EPISODE BLOG #304
“The Country of Africa”
ARGENTINA – PARAGUAY – ITALY – GERMANY – AZERBAIJAN – TANZANIA – INDIA – JAPAN – UNITED STATES
Previously on TAR: From the beginning battle lines were drawn, enemies were made and lies were told.
Coming Up Tonight: Animosity, accusations, and one of the most challenging continents in the world. . .Africa! Because we know Africa is universally the same just like how Asia, Europe, North America, Australia, and South America are all uniform as well!
MENTIONED IN THE ‘PREVIOUSLY ON’ SEGMENT
DAVE & RACHEL 4
ART & JJ 4
MARK & BOPPER 3
VANESSA & RALPH 2
“JOEY” FITNESS & DANNY 1
MISA & MAIYA 1
DAVE & CHERIE 1
ELLIOT & ANDREW 1
KERRI & STACY 1
Intro time. I can’t believe all of Africa was referred to as a challenging continent. I have been to the Canary Islands, and I don’t think that qualifies as challenging.
Also, I hate that they revived TAR 14’s habit of “Coming up tonight!” as if the ‘Previously On’ segment doesn’t already set up the storyline for this episode, and we need more filler material in a 42 minute episode.
OK. Phil introduces us to Baku, Azerbaijan. He says absolutely nothing interesting about the country.
Dave & Rachel, who won the last leg of the race at an unspecified time, will depart first at 9:15pm.
Dave & Rachel have won three legs.
Art & JJ have won three legs.
Who will win this best-of-seven?
Dave & Rachel read the clue. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania is their next destination. No new African countries until TAR 27, sadly. We still have at least a dozen or so African countries we can explore without signficant safety risks, but oh well.
And because Africa is treated as a country on The Amazing Race, here is a safari!
RACHEL: Tanzania is in Africa and we’ve never been there before.
Hopefully Rachel doesn’t think Tanzania is the capital of Africa.
Dave & Rachel head to the travel agency.
I don’t know why a travel agency uses the symbol for nuclear waste on its building.
They find out there is a 8:30am flight via Nairobi, Kenya.
Kenya: That country on TAR which hosts several layovers over the seventeen year history of The Amazing Race, but never gets its own leg.
No pop culture references to make about the travel agent this week. He just looks like a regular dude.
Dave & Rachel book the tickets quickly.
Art & JJ depart second at 10:45pm. The Fast Forward wasn’t an enormous time advantage.
JJ: We feel like the frontrunners. We’re hoping some of the dead weight jumps off.
When you and one other team are the only teams to win a leg after half of the season, nine teams probably look like dead weight.
JJ: The Big Brother team. I am so tired of them following us, and we’re getting to the point where we are cranky about it.
Dare I say JJ thinks they are “floaters”?
Usually the US Border Patrol follows Mexicans around. . .doesn’t feel so good when the tables turn, eh JJ?
Mark & Bopper depart in third at 10:55pm.
MARK: Kiliman, Tazia.
Brendon & Rachel commence in fourth at 10:56pm.
“Yay! A country I know!”
Rachel gets into the taxi.
She shuts the door on Brendon.
BRENDON: Rach, I need to get in too.
Maybe the Roadblock is one team member walks to the travel agency on foot?
Mark & Bopper never thought two country boys would be going to Africa. Just in case you forgot Mark & Bopper were from the country.
Art & JJ are at the travel agency. They see Brendon & Rachel walk in.
JJ: They’ll -definitely- try to get anything we get.
Well, yeah. They naturally want the best flight, JJ.
Art & JJ try to speak really quietly and avoid communicating with Brendon & Rachel.
“Here they come, Art. Look down, Art.”
“I bet they think we are statues.”
“I don’t think they can hear us. Just don’t make direct eye contact.”
“We’re like camouflage.”
JJ: They’re gonna sit there and try to listen.
It’s TAR 20 and an Africa leg, JJ. I have a feeling everyone will be forced to be on the same flight. I can’t think of the last time teams were spread over multiple flights to an African destination.
Rachel says there is animosity between them and Art & JJ since the beginning. She knows the two guys don’t think she deserves to be there.
Rachel would rather stare at the floor than have a conversation with Art’s itchy stubble.
“Guess it’s just me and my stubble.”
Mark & Bopper break the tension. Bopper notes there is a bowl of free candy.
BOPPER: OOOOOO free candy!
Bopper is in full on Debra & Steve mode.
You sly devil, you!
Nary & Jamie depart in 11:32pm. We know nothing about them except they are pretending to be teachers.
JAMIE: Nary and I have been federal agents for over six years. . .last year I was in a training exercise where my gun went off and I shattered my femur. Nary slept in one bed every night and didn’t leave my side. Having that support means everything to me.
Your first piece of personal information since you were introduced to the audience seven episodes ago? I hereby declare you royally FUCKED! It’s a trend we will see with invisible teams on TAR. We get a piece of personal info in their opening confessional and we know they are the next team to be eliminated.
Mark asks who is behind them. Bopper answers “Teachers and (whatever nickname he has for Vanessa & Ralph).
JJ: They’re not teachers.
“Hold on the Kentucky Fried, son.”
RACHEL: What do they do?
JJ: They’re not teachers.
Can you. . .can you be more specific, JJ?
RACHEL: What do you think they do?
ART & JJ: They’re cops. Police officers. Law enforcement something.
“Why would they pointlessly lie about their occupation on a CBS reality show? Nobody does that.”
Even when it comes to occupational deceptions on TAR, Art & JJ or Dave & Rachel are always one step ahead of the other teams.
RACHEL: Why do you think that?
JJ: Just the things they say to us.
ART: Last leg I was talking about UC operations.
Gotta love flashbacks.
ART: It’s undercover plain clothes type operations then Jamie “the teacher” goes ‘what kind of UC operations do you do in the border patrol?’
The quotations around the word “teacher” are heavier than around “Fitness” in Joey.
Maybe they are kindergarten teachers, Art. They just teach a bunch of five year olds how to elude capture while engaging in active combat in the Middle East. You don’t know for sure, Art. It could be a School of the Americas type of setup.
ART: Teachers don’t talk like that. That chick ain’t no teacher. She’s a cop.
JJ shares his theory with everyone that Nary & Jamie are either federal agents or cops.
JJ: Teachers are a lot more friendlier and more. . .
Bouncy? Nary & Jamie aren’t “bouncy” enough to be teachers?
What about that opening confessional where Jamie’s first words on the race was “I like cake!”
That wasn’t bouncy enough for you?
ART & JJ: Not bouncy. They should be more social.
Yeah. Nary & Jamie could only DREAM of being as bouncy and social as Mark Jackson.
Art & JJ book their tickets and exit. JJ knows Brendon & Rachel are going to ask the agent to give them the exact same flight.
RACHEL: What flight did they get? Did they tell you not to tell us?
“Did they say you weren’t bouncy enough to tell us?”
JJ is still muttering about Brendon & Rachel in the cab.
JJ: Do something on your own for god’s sake. Pull up your little boy bridges and be a man.
Little Boy Bridges?
And I never thought JJ would be the one to quote Randy Savage rap lyrics.
“Be a man, Brendon!
C’mon don’t be scared
You’re following Art & JJ, that’s what I heard!”
Be a man, Brendon!
Boy, UCLA’s a chump!
Vanessa can see your fiancee’s whole entire rump!”
If anybody is going to like his partner quoting Macho Man, it’s gonna be Art.
BRENDON: I don’t care. Those Teachers can be federal agents for all I care. They’re still nicer than. . .
Nicer than who, Brendon? Kelly & Shevonne?
Art & JJ see the teachers at the travel agency.
JJ: It’s something to stir up the pot on them even if they are teachers.
ART: They’re gonna walk in there and be like “you guys aren’t teachers; you’re cops!”
It’s like we’re one step below from Dr. Evil’s maniacal group laughter.
They even have the air quotes for “Teachers” done right just like Dr. Evil too.
