Recap: The Amazing Race 1, Episode 10 – To the Physical and Mental Limit
Original Airdate: Wednesday, November 21, 2001
Rob & Brennan begin the 10th Leg of the Race at 10:12am and open the first clue telling teams to meet “the King” at Raile Beach. Teams must figure out that refers to “King Climbers” rock climbing school.
Frank & Margarita depart at 11:06am. They read that the school closes at 5:30pm and point out that Joe & Bill’s departure time is 6:30pm. Joe & Bill are still confident that they can win the Race.
Rob & Brennan arrive on Raile Beach and must first be outfitted with special rock climbing equipment. They will then hike half a mile through the tropical jungle to the next Route Marker. And there, teams will encounter the Detour: Hike or Climb. Teams must decide how to reach the next clue inside a hilltop cave.
In Hike, teams must hike up a long, winding path. In Climb, teams must rock climb up to the cave.
Rob & Brennan choose to rock climb and they quickly reach the clue. That clue directs teams to “Sand, Land & Trek” in Bor Tor, Ao Luk. Teams must continue through the jungle, rappel to a boat and then figure out how to get to Ao Luk where they must reach the boat company that closes at 5pm.
Rob & Brennan rappel down from the cave just as Frank & Margarita arrive. They also choose Climb, but Margarita takes a moment to get herself ready before doing it.
Rob & Brennan maintain their lead as they arrive in Bor Tor and open the next clue revealing the Road Block: Upper body strength is the key to success. For this Road Block, teams must paddle a kayak down the river. What that team member will not know is that the kayak will also carry their teammate and their luggage. Then, they must search a cave for their next clue, masks and snorkels.
Brennan decides to do the Road Block and they have no problem getting the next clue. That clue directs them to return to the boat company, head to Ao Nang beach, hire a boat and then look for a Route Marker bobbing in the water four miles from the mainland. The only clue teams will get is that it is located near Chicken Island. At the buoy, teams must use their snorkel gear, dive in the water and retrieve the next clue.
Meanwhile back at the Tiger Cave Temple, Kevin & Drew begin the Leg at 3:03pm. They get to the Detour and choose Climb. They have a little trouble getting up, but eventually reach the clue by helping each other. They have to hurry as Sea, Land & Trek closes soon.
Over at the Road Block, Frank decides to do it and they paddle to the cave.
It’s 5:31pm and Rob & Brennan retrieve the underwater clue pointing teams to the Pit Stop at Pai Plong Beach.
Kevin & Drew arrive at Raile Beach at 5:35pm and it is too late for them to continue with the Leg right now.
Frank & Margarita arrive at the Chicken Island clue at 5:47pm and have caught up to Rob & Brennan as they head to the Pit Stop.
Rob & Brennan, however, maintain their lead and officially check-in as Team #1. Frank & Margarita take 2nd. The two teams celebrate their good Leg and laugh that Joe & Bill are only now starting the Leg at 6:31pm.
A storm has arrived in Thailand. Joe & Bill head to Raile Beach and meet a young woman who had just helped Kevin & Drew secure transport to their next destination. She tells the Guidos about Kevin & Drew having already climbed Thaiwand Wall.
Joe & Bill decide to find a cheap hotel while Kevin & Drew make their way to Sea, Land & Trek where they see remnants of the first two teams. They rummage through the garbage and find ripped clue envelopes, but nothing in them.
Next morning at 8am, Kevin & Drew open the Road Block clue and Drew decides to do it. Joe & Bill, meanwhile, arrive at the Detour and choose to Climb. The Guidos help each other up the wall.
Kevin & Drew stay in 3rd place through to the Pit Stop.
Joe & Bill get to the Mat in last and are welcomed by Phil who tells them this is a Non-Elimination Leg.
