The Amazing Race 19 Episode 10 Rankings

TENTH LEG

EPISODE BLOG #295

“Atomiwhat?”

COUNTRIES VISITED

CHINESE TAIPEI – INDONESIA – NOT LAOS – THAILAND – MALAWI – DENMARK – GERMANY – BELGIUM – NETHERLANDS – PANAMA – UNITED STATES

Previously on TAR: Five teams raced from Copenhagen to Brussels. At the Roadblock, Tommy got fired up. At Legoland, Sandy got spun around.

SANDY: Oh my god.
JEREMY: Just puke in the middle.

Once in Brussels, teams flexed their muscles while Andy & Tommy and Bill & Cathi struggled. Amani & Marcus struck a winning pose. However, the married couple’s victory celebration was cut short. The race continues through Belgium and one of these five teams will be eliminated tonight.

NUMBER OF TIMES MENTIONED IN THE ‘PREVIOUSLY ON’ SEGMENT
ANDY & TOMMY 7
AMANI & MARCUS 6
BILL & CATHI 4
JUSTIN & JENNIFER 3
LIZ & MARIE 3
ERNIE & CINDY 3
LAURENCE & ZAC 2
ETHAN & JENNA 1
RON & BILL 1
KAYLANI & LISA 1
JEREMY & SANDY 1

Intro time.

We rewatch the clip of Amani & Marcus arriving at the pit stop.

AMANI: Drive yourselves -again- to the Ford Proving Ground in Lommel, Belgium.

lommel amani marcus pollard

I am guessing that self-driving is far more exhausting than trusting a cab driver. In a round that has already been very long and no equalizer in sight, I sense teams will be even more lost than Bill & Cathi were last leg.

lommel ford

Oh yes, and we get our second Ford task for TAR.

lommel clue

And yes, the Hamburg clue box is the only clue box to appear this season.

AMANI: Thank you.
PHIL: All good?
MARCUS: . . .Thanks, Phil.

lommel marcus pollard

Marcus’ refusal to answer Phil’s question likely means it’s not good. He wanted to rest after achieving a first place finish.

lommel amani marcus pollard 1

Amani & Marcus run fast to their Ford vehicle to try and preserve their lead.

MARCUS: Being at the front of the pack, you’ve got to work twice as hard. Everybody wants to take a champ out. Obviously we knew that going in.

lommel amani marcus pollard 2

Marcus, you just said two rounds ago that you had to work twice as hard when you were at the back of the pack. You can’t have it both ways, man.

Cindy prances onto the pit stop mat thanks to the band playing music.

lommel ernie cindy halvorsen

Today I learned Cindy likes Belgian Jazz music.

SECOND PLACE: ERNIE & CINDY

lommel ernie cindy halvorsen 1

PHIL: However. . .

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“What’chu talkin’ about, Phil?”

PHIL: The next leg of the race has already begun.

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Cindy was not expecting this twist. I am amazed she hasn’t pooped herself.

Phil asks her to read the clue in front of him.

lommel phil keoghan

Phil has no choice but to stand there awkwardly as he watches everybody read their clue.

lommel ernie cindy halvorsen 5

Ernie says goodbye to the band.

lommel band

They’re the real heroes.

Cindy sighs as they get into a car. Ernie searches for a hotel. They find one thanks to Cindy and pull over to ask for directions.

How does one get to the Proving Grounds?

lommel ernie cindy halvorsen 6

The highway to get to the Ford Proving Ground is called the E40?! No way, man. I would’ve had a field day with that one. What’s on the highway?

e40.jpg

A really bad techno rap beat?

e40 cars.jpg

I guess E40 is really into fancy cars. No wonder his road leads to a playground for souped up vehicles.

And have you noticed that many of E40’s songs start out with him sounding like he got punched in the stomach?

e40 oooo.jpg

Oooooaaaah!

Knowing E40, those cars at the Proving Ground are going to be “automatic” rather than standard.

PHIL: Jeremy & Sandy. . .
JEREMY & SANDY: . . .

lommel jeremy sandy cline

Sandy’s mouth is completely closed.

PHIL: You are the third team to arrive.
(JEREMY claps.)

THIRD PLACE: JEREMY & SANDY

lommel jeremy sandy cline 1

I love how they don’t even say words when Phil tells them what place they are in.

PHIL: The next leg of the race has already begun.
SANDY: OK. Let’s roll.
JEREMY: Wow.
PHIL: Here is your next clue.
SANDY: Thank you. Drive yourselves to the Ford Prawving Ground and find your next clue.

lommel phil keoghan 1

Phil and producers are concerned about Sandy’s level of fatigue. We all know she is capable of pronouncing the word ‘proving’ correctly. You know it has been a long day when she thinks it is some sort of foreign Flemmish word and says “prawving”.

PHIL: Alright, good luck.
JEREMY: See ya.

We cut back to Concert Noble.

lommel andy tommy

They do not look comfortable.

lommel tommy czeschin

lommel andy tommy 1

At all.

lommel woman

I think she wants to ‘bronze’ up Andy & Tommy’s Olympic medals.

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The instructor looks like a woman who is proud of her two sons.

Andy & Tommy score with twelve points.

lommel andy finch

How was Andy not blurred here as he gets the clue from Mr. No Neck?

lommel man

Like how does this guy even function? When somebody tells him to ‘go for the jugular,’ does he get really confused because he doesn’t understand what a jugular is?

Andy & Tommy exit the building; Amani & Marcus are now at a telephone and faxing service shop as they ask for directions.

lommel amani marcus pollard 3

The shop is very very pink. Who designed it?

marisa brooke intro

Marisa & Brooke?

lommel woman 1

She is squinting really hard at the computer. I think she needs glasses.

Amani asks to print the page.

lommel amani marcus pollard 4

There’s no print? In the last screencap there is a huge photo copier in the corner! What could they possibly be photocopying if they can’t print any paper?!

Amani & Marcus walk out without any directions in hand.

lommel marcus pollard 1

If they had to work twice as hard to keep their lead before, they’ll have to work four times as hard now.

Marcus informs us they had to write out the map and that it took even more time because the people in the shop spoke very little English. That’s surprising for Belgium.

We cut back to Bill & Cathi at Concert Noble.

lommel bill cathi alden

Bill looks like one of the first caveman here.

lommel bill cathi alden 1

They both have a surprising amount of muscle.

lommel crowd

The crowd takes note.

Bill & Cathi complete the task.

lommel bill cathi alden 2

If only they could apply that to self-driving in Belgium.

The judge on the left starts hitting on Bill.

lommel bill cathi alden 3

The next question will be “what’s your phone number? Or do I have to reach you by Morse Code?”

BILL: Yeah.

lommel man 1

Bill has clearly made a new friend.

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Bill thinks he has one too many friends now.

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And away they go.

Jeremy & Sandy are at a stationary store trying to find directions.

SANDY: We’re at a stationary store trying to find directions to this Ford place and hopefully they have directions for us.
JEREMY: We’ve got a great map. Sweet.

lommel sandy cline

The black bag above Sandy’s head makes it look like Sandy is wearing a pirate hat. Hilarious.

lommel jeremy sandy cline 2

Jeremy’s map may or may not be superior to Amani & Marcus’ hand-written directions.

Ernie & Cindy are at the Ford Proving Ground.

lommel cars

Those look awfully Mustang-y, and I have shit knowledge when it comes to cars.

lommel ford 1

Product placement is front and centre.

ROADBLOCK: Who wants to play with the ponies?

ginuwine pony

Ginuwine?

Phil tells us that since opening in 1965, the Lommel Proving Ground has provided a controlled and safe testing environment for some of Ford’s most popular vehicles. And now, this Roadblock gives teams the opportunity to get behind the wheel of an “American icon”.

lommel phil keoghan 2

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Phil nearly gets run over by a Mustang. That would’ve really disrupted this Roadblock explanation. I think running over Phil is worth twenty points.

lommel phil keoghan 4

“I want to ride your mustang.”

lommel phil keoghan 5

“It’s okay, Phil. You can touch it.”

cruisin usa

Maybe Phil has a future as the person who waves the checkered flag around all of these vehicles.

Phil says the Mustang was first released almost fifty years ago and continues to be developed on tracks like the one here in Lommel.

lommel mustang

How many mustangs ever made it to New Zealand fifty years ago? I presume not many. Phil’s childhood was filled with disappointment.

Once they’ve suited up, teams must put the latest mustang through a series of performance maneuvers.

lommel mustang 1

I would laugh so hard if a team crashed a Ford Mustang. There goes a sponsourship.

First, they must reach a speed of over 100 miles per hour and break in a designated spot.

lommel mustang 2

Vrooooooooooooom.

Then they’ll have to navigate a slalom course in sixteen seconds or less.

lommel mustang 3

lommel mustang 4

Vrooooooooooom.

Finally, they must do a victory donut to complete the task.

lommel mustang 5

debra steve intro

“We were hoping for a jelly filled donut.”

When a professional driver feels they have mastered their mustang, they’ll hand them their next clue.

lommel mustang 6

I thought Belgium was densely populated. How do they have space for all of those trees? And was this Ford plant constructed about one month before TAR 19 started filming? Had to fit this advertisement in somewhere!