Jamie enters the room with a cheerful and definitely non-bouncy grin on her face.
She has so little bounce that she couldn’t even be in an R. Kelly music video.
BRENDON: Art & JJ told us you guys are cops.
BRENDON: The cops are still nicer than you guys, so. . .
Yeah. Brendon don’t give a fuck.
Nary roasts Art & JJ too.
BRENDON: Who are you taking? If they’re border patrol, I’m crossing that hole under the fence.
Brendon just encouraged illegal immigration on national TV! Shame on him!
JAMIE: The gig may be up. If the gig is up, then the word may be out that our agency is better than theirs.
Nary has a very Chris Pratt-ish reaction on her face.
JAMIE: Nary can kick their ass! YEAH!
Even if Nary & Jamie’s secret profession is that they were ex-Nazi soldiers, the other teams would still side with them over Art & JJ.
Vanessa & Ralph show up.
Bopper has turned into an unpaid doorman.
Everyone is on the same plane for now.
RACHEL: I wish there was a quicker flight than 10:00am.
Ten bucks says Jamie is playing Zoombinis on the laptop!
Vanessa & Ralph start laughing at Rachel.
SHE IS LAMENTING OVER THE LACK OF ADVANTAGEOUS FLIGHTS
AND THEY’RE -LAUGHING- AT HER!
AND THAT’S RUDE!
VANESSA: I’m not gonna buy that.
RACHEL: Buy what?
Your extensions??? The flights, Rachel! What else do you think she’s talking about?
RACHEL: I swear to God there’s nothing quicker than ten. I wish.
“And my sister is engaged to Tim Duncan! Ha!”
“Please tell me all about how there isn’t an earlier flight.”
VANESSA: Rachel was like in a bad acting class.
VANESSA (Shatner voice): Wow. I really. Wish. There. Was. Something else.
VANESSA: Ohhhhhhhh. Drag.
“Vanessa’s impersonations: The Final Frontier.”
We see teams book the same flight and the exact same shot over and over of the agent folding the booklet.
Seriously. They must use this shot at least five times.
We cut to the airport. They board the initial flight to Nairobi.
Goodbye new countries for the next five seasons!
Jomo Airport? Is it named after that guy whose legs hurt too much from sitting down too long?
“Ow! Me restless legs!”
Correct me if I’m wrong, but this will be the only time all season when Vanessa & Ralph are technically ahead of Dave & Rachel.
ART: Hakuna Matata.
Obligatory Lion King reference whn stuck in Kenya or Tanzania on The Amazing Race.
The five teams are having a leisurely stroll through the airport. Except one.
RACHEL: Let’s go, Brendon. Let’s jog it out.
Remember: Seats are already assigned.
Brendon is on the left channeling his inner Jonathan Baker as he tries to shove past Ralph in the middle and Art on the right end.
Guy casually chatting on cell phone couldn’t give less of a damn about the drama unfolding.
Thanks to Brendon shoving his way through, he has gained a grand total of 0.2 seconds on Ralph and Art. Success!
Remember: Seats are probably already assigned.
RALPH: Brendon bumped me and flew by me. All of a sudden I get a finger thrown in my face. Wow, that was really uncalled for.
Better than a finger in the butt, as several BB19 houseguests can attest to about Jessica.
ART: Did you see that? He pushed him then he flipped him off. That guy is a punk!
It would’ve been funnier if Mark had done it.
So all of the teams are lined up together. Brendon & Rachel are conveniently between Art & JJ and Vanessa & Ralph.
RALPH: Watch where you put that finger, buddy.
Target is now off of Dave & Rachel’s back. Feel free to win five of the next six legs, guys!
BRENDON: I’m here to play, baby.
I’m here to play by shoving past you, but my partner is too slow so you end up in line ahead of me for seats that we already booked yesterday. I’m here to play, baby.
“When Brendon Villegas plays it’ll be all over, baby.”
Thanks, Scotty Nguyen.
ART: You’re here to follow, bro. You ain’t here to play.
“And you weren’t even on Big Brother. You were on Survivor. We heard you talking about “IC challenges” and who got voted out at “TC.”
JJ: You haven’t played the game yet.
BRENDON: O rly?
JJ: This isn’t Follow the Leader.
Brendon turns into a cartoon character.
RACHEL: Listen,why don’t y’all both get out of our faces?
“Right after my fiance just shoved both of you guys past your faces.”
RALPH: Hey, I’m talking to him.
RACHEL: No. Seriously.
RALPH: I’m not yelling at him.
Rachel’s hand waving has had no impact on this conversation.
So many hand gestures.
Joey Fitness & Danny exit and suddenly everyone pretends to be Italian.
ART: When he’s flipping us off–
RACHEL: Nobody flipped anyone off.
ART: He did!
RALPH: Ask him.
RACHEL: Vanessa ran into me.
“Well, if I can’t defend Brendon when it comes to flipping people off then I need to deflect it onto another subject! Pardon meeeeee.”
VANESSA: I’m much taller than you.
Vanessa claims Rachel shoved her.
Vanessa claims she doesn’t take up much space either. Not like Ralph’s huge freakin’ backpack.
RACHEL: Oh, you’re telling me you’re smaller than me now?
NARY: Now it’s getting feistyyyy.
And nothing says feisty like kindergarten teachers and a couple of Kentucky boys.
RACHEL: I did not bump into you. You ran into me.
VANESSA: I was in front of you. How did I run into you?
Rachel is literally being attacked from all sides. This is a great visual.
RACHEL: You guys are crazy.
VANESSA: Put on more sparkles.
“Aunty Olivia Newton-John gave these to me for my birthday when I was twelve. How dare she.”
RALPH: Just stop.
VANESSA: I will.
Yep. The last bit of conflict between these three teams.
RACHEL: I hope insulting people makes you feel good about yourself.
VANESSA: I hope running your mouth makes you feel better about yourself.
RACHEL: How old are you? Aren’t you like 38?
VANESSA: Yeah, but luckily 38 is how many inches long Tim Duncan’s p–
RALPH: Enough, angel.
VANESSA: Yep, I’m 38. And somehow I still look younger than you.
OK, Vanessa just skewered Rachel.
And that is a hell of an eyeroll.
VANESSA: Honey, get your nose done before you get your boobs done. Do everybody a favour.
If there was a microphone around, it would have been dropped.
Commercial break. We resume. Kenya doesn’t even have a route marker this season and yet it is hosting the most memorable conflict of the whole race.
RACHEL: She called me fat and told me I needed a nose job.
She didn’t call you fat, but I don’t think that makes it any less worse, does it?
VANESSA: I didn’t call you fat. I said you were behind me and you were bigger than me.
I should note this season was airing simultaneously with Survivor: One World. You either watch this fight or wait for Colton Cumbie to appear on your screen in a few days.
If you can’t see the two equally poisonious situations during the spring of 2012, then you are Helen Keller.
VANESSA: She’s so dramatic.
Well, that’s how you get on CBS shows five times in the span of about eight years.
MARK: It’s like a bunch of kids in a school at a lunch line.
I wonder what the cattiest fight is Mark has been involved in. Or Bopper.
“Your chicken ain’t Kentucky Fried enough, boy!” or something like that.
I dunno. I dunno how Kentuckians chirp at one another.
The ticketing agent summons Brendon & Rachel.
JJ: I’m surprised they’re able to find that line all by themselves. The fact they are even in the same race as us is disgusting.
To be fair, Brendon is Mexican so it’s not quite the same race as you, JJ.
RACHEL: I didn’t say anything mean about her. She told me I am ugly and she looks younger than me and I look old.
If you’re a fan of Big Brother, I guarantee you Vanessa & Ralph and Art & JJ were your two least favourite teams while TAR 20 was airing.
Brendon & Rachel can hear Art & JJ laughing next door.
“I am one-quarter Jester and I hate him.”
RACHEL: This whole game has been all about Vanessa trash-talking me and I’m tired of it. All she says is mean things and name call.
