EPISODE BLOG #294
“Acting, Cycling, Spinning, Vomiting, and Flemmish Flexing”
CHINESE TAIPEI – INDONESIA – NOT LAOS – THAILAND – MALAWI – DENMARK – GERMANY – BELGIUM – NETHERLANDS – PANAMA – UNITED STATES
Previously on TAR: Six teams raced from Malawi to Denmark. Amani & Marcus began the leg in last place but once in Copenhagen the married couple jumped back in the game. At a Renaissance Roadblock, Zac couldn’t keep the beat. A second Double U-Turn in a row helped secure a much wanted win for Ernie & Cindy. After being U-Turned by Bill & Cathi, Zac & Laurence lost their way and came up short.
Five teams remain; who will be eliminated next?
NUMBER OF TIMES MENTIONED IN THE ‘PREVIOUSLY ON’ SEGMENT
ANDY & TOMMY 6
AMANI & MARCUS 5
JUSTIN & JENNIFER 3
LIZ & MARIE 3
ERNIE & CINDY 3
BILL & CATHI 3
LAURENCE & ZAC 2
ETHAN & JENNA 1
RON & BILL 1
KAYLANI & LISA 1
JEREMY & SANDY 0
Phil introduces us to Copenhagen. The city has the cleanest open waterfront in the world.
And also one of the most colourful.
Floating in its harbour, Havet Ship is a cargo vessel that is the start of the ninth leg in a race around the world.
“And Laurence & Zac are still weeping inside.”
Ernie & Cindy won the last leg of the race at an unspecified time, and will depart first at 9:01am. Cindy reads they must drive themselves to the statue of Hans Christian Anderson.
It is a much clearer day in Copenhagen today.
Phil jumps in to say that many scholars believe he is the most prolific fairy tale writer in history.
The statue is the black dot to the right.
And is pretty much the only Danish person any of us can name.
Although I can also think of Gus Hansen.
He should have used all of the magic in his fairy tales to cover up his five year old haircut.
Also, still no clue boxes.
Ernie & Cindy get into their car. Cindy jokes that they get to see more of Copenhagen. Hey, nobody else in TAR history has seen Denmark up to this point, Cindy. Consider yourself lucky.
CINDY: My parents came to the US from China so I am first generation Chinese. I think they would have loved for me to marry a Chinese guy, but I think my parents will be able to see that we have a very fun relationship.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but a first generation Chinese person would be somebody who had parents immigrate from another country TO China, and have their child born there.
Cindy is a first generation American. Therefore, her parents actually expect her to marry an American. You have your parents’ blessing after all, Cindy.
CINDY: And they can obviously see that Ernie makes me very happy.
I don’t know why, but we get a series of extreme close-ups of Cindy smiling.
Ernie & Cindy have the clue.
ROADBLOCK: Who’s ready to take a fairy tale ride?
Phil explains teams must memorize a poem by Hans Christian Andersen. Once they’ve learned it by heart, they must choose a bicycle and follow the map on the front wheel to the Teatermuseet. Before taking their trip, they must rely on their memory to recite a poem verbatim to a period drama critic. When they have performed with enough dramatic flare and recited the poem perfectly, they will receive their next clue. If not, they must return to the statue and start all over.
MAN: I need more performance.
“Do I look like a man who has all of the time in the world on his hands?”
This is our third cycling task of the season.
Phil salutes Hitler as he spins the wheel.
I wish I could go to McDonald’s and buy myself a Happy Wheel!
“I have this theatre all to myself! Oh, what a blissful dramatist’s dream!”
“This is the first time I have had human contact in over sixty years!”
Cindy is doing this Roadblock. Ernie hopes she is good with short term memory. Considering Cindy clobbered the first Roadblock at the Confucius temple, I assume there will be no issues here.
Cindy doesn’t bother to study the map on the tire.
Whenever somebody is quoting the poem, the individual words will always be highlighted. Get used to this for the remainder of the task.
Cindy studies the statue until. . .
“To travel is to—hey! What’s going on here?”
“Damn you Sightseeing Tour Bus tourists!”
Ernie starts laughing at her.
Bill & Cathi’s relatives must have sent them. This is what happens when you mess with old people—you get more old people.
ERNIE: HAHAHA! A tour bus UNLOADED on her!
Ernie is loving this.
CINDY: I can’t even read the poem. There’s eight hundred tourists trying to take pictures with this guy.
I really wish some of the bodybuilders who only train on leg day would walk by the statue.
It’s a good thing Cindy is sitting down or else she’d start shoving people out of the way.
For some reason we are treated to a rotating split screen.
We capture Cindy studying the Roadblock from all angles possible.
Cindy studies the map on the happy wheel and is off.
We get a close-up of the wheel.
The wheel matches Cindy’s iconic shirt.
Cindy is already at the theatre.
“I have been sitting here since before sunrise. I was not expecting company at this hour.”
CINDY: You look so dapper.
“Dapper, you say?”
“That’s the first time a woman has complimented me since my wife passed away from the plague.”
Cindy is a natural actress.
She continues reciting the poem.
What the hell?! A Vietnamese Communist anthem? Hans Christian Andersen endorsed this?!
Nah, just kidding.
“My heart has not been moved like this since I was prescribed viagra for the first time.”
When you tell a self-proclaimed perfectionist that she has to perform a poem with dramatic effect, she will not disappoint you.
It’s like a Peanuts character.
Cindy’s performance is complete.
“My life is forever changed!”
Cindy does her usual jumping and down whenever she succeeds at a task.
“Yay! Thank you!”
“Please don’t leave me.”
CINDY: Glad I got it on the first try. Felt like I was in the audition of my life.
But without any of the responsibilities and the lack of pay.
Bill & Cathi depart in second at 10:34am.
CATHI: We don’t like to think about that first leg. We still have that apprehension every time we open a clue.
As long as the route doesn’t head eastward, they should be okay.
Bill & Cathi are confident they can make it through. Bill is driving and notices an ice cream shop.
BILL: Ice cream. Hmmm. Haven’t had any of that.
“My sweet tooth is hurting. . .it’s also the only tooth I have left.”
Andy & Tommy start in third place at 10:39am. Didn’t they pull into the parking lot seconds after Bill & Cathi? What happened?
Andy is in charge of opening the clue again.
Are you kidding me, Andy? Haven’t you washed the butter off of your finger?
ANDY: Wow. Again.
You would’ve won six legs by now Andy if you didn’t waste precious seconds opening up a clue each leg! It adds up, man!
TOMMY: Are you Copenhangin’ in there?
ANDY: Copin’ and hangin’.
You deserve to be eliminated for that alone.
Back at the Roadblock, Cindy is back at the statue.
Ernie is positioned like a baseball coach at the edge of a dugout.
I was not expecting Copenhagen to have a van with a picture of a redhead who is drawn like an anime character.
See Hayley? This is how you wear a bike helmet.
