The Amazing Race 35 Season Wrap-up

The Amazing Race 35 Episode 12 Recap Review

Why didn’t Bertram and Co. actually plan for 90-minute episodes like they said they would? That is the question that has been nagging at me the entire season. And that question almost negates any of the (few) positives this season might have had otherwise.

Extended episodes of The Amazing Race are not bad on paper. In fact, they can be a positive as is shown by many international TARs. Whether it’s Australia, Israel, the Philippines, Finland, China or Vietnam; longer episodes can be thoroughly enjoyable and warranted if the show makes the best use of that time.

TAR35 did not.

The reasonable expectation is that season 35 would feature more tasks and Route Markers each Leg in order to help fill the extra half-hour (or about 20 minutes, without commercials) of episode. It’s actually something that many viewers (myself included) have hoped for even before 90-minute episodes.

So when hour-long episodes in recent episodes have already felt laborious to get through and Legs feeling short and barebones, what then when TAR35’s Legs and episodes feature almost the same amount of tasks and Routes Markers, with maybe one or two added Route Markers, as the recent norm.

And when it comes to extra tasks and Route Markers, I don’t think anyone meant having multiple “climb stairs” tasks in a Leg or visiting the same location from the last Leg.

Even with 13 teams and perhaps one or two more tasks than usual, these 90-minute episodes have still felt so slow. Like a chore to have to get through. It doesn’t help when the show now has to resort to spending 15-20 minutes on one task, meaning seeing teams fail tasks over and over and over again. All to help pad out the episode. When instead, having one more actual Active Route Info task or two even would solve such a problem easily.

One might argue that it is a budget problem. But that argument goes out the window when international TARs can stage Legs with more tasks on what is likely half the budget TARUS has.

And no one is asking for TARUS to emulate HaMerotz LaMillion‘s multiple-episode-spanning Legs. But when the most recent Amazing Race Australia can easily fill longer episodes with content AND still have tasks left on the cutting room floor, there is no excuse for TARUS not to have one or two more tasks planned each Leg.

Again, having more tasks is not a wish and dream fans only started to have this season. It is arguably a problem that’s needed to be addressed since at least season 27 when a few Legs infamously lasted all of two to three hours. And this season saw a few Legs like that too.

Gone are the days when teams were Racing all day long or even across a few days in a Leg. Logistics and budget have made sure of that. But at least have teams out past lunchtime. Are teams so incapable of Racing too hard anymore? But then again, when teams in other countries are able to face tougher challenges and a greater number of challenges each day and still live to tell the story, there is no reason TARUS cannot do the same with their teams.

Now, without the whining about the lack of content to fill longer episodes, the season would probably easily fit right along with modern TAR. Okay teams running through okay Legs. Nothing particularly memorable. Nothing memorably fun or outrageous or dramatic.

If anything, the fans were much more outrageous and dramatic with their hot takes against teams on social media. But the difference being fans being outrageous and dramatic is more toxic than fun.

Another criticism that I’ve seen online, and which I agree with, is the show needs to cast a more diverse group of personalities. CBS’ forced racial and ethnic diversity mandate is good (though shouldn’t be necessary if the show actually cared about diversity in the first place). But it seems TAR has forgotten that they need a diversity in personalities as well. There are interesting and competitive people across all races and ethnicities and cultures and backgrounds. That has not been reflected on TAR in recent years.

And how about the show’s insistence on saying there are no Non-Elimination Legs. YOU JUST HAD ONE IN VIETNAM! I’ve already said my piece on that. But basically, there is nothing wrong with Non-Elimination Legs. No one had a problem with Non-Elimination Legs. Having no Non-Elims might have been a COVID Era necessity. But no longer! Just stop making it a big deal and then not actually following through with it later. That’s such nonsense.

Meanwhile, I had no problem with the Race staying in Asia for the first six Legs. Especially since it feels like TARUS hasn’t visited Asia in many seasons. Yes, they could’ve visited a few more diverse settings within Southeast Asia at least. But them just being in Asia is not a problem for me. In fact I welcome it very much and enjoyed having so much Asia between TARUS, TARAu and Amazing Race Suomi. Sorry not sorry to some TAR fans who have some kind of animosity toward Asian locations for whatever reason.

