy, we’re racing.”
Oh, it’s on boys.
SANDY: Memorial Tower.
JEREMY: Yeah, I think that might be it. There’s something red up there.
SANDY: Look look look.
JEREMY: There it is down there.
SANDY: I think I see it.
It’s also the only tower.
Still no clue boxes. Instead it is in a basket on a Mickey Mouse blanket.
Malawi doesn’t receive too many tourists.
JEREMY: OK, c’mon.
JEREMY: Let’s go.
JEREMY: Detour. All Sewn Up or Not Grown Up.
Phil says the people of Malawi pride on being resourceful.
Just like TAR’s previous trip to Africa in TAR 17, we have a task in the outdoor marketplace.
I love how the guy standing behind Phil has to look away to avoid staring at Phil’s ass.
Phil also says teams will have to make use of their creativity. In All Sewn Up, teams must make their way to the White Horse De-Sign Tailor Shop in the old market. They will choose a customer who will lead them to a pair of manual sewing machines where they must stitch the unfinished seams of the suit jacket and pant leg. Once the tailor is satisfied, he will hand them their next clue.
White Horse De-Signs is probably not named after that chilly Canadian city.
Tailor tailor tailor, I’m really happy for you and Imma let you finish the seams on this pant leg, but TAR Australia 1 and TAR Asia 4 had the best sewing tasks of all time! OF ALL TIME!
Racers are going to be better than an Australian cowboy at this task.
I’ve never seen so many dudes reviewing sewing jobs before.
Why is the tailor dressed in only black and yellow clothing?
Has he been listening to too much Wiz Khalifa?
In Not Grown Up, teams must make their way to Lilongwe Lea Elementary School. Working with scrap material, they must build two traditional children’s toy trucks. When the headmistress feels it is ready to roll, it will be test-driven by the children who will hand over their next clue.
It’s back to school already for Bill & Cathi.
I wish it was the headmistress who drove the truck.
I wish they turned this into a competitive race with the other children.
The twist is that the toy truck will be their mode of transportation for the remainder of this leg.
SANDY: So um, we’re gonna choose Not Grown Up. I cannot sew to save my life. I cannot hem a pair of pants.
I’m with you on that one, sister.
Laurence finishes the task in fifth. He lost a spot to Tommy. Laurence is absolutely spent.
LAURENCE: Rip it off. Ehhhh.
“I am too old for this shit.”
LAURENCE: That was a killer, Zac. That was a young man’s deal.
“Is it a pit stop? Please?”
“From now on I only do the short term memory challenges.”
Ernie & Cindy and Justin & Jennifer are at the tower at the same time. Cindy says she can sew.
JUSTIN: Sewing machines are difficult, they are notoriously difficult, and they get tangled all of the time.
“They also take your lunch money, make prank phone calls to your house, and put pineapples on your pizza.”
“So. . .which task you wanna do?”
Ernie & Cindy want to go to the marketplace to sew and ask their driver if he knows the location.
Maybe you better switch to Not Grown Up.
Jennifer wants to do Not Grown Up because teaching is her whole life and wants to see “cute kids”.
It’s the most we’ll see Jennifer smile all season.
Andy & Tommy choose to do Not Grown Up.
TOMMY: We’re choosing Not Grown Up because we ain’t grown up yet.
Definitely different from Jennifer’s reasons.
Laurence & Zac see Andy & Tommy’s cab driving away from the Memorial Tower.
I don’t know why we needed that additional bubble to zoom in on Andy & Tommy’s taxi.
Laurence & Zac opt to make trucks. Laurence has a thought regarding the sewing task.
Oh boy. Or oh lady? Laurence further expands on this.
LAURENCE: If they can knock out the sewing really quickly, we’ve got to be animals with that truck.
Ladies play with sewing machines and men play with trucks. . .unless you’re Sandy who can’t sew to save her life, and Jennifer likes the idea of hanging out with children at school.
Cathi says every leg is survival and it’s everybody on their own (unless you are in Panama). Bill completes the Roadblock.
BILL: Thank you, captain!
The captain’s handshake! What an honour!
It’s a shame this is the last elderly couple we see on TAR.
The pro athlete couldn’t make up time on the 60-something year old man at a very physical challenge? Marcus is worried now.
Although I think the Roadblock zapped a bit of energy from Bill.
BILL: That reminds me of hauling hay. Hooo dog!
“Oh no. Here comes his stories of hauling hay on the farm.”
Marcus is slowing down.
His momentum stops at a barrier.
He needed to do more cardio before the race.
AMANI: It sort’ve stinks.
Is it the sweat from the racers or the tobacco?
Commercial break. We resume. Marcus takes the penalty. Nah, just kidding. He puts in his ninth bale.
AMANI: You hear them chanting. I know you like that!
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, #81, THE TIGHT END FOR YOUR INDIANAPOLIS COLTS, MARCUUUUUUS POLLARRRRRRRD!
Marcus is done. The chanting works.
Marcus tries to retreat to his partner.
If this were a NFL football field, security would be out with tazers for the fans right now.
I like how the one guy refuses to get in on this.
They keep running with him.
Marcus flexes for them.
“Touch my biceps, boys!”
I thought Amani was the one person in Marcus’ life who was most eager to take off his clothes, but I was wrong.
“All that’s missing is the fucking Gatorade.”
“We work hard and we play hard.”
“Any more layers you need off?”
“Behold! Beats by Dre!”
“Beats by Dre! Beats by Dre! Beats by Dre!”
“How am I going to fit everyone into the cab?”
Sadly, nobody wants to run with Amani.
Amani & Marcus make it into their taxi.
AMANI: We’re in last so we need to catch up.
“So you’re saying right now would not be a good time for a smoke break?”
MARCUS: I’ll be glad when we get some big people country. Short people are killing me. Great day.