Cindy reads they must drive themselves to Legoland.
Phil jumps in to say they must go to the Legoland Billund in Billund. It is the birthplace of Lego. It is home to the original Legoland Park. They will receive their next clue at the Pirate Carousel ride.
Is that pirate on the left being hanged?
Laurence would have laughed so hard that he had to go to a town called ‘Billund’. It almost sounds insulting!
Ah, a famous American monument in Lego form.
“Legoland is like home to me! There is only one reflecting pool that is made of legos.”
This season continues its clue box free zone policy.
Bill & Cathi walk up to Hans’ statue.
BILL (slaps him on the knee): How ya doin’, boy?
He is the freakin’ most celebrated man in all of Denmark, Bill. Not your golden retriever on the farm.
Cathi is going to do the Roadblock. Andy & Tommy are there a moment later. Tommy volunteers.
Cathi is harnessing all of her energy for this Roadblock.
BILL: Cathi was an English teacher. She graded kids on this so I think SHE BETTER DO IT RIGHT!
Since when did Bill pick up a southern accent and pretend to have chewing tobacco in his mouth??
Cathi has her bike and studies the map on the wheel but can’t find the theatre marked on it.
She would be terrible at finding hidden immunity idols on Survivor.
Cathi decides to bike to the hotel and ask someone.
No tourists to disrupt Tommy’s concentration.
Split screens continue to be abused. Tommy sees the theatre on the map and Cathi embarks after receiving directions.
This is the best close-up of the wheel, by the way.
Amani & Marcus begin the leg in fourth at 11:43am.
The timer has begun. How long will it be until Marcus’ next football analogy? We are at twelve already.
AMANI: I might not be the Peyton Manning or the Dwight Frenney or the other great guys he has played with, but I think I can hold my ground.
“I wish I was playing with Peyton Manning.”
Amani is going to do the Roadblock. She starts memorizing it.
Marcus comes up with a brilliant idea.
MARCUS: SEVENTEEN! TWENTY-TWO! I’m trying to confuse you so you have to go back and look at it.
MARCUS: Exercise. Titanic.
“Stickers. Bubblegum. Horse radish. Alligators. Baseball hats. I forgot to take the garbage out. Postcards. Don’t be mad. Telephones. Seventy-four. Pi.”
MARCUS: Boombox. Red bus. If I can distract her while she’s trying to remember, while she’s riding she won’t be distracted by anything.
“To live is to postcard—wait, you didn’t take out the garbage before we left Georgia?!”
Amani puts on her helmet.
MARCUS: CHA-CHA-DA-DA-DA! Look at that pretty bird! Fly away pelican! Fly away pelican!
AMANI: OK, I don’t need anymore help.
Who is Amani suddenly paired with?
Tommy gets additional help while riding. Cathi realizes she has to turn around and go in the opposite direction.
The local points to where Tommy currently is—northeast of the tire. He isn’t even on the map anymore.
This allows Amani to be second to the Roadblock and do her best R. Kelly impression (minus the urinating on cheerleaders part).
She is really putting some soul into this.
It’s like she is auditioning for a high school play.
Amani also is finished on her first attempt. The clue is hers and away she cycles.
The split screens are abused once more as we see Cathi and Tommy both ask for directions.
I for one can’t quite figure out why Kym Nonstop is on this season.
Everyone is shocked when Amani is the next one back.
It’s like an imaginary bullet struck Andy in the chest.
MARCUS: OH MY GOD! ARE YOU SERIOUS, WOMAN?!
AMANI: You don’t know who you roll with, pal.
OK, that’s a pretty badass response. Amani has earned a lot of points in my book just for that.
ANDY: What the heck is that.
BILL: She nailed it.
Marcus has an analogy prepared for what Amani has just done.
MARCUS: We just took the opening kickoff and ran it for a touchdown. That is unreal.
MARCUS’ NFL REFERENCES COUNTER: 13
Cathi is third to the theatre.
Cathi gives the judge a nice warm smile prior to her performance.
Cathi also uses some R. Kelly inspired soul into her performance.
Cathi is now a Hollaback Girl.
Bill & Cathi ain’t no Hollaback Girls.
This is the best.
Cathi is a natural at this.
CATHI: Of lands untold;
Fuck. So close to a flawless run, Cathi.
CATHI: To travel is to–
MAN: I’m sorry. It was not satisfactory.
“Excuse me, mister?”
I like how the man in the top hat, the huge ass glasses, and the fluffy orange bowtie is looking at Cathi as if SHE should be the embarrassed one.
Cathi begins her journey back to the statue.
Tommy is still lost. He gets on his bike and keeps moving.
We are now ten minutes of running time into the episode.
HOLY SHIT! I totally forgot about Jeremy & Sandy. They are last to depart at 12:08pm. Did you forget about them by this point? Cause I certainly did. They start this round three hours and seven minutes behind Ernie & Cindy.
No wonder they thought they were last to the pit stop at the end of the leg.
SANDY: Drive yourselves to the statue of Hans Christian Andersen. OK.
JEREMY: It’s been tough being away from home. I have a six year old son. He is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
(We cut to them finding the statue.)
JEREMY: Is he is he—is that him? Is that him over there?
(We cut back to the confessional.)
JEREMY: So I want to come in first. Win this race for my son.
(We cut back to the statue.)
JEREMY: It’s right here. You got this. Choose a bicycle.
Locals wearing the number five? Does that mean one of the two teams in this photo will finish this leg in fifth place?
It’s like a hidden clue from The Mole.
Also both guys look bored.
BILL: Oh! Look at that!
Sit your assuming ass back down, Bill. You jumped to conclusions.
CATHI: I didn’t do it. I got to go back.
The smiley wheel is so deceiving. It should change to a frowny face when a team gets it wrong.
The screen corrects it for us.
Sandy is about to be featured on screen again until–
Cathi completely blocks her from the camera. Hilarious.
Bill is more subdued during Cathi’s second attempt.
Ernie & Cindy find Legoland.
“Arrr! Me arms be as yellow as Cindy’s shirt from all of the scurvy I be havin’!”
I am not kidding. Scurvy does make your skin turn yellow. These pirates need more vitamin C!
Ernie probably fits in well with the little kids who love Lego.
Water gun fight!
I don’t think that gunpowder was made of Lego.
Phil says that Lego was invented in the 1930s.
With the goal of making it more into a spin-off video game company rather than a toy company.
Its competitors Blockoland came into effect about 2001 or 2002.
There was an incident with harmful splashing right around the time it opened, though.
Or selling defective Eiffel Tower models.
Phil tells us Lego produces 50 million pieces per day.
“And upcharge it for twice what it is worth!”
“Sex is just like Lego!”
I am not kidding. Jim Bob Duggar’s sex education to his son Josh on his wedding day was “it’s just like Lego.” Look it up. You’ll never play with a Lego set in the Duggar household again.