Other tidbits I actually did like this season…
The 2nd Thai Leg was one of the season’s better Legs and episodes. Definitely needed one more task. But the lotus Road Block and the two Detours were good.

The first Vietnamese Leg was also good. The floating market task was the kind of chaotic task we need more of on TAR. And the Detour was solid.

The Germany Leg should have been the template for the season. Lots of little tasks that come together for a very full Leg. Too bad it was the only one.

And I liked the Detour in Slovenia with the apiary vs hay drying racks.

That’s all. lol

With the upcoming TAR36, originally TAR35, also featuring 90-minute episodes, but with Legs designed for hour-long episodes, I just hope Bertram & Co. have found ways to at least edit the episodes better. Even if they might have even less potential content available. Smash two Legs together into one 90-minute episode. Split a three Legs across two episodes. Whatever. But again, this would not be a problem if the show were able to stage fuller Legs regardless of how long the episodes might be.

When Network 10’s The Amazing Race Australia is the best TAR series of the year and much more satisfying and enjoyable than TARUS, then you know there’s a problem somewhere. And the problem is certainly not down under.

Team Thoughts

Jocelyn & Victor for Unfinished Business 2 please! I think they are the only team I would want to see back and Racing again. They had such an amazing start. It’s too bad they had just one unlucky moment that then coupled with poor Leg design.

Circling back to the beginning of the Race, Alexandra & Sheridan could’ve been a fun team to watch, but just not a good Leg from them. Elizabeth & Iliana are the same and it’s too bad they couldn’t catch a break.

Joe & Ian were a surprising flame out. I thought they could go far in the Race. Liam & Yeremi were good guys and I would’ve liked seeing them stay longer as well. Just not the best Racing, unfortunately.

Andrea & Malaina were great underdogs for a while. Just a really bad last Leg for them. Morgan & Lena could’ve been one of the most memorable modern teams with their sisterly bickering. But their early Race performance just didn’t materialize later on.

I don’t get the negative comments toward Robbin & Chelsea. They were a team that was focused on the Race. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I do not want to watch a season where everyone holds each other’s hands. (*cough*TAR32*cough*)

Todd & Ashlie were an alright team. But certainly not the most interesting. Steve & Anna Leigh were definitely the kind of team we need more of too. It’s so weird that they were actually overshadowed by more bland teams lol

Joel & Garrett have to be one of the more consistent underdogs this season. A really solid performance from them. And also good guys as well. Rob & Corey are definitely the anti-Dave & Conner, thank goodness. And it was great to watch them Race. And Greg & John certainly emerged as the top contenders and in a way that wasn’t flashy or overly cocky, which is good.

To be honest, every season, I just add on to these lists. But I haven’t truly gone back and taken a good long look at whether or not these rankings are still valid for me. Especially when I haven’t watched most of these seasons in years. Some even 10 years ago. So my rankings here now are pretty loose, though as close as I will ever get to my overall thoughts of them.


The last major update as December 11, 2015, unless otherwise noted. Otherwise, I simply add in the current season to the list without changing any other rankings.