Ernie gets to do it but Cindy is the one jumping up and down.

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“Yay! The paid advertisement is something you get to use!”

Cindy is surprised to not see Amani & Marcus yet. She concludes it was worth it to stop for directions (even though Amani & Marcus also stopped for directions, but whatever) and is the reason they have their lead.

CINDY: I think we’re the first team here judging on the setup of the outfits and the cars.

lommel drivers

And the fact there are five instructors waiting in this photo.

lommel cindy halvorsen

I am surprised there isn’t a Ford logo on Cindy’s helmet.

lommel ernie halvorsen

But they make up for it with a logo on Ernie’s jacket.

lommel ernie halvorsen 1

Ernie is ready to drive like a maniac with Jason Segel. . .Wait a second.

jason segel

Yes. Ernie’s instructor looks a lot like Freaks & Geeks star Jason Segel. Holy shit.

lommel cindy halvorsen 1

Ford and Heaven have one thing in common: They both suffer from a shortage of chairs.

family guy shortage of chairs

Oh. Huh.

It’s tough to capture in screencaps, but we get a lot of fade-in and fade-outs and really dramatic music to make it look like an action movie trailer. We even get a hard-hitting orchestra with an opera singer that I’ve never heard before.

well strung

Team Well-Strung would’ve shit themselves listening to this.

lommel fade

lommel fade 1

Five Teams. A reality show. . .

lommel fade 2

Desperate for sponsours. . .

lommel ernie halvorsen 2

Starring Jason Segel and somehow not deceased actor Donald O’ Connor from Singing in the Rain. . .

lommel ernie halvorsen 3

It’s “Things People Watching On The Couch Can’t AfFORD!”

ERNIE: This thing has got some power! I thought this guy was gonna take my life. He was fish-tailing it at every corner!

Ford is loving this.

lommel ernie halvorsen 4

This is going a bit faster than a Legoland tea cup.

ERNIE: I think my face was like this the whole time.

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He looks more like a middle-aged British royal subject who is scoffing at one of her friend’s stories as they sip drinking tea. “Oof! I never!”

lommel man 2

“Sometimes I like to just go out paddleboarding. My life is too fast at times.”

alex conor

“We wish we were on this season!”

Oh, I’m sure you do, Alex & Conor. I’m sure you do.

lommel ernie halvorsen 5

Ernie hopes Ford also supplies diapers.

Meanwhile, Andy & Tommy arrive at the pit stop.

TOMMY: C’mon. Let’s go.

It’s the first time they are fighting it out for last place. Clearly Tommy is in a state of panic.

lommel andy tommy 3

“Did we beat the couple nearly three times our age and who has beaten us on only one out of the last nine legs?”

By the way, the rain is coming down hard.

lommel phil keoghan 6

“The rain is going to wash away my bodybuilding bronzer!”

FOURTH PLACE: ANDY & TOMMY

lommel andy tommy 4

Tommy nearly faints.

lommel andy tommy 5

TOMMY: Fourth?!

Andy & Tommy are given their next clue.

ANDY: Cheers to you, Phil!

lommel andy tommy 6

That’s the same facial expression most people have when they flip somebody off. But here it’s just a pinky.

lommel andy tommy 7

Andy already runs to a decent lead over Tommy after they exit the gazebo.

ANDY: We’re psyched to still be racing.

Never before has a team been happy for a Keep on Racing leg without finishing in last place.

ANDY (changing his voice to Hulk Hogan): We just had a really humbling experience in that bodybuilding contest.

lommel andy tommy 8

Ohhhhhh yeahhhhh.

ANDY: We got to eliminate two more teams to make the Final Three, and our goal is to make the final.

lommel andy tommy 9

Andy is bracing for impact of elimination.

The instructor tells Ernie how to get up to 100 miles per hour and hammer the brake pedal right before the end.

lommel ernie halvorsen 6

darkwing duck.jpg

In the words of Darkwing Duck, let’s get dangerous, Ernie.

lommel ernie halvorsen 7

We get a graphic of the speedometer. I don’t know if it’s very accurate.

spaceballs ludicrous speed

“Ludicrous speed!”

lommel instructor

The instructor really loves the high speeds.

We transition.

lommel driver

Who isn’t self-driving right now?

CATHI: It’s likely last and we’ll be eliminated.
BILL: We’ve had a good go.

Oh right. Bill & Cathi.

lommel bill cathi alden 6

I don’t know why sad music is playing when we all know it’s a NEL.

lommel bill cathi alden 7

We are a quarter of the way into the episode and Bill & Cathi still need to get to a second pit stop.

LAST PLACE: BILL & CATHI

lommel bill cathi alden 8

It would be funny if they made this an elimination point. Screw the Keep on Racing format.

PHIL: However. . .

lommel phil keoghan 7

“My pecs are itchy from all of that flexing. Wait, you thought I was grabbing another clue?”

He actually does grab a clue.

lommel cathi alden

lommel cathi alden 1

Cathi’s face lights up in real time.

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CATHI: No. . .
PHIL: You are still racing.
CATHI: NO!

lommel cathi alden 3

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It’s like she is howling at the Belgian moon. Transylvania is that way, Cathi!

CATHI: YAY!

lommel cathi alden 5

For the first time in eight seasons, we have a fourth NEL on the race. I can assure you there is not a fifth. This is Bill & Cathi’s third and final chance.

CATHI: Drive yourselves to the Ford Proving Ground. . .

lommel bill cathi alden 9

Bill’s reaction to another self-drive leg. This will be the death of him considering what happened last round.

CATHI: Hot diggity.
PHIL: OK! Get going!

lommel phil keoghan 8

I love how Phil shoos them away the second they utter a phrase that only old people would say.

CATHI: We have to put the pedal to the metal as safely and legally as we can.

lommel bill cathi alden 10

Ford will stretch those safe and legal limits on its proving ground.

The instructor tells Ernie that his time will be measured in the slalom.

lommel man 3

The green flag is waved. I wonder if there’s actually a car beneath that blue tarp?

lommel car

Those are some wide turns, son.

lommel car 1

I don’t know why, but the timer stops once it lists the aspect ratio of my TV at home.

lommel man 4

“Go back to Nissan you amateur!”

lommel ernie halvorsen 8

“You mean I have to redo this task and operate a vehicle that I will probably never drive again for the rest of my life? This is the worst!”

We cut to Amani & Marcus on the road. Marcus says they are really lost.

lommel man 5

Does that guy on the sidewalk have a hook for a hand?

They pull over at a gas station and ask for a man with a GPS.

lommel amani marcus pollard 5

lommel man 6

Seeing how his face is blurred, he did not agree to signing the waiver for production.

lommel amani marcus pollard 6

Marcus does another one of his newly learned bodybuilding poses while the directions are explained.

lommel amani marcus pollard 7

“Here. Shake my sweaty hand. Thank you.”

Jeremy & Sandy are at the commercial, er, next task at the Ford Proving Ground.

JEREMY: I see mustangs. Yes. K, we gotta park. Here’s the clue.
SANDY: Let’s go. Hurry.
JEREMY: Alright. Who wants to play with the ponies? That’s me.

lommel jeremy sandy cline 3

“You get to recite a poem for a confused old man who thinks he is still in the 1800s. I get to drive a fancy car at over 100 miles per hour. Same thing, right?”

SANDY: Oh geez. Alright. Good luck. Be safe, please.

Ernie tries the slalom again. His instructor becomes an oracle.

lommel ernie halvorsen 9

Well, nothing was sugarcoated.

lommel car 2

Ernie lightly bumps into the car in front of him. Next attempt he won’t even hit the blue car, right?

lommel car 3

lommel car 4

lommel car 5

You were so wrong. It went flying!

Ernie said he must have done the challenge about fifteen times.

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He’s really not liking his instructor at this point.

lommel car 6

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Make way for Ernie! Ernie style!

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Ernie’s lead is evaporating and the instructor couldn’t give less of a shit about it.

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Ernie’s road rage is developing quickly.

We cut to Jeremy.

JEREMY: I’ve never been in a car going that fast with total power. It was insane; it was awesome.

Ernie hits a cone and is disqualified. He must wait for Jeremy to take a crack at the slalom. He is annoyed he lost the lead.

Commercial break. We resume with Ernie pounding every surface around his seat.

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Ernie punches the steering wheel as he waits.

Jeremy is disqualified cause he hit the bumper of the blue balloon car.

JEREMY: I hit that thing.

Ernie takes another go at it.

lommel ernie halvorsen 16

I think he wants you to brake, Ernie.

lommel ernie halvorsen 17

tlc creep

Suddenly his instructor turns into T-Boz and Chili.

Ernie succeeds and gets to do some victory donuts. The clue is his.

Jeremy does it on his second attempt.

INSTRUCTOR: OK, now we go by to Victory Lane and do some victory donuts.
JEREMY: Sweet.

lommel jeremy cline

Jeremy enjoyed this Roadblock.

He is told to release the brake and go full throttle.