This is the best writeup I have seen on the Internet about Jim Bob Duggar’s sex education because I sadly couldn’t find a video of it on YouTube.
Phil says teams must need to piece the Legos together while being spun into a dizzy state. They can only work on the puzzle while the ride is in motion. If they can keep it together, the pieces will reveal their next clue.
Hamburg? We’re hitting up two countries in the same leg? Oh my.
“You spin me right round baby, right round baby when you go down when you go down down. . .”
Hang on. The Flo.Rida version is the first one I think of rather than Dead or Alive? Fuck. I grew up in the wrong generation.
There you go, Dead or Alive. Flo.Rida can suck his own D.
This is a surprisingly creative challenge.
This is likely the perfect challenge for Ernie & Cindy.
I should note the drive from Copenhagen to Billund is two hours and fifty minutes. That means Ernie & Cindy are well over three hours ahead of three other teams at the moment. There couldn’t be less pressure for them.
Is Cindy kinda feeling really sick or really feeling kinda sick? What’s the difference between the two?
Cathi and then Tommy find the theatre.
SANDY: Let’s do this.
JEREMY: Good luck! You got this!
Sandy is very determined.
Cathi is performing again.
She gets it this time. Especially with her namaste pose at the end.
She couldn’t be happier.
Cathi is awarded her clue.
Old people kissing old people’s wrinkly hands with their wrinkly lips. What a wonderful visual.
Cathi quietly says to Tommy that he has to be dramatic.
So let’s see Tommy’s flair for the dramatic.
We see Sandy arriving mid-poem.
SANDY: This is it! This is it!
Amen. Tommy sounded more like a pastor in Church than an actor.
SANDY: I wanna go now.
It looks more like a house than a theatre inside.
Tommy is rejected.
MAN: More drama, please.
“This is my only source of foreplay!”
MAN: I need you to bring more life to the words.
“Fuck you man. This is why I went into athletics.”
He exits. Sandy and Tommy don’t say a word to each other.
TOMMY: What the heck. That was terrible. Drama for your mama. They want more drama.
Commercial break. We resume.
TOMMY: Drama for your mama. They want more drama. Frick.
Save the drama for your mama?
I was not expecting an Ahnold reference from Tommy.
SANDY: Great. I’m ready.
Remember how Jeremy & Sandy have a reputation for not being exactly the most expressive and dramatic racers of all time?
Well, you can probably guess where Sandy fails on her first attempt.
And it wasn’t the memory part of the criteria.
I should note Sandy is the only one out of the five who was limited to only having two lines of the poem being aired on TV.
SANDY: To roam the roads of lands remote; to travel is to live.
Although she looked better than Tommy doing this who was like a frickin’ choir boy.
He asks her for more drama.
SANDY: I have to go back. This is just ridiculous.
Bill & Cathi start driving. Cathi admits she has no idea where Legoland is.
Tommy returns to the statue.
ANDY: Yeah, buddy!
Rejection. Andy watches Tommy recite.
ANDY: He’s like mad. I have never seen Tommy like this.
Tommy proceeds to flail his arms in the air like a crazy person.
Jeremy and Andy can’t help but laugh at Tommy’s attempt at dramatic flair.
Sandy comes back.
SANDY: I am coming back.
JEREMY: Keep going as fast as you can.
SANDY: I’m trying the best that I can.
What a CRAZY scene that was! There was so much conflict and drama there that my TV was about to explode!
Tommy performs for a second time.
“I’m an airplane!”
“It’s all for you man.”
This performance was straight from the Jesus ticker.
Tommy has his clue and passes by Sandy.
SANDY: Good job.
TOMMY: Go get ’em.
Sandy shouts each word and moves her arms like she is a cheerleader doing the YMCA.
SANDY: To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, to gain all while you give, to roam the rods of lands remote; to travel is to live.
Sandy is approved.
SANDY: Thank you.
Sandy bows before her audience.
We head back to the land of scurvy pirates.
The ride stops spinning and Ernie & Cindy didn’t complete it in time. They must wait for it to spin again.
During the pause, Cindy catches on to their next location.
CINDY: Hamburg! Hamburg!
“We finally get to leave Denmark!”
That is a lot of self-driving for one day.
Tommy makes it back to Andy. They start driving. Sandy is back too.
JEREMY: Good job. OK, let’s go.
Tommy came back in style, by the way.
Ernie & Cindy finish the puzzle.
The man on the right sure loves blue, white, and yellow. He would fit in very well with Ernie & Cindy.
I wonder if that man had the ring on his ear before becoming a Legoland pirate, and is the primary reason why he was hired.
Phil says teams must “figure out” that they need to drive across the border into Germany and find the city of Hamburg. Once there, they must make their way to the Hamburg Train Station where they will find their next clue.
Drive to the shaft of the border!
CINDY: We’re driving to Hamburg? What?!
In some seasons, you don’t get to drive whatsoever.
Cindy says the pirate ride made her a little dizzy, but the puzzle was easy.
Amani & Marcus are at Legoland.
Why is a couple with scurvy being filmed making out? What type of amusement park is this?!
That pirate has all of the colours of the Central African Republic flag on his body. That’s not easy to do. I am impressed.
AMANI: I do not like anything that just twirls around and around. It just totally throws me off-kilter. It just messes up my day.
Marcus doesn’t know who he is rollin’ with, but he knows who he will be spinnin’ with!
They step inside of the teacup.
AMANI: I should’ve took that doggone motion pill.
We’re on the verge of prime Vomiting Territory. My favourite part of any TAR season.
Time to call an audible!
The spinning continues as Marcus notes three pieces are on the floor of the teacup.
On the other hand, that granny is having a wonderful time!
A woman who is ready to vomit should not be a woman who holds a Legoland box in her mouth!
Amani is feeling nauseous and the round in the round thing is over.
Marcus says it must be Hamburg train station. I am amazed he figured that out from so few pieces assembled.
AMANI: Lord Jesus. I’m not gonna make it, and I also think I’m about to throw up.
MARCUS: What is this? A throw-up bag?
AMANI: I might need it, but I hate to throw up on any kids, though.
I love how suddenly all of the kids turn to ensure they are outside of the ‘splash zone,’ so to speak.
I hope it’s not a used vomit bag.
I bet the more Amani talks about vomiting the more it will make Marcus want to vomit. He has to mediate on his own.
We see the pirate shaking his head when we hear Amani mention she will throw up.
Something tells me he will be the one responsible for cleaning it up.
Cathi tells Bill on the highway that there is no more map to cover where they are. They admit to being lost.
Amani & Marcus’ teacup resumes. She repeats that she is about to throw up. They slightly disagree over the location of a couple of puzzle pieces. Time runs out again.
MARCUS: I might have to pull that bag out real soon.
AMANI: You about to throw up?
MARCUS: I could be.
AMANI: You told me to hold it together. You can’t throw up.
“Just don’t show me footage of the Cleveland Browns defense.”