1. TAR3
2. TAR5
3. TAR17
3. TAR8
5. TAR11:AS
5. TAR12
7. TAR2
7. TAR4
7. TAR10
7. TAR1
7. TAR6
7. TAR25
13. TAR9
13. TAR14
15. TAR18:UB
15. TAR13
17. TAR15
17. TAR19
17. TAR27
20. TAR21
20. TAR16
20. TAR34
20. TAR20
20. TAR30
20. TAR33
26. TAR7
27. TAR29
27. TAR22
27. TAR23
27. TAR35
31. TAR31
32. TAR28
33. TAR26
34. TAR32
35. TAR24:AS
(regardless of winner)
Not overhauled until a full rewatch of each finale
1. TAR3
2. TAR12
3. TAR21
4. TAR8
5. TAR30
6. TAR5
7. TAR2
8. TAR1
9. TAR16
10. TAR15
11. TAR14
12. TAR25
13. TAR34
14. TAR29
15. TAR20
16. TAR6
17. TAR19
18. TAR17
19. TAR22
20. TAR23
21. TAR27
22. TAR33
23. TAR11: AS
24. TAR4
25. TAR26
26. TAR35
27. TAR18
28. TAR9
29. TAR13
30. TAR10
31. TAR28
32. TAR7
33. TAR31
34. TAR24
35. TAR32
(Updated 2/21/18)
1. TAR3
2. TAR5
3. TAR4
3. TAR8
5. TAR11
6. TAR6
6. TAR10
6. TAR17
6. TAR12
10. TAR25
11. TAR33
12. TAR1
12. TAR2
14. TAR9
15. TAR18
16. TAR14
16. TAR13
16. TAR15
16. TAR16
20. TAR20
21. TAR27
22. TAR21
23. TAR19
24. TAR30
24. TAR34
24. TAR31
24. TAR22
24. TAR29
29. TAR7
29. TAR35
31. TAR32
32. TAR23
33. TAR26
34. TAR28
35. TAR24
*did some trimming after TAR34*
1. Charla & Mirna (TAR5/11)
1. Teri & Ian (TAR3/11)
1. Ron & Christina (TAR12/18)
4. Ken & Gerard (TAR3)
4. Kelly & Jon (TAR4)
4. Brook & Claire (TAR17)
4. Meredith & Gretchen (TAR7)
8. Michael & Kevin (TAR17)
9. Brendon & Rachel (TAR20/24)
9. Linda & Karen (TAR5)
9. Kris & Jon (TAR6)
9. Dustin & Kandice (TAR10/11)
9. Gary & Mallory (TAR17/18/24)
9. John Vito & Jill (TAR3)
9. Dave & Margaretta (TAR1)
9. The Paolo Family (TAR8)
9. The Gaghan Family (TAR8)
18. David & Mary (TAR10)
18. Erwin & Godwin (TAR10)
18. Emily & Molly (TAR34)
21. Michelle & Victoria (TAR32)
22. Brian & Ericka (TAR15)
23. Max & Katie (TAR22)
24. Dan & Jordan (TAR16)
24. Ernie & Cindy (TAR19)
24. Pam & Winnie (TAR22)
updated 12/11/15
1. Charla & Mirna (TAR5)
2. Rachel & Elissa (TAR31)
2. Janelle & Britney (TAR31)
4. Michelle & Victoria (TAR32)
4. Lena & Kristy (TAR6)
4. Linda & Karen (TAR5)
7. Teri & Ian (TAR11)
8. Ron & Christina (TAR18)
9. John Vito & Jill (TAR3)
10. Joseph & Monica (TAR9)
11. The Gaghan Family (TAR8)
12. Erwin & Godwin (TAR10)
13. Gary & Mallory (TAR17)
14. The Paolo Family (TAR8)
15. Michael & Kevin (TAR17)
16. Dustin & Kandice (TAR10)
17. Nancy & Emily (TAR1)
18. Tian & Jaree (TAR4)
19. Meredith & Gretchen (TAR7)
20. Nathan & Jennifer (TAR12)
21. Bopper & Mark (TAR20)
22. Natalie & Nadiya (TAR21/24)
23. Pam & Winnie (TAR22)
24. Tiffany & Krista (TAR27)
25. Jocelyn & Victor (TAR35)
26. Glenda & Lumumba (TAR34)
27. Tim & Te Jay (TAR25)
28. Amanda & Kris (TAR13)
29. Misa & Maiya (TAR20)
30. Dennis & Isabelle (TAR25)
31. David & Mary (TAR10)
32. Jim & Marsha (TAR5)