JEREMY: That was awesome.
INSTRUCTOR: Good job. I’ll take over and bring you back. OK?
JEREMY: Thank you.
INSTRUCTOR: Perfect.

And that is Jeremy doing a Roadblock.

lommel jeremy cline 1

dr dre van

It looks like Snoop Dogg’s van in that car.

Ernie & Cindy read they must drive themselves to the city of Gent and search the Hoofdbrug for their next clue.

gent castle

Gent out of here, we’re still staying in Belgium?

gent barrel

Also, no clue box. Just one all season long.

JEREMY: Thank you so much.
(INSTRUCTOR says something I don’t understand.)
JEREMY: Appreciate it, man. See ya later, man.
SANDY: Good job, baby.

lommel jeremy sandy cline 4

They are such bros.

lommel jeremy sandy cline 5

I don’t think Grant will be the only one with a playdate once they get home.

colombo grant bowler 11

And no, not this Grant.

gent clue

We get to see the clue on-screen.

JEREMY: That was awesome.
SANDY: Search the Hoofenbrecht for your next clue.

Almost there, Sandy. Almost.

JEREMY: OK.

Ernie talks about being scared for his life. We go back to Jeremy & Sandy.

JEREMY: WOW!
SANDY: Babe, you killed that.
JEREMY: I have never felt power like that before.

lommel jeremy sandy cline 6

“That will net us a guaranteed a spot in the Final Three if we praise the Ford Mustang as an almighty powerful being, right? It’s like you have the power of Christ at the steering wheel.”

Amani & Marcus find the Proving Ground.

lommel amani marcus pollard 8

Or rather, Amani finds it.

lommel roadblock

We see the Roadblock hint.

Marcus is gonna do it.

Andy & Tommy pull up too.

TOMMY: We get to drive a Mustang or something.
ANDY: Oh you dirty freakin’ dog.

And you are exactly right, Tommy. Andy is gonna be so jealous.

lommel marcus pollard 2

Marcus can’t help but see who is behind him to figure out his current placement in the race.

TOMMY: Who wants to play with Ponies?
ANDY: Oh my god.

lommel andy tommy 10

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Andy can’t help but hit Tommy out of jealousy.

MARCUS: I’m about to nail this thing. It’s about to go down like four flat tire!

lommel mustang 7

He is going to puncture the tires on a black mustang?

lommel marcus pollard 3

I don’t think it’s the type of commercial Marcus wants.

ANDY: I am feeling very very jealous right now that Tommy get to drive these Mustangs around the course cause I have a passion for driving. More than snowboarding.

lommel andy finch 1

Wait a second. You are more passionate about driving than snowboarding, Andy?

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You weren’t even the one driving to the Proving Ground!

Andy says Tommy had an issue during the poem task, and decided Andy would be better for future mind tasks while Tommy takes the more mindless ones.

lommel tommy czeschin 1

“You’ll be better with the mind tasks, Andy! By the way, I am going to drive really fast in this souped up Mustang! Don’t be mad, this was God’s plan all along! Everything happens for a reason!”

Marcus speeds through the course. He talks about loving the Mustang. Andy is upset he doesn’t get to do this task.

ANDY: I love to rally cars. It’s my big dream thing. I had some jealousy in my heart today.

lommel andy tommy 13

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“He better vomit on the course.”

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“I also had some jealousy in my brain today so it all worked out.”

Ernie & Cindy are in Gent.

gent landscape

gent landscape 1

Mass public transit directly in front of a castle? That’s so Europe.

gent horse

Hey, it’s Klip Klop and I hear he likes sugar! Belgium really loves the ponies.

Ernie & Cindy get directions from a local who tells them to turn around and go on their first right then a left.

gent ernie cindy halvorsen

In other news, none of the locals in Belgium like to have their faces filmed.

Jeremy & Sandy are also in Gent.

JEREMY: We are in Gent. Burgerstratam.
SANDY: Let’s ask somebody.

gent sandy cline

Perhaps Sandy will ask a lady or a GENTleman? Bwahahahaha. But seriously, don’t get Gent out of shape over my terrible puns.

geography now.jpg

If you want to hear terrible puns, listen to Barby from Geography Now.

They ask somebody.

gent jeremy sandy cline

Asking somebody.

SANDY: Burgerstrat. Right here. Far. OK.
JEREMY: OK. This is going to be hard.

And they drive away. Another quality Jeremy & Sandy scene.

TOMMY: It was the coolest thing to be able to drive in that Ford Mustang.

Oh, Ford made the Mustang. I didn’t know.

Tommy fails the attempt. Marcus gets another shot while he describes it as the most unique adrenaline rush he has ever experienced.

MARCUS: That was such an adrenaline rush, and it was so different from any level of adrenaline rush I have ever had. Birth of my kids, playing professional football, catching touchdown passes, it was amazing.

MARCUS’ NFL REFERENCES COUNTER: 15

That is also amazing.

Marcus clocks in at 13.8 seconds. He’s good. Victory donuts commence.

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Marcus couldn’t be smiling more.

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He really enjoyed those donuts.

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A lot.

MARCUS: It’s like NASCAR! YEAH!

Ford will love Marcus forever.

Bill & Cathi see the Proving Ground.

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Cathi has a headache from the fast cars already.

weaver family 5

She is excited as a member of the Weaver Family about this challenge.

BILL: Uh oh. It’s a Roadblock.

Bill isn’t too enthusiastic.

Cathi reads the hint and they decide Bill will do it.

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lommel bill cathi alden 12

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“Mmmmm. K. Whatever.”

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“Yay me.”

lommel bill cathi alden 15

“Somebody woke up as Grumpa rather than Grampa today.”

Marcus is driven back to the start.

MARCUS: God this thing is nice.

lommel marcus pollard 8

“I would trade in two of my kids for a car like this.”

AMANI: Baby, how’d it–
MARCUS: THAT’S HOW YOU DRIVE! FROM NOW ON, THAT’S HOW YOU DRIVE!

lommel amani marcus pollard 9

“OUR KIDS MIGHT BE ORPHANS BEFORE HIGH SCHOOL, BUT FROM NOW ON THAT’S HOW WE DRIVE!!”

lommel clue 1

“FROM NOW ON, WE SHOW EVERY CLUE ON SCREEN! THAT’S HOW YOU SHOW CLUES!”

Tommy completes the slalom. Editors decide to add insult to injury. How so?

lommel andy roadblock

Andy WISHES he did the Roadblock.

lommel tommy czeschin 2

“Andy is doing this Roadblock with me in spirit!”

We cut to Bill driving on the straightaway.

lommel bill alden

“Reckless driving is very nice to you?”

lommel bill alden 1

“Kids these days.”

Andy asks Tommy how fun the task was.

ANDY: How fun was that?
TOMMY: So fun. You just rip around.
ANDY: Don’t tell me anymore.
TOMMY: And you just floor it. Vrrrrr right out of there.
ANDY: Sounds like a lot of fun, dude.

lommel andy tommy 16

I love how Andy told him to stop after exactly six words.

ANDY: When Tommy came back from driving the Mustang and he was Jazzed as he should be. . .,

lommel tommy czeschin 3

He looks like he just experienced sexual intercourse without a condom, and experienced it well.

ANDY: I almost started bickering with Tommy just cause of the sin I had in my heart.

lommel andy tommy 17

Hang on a second. How did your buddy do a task on a competitive reality game show involving a Ford Mustang trigger a religious discussion? I was not expecting this twist.

Moving on. . .

ANDY: And I asked for forgiveness through Christ. Christ just took that from me and the burden was lifted after that.

Andy. You gotta relax, man. Breathe with me, buddy.

lommel andy finch 2

“When I was in the third grade, my mom packed me an apple and a wagon wheel for lunch. Tommy came in with a bag of All Dressed Ruffle Chips, the new flavour of Fruit Roll-Up, and a couple Dunkaroos. I had this jealousy in my heart, but Jesus ripped open my skin, took it straight from my bones, fractured my ribs in the process, and let me get over it.”

TOMMY: I think that was the best Roadblock yet.
ANDY: It was a good time, brother.

Ernie & Cindy are at Burgstraat. They find a marker.

gent marker

I love how the marker is below a Roadblock symbol.

ERNIE: Maybe that barrel has something to do with it.

gent barrel 1

So many clues have been tucked inside of every day objects that even a random barrel on the street sticks out.

It’s a Detour.

gent detour

Sadly, a Detour where they do not get to enter a castle.

In this Detour, teams will choose between two things that Belgium is in no short supply of: Water or waffles.

In Water, teams are required to use materials to construct a floatable raft and then search the waterways for two pieces of a clue that reveals their next destination.

gent water

gent water 1

It wouldn’t be a city in Belgium if it didn’t have a river running through the middle of the city.

lommel phil keoghan 9

lommel phil keoghan 10

It looks like one of the clues Andy has opened throughout the season. He really botched this one up.