MARCUS: We’re getting a test. How good can you keep your food down? Hang in there, baby.
I think we’re two rounds away from an ultimate upchucking. Please fumble the puzzle some more, Marcus.
We cut to Andy & Tommy on the road.
ANDY: I don’t know if the map is big enough. It’s kind of hard to find stuff actually.
I see ANDY has been replaced by MAP as Tommy’s teammate.
“I’m the map! I’m the map! I’m the map!”
Oh wait, Andy is still here.
“Hey, there’s Svalbard!”
TOMMY: You know what they say about people with big maps. . .a lot of places to go.
And luckily for this big map, Andy & Tommy are about to go down south on it!
Jeremy & Sandy are on a bridge.
JEREMY: It’s beautiful out.
SANDY: This bridge is no joke.
Considering Jeremy & Sandy are from San Francisco, for them to compliment a bridge is a big deal.
JEREMY: Jeez. This is incredible.
SANDY: It’s beautiful.
Cathi wants to pull over at a pizza pasta place.
“I wonder if they have ice cream?”
Bill & Cathi struggle to understand the guy.
CATHI: We want to go to Legoland.
MAN: Yes, so you can go to Rugby.
CATHI: I didn’t understand what they were saying. We need to stop elsewhere for betterdirections.
“And a place that sells some goddamn ice cream instead of hot dogs!”
Marcus fans Amani prior to the start of the third round.
As a former pro football player, Marcus knows everything about fans.
They solve it within seconds.
AMANI: Grab that vomit bag. I might need it.
Marcus follows through and grabs the bag. He stops to talk to a kid on the way out.
MARCUS: Hi little man. Have fun. It about made me sick.
I am sure a father appreciates a former pro football player telling his son that he will throw up within minutes.
Marcus asks if Amani is alright.
AMANI: Just a little off-kilter. When you trying to hold it in, you know?
Amani is disappointing me greatly. She isn’t going to vomit is she? 😦
In case you didn’t know, off-kilter is based off of the word ‘kelter’ which means good health. I hear it thrown around casually, but I believe this is the first time the phrase has been used on The Amazing Race.
MARCUS: How do we get to Hamburg? We get there driving????
Hey, it’s better than flying for you, Marcus. We saw what happened last episode.
Andy & Tommy pull into the parking lot at the same time as Amani & Marcus are leaving.
TOMMY: How was it?
MARCUS: I hope you got your barf bag.
Why is that parking lot so empty?!
ANDY: Dude barf bag. That means we’re gonna get thrown around! That’s great.
Jeremy & Sandy spot the sign for Legoland.
JEREMY: Legoland. Right. OK. This way.
Whoever wins the Fast Forward gets to use that to get to Germany.
Andy is pumped for this.
SANDY: Right here. Right here right here. Carousel.
ANDY: Spin to win, baby. Jeremy and Sandy are here.
SANDY: I’m gonna puke.
SANDY: OK. You can only do it while it’s moving.
“I hope we’re out of the ‘Splash Zone’ around Sandy.”
“I say we hold off on doing the puzzle until Jeremy & Sandy are in the ‘Splash Zone’.”
The pieces start blowing in Andy & Tommy’s teacup.
Andy protects his babies.
Jeremy & Sandy not so much.
SANDY: Oh god.
JEREMY: So this just—struggling. Struggling.
SANDY: Did you get all of them on the ground?
SANDY: Keep ’em in the thing and do it one at a time.
JEREMY: Oh. Sandy get that.
One of the pieces bounces onto the cushion. . .
And onto the blue yonder.
It’s like a puzzle piece that says “fuck you, you never gonna solve this, motherfucker”.
JEREMY: Oh my gosh.
SANDY: Babe. Did you get all of them on the ground?
SANDY: I can’t do this.
JEREMY: What do you mean you can’t do this?
SANDY: I’m gonna throw up.
JEREMY: Stop saying—stop saying you can’t do this.
SANDY: OK. I’ll do ’em one at a time.
Where was that drama in the theatre?
Andy & Tommy laugh over how awesome the challenge is.
ANDY: This is awesome. I love teacups.
“Well I’m flattered, dear!”
SANDY: I’m trying.
JEREMY: C’mon. We gotta hit this, Sandy.
The round is over.
JEREMY: We gotta put our hands up.
JEREMY: Arrr, matey.
They just need to stop their Vitamin C intake and they would fit right in!
ANDY: That was gnarly, huh?
SANDY: I’m nauseous.
JEREMY: I need my son here for help. Grant, I wish you were here to help us.
Surprisingly, Jeremy is certain a six year old will vomit less than Sandy. Sandy will not be flattered by the comparison.
SANDY: So do I. Oh my gosh, I’m dizzy.
Ernie & Cindy are officially in Germany. Cindy says Ernie lived in a town in Bavaria for a year.
ERNIE: I am sure I have an American dialect anyone would spot.
ERNIE: Right? Huh?
Looks like somebody just got a lesson in linguistics.
JEREMY: Can be Hamburg H-B-F.
SANDY: Dude, I don’t feel good.
I think Sandy is about to H-B-A-R-F.
SANDY: It was absolute torture for me. I just don’t do well with those types of things. So it was the worst thing that we’ve had to do.
Where did they get those jackets from?
SANDY: I’m gonna throw up.
Andy & Tommy keep putting the pieces together. They talk about how it’s impossible to make snowboarders suffer from motion sickness.
How snowboarding applies to lego puzzles is a confessional left for another day, however.
SANDY: Oh. Don’t bump mine.
JEREMY (sniffs): Mmmmkay. Oh. This goes in there. I just need this piece right here. What’s this side? OK. Hands up.
“Hands up; don’t shoot.”
She is doing worse than Amani with the nausea.
TOMMY: Where are they?
SANDY: I’m gonna throw up.
ANDY: She’s not doing good.
TOMMY: Hey Sandy!
SANDY: I’m nauseous.
JEREMY: Just throw up.
TOMMY: Don’t throw up on the Legos.
JEREMY: Just puke in the middle.
“Everyone please stop talking to me about vomiting at the exact moment of when I want to vomit.”
We cut to Bill & Cathi at the Hilton Hotel.
CATHI: We’re hopeless.
Hopefully there is an equalizer up ahead.
Bill & Cathi get a map and identify Legoland with the help of the attendant behind the counter.
I am guessing they are quite far behind.
Andy & Tommy complete the puzzle during the middle of the next round.
SANDY: The boys are done.
What makes you say that, Sandy?
Is it the fact Andy looks like Charles Manson on speed?
Andy shouts for him and Tommy to spin the disc in the middle.
I don’t know what they hope to accomplish. Will the disc pop off and fly into the air?
Andy decides to taunt Sandy by pretending to vomit.
The round is over.
JEREMY: We’re missing a piece. Oh my god.
SANDY: If we lost one, we have to start all over. If we did, I’m done. So ridiculous.
