The Amazing Race Seasons 16 and 17 Coming to DVD!

The DVD releases of The Amazing Race continue with seasons 16 and 17 now available for Pre-Order on Amazon!

No news of special features yet, but as with the most recent releases, these DVDs could very well include the Elimination Station videos featuring the eliminated teams in sequester.

There is also no release date yet, but you can now pre-order here: http://amzn.to/1sxPUps

Here are the DVD covers for the sets:

The Amazing Race 17 Season Wrap-up

The Amazing Race 17 Wrap-Up

History
Season 17 of The Amazing Race ended with history being made.  Nat & Kat are officially the first all-female team to win the original, American Amazing Race.  17 seasons, almost 10 years and finally an all-female team crosses the Finish Line first.

This is definitely a big deal, after many less than stellar, maybe undeserving, or worse unlikeable winners, we get a team that fully deserves the win.  A great ending to one of the better post-All-Stars seasons.  Having Nat & Kat and Brook & Claire as Teams 1 and 2 couldn’t have been a better way to cap off the season.  Two teams who have not only done well, but dominated the Race.  Two teams who didn’t just fall onto the Mat at the Finish Line, but worked their butts off the entire Race to get there.

Actually, Nat & Kat and Brook & Claire finishing so strongly could be enough to push TAR17 over TAR12, arguably the best post-All-Star season that was ultimately marred by the eventual winners.

The season as a whole was enjoyable.  Despite others out there saying this was a lackluster season, on the contrary, I think TAR17 started off very strongly and was able to maintain a brisk pace through the entire Race.  A surprisingly good mix of teams with some new locations and even marginally inspired tasks helped make TAR17 feel a little fresher than the last couple of seasons.

The Twists
Two new twists to the Race were introduced this season.  The first was the Express Pass.  Phil hyped the Express Pass the entire Race as a huge, game-changing power.  But it really is just a Fast Forward only not.  I don’t see the drama they hoped the Express Pass would add, nor the game-changing… no, game-shattering consequences of it being used.  Jill & Thomas used the Express Pass and it didn’t really make a difference.  It saved them from Elimination, but so could a Yield or even more so a U-Turn, and both of those help contribute to the drama.

Since TAR has basically devalued the once powerful Fast Forward (I still resent them doing that), they needed another un-harmful jump to the front power?  I don’t know.  Does TAR really need an incentive to get first on the first leg?  I guess the Express Pass helps save money since it takes the place of a trip from Travelocity or the previous first leg prizes of $20,000 or cars.

So I could take or leave the Express Pass.  It did not add a single thing to the Race, enjoyment-wise.  Sure it was great for Jill & Thomas, but not all that great for entertainment purposes.

The second new twist was the Double U-Turn.  It has been very fascinating how they’ve been able to take a twist (the U-Turn) and twist it some more.  After the Blind U-Turn, this Double U-Turn is actually very interesting and I think a good twist.

While the full extent of the Double U-Turn has not been explained, it can be a great source of drama.  Brook & Claire became the first U-Turned team not to be eliminated that same leg, but only because another team was U-Turned after them.  That can certainly bring some good drama and tension.

My question is, can the first U-Turned team U-Turn another team to ultimately help save themselves?  That would be an interesting thing to find out by having the Double U-Turn show up earlier in the Race.  We’ll see if that happens next season.

Back to Basics
The season had some great and memorable tasks.

Of course, the season’s first Road Block was a literal smash.  One thing to fully commend TAR and the CBS promo department was releasing the video of Claire’s watermelon smash.  It was a certified viral hit.  People who didn’t watch The Amazing Race were spreading the video and linking to it, tweeting it and posting it on Facebook.  I was surprised to see several of my Facebook friends, whom I know could care less about TAR, actually post the video and enjoy it.

Creating that eventual viral video was a genius move and it definitely brought some new eyeballs to the show.

One complaint I’ve had the last few seasons has been the lack of cultural and location-specific Detours and Road Blocks.  Increasingly in the last few seasons, we’ve gotten uninspired, generic tasks that could be done in California or the French countryside, New York or the streets of Vietnam.  Doing that totally defeats the purpose of traveling around the world.  Even TAR’s Family Edition had better cultural and location-specific tasks than we’ve had in recent seasons.

Having cultural and location-specific tasks also allow for teams to interact directly with the locals.  Again, one of the selling points for the show, having Americans interacting with a variety of cultures around the world.