Luckily for Marcus, Netherlands is a location on this season. He’ll be happy for about all twenty minutes that they are there.
Jeremy & Sandy are at school.
SANDY: OK, here it is. This is it.
SANDY: How are you? Good? They’re adorable.
Adoption may be in Jeremy & Sandy’s future.
Grade school choreography. I do not miss that.
SANDY: Oh. There’s the example.
JEREMY: I see it. There’s nails for the wheels.
JEREMY: I have a six year old son, and going to the school really made me miss him like crazy. It was great to see those little kids, but I wish I could have seen him today.
“He’s not assembling it right. This is going to take all day.”
SANDY: Did you kids have a good day at school?
SANDY: They’re adorable.
“So. . .what do you guys play? Pokemon or something?”
Ernie & Cindy keep driving.
CINDY: It’s important. We have to get there very fast.
ERNIE: You know?
DRIVER: No. I don’t know. Let me ask here.
Well, at least the driver didn’t pretend to know like other taxis in TAR history. He acknowledges he needs to hop out for directions.
I think Cindy misses Taiwan.
Bill & Cathi are choosing All Sewn Up because Cathi has made suits for Bill’s dad and a bunch of other people in the family.
CATHI: I love to sew. I don’t think this will be difficult at all.
“I had even sewn my own wedding dress!”
Justin & Jennifer are second to the Detour and join Jeremy & Sandy at school.
JEREMY: Wheels. Let’s see where they need to go.
SANDY: K. There’s that one.
JEREMY: Hey guys.
JENNIFER: Is that the truck?
SANDY: That’s the truck. These kids are adorable.
Are the kids adorable, Sandy?
Justin talks about how he is a physician and breaks everything down prior to surgery.
Justin breaks down the anatomy of a toy truck. He asks Jennifer how many bottle caps there are on this thing.
The kids continue their chant.
Sandy tries to decipher these gestures.
SANDY: I want to go play soccer with those boys.
Between the legs!
You almost made it on to the Malawi National Team, Sandy.
Amani & Marcus are last to the Memorial Tower. Marcus wants to sew because he has watched his mom and his grandma sew. He hopes it will give them an advantage to catch up.
Ah. Welcome to Rainbow Road.
No karts here, though.
Laurence & Zac create their own lane to bypass traffic. Lots of honking ensues as they pass Andy & Tommy.
If Laurence was a bit more British, he would say it was “bloody brilliant”.
LAURENCE: Have you ever starred in a James Bond movie?
Aaaaand Laurence just made up for it.
LAURENCE’S 007 REFERENCES COUNT: 2
Both Andy & Tommy and Laurence & Zac are at the school.
Did this really need to be a sprint?
No going outside of the lines and into the plants or the rocks!
LAURENCE: I thought you would’ve gone to the sewing machine, my dears.
SANDY: I can’t sew, you kidding me?
She can’t make a truck either.
JUSTIN: What do you mean you don’t know how to sew? Isn’t that what you do in the OR?
“You love the O.R.!
SANDY: I sew a different way than a sewing machine.
We cut to a confessional.
SANDY: I am a nurse practitioner. I sew bodies at work; I do not sew clothing, though.
It’s probably better she doesn’t treat people like they are articles of clothing when stitching them up.
LAURENCE: Jeremy, you’re going to want to be careful when you get married if she can’t sew.
“What’s next? She doesn’t know how to cook?”
SANDY: I can sew a body but I can’t sew a shirt.
And in the quickest example of karma that I have ever seen. . .
LAURENCE: AH! I fucking pinched myself with the scissors.
Laurence can’t fix trucks. None of the women are making fun of that, though.
Ernie & Cindy are still trying to find the Whitehorse Market. They see Bill & Cathi in the same parking lot and walk with them to the White Horse De-Signs shop.
Cathi subtly mocks Ernie & Cindy’s bad luck.
“Yep, I am carrying something on my head. Take a picture, it’ll last longer.”
CINDY: It was just crazy. Winding roads, chickens, and people everywhere!
How is Cindy overwhelmed by a congested marketplace with winding roads and lots of chickens? I thought she was Asian?
CATHI: You will help us?
CATHI (really deep voice and puts hand up): Thank youuuuuuuuu.
What a bizarre interaction.
Pick a suit from a suitor.
Put the pedal to the metal, Cindy!
Cathi refers to the pedal for the sewing machine as a “threadal”.
I had the same expression as Bill when I first heard this word uttered.
For those of you who forget the story from TAR Australia 1, I never failed a class in my life except for one. In grade 8, we had a course called CAPP. It was five different subjects where each was on a two or three week rotation. At the end of the course, your grades from all five subjects were averaged out to produce a final mark. I only failed with one of these five subjects—sewing. I got 18%. I still passed CAPP, but the sewing section is to this day the only class I had ever failed.
So I sympathize with people like Bill who have no idea what the hell to do.
Jennifer corrects her physician brother on how to properly assemble the truck.
JENNIFER: I can’t wait to make this in my own classroom.
I am sure her students are going to be absolutely thrilled to play with a few milk cartons and bottle caps when they have XBOX 360s at home.
JENNIFER: It would give them a little appreciation to not always have what you want.
Jennifer’s rating on RateMyTeacher has officially plummeted with that confessional.
Tommy wants to build one of these trucks for his son Owen.
“Someone isn’t getting Pokemon Sun for Christmas!”
Amani & Marcus are last to the Detour and find the tailor shop. Cindy comments that the sewing machine is rickety. Bill & Cathi’s machine also sucks.
CATHI: There is something not quite right.
Cathi has contributed just as much as Bill has
A random head pops out hoping to be on camera.
Ernie & Cindy utilize teamwork on the machine.