Well, it hasn’t been ALL about that.
It’s also been about how many chicks Joey & Danny could bang while at Elimination Station. First night after being eliminated they double-teamed the pit stop greeter!
With a Pikachu. It was super effective! . . .Wait, what did you think I meant by the pit stop greeter being double-teamed? She’s just a terrible Pokemon trainer. She couldn’t even beat Brock.
VANESSA: Oh, the crying is over the top.
RALPH: You made her cry?
VANESSA: I didn’t make her cry. Her lack of self-esteem made her cry. If you can’t take it then don’t dish it out.
JJ summons Nary & Jamie.
Meanwhile, Dave & Rachel have their own scene of seduction inside of the airport. Gross.
JJ: We just want to ask you guys really what job do you do? Cause you’re not kindergarten teachers.
Isn’t Kenya outside of the United States Border Patrol’s jurisdiction?
“Oh, you know we’re not border patrol? Dammit. Who ratted us out? Let’s call Langley and have our leak killed.”
NARY: What makes you say that?
ART: How do you know about UC Operations?
“UC Operations. . .Undercover Cake?”
JJ: UC Operations and case load. Nobody talks like that unless they’re in law enforcement.
“And if you don’t confess, we’re gonna call Vanessa over here and she’s gonna say you’re fat and old.”
JAMIE: JJ, you really want to get into this?
“Me? A UC agent? Little ol’ me? I just eat cake. I swear.”
Art & JJ tell us they just want to stir the pot. Nary & Jamie tell them there is already too much conflict in the airport.
ART: We just want to know who you work for.
NARY (confessional): In our profession, you have the arrogance. JJ has the arrogance and think they can intimidate us. . .they really want to know. It’s killing them.
JJ: We just want to know.
JAMIE: We’re kindergarten teachers.
ART: It’s not our first rodeo.
JAMIE: Nor is it ours.
ART: Love it.
JJ: Makes you feel good. Gets the juices running before you hit the road running, baby.
“Did you see how much we stirred the pot twice tonight? We da best.”
“Nobody has been exposed as a federal agent like this since Moe Berg. 1930S MLB All-Star my ass!”
The kindergarten teacher making fart noises? I don’t know if I buy that.
All six teams board the flight together to the country of Africa.
The nation of Africa has giraffes.
It also has hippos.
And Romanian Lions. Look at the flexibility!
It’s nightfall. They have to go to the Arusha Airstrip. They must sign up for one of three charter flights.
“Is Hagen working today?”
A couple more years until he gets his pilot license, Hayley. A couple more years.
The plane will take them to the Ngorogoro Crater which sounds like a place from The Legend of Zelda.
RACHEL REILLY: Let’s beat those people. Art & JJ. Snobby McSnobbsters.
Rachel really doesn’t know how to burn people.
If Greg Giraldo wasn’t dead, he could give her a tutorial.
VANESSA: It’s upsetting Team Big Baby got ahead of us.
RALPH: We need to worry about us today. The heck with them.
“Did you just say heck, sweetie?”
Art & JJ are first to the airport sign-in.
JJ is southpaw? Typical.
However, they are delayed to the 9:45am charter because of Art’s egregious dance moves.
The cavalry enters.
ART & JJ
BRENDON & RACHEL
MARK & BOPPER
DAVE & RACHEL
NARY & JAMIE
VANESSA & RALPH
Guess which state doesn’t teach a class on penmanship?
Rachel Brown is amused by Art & JJ and Brendon & Rachel riding the first flight together.
“Haha! I can see Rachel’s whole entire conflict on TV!”
We cut to the morning.
Oddly enough, this is how Joey Fitness falls asleep when with Gina Marie.
Each team gets a confessional before they board the plane.
RACHEL: Not only am I motivated to beat them, but motivated to DESTROY them.
. . .Who said you were allowed to wear any coloured bandana other than green, Rachel?
Brendon should’ve shoved the pilot just to geta bigger lead onto the plane.
And away they go into the air! I wonder what the view looks like with the hills, the savannah, and the mountains from up top?
WHOA! What happened to HD, guys?
Nah, it actually looks more like this.
Flight #2 takes off.
Between Dave & Rachel and Mark & Bopper, I don’t think the third flight will be receiving muchh airtime.
Mark & Bopper remark on seeing animals that they don’t know the names of down below them.
“Hey Mark, think we’ll see any deer?”
“I wish I was a tiger. My life sucks.”
Last flight departs. Ralph says his daughter will be so jealous.
VANESSA: We’ll bring her a hippo.
Yeah, that sounds like the making of a sitcom.
The pilot points out the dots below are flamingos.
Have they all seen flamingos before? They look so unimpressed.
Granted they saw it on the Vegas strip where Olivia Newton-John and Donny and Marie Osmond perform.
ALL of those dots are flamingos. It’s the equivalent of cattle in Uruguay! The flamingos outnumber Tanzanians 10:1!
They see the top of Ngorongoro.
Roadblock: Rappel down into the lava flow of Ngorongoro?
Brendon & Rachel say the experience helped wash away the animosity between the teams.
“Nah, I still hate them.”
We cut to the third plane. Nary is sleeping despite this being the most scenic plane ride of her life.
Nary is five minutes away from everyone conspiring to draw a penis on her forehead.
It’s gonna happen.
I am surprised she isn’t drooling.
The first chopper lands on the most paved airstrip I have ever seen on TAR.
Brendon & Rachel are first to the clue next to Ngorongoro Crater.
This is the closest to a Survivor immunity talisman that Brendon & Rachel will ever get (as of 2018).
They read they must choose a car with a hired driver, navigate their driver to the western rim of Ngorongoro Crater and find a Masai warrior who will hand them their next clue because, you know, #Tanzania.
No flamingos = Not interested. Western rim is a fucking joke.
Why is the Masai warrior leaning against the bike like a rebellious 1980s teenager? All he needs to do is start flipping a stone in his hand.
All he needs is to have an arcade behind him and he’d be straight out of a beat-em-up.
Brendon & Rachel’s car pulls out first.
ART: Follow the car ahead of us.
JJ: This is a first, Art. We’re following them.
Look at the McSnobbersons in our sideview mirror!
Both teams jump out to ask Masai locals who are holding spears. Art is freaked out by the men running with spears.
Still safer than asking for directions in the average American neighbourhood where there are no less than four guns per household. I’ll take the threat of spears over bullets any day.
I haven’t seen an American freaked out by a spear like this since Survivor: Vanuatu.
Are they. . .working together??? No. That doesn’t sound right.
They have to turn around. Therefore, Art & JJ are leading them.
I would love to just be able to stand in the middle of a field while holding a spear all day. That would be pretty badass.
BRENDON: Just keep following them.
Order is restored in the universe.
And of course we get all of the “indigenous people living in rural areas” sequence of shots.
Where shall this sandy crater take us?
This will get ’em an Emmy.
JJ: Look at that art.
ART: Those are some vibrant colours.
This is the first and only time where “I appreciate art” will come out of JJ’s mouth on the race.
Rachel gets excited over zebras.
Cue up more obligatory safari shots.
Trust me: No shots of zebras are worth it until TAR 26.
The second plane lands.
DAVE: We are definitely going to somewhere remote.
No shit, Dave.
Mark communicates with the driver.
MARK: This is beautiful. Beautiful.
“It’s so beautiful.”
In Kentuckian culture, spitting on someone’s land is a sign of planting the seed of a new bond between the two communities.
Dave & Rachel get directions from the locals. She is nervous because they were pointed in the direction of a location that doesn’t have a road.
Something tells me the lack of infrastructure to drive on is not a very big deal to the Ngorongonese.
Mark & Bopper have directions too.
“Isn’t that your spittle over there?”
Mark & Bopper re-enter their vehicle too.
Their driver couldn’t care less about driving on the grass.
Mark talks about how his great-grandpa-grandpa was a slave and “thinks” he was from this area.