In Waffle, teams are required to assemble a waffle stand. Working together, they must bake and decorate eighteen perfectly formed waffles to the chef’s satisfaction. If they do, they will receive their next clue.

gent waffle

Gotta get a head start on diabetes! You can’t have dessert until you eat your blueberry waffles covered in sugar!

gent waffle 1

In Belgium, do you really have to put up a sign saying ‘Belgian waffles’? Couldn’t it just say ‘waffles’?

gent waffle 2

I want that waffle on the left. Now!

gent waffle 3

“One day son you’ll have a goatee just like me—and you’ll never be able to get rid of it.”

gent phil keoghan

He is prouder of the goatee than he is of holding a TAR clue.

Cindy says they don’t do well on water tasks, and immediately go for the waffles.

ERNIE: Dog poo in our waffle stand.
CINDY: Ah, gross.

gent ernie cindy halvorsen 1

The mystery flavour coming next week!

Jeremy & Sandy are at Burgstraadt.

SANDY: Burgstraadt. Cindy and Ernie beat us.
JEREMY: Here it is. Got it. Detour.
SANDY: Waffle. Sounds good.

Meanwhile, we see a 65 year old man doing donuts instead of waffles.

gent car

lommel bill alden 2

“I feel like James Dean! Who’s the rebel without a cause now, bitch!”

lommel car 8

Bill is gone in a puff of smoke.

lommel bill alden 3

“What do you call a waffle? A flip off of a ramp? Oh, a waffle is just a waffle? Dammit.”

lommel bill alden 4

“Can I drive this for the rest of the leg and catch up to the other teams?”

Cindy discovers she is vertically challenged.

CINDY: How are we supposed to get this up there?

lommel cindy halvorsen 2

It does seem a bit high for Cindy.

ERNIE: How high can you reach?

lommel ernie cindy halvorsen 10

We’re always reminded of how Asian Cindy is at times. She is trying -really- hard to touch the top.

Ernie has a plan. He will lift up the roof as Cindy puts in the support brackets before he sets it down.

lommel ernie cindy halvorsen 11

bangkok liz marie canavan 42

“Ernie is literally raising the roof!”

ERNIE: Just take your time.

lommel ernie cindy halvorsen 12

“I’ve only got a one hundred pound piece of wood resting on my cranium. I’ll be fine.”

CINDY: I’m trying not to. I am too short.

too short

phuket liz marie canavan 26

“Cindy is literally too short!”

Ernie invites her to climb up.

CINDY: OK. OK. Score.
ERNIE: It’s not lining up.

lommel ernie cindy halvorsen 13

Looks like Cindy wasn’t able to get enough of a height advantage to help complete the setup for Ernie.

lommel ernie cindy halvorsen 14

I love how this angle makes Cindy look really short.

lommel smaken

The sign blatantly steals Willy Wonka font.

And I think ’24 Smakens’ is what Ernie’s friends in Germany typically experience at the pub on their birthday.

They finish setting up as Cindy turns on the mixer.

CINDY: WOO!

lommel cindy halvorsen 4

Cindy is a little too excited about that mixer.

Ernie & Cindy run to watch the demonstration. Jeremy & Sandy show up.

JEREMY: I see Cindy.

lommel waffle

The chef has the Belgian flag planted on his head.

By the way, ‘Waffle King’ is playing in the background during this demonstration.

CINDY: Oh my gosh. We have to make all of these waffles.

lommel flag

Including the flags. The flags are edible.

quaffle.jpg

If this task had taken place in England, it would have been tougher because the waffles would have been in the shape of quaffles. It is England’s traditional Quaffle Waffles.

lommel ernie cindy halvorsen 15

I don’t know why, but we get the classic Ernie Crotch Cam as Jeremy & Sandy walk over.

SANDY: It’s really hard.

The timing is purely coincidental.

SANDY: Let’s go just put this together.

lommel group

See?

Ernie thinks he should be able to do this quite effectively.

ERNIE: You can never really tell until you get into the booth with Cindy.

What the hell? It would be fine if Cindy wasn’t in the kitchen, but now things are super unpredictable for Ernie? What kind of cook is Cindy?

i love lucy.jpg

Is it going to turn into an episode of ‘I Love Lucy Liu’ once the batter starts being made?

Jeremy & Sandy nearly drop one of their roof pieces.

JEREMY: Oh.
SANDY: Whoah oh ho!
JEREMY: Sandy. Hold on a second.

lommel jeremy cline 2

lommel jeremy cline 3

lommel jeremy cline 4

Even when a roof nearly collapses on their fingers, Jeremy and Sandy handle it in a relatively calm manner.

Ernie & Cindy have written down the description of all of the waffles.

SANDY: K.
JEREMY: Lift up higher.

Ernie & Cindy start putting the batter into that machine which presses down on it. Hey, I’m not a chef.

CINDY: Why aren’t you mixing it?
ERNIE: Because he did it manually first.
CINDY: Why don’t you use the ladle?
ERNIE: Because the chef didn’t use the ladle.
CINDY: How did they put that together so fast?
ERNIE: I don’t know. Because they’re tall and we’re not.

lommel ernie cindy halvorsen 16

Cindy is like my five year old niece when my sister is baking something. Question after question after question about every choice of technique and even about things that are completely unrelated to the task at hand.

This cracks me up so much.

Bill rejoins Cathi with his clue.

lommel gent

I wonder if the word ‘gentleman’ comes from the word ‘Gent’ and how the men would reach high to help their shorter female companions finish roofs on waffle stands.

Cathi finishes reading the clue.

CATHI: Rip it off. Let’s go.

lommel bill cathi alden 16

“This outfit doesn’t show off your muscles as much as the bodybuilding task did.”

lommel bill alden 5

“Why am I constantly being told to take off my clothes today? Since when did I become a 65 year old male stripper?”

Amani & Marcus park in Gent.

MARCUS: The clue is probably right here in this box.

gent amani marcus pollard

You know you have a headache when you are confusing boxes with barrels.

Andy & Tommy see Amani & Marcus running and holler at them.

gent amani marcus pollard 1

Amani & Marcus have gone nearly two full legs with always having to look back at Andy & Tommy while racing. That’s a rare experience for them.

Andy & Tommy choose Water because they love water.

gent andy tommy

Casual Belgian observes their decision being made.

Cindy notes they have made a mess with their waffles.

gent batter

Batter up!

Ernie notes the chef had a mess too.

SANDY: It looks way too thick, babe.
JEREMY (confessional): I’ve never done waffles before. It’s kind of embarrassing as a born pancake maker myself.
SANDY: That’s too thick so why don’t we put that back in and add a little water.
JEREMY: Can you do this?
JEREMY (confessional): I messed up. I made ’em too thick.
JEREMY: I can’t make waffles that good.
JEREMY (confessional): It started getting in my head a little too much.
SANDY: Chill out. Just enjoy it.

I love how Sandy is telling Jeremy to calm down when he has -barely- elevated his voice as if it’s a 10 on the Jeremy Scale for meltdowns.

gent jeremy sandy cline 1

The peak of anger that Grant has seen on his dad’s face.

gent jeremy cline

Jeremy has a rolled up joint tucked away in his ear. No wonder him and Sandy are so chill all of the time!

Amani & Marcus walk by Jeremy & Sandy.

AMANI: Hi guys.
SANDY: Hi guys.
JEREMY: How ya doin’?
MARCUS: Getting burned up?
JEREMY: Hard.
SANDY: It’s hard.

Amani & Marcus are rethinking their Detour choice.

gent detour 1

“I’ve never seen Jeremy & Sandy at each other’s throats so much before.”

Amani & Marcus, despite being from Georgia, decide to not do a task involving waffles because the team from San Francisco is struggling with making it.

gent waffle 4

If it was a Soy Based Organic Vegan Blueberry Blast Smoothie, yeah, Jeremy & Sandy would kill this task. But a waffle making task? Yeah, I’d leave that to the folks from Georgia.

Amani & Marcus decide to switch to the Water task.

I never thought I would see the day where two people from Georgia would choose to do a task involving water rather than waffles.

driftwood beach

The best beach in all of Georgia is a place called Driftwood Beach. It doesn’t even sound like an appealing place to go swimming. I think most people in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi only swim in the ol’ family swimming hole.

jermaine dupri.jpg

Look at Jermaine Dupri in the Welcome to Atlanta Remix. He specifically points out a waffle house as a major Georgia landmark! Not a swimming pool! It’s the very first lyric in the whole damn song! I am not joking.

I am shocked on so many levels by this decision.

donathan.jpg

Donathan is the first person from the south that I know can swim, and there are so many culturally biases that it took him five hours before he was willing to dive down on Survivor!

david mary 3

They can certainly swim better than David & Mary. My god.

Amani & Marcus and Andy & Tommy start building their rafts.

MARCUS: Where’s Laurence when you need him?
ANDY: Laurence, where you at?

gent raft

Laurence can laugh at him more than his own son’s Danish dancing.

Ernie & Cindy listen to their waffle.

CINDY: That’s farting.
ERNIE: It’s farting.
CINDY: It’s farting like a monster. We’ll call that waffle Ernie. Cause he farts.

Did Cindy just make a fart joke while helping make food?

gent ernie cindy halvorsen 2

She is -exactly- like my five year old niece.

Sandy rotates the waffle.

SANDY: OK. Time.