So it was good to see that change in TAR17.  From selling in the streets of Ghana and  sitting with Ghanaian school children to mushing sled dogs and setting up traditional dwellings for the Sami in Sweden.  Playing a traditional Russian game to experiencing daily life in Oman.  There were plenty of great tasks that opened our eyes but were also fun to watch.

The route was good as well.  Having teams go from the heat of Ghana to the cold of Europe and Russia and back to the oven in Oman.

The episodes were also a step up, with some better editing and mostly exciting and enjoyable weeks.  The best episode of the season I think has to be Episode 11 in Korea that had drama, thrills, comedy, and competition as well as interesting locations.  The premiere was one of the best in recent memory while the only lackluster episodes were Episodes 8 and maybe 9 for having legs that were too linear that didn’t provide much excitement by way of competition.

Need for Inspiration
The finale, meanwhile, was saved by the ultimate winners.  It was sad finding out the Finish Line would be in Los Angeles.  TAR needs to ban Los Angeles from being a Starting Line or a Finish Line for at least four seasons.  There are so many other cities in the United States… MANY other cities that going back to LA is just boring and contributes to the feeling of being uninspired.

That might be the biggest reason the Emmys decided to go with Top Chef this year instead of keeping TAR’s Emmy streak alive.  Maybe the Emmy voters are sensing the Race becoming too complacent and bland.  Nothing fresh or new to offer, adhering to an almost paint by numbers format.

TAR17 was filmed before the Emmy ceremony, so TAR and Bert & Co.’s response to the Emmy loss should (hopefully!) be seen next season on TAR18.  But TAR17, even without the knowledge of the impending Emmy loss, was a step up for TAR and a good sign that maybe even Bert & Co. know they  need to spice things up.

A good start is finally transitioning the show to High Definition.  It has been a long time coming and hopefully the HD era of TAR also brings a rejuvenated attitude to the show.  A new era that revitalizes TAR, even though it has held up incredibly well going into its 10th year on the air.

So all in all, TAR17 was enjoyable and definitely the best season since TAR12.  That puts even more pressure on TAR18 to deliver.  And my worries about TAR18 can (and will) fill up a separate post later this week.

But as for TAR17, it was a good season, but it will be best remembered for making history.  Good history.  And that’s not a bad way to be remembered.

ALL-TIME RANKINGS
OVERALL SEASONS
1. TAR3
2. TAR5
2. TAR8
4. TAR1
5. TAR11:AS
5. TAR17
5. TAR12
5. TAR2
5. TAR6
12. TAR4
10. TAR16
11. TAR14
13. TAR15
14. TAR10
15. TAR13
16. TAR9
*huge gap*
17. TAR7

FINALES
(regardless of winner)
1. TAR3
2. TAR12
3. TAR8
4. TAR5
5. TAR2
6. TAR1
7. TAR16
8. TAR15
9. TAR14
10. TAR6
11. TAR17
12. TAR11: AS
13. TAR9
14. TAR13
15. TAR4
16. TAR10
17. TAR7

GROUP of TEAMS
1. TAR3
2. TAR8
3. TAR5
4. TAR1
5. TAR11: AS
6. TAR2
6. TAR12
6. TAR17
9. TAR6
9. TAR4
11. TAR16
12. TAR15
13. TAR14
14. TAR13
15. TAR10
16. TAR9
*gap*
17. TAR7

MY ALL-TIME TEAMS
1. Kris & Jon (TAR6)
2. Teri & Ian (TAR3/AS)
3. Ronald & Christina (TAR12)
4. Charla & Mirna (TAR5/AS)
5. Dan & Jordan (TAR16)
6. The Linz Family (TAR8)
7. John Vito & Jill (TAR3/AS)
8. David & Margaretta (TAR1)
9. Linda & Karen (TAR5)
10. Meredith & Gretchen (TAR7)
11. Nat & Kat (TAR17)
12. Brook & Claire (TAR17)
13. Erwin & Godwin (TAR10)
14. Brian & Ericka (TAR15)
15. Michael & Kevin (TAR17)