Sandy can stitch a human body without feeling nauseous, but spinning inside of a Lego teacup is destroying her body, mind, and soul.
Commercial break. We resume.
Huh. Even the pirate’s treasure chest has scurvy.
I think those birds would have a tougher time fitting on a pirate’s shoulder than a parrot.
Why are they acting like they are wearing unsatisfactory deodorant?
JEREMY: We’re missing a piece.
SANDY: OK. We need a new one.
JEREMY: I’m gonna go see if there’s a piece.
SANDY: Let’s start all over.
(We cut to a confessional.)
SANDY: I got sick, I was dry heaving. I couldn’t focus. I do not do well with motion. It was horrible horrible.
Not just horrible. Horrible horrible.
Jeremy collects a new puzzle.
SANDY: We have to get it. You know there’s white on the top and follow the edges.
I have never seen so many people voluntarily watch Jeremy & Sandy on The Amazing Race.
Ernie & Cindy are at the Hamburg Train Station and find their clue in a. . .
WE WERE SO FUCKING CLOSE TO AN ENTIRE SEASON WITHOUT A MOTHERFUCKING CLUE BOX MAKING AN APPEARANCE!
The streak is over! NO! NO! NO!
They could’ve had a marked counter or a guy in a red and yellow uniform handing out the clue. Why did they have to use a CLUE BOX?! NO! NO! NO! NO! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Alright. I’m okay.
Belgium’s debut in TAR!
Of course, since I didn’t start traveling abroad until last year, Brussels is the first city in my TARstorian blog that I have already been to!
Me somewhat near a Mussel shop as the Mussels from Brussels. I’m clever.
Unlike Denmark, Phil refuses to note that this is the first time The Amazing Race has been to Belgium.
Phil says this is the third country of this leg. It’s definitely the third country to have at least one task. This is very ambitious by TAR US’ standards.
You’re not allowed to take photos and video of sculptures or artwork in Belgium! TAR could get sued for this!
Of course a city that loves beer, waffles, and Fries is going to attract a lot of people.
Once in Brussels, they’ll make their way to the European Parliament Building where they will find their next clue.
Also known as “Germany telling everyone what to do” seminar.
Oh, now we’re not too good for clue boxes again.
Ernie & Cindy go to a ticket counter for train tickets.
Something tells me Legoland won’t be open that late. Everybody is gonna catch up.
CINDY: We’re all on the same stupid train to Brussels. Uh, so bummed.
Cindy sums it up better than I can.
You know what else is stupid?
Jeremy & Sandy are in the teacup.
SANDY: We’re almost there. We’ve got this. This round. That goes in there. You got it?
JEREMY: We’re finished. We’re done done done.
PIRATE: This is correct.
JEREMY: Thank you.
SANDY: Thank you. Let’s go.
JEREMY: We’re driving to Germany.
Jeremy & Sandy are out of there.
Bill & Cathi are at Legoland.
They cut the line! Why do older people have to act so entitled! My word.
Bill is not liking this.
Neither is Cathi.
CATHI: This is gonna be a treat. We will get it. We may vomit before we get it.
We cut to the Hamburg train station. Andy & Tommy are second to the clue box.
We cut back to the teacup. Bill & Cathi complete it.
CATHI: Put it down.
“Who wants Lego Pie in the Face? That kid in the cup next to us sure has been bugging me, Cathi.”
CATHI: Put it down!
“But I want to show off my puzzle. I’m so proud.”
“We’re all good. He finally put it down!”
It would have been hilarious if Bill fumbled the puzzle while holding it and all of the pieces split apart.
BILL: OK. We got our money’s worth. I want a hot dog.
CATHI: I want a slurpee.
They’ve had their mind on nothing but food and drink all leg. Bill hasn’t even gotten his ice cream yet and he has already moved on to hot dogs.
CATHI: So yes. I think we’re going to Hamburg.
-Think- you’re going to Hamburg, Cathi? After it says Hamburg right on the dang puzzle? If you don’t follow that gut instinct, you might not even make the 12:30am train!
“I am a washing machine. Do as I say.”
BILL: She always talks a brave one. Yes she does. (pulls out a weird voice) “I’ve got no motion sickness, we’re fine”. My crackers were about ready to come out.
I don’t think Cathi likes Bill’s impression of her. . .and is that a cigarette tucked behind her ear?
Amani & Marcus are third to the train station.
JEREMY: I see a team. It’s right here.
Jeremy & Sandy are fourth.
JEREMY & SANDY: Ride the rails to Brussels, Belgium.
JEREMY: Wow. We caught up pretty good, babe.
Ernie & Cindy note they don’t have their tickets from Cologne to Brussels.
Yeah, they’re not gonna find it.
Ernie & Cindy backtrack to where Cindy dropped it. Sadly, it was probably swept up by a janitor since parts of Europe are always so freakin’ clean so quickly.
CINDY: This is not good.
Way to troll Cindy, Ernie.
They try to buy new tickets at the machine.
I am sure taking a train from Cologne to Brussels while passing through Dutch territory will be a cheap train ride.
77 Euros. That ain’t cheap.
“You could literally buy a house with that!”
Ernie & Cindy realize they don’t have enough money to buy those tickets.
CINDY: We’re so screwed.
ERNIE: We could look around.
Is this how it ends? If Ernie & Cindy can’t get on the Cologne train, Andy & Tommy are going to have the easiest path to the winner’s circle in TAR history. Bill & Cathi will be in the Final Four. Amani & Marcus will compare it to being in the Super Bowl. And Jeremy & Sandy will be there.
An incident like this would make somebody like Cindy lose her mind.
ERNIE: Don’t get upset. Don’t get upset.
“It just means the guest list for our wedding will be reduced by half. Think of the long term benefits!”
CINDY: Oh my god. We’re toast.
Bill & Cathi are at the ticket counter.
“I want your hips woman!”
ANDY: You guys get on the earlier flight?
SANDY: You’re not on it?
CATHI (to the agent): Just a moment.
SANDY: We’re all here.
CATHI: Are we all going at the same time?
Cathi decodes Andy and Sandy’s attempt at making her panic.
SANDY: Do we have a bed?
JEREMY: We’re pumped. We get to sleep.
I don’t envy Ernie’s position for this train ride.
Meanwhile the other teams get to relax.
Marcus is sad because of the bed.
MARCUS: Hopefully I can fit on this doggone bed.
Only one way to find out, Marcus.
The conductor comes by to verify tickets. Ernie informs her about the situation.
ERNIE: We’re going from Cologne to Brussels.
ERNIE: We lost our tickets somewhere at the train station.
Probably not hard for her to believe after taking one look at Cindy.
ERNIE: Is it possible to print that out here somehow?
Ernie loves gesturing with his hands.
CONDUCTOR: No. It’s not possible.
I like how she smiles at Ernie despite giving terrible news. It’s the most German-esque thing to do.