Andy & Tommy have never built a raft before, but think they have a flotable device.

MARCUS: You guys are gonna get creamed! Y’all goin’ in, brother!
TOMMY: Marcus, we like water, though. You’re going in and you don’t like water.
MARCUS: I bet you goin’ in!

gent andy tommy 1

“Are you going to trash-talk or are you gonna help me pull, Tommy?”

gent marcus pollard

“Y’all goin’ in and you’re gonna drown faster than Claude from Grand Theft Auto III! That’s how it’s gonna be! If the water ain’t gonna get ya, the colluding Panamaian taxi drivers I bribe with my NFL money certainly will!”

gent andy tommy 2

It’s like a combined farmer’s walk.

MARCUS: Don’t fall in. That’d break my heart!

gent marcus pollard 1

Who is Chiro?

ichiro.jpg

Ichiro’s son?

gent andy tommy 3

“I wonder if there’ll be some ramps on the water?”

gent andy tommy 4

How long until we get a snowboarding analogy?

Marcus doesn’t mind Andy & Tommy were able to overtake ’em. Andy & Tommy collect the first half of the clue and tell Amani & Marcus to throw in a couple of barrels and start paddling.

Andy & Tommy collect the other half. Ernie & Cindy’s waffles are rejected.

gent andy tommy 5

Andy & Tommy definitely chose the right task.

gent waffle 6

This kid is closer to doing a Moonwalk than he is to be judging waffles.

Jeremy & Sandy turn to see Andy & Tommy collecting the second half of the clue.

JEREMY: They’re going to get their clue. Jeez.
SANDY: Don’t pay attention.

gent jeremy sandy cline 2

“Maybe God really is on their side.”

gent andy tommy 6

For those keeping track at home: Yes, Andy & Tommy have jumped from fourth to first in the span of a couple hours in this Keep on Racing leg.

gent cindy halvorsen

Cindy swaps out the strawberries on one of the waffles. They ask for the judge as Cindy starts hopping up and down.

gent ernie cindy halvorsen 3

gent ernie cindy halvorsen 4

gent ernie cindy halvorsen 5

gent ernie cindy halvorsen 6

Cindy can’t help but repeatedly jump up and down. She really is my five year old niece.

gent ernie cindy halvorsen 7

Michael Jackson Gloves is free to give her a hug.

Ernie reads they must drive to De Muur Van Geraardsbergen where they will find their next clue.

gent de muur van

They sure love their vowels.

gent clues

And once again, clue boxes are nowhere to be found.

ERNIE: Let’s get out of this joint.

Like the one tucked in Jeremy’s ear?

gent ernie cindy halvorsen 8

“Maybe we’ll smoke with him after the race is over.”

Andy & Tommy are back on shore.

TOMMY: Drive yourself to. . .De? What do you have?
ANDY: Mervin. . .Virgin Sleuth.

gent andy tommy 7

“Virgin Sleuth? Think that’s a popular detective series?”

sweden connor jonathan 3

“It’s our new TV show!”

gent clue 1

And you thought Thai words were hard.

Andy & Tommy bring their raft back to the starting point.

gent water 2

The water task was definitely the faster option for Andy & Tommy. . .maybe not so much for Amani & Marcus who have yet to go in the water.

Andy & Tommy are in the car bragging about how they nailed the raft.

gent andy tommy 8

Andy’s map is more like an accordion.

Amani sits down on the front of the raft. The thing tilts backwards as soon as Marcus sits down on the back.

AMANI: Have to deal with your big size fifteen feet.

gent amani marcus pollard 2

Marcus is so awkward on the raft.

gent amani marcus pollard 3

Amani has to dig into the water really hard just to transport Marcus’ body.

Bill & Cathi are last to the Detour. Bill wants to make waffles.

donkey waffles.jpg

“I’m so jealous of this task!”

Yes, Donkey. We know.

Jeremy & Sandy ask for a check on their setup.

SANDY: Let’s go get ’em.
JEREMY: Can you please check ours?
SANDY: Please check our work.
MJ GLOVES KID: It is not quite right. Please go check the demonstration.
SANDY: OK.

Amani & Marcus collect their first half.

SANDY: This one was strawberries with powdered sugar on it. OK.
BILL: Is that the stand?
JEREMY: Hey guys.
CATHI: How is it?
JEREMY: It’s hard.

Bill & Cathi take a glance at the waffle stands.

gent bill alden

“Fuck your waffles.”

gent amani pollard

Amani collects the second half of the clue.

gent amani marcus pollard 4

I must say being able to raft in the canals of Belgium is a really cool experience. I can assure you that nearly every town in Belgium is like this where they have canals running throughout every city.

JEREMY: They’re already done.
SANDY: We’re in last again. Unbelievable.
JEREMY: You know where Bill and Cathi are?
SANDY: No. They went to do the other one.

gent jeremy sandy cline 3

“If we can spot an old couple flexing their muscles, we know it’s them.”

Amani & Marcus exit the Detour in third place as Marcus gives advice to Bill on how to tie the barrels.

gent detour 2

Even though the reasonable conclusion is that Bill & Cathi are the only team behind him, Marcus can’t help himself but to play the role of football coach.

Jeremy & Sandy ask for another check.

JEREMY: This is perfect.

gent jeremy sandy cline 4

gent mj gloves

MJ Gloves disagrees.

SANDY: Do you want to switch challenges? Cause I don’t know. I don’t know what to do. You want to do the other one?

gent jeremy sandy cline 5

gent jeremy sandy cline 6

Sandy’s peak of frustration.

JEREMY: No, we can’t do the other one.
SANDY: But there’s nothing I see that’s different.
JEREMY: There’s got to be at least–
SANDY: We’re never going to get it.

Sandy’s peak of optimism.

Commercial break. Yep, a Jeremy & Sandy cliffhanger. We resume.

JEREMY: This is perfect.
(MJ Gloves Replay of Rejection.)
SANDY: I don’t know. We need more whipped cream in the middle of it.
JEREMY: I don’t know.
SANDY: I don’t know what to do.
JEREMY: Let’s check again. I don’t know. Let’s keep checking. I don’t know. This is not good.

Meanwhile, Bill & Cathi jump onto their raft.

gent bill cathi alden

I feel like this is the start of a back pain commercial.

gent bill cathi alden 1

Having a hard day on The Amazing Race? Try Robaxacet!

Jeremy & Sandy are rejected again.

gent jeremy sandy cline 7

Jeremy chucks his notepad.

gent jeremy sandy cline 8

Sandy is stuck with picking it up.

JEREMY: We’re so screwed.

Sandy studies the waffles.

SANDY: Oh. These are mixed up.

gent sandy cline 1

Well, that cliffhanger was resolved within seconds. So much for being screwed.

JEREMY: Are you serious? No, we switched those.
SANDY: Yes. No. Sir, would you please check our work one more time?

gent mj gloves 1

Yes, he is soooo glad you finally found it. It hurt him so much to the point that he is laughing at them.

JEREMY: Oh my gosh.
SANDY: Thank you.
MJ GLOVES KID: You’re welcome.
SANDY: Search for your next clue.

gent leonidas

Man, there really are chocolate shops everywhere in Belgium.

JEREMY: Let’s go.
SANDY: We’ve got a lot of making up to do.

Bill & Cathi collect the first half of the clue. They see a local watching them.

gent man

Where’s his bike?

BILL: It’s our first date.

gent bill cathi alden 2

Just a slight level of skepticism from the local.

BILL: Yeah. I’m taking her out on the canal. Cool, huh? You should try this.

gent bill cathi alden 3

“It probably costs hundreds of dollars for a local, but your date will really dig it!”

SANDY: Bill and Cathi are rowing down the river already.
JEREMY: Let’s go. We were in first we got passed by three.

Jeremy & Sandy drive off.

Ernie & Cindy are closing in on the De Muur.

CINDY: I hope we didn’t leave our waffles burning.
ERNIE: Yeah we did.

gent cindy halvorsen 1

“Gent is engulfed in flames as we speak. Way to go, Cind.”

Andy & Tommy ask for directions. Bill & Cathi complete the Detour. Everybody is driving.

SANDY: The E-40. Let’s take it.
JEREMY: What?
SANDY: It’s faster. Trust me. It’s the interstate. I promise I’m looking at the map.

gent jeremy cline 1

e40 lead.jpg

“Just gotta take me, man. I lead the way. Ooooooohaeeee.

Ernie & Cindy find the De Muur.

gent road

muur cindy halvorsen

Cindy has the clue.

Ernie reads they must help a pigeon trainer release a flock of homing pigeons.

muur pigeons

I wish there is a really tall guy standing on the road as he gets clobbered by a thousand pigeons.

Phil says when it comes to international pigeon racing, Belgium is team number one.

muur pigeons 1

They are also number one when it comes to the number of cars covered in pigeon feces.

muur man

It should be noted it is not wise to place your pigeons in the overhead compartment when transporting them on aircrafts.

Working with a pigeon trainer, teams will release hundreds of homing pigeons then race to the pigeons and meet up at a specific address and pick up their next clue which carries the location of the pit stop.

muur pigeon

Bill & Cathi will need their reading glasses for this one.