NON TOP 3 TEAMS THAT SHOULD HAVE GONE FURTHER
1. Teri & Ian (TARAS)
2. John Vito & Jill (TAR3)
3. The Gaghan Family (TAR8)
4. Linda & Karen (TAR5)
5. Meredith & Gretchen (TAR7)
6. Charla & Mirna (TAR5)
7. The Paolo Family (TAR8)
8. Gary & Mallory (TAR17)
9. Joseph & Monica (TAR9)
10. Jim & Marsha (TAR5)
11. Mel & Mike (TAR14)
12. Zev & Justin (TAR15)
13. Toni & Dallas (TAR13)
14. Steve & Allie (TAR16)
15. Michael & Kevin (TAR17)

MOST DESERVING FINAL 3 TEAM (NON-WINNERS)
1. Brook & Claire (TAR17)
1. Kris & Jon (TAR6)
3. Teri & Ian (TAR3)
3. Charla & Mirna (TARAS)
3. Ronald & Christina (TAR12)
6. Ken & Gerard (TAR3)
7. Kelly & Jon (TAR4)
8. Dustin & Kandice (TARAS)
9. Eric & Jeremy (TAR9)
10. Nicolas & Donald (TAR12)
11. Frank & Margarita (TAR1)
12. Ken & Tina (TAR13)
13. Brian & Ericka (TAR15)
14. Sam & Dan (TAR15)

WINNERS (subjective; as a team)
1. Nat & Kat (TAR17)
2. Dan & Jordan (TAR16)
3. The Linz Family (TAR8)
4. Flo & Zach (TAR3)
5. Rob & Brennan (TAR1)
6. Uchenna & Joyce (TAR7)
7. Chris & Alex (TAR2)
7. Chip & Kim (TAR5)
7. Tammy & Victor (TAR14)
10. Meghan & Cheyne (TAR15)
10. Tyler & James (TAR10)
10. Nick & Starr (TAR13)
*gap*
13. Reichen & Chip (TAR4)
14. Freddy & Kendra (TAR6)
15. BJ & Tyler (TAR9)
16. TK & Rachel (TAR12)
17. Eric & Danielle (TAR11:AS)

WINNERS (with respect to final 3)
&nbsp  &nbsp Winning Team
&nbsp  &nbsp  &nbsp Who I wanted to win
1. Dan & Jordan
&nbsp  &nbsp &nbsp Dan & Jordan (TAR7)
2. Uchenna & Joyce
&nbsp  &nbsp &nbsp Uchenna & Joyce (TAR7)
3. The Linz Family
&nbsp  &nbsp &nbsp The Linz Family (TAR8)
4. Tammy & Victor
&nbsp &nbsp Tammy & Victor (TAR14)
5. Nat & Kat
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Nat & Kat or Brook & Claire (TAR1)
6. Rob & Brennan
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Rob & Brennan or Frank & Margarita (TAR1)
7. Chris & Alex
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Blake & Paige or Chris & Alex (TAR2)
8. Chip & Kim
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Chip & Kim or Brandon & Nicole (TAR5)
9. Tyler & James
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Tyler & James or Lyn & Karlyn (TAR10)
10. Flo & Zach
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Teri & Ian or Ken & Gerard (TAR3)
11. Meghan & Cheyne
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Brian & Ericka (TAR15)
12. Nick & Starr
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Nick & Starr or Ken & Tina (TAR13)
13. Reichen & Chip
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Kelly & Jon (TAR4)
14. Freddy & Kendra
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Kris & Jon (TAR6)
15. BJ & Tyler
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Eric & Jeremy or Ray & Yolanda (TAR9)
16. Eric & Danielle
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Charla & Mirna or Dustin &Kandice (TAR11:AS)
17. TK & Rachel
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Ronald & Christina or Don & Nicolas (TAR12)
My Final Subjective Team Rankings