1. Charla & Mirna (TAR11)
1. Teri & Ian (TAR3)
1. Ron & Christina (TAR12)
4. Brook & Claire (TAR17)
5. Emily & Molly (TAR34)
5. Brendon & Rachel (TAR24)
7. Ken & Gerard (TAR3)
7. Kelly & Jon (TAR4)
7. Dustin & Kandice (TAR11)
7. Kris & Jon (TAR6)
11. Gary & Mallory (TAR18)
11. Brendon & Rachel (TAR20)
13. Kristi & Jen (TAR30)
14. Max & Katie (TAR22)
15. Frank & Margarita (TAR1)
16. Blake & Paige (TAR2)
17. Colin & Christie (TAR5)
18. Eric & Jeremy (TAR9)
19. Brian & Ericka (TAR15)
20. Jaime & Cara (TAR14)
21. Henry & Evan (TAR30)
22. Trey & Lexi (TAR21)
WINNERS (subjective, as a team)
(updated 3/3/22)
1. Amy & Maya (TAR25)
1. Nat & Kat (TAR17)
1. Ernie & Cindy (TAR19)
4. Rob & Brennan (TAR1)
4. Dan & Jordan (TAR16)
4. Chris & Alex (TAR2)
4. Flo & Zach (TAR3)
4. The Linz Family (TAR8)
4. Colin & Christie (TAR31)
10. Kim & Penn (TAR33)
10. Tammy & Victor (TAR14)
12. Derek & Claire (TAR34)
13. Uchenna & Joyce (TAR7)
14. Chip & Kim (TAR5)
15. Tyler & James (TAR10)
16. Kisha & Jen (TAR18)
17. Freddy & Kendra (TAR6)
17. Meghan & Cheyne (TAR15)
17. Nick & Starr (TAR13)
17. Rachel & Dave (TAR20)
17. Brooke & Scott (TAR29)
17. Jason & Amy (TAR23)
17. Bates & Anthony (TAR22)
17. Matt & Dana (TAR28)
17. Kelsey & Joey (TAR27)
17. Greg & John (TAR35)
26. Reichen & Chip (TAR4)
27. Eric & Danielle (TAR11)
28. Cody & Jessica (TAR30)
29. Laura & Tyler (TAR25)
30. Josh & Brent (TAR21)
31. Will & James (TAR32)
32. TK & Rachel (TAR12)
33. BJ & Tyler (TAR9)
34. Dave & Connor(TAR24)
WINNERS (with respect to final 3)
Winning Team
> > Who I Wanted to Win
1. Colin & Christie
> > Colin & Christie (TAR31)
1. Amy & Maya
> > Amy & Maya (TAR25)
1. Ernie & Cindy
> > Ernie & Cindy (TAR19)
4. Dan & Jordan
> > Dan & Jordan (TAR16)
5. Uchenna & Joyce
> > Uchenna & Joyce (TAR7)
6. The Linz Family
> > The Linz Family (TAR8)
7. Tammy & Victor
> > Tammy & Victor (TAR14)
8. Nat & Kat
> > Nat & Kat or Brook & Claire (TAR17)
9. Rob & Brennan
> > Rob & Brennan or Frank & Margarita (TAR1)
10. Chris & Alex
> > Blake & Paige or Chris & Alex (TAR2)
11. Chip & Kim
> > Chip & Kim or Brandon & Nicole (TAR5)
12. Tyler & James
> > Tyler & James or Lyn & Karlyn (TAR10)
13. Jason & Amy
> > None (TAR23)
14. Flo & Zach
> > Teri & Ian or Ken & Gerard (TAR3)
15. Brooke & Scott
> > Tara & Joey, Brooke & Scott or London & Logan (TAR29)
15. Kim & Penn
> > Kim & Penn, Raquel & Cayla, Ryan & Dusty (TAR32)
15. Greg & John
> > Rob & Corey, Joel & Garrett, Greg & John (TAR35)
18. Kisha & Jen
> > Gary & Mallory (TAR18)
19. Meghan & Cheyne
> > Brian & Ericka (TAR15)
20. Dana & Matt
> > Sheri & Cole (TAR28)
21. Nick & Starr
> > Nick & Starr or Ken & Tina (TAR13)
22. Derek & Claire
> > Emily & Molly (TAR34)
23. Reichen & Chip
> > Kelly & Jon (TAR4)
24. Freddy & Kendra
> > Kris & Jon (TAR6)
25. Rachel & Dave
> > Brendon & Rachel (TAR20)
26. Bates & Anthony
> > Max & Katie (TAR22)
27. Kelsey & Joey
> > Chris & Logan (TAR27)
28. Dave & Connor
> > Brendon & Rachel (TAR24)
29. Will & James
> > Hung & Chee… maybe (TAR32)
30. Tyler & Laura
> > Hayley & Blair or Jenny & Jelani (TAR26)
31. Cody & Jessica
> > Kristi & Jen or Henry & Evan (TAR30)
32. BJ & Tyler
> > Eric & Jeremy or Ray & Yolanda (TAR9)
33. Eric & Danielle
> > Charla & Mirna or Dustin &Kandice (TAR11:AS)
34. TK & Rachel
> > Ronald & Christina or Don & Nicolas (TAR12)
35. Josh & Brent
> > Trey & Lexi or Jaymes & James (TAR21)

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