Cindy asks if she has to touch the pigeons because pigeons gross her out.

muur ernie cindy halvorsen

“But they can touch you.”

muur ernie cindy halvorsen 1

Cindy is already crouching as if she is expecting a collision.

The pigeons don’t collide, and they fly away. Ernie & Cindy get in their car to chase them.

jazmine danielle

Jazmine & Danielle wouldn’t even bother to drive. They would just catch ’em on foot.

muur pigeon 1

It’s like a calling card.

Andy & Tommy are second to the pigeon centre.

muur clue

Once again, we get to see the clue.

muur pigeon 2

Andy & Tommy receive the alternative address. There are only two addresses for this task.

muur andy finch

We’re looping back to Brussels apparently as Andy asks a local for directions.

Bill spots a sign for E-40.

muur e40

 

e40 rap.jpg

You know this leg is really biased against the retired grandparents when we repeatedly have to use a highway named after a rapper popular in the 2000s. They really are doomed in Belgium.

BILL: Look at that hot air balloon.
CATHI: I see that.

muur hot air balloon

a) It’d be hilarious if a pigeon collides with the hot air balloon

b) Keep your eyes on the road, Bill!

Amani & Marcus find the sign for the Muur.

muur sign

frank mir.jpg

The town was named after a beloved MMA heavyweight fighter.

Amani & Marcus see a flag at the top of the hill.

muur flag

muur amani marcus pollard

Amani’s ankle hurts as she climbs the steep hill.

JEREMY: Oh, is that Amani up there?

Amani & Marcus have climbed the steep hill to where the flag is. Nothing is there.

muur marcus pollard

Amani is going to be so pissed when she finds out she didn’t have to climb up the hill at all.

Jeremy & Sandy park their car.

JEREMY: Let’s go!

Amani & Marcus walk down the hill. Marcus notes Jeremy & Sandy have arrived.

SANDY: There’s Marcus and Amani.

Jesus. Half of the airtime this leg has been spent on teams pointing out other teams.

muur jeremy sandy cline

Nobody wants to go near the big yellow truck, eh?

Amani & Marcus are back at their car.

SANDY: You guys find it?!
MARCUS: We’re looking.
(MARCUS spots it.)
MARCUS: Oh, right there! Right there!
SANDY: Oh, we walked right past it.
AMANI: Yeah. Ditto.
SANDY: Idiots.

Amani & Marcus’ pigeons are released.

JEREMY: Let’s see these guys go.
SANDY: Oh. So cool. OK.
JEREMY: Thank you. Sweet.
AMANI: What address y’all going to?
JEREMY: Stoofstraat.
SANDY: 52.
AMANI: It’s different for us.
MARCUS: We’ve got a 75.
JEREMY: Do you see where we’re at?
SANDY: Yeah. Yeah.
JEREMY: OK. Good luck guys.

God, this transcribing goal for Jeremy & Sandy is starting to get tedious.

muur amani marcus pollard 1

That moment when you realize you can’t work with a team to ensure you survive another self-drive leg.

Amani & Marcus drive by two pigeons on the road.

AMANI: I hope those two aren’t ours.

muur pigeons 2

“We’ve got to quit smoking, man.”

muur amani marcus pollard 2

“Either this task is much easier than we thought it was or those pigeons aren’t ours. If they are, we are driving waaaaay out of the way.”

Ernie & Cindy get directions at an Esso.

CINDY: Vous allez a Beerstel.

As somebody who took French as a second language all the way through high school, Cindy doesn’t butcher the language too badly. It’s about as good as her Spanish. Cindy has been by far the most linguistic savvy racer on this season.

CINDY: It sounds like go to the roundabout and turn right. Oh god. I don’t know.

Understand French, however, is another story.

muur esso

Also, free advertising for Esso.

muur ernie halvorsen

“I was lost at ‘vous allez.'”

Andy & Tommy spot the address.

muur andy tommy

Or that man will be FREAKING OUT. The Americans are chasing me! HELP!

Andy & Tommy ask the man if he has any pigeons for them. Again, it could just be a generous local for all we know.

muur pigeon 3

“My pigeon is greater than your god.”

muur man 1

I never thought I would say this, but TAR just captured a shot of pigeon ass on camera.

miami mermaid 6

On an unrelated note, I prefer Muurmaids over Muurmans.

muur rubber

Andy & Tommy are offered protection. You never know the kind of women they’ll meet at the pit stop! Help yourselves to the rubbers, boys!

Andy & Tommy examine the clue. This really is gonna be impossible for Bill & Cathi.

muur andy tommy 1

Oh, thankfully it’s a picture of Belgium’s most famous monument! The Atomium!

logan atomium.jpg

Obligatory picture of me visiting the Atomium.

TOMMY: What is this?

Are you fucking kidding me? Andy & Tommy haven’t heard of the Atomium?

atomium

It’s only one of the coolest (molecular) structures on the entire planet. They’ve been in Belgium for nearly 24 hours at this point, including Brussels. Everyone knows the Atomium.

Phil says it is a model of the atomic structure of iron blown up 165 billion times. This popular attraction is the pit stop for this leg of the race.

muur phil keoghan

I wish there was a structure of Phil Keoghan blown up 165 billion times in the middle of New Zealand.

muur phil keoghan 1

Awesome.

Andy & Tommy pull over to ask a group of teenagers on the street hoping they know it.

TOMMY: What is it called?
ALL THREE: Atomium.

muur andy tommy 2

The two guys appear to be somewhat insulted that Andy & Tommy don’t know what it is. It’s like their Eiffel Tower, guys.

Andy & Tommy walk by a church as its bells ring.

TOMMY: Bing bong!

muur bells

I wonder if locals in western Europe also go ‘bing bong!’ whenever they hear the church bells each hour.

Jeremy & Sandy are driving.

SANDY: Right now where we’re going right now is to meet a pigeon, and that pigeon is going to tell us where to go.

norm macdonald pigeon.jpg

If this were Mike Tyson Mysteries, that pigeon would be telling them to ‘go fuck themselves’ in terms of where to go.

SANDY: Right here. Pull in.
JEREMY: Alright, here comes our bird.
SANDY: He made it fast.
JEREMY: Yeah, he really beat us.
SANDY: I don’t want to hurt him.

muur pigeon 4

Be careful, Sandy. If you damage that pigeon’s foot, its career as a carrier pigeon is over. Next thing you know it’ll be a real estate agent or a used car salesman for the rest of its life.

JEREMY: That is amzing. Oh, we saw that thing. That’s in Brussels.
SANDY: OK, thank you. Cheers.
JEREMY: We’ve just got to head back to Brussels.
SANDY: OK.

Ernie & Cindy are lost. Cindy asks Ernie to pull over at a restaurant, but he ignores her.

muur ernie halvorsen 1

Cindy is very stressed that Ernie won’t listen to her.

CINDY: Why did you just pass an open restaurant?
ERNIE: I couldn’t park there because people were on my ass! CHILL THE HELL OUT!

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Ernie! Angry!

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Cindy is worried and opts to back off a bit.

Ernie & Cindy park and go into the restaurant.

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Cindy asks if the chef means highway and he says yes. I really hope that’s what he meant.

Cindy informs us that the location is now thirty minutes away because it was only forty-five minutes from where they originally started. I presume they have already been driving for far longer than fifteen minutes.

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Cindy is not happy.

CINDY: I’m really hoping we don’t come in last cause thirty minutes

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That moment when you realize a pair of retired teachers are going to get further than you at The Amazing Race.

Commercial break. We resume.

Cindy reminds us that losing time on this drive cost them first place.

We cut to the city of Brussels.

 

Andy & Tommy see the Atomium while driving. It’s not tough once you’re in Brussels because it’s freakin’ huge.

atomium pit stop

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Pit stop greeting powers activate!

Andy & Tommy run onto the mat. The greeter doesn’t have an accent at all.

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I don’t know why, but Belgians and Dutch people can speak English without a hint of an accent. It amazes me.

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Phil presents some familiar news for them.

FIRST PLACE: ANDY & TOMMY

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“We’re surfin’, bro!”

It is their sixth victory in ten rounds. If they win the remaining rounds, they can tie Marc & Rovilson’s record.

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Bro’ing it out.

PHIL: Ford is awarding each of you a brand new Ford Mustang!

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Oh. So this is why Andy no longer has jealousy in his heart. He gets a car, anyway.

PHIL: Since Mustang is one of the most personalized vehicles in the world, you can go online and customize your Mustang to fit your taste and style.

dawson

“I want a pink one!”

mustang ad

I am sure so many viewers at home are Googling this URL right now to buy a $50, 000 Mustang just because they watched TAR 19.

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I can do this customization shit in Gran Turismo.

PHIL: You’ll be getting those cars after you get home from the race.

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No, they get to use those cars for the rest of the race! Those cab drivers won’t be able to team up against a Mustang in Panama!

Andy says he has gotten over Tommy being able to do the Roadblock.

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Jealousy vanquished.

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Andy predicts where he will be finishing by the end of this season.