Nat & Kat Nat & Kat – I criticized their sometimes lack of urgency, that they need to push themselves a little more.  They had fallen behind the several times they didn’t.  But I guess a calm and collected Race is just as fine.  That’s not to say they didn’t fight, because they definitely did.  When they were running on all cylinders, they were unstoppable.  They get major props for conquering their fears and doing anything to win the Race, Nat for her fear of heights and Kat for eating meat despite being vegetarian for 22 years.  Take that Rob Mariano!  They fully deserve their win and I am incredibly happy they are the team that made history. 
Brook & Claire Brook & Claire – But! I would’ve been just as happy if Brook & Claire had won the Race.  It was very awesome having two strong, very likeable female teams on the same season.  Not since maybe the BQs and Mirna & Schmirna have there been a better combo of all-female teams?  B&C were not only strong competitors, but they had the energy and spunk that really helps on the Race.  That positive attitude that can help you get out of anything.  It is a shame they won’t be on TAR18, but it was great to see them finish 2nd.  Maybe in the future, they can get the chance to go all the way.  But a wonderful Race from them as well. 
Michael & Kevin Michael & Kevin – Being a fan of them already pre-TAR, Michael & Kevin (or Team Jumba) was one of my favorite teams and I definitely hoped they would go far.  But it seems Kevin’s inability to have more faith in his father made their Race more sloppy than it could have been.  They Raced well, but they didn’t step it up when they needed to.  Add to that Kevin always having to think his father can’t do something, it was only a matter of time before they were eliminated.  I still like them and they certainly are doing quite well on YouTube, but I only wish we got to see that growth between the two of them, Michael proving his son wrong and Kevin being a bigger motivator for his father.
Gary & Mallory Gary & Mallory – Another team that was very strong, but them not stepping it up when they needed to.  Gary & Mallory were a great team, great teamwork and positive attitudes (especially Mallory’s bubbly personality).  But they lacked the drive, especially in their final leg in Oman.  They shut down that leg when in the Race up to then, they were on fire, getting better and better each week.  It would be nice to see them Race again, and learn from their mistakes this season.  I wonder if they’ll get the chance like Mallory asked at the Finish Line.  *wink*wink*  
GAP
Andie & Jenna Andie & Jenna – They would have been an interesting team to watch over the course of the Race.  Their interesting circumstance was definitely a fascinating dynamic to follow.  Sadly, it didn’t seem like they were destined long for the Race, but they were a nice team that would’ve been nice to see go further.
Connor & Jonathan Connor & Jonathan – The singing was getting old, but they were basically harmless the rest of the time.  Their Race was far from stellar though especially compared to performances from other teams.  It seemed like a matter of time before they were eliminated as well.   
Ron & Tony Ron & Tony – So little from them even for the first elimination.  It sucks when a genuine TAR fan doesn’t do well on the show.  I don’t really know how well they would’ve done.  They made a huge mistake right off the bat, so maybe that wasn’t a good sign for their Race prospects. 
Chad & Stephanie Chad & Stephanie – Chad & Stephanie were incredibly schizophrenic.   One week, a typical bickering couple the next week a happy-go-lucky, bumbling couple… which was it?  Their starring leg in Oman was incredible.  Almost like it was planned.  From the oversleeping to the engagement to the first place win, it was really unbelievable.  But really that was their only big moment in the Race. 
GAP
Katie & Rachel Katie & Rachel – Their bad attitudes slowly surfaced week after week until they were eliminated and they were on full display at Elimination Station.  I have to say I’m happy they weren’t the ones making history.  They didn’t Race particularly well and top it off with their bitterness and sour attitudes, I wasn’t sad to see them eliminated.
Nick & Vicki Nick & Vicki – Absolutely hate quitters on TAR and Nick was really the main reason for their team’s downfall.  His negativity was too much for Vicki’s positivity and apparent strength.  Vicki was awesome for being very good at tasks as well as being very social and positive throughout the Race.  But it was Nick that dragged that all down, all culminating in him falling asleep during the Detour in Hong Kong.  Unprecedented. 
Jill & Thomas Jill & Thomas – Typical couple.  Boring.  And sometimes offensive (thanks to Thomas).  Might sound mean, but it was fun seeing them just out of it in the final leg.  I wonder if Thomas has apologized to the Ghanaian children and the elderly yet.
Relive The Amazing Race 17!

Click here to go to the archive to see all my recaps from the season and from seasons past!

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And, check out hours of bonus video including full episodes and the complete season of Elimination Station at CBS.com

Plus download full episodes from the entire season on
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Recap: The Amazing Race 17, Episode 12 – “I didn’t even pee my pants.”

Episode 17.12 – Hi.  I’m Sorry.  I’m in a Race.

And the final leg of The Amazing Race 17 begins with a completely unnecessary and unwanted use of Katy Perry as Jill & Thomas find out the final destination city is Los Angeles.  Once there, teams will need to get themselves to Pier J at the Port of Long Beach for their next clue.

The teams all meet up at Incheon International Airport to wait for the Korean Air ticketing to open and they joke around about Thomas being the last man standing.  As the teams fly off to LA, we get treated tortured with more Katy Perry for the LA glamour shots before the teams get running out of LAX.

