For this fourth Leg, teams must make their way to Hoa Lu Citadel where they must make four bundles of incense weighing 2kg each. They will then deliver them to Chua Nhat Tru temple to receive their next clue. Teams are armed with 1.25 million dong for this Leg of the Race.
Teams are all bunched up as they try to find the incense. Hayley & Mikayla are able to find it first, followed by Sid & Ash and Tim & Rod. The other teams arrive one by one with Viv & Joey arriving last after their cab driver gets lost.
Rowah & Amani also encounter the Speed Bump which requires them to do one extra bundle.
All teams are hurrying. Chris & Adrienne think they have their four bundles and get a check. But they get the thumbs down because they haven’t tied them up in the right way.
Tim & Rod are able to get the thumbs up for their bundles and open the next clue which reveals a Fast Forward. To win it, teams must load 320 shrimp baskets to a bike and deliver them to a fisherman. The married couple decides to give it a try.
Back at the incense, Adrienne starts to get stressed out and gets snippy with Chris as well as the other teams. She reminds them they are not supposed to move the scales around.
As teams finish the incense, they open the next clue revealing the Detour: Short Strokes or Long Strides. In Short Strokes, each team member must paint a replica of a mask their partner is wearing. In Long Strides, teams must walk on stilts around a circuit, one a time.
Sid & Ash arrive at the Detour first and Tim & Rod point them in the right direction, per their alliance.
Sid & Ash choose the painting while Hayley & Mikayla, Jasmin & Jerome and Tom & Tyler choose the stilts. Tim & Rod decide to give up on the Fast Forward and choose to do the stilts instead. When they see everyone struggling, they switch over to the masks as Viv & Joey, Femi & Nick and Chris & Adrienne arrive.
Tom & Tyler are the first team to complete the Detour and can now make their way to Three Periods Halls at Bai Dinh Temple. Sid & Ash are right behind them.
At the temple, teams must search 500 Buddha statues for one with two feet resting on an animal: Phap Luan Son. They must then climb the bell tower and if they’ve identified the correct monk, they can ring the bell and receive their next clue.
While Hayley & Mikayla finish the stilts, Jerome has had enough and he and Jasmin decide to switch Detours. When they get there and see Tim & Rod, they end up trying the Fast Forward instead.
Back at the temple, Sid & Ash find the right Buddha first, but Tom & Tyler end up finding the bell tower first and they can now make their way to the Pit Stop at Ho Tien where they claim their FOURTH win in a row.
Hayley & Mikayla get to the Mat as Team #2.
Over at the Fast Forward, Jasmin gets smacked in the eye by a bamboo while she ties the baskets on. Both Jasmin and Jerome are emotional as they try to finish up the task. Jerome reaches the flag in the bike and can now make their way to the Pit Stop.
Sid & Ash finally ring the bell and on their way to the Mat, they run into Tim & Rod who have no idea where to go. Sid & Ash help their fellow alliance members before checking in as Team #3. Jasmin & Jerome step on the Mat in 4th while Tim & Rod finish as Team #5.
Elsewhere in the temple, Chris & Adrienne are upset with each other as the frustration grows while searching for the right Buddha. But when Chris makes the right suggestion, they finally find it and head to the Mat as Team #6. The three-time 2nd placers Viv & Joey fall all the way to 7th.
It is down to the last two teams and it is Femi & Nick who finish as Team #8.
That means Rowah & Amani are last and eliminated.
I think this was definitely the strongest episode of the four so far. Just a good Leg overall, though still not perfect.
The incense task was great and definitely a perfect example of what having teams Racing side by side can do for tension and excitement. It justifies having equalizers if it means we get teams scrambling and getting testy with each other. It was also great as a tedious task being done in very hot weather.
The Speed Bump being an extra requirement at a Route Marker has been done before on other TARs, I believe. And I think it was good here. It saves money for the show of course. But it’s challenging enough that it puts the team back (a task worthy as a penalty), but does not eliminate that team automatically since they have the rest of the Leg ahead of them. Unfortunately for Rowah & Amani, they couldn’t catch up after the Speed Bump, but who knows where they slowed down. (Or other teams sped up.)
I was disappointed that the basket bikes were a Fast Forward. All of the teams should’ve done it as a Detour or a Road Block. Or even forcibly as a Route Marker. We have nine teams and it would’ve been AMAZING to see nine teams struggling with the basket bikes. And in the heat!
But having the Fast Forward before only the Detour and the searching task would definitely be a risky move for a team.
The Detour was okay. Though the mask painting was a little blah considering they’re in Vietnam and in a beautiful location, even though it still has a cultural aspect. The stilts were okay, but the challenge to it was good enough.
While the Road Block last Leg before the Mat was alright since it was a Non-Elimination, the searching task right before the Mat here is kind of odd. Especially when teams can’t run in the temple. A little bit of a luck task as well. But I would’ve preferred a Road Block here with another task instead.
One thing I love about the season though is the visuals. Just that cinematic look and feel to the show is awesome and definitely different from TARUS. Though they’ve started doing some different things in recent seasons.
The editing still needs to be tightened up though. Rowah & Amani just suddenly pop up at the Detour without arriving. Unless I missed it. But again, teams were invisible for parts of the Leg.
Overall, the most solid Leg and episode of the four so far.
My Subjective Team Rankings
It was a tough Leg for Jasmin & Jerome, but it was great to see them continue to fight and push forward despite the many setbacks and frustration. Meanwhile, Chris & Adrienne delivered the lols with the couple bickering. I definitely did not expect them to be the bickering couple of the season. But it was fun to watch this Leg. Hope they can work much better moving forward though and use their fiery attitudes (especially Adrienne’s) to Race harder against the others.
Hayley & Mikayla definitely recovered from last Leg and their 2nd place finish was well deserved.
It was half and half for #TeamMelbourne though. Tom & Tyler somehow grabbed first once again despite not having the easiest of times during the Leg. I don’t know if that says more about them or the other teams. Or maybe it’s equal. But they’re definitely the team to beat. Viv & Joey had a very rough Leg this time. It definitely started at the beginning of the Leg with the bad taxi and they just couldn’t recover after that. This is exactly what I pointed out yesterday. Perhaps them experiencing this makes them stronger Racers moving forward.
Sid & Ash had a much better Leg this time and it was their first time really stepping it up. My only gripe was them telling Tim & Rod the answer. Tim & Rod still went to find the Buddha themselves. But this is the kind of alliance answer sharing that I hate seeing on the Race. Of course it helps to have teams you’re friendly with to help you when you need it. But Tim & Rod particularly have depended on getting answers from other teams. (The bus station Route Marker last Leg, for example.)
Rowah & Amani really fell behind after the incense which is odd. Either they took so long at the incense or the other teams sped through the Detours. It’s too bad they were eliminated this soon as they had a good attitude for the Race.
Femi & Nick have really not been doing too well. Four Legs in a row now that they’ve really lucked out by other teams just doing worse than them. I don’t rule them out though because they could certainly step it up big time in the future too.
Adrienne: “I’ve followed you long enough.”
Chris: “Don’t get on the wrong side of this one.”
Viv: “I ate some of my sweat dripping down my face.”
Adrienne: “Chris was a cat. I was a cow.”
Chris: “We nearly had a divorce today.”