CONDUCTOR: Do you have the receipt from the other ticket?
“If you say ‘no,’ I shall mock you some more.
ERNIE (quietly): No.
“Well you’re in a pickle.”
CONDUCTOR: I can’t do anything for you. Sorry.
Cindy says she has gone from a four hour lead to having no lead.
CINDY: It’s insane. This could be a game ender.
“Could is looking an awful lot like ‘will’ right now.”
ERNIE: We blew it big time.
“Fiji better be fucking sweet.”
The head drops in shame. I think Cindy is on the verge of committing seppuku.
Commercial break. We resume. Cindy talks about being disappointed in herself for losing the tickets as everything gets really upbeat when the train arrives in Cologne. Even rare rock music plays as everyone runs to the train for Brussels.
Amani and Cindy apologize to each other as they collide.
This is going to be a tense train ride. They know only one task remains for this leg.
SANDY: We’re heading to Brussels.
Everyone has their tickets.
CINDY: We’re hoping they don’t check for tickets and we’re fine or they check for tickets and say we lost it in the run or I’ll hide in the bathroom.
“Or they throw us off this train and we have to make sure we duck and roll with our A/V crew.”
TOMMY: Ernie and Cindy misplaced their tickets. Ernie seems like he stays pretty calm and lets Cindy do the stressing out.
You don’t say.
He looks like freakin’ Mr. Bottomtooth right now.
We are approaching Brussels and get some shots of the city.
I know that view! The steps to get up there is COVERED in garbage. Like, tons of garbage. It is incredible. Of course they aren’t going to show that.
The train is getting close to the station.
CONDUCTOR: In a few minutes we will be arriving in Brussels.
“Just be cool, man. Be cool.”
“Looks like we have to knock out Ernie & Cindy on our own.”
CINDY:There was no conductor ever collecting tickets. So the whole lost ticket situation is out the window. . .which is good cause we were worrying for a little bit. . .or -I- was worrying for a little bit.
I have a feeling this is Cindy’s first experience of illegally riding a train.
As somebody who has accidentally ridden a train in California and in Europe alone without a ticket a few times, it is funny to watch someone squirm knowing it wasn’t going to be an issue.
Everyone jumps off the train once again. The teams see the line for taxis.
JEREMY: Sandy. There’s a line.
Bill notes they can’t wait in the line either.
Yeah, that line is going to be brutal.
You’re better off cutting everybody off on the road before taxis come in.
Bill & Cathi hire a cab.
That equalizer effectively saved their ass.
SANDY: Let’s go out to the main street. They’re getting in ’em.
Bill & Cathi see the Parliament Building and run. So are Andy & Tommy. Ernie & Cindy and Amani & Marcus are right there too.
SANDY: The door.
(JEREMY & SANDY exit the cab.)
SANDY: Let’s go.
Bill & Cathi grab a clue from the bicycle and run away before Andy & Tommy can see. Andy & Tommy spot the clue on their own anyway.
Officially, this was supposed to be a Detour. Unofficially, it is treated as an Active Route Info for this episode. Nobody chose the other option and therefore editors decided to trim precious time by not taking the twenty seconds to explain the second task. It must have been terrible because I can’t believe every team chose the following option:
CATHI: Bodybuilding posedown.
Bill & Cathi are going to do BODYBUILDING?!
PHIL: Jean Claude Van Damme is the most famous bodybuilder.
Good luck pushing her around, Jonathan.
And people accuse Cristiano Cyborg of being on steroids.
Jean Claude Van Damme is not only the most famous bodybuilder. . .
But also the star of the world’s greatest film, Street Fighter: The Movie. Co-starring Raul Julia.
You knew I had to make that reference. I think everyone has a pretty good idea of how familiar I am with Jean Claude Van Damme.
PHIL: They have a chance to walk in the shoes of the Muscles from Brussels by showing off their physiques in a specific routine to score points.
It’s like a room full of human Machokes!
Robbie would love this task.
Bill & Cathi have to wear THAT?!
Phil must feel intimidated.
After stripping down to their bare essentials, teams will prepare themselves with competition oil then working with a professional bodybuilder, they will practice the poses they need to flex themselves in front of a panel of judges who will evaluate them based on their technique and performance and reward them with a score. If teams earn a score of twelve or more, they will receive their next clue.
Who did so poorly already?
“Who dares to mock our art?”
Phil?! What the fuck?
What is wrong with him?
All five teams choose to bodybuild in this one-sided Detour.
JEREMY: I’m going to be in a freakin’ speedo.
The other option must have been terrible.
Bill & Cathi are first to the task.
CATHI: Oh nice. Oh dear.
The sarcasm is clear.
Please tell me we don’t have to watch him change.
CINDY: Oh my goodness. What are you wearing?!
CATHI: What you’re going to be wearing, hon.
CATHI: I was pretty mortified. I’ve never worn a bikini that was so small.
And you thought Legoland made people nauseous! I hope Amani & Marcus kept their barf bag!!!!
Nah, I’m just kidding. This blog isn’t in to body shaming.
Bill is gonna hit that at the pit stop.
BILL: Pick your poison.
I don’t think there is an ounce of toxins in that guy’s body, Bill.
Jeremy & Sandy find Concert Noble.
JEREMY: OK. C’mon. Here it is.
Who created the logo for this building?
SANDY: Concert Noble.
JEREMY: Oh yeah.
Andy and Tommy are way too happy to be in that speedo.
Teams start getting sprayed down.
This is the type of task normally reserved for Hamerotz LaMillion.
I don’t want to see Tommy grabbing his own ass while talking about how small the speedo is.
Ernie & Cindy emerge.
CINDY:This is awful.
Cindy has bruises all over her ass. Well, I guess we just discovered what Ernie & Cindy do at the pit stop.
“Look out Cindy!!!”
Andy is getting bronzed.
ANDY: You can be rough; it doesn’t have to be smooth.
“Oompa Loompa up those biceps!”
We hear Amani changing.
MARCUS: C’mon. C’mon. We look good. You sexy.
Amani has a contrasting opinion.
Marcus is like a freakin’ pro wrestler right now.
AMANI: Are you kidding me? I’ve never worn a doggone bikini. Ever.
I don’t think Marcus feels bad about Amani’s suffering whatsoever.
Just a reminder: The pit stop is coming up in a few minutes.
I am -very- curious what Amani is bronzing right now.
TOMMY: This is not how you prepare for a snowboard contest.
You mean Shawn White doesn’t bronze himself to counter his pale-as-all-hell features?
ERNIE (to ANDY & TOMMY): C’mon guys. Do each other.
Okaaaaay. Ernie. Focus on your partner, please. Thank you.
Bill starts checking out his own guns.
Oh, I’m sure it has, Andy. I’m sure it has.
CATHI: Our kids are just gonna die when they see us in this little clothing. In fact, I’m gonna die so it’s gonna be a family death.
. . .