Nat & Kat are first to get a taxi followed by Jill & Thomas and then Brook & Claire.

At the pier, teams will have to take a small elevator up to the top of one of the gantry cranes, get a clue strapped on to them and then do a bungee swing.  When they get themselves back onto solid ground, they can open their next clue.

Nat is afraid of heights, so she takes a little time to calm herself down as the other two teams get onto the platform.

When all three are set and ready to go, they let them swing one by one.  First up is Nat & Kat.  They swing then get lowered onto a floater and back onto shore.  They open their clue telling them to take a helicopter to a surprise destination.

Jill & Thomas are right behind and Claire holds Brook’s hand as she goes bananas.

Again, the teams are let go one by one as they each take their own helicopter ride from Long Beach to their surprise destination of… the Rose Bowl.


Nat & Kat grab a letter A and open the clue to find the Road Block.
In this Road Block, teams will decorate three sections of a float for the Tournament of Roses Parade.  If they’ve decorated the float to the floral director’s specifications, the 2009 Rose Queen will hand them their next clue.

Nat decides to do the Road Block and she gets started.  Thomas and Brook follow.

Nat believes she has finished, but the floral director points out that Nat did not fill the little tubes with water for the roses.  Nat has to go back and fill all of them up and stick them back into float.  By now, both Thomas and Brook are at the same spot, but Nat easily fixes her mistake and she and Kat are off.

Their next clue contains three clues:
1.    I am Sancho Panza’s master.
2.    I am the place to hear The Symphony in the Glen
3.    Monroe’s Year of the Itch
Teams use the answers to those clues to find the next location.

Nat & Kat head to the line of taxis outside the gate and look for a driver with an iPhone so they can Google.  They end up taking any taxi as Jill & Thomas come running out and jump into a taxi as well.

Nat & Kat call information and hope to ask them to help out with figuring out the clues, having information Google the answers.  Jill & Thomas meanwhile ask their driver to contact a friend with a computer or internet but he doesn’t seem to understand at all.

Brook & Claire continue to bring up the rear, but they immediately decide to go to a hotel who’ll have internet.

Nat & Kat get help figuring out their next destination is Quixote Studios at Griffith Park, Stage 7.  There they find the final task, Hats Entertainment.

Teams will have to look at a video wall of 48 past Pit Stop greeters, all wearing hats and identify the 11 Pit Stop greeters from this season.  After identifying the correct greeters with their corresponding leg, legendary Bob Eubanks will hand them their next clue.

Nat & Kat get started, taking out their notebook of notes from the entire Race.

Meanwhile, Brook & Claire quickly get all their answers at the hotel and are off to the Studios while Jill & Thomas reach the highest levels of frustration with their taxi driver and then the places they stop to get help.

For Nat & Kat, all the help they need is a quick look at their notes and the finish the final task.  Bob Eubanks hands them their next clue and it tells them to head to the Finish Line at Greystone Mansion.

The doctors leave and Brook & Claire arrive and get started on the final task, which they seem to finish pretty quick.  Nat & Kat are stuck in traffic, so Brook & Claire seemingly have a chance to catch up.

But as we see the eliminated teams ready to welcome the winners, it is Nat & Kat that come running into the mansion’s grounds.  They know they are first and Phil doesn’t even finish telling them before they start celebrating.

Nat & Kat are officially the first all-female team to win the American Amazing Race.  Brook & Claire officially finish 2nd while Jill & Thomas are a distant 3rd.

The teams all congratulate the final 3.  We get a final word from Chad & Stephanie (!?) and also a “Can we do it again?!” from Mallory *wink*wink* before the usual group applause and goodbye for the season.

But wait!  Phil says here’s a preview of next season’s Amazing Race.  And that is saved for another post.

Episode Thoughts
The excitement was there, but mainly because getting the first all female American winners was getting closer and closer to a reality.

Funny how TAR finally got away from having the Starting Line in Los Angeles but ended up having the Finish Line there.  Can we have a several season ban from Southern California please?

Aside from the lackluster Final Destination City, the tasks weren’t all that inspired either.  While it was cute having Bob Eubanks and giving a nod to the Rose Bowl and the Rose Parade, the Road Block was too simple for a final leg.

The leg design didn’t help much either as it seemed like they literally held the teams until all three of them were at the location.  Namely, at the crane when they had to do the bungee swing.  Starting there, if it wasn’t for Jill & Thomas’ taxi driver, there wouldn’t have been any placement shifts from the order they left the airport and that is certainly not exciting, despite TAR Editing’s usual work.