Cindy reminds us that her and Ernie have the useless Express Pass and are trying to hang onto it for as long as possible.
“It’s an easy thing to do!”
Cathi presents the tailor’s new pants in a proud manner.
“I’m not letting you leave until you try these on for us to make sure they fit you, mister!”
Amani & Marcus grab a suit. Marcus is going to do the pants and Amani is doing the jacket.
AMANI: Why did you give me the jacket?
. . .Why not?
MARCUS: Watch me granny. I’m about to go to work.
Most retired NFL players become a real estate agent or a car salesman.
But not Marcus. Marcus has taken an interest in Home Ec.
JEREMY: I think we’re almost done. You take—pick that one up.
SANDY: You take it to a teacher, right?
JEREMY: Shoot, oh shoot.
Jeremy & Sandy are done. They watch the kid walk their truck.
Laurence looks like he is chewing on a Lady and the Tramp spaghetti noodle.
It just has to cross the imaginary finish line.
And it’s done.
SANDY: Thank you.
JEREMY: Thank you so much.
He couldn’t be less happy to be around Jeremy & Sandy. Maybe the truck sucks.
SANDY: Find the R-K Furniture Shop.
Teams must now make their way to a roadside market where the people of Malawi proudly sell their hand-crafted wooden furniture.
No tobacco in it or dried legumes?
SANDY: I want to play one quick soccer. Can he play?
Sandy is much better at kicking the ball than she is at headbutting the ball.
SANDY: You have to enjoy some of this.
JEREMY: I am enjoying it.
“Maybe I don’t feel like playing soccer after handling two thousand pounds of tobacco leaves.”
Justin & Jennifer finish the Detour in second. Jenn asks for a high five.
“Don’t leave me hanging.”
SANDY: That was awesome.
“That sonofabitch left me hanging.”
Andy & Tommy ask to give the truck a tug.
Andy & Tommy feel right at home in a Christian majority population. They finish the Detour in third.
Jennifer should have high fived this kid.
They don’t quite sync up.
When I was in school, this is usually the part where the bigger kids kicked my soccer ball up onto the roof.
Tommy lets him off easy.
Andy loves sprinting ahead of everyone.
Tommy says the kids here don’t need the fancy toys and prefer building it. They seemed stoked.
Ernie & Cindy keep sewing.
ERNIE: Cindy holds the pants normally in our relationship.
CINDY: Hey, hey, hey.
ERNIE: When she’s leading the show, it seems everything is working more efficiently.
I think it was more of a self-deprecating joke on Ernie’s part rather than a dig at Cindy.
“I will never wear the pants in this relationship.”
Ernie & Cindy ask for approval.
“You’re letting me down, grandma!”
The tailor tries on his new clothes.
ERNIE: Pretty stylish.
He is ready to hit the club!
Per usual, Cindy starts jumping around when the task is complete.
She can’t help it.
Cindy says she got through the task quickly and hopes the other option took longer.
SANDY: Jennifer and Justin are right on our tail. So they are really really close behind us.
JEREMY: R-K Furniture?
SANDY: I don’t see it.
JEREMY: Should we get out here?
(Both teams exit their cabs.)
JEREMY: Let’s go. C’mon. Awe man. There they are. Shoot.
SANDY: Jeremy, careful.
JEREMY: Hi, you have a clue. Thank you.
Justin & Jennifer read their clue first. They must take two beds to Phil to the next pit stop.
PHIL: In Malawi, it is common practice for its people to carry virtually everything.
Especially on their heads.
Teams must now transport and carry two locally hand-crafted beds to Kumbali Village. . .on their head.
Nah, just kidding.
Established in an isolated forest reserve, this remote village is the next pit stop and where teams will find out they need their beds for an overnight stay. Last team to check in may be eliminated.
Can they use these as blankets for the beds?
“Oh, and they will be sharing the room with everyone here.”
And this guy will NEVER stop drumming all night.
“Meanwhile, I will be sleeping in a five star hotel.”
Sandy reads the additional info.
SANDY: “You should ask the shop owner to call a driver to help you transport.”
Why couldn’t teams figure out a solution on their own?
Both teams pick up a bed.
JEREMY: Can you call a driver for us too?
SANDY: Do you want to get the ones on the end, honey?
JEREMY: Yeah, these two right here.
Andy & Tommy encounter the other two teams.
SANDY: Is there another truck coming for us?
JEREMY: Our driver?
Andy & Tommy collect the clue in third.
Laurence & Zac finish the Detour in fifth. Laurence wanted to spend more time with the children. He probably wants to challenge them in a game of memory.
“But. . .but. . .I wanted to give the clue.”
Laurence just takes the clue out of the child’s hands. He doesn’t even ask. Hilarious.
“Solongwe, children! Until TAR 38!”
Cathi is done sewing.
CATHI: C’mon. Try it on. Let me see how handsome you are.
The dude is in his 30s, Cathi.
Bill & Cathi receive their clue in sixth place.
Cathi does a very bro-y handshake with the tailor.
Justin & Jennifer load the beds onto the truck.
“I am trapped!”
I never thought I would see a guy wearing a toque in Malawi.
Justin & Jennifer hop in.
JUSTIN: YES! YESSS!
“I am King of the World!. . .again.”
Jeremy & Sandy are still on the road.
SANDY: There’s another truck. You tell him?! Are you for us?
JEREMY: That wasn’t our guy.
SANDY: Maybe this one.
Jeremy & Sandy and Andy & Tommy are waiting.
JEREMY (to the R-K Furniture Shop Guy): Isn’t that our truck? We came second.
It’s not. It belongs to Andy & Tommy.
Away they go.
JEREMY: They took our truck.
SANDY: We got here second. Why don’t we get a truck?
“Because God wanted us to have this truck.”
Up and over, Andy!
