Eleven pairs of Aussies have arrived in Seoul, South Korea and they all make their way to Seoul Plaza, the Starting Line of The Amazing Race Australia 4! Beau Ryan welcomes them and sets them off.
The teams run to their backpacks and open the first clue telling them to make their way to Namsan Tower where they will search Seoul below for their next clue. The only money teams have on this Leg is the 200,000 Korean won loaded on their Bankwest Halo Payment Ring.
Tom & Tyler think they’ve flagged down a taxi, but Hayley & Mikayla are the ones that hop in. They acknowledge that they stole the guys’ taxi.
But the first two teams arriving at N Seoul Tower are the two Melbourne teams Tom & Tyler and Viv & Joey who immediately make an alliance.
As other teams arrive at the observatory, they all have their eyes peeled for Race flags which are at the Seoul Millennium Time Capsule at Namsangol Hanok Village. Team must then look for a postcard of that location in the observatory which has the address on the back.
Hayley & Mikayla find the flags and postcard first. Team Melbourne looks for the same postcard and are able to hop in the elevator down before the sisters.
Meanwhile, dating couple Sid & Ash, who had already been at the top of Namsan, make their way all the way down the mountain before realizing their mistake and have to walk all the way back up.
On their way up, they try to tell the teams heading down that they’re going the wrong way. But none of them believe it and they continue on to the next Route Marker.
Judy & Therese find a postcard of Lotte Tower that supposedly is not sold here. They think it’s the right one, but are not sure. Siblings Alana & Nico find the same postcard and immediately hurry off to Lotte Tower. Judy & Therese stop and pray for some guidance. And when they re-read their clue, they look out the observatory and are able to see the flags.
Teams will find their next clue at the stone tablet below a message from Australia. That clue reveals the Road Block: Who’s ready for a river dance? For this Road Block, teams must stay two vertical meters in the air on a Flyboard in the Han River.
The footy bros arrive at the Road Block first and Tyler heads out onto the Han to get started. Joey and Mikayla arrive next and give it a try.
Tyler gets his two meters and they open the next clue, the Detour: Fold ‘Em Fast or Stack ‘Em High. In Fold ‘Em Fast, teams must head to Seoul Gwangjang Market where they must learn how to and successfully make 50 dumplings. In Stack ‘Em High, teams must head to Hanyang University and successfully stack and unstack 12 cups in 8 seconds or less.
Tom & Tyler choose the cups. Joey, Mikayla, Nick and Tim all get their two meters and all teams except Tim & Rod choose the cups as well.
Meanwhile, Alana & Niko arrive at Lotte Tower, but realize it’s the wrong location. They can’t believe they have to head an hour back to Namsan. But they finally are able to find the flags and correct postcard.
Back at the Detour, Jasmin & Jerome and Chris & Adrienne also choose dumplings.
On their 13th attempt, the footy bros pass and can now make their way to Seoullo 7017 Bridge, the Pit Stop for this Leg of the Race. Viv & Tyler get it on their 2nd attempt and try to catch up. Hayley & Mikayla get it on their first attempt and also make their way to the Pit Stop.
Tim & Rod get their 50 dumplings approved and are also on their way. But it’s Tom & Tyler who step on the Mat first. Viv & Tyler are Team #2. Hayley & Mikayla take 3rd and Tim & Rod are 4th.
Over at the Road Block, Judy proves nuns can fly and she and Therese choose the dumplings. They arrive at the restaurant as Jasmin & Jerome leave. The married couple warn Judy & Therese not to trust anything Sid & Ash say since they tried lying to them earlier.
Nurses Femi & Nick pass the cup stacking on their 6th attempt. Rowah & Amani pass on their 29th attempt.
Femi & Nick step on the Mat as Team #5 followed by the #DeadlyDuo Jasmine & Jerome in 6th. Chris & Adrienne are Team #7 with Rowah & Amani taking 8th.
Back at the restaurant, Judy & Therese head downstairs to ask for more dough. Ash jokes about taking their dumplings and Sid actually takes one. Judy & Therese actually offer some of the dough when they head back up, but Sid & Ash are already set. They get their dumplings approved and head to the Mat as Team #9.
Judy & Therese get the thumbs up for their dumplings and step on the Mat as Team #10.
Alana & Niko head to the Han River Road Block location, but it’s already closed. They find a clue that tells them to make their way to the Pit Stop.
The Gen Z Siblings step on the Mat and Beau confirms the bad news. He gives them a hug before they leave.
Niko says they must have made history by being the only Amazing Race team ever to not perform either a Detour or Road Block. (TAR15 Eric & Lisa and TARA5 Lisa & Nicole say “Hello!”)
Let’s give the warmest welcome to the resurrected Amazing Race Australia! Thank you Channel 10. And thank you CBS for buying Channel 10 I guess. Hehe. Perhaps there’s hope that any long-dead TAR could rise up again. (Calling TV5 Philippines! Lol)
It’s a very interesting feel though. This first episode definitely felt different from 7’s TARAu. This felt a little bit like TARUS1 or TARUS2 even. Or TAR Vietnam or Israel. A little slower, not as fast-paced as modern TAR. Part of that may be the focus on introducing teams throughout the episode. But of course, we have a brand new team, a brand new approach to the format.
The show is still very much The Amazing Race of course. And again, just hearing Aussie accents on the Race is a great feeling.
First off, we have the Starting Line out of the country for the first time. And from a budget standpoint, it makes sense. I think we’re at a point in The Amazing Race‘s history where a tinker to the format such as this doesn’t take away from the show itself. When in the early 2000s, not having a Starting Line in a series’ home country would be blasphemous, these days, it shouldn’t be a big deal.
