It’s the halfway point of the Race and teams continue in Mongolia, armed with 173,000 tugrik for the Leg. Before returning to Ulaanbaatar, teams head to Khongoryn Els Sand Dunes where they must dig for a box containing their next clue. And because of the extreme weather conditions here, there is a four hour time limit.
Just 10 minutes after starting to dig, Sid & Ash are the first team to find the clue box. And that reveals the Road Block: Who wants to wrestle with this Road Block? For this Road Block, teams must learn and perform the traditional chant that begins Mongolian wrestling matches.
Sid decides to do the Road Block.
Meanwhile, Tim & Rod, Jasmin & Jerome and Viv & Joey are the next to dig up their clue. Sid has two failed attempts before Tim and Jerome arrive to start learning the chant.
Sid goes for his 3rd attempt and he finally gets the thumbs up. He and Ash open the next clue which reveals the Detour: Dance or Deliver. In Dance, teams must learn and perform a traditional Mongolian folk dance, Durvun Oird. In Deliver, teams must head to Narantuul Market where they must deliver boots, furniture and then an oven (which they must assemble) to the correct locations.
Sid & Ash choose Dance.
Back at the dunes, it’s been two hours and 50 minutes when Tom & Tyler finally find a box. That leaves the sisters and nurses still digging.
Over at the Road Block, Jerome and Joey are able to get the thumbs up and leave.
Returning to the dunes, it’s now been four hours so Hayley & Mikayla and Femi & Nick are given the next clues. But that also means they will incur a two hour penalty at the Pit Stop.
Over at the market, Jasmin & Jerome realize the delivering isn’t as easy as it appears. They must first figure out how to carry all the boots by hand and then figure out where in the market to deliver them without directions.
Back at the Road Block, Tim & Rod have long gone when Tom & Tyler arrive and Tom gets started with the task.
At the dancing, Sid fights through the pain in his knee as Viv & Joey and Tim & Rod arrive. While Tim & Rod start getting the hang of it, Joey struggles so he and Viv decide to switch.
As the sisters and the nurses leave the Road Block, Sid & Ash go for their first attempt on stage. The audience applauds them, but they get the thumbs down. Ash wants to go upstairs to practice, but Sid prefers they just stay on stage. After two more attempts, they head back upstairs.
Tim & Rod go for their first attempt and they get the thumbs up. They open the next clue telling them to head to the Pit Stop at Chingisiin Khuree Camp which has the world’s biggest ger.
Jasmin & Jerome finally finish their deliveries and are also on their way to the Pit Stop. Sid & Ash are on their 6th attempt and they finally get the thumbs up.
It’s a three-way taxi Race to the Mat. But teams must battle the traffic brought on by Vladimir Putin visiting the city.
That allows Sid & Ash to step on the Mat as Team #1. They also win $1000 each on their Bankwest Halos.
Tim & Rod have to settle for 2nd with Jasmin & Jerome in 3rd.
Elsewhere, the traffic is also affecting the last teams. Femi & Nick are able to arrive at the dancing Detour just before Tom & Tyler. Both of them get the thumbs up on their first attempts. But Tom & Tyler end up hopping in a taxi first.
Viv & Joey are still finishing up their deliveries while Hayley & Mikayla get the thumbs up at the dancing.
Viv & Joey are in last. But they meet an awesome young local boy who is able to lead them to a taxi and tell the driver where they need to go.
Tom & Tyler get to the Pit Stop as Team #4. Femi & Nick arrive in 5th, but they must wait out their two hour penalty.
Viv & Joey step on the Mat and Beau officially checks them in as Team #5.
Femi & Nick’s two hour penalty is over and Beau checks them in as Team #6. That means Hayley & Mikayla arrive in last and are eliminated.
I think this was the strongest episode yet even if the Leg was a little all over the place thanks to the digging and Putin. Lots of excitement. Absolutely no guessing where teams would place. Even elimination wasn’t a certainty, even if it was obviously between two teams.
First off, the clue digging was a fine task to start the Leg with. A little bit of luck to separate teams after an Hours of Operation. And when you’ve got stunning sand dunes at your disposal, you know you gotta have at least one digging task!
The Road Block was good as it was definitely something different. The fake out with the Road Block clue was also fun. So the teams assuming something physical and instead getting something else is also great to throw teams off. But I definitely do not appreciate the promos making us believe teams would be wrestling lol
The Detour was pretty good. Both are definitely TAR staple tasks, dancing and delivering. But again in such a unique and different location as Mongolia, it was very refreshing and interesting.
I was honestly expecting this to be a Non-Elimination Leg. But I also wondered what the point of the two-hour penalty would’ve been if it was. So I’m glad it was an elimination Leg after all.
The Putin traffic certainly made things very crazy, time-wise. And I can’t even imagine the time differences between the teams between each Route Marker. Especially when it was shown that teams spent hours at tasks.
I must say, the very acrobatic young woman had to be the best Pit Stop Greeter EVER! She was amazing! As was the judge at the dancing Detour.
Overall, this really was an exciting episode with lots going on. Good, solid tasks and for the first time this season, a really unpredictable finish!
My Subjective Team Rankings
Also for the first time this season, all the teams delivered in some way and it was definitely great to see each team finally get a chance to make an impact.
It’s hard to say which team had the best Leg this time. But I think it definitely has to be Sid & Ash. They had the perfect combination of luck and skill this Leg. Definitely lots of luck at the digging for clues at the beginning and then at the end with the horrible Putin traffic! But they performed better at the Road Block and Detour than they have been. It was definitely a step up for them this Leg compared to the previous Legs.
Jasmin & Jerome had another chance to win a Leg, but it seems the deliveries took longer than expected. I’m definitely interested in hearing more about Jerome’s father and his Filipino Aboriginal Band though!
Viv & Joey had another weak Leg this time. They definitely have Femi & Nick and Hayley & Mikayla to thank for having bad luck at the sand dunes. I still think they have what it takes to go all the way though. And like I mentioned earlier in the season, it’s good to see teams have to work for the win and not just coast through.
Which is exactly why I still like Tom & Tyler. They’ve become much more likeable these last two legs since we see them having to fight a little harder in the Race. Even as they’ve fallen to the back of the pack, they still have their wits about them and don’t let their situation get to them or hurt their Racing. (Despite what the promos leading up to this episode showed!)
Femi & Nick just had really bad luck this Leg. Especially as they did pretty well on both the Road Block and Detour. The only good luck they had was that Hayley & Mikayla had worse luck.
Tim & Rod had probably their best Leg and most enjoyable on-screen moments this episode. They’ve been quiet the first couple of Legs, but they definitely were given much more of a chance to shine this time. They slowly, but surely are stepping it up with each Leg. So that could bode well for their chances.
Hayley & Mikayla really just had horrible luck this Leg. It’s sad to see them eliminated already as I felt like they really could carry the torch for all the strong all-female teams TARAu has cast over the years. They started out showing they seemed to have what it takes. But they really suffered from bad luck and one or two bad tasks for them.
Ash: “I knew I was gonna get yelled at.”
Viv: “We might be small, but we will never give up.”