At least Shola & Doyin were able to give us a specific country.
Where’s his hand????
Art & JJ and Brendon & Rachel see the western rim with the Masai warrior and his bikes.
Looks like he has a group of buddies ready to go after Daniel-Son.
Why, there he is going into the western rim!
“Hey, we’re wearing the same coloured shirt!”
It’s a Detour. Marksmanship or Courtship. Both Detours require teams to choose a common Masai form of transport and pedal down to Soneto Village.
In Marksmanship, teams will hunt just as the Maasai do. Stepping onto a training range, they must master the TAR 11: All Star weapon known as the rungu.
In Courtship, teams join a group of Maasai warriors in a jumping ritual called adumu. At nearly 8, 000 feet above sea level, teams must jump for an exhausting minute. Once done, they will receive their next clue.
Art & JJ choose Marksmanship because #WhiteMenCantJump. Brendon & Rachel choose Courtship because #HalfMexicansCanALittleBit.
JJ adjusts the bike. It doesn’t matter as both teams have the shit scared out of them because of how fast both bikes can go.
Rachel can’t quite straighten out.
The third plane lands. The kindergarten teachers wave at the kids.
Nary & Jamie wave at the kids and figuring out if any of them are Maaspies.
RALPH: All of these people are so excited and happy to see us yet. I don’t know why.
VANESSA: They haven’t met us yet.
“I’m like eighty percent sure I’ll be calling them Masseys or Messiahs.”
“Which first gen Pokemon game is your favourite?”
Is the other side finished?
Wait a second. . .you’re not a traditional African safari animal! Get dafuq outta here!
Either they’re playing hop skotch or he stubbed his toe realllll bad.
Art dismounts off of the bike.
ART: I’m glad I had all of my kids already.
You signed the waiver, Art. You’re as sterile as the mules you just biked past.
For the first time ever, a minority gets to order a US Border Patrol agent to put his hands up.
RACHEL: This is the coolest thing everrrrrrr.
“Do these robes give me the powers to jump really high now?”
It’s a rungu ring. Say that ten times.
The one guy is on a stationary bike.
This man has a story to tell, but I have a feeling it will leave you feeling “earie.”
Art & JJ start throwing rungus. JJ plays as a quarterback on a law enforcement football team.
It’s like he is doing a bad JRPG cosplay.
Behold! Brian from Quest 64!
I should note the guy pedaling is the reason why the targets are spinning. He should be a dick and pedal at very inconsistent speeds.
JJ connects and coaches Art to throw a rungu like it is his son Tanner throwing a strike. I guess Art’s son plays baseball.
Meanwhile, Brendon & Rachel prepare to jump.
Everyone is showing them how to jump.
And I do mean everyone.
For all I know it could be Vincent Adultman.
They actually have a Jumping Judge hired. Is there a minimum height required to jump?
Because Charla would be screwed.
RACHEL: They jump really high, and they don’t have tennis shoes. They have sandals.
At least they’re not wearing socks with sandals. That would’ve been the real travesty.
I wonder if the knot is tight enough to where she can jump without the child falling through.
Art misses another toss.
Either JJ is disappointed by Art’s toss or is having another hernia.
I should note Brendon & Rachel’s jumping only lasts a minute. The fact Art is still throwing means only seconds have passed rather than minutes.
It gives JJ just enough time to style his own hair.
I am expecting rocket boots to activate underneath the Masai and transport them to outer space.
“You jumped for a minute. Here’s your clue.”
Wow. One of the quickest tasks in TAR history. Only Louie & Michael’s coin toss was shorter.
Brenchel read they must go to the Simba campsite.
Simba campsite? You kidding me? What’s next?
The Hakuna Matata Lodge is the pit stop for this leg of the race?
A Roadblock at the Pumba Fairgrounds?
Art & JJ see Brenchel cycling away.
“He can’t even mount his bike properly.”
“He’s a UCLA student, what do you expect?”
Art goes with the ol’ Dennis Eckersley sidearm toss.
The bunny is chipped.
Art & JJ are second to complete the Detour. Art is out of breath.
ART: I’m better at shooting stuff.
Yeah, I guess Rungu Marksmanship won’t catch on in southern California.
Dave & Rachel are third to pick up the Detour clue. Dave wants to do marksmanship obviously.
Rachel pulls a Haley with her helmet.
RACHEL: This is really hard.
What is? Pedaling with your feet or putting on a damn helmet? Both are tougher than jumping mindlessly for a minute straight.
JJ urges Art to pedal faster. Art is out of gas.
Dave & Rachel cycle an outgoing Brenchel and Art & JJ.
An ounce of cardio for Dave & Rachel will allow them to make up valuable time and potentially win this leg.
DAVE: Let’s go, Rach. C’mon.
RACHEL: Dave, stop yelling at meeee.
DAVE: I’m not. You’re doing awesome. Don’t misconstrue my support for yelling.
Yeah, you misconstruer.
Well, JJ won’t be thinking Brendon is an undercover Tour de France athlete.
OH JESUS! Even Art is passing you, Brendon! Well, he’s certainly not half-European by how much he sucks at cycling.
Mark & Bopper are fourth to bikes. They read the Detour as both teams pile into the cars.
MARK: There’s Rachel and Brandon.
BRANDON: Hey Mark! Do Courtship.
Brandon gives advice.
Good ol’ Branchel willing to help their friends.
In Clay County, half of the population can’t afford cars.
Brandon & Rachel’s Jeep is trailing behind Art & JJ. Once again, Art & JJ rant about being followed.
JJ: Lord have mercy.
“Do we have a spare rungu we can throw at the car behind us, Art?”
“It’s bound to get caught in their tires.”
Dave & Rachel do Marksmanship.
Today I learned Dave likes throwing knives.
Or played a lot of Goldeneye for the N64. Run Boris, run! You are not invincible!
This is probably the first time Dave has ever worn anything resembling a superhero cape.
Rachel throws it sidearm.
DAVE: Don’t throw it sidearm. Throw it overhand. Watch me, please.
RACHEL: I’m watching you. Watchiiiing.
It’s like a mom talking to her son.
“I’m watching Dave!”
“But mom you’re not looking!”
Dave wears the Norwegian flag proudly on his back.
Mark & Bopper join them but opt to jump per Brandon’s advice.
Rachel tells Dave to stop coaching her.
BOPPER: White man can jump!
Bopper has a bigger vertical than some of the Masai members!
One minute is over. Mark & Bopper have literally jumped their way up to third place.
No hugs for Mark.
Bopper is acting like the Queen of England as he bids farewell to his sixty second friends.
Bopper’s eight new Twitter followers.
Who is having more fun wearing the outfit? Take a guess.
Meanwhile, Rachel throws another rungu.
Apparently forcing Rachel to watch Dave doesn’t have the same courtesy applied when the situation is reversed.
Dave knocks out a target.
DAVE: Yeah! Member of the tribe!
Dave has found a new partner. Hopefully Rachel isn’t watching.
Rachel continues her sidearm approach.
That’s not gonna work, Rach. . .
Nevermind. She connects.
Dave uses his enormous hand to try to suffocate this high five between Rachel and the rungu expert.
Vanessa & Ralph and Nary & Jamie are at the bikes sumultaneously. Nary & Jamie, the teachers, choose Marksmanship. Vanessa is nervous about riding the high bicycle as an outgoing Dave & Rachel encourage her.
This is going to be the most entertaining thing he sees for the rest of the day.
Fail #2. The seat isn’t meant to poke your tailbone, Angel.
Fail #3. It might be time to walk.
Nary & Jamie are already at Marksmanship.
Jamie is wiggling and jiggling her body as the man puts the purple cape on her. Considering his face is at chest level, he is within an inch of motorboating territory.
By the way, why does he have a bunch of steel keylocks as earrings? Does anyone know the tradition there?
If Hayden was here, she would immediately take a four hour penalty upon seeing his ear.
Vanessa mounts her bike for a second.
“I’m doing it!”