SANDY: Babe, we’re getting passed. We got to go. What are you doing?
JEREMY: Well obviously they took our truck.
SANDY: OK, well you can’t cry about it you just gotta keep going.
I like how Jeremy’s version of crying is just being mildly disappointed.
Andy & Tommy said they were told to take the green truck.
Ernie & Cindy are fifth to collect the beds.
ERNIE: I am going to jump.
CINDY: You’re going to jump?!
That was more of a stretch than a jump, Ernie.
Bill & Cathi are sixth to the furniture shop.
CATHI: We are here to help.
The job interview is out back, Cathi.
Amani & Marcus finish sewing.
MARCUS: You know that’s good. My grandma would be proud! C’mon with that clue.
Yes, rejecting those pants is a rejection of Grandma Pollards’ handiwork. You wouldn’t dare offend a grandma, would you?
Amani & Marcus are last to complete the Detour. He gets frustrated with the slow traffic once in the cab.
MARCUS: I need a high speed chase and this is the opposite of a high speed chase!
It’s a low speed humiliation?
Laurence & Zac try to fit the beds into their cab.
ZAC: Can we open the passenger doors and put the beds through the middle?
So you guys just refuse to ever read your clue, eh?
Jeremy & Sandy’s truck pulls up.
JEREMY: Sandy. Get over here. Get ready.
SANDY: You tell him how to get there.
JEREMY: Zoom zoom.
SANDY: OK, we’re going.
JEREMY: Get down.
If the truck suddenly jerks, Sandy will definitely take a chinner on the bed.
Laurence & Zac finally read their clue.
Ernie & Cindy and Bill & Cathi load up their trucks.
BILL: Now we’re cookin’!
My god you guys are old.
Laurence & Zac ask a random truck driver to take them but are declined.
LAURENCE: We’re not doing very well here.
You guys haven’t done well in a while. Even when you guys finish second you end up with a penalty.
Cindy is nervous in her truck.
CINDY: I have never felt less safe in my life than right now.
Tian & Jaree might disagree with that.
But this is pretty close.
Laurence sees another truck and refuses to let it go.
Opening the driver’s side door of a truck is pretty fearless move. It takes guts for Laurence to do that.
And it works. Laurence hires the driver.
Cathi thanks the crossing guard for directing her truck safely.
CATHI: Thank you very much, sir.
The crossing guard doesn’t even say anything to her. Cathi is just an overly polite person.
Bill starts shouting and cheering while standing on a moving truck. Cathi wants him to sit down.
Bill loves living on the edge.
Amani & Marcus are last to the furniture shop. They go with an unusual strategy.
They hire a truck. . .
But follow it in their taxi.
“Who can afford that?”
Justin & Jennifer are at the village.
Why is Jennifer wearing the bandana over her mouth?
You mean you just can’t plow through the village?
Justin hears the drumbeats.
If it’s just a really loud drum, it’s a leg with lots of heavy lifting for anybody who did the Roadblock.
Andy & Tommy are also at the stopping point.
ANDY: Do you see any lions?
Andy & Tommy hop out and pay their driver.
I don’t recall Justin & Jennifer paying their driver. It could be an important piece to note.
Andy & Tommy start running with the beds. They want to catch up to Justin & Jennifer.
Jeremy & Sandy are third to the village.
JEREMY: Dude, this is the village. This is the village.
SANDY: Did you pay them?
SANDY: OK, what are you doing? Pay ’em and let’s roll.
(JEREMY pays the driver.)
JEREMY: OK. Don’t drop it. You gotta get this–
SANDY: I’m trying! That doesn’t help!
It’s been a lilong day for Jeremy & Sandy!
But even moreso for Amani & Marcus.
The struggling ignition isn’t helping.
AMANI: Please Lord don’t let this taxi cab break down.
Amani is completely worn out.
The cab breaks down.
MARCUS: WOOO! EH! MY MAN’S ENGINE BUSTED MAN! Dangit, babe.
What happened to Marcus’ hat?
Amani & Marcus jump out to pay him and help push the cab.
Marcus helps push the cab rather than ditch him in order to free up traffic.
MARCUS: . . .Shoot!
Yeah, they’re fucked.
Commercial break. We resume. Amani & Marcus decide to hop onto the truck. Marcus claps REALLY LOUDLY when the truck driver agrees to let them hop on.
Marcus is the only one in the back. Amani must be inside.
Probably gives Marcus more leg room.
Marcus is annoyed that the leg he needed a good cab driver the most is the one that breaks down.
We cut to the pit stop.
They are just going all out on those drums.
Justin & Jennifer are very close.
JUSTIN: There he is. C’mon. Cause I think you’re going to be excited by what he tells you.
Oh yes, I am sure Jennifer will be excited for what Phil is going to say to her next.
Justin trills his tongue when he puts down the bed at the mat.
The pit stop greeter grabs everyone’s hands. Phil pauses to allow Andy & Tommy on the mat too.
Justin gets jiggy with it while he waits.
Both teams are now on the mat.
PHIL: You may have noticed in Africa that the people here carry everything.
For the 1, 000, 000th time, yes, we know that Phil.
We even cut to a shot of downtown Lilongwe where people are carrying stuff on their heads. Ugh.
Oh. My. God. We get it Phil.
Phil says the beds they carried are going to be their beds for tonight.
JUSTIN: Told you.
You want a fucking cookie, Justin?
PHIL: Justin and Jennifer, you are the first team to arrive.
“FIRST” PLACE: JUSTIN & JENNIFER
Jennifer knows something is wrong.
PHIL: However, I understand you did not pay your truck driver.
“Ummmmmm. . .he said it was free?”
“You cheap American bastards.”
Justin & Jennifer drop their bags and run back.
Which means. . .