Bill & Cathi ask for directions from a couple.

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Oh, De Muur? It’s actually really simple.

muur man 2

MAN: You follow. . .

muur man 3

MAN: Go to the church then. . .

muur man 4

MAN: . .Go left. . .then. . .

muur man 5

MAN: . .Go right. . .
CATHI: OK.
MAN: Go up. . .then left then right.

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“Don’t worry, I’m following.”

muur man 6

“Then you take a timeout.”

MAN: Then you go up then allez. . .

muur man 7

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“Then you go diagonally.”

Bill & Cathi thank him and walk away.

BILL: Did you get that?

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“Oh yes. After racing for over 16 hours without a break, I couldn’t be mentally sharper with retaining information. I even remembered the part where we take a timeout.”

Amani & Marcus are in the wrong town.

MARCUS: Dangit.

They hope everyone is as lost as they are. Ernie & Cindy think they have found the pigeon location.

CINDY: Where are the pigeons?
MAN: Yes.
CINDY: Oh, that’s you. Ohhhhh my gosh.

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What was Cindy expecting? A man in a pigeon costume?

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Although he waddles up the stairs like a pigeon.

They see the picture of the Atomium.

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That’s 0-for-3 with nobody knowing what the Atomium is. Geez.

Ernie knows they need directions and goes inside of a cafe.

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At least these directions are clearer than what Bill and Cathi got.

SANDY: You are not even going the speed limit.
JEREMY: Well I’m being careful that I don’t miss it.
SANDY: K.

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If the guy who floors it in Mustangs is driving slow, he has a reason for it.

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Amani & Marcus spot their Pigeon Man who has an “It took you long enough” look.

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They don’t know what the Atomium is either and ask a man who tells them what it is.

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“But you the real MVP, Marcus!”

Marcus resumes driving.

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MARCUS: I’m tired! (Starts clapping.) Let’s go! WOOO!(Claps some more.) Rally time! Rally time! Let’s go. You ain’t tired. Suck it up, boy. Let’s go. Never let ’em see you sweat.

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I love how Amani doesn’t react to this at all as if it is classic Marcus behaviour.

Bill complains there is no signage on the road.

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The Atomium lights up at night. Neat.

JEREMY: Alright. Here we go.
(JEREMY sighs on the mat.
PHIL: Jeremy and Sandy. . .
SANDY: Yes?
PHIL: You are team number two.

SECOND PLACE: JEREMY & SANDY

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No mat chat for you. I love how they don’t even say words when Phil tells them what place they are in.

Ernie & Cindy hit the mat.

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PHIL: Ernie and Cindy, you guys should be a little happier than you are right now because you are team number three.

THIRD PLACE: ERNIE & CINDY

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Although I would take Unhappy Ernie over Jizzing on the Mat Ernie.

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The third place finish was meant to make them happier, but Cindy’s expression has not changed.

Ernie & Cindy lament over blowing their lead once again.

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And they shall lament over it all pit stop.

Amani & Marcus are on the road and see the Atomium. The Maggie Simpson Daycare Rescue music is playing for the third time this episode during one of Marcus’ pep talks.

MARCUS: I told you I was going to get it in here. I had to pump myself up. Not a crybaby.

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Those were also Marcus’ exact words when he lost his virginity.

FOURTH PLACE: AMANI & MARCUS

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They are relieved.

MARCUS: This next leg will be a conference championship in football terms anyway. The plan is knock out the conference championship then on to the Super Bowl.

MARCUS’ NFL REFERENCES COUNTER: 16

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Football terms are the only terms you know, Marcus!

atomium amani marcus pollard 3

atomium amani marcus pollard 4

That high five was a bit too hard for Amani.

For the second round in a row, it is a prolonged farewell for Bill & Cathi. We get a series of flashbacks to Indonesia, Malawi, Thailand, and Belgium. It’s the biggest highlight reel of any soon-to-be-eliminated team in TAR history.

BILL: It’s been a hoot.

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If he was Canadian, it would be “it’s been a hooooot”.

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CATHI: Like the view I have!

What view?

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This view?

LAST PLACE: BILL & CATHI

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After being saved by two NELs, it doesn’t hurt their feelings at all. They finished last in two different legs on the same day. That may be a franchise first.

prague henry terri reed 10

As opposed to Henry & Terri who were last about every twenty minutes on TAR Asia.

PHIL: If there is one thing you’ve proven that age is not something that will stop you from doing well on The Amazing Race.

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“But it will stop you from being cast for the next eleven seasons and beyond, and in the Canadian and Asian versions too. In fact, you guys will be the absolute oldest racers we will have for the next several years even in parent-child teams.”

CATHI: One of the reasons that we did the race is because. . .older Americans are often overlooked and are invisible.

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I work in a pharmacy. Trust me, y’all ain’t invisible. You’re everywhere! Especially at the polling stations at every election.

BILL: This was one more chance to be with my best friend to do some really really special things in the world and I would do it all over again. Same person same way.

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Bill’s final words on TAR, sadly.

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It’s crazy to think that if Amani & Marcus got a bit more lost then Bill & Cathi would have made it to the final leg of the season because we all know what happens next round.

CONFESSIONAL COUNT

ANDY/TOMMY 7/2
ERNIE/CINDY 8/5
BILL/CATHI 4/4
JEREMY/SANDY 4/2
AMANI/MARCUS 0/7
RYAN STORMS 0

Next Time on TAR: With a spot in the Final Three up for grabs,

SANDY & JEREMY: Go go go go go.

Sandy faces her biggest fear,

SANDY: Jeremy, look.
JEREMY: I’m looking.

and a cryptic clue leaves teams panicked in Panama.

SANDY: We’re last.

NUMBER OF TIMES MENTIONED IN THE ‘NEXT TIME ON’ SEGMENT
JEREMY & SANDY 3
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) Brussels, Belgium -> Brussels, Belgium

This was a tough leg to rank.

On one hand, we get a leg dedicated to self-driving, Belgian-y flavoured tasks, and none of the tasks are subjective.

However, this round lacked a lot of energy without many moments. Bill & Cathi never were close to catching up, and nothing dramatic nor hilarious happened for the duration of the episode. It’s a bit of a dry watch.

In fact, this leg summarizes TAR 19 in general: Great design with decent tasks that won’t stir any controversy, but nothing specific happens within it to make it stand out.

I like how they didn’t do a dreadful equalizer right after a Keep On Racing leg—the last leg and this one took place all in one day. Perhaps the lack of energy from the racers contributed to a mellow episode.

Making waffles was fine.
Paddling down a canal was cool.
The homing pigeon was brief but neat.
The forced sponsourship plug was mildly annoying, but whatever.

The storyline of Ernie & Cindy trying to not repeat mistakes is a consistent one for this season. They are identifying all of the reasons why they blow their lead and are vowing to be the perfect machine by the end of the game.

Amani & Marcus’ fluctuation from stars to the bench in terms of performance also continues.

Andy & Tommy continue to benefit from the mistakes of others as they climbed from fourth place to their sixth victory of the season. They seem unstoppable heading into the Final Four.

And Jeremy & Sandy are Jeremy & Sandy.

It was a sad day if you root for elderly teams on TAR. As of the end of TAR 30, you won’t see any older teams cast on the planet after Bill & Cathi. It is surprising producers for every franchise worldwide have gone down this path because Bill & Cathi were the most popular team in this whole cast. As they said at the end, they were definitely competitive as they were in the lead or in second place for significant chunks of this season.

I should point out Survivor: Ghost Island is currently airing and they have the youngest age of any season in Survivor history.

Considering Bill died a little over eighteen months ago, the episode is even sadder for some superfans to watch. People wanted Bill & Cathi back for TAR 24, and now we know why that never came to fruition. Sigh.

Overall, I don’t have too much to say about the leg. It represented Belgium well and nothing stupid happened.

The decks are cleared for an episode that will make the casual viewers go into a rage. I’m going to love it and so will you.

Six) 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.

Seven) 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.
Feed fish.
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.

Eight) 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.

Nine) 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.

Ten) 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.

RANK THE TEAMS

One) Bill Alden & Cathi Alden

Bill & Cathi aren’t my favourite older team in TAR history. We all know that.

However, I feel compelled to mention they are my favourite team of this season and get a boost due to their significance as the last older team to ever compete on TAR (as of the end of TAR 30).

I am beating a dead horse with the age factor at this point, so I will skip ahead.

Bill & Cathi looked like they were going to be useless. They finished the first leg well over four hours behind the tenth place team. The opening round NEL miracle kept them alive. Initially you think it’s just going to delay the inevitable like with Don & Mary Jean’s early NEL in TAR 6, but that is not the case. Bill & Cathi were in first or second place for the majority of the following round even with their minor Speed Bump.

As the race progressed, you have teams like Ernie & Cindy feel compelled to U-Turn them because they are a threat. They didn’t U-Turn Andy & Tommy—they U-Turned Bill & Cathi who still finished in second anyway.

Their old people antics was funny to watch, and demonstrated they were in stronger physical shape than some of the other contestants who are a third of their age. They run freakin’ triathlons.