“I’m not doing it!”
Vanessa SCREAMS as she hits the ground.
Is a tetanus shot in order?
It’s going to take every fibre of Nessa’s being to say “holy cheese and crackers” right now.
Time to do some crunches.
I didn’t realize how tatted up Ralph’s arm was until now.
Ralph keeps trying to coach as Vanessa shouts back before he can get more than a sentence out.
RALPH: Why are you yelling at me? I’m trying to help you. I don’t know–
VANESSA: I know, but your tone is horrible.
RALPH: We’re gonna fall way behind–
VANESSA: Ralph, I can’t ride it!
“. . .You wanna carry my jacket?”
Commercial break. We resume. Ralph says she needs to have her feet on the pedals and use the momentum to get down the hill.
Vanessa is riding the bike. This is the second least disastrous thing on screen at the moment.
Seriously. I’ve never even heard of NYC 22. You could suggest any plot for what the show was about and I’d believe you right now.
Oh, only the millionth law enforcement drama on CBS that failed after half a season.
Yes, another lazy buddy cop drama where you have characters with amusing nicknames. Jayson “Jackpot” Toney who used to be in the NBA and the actor doesn’t have his own Wikipedia page, and the sage expert is nicknamed Yoda.
And OMG Robert De Niro created this series. Sadly it’s not even close to the worst thing he has done in the past ten years.
Yeah, I’m sure episodes airing out of order would be really confusing.
“This week Natalie Napalm is voted out and next week. . .Bi comes back for some strange reason and injures her knee by the end of the episode? What a twist!”
Oh, and in case you don’t get that NYC is a rough n’ tough place for law enforcement, you need a hard-hitting hip hop song by Jay-Z to cue you up:
This series was doomed to fail. It wasn’t gonna get 31 seasons. Sorry Mr. De Niro.
Oh yeah, Vanessa is worse on a bike than me.
VANESSA: Son of a bitch!
No more cheese and crackers for this gal.
RALPH: Just walk it babe, it’s fine.
They won’t win The Amazing Race, but they are a shoe in for this week’s 10, 000 rungu grand prize for Ngorongoro’s Funniest Home Videos.
Nary & Jamie start flinging rungus.
NARY: Should be good. We’re used to targets and we’re both great shots.
Which means we get a montage of her and Jamie repeatedly missing the targets.
Art & JJ stop thinking they are at the route marker.
ART: This isn’t the route marker. These are just Japanese tourists taking pictures.
Art & JJ keep going through. Branchel stop for directions and are told to turn around. Art & JJ may be losing valuable time here.
It’s 2011 and you already have the clusters of Japanese tourists who take selfies everywhere you go. Ngorongoro isn’t as remote as you think!
Mark & Bopper jump out of their Jeep for directions too.
Vanessa can’t pedal, Rachel can’t wear a helmet, and Bopper can’t walk on ground. No wonder Art & JJ and Dave & Rachel are kicking everyone’s ass this season.
Mark & Bopper ask for directions from a man who is only identified by his feet in sandals.
Huh. An anklet modeled after the Botswanan flag.
Mark & Bopper head back into their car.
It’s amazing how lost you can get in an area with no buildings and that there is probably only two or three landmarks in the whole village.
Fourth place after the Detour? No biggie as Dave & Rachel are fourth to the Simba campsite.
Teams must unload the material stacked on a truck, pitch an elaborate safari tent with a working shower, then go to the pit stop.
You wanted a Roadblock? Bertram and Elise say “FUCK YOU!” to the audience this week.
This is only slightly more elaborate than what we saw in the season premiere of Family Edition. Just slightly.
“Why do we need a shower? I don’t get it.”
Phil looks like he is ready to meet up with Dr. Livingstone.
DAVE: Where the hell are the other teams?
RACHEL: They must’ve gone the other way.
Translation: “How the hell are we not winning this season?”
Rachel carries a dead body out of the truck.
DAVE: This is definitely in the deep recesses of my army skill set. . .emulating a model to great detail is definitely in my skill set. I won’t have any problems with that. Especially with my OCD.
. . .I think Dave believes he will win this leg.
Vanessa & Ralph have walked their bikes to the Detour. Shortly afterwards Nary & Jamie are done and pass by Vanessa & Ralph who also choose Marksmanship.
“We can teach you how to throw!”
RALPH: This is something I can do. . .this -should- be something Vanessa can do too.
Ralph has such a cute bow on his toga. ❤
Vanessa barely misses her target a couple of times.
And it puts her in a great deal of pain.
JJ mildly argues with a local until he finds out they went the wrong way. He takes off his hat and laments over God Almighty as he realizes last place is a very real position right now.
“God Almighty! If this doesn’t fire me up to make me detain a bunch of Mexican families, I don’t know what will!”
He’s like a turtle retreating into his shell.
Vanessa hits a target.
Look at Nessa’s focus.
“Call me Xena!”
Ralph hits his target too.
RALPH: We have to ride back up. This is gonna be fun.
If you thought they were going to lose time going downhill, just wait when you go uphill. Vanessa will really need to follow Ralph’s advice if they want a shot at staying in this round.
She’s got her feet on the pedals. . .
“Nah, fuck it. Let’s hoof it.”
And up the hill they go.
Much like Skylar Grey, Vanessa may be only capable of riding somebody else’s bicycle rather than her own.
RALPH: We’re gonna fall way behind.
VANESSA: You’re being mean to me.
RALPH: I’m not being mean to you, Angel.
If you start pedaling, he’ll only be mean to you for five minutes rather than for twenty. Isn’t that motivation enough?
Branchel and Mark & Bopper show up together to the campsite.
RACHEL: Babe, other teams are here.
DAVE: I realize that.
RACHEL: Dave. Be nice.
DAVE: Don’t tell me that.
RACHEL: Be. Nice.
“Doesn’t integrate with my army skill set, Rachel.”
RACHEL: I am no African safari bush master, but I have camped before.
Rachel dumps some supplies onto Brendon’s shoulder.
The load is heavier than what Brandon was expecting. Not a safari bush master either. This campsite was shot in HD!
BRENDON: I feel this is the Kentucky Challenge.
MARK & BOPPER: It is.
“If we don’t win the million, our families will be living in this tent together for the next ten years!”
Vanessa & Ralph finish walking up the hill.
RALPH: You realize we’re out, right? Enjoy this cause we’re out.
VANESSA: Sorry. I feel like. . .I let you down. I really tried.
A couple that is accepting defeat together as a team.
RALPH: I hate losing. It’s not you. I’m proud of you. You did good. I just hate losing. Baby, I’m not upset at you.
OK, now you’re being subtly mean Ralph. That’s passive as hell.
And Vanessa agrees with me.
Art & JJ are fourth to the campsite. Nary & Jamie are fifth. Art & JJ were able to catch up thanks to Vanessa being worse on a bike than even me.
Here’s the full clue in case you were interested.
Nary & Jamie complain about the heavy pieces.
Green scaffolding is NOT in Dave Brown’s skill set.
Rachel mocks Dave for throwing a fit.
Rachel Reilly tries to measure out how much pole they need.
Time for some push-ups!
Wait. Is she crying?
BRENDON: Babe, what are you doing?
RACHEL: I’m measuring it.
BRENDON: Just do it with your feet, babe.
Ha! Ha! I can see Rachel’s whole entire measurements.
DAVE: Baby, we have to do this right otherwise we’re gonna have to redo the other one. That’s not right. I’m telling you babe. Something is not right. Not right.
RACHEL: I heard you the first five times.
I think Rachel is pretending that she is stabbing Dave in the eye with this scaffolding.
Which is probably why he is wearing sunglasses to protect himself.
RACHEL: Can you hold this for me, please?
DAVE: Yeah, because I have eight hands.
RACHEL: Thank you. You’re a darling.
I should note the two pieces Dave needs to hold are really close together.
Rachel may just quietly take off for Kilimanjaro.
Brenchel discuss how to keep the high poles up.