FIRST PLACE: ANDY & TOMMY
For the third time in five episodes, Andy & Tommy win a leg because of another team’s epnalty. That is definitely a record. I don’t think anybody usually gets a win like this more than once during any given season. And it certainly doesn’t happen to the same team twice.
They join a fairly exclusive club of teams who won four legs in the span of five episodes. I assume Colin & Christie, Eric & Jeremy, Marc & Rovilson, Nick & Starr, and perhaps Megan & Cheyne are in this cluster.
Andy & Tommy they have won a trip to their own private island in the British Virgin Islands.
British Virgin Islands?
Does that mean you hang out with Connor & Jonathan while eating crumpets or something?
Phil drops a ‘spaaaa’ and a massaaage.
TOMMY: Our goal is to make it through to the finals but a win is even better.
Tommy is already thinking about the final leg. . .on leg six. They don’t think anyone else can stop them at the moment.
Andy believes everyone in the village is radical, dude.
Ernie & Cindy pay their driver.
“Did he just cowabunga us?”
BILL: I assume we have to pay the driver.
CATHI: We’ll pay him if he asks.
“Or just silently wait.”
I wonder if anybody has ever sent loan sharks after an elderly couple who are school teachers before?
Bill & Cathi walk by Ernie & Cindy.
CINDY: We got passed by old people, and that sucks.
Yes. Yes it does.
JEREMY: You are not carrying it correctly.
SANDY: Baby, I don’t have a choice. This is what I got.
According to Fat Joe, “lean back” with the bed would be the correct technique.
BILL: You want it on your back?
If somebody told me that I would have to watch an episode of The Amazing Race where a woman in her 60s was laying on her back against a bed. . .
. . .This was best case scenario.
Cathi references the farm life and how manual labour has prepared her for this task.
CATHI: I was so hoping for a day without bruises. I don’t think that’s gonna happen.
All you have to do is trip and fall like you always do, Cathi. Then you’ll be guarantee those bruises.
Or partner up with Jonathan Baker.
Ernie puts the bed on Cindy’s head so she can transport it #AfricanStyle.
CINDY: This is so unbalanced. It’s ridiculous. I am dropping it. Please help me, Ernie! Please help me!
Cindy. . .you are supposed to be on top of the bed! Not the other way around!
Ernie & Cindy can’t stop laughing.
ERNIE: You look like you’re in jail.
CINDY: I am in jail.
What’s the charge? Aiding and ABEDding?
I hope she can make bail.
Hopefully Ernie’s fingers aren’t too sweaty and it doesn’t drop on Cindy again.
Justin & Jennifer are allowed to return to the truck without their beds. This makes the penalty much easier. I wish they made them carry it again.
JEREMY: This is the pit stop. Just hurry up. If you don’t hurry, we’re going to get passed right here.
SANDY: I am trying my best. Are you guys done?
JUSTIN & JENNIFER: . . .
“Nope. Just going for a post-race jog.”
Well that’s one way to drop four spots in the standings.
Ernie loses a rung.
Make that five spots. Justin & Jennifer are currently in sixth place.
Justin & Jennifer interact with another driver who hasn’t been paid yet.
SANDY: My shoulder is bleeding.
I am sure an open wound while staying overnight in a remote African village is completely fine.
Bill & Cathi are approaching.
JEREMY: They are right behind you.
SANDY: If they pass me. . .
SANDY: Take my bag.
And the pass has occurred.
JEREMY: I can’t help you now. I can’t get it up.
SANDY: Jer, I’m trying. Jeremy.
JEREMY: Bill and Cathi passed us. Unbelievable.
We see teams carrying the beds as Justin & Jennifer run by them.
SANDY: It is rubbing raw.
JEREMY: Don’t think about the pain. Just go.
Jeremy is doing this while carrying two bags.
Hopefully Sandy doesn’t find herself in the same prison cell as Cindy with this technique.
Laurence & Zac pass by Cindy.
LAURENCE: You should stick to sewing!
Ernie fixes his bent wood.
Justin & Jennifer sneak past Bill & Cathi as they put down their beds.
If Bill had dropped the bed recklessly, he would have been on the mat before them.
SECOND PLACE: JUSTIN & JENNIFER
Jennifer really wanted first.
PHIL: Bill and Cathi. . .stay where you are.
“Please be fine with our truck driver not asking us for money.”
Phil calls over Jeremy & Sandy before he delivers the penalty for Bill & Cathi.
PHIL: Jeremy and Sandy, you are team number three. Congratulations.
“Yes! I am a 65 year old retired teacher and farmer now!”
THIRD PLACE: BILL & CATHI?????????? What the fuck????
Wow. Editors REALLY love to underedit Jeremy & Sandy.
Bill & Cathi are sent away to pay their truck driver.
And yes, Jeremy & Sandy didn’t say a word at the pit stop.
Hopefully Cathi doesn’t sprint too much because Amani & Marcus are already at the village.
Phil summons Laurence & Zac to the mat. The pit stop greeter swarms Laurence.
Zac has a new mommy.
The crowd is amused.
FOURTH PLACE: LAURENCE & ZAC
ZAC: It’s alright.
That is a natural reaction for the middle placement.
An exhausted Ernie & Cindy arrive to see Phil.
FIFTH PLACE: ERNIE & CINDY
CINDY: We’ll take it.
Those were her exact words just one episode earlier at the pit stop.
MARCUS: Do you want to take a break?
AMANI: I don’t want to slow down; I don’t want to talk.
Wise move. To borrow from Marcus’ vocabulary, they need to go all out on a Hail Mary and put everything they have into hustling to the mat.
Bill & Cathi speedwalk past Amani & Marcus.
Bill & Cathi pay up.
I should note Justin & Jennifer paid only seven thousand.
Bill & Cathi settle up the bill and start running back.
The Hail Mary Pass is incomplete!