Cindy comments that Ernie is looking sexy. Ernie acknowledges that he looks good in it.
Cindy can’t help but keep adjusting her bikini.
Cathi is pulling it way too far out.
Andy & Tommy and Amani & Marcus are now learning the poses.
Amani’s smile is much more natural than Marcus’.
The dumbbells being strewn out everywhere is kind of hilarious.
CINDY: My business is hanging out.
“Shawty give me your business. . .just give me your business. . .”
JEREMY: Chest out.
MAN: Hands here.
“It’s not funny, Sandy.”
Bill says the posing is not natural.
“Reach for the stars!”
MAN: Tense those abdominals.
Cathi starts to worry.
Andy finds some of the poses to be difficult because of some of his snowboard injuries. Particularly involving his shoulders.
Andy gets bumped by a piece of raw steel.
Amani wants to try really hard to get it right on the first attempt. She is really focused on this task.
Which is a shame because she is the nicest one to look at out of all of the racers in these outfits.
Amani comes up with creative ways for Marcus to remember the poses.
That is quite the scene. The Roadblock at the theatre has definitely inspired some creativity within Amani.
Ernie & Cindy take to the stage first.
I’m surprised Ginuwine’s Pony isn’t playing in the background when each team takes to the stage.
I see that guy has had Partial Neck Removal surgery.
I don’t think they did that pose right.
It’s like being on American Idol waiting for the judges to render their verdict.
Oh right. Jason already made that joke. Dammit.
It’s like an area code rather than a score.
3-2-4! 6-5-7! 8-3-8,
your biceps and back need to do a better job to coordinate!
They get feedback from each of the judges.
“It’s alright. I can handle the feedback, Simone, Paulino, and Randi.”
CINDY: Most of the notes were in Ernie’s details. So frustrating.
“Who lost the tickets again, Cind?”
Andy & Tommy perform.
I don’t think they are too impressed. It’s like they are sitting through a court trial.
The crowd randomly oohs and aaaahs throughout the routine.
The judges render their verdict.
MAN IN THE MIDDLE: The routine was not perfect.
In fact, it was the exact opposite of perfect.
MAN ON FAR RIGHT: Try to smile because we can see that you are thinking what you will do next.
The other three teams continue to practice.
JEREMY: I need something to remember by.
SANDY: You do. Just remember five.
JEREMY: Yeah, I know.
Amani insists Marcus has it and they go out on stage.
Using ‘windmill’ as a form of instruction indicates Amani & Marcus have already been in Belgium for too long.
MARCUS: Once I went through the door, it was like going into an arena.
MARCUS’ NFL REFERENCES COUNTER: 14
An arena where the Montreal Expos play.
MARCUS: Started going through the poses and all of the jitters went away. I really started having a good time.
Marcus loves an audience.
MARCUS: I’m like ‘they clapping because we’re doing the right things so I really got into it.’
They really like Marcus. Maybe they thought he was a Tight End.
This is Marcus’ favourite task ever.
And that is how it’s done.
Marcus flexes for the crowd upon victory.
Amani & Marcus read they must go to the next pit stop: Parc Elisabeth. Its symmetrical shape represents the royal monogram of Leopold II. The last team to check in may be eliminated.
Phil specifically requested no accordion players at this pit stop. He got his wish.
Andy & Tommy are on stage. Ernie & Cindy’s coach tells them that Andy & Tommy look really stiff.
Amani & Marcus find their taxi driver named Martin. He doesn’t know where Parc Elisabeth is.
Bill & Cathi are not too enthusiastic about being on stage.
ERNIE: I heard some boos from the crowd.
Cindy can’t even look at the camera for a confessional in her bikini. None of the women enjoyed their bikini during this task, it seems.
Andy & Tommy walk away with a score of five in their second performance.
MAN IN THE MIDDLE: There is no improvement because the details are not there.
MAN ON THE LEFT: In other words, you messed up.
“In other words, you were fucking terrible.”
Tommy is concerned.
Ernie sees Andy & Tommy failed again. He says this is their chance to get ahead.
Ernie has a sarcastic message for Andy & Tommy failing at their routine.
Ernie, you’re just a regular guy from Chicago.
Not Macho Man Randy Savage cutting a WWF promo.
Amani & Marcus find somebody who will check for Parc Elisabeth’s location on the Internet.
I already miss Amani in her bikini. 😦
Ernie & Cindy start performing.
I am amazed she hasn’t thrown her panties at Ernie on stage yet.
ERNIE: I did lock eyes with a man in the audience and flex him with a few parts of the body. At that point I think he was a little intimidated.
“Ernie welcomed me to his gun show.”
Bill & Cathi receive last minute tips.
That’s right, Bill. Look mean.
Ernie & Cindy await their results.
They preserve the same pose the whole time.
Ernie & Cindy receive a score of 12.
Amani & Marcus wait for directions from the Internet.
Cindy gives one last flex for the judges before grabbing the clue.
Ernie, you sir are a goofball.
Bill & Cathi make an attempt.
Those abs aren’t tense guys!
At least none of the judges wrote zero.
Amani & Marcus have directions.
That woman looks like somebody famous but I am trying to figure out who.
Ernie & Cindy exit Concert Noble.
CINDY: Taxi! Taxi!
I think they want a taxi.
Marcus says the Detour hadn’t made him that nervous since he was in the principal’s office in the third grade.
Ernie & Cindy have a cab.
Jeremy & Sandy are on stage.
JEREMY: We were playing it up as much as we could. Really look like we were up there enjoying it.
SANDY: Yeah, I think we got two standing ovations.
But because this is a Jeremy & Sandy edit, we only see one.
They receive a score of thirteen and complete the task.
WOW. They were underedited at this task. I remember thinking that specifically when this episode originally aired. The other four teams had multiple scenes of either rehearsal or being on stage.
We briefly saw Jeremy & Sandy practice for a few seconds, summarize their performance in a few seconds, and boom, the task is done. Just two confessionals total unlike everyone else who has four or more during this task.
Andy & Tommy are dangerously close to elimination.
Ernie & Cindy and Amani & Marcus are in a taxi showdown.
MARCUS: We’ve started calling ourselves the Comeback Kids.
You’ve only been saved by one of the three NELs and made up a bit of time in the Denmark leg. I wouldn’t assign you guys that label quite yet, Marcus.
CINDY: I’m glad this leg is almost over.
Cindy is gonna be in for a big surprise momentarily.
Amani & Marcus are still in the cab but can see the gazebo with Phil inside. They hop out and run as Marcus has to repeatedly point at Phil for Amani to see him.
Phil throws up the ol’ Browsie.
Amani & Marcus are stuck waiting for a pit stop greeter.
Oh. The pit stop greeter is one of the band members. Why isn’t he standing with Phil? Does Phil smell bad after nine rounds of travel?
Anyways, he greets them from behind as Amani & Marcus have to turn around to thank him awkwardly.