BRENDON: Just hold it.
RACHEL: It’s holded.
They were in Chemistry—not English.
Brandon & Rachel have the pole held—er, I mean holded, as Nary & Jamie are stumped by their own poles.
Vanessa & Ralph are last to the campsite. Ralph is encouraged by hearing most of the teams arguing. Vanessa & Ralph’s deficit probably isn’t that much given the small distance covered this leg.
DAVE: Rachel, don’t direct me.
RACHEL: Yes, sir!
DAVE: I know what I am doing.
RACHEL: Yes, sir!
DAVE: Rachel, don’t be an asshole.
The team dominating this race.
RACHEL: I am sick of you just pouting and just “this isn’t right,” “this isn’t right.” Let’s come up with an action. Not a whine. Whine doesn’t get you anywhere.
Rachel is a bad mother—shut your mouth!
JJ: That’s why we’re not here with our wives.
Given the amount of divorces at the end of this season, Art & JJ may have made the right call.
DAVE: First team to arrive, last team to leave. What else is new?
RACHEL: You are the most negative person on the planet.*
*Excluding the present company from Kentucky approximately thirty feet to her left.
Commercial break. We resume.
Dave catches onto the issue—the brackets in the corners are not right. They take it all down but put it back up fast.
DAVE: When communication is flowing and we’re working together, we’re unstoppable.
A helluva lot of time passes according to fading in and out of the sun progressing.
Just in case you forgot they were in Africa.
Rachel wishes it was like putting up a pop-up tent instead of a circus tent.
MARK: Don’t fart on me Bopper. Whatever you do.
I think you only have yourself to blame for putting yourself in such a precarious position, Mark.
JJ says Art is really good at knots and JJ is putting together the inside of the tent and housecleaning.
JJ: It made me feel like a woman.
Wait a minute. Not just any woman, JJ. Housecleaning for grown adults where you get paid no money at all for your work?
Congratulations US Border Patrol, you are getting the Mexican Woman experience.
Vanessa & Ralph make up a lot of time.
RALPH: Vanessa was really great at listening and following instruction.
“As long as it doesn’t involve bicycles.”
Vanessa glances over.
VANESSA: Boy, we’re way ahead of the teachers.
Who knew the woman who would eventually get with Tim Duncan would do well at pitching tents.
Nary & Jamie are discouraged as they don’t have their scaffolding up yet.
They have a green piece up. As for the other five teams?
Yeah. They have a bit of a lead over the UC Kindergarten Teachers.
That’s not how you bush shower!
Nary & Jamie might have a shot if this bird starts pecking at all of the other teams and starts attacking their tents!
“Angel, stay inside while I zip this all the way down.”
Roadblock: Who is claustrophobic?
Dave & Rachel start pouring water into a sink.
Mark summons the Bush Master.
Oh, and she also happens to be an expert at checking out tents and showers.
Mark is going to check into the pit stop wearing nothing but a towel.
JJ: Dammit if they get it I might kick myself.
“Nobody sees the wizard! Not nobody not no how!”
JJ does his best Eminem impression.
Mark & Bopper’s shower is not approved.
Dave & Rachel ask for a check. It’s approved.
Is it? They’ve won three legs.
DAVE: Rachel and I are so damn stubborn. We bitch we complain but somehow we pull it out.
And it happens again and again.
Mark & Bopper’s camp is done in second place.
“Awesome! Us three, my kids, his kids, our wives, our in-laws can all fit into this tent together!”
After finishing in the top two for five consecutive rounds, JJ is pissed the best they can do is a bronze medal today.
The pit stop greeter has no interest in Dave & Rachel’s arrival.
Dave & Rachel jump onto the mat.
The only guy in the village who doesn’t wear earrings.
FIRST PLACE: DAVE & RACHEL
They win the best-of-seven against Art & JJ.
They are the Cleveland Cavaliers of the first half of TAR 20. 3-1 deficit and then come back to take the best-of-seven.
Dave & Rachel have won a trip to “tropical” Costa Rica.
Maybe they’ll run into Carlos Diaz from TAR 8: Family Edition.
PHIL: Can I just clarify this is your fourth first place finish?
RACHEL: Don’t tell anyone else.
“Shut your mouth, Phil.”
A country theme plays as Mark & Bopper step onto the mat.
It’s like Phil and the pit stop greeter are posing for next season’s intro.
SECOND PLACE: MARK & BOPPER
“Now let’s go shower together!”
MARK: Slowly but surely we’re waffling them down. . .Waffling them down.
I have never heard of that expression before in my life.
Art & JJ are approved.
Art asks for a hug.
Yes, break down the wall of inebriation, Art. Starting the next round absolutely sloshed and/or hungover will boost ratings. Why the hell do you think we have to wait a year between seasons now?
Art climbs back into the car.
ART: That was a BITCH!
We call them women, Art.
Rachel continues the chain of peeking out of the curtain to see the most recently finished team exit the campsite.
Brenchel complete the task in fourth place.
“Yay! Feel my armpits!”
When your parents won’t let you eat cake for breakfast.
Jamie’s depression is followed up by a Joel & Ashley inspired eagle screech.
JAMIE: We haven’t slept in three days. We’re extremely hungry. Tired. Need water. And there’s a lot to stress about. It’s no good to get frazzled about. . .Vanessa & Ralph are still here. We haven’t given up by any means.
“And my cat just died too.”
THIRD PLACE: ART & JJ
Phil asks about the rift between teams.
ART: We just have to minimize our involvement in that junk.
You got into direct confrontations with Nary & Jamie and Brenchel this leg, so. . .
Brenchel step onto the mat.
FOURTH PLACE: BRENDON & RACHEL
Phil asks about the drama. Brenchel refuses to let anyone’s negative personalities affect them.
Vanessa & Ralph’s campsite is approved in fifth place.
Nary & Jamie are ready to snooze rather than check in. Hey, there’s two NELs still left and the trend since TAR 18 is to have them all used prior to Final Four. There’s really no motivation for them to hurry anymore.
JAMIE: The guys have been talking about wanting this—seeing Nary and I in the shower together.
That’s sexual harrassment in the workplace! I’m not kidding. That’s actually grounds for termination.
Vanessa & Ralph check into the mat.
Mmmmm. Shirt elbow.
FIFTH PLACE: VANESSA & RALPH
It’s a very sedated reaction.
Much like Art & JJ and Brenchel, Phil asks about the nastiness this leg.
VANESSA: Most everybody is on the same page on the Green Team. . .I have no real desire to speak with them. There’s no need to be friends with them in this race.
I don’t know why, but they show the pit stop greeter reacting Vanessa’s statement. Good luck explaining the context of the whole situation to him because there is a helluva lot of backstory.
Nary & Jamie finish the task in last place. They jump into the car.
NARY: We know we’re in last and–
JAMIE: There’s elephants!
Nary & Jamie jump out of the car just to look at the elephants. Yeah, they know this is a NEL.
“Look at ’em!”
After elephant watching for an hour, Nary & Jamie check into the mat.
So smug. They know a NEL is coming.
Phil knows it’s not a mystery either.
LAST PLACE: NARY & JAMIE
They are way too upbeat for being last.
PHIL: No regrets?
NARY & JAMIE: No regrets at all.
NARY: We’re hoping you’re not gonna eliminate us.
“You wouldn’t eliminate kindergarten teachers, would ya?”
PHIL: Is that what you’d like?
NARY & JAMIE (in unison): That’s what we’d looooove.
PHIL: Well you’re gonna -love- what I have to say.
A lazy Speed Bump is up ahead for Nary & Jamie. If Mark & Bopper are eliminated next, I’m sure producers will rework the NEL format once more.
Next Time on TAR: As Nary & Jamie fight to stay in the game, the Double U-Turn adds fuel to the fire. And an alliance crashes and burns.