SIXTH PLACE: BILL & CATHI
Better than their lucky number.
Amani & Marcus bring it in.
LAST PLACE: AMANI & MARCUS
PHIL: How are you feeling right now?
AMANI: I’m not ready for it to be over.
PHIL: You want to stay in the race?
“Yes, because tomorrow is NFL Sunday and I know what Elimination Station will be like if we have cable.”
PHIL: Well, you’re gonna need those beds.
“Because Elimination Station is in a bed this year.”
Nah, just kidding. It’s because it is a NEL.
Well, you can’t deny that they still want to be in this thing.
PHIL (non-sarcastically): You still have a chance to win this race.
“I’m missing football.”
Amani brings up their special needs daughter and how they don’t want her to quit.
There is a woman on the right in the crowd who looks REALLY pissed.
“A Non-Elimination again already?! This is BULLSHIT!”
Amani starts crying and wants to show her they don’t quit and what teamwork is.
The pit stop greeter tears up.
“We didn’t even get to see anyone eliminated.”
“Hey ma, does my hair look okay?”
And that is the episode.
Next Time on TAR: Teams work as taxi drivers. . .African style.
SANDY: I’m going to get killed.
And on Lake Malawi, Jeremy & Sandy paddle it out.
JEREMY: Ahhhh. We’ve got to turn this boat.
SANDY: Don’t yell at me.
While Amani & Marcus haul it in.
RYAN STORMS 0
NUMBER OF TIMES MENTIONED IN THE ‘NEXT TIME ON’ SEGMENT
JEREMY & SANDY 2
JUSTIN & JENNIFER 1
ERNIE & CINDY 1
BILL & CATHI 1
LIZ & MARIE 1
AMANI & MARCUS 1
EVERYONE ELSE 0
RANK THE LEGS
One) Bangkok, Thailand -> Lilongwe, Malawi
Out of the first half of the season, this round definitely had the best overall design.
Obvious bonus points are awarded for going to a new country in Africa. If I recall correctly, the next new African country is not until Zimbabwe appears in TAR 27, and as of TAR 30 no other countries have been added to the catalogue. Where is the Rwanda visit, production!
We learned something interesting about Malawi other than the African stereotype of people carrying things on their heads. We learned that it is one of the biggest global producers of tobacco. This led to a very physical Roadblock which had comedic value due to how much the locals/workers were dancing and trolling around all of the contestants. We also had that awesome moment of everyone running with Marcus out of the stadium. Well, I know it was a factory, but it felt more like a stadium.
A Detour where teams picked between sewing clothes or building a carton truck seemed reasonable enough. The marketplace and the school were both neat locations. It is also funnier when Sandy gets attacked by a rogue soccer ball and Laurence being inaccurately portrayed as somebody wanting to reinforce gender stereotypes.
Teams shown trying to hire a truck (a private car allowed as a form of transportation on TAR!) or chasing one down is the neat chaos I like to see. Laurence opened the driver’s side door of a moving vehicle! Cindy was freaking out while hanging off the side of the truck, and Laurence & Zac tried to fit the beds into a small taxi.
Seeing teams try to be logical and pay their driver prior to going to the pit stop was interesting. Everyone knows the rules that you must pay your driver before you can check in, but yet two teams made that mistake. The physical labour involved with moving the beds made it Bill & Cathi’s time to shine as well as Cindy finding herself behind bars for the first time in her life.
Andy & Tommy picked up their third win because of another team’s error as well as their fourth win in five rounds making them one of the most dominant teams in the first half of a season ever. They should have been major U-Turn targets by this point.
Ernie & Cindy make small mistakes despite Cindy being a perfectionist. You can see the decline since the Taipei victory taking its toll on her.
It always amazes me how unmemorable all of Jeremy & Sandy’s footage is. They had quite a bit of content this episode, but if you look at other recaps of this episode online or what people say when this episode becomes part of a discussion, Jeremy & Sandy’s journey with the delayed truck, Sandy bleeding, or playing with the children never comes up.
Amani & Marcus suffered a lot of bad luck this leg. They and producers are happy it was a NEL. The top two from Bangkok went to the bottom two in Lilongwe (Bill & Cathi switched to sixth place this round).
I am curious what people thought of every single team choosing their male partner to do the Roadblock. There wasn’t a single woman to be found in one of the most physical Roadblocks that TAR has ever done. It would have been great to see Sandy or Cindy try to tackle it. Especially Cindy because her mixture of frustration and intensity would have been entertaining to watch.
Again, no major alliances or big rivalries are forming. Random teams comment on Bill & Cathi’s strengths or Andy & Tommy running into Laurence & Zac at a couple junctures are the only two points of interaction in this whole leg.
Two) Taipei, Taiwan -> Joe Jer Carter, Indonesia
First off, thank god production chose to not do the Contradicting Sign Twist ever again.
Racers are instructed to follow what’s in their clue as the primary source of instruction. During the Detour, they were told to give up the Rupiah they earned to the orphanage. It said nothing about giving up your American Dollars. Teams said that even if they noticed the sign (primarily the words of Jenna Morasca) that they still would have followed what it said in their clue rather than some random sign. I believe that since Phil could have penalized them at the pit stop for not following their clue correctly or unintentionally trick teams into giving up precious money for the following round of play.
It is even worse that this twist occurs simultaneously with the Double Elimination. If the sign wasn’t there, Ethan & Jenna finish this leg in ninth and are saved over Kaylani & Lisa. That’s a potentially big change to have a ripple effect throughout the rest of the season.
This round also had what many consider to be the dumbest Speed Bump of all-time. Untying that rope took somewhere between 5-8 minutes based on the order of events on-screen. I am sure the audience was happy to see Bill & Cathi take the lead after doing the Speed Bump, but we all wished they did a bit more to earn it. Sadly nearly every Speed Bump in the future will go on to be a joke collection of tasks. I have been long advocating for a new type of NEL penalty because clearly the Speed Bump is not working.