This is odd. He is sober. The only time I greet people from behind is when I am really drunk around my friends.
Wait for it. . .
FIRST PLACE: AMANI & MARCUS
Phil says they have won a trip to Panama. No spas and massages while there, unfortunately.
PHIL: Now, as the first team to arrive, you know what that means? You’ll be the first team leaving on the next leg of the race. And the next leg of the race starts. . .
. . .In twelve hours, pretty please?
PHIL: . . .Right now.
“Twelve shows in twenty days. What did you expect?”
AMANI: O Brother.
MARCUS: No way.
Which means this is the first season with four NELs since TAR 11: Real All Stars, and there will not be a Speed Bump on the next leg.
This is the first non-returnee To Be Continued leg since TAR 14. And before that TAR 10.
There will be a rapid increase in frequency of To Be Continued legs once TAR 22 hits.
RYAN STORMS 0
Next Time on TAR: The race continues in Belgium where the trash talk heats up and teams go full throttle.
NUMBER OF TIMES MENTIONED IN THE ‘NEXT TIME ON’ SEGMENT
JEREMY & SANDY 2
ERNIE & CINDY 2
AMANI & MARCUS 2
JUSTIN & JENNIFER 1
BILL & CATHI 1
LIZ & MARIE 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) Lilongwe, Malawi -> Senga Bay, Malawi
We enter the second half of the season as the editors make it clear they want us to pay attention to one specific storyline: Either Ernie & Cindy or Andy & Tommy are going to win this season.
The episode was all about Ernie & Cindy attempting to strategize as to how they could overcome a team that just can’t stop winning nearly every leg of the race. Other than the Bangkok bus rides, Ernie & Cindy are the only team to definitively beat Andy & Tommy in the first seven rounds. As Andy & Tommy pass Ernie & Cindy in the round’s final steps, it was very much a mentality of “they won the battle but they haven’t won the war”.
I like that this leg took place in locations we will never see on TAR again. A bunch of random villages several hours away from Lilongwe? Production avoided going to one of the more typical destinations in Africa.
I enjoyed the tasks. A slide puzzle as a one-time Speed Bump isn’t the worst idea in the world. It beats the hell out of untying knots. The Detour was difficult as you were either drained physically or had to figure out how to paddle a boat. Every season of TAR should have a paddling challenge because of how much teamwork it always requires. The cycling Roadblock also proved to be difficult for some of the teams as they were getting lost amongst the many villages spread throughout Malawi.
We also get our first U-Turn of the season. Unlike other ineffective U-Turns which typically go unaired, production decided to show this one. Maybe because the idea of a Jamaica Shop in Malawi was too cool to keep on the cutting room floor or because editors wanted to embarrass Laurence & Zac wasting their U-Turn.
I am sure to this day Jennifer doesn’t know why she was dormant for an hour at the Roadblock rather than go back and meet her partner. According to interviews, that hour is what made the difference in this leg. Just think it would have been Jeremy & Sandy that likely would have been eliminated this round, but were spared with a second-to-last place finish for the second elimination round in a row.
I am going to miss those dancing locals.
Three) Senga Bay, Malawi -> Copenhagen, Denmark
Churning butter? Unique but dull to watch.
The Renaissance Dance task? Dull to watch and only difficult for Zac.
The first ever round of consecutive Double U-Turns? I approve.
The bunny hopping task at the Detour? Amazing!
We had three very old school elements that are rapidly drying up as we head into contemporary TAR—scrambling for flights, self-driving, and a debuting country.
Six teams were spread between four flights and teams were forced to drive themselves through the Danish countryside as well as Copenhagen.
The storyline of Ernie & Cindy’s desire to win and be extremely competitive above everyone else was clearly established this round—even above Andy & Tommy’s competitiveness. They U-Turned a pair of sixty year olds just to win a leg. That is a team that wants to constantly be on top.
The unique nature of the U-Turns being used was also interesting to see play out as none of the bottom rung teams were hit by it. Laurence & Zac pulled the rare feat of heading to the pit stop ahead of last place and end up blowing the drive to the pit stop and get eliminated.
Did I mention Bill & Cathi have gone from the team that finished the first leg over four hours behind teams like Kaylani & Lisa and Liz & Marie to nearly being the first team to win a leg after completing a U-Turn.
Marcus not knowing his animals and the suggestiveness of everyone churning butter was hilarious to me.
And how creepy was that dancer in the final stage of the Roadblock? I’m gonna have nightmares about that guy.
In other news, Laurence & Zac probably felt really really dumb for wasting their U-Turn in the previous leg. I guarantee you they would have U-Turned Jeremy & Sandy this round and would have stayed in the race. Or maybe they just U-Turn Amani & Marcus again. That would have been funnier.
P.S. I want to be a pro at bunny hopping. Such an adorable task to watch!
Four) Copenhagen, Denmark -> Brussels, Belgium
Denmark. Germany. Belgium. All in one episode. I am a bit annoyed that all of the self-driving was nullified by a very late equalizer this round, but it is all cancelled out thanks to a NEL that will not have a penalty.
We had a series of tasks that we normally don’t see on TAR. Cycling to a destination while memorizing a poem that required you to insert actions into it, assembling a Lego puzzle while spinning in a teacup, and bodybuilding.
I would penalize this leg some more for breaking the streak of no clue boxes being present on the race, but I’ll look the other way this time.
Ernie & Cindy received a ton of content because of the threat of them not being allowed to board the train. It turned out to be an empty threat as they rode the train to Brussels anyway. They continued to narrate the remainder of the leg. Even with a massive equalizer to erase their lead, they were right behind Amani & Marcus.
Their main rivals, Andy & Tommy, showed a lot of vulnerability for the first time in a while. Tommy was lost during the Roadblock, he failed his first attempt, they had Jeremy & Sandy catch up to them at the Lego task, and the cliffhanger had them in a fight for last place with Bill & Cathi at the bodybuilding task. They are no longer perceived as unbeatable. Perhaps it has something to do with not having aquatic tasks.
Amani & Marcus did very well with self-navigation in the first half of this leg, managed to not vomit during the Lego task, and managed to crush the bodybuilding task to pick up their second win of the season.
Bill & Cathi were really showing signs of race fatigue this round. They were the worst at every task this round and sucked at navigating. It’s not the same Bill & Cathi we have seen since the second round of the season.
And then there’s Jeremy & Sandy. They are a team on this season.
I am annoyed editors didn’t explain to us what the other half of the Detour was this round. I am very curious what would make five teams choose to do half-naked bodybuilding rather than whatever the other option was.
Lastly, Belgium makes its TAR debut. To slightly date the upload of this blog post, Belgium was not re-visited until three weeks ago during the Antwerp leg of TAR 30. I could see a possible Bruges visit down the road and have that be the end for Belgium on The Amazing Race.
Five) 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.
Six) 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.
Seven) 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.
Eight) 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.
Nine) 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.