Recap: The Amazing Race Australia vs New Zealand, Episode 8 – "I can't feel my nadz!"

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The final five teams are on the same flight from Lisbon to Dubovnik, Croatia via Frankfurt. Arriving in Croatia at 10:05pm, teams must make their way to the Pila Gate of the Old City.

Teams find the next clue telling them to take part in an ancient welcoming tradition that involves each team member collecting a large stone and navigating the walls to deliver the stones to the city guard at the Watchman’s Keep.

Teams must correctly answer the guard’s question to receive the next clue. What the teams don’t know is the guard will ask them how many steps it took to reach him: 139.

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Sally & Tyson get to the top, but now have to go back down to count. Ashleigh & Jarrod and Daniel & Ryan, however, have the foresight to count before heading up so they move into the lead.

The next clue tells teams to find the Old Harbour where they will sign up for one of three start times, 15 minutes apart.

Ashleigh & Jarrod, Daniel & Ryan and Sally & Tyson sign-up for the first departure at 8:30am. Carla & Hereni are the only team departing at 8:45am and Cat & Jesse are automatically at a disadvantage by departing at 9am, 30 minutes after the first group.

The next morning, the Aussie teams set off first and open the envelope to reveal a Fast Forward. To attempt it, they must first go to the Dominican Monastery. Daniel & Ryan and Sally & Tyson decide to go for it. But when Daniel & Ryan run past the Sally & Tyson, the newly engaged couple decide not do it after all.

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Ashleigh & Jarrod decide to continue with the Race instead and they head to the Big Onofrio Fountain for the next clue. But there, they first find their Speed Bump.

For this Speed Bump, Ashleigh & Jarrod must each correctly knot a different style of tie on each other.

Sally & Tyson open the next clue and find it is a Road Block.

For this Road Block, teams must abseil face-forward down the walls of Fort Bokar. Sally decides to do it.

On the other side of the city, Daniel & Ryan find the Fast Forward clue and learn they must collect three marked prayer cards and deliver them to the local barber. Only then will they discover a second part to the Fast Forward: getting a tonsure or Friar Tuck haircut.

Daniel & Ryan get started, but see that finding the prayer cards won’t be easy.

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As Carla & Hereni finally get started with the rest of the Leg, Ashleigh & Jarrod get through their Speed Bump. They run into a still lost Daniel & Ryan when they start to look for the fountain. And there, they run into Carla & Hereni who have caught up.

Ashleigh and Carla decide to do the Road Block as Cat & Jesse start for the day. At the Road Block, Sally finally reaches the bottom of the wall and they receive the next clue.

Teams must make their way along the City Walls to the south Harbour Wall below Fort St. John.

Meanwhile, on the way to finding the 3rd prayer card, Daniel & Ryan find the location of where they must deliver them. And seeing it is a barbershop, they are expecting head shaving. Daniel is not so sure about this Fast Forward anymore, but they trudge on for the 3rd card.

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When they’ve got them all, they head to the excited barber who starts on Ryan first. It’s no problem for him. But Daniel takes this time to come to terms with what he’s about to do.

Sally & Tyson find the next clue and find out it is another Road Block.

For this Road Block, the team member that did not complete the first one must now ascend the walls of the fort. Tyson gets started, but he struggles pulling his huge body up the rope. That allows Jarrod to catch up and is close behind.

They get the next clue pointing them to the Pit Stop at Fort St. Lawrence.

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It is now Daniel’s turn to go under the scissors and with one cut, his long locks are gone.

Carla & Hereni arrive at the 2nd Road Block and Hereni cannot believe it. She is afraid of heights. After Cat finishes her Road Block, they hurry over to try and catch up.

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The Aussie teams are on the way to the Pit Stop. Sally & Tyson are pretty sure they are 2nd to Daniel & Ryan’s Fast Forward-powered win. But much to their surprise, Grant tells them they are Team #1.

Sally & Tyson win a $10,000 Virgin Australia flight voucher and Premium Velocity Platinum Frequent Flier membership.

Coming in 2nd is Ashleigh & Jarrod. And that means Daniel & Ryan shaved their heads to end up in 3rd.

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Carla & Hereni maintain their 4th place spot, which leaves Cat & Jesse in last and eliminated.

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Episode Thoughts

This was an oddly interesting episode. Where were the tasks?!

These Road Blocks were actually the perfect example for my Double Road Block idea. Teams would be presented with the usual ambiguous Road Block clue, only here, the Road Block is two parts and teams must decide which team member will do each part before they find out what it is.

So for this Leg, the clue might ask “Which team member goes up and which team member goes down?” or something like that.

A Double Road Block wouldn’t count towards the final Road Block count and of course the Leg would/should still have the usual Detour or extra tasks and Route Markers.

But here, other than the usual nighttime extra task to fill their Hours of Operation wait time, they had no other tasks other than the climbing. That’s amazing. Even with the Speed Bump and the Fast Forward, I think they definitely should’ve had other tasks, even a Detour to fill the Leg.

The Road Blocks were okay, but as the Leg’s only tasks, they were a huge let down for such a beautiful location.

As for the Fast Forward itself, it seemed set up to pretty much screw over the team that chose to take it. First, the time consuming part of collecting the prayer cards and then not knowing they’d not only be getting their heads shaved, but getting a Friar Tuck haircut.

The Speed Bump was the typical disappointment of course.

But the worst part of the Leg had to be the stupid sign-up board for departure times. I hate when TAR forces staggered departures, especially when it’s absolutely unnecessary (like when it isn’t for a charter flight with limited seats). And when there’s only 5 teams left. It forces teams to be separated and basically groups teams into the leading pack or the “waiting to be eliminated pack.” And here, they intentionally separated the last two teams from the leading three by 15 minutes each. WTF? There was no reason for them to have to do that. It pretty much doomed Cat & Jesse from the start.

Dubrovnik looks beautiful and the idea of a Leg where teams must run around instead of hop on public transportation seems great. But not having any tasks is a very sad waste.

My Subjective Team Rankings

Sally & Tyson are emerging as my pick to win this whole thing right now. They’ve really stepped it up, both Race-wise and entertainment-wise and they’ve been a lot of fun to watch. Cat & Jesse have been doing reasonably well, so it was sad to see them go, especially when they were fun to watch as they themselves were having so much fun on the Race. Who knows, without those departure times, they might have survived.

Carla & Hereni were just okay this Leg. But they also got shortchanged by the staggered departure times. Daniel & Ryan were amusing dealing with the haircut, but otherwise, they were really bland this Leg. Ashleigh & Jarrod were fine too though. They probably benefited the most from the staggered departure time.

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