First, I must point out how shady Phil was in that recap. He hit both Nancy & Emily (“they gave up”) and Joe & Bill (“sat on their Fast Forward… lapse in judgment”). I want to say that we need to see more of Phil being savage with the teams. But I remember that he does do that from time to time. Whether it’s an appropriate eyebrow raise at the Mat or him trying to clue the clueless alliance teams in on TAR32. *giggle*
But if you want to talk about “interesting,” this Leg is certainly that. For any die-hard TAR fan, how crazy is it to watch an episode like this. It’s definitely been a while since I’ve watched such an episode where there’s more than one distinct group of teams Racing almost separate Legs. That’s less common in contemporary TAR of course. But watching this episode after so many years is just so strange, yet fascinating at the same time.
It really highlights how logistics can play such a huge part on TAR. Not just from a production standpoint, but from a storytelling perspective as well. On one hand, watching heavyweights Rob & Brennan and Frank & Margarita go at it is kind of nice. Very refreshing to see equals going up against each other. They are both worthy teams to make it this far in the Race. But they’re also not just boring Racebots either. It’s been enlightening during this rewatch for me to see that both teams really brought a lot to the table, character-wise.
On the other hand, watching just two teams Racing against each other can actually get tiresome. That’s why I’ve long whined about TAR needing to travel westward so we can have as many teams as possible Racing through Asia (which always delivers crazy, dramatic Legs). Having as many teams as possible Racing side-by-side will always be a recipe for exciting competition.
As was the case in these early seasons, the Non-Elimination Legs would get saved for the final Legs. And thankfully the show has moved away from that. But it can get tedious to follow the same teams for so many Legs at the end, especially if they can’t carry the show on their own. I don’t remember much about the final Legs, so I’m interested in seeing how the episodes play out. Especially knowing how far behind Joe & Bill will fall.
Anyway, it was very nice to see the time check throughout the Leg. Those time checks definitely come in handy with a Leg and Race like this where teams are so far apart from each other. Also when Hours of Operation play a huge part too.
The way the Leg was designed, it definitely looks like a Non-Elimination Leg. Not much competition, but really a nice tour through beach resorts in Thailand.
With the Detour, I think both sides of it sounded pretty strenuous to me. Hiking or climbing? The hiking probably would’ve made teams much more tired. But of course, climbing a rock face back in 2001 would be the more “extreme” option.
The Road Block was so simple and straightforward. It really is just a regular Route Marker. And it added to the linear nature of this Leg.
Looking back, this Leg feels very much like filler. Something to fill the 13 episode order. And I don’t know that I’ve ever felt that way for a Leg on TAR before. I think it’s just the way the Leg was designed and then exacerbated by an overnight Hours of Operation that did not equalize all teams.
Really shows how far TAR has come when it relates to logistics and Leg design.
My Subjective Team Rankings
Just like the Leg was divided between two pairs of teams, so are my own subjective rankings.
Rob & Brennan and Frank & Margarita are so obviously the contenders now. It’s hard to imagine any other team in their strong positions at the moment. At the time, maybe a viewer might think the other two times still had a chance to catch up. But 20 years of TAR might make one think that the difference is insurmountable.
Joe & Bill and Kevin & Drew are almost a full day behind. We know that in later seasons, if this kind of situation were to ever happen, the show would work some (sketchy) magic to keep teams close together. (*cough*Charla & Mirna facing an invisible storm*cough*)
Seeing them battle it out for last place here, and in a sequence of scenes that felt like a mere afterthought, was kind of a downer. Like, you almost wanted both teams to get eliminated to put them out of their misery. In 2001, a viewer might not think they were as good as eliminated. But me watching in 2021 can see that there is no way either team can catch up. And it kind of takes away from the competition knowing that whoever survives between Joe & Bill and Kevin & Drew will have zero chance at winning or even just catch up to the leaders.
Frank: “Don’t talk. The Guidos could be, like, sitting under the car.”
Kevin: “I gotta wait ’til your fat ass gets in the middle.”
Bill: “It just kind of makes your heart burst.”