The 10th Leg of the Race begins as teams must make their way to the Puu Jih Shih Temple) in Sandakan armed with $400. There, teams must search through thousands of Buddha figurines for ones with their names on it. Inside will be a key to a rattan bag that holds their next clue.
Reichen & Chip maintain their Fast Forward-fueled lead as they open the next clue at the temple revealing that teams will be flying to Seoul, South Korea. Vans to the airport will arrive at the temple every 30 minutes starting at midnight. Each van can carry only one team.
All teams are on the same flight, via Singapore, to Seoul. But in Singapore, David & Jeff and Jon & All manage to get standby tickets via Hong Kong that would arrive in Seoul an hour earlier. After some misunderstandings, David & Jeff eventually secure their tickets on the flight as do Jon & al.
Upon arrival in Seoul, teams must make their way to Seoul Tower at Namsan Park. At the airport, the Goats and Clowns are struggling with the Korean taxi drivers. But they eventually reach Namsan and open the next clue directing teams to the Sundam Valley near the DMZ. They will find the Route Marker by the Hantan River.
Because the drive is so long, the taxi ride will be very expensive. So the Goats and Clowns decide to share a taxi and split the fare.
Kelly’s Jon is a little apprehensive of being in South Korea since it’s so close to North Korea. Reichen is shocked that TAR would ever think about traveling to here.
After Namsan, Reichen & Chip also struggle with their non-English speaking driver. They go to the Grand Hyatt hoping to get a driver that speaks English.
The Goats and Clowns, meanwhile, are scared when they see tanks and military and they realize they are close to the DMZ. They have to turn around and Kelly & Jon are able to pass them.
Reichen & Chip end up arriving first at Rafting Korea with Kelly & Jon next, both of them from the second flight.
All the teams head down to the river where the find the Road Block: Which one of you has the colder personality? For this Road Block, teams strip down and jump into the frozen river to swim across and up through an exit hole.
Chip, Jon, Jeff and Al decide to take the plunge. Before they can jump in, they have to be cleared by the medic.
After the Road Block, teams must make their way back to Seoul and find their next clue at the Seoul National University subway station, 228.
David & Jeff decide they have to separate from Jon & Al. So they go into the nearby town to find another taxi.
Driving back into Seoul proves difficult as traffic is horrible. Teams decide they need to take the subway instead, except for Kelly & Jon. Kelly is frustrated at Jon’s insistence on staying in their taxi. But they actually end up finding the cluebox first.
That clue reveals the Detour: Strong Hands or Strong Stomach. In Strong Hands, teams must learn taekwondo and break three sets of wooden planks each. In Strong Stomach, teams must eat live octopus.
The restaurant is within walking distance from the station. But Kelly & Jon decide on taekwondo. Reichen & Chip choose octopus and they struggle through the delicacy.
Kelly has some trouble with the planks, but she visualizes Jon’s face and breaks the planks easily. They can now make their way to the Pit Stop at Gyeongbokgung Palace.
Jon & Al choose the planks. David & Jeff choose octopus, but realize they cannot eat it so they switch over.
All four teams are now on their way to the Palace. Kelly & Jon check in as Team #1 and win a trip to the Caribbean. Reichen & Chip and Jon & Al are 2nd and 3rd. David & Jeff are last, but this is a Non-Elimination Leg.
— DryedMangoez (@dryedmangoez) March 26, 2021
So I always have to bring this up. But seriously, what is with The Amazing Race US being so afraid of Racing more than four teams in South Korea and the Philippines?! A combined six visits and never has TARUS Raced more than four teams in either country. It is so bewildering. Why are they so against it?
There are some fans who say “Who care what part in the Race a country is visited?” But actually, it matters a lot. Especially in both South Korea and the Philippines where there are TONS of different tasks that could be staged with more than four teams Racing at a time. Both countries absolutely need to be visited on early Legs. But considering TAR is AGAIN on life support, who knows when it’ll ever get a chance to do so.
It’s really one of the many things that has annoyed me about TARUS over these last 20 years. But it might be one of the most annoying and baffling things. Other TARs have had ZERO problem Racing teams in these countries. Heck, it was the first country on TARAu2 AKA one of the best, gold standard seasons of TAR anywhere in the world.
It’s absolutely insane. Anyway, on to this Leg.
Great, airport drama is back. lol But it was okay. The Singapore scenes were funny only because I loved the obvious dubbing of the female ticket agent. Like, that was not her voice. It was someone from TAR production later on during editing. Lolol They do that all the time. But it was so obvious here. So it was amusing at least.
So this episode aired before I got sucked into the Korean Wave. And I think this is my first time watching this episode since I have. It’s very interesting to watch the episode, even seeing places I’ve now actually been to. And then compare it to what I might have been thinking back then in 2003.
It’s strange to hear the teams be so afraid of traveling to Korea. What was the political situation back then?
Interesting to see the teams having taxi trouble. They were in expensive black taxis. I wonder if the Race had them take those taxis at the airport.
Navigating the Seoul subway would be a task in and of itself. But what’s interesting and from my own experience is that locals will help you if they think you’re lost or having trouble. I wasn’t even lost in the subway station when a few people came up and asked if I needed help. I was surprised, but it was very nice.
The tasks this Leg were okay. The way they had teams at the Road Block, it was pretty obvious this was a Non-Elimination Leg. (Also the fact that there are four teams left but three Legs left.)
The ice swim was an interesting task. Very Korean eh? Lol So Korean they did it on TAR Canada 1. Lol
The Detour was better. An interesting balance between gross, but close and far, but easier.
This Leg definitely needed another task somewhere. But overall an okay Leg and okay episode. The team dynamics were interesting to watch as well.
But really, I felt a little bored as well. I think having the same four teams, though good teams, feels a little tired. Like, we need to have more than the same teams for the last four Legs. The Non-Elimination Legs really should’ve been spread out more.
My Subjective Team Rankings
Kelly & Jon stepped it up this Leg. And funny enough, it was Jon’s relaxed attitude that helped them get through and win. I think a little bit of luck and a more calm bit of thinking (at least on Jon’s part) helped them perform better this Leg.
Jon & Al, meanwhile, have stepped up a lot. And I think they probably would’ve done even better if they hadn’t stuck with David & Jeff early on in the Leg. They’re more than making a case for them to get to the final three.
David & Jeff though are definitely benefiting, character-wise, from not having many more teams left. I wish we saw more of that earlier in the Race too.
Reichen & Chip‘s franticness can be a positive and a negative for them. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But again, you can’t fault them for being competitive.