The Roadblock was a cool location and was a decent task. A spelunking obstacle course was fun.
The Detour wasn’t particularly memorable. Because of the nineteen teams checking into the pit stop, it was one of the most condensed tasks in TAR history. I think we saw about twenty seconds of dancing and about thirty seconds of motorbikes being parked. It didn’t appear to be memorable or difficult.
The only reason this leg isn’t at the bottom is because Indonesia was a brand new location for TAR US. Other franchises beat them there but it was nice for TAR US to get it off of their check list.
Jeremy & Sandy’s only storyline of wanting the Survivor winners effectively comes to an end this round. Watch their airtime dwindle even more.
Justin & Jennifer was more annoying than it was fascinating to watch. I think the pettiness of the fighting outweighed the comedy of it which is a shame. I wish they recorded some of their physical altercations when they were younger, though. Did anyone get a broken nose?
Despite Bill & Cathi dropping to seventh because they had to run several kilometres, it was still a great comeback for a team that finished the first leg over six hours behind almost all other teams. Yes, two massive equalizers helped but at least they are no longer perceived as a team of fodder.
Kaylani & Lisa’s airtime essentially dropped down to nil this episode. For a team that made a huge blunder in the first leg and were extremely lucky to be saved this round, production didn’t want to focus on them when they aren’t doing anything jaw-dropping.
And I think Ron & Bill finished where most people expected them to this season. They were too mellow for the race.
Three) Fuckit, Thailand -> Bangkok, Thailand
I think we were all fearing the same thing: When teams had to take the bus to Bangkok, the possibility of a mass equalizer would have really messed up this round.
Luckily that wasn’t the case, but the luck of what bus you chose shifted the standings more than they should. Thankfully it produced the same elimination outcome, and didn’t truly affect anything long term. However, it was still a silly design.
In contrast to the other Bangkok legs that I have seen, it isn’t the most draining one that I have seen. Nobody fainted or anything. The only exhausted team was Laurence & Zac for needlessly ditching a first class bus or Liz & Marie who had almost no Thai money for most of this leg.
Once again, this season struggles with interesting tasks.
Disassemble and re-assemble a spirit house at a temple.
Search a river for a couple of minutes to find a wrapped koi.
Wash an elephant as a Speed Bump.
By far the most interesting part of the episode and what makes it rank higher than most of the earlier legs is that the scramble from the bus station to Bangkok Noi to the pit stop caused a lot of trouble for teams. Liz & Marie were given bad directions, Andy & Tommy lost a ton of time by hanging around a school, Jeremy & Sandy didn’t know what the hell to do, and Ernie & Cindy’s bus station frustrations and traffic frustrations led to a big shuffle right before the pit stop.
I mean, the elephants were cool, but this was the fourth episode in a row where we have seen an elephant this season. It was like a stampede.
Producers trying to leave a hint for teams to take notes on the spirit house was also a slight boost for this episode. Seeing people like Andy & Tommy, Laurence, and Ernie shut down the notion of re-assembling the spirit house was funny to watch. It wasn’t a bad idea for a Double Roadblock implementation.
Once again, a significant amount of airtime is dedicated to Ernie & Cindy and demonstrating the contrast in their personalities, and how they handle a major confrontation with a local. Given the circumstances, they didn’t go over-the-top in the moment and handled themselves quite well in confessionals when talking about the incident. Producers really want to make it their season, and give them a relatively positive edit.
However, not everyone was able to get away with a positive edit this round. Andy & Tommy stirred up a huge controversy that is still talked about online to this day. Even months after the episode aired, Andy & Tommy couldn’t respond to it in a way that produced much forgiveness from the online community. I am interested where the conversation would have gone if one of the interviewers wanted a more extended dialogue about this topic and give themselves a chance for redemption or be clearer about what they exactly meant. Because as it stands, Andy & Tommy are stuck being ranked 702nd out of all TAR teams worldwide by another TAR expert.
Another team that didn’t get such a positive edit was Laurence & Zac. Even with Bill being significantly older, Laurence was the one who came off as the grouchy old man. He told Zac not to take notes and then complained that Zac couldn’t memorize a series of subtle details while claiming he himself could do it without a single hiccup. Fast forward to the end of the episode where Phil mocks Laurence more than I have seen him mock anyone for jumping off of the first class bus.
Amani & Marcus and Bill & Cathi managed to go from frequent cellar-dwellers to claiming the top two spots for this leg. Neither team got much airtime because bigger storylines were going on, but at least we got to see both teams thinking they were the bottom two simply because of what has transpired in the past four legs. I bet both teams were riding a huge high before heading to Malawi. They were the teams that broke Andy & Tommy’s attempt to grow a hat trick into a grand slam.
Lastly, let’s talk about Liz & Marie. They received a significant amount of content in their elimination because of the unusual circumstances. It was an increasingly rare scenario where a team had to fight through multiple episodes without any cash and seeing their position continue to decline into a state of hopelessness. However, they absolutely LOVED playing with elephants in their Speed Bump. They would have probably traded the million dollars for the chance to play with elephants. The brief storyline of playing this race in honour of their recently deceased father was an added touch. None of the scenes seemed unnecessary.
P.S. Jeremy & Sandy fought through their issues like normal people.
Four) Los Angeles, California -> Taipei, Taiwan
I hate Starting Line tasks. I hate pointless Speed Bump-esque penalties that aren’t entertaining and/or serve no purpose to the race other than ‘look at this repackaged twist that we are pretending is brand new!’