TAR purists might take issue, but when TARs have gone from having to circumnavigate the world to just Racing around their own country now, having a Starting Line outside the country is one of the least offensive tweaks to the format.
I would also like to point out that TARAu has now had teams Racing through the Philippines and South Korea on opening Legs. Meanwhile, The Amazing Race US has still not Raced more than four teams at a time in either country EVER. Seriously, what in the world is TARUS’ aversion to having more than four teams Racing in those countries? It makes no sense!
Anyway! Teams heading to Namsan and N Seoul Tower for the first Route Marker seems very simple on paper. But it’s pretty amazing how a standard TAR task like “Look below from a high point for your next clue” could separate the teams so much. This might also be the first time such a task has eliminated a team? Teams having to walk up and down Namsan also could’ve taken a long time as well.
The one thing about the task I didn’t like was that teams could just grab the postcard, through whatever reason and means, and not even see the flagged location below. It’s those kinds of things I’d take issue with. Teams should complete tasks as written and getting shortcuts like that kind of sours me on the team and also on the Leg design as well.
Anyway, there was no recovering for Alana & Niko after that initial mistake. In Seoul traffic? It certainly could take an hour from Namsan to Lotte Tower. Even by subway. So a roundtrip would easily take two hours. And with neither the Road Block nor Detour seeming to take up much time, it was already over for them.
The Road Block would’ve been a solid task. But when TAR Canada 7’s finale just did a flyboard Road Block with twice the height and with the extra component of hitting a target with a beanbag, this task here on TARAu felt too easy and simple. Certainly a little disappointing and it appeared in the episode that it wasn’t all that difficult for teams.
The Detour though was much better. Making dumplings is another standard TAR task. But I think a task in the market itself could’ve been much more exciting and fun. The cup stacking side of the Detour, however, was much better than TAR29’s Road Block if only because it required both team members to do it. When it’s a Road Block, one team member has to get it. But when it’s both team members, one could get it easy while the other struggles. And that’s breeds more tension.
Another big difference of course with this season of TARAu is new host Beau Ryan. I actually liked Grant Bowler as host and his emphatic winner announcements at the Finish Line especially. But Beau did a pretty good job in this first episode. And he’s been funny and great in his pre-show interviews. So I hope we can see that personality on the show more in the future too.
Now whenever we talk about TAR Australia, we’ve got to talk about the graphics. First, we didn’t get a full opening credits sequence in this episode. TARAu has always had THE BEST opening credits of any TAR in the world. So I have high expectations. Hopefully they have some on the second episode.
I’ve always also loved TARAu’s use of Microgramma as their main font. So seeing them using Eurostile here actually upsets me. Lol
The Arian font they use for the team IDs is okay. But I want my Microgramma! Lol
I am very happy they kept the same map though. TARAu also has the best maps of any TAR in the world.
Overall, I’m just so happy to have The Amazing Race Australia back. It feels slightly different, but at the same time refreshingly so. It’s pace is a little slower than I’m used to. But certainly still fun and exciting to watch.
Another episode tomorrow though. Not sure about speeding through the eps like this. But it’s apparently Channel 10’s typical rollout. So more TARAu tomorrow!
My Subjective Team Rankings
So right off the bat, I must say, this is a stellar cast. Even just after this first episode, you won’t see such a strong cast like this on TARUS. Let’s be real.
Not much of a ranking just yet since we really didn’t get too much on each team. But I definitely do know Judy & Therese are my immediate favorites. They are such fun and I hope they do well on the Race.
I like Jasmin & Jerome because I feel like they could be the uber-competitive couple that can be strong competitors without ruffling too many feathers. Though I can see them doing so as well. But they could be a strong team.
Rowah & Amani, Chris & Adrienne and Femi & Nick were fine. I think Rowah & Amani could be a good mother-daughter team. Adrienne is definitely very cool and it’s awesome that she’s a firefighter. As we’re dealing with wildfires here in California right now, I’m definitely reminded of what a dangerous and important job firefighters have.
Hayley & Mikayla “stealing” the cab was very minor. But what I like about that is it shows they are competitive and perhaps we can see some fireworks from them in the future.
Of all the teams, I feel like Tim & Rod were the most quiet of the Leg. Like, we didn’t really see them much though I definitely remember when they popped up.
The #MelbourneAlliance is very interesting. Tom & Tyler are obviously going to fill the alpha male team slot in the season. And Viv & Joey feel like another team that can get super competitive. Should be interesting to see their dynamic if the alliance holds. Definitely was not a fan of them taking that shortcut with the postcards through.
It’s too bad Alana & Niko made that huge mistake early on. They’re so young, so it would’ve been interesting to watch them on the Race. I think they might be the youngest non-TAR Family Edition team to ever Race? So that interesting “Gen Z” angle would’ve been a different flavor for a team on the Race.
Sid & Ash are like Justin & Diana/Dave & Irina-lite. Or maybe there’s no comparison at all since Sid & Ash really did not live up to their hyped up self-introduction. At the same time, that kind of endears them a little more. Maybe they aren’t these super-villains they were made out to be. Just more lighthearted and fun. But taking one of the nuns’ dumplings was definitely horrible. Lol I think there might even be rules against that. Hmm… lol
Tyler: “My shorts are going to fall off, 100%”
Therese: “I’m gonna pray for the gift of levitation.”
Sid: “I’m going to hell after this.”