MENTIONED IN THE ‘NEXT TIME ON’ SEGMENT
ELLIOT & ANDREW 1
MARK & BOPPER 1
NARY & JAMIE 1
1) Buenos Aires, Argentina -> Asuncion, Paraguy
We have only three tasks total this leg and there wasn’t much navigation within the city of Asuncion.
However, we had a little bit of a flight scramble. Yes, it was just over two flights, but that’s more than what we typically get in TAR during this era. The three tasks we had were all tough as balls. You know it’s tough as balls when Dave & Rachel, a team who people put in the conversation of the strongest team ever are unable to complete ANY of the three tasks.
I assume Dave & Rachel didn’t put in as much effort as they normally would due to the comfort of the Express Pass. It’s like a power player playing loosely when he has a big chip lead. I’ve seen myself do the same thing in Survivor ORGs when I have a hidden immunity idol or am in the majority. When you have an advantage and are damn good at what you do, you just don’t try as hard.
Therefore, I believe the Express Pass wasn’t really a factor in Dave & Rachel surviving this leg. They didn’t even bother attempting the harp challenge and switched the watermelon task early because they knew they could use their Express Pass if the harps presented any sort of difficulty or an abundance of teams. Combine that with Elliot & Andrew and Vanessa & Ralph being several hours behind Kerri & Stacy, and I am about 97% confident that Dave & Rachel make it through no matter what.
So yeah, the Express Pass twist was a waste once again. Luckily Dave & Rachel used it early to prevent it from hogging up airtime. I do think, however, that Dave & Rachel’s performance in this leg erases them from contention in the strongest team to ever run the race.
The storyline of Art & JJ and Dave & Rachel representing the top of the leaderboard continues. They aligned, got on the best flight, and Art & JJ were very strong where Dave & Rachel are very weak. JJ outright says that these two teams will dominate the whole season. We see layers of Brendon & Rachel and Mark & Bopper showing strength in this leg and being presented as the only two teams who could possibly catch the two dominant teams in an upset. The editors have an easy story to tell for this season.
For a team who doesn’t make it to the very end nor will be super popular with the audience, editors invested in Vanessa & Ralph barely surviving this leg. They had their own segment after a commercial break just to show the conclusion in their late night showdown with Elliot & Andrew. Hell, we even got a good chunk of content of their rivalry with Brendon & Rachel. We had the full spectrum of “I can see Rachel’s whole entire ass” to “we will not quit to set a good example for Ralph’s son”. The audience definitely has mixed opinions about this team.
Nary & Jamie being the friendly team with a goofy storyline that trolls Art & JJ’s and Dave & Rachel’s competitive spirit officially begins this round. Art & JJ don’t like goofy folks. Too bad we don’t see a helluva whole lot else from Nary & Jamie except being bumped to the early flight.
Both all-female teams were underedited this leg as Kerri & Stacy were barely shown. They were on the receiving end of being outwitted by freakin’ Mark & Bopper. Editors chose not to bury Kerri & Stacy by showing the online exclusive unaired scenes and rather buried them via lack of airtime. They were outwitted then Kerri twerked to the harp music. We didn’t even see the completion of the Roadblock or more than a second of being at the pit stop.
As for Elliot & Andrew, editors did a great job of capturing their relationship and story all within the span of one episode. There wasn’t much to tell and decided to wait until they were relevant for the round.
This leg also receives extra credit for being a debuting country for the TAR catalogue. Paraguay has never been visited before or since. If they do choose to return to Paraguay, hopefully we get a leg outside of the only major city that 99% of the population can point to on a map. Can you think of another city besides Asuncion? I doubt it.
Wow, I totally forgot about Joey Fitness & Danny until now. There wasn’t much time for their comedic relief. Too much story was going on, they finished in the middle, and Rachel and Bopper were trying too hard to entertain the audience. Sorry guys. Maybe crop your mohawk Danny and you’ll get more attention.
2) Torino, Italy -> Bavaria, Germany
This round wasn’t terribly electrifying with entertainment value compared to the past two rounds. However, I love the design of the round.
They went all in with a fairy tale theme within Bavaria. Other than the minor equalizer at Gasthof, which only let two teams catch up to Art & JJ, teams had to completely self-navigate from start to finish. A ten hour train ride followed by about six or seven hours of driving yourself around Bavaria? That’s true TAR.
Art & JJ won their third leg in a row. When only two teams win the first five legs of the race, it really cues us up that we are in for a Titan season. No one could touch Dave & Rachel in the first two legs. Nobody has been able to come remotely close to Art & JJ in the next three legs. Right now the only team who has demonstrated to be competitive has been Joey & Danny.
The Roadblock was lame but surprisingly difficult for a couple of teams. Slide a pawn across the ice into a circle. That’s it. Not the most physically draining of tasks, but pretty much dictated who went home this round (if they hadn’t got lost).
The Detour was very offbeat. Collect gingerbread pieces on a snowy trail as a ridiculous witch taunts you. The other option was shaping a man’s beard.
It is also one of those rare episodes of TAR where it takes place while it is snowing. You can thank filming in the middle of December for that.
Seeing Kerri & Stacy blow it on the self-drive over Nary & Jamie on a short drive to the pit stop is something we don’t see often—however, it would have been more memorable if Nary & Jamie and Kerri & Stacy weren’t borderline invisible up until this point.
Seriously. How many of you remember Kerri & Stacy and the way they went out? Because it wasn’t an entirely straight-forward elimination.
Lastly, I love how the producers tricked teams with going to one of the two castles. How did nobody make this mistake in TAR 3? Was the clue in TAR 3 just “Go to Neuschwanstein Castle” rather than “Go to the castle that inspired Sleeping Beauty” like they did this season?
P.S. Brendon falling on his ass at the pit stop was hilarious.
3) Fussen, Germany -> Baku, Azerbaijan
Good news: We have a new country added to the TAR catalogue.
Bad news: We won’t see another new country until the endgame of TAR 22, and it is a very Anglophone country. The next non-English speaking country added to the TAR catalogue won’t be added until TAR 25. Yep. Five seasons.
In terms of suspense as to who will be eliminated, it is telegraphed less than halfway into the episode. Joey & Danny and Dave & Rachel both chasing down the Fast Forward led to a guaranteed elimination for whoever lost the battle. Obviously, Joey & Danny tanked this battle.
The oil bath task provided a lot of interesting visuals and is one of the more unique tasks. Nobody has ever had to clean oil off of a living human being as if they were a duck in an offshore oil spill.
Dave & Rachel win the leg and Art & JJ attain second place to continue their dominance. Three wins apiece. The Titan Season is in full effect.
Vanessa & Ralph barely escape elimination again thanks to Joey & Danny taking an unnecessary risk. They don’t do well with tasks involving fruit or things “hidden” in plain sight.
Mark & Bopper received the Jet & Cord theme music when checking into the pit stop and a lot more scenes this week really played up the “good ol’ country boys” narrative. From this point forward, it is really going to build.
We also see Nary & Jamie not quite match up to the other teams as they never excel at any of the tasks or pull off any brilliant decisions.
The Roadblock to do underwater training is neat in concept but lame to watch on TV. The task takes about ten seconds. All they do is swim out of a window and go up to the surface. I get that the risk is somebody panicking underwater, but nobody did and therefore the task had no real payoff. After the first couple of demonstrations, we could’ve just moved on.
The Fire Temple group dancing at the start of the leg is the last time the group will get along. Starting next round. . .things change.
4) Asuncion, Paraguay -> Torino, Italy
If you are not a fan of Brendon & Rachel’s bickering, you probably hate this episode as it occupies about ten minutes or more of the airtime.
If you can look past it and/or embrace it, it’s another leg with a decent design.
No equalizers and it’s all self-drive. As an old school fan, you can’t ask for much more.
The Roadblock of scaling down the Lingotto building did its job by messing up a couple of teams and triggering what I presume to be a twenty to thirty minute delay for them, but not the most interesting to watch unless you love to laugh at Vanessa flailing in midair.