I am becoming increasingly more open to NELs in the season premiere, and surprisingly I am okay with the setup for the Double Elimination twist. Eliminations in TAR have always been arbitrary, and choosing to eliminate the bottom two teams in exchange for saving a team this round is perfectly fine with me. . .even with who eventually goes home because of it. -_-
I like that producers didn’t use a single clue box this round. We had a tough billboard challenge that left old people scrambling for five hours.
The other tasks weren’t particularly interesting to watch.
The umbrella task came down to pure luck for most teams at the starting line and led to a pointless penalty that was even more pointless because of the NEL. It just cost us precious Taipei time.
The Hazard required only one person to participate while their partner did nothing.
The dragon boat task wasn’t really a task. It was all to be done in a fixed amount of time for the most part. They had twenty people helping them.
The Confucius Roadblock was alright. I wish the phrase was just a little bit longer, but was enough to stump Liz for a really long time.
I am seeing evidence of why this season doesn’t make a big impression on people. You either didn’t like the twists or were indifferent to it, and no major storylines really developed.
Cindy is controlling.
Marcus loves football.
Kaylani & Lisa had the worst start ever in TAR history, but somehow finished the leg in ninth. How far can they go? And that whole incident with Reality Fan Forum was a memorable moment.
Bill & Cathi are nice. Hopefully they don’t screw up this second chance.
Ethan & Jenna were on Survivor.
Premieres need to either grip you in with story or be hilarious to make people settle in for the ride–this was neither.
Overall, the good cancels out the bad and leaves us with a very mediocre season premiere for TAR.
Five) Joe Jer Carter, Indonesia -> Magelang, Indonesia
This leg is definitely the worst out of the first three in terms of design.
Easy cycling task where the only way the order changed is if your bike had an unintentional malfunction.
Both sides of the Detour were quick and uneventful. Either plant rice in mud or fill up grass to an arbitrary line that was either accepted or rejected based upon questionable criteria, fill buckets, and herd goats. The bags of grass still mildly annoys me since some of the teams’ bags looked really full.
The Roadblock and the Pit Stop were in the exact same location. That means whether or not you happened to settle with your cab beforehand solely determined who went home because all of the teams were close together. In other words, it was a roll of the dice to figure out who was going home.
Andy & Tommy won another leg because of a team ahead of them being penalized at the pit stop. We don’t know why the penalty was determined to be fifteen minutes rather than the standard thirty. Perhaps because the leg was so short and linear that a fifteen minute penalty was the equivalent to a thirty minute penalty in other legs.
Ernie & Cindy received a huge amount of attention during this leg as a team being aggressive and skilled at the race, and Amani & Marcus rallying from certain doom were the two key storylines of this leg. Oh, and Bill & Cathi are old people who can’t stand in tall grass. Everyone applauding whenever they complete a task is kind of hilarious as if they aren’t capable of going far in the race.
Lastly, we hit upon Kaylani & Lisa’s only non-passport storyline. Kaylani has a young child at home that she misses. Phil, Lisa, and hopefully others successfully convince Kaylani that she isn’t disappointing her daughter. It was a roller coaster for a team that goes home in the second elimination leg of the season. Considering they originally checked into the second pit stop in tenth, and Phil was on his way to eliminating them in the first leg, they are probably grateful they got three rounds in The Amazing Race.
This leg would have been much stronger if they travelled to another part of Indonesia that was outside of Java.
Six) Joe Jer Carter, Indonesia -> Phuket, Thailand
This leg was excruciatingly linear and took place in a shorter amount of time than the leg in Joe Jer Carter.
Other than Liz & Marie struggling at the Detour and Justin & Jennifer’s usual antics, the only source of conflict in the whole episode was Jeremy & Sandy. It was extremely uneventful and was a very ‘normal people’ type of fight. Seeing two level-headed people butt heads in a diplomatic way does not make for entertaining television. If it was hilariously calm or hilariously overboard, then yeah, we want to see it, but otherwise it doesn’t need to make it beyond the editing room suite.
After TAR 14’s teams refused to do a Fast Forward for charity, we had it as one of the two Detour options. While many teams switched tasks, it seems like the amount of time lost was very minimal for everyone except Liz & Marie.
In fact, all of the mistakes this leg other than Liz & Marie cost very little time. Ernie & Cindy’s compass clue was easily corrected, Laurence & Zac were able to follow another boat, Jeremy & Sandy had to shuffle a few chairs, and Amani & Marcus couldn’t find the pit stop for a few minutes in a very limited area to search.
Setting up umbrellas and chairs was lame as a Detour task until the gusts of wind happened. The coral cage was cool and fighting the current was a legitimate challenge.
The compass task of directing your boat thirteen minutes to an island using a medallion was neat on paper, but ended up being relatively easy for everyone.
The rock climbing Roadblock was perhaps the easiest version of it I had ever seen. Maybe the ladder from Family Edition is the only one that was easier. There was no way for Liz & Marie to make up time in this round. It all truly came down to the Detour.
The floating village was bland. I wish they had done something there or showed neat things about the village. It looked like a lifeless ghost town to me unlike the Cambodian floating village from TAR 13. Production could have done so much more with it.
I don’t know why there was such a big deal made about the arrival of the flights when there was a mass equalizer to make it all pointless. Those scenes could have been cut down so much more.
And Liz & Marie were really really really lucky that they didn’t need any Thai money beyond the initial taxi ride. This leg made it obvious that Liz & Marie aren’t destined for a deep run into this season in contrast to everyone else.
No major storylines were developed this episode. Laurence & Zac messed up sailing, Liz & Marie messed up at something similar to being lifeguards, and Marcus struggled with a sports stadium. All were amusing little moments.
And yeah, this was the perfect leg design for Andy & Tommy. I estimate their morning was done in less than two hours. After three consecutive leg wins, Andy & Tommy secured their spot as the biggest target of the season.