Whether it be the bodybuilding task, Cathi saying perverted things to Bill while in Thailand, Bill scowling and swearing over waffles, or amusing me with reciting Hans Christian Andersen, Bill & Cathi provided entertainment value that wasn’t delivered by a chunk of the teams this season.

Lastly, they were very likable.

It’s a shame they couldn’t make it to Final Three.

Two) Laurence Sunderland & Zac Sunderland

Laurence gave me plenty of material for jokes. He is perhaps the most British racer ever to race in the American version of TAR. It’s like what would happen if a cousin of Andy & Laura’s decided to invade this season.

I have a feeling most of what Laurence said was taken out of context because editors clearly wanted to give him a hard time. It was frustrating for him but hilarious for me.

Laurence telling us he would be an expert on something he had never done while Zac messes up that task at the Roadblock, wanting everyone to go to bloody hell, viewing unusual things as being bloody ridiculous, not knowing the rules of the race when it comes to transportation or completing challenges, and accidentally phrasing a statement that made it look like he thought women should always be able to sew. He also managed to screw up navigating on the ocean when it’s something he should know inside and out. Oh, and he U-Turned a team that was ahead of him before being U-Turned himself on the very next leg.

Other than TAR 8, Zac was the youngest contestant TAR US had ever seen. He didn’t have much to say or anything. However, Zac’s presence was required for Laurence to play off of him and give us those hilarious soundbytes that made Laurence a good racer for me to work with in my blogs.

Poor Zac.

Three) Ethan Zohn & Jenna Morasca

This is more of a ranking to reflect Ethan’s presence rather than Jenna’s. It is always how I have felt about this seven year dating couple on Survivor. Their Survivor personalities were repeated here in TAR 19. Jenna was always pissed off and making big mistakes like forgetting the Detour clue while Ethan was positive, interesting, and fun to watch.

Editors appeared to have very little interest in showing Jenna. They wanted Ethan to do all of the talking which was probably wise in their limited run.

Out of all of the teams to go home on the first elimination leg, Ethan & Jenna rank high up there in terms of attention attracted by the other teams. There was a surprising number of scenes where teams were talking about how much they wanted Ethan & Jenna eliminated from the race. Thankfully Ethan & Jenna weren’t completely segregated as they were shown having fun with teams like Laurence & Zac and Andy & Tommy.

It is a shame that the Contradictory Sign and the Double Elimination twist had to combine their bad taxi driver to put them in a guaranteed spot to be eliminated. I am sure Ethan was mildly embarrassed to be eliminated because of a task that required them to give money to charity.

This was supposed to be Ethan & Jenna’s epic return to competitive reality TV, and they are barely a footnote in this season. In fact, Ethan nor Jenna have not made another appearance on Survivor or TAR since then. They really should have taken that initial offer of competing against each other on Survivor: South Pacific.

I am sad. My ten year old self wanted to watch Ethan try and win again.

Four) Kaylani Paliotta & Lisa Tilley

In the first episode, they lost a passport and were saved by social media moments before Phil was going to eliminate them at the airport, thereby cancelling the Double Elimination twist.

In the second episode, they were about to be eliminated but were one of only three teams to correctly read a sign at an orphanage.

In the third episode, Kaylani missed her daughter. Then was eliminated.

That is the three episode story arc of Kaylani & Lisa.

Their opening confessional was making a comment that viewers and their opponents would only see them from the breasts and upwards. They also wanted to break the stereotype that models and showgirls have on The Amazing Race. Did they break the stereotype? Overall, probably not, but is it really Kaylani & Lisa’s responsibility to break that and rocks should be thrown at them if they didn’t succeed at that objective? Of course not. They’re just people.

I am amazed how invisible they were in the second episode. We see Kaylani cry at the pit stop and that’s it.

I am glad they found a new friend in the form of Ryan Storms ™ because of their TAR experience. That’s not a story you read about too often.

Five) Justin Young & Jennifer Young

It was tough ranking Justin & Jennifer in contrast to Liz & Marie.

Liz & Marie were one of those teams you knew were doomed to go early on TAR, but literally provided us with some running jokes on their way out.

Justin & Jennifer were a more capable team, but didn’t provide a huge amount of material.

I was surprised by how much editors pushed them onto us in the early episodes. I have spoken to other fans about this online, but they didn’t recall Justin & Jennifer fighting as much as they did until they read these blogs. That scene at the Jakarta train station ran for a while. The paddling Detour in Phuket was also another one of their more memorable fights too, and Jennifer having such a vivid sassy face that even Phil was trying to replicate it made you realize they were supposed to be one of the bigger characters of the season.

However, fast forward six years later and almost nobody remembers them. I mean, TAR 19 is generally agreed upon as the least memorable season of TAR ever, but even when TAR 19 is discussed Justin & Jennifer are never mentioned. Liz & Marie, Ethan & Jenna, and Kaylani & Lisa are all talked about more than Justin & Jennifer.

They have the best average (4.27) of any team to exit in seventh place up to this point in TAR’s history worldwide. It’s just that one mistake which put them out early.

Hopefully this blog gives them some sort of legacy.

P.S. As of TAR 30, they are the last brother/sister team to compete in TAR US.

Six) Liz Canavan & Marie Canavan

Much like Kami & Karli in TAR 5, a pair of female twins were a complete disaster on The Amazing Race. They didn’t try to board a plane without a boarding pass, but still.

You knew the chances of an all-female team winning this season was not very high after the first episode. Kaylani lost her passport and Liz couldn’t memorize a couple sentences in English. Literally.

They frequently hovered around the bottom and finished in eighth or worse in four out of their five legs. Their race truly ended at the start of round four when they forgot to exchange their Indonesian money into Thai money. Round four didn’t require much money, but Liz & Marie dropped to dead last due to their inability to fight the elements at the Detour. They finished round four hours and hours behind the other teams, and needed to stop and beg for rides non-stop in round five. I don’t think producers ever expected them to do well at any point this season.

There is something about twins on TAR where both racers think too much alike and are more prone to blatant blunders. I doubt twins will ever win a season of TAR because you need two people who think and perform in a slightly different manner.

eric daniel

Sorry guys.

This was confirmed by the fact that they kept finishing eighth over and over until they were eliminated.

Prior to the start of this season, I had absolutely no memory of anything Liz & Marie did. Thankfully now we have the Indonesian currency error and the running joke of overusing the word literally.

So yes. Liz & Marie now have a legacy in TARstorian. They will never be forgotten. You’re welcome.

In short: Nice people; terrible racers.

And that’s okay.

Seven) Ron Zeitz & Will Smith

I don’t have much to say about Ron & Bill. They liked sweating through blue shirts, Bill didn’t know how to dance, and had fun with Phil when they were eliminated.

Ron received very little airtime in contrast to Bill. None of the other teams ever talked about them, and they were never shown interacting with the other teams.

They just wanted a fun adventure as a couple. Unfortunately, their lack of hustle kept them on the bottom after their initial arrival at LAX. In fact, LAX is a great way to describe how they ran the race.

They were somehow eliminated before other teams who almost always struggled this season.

Team Averages

Below is a list of all teams from seasons I have blogged to date, ranked by racing average.

e.g. Don & Mary Jean finished 9th, 8th, 8th, 8th, and 8th. Add up the numbers and divide it by the number of legs they have played.

Therefore their average is 8.2.

Because of how long this list has become, I only show the relevant section where the eliminated team from this episode has fallen amongst the ranks of what TAR history has to offer.

Bullshit Round One/Starting Line Eliminations That Do Not Count

Eric & Lisa N/A
Bilal & Sa’eed N/A
6th Andre & Damon 5.86 TAR 3
7th Daichi & Sawaka 5.83 TAR Asia 2
7th Dave & Lori 5.83 Saved by NEL once TAR 9
5th Kami & Karli 5.8 Saved by NEL once TAR 5
8th Michael & Kathy 5.8 TAR 3
7th Cyndi & Russell 5.8 TAR 2
7th Shana & Jennifer 5.8 Used U-Turn TAR 12
9th Heather & Eve 5.75 Legal team beaten by rule book. TAR 3
5th Nancy & Emily 5.67 R.I.P. Nancy. Saved by NEL once. TAR 1
7th Jeff & Jordan 5.67. Saved by a stupid Blind U-Turn once but dead next day. TAR 16
5th Bill & Cathi 5.5 Saved by NEL twice, U-Turned once and Used U-Turn once TAR 19
6th Gaghan Family 5.5 TAR 8
10th Alison & Donny 5.5 TAR 5
6th Tian & Jaree 5.43 FF TAR 4
8th Sahil & Prashant 5.4 FF. Beaten by a bunch of rules. TAR Asia 1
8th Katie & Rachel 5.4 Had all of the tools to finish with a 5.4 ratio TAR 17
–C minus–
4th Meredith & Gretchen 5.36 Saved by NEL twice TAR 7
7th Monica & Sheree 5.33 FF TAR 4
7th Marshall & Lance 5.33 TAR 5
9th Monique & Shawne 5.33 TAR 16. Praise Jesus.
9th Debbie & Bianca 5.33 TAR 7

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