The Detour was more comedic rather than it being particularly difficult. You either went to the easy-to-find salami shop but more time-consuming to complete or go to the hard-to-find junkyard but with a straightforward head-lofting cleaning process. They are a couple of more unique albeit not the most interesting tasks to watch. It’s a good thing the teams were able to entertain what could otherwise be mundane tasks to see play out.
Oh, and it is the first of THREE Fast Forwards! Not zero, one, or two. Three! Landing a remote control helicopter on somebody’s head seemed difficult. We wouldn’t see this task again until TAR Asia 5 where teams also sucked at it. It provided some amusing scenes where Dave was willing to risk his life in the race just to prove how much of a pilot he could be.
In terms of storyline, Art & JJ evened up the score with Dave & Rachel as the two teams have won two legs apiece. Thanks to the Fast Forward, they won by several hours for the second leg in a row.
Furthermore, the dominance of these two teams is solidified by the fact that Dave & Rachel kicked a lot of ass despite being at each other’s throats the whole leg and describing their performance as a failure. That should terrify all of the other teams.
Mark & Bopper’s travel inexperience was highlighted as they couldn’t figure out how to book flights to Italy until it was too late. Thanks to a pre-determined NEL (or CBS production interference if you’re a conspiracy theorist), their underdog storyline grows as Art & JJ’s act of charity combined with Bopper talking about his daughter made it memorable for the casual audience. Mark & Bopper became the official fan favourites thanks to this episode.
Vanessa & Ralph and Joey & Danny both tried to one-up each other in terms of sexualized and crass humour. I think Vanessa is still the queen but it could tip in Joey & Danny’s favour soon.
And lol @ Nary & Jamie and Kerri & Stacy combining for 45 seconds of airtime this episode. If you have seen all of the secret scenes, Kerri & Stacy were not well-liked by production as any interesting scenes with them were edited out.
Lastly, I know people think Art & JJ donated money to Bopper because they just wanted to look like good guys on TV and use Mark & Bopper in the race—but I do think it’s a bit extreme to assume ulterior motives were involved. Maybe Art & JJ -can- be good guys under certain circumstances. Or at least have a mixture of ulterior motives and generosity on The Amazing Race.
P.S. Yet another visit to Italy for TAR but luckily it is a brand new city.
5) Baku, Azerbaijan -> Ngorongoro, Tanzania
This leg is very tough to rank.
On one hand, we have some of the best airport drama and conflict between teams that we have seen in contemporary seasons. Undercover agents being exposed, Brendon sprinting through the airport for no apparent reason, Vanessa burning Rachel over and over, Dave & Rachel having their own absurd fights, and Vanessa’s biggest rival becoming a bicycle.
We also get a very brief visit through Kenya. When will we get a full Kenya leg? Damn you, TAR Canada 5! You were so close.
From the start of the episode Phil made it clear: “Africa—one of the most challenging continents in the world!”
In other words, production made the most generic leg in Africa possible. Drive in a vehicle with an assigned driver. Do multiple tasks within a really small area. Toss another rungu. Jump with Masai villagers. Assemble something in the bush. Oh look, animals.
This is a leg where anything good was 100% from the teams and 0% was from the production design.
Dave & Rachel winning another leg with Mark & Bopper right behind sets up for the only big upset of the season.
By the way, this might have been one of the most telegraphed mid-season NELs in a long time. We all knew it had to happen this leg. Nary & Jamie stopped to check out freakin’ elephants because of how confident they were. It took me back to the Final 3 NELs from the early seasons where nobody gave a fuck about what happened to them.
I could rewatch Vanessa trying to ride a bike on a repeated loop. That was hilarious.
6) Santa Barbara, California -> Cafayate, Argentina
I am not a fan of Starting Line tasks, and here we get another clear example of how a Starting Line task makes a season premiere feel super rushed and condensed. The first time we see two teams interacting is when Art & JJ and Dave & Rachel team up during the Roadblock. A couple of other loose observations during the tasks, and that’s it. Thankfully future rounds will explore these social interactions more.
There is one good thing about the Starting Line task this year: It’s the first one without any sort of penalty for the team that finishes last. They just have to get to the airport like everybody else.
Making 120 empanadas prior to reaching the pit stop was more of a unique task in TAR, and I appreciated it. We saw quite a bit of position shuffling due to the difficulty of it.
We saw a classic Roadblock fakeout as the team that thought they were going to skydive never ends up skydiving. Producers wanted more terrified racers to do this task, but the best moment we got was from Stacy and even that was a very small and repetitive moment we have seen over the course of twenty seasons.
Part of me wishes the pit stop was at a separate location, but it is the only reason why we got our Misa & Maiya elimination moment. I saw this episode live when it originally aired over six years ago, and the idea of this ever happening on TAR was thought to be reserved more for fanfics.
“A team is within plain sight of the pit stop less than100 yards away and doesn’t see Phil, camera crew, the pit stop mat, and the pit stop greeter? There’s no way that could happen.”
But it did. And not only that, but it was in the final showdown to determine who would be eliminated from the premiere. Knowing what happens at the finish line of this season, it really sets the tone for how TAR 20 is going to go.
Speaking of setting the tone, the way many of the teams carried themselves indicated who would be dominating this entire season. Dave & Cherie, Kerri & Stacy, Joey Fitness & Danny, and Misa & Maiya presented very clear weaknesses in this first round as the audience could quickly narrow down our contenders at the top. And Mark & Bopper were going to be our wildcards.
It’s not an awful premiere like others we’ve seen during this era of TAR, but more work still needs to be done. This episode would have been very unmemorable if not for the Misa & Maiya elimination.
7) Cafayate, Argentina -> Buenos Aires, Argentina
This leg had too many equalizers for only having two tasks.
Want to do a Detour? Wait for everyone until sunrise.
Want to do a Roadblock? You have to board one of three buses and hope yours doesn’t have somebody come up and smash your bus window with a baseball bat. Oh, and there’ll be a pit stop immediately afterwards.
Because TAR gives a lot of airtime to a pair that are prominent on other reality shows whenever a crossover occurs, we had an overwhelming amount of Brenchel content. Seeing how they competed on consecutive seasons of BB, an episode where they have several scenes early on in the season triggered a lot of groans within the viewership.
And because Art & JJ represent that anti-Brenchel Brigade within the viewership, their excessive comments towards Brendon & Rachel were also constantly shown. It doesn’t help when you know these two teams will be sticking around for a very long time in this season. What’s the point of the other nine teams being there?
Art & JJ and Dave & Rachel’s alliance dominated the whole cast for the second round in a row. It must have been scary to be any other team as they know the top two duos have decided to become a Superpower. A counter-strike has to come soon.
The Detour was a bit unique in terms of using a solar panel with minimal instruction to be setup and heat a tea kettle to a boil. That was fun to watch as teams didn’t know whether that would be quicker than the donkey alternative. Art & JJ made the absolute right call in this situation.
We found out Kerri & Stacy are good at things you wouldn’t normally associate with their archetype in TAR. They are handy and are good at math? I wouldn’t have guessed.
Mark put aside his Eeyore tendencies and was very pleasant this episode. Same with Bopper. No mention of how much they need the money. They were just having a grand ol’ time out there. This is how Mark & Bopper should be edited. They didn’t complain once during the task in an eyeroll-y fashion.
Vanessa & Ralph were the narrators for this episode. Who expected that?
Danny making himself bleed by accident and Joey Fitness’ leap onto the platform for the Roadblock clue was mildly amusing to watch.
Elliot & Andrew are invisible.
And poor Clown Dave. Nobody wanted to save him at the Roadblock.
Lastly, Diego Maradona always laughing at other people’s tragedies is about as much as you need from a pit stop greeter.
This leg just wasn’t well-designed and two teams hogging too much of the airtime is what drops it down in my rankings.
P.S. Nary & Jamie’s lie that they are kindergarten teachers is very believable considering their reaction to everything so far. I totally think Nary called a buddy in Langley to smash the second bus, though. I am certain of that.