It was almost like the leg came down to who could Google the fastest.

The Final Task was at least more challenging than last season’s,  but I guess it is wrong to expect a TAR12-level Final Task.  Even a TAR14-level task that at least required teams to think.

Turns out that Fake Bear Shopping in a Field was just a random Fern after all.

It wasn’t one of the more exciting finales, but again, it was basically carried by the anticipation that finally, an all-female team was going to win The Amazing Race and that actually was enough.

Leg Twelve Itinerary
PIT STOP
Wongudan – Temple of Heaven
Seoul

CASH
$400

DESTINATION CITY
Los Angeles, California

ROUTE MARKERS
Pier J – Port of Long Beach
Long Beach

ROAD BLOCK
Rose Bowl
Pasadena

FINAL TASK
Stage 7, Quixote Studios, Griffith Park
Los Angeles

FINISH LINE
Greystone Mansion
Beverly Hills

Departure Times

Statue Square
Hong Kong

Jill & Thomas 3:57am
Brook & Claire 4:23am
Nat & Kat 4:27am

Who Did the Detour?
In order of completion

<P ALIGN=”CENTER”

There was no Detour in this Leg of the Race.

Road Block Count
In order of completion; Italics indicate who did this week’s Road Block

Who’s bright enough to float?
6 Nat Kat 5
5 Jill Thomas 7
7 Brook Claire 5

6 Nick Vicki 4
5 Chad Stephanie 4
4 Gary Mallory 4
3 Michael Kevin 4
3 Katie Rachel 2
4 Connor Jonathan 0
0 Andie Jenna 2
1 Ron Tony 0

Order of Finish
1st Nat & Kat (+2)
2nd Brook & Claire (=)
3rd Jill & Thomas (-2)
My Subjective Team Rankings for Leg 12

See final Team Rankings in Season Wrap-Up

Quotes from Episode 17.12

Brook: “We need to be more hungry than Thomas.  And I’m starving.”

Nat: “I didn’t even pee my pants.”

Episode Caps

More than 500! HQ Episode Caps at xangatheamazingracecaps

Miss the Episode?
Watch the full episode for free at CBS.com/Race or
The

Recap: The Amazing Race 17, Episode 11 – I’m Surrounded by Ninjas

Episode 17.11 – I’m Surrounded by Ninjas




The penultimate leg of the 17th Race begins as Nat & Kat open their clue to shockingly find their next destination of be the Demilitarized Zone in Korea.  Teams will fly to Seoul and then drive themselves north to find the Seungil Bridge for their next clue.

Nat & Kat and Jill & Thomas head straight to the airport, but Brook & Claire head to a nearby hotel to find a flight.  They have to wait 30 minutes for their tickets to process so they sit and have some coffee.  They all get on the same flight leaving at 12:25am.

At the airport, Nat & Kat charm a fellow passenger to buy them a Seoul travel guide.

As night falls, across town, Nick & Vicki set off from the Pit Stop with no time which really means they leave past the 12:25am departure for the Korean Air flight to Seoul.  Sure enough, the first flight leaves and Nick & Vicki are left to take a Cathay Pacific flight at 9:30am.



The first three teams touch down at Incheon with cars waiting for them and they begin the long drive to the DMZ.  Meanwhile Nick & Vicki just board their flight leaving Hong Kong.

The rain is pouring down as Jill & Thomas arrive at the Seungil Bridge and get their next clue.  Teams will now choose a rafting guide and raft down the Hantan River, then board a humvee that will take them to the U.S. Army Base Camp Casey. 

All three teams are on the water and get thrashed around the rapids before they get to the military humvees. 


Jill & Thomas still in front get to the cluebox and find the Road Block.
In this Road Block, teams will have to choose a headband with Korean letters and search among 200 soldiers practicing taekwondo for one matching the headband.  Once they have identified the correct soldier, that soldier will break open a wooden board containing the next clue.



Thomas and Brook get started on the Road Block and while Brook gives her headband to the wrong guy, Thomas gets it first try and they are off.  Teams will take the Seoul subway to Seoul World Cup Stadium.  Kat starts the Road Block and Brook gets the right soldier.  They’re off as well.  Nat & Kat aren’t far behind.

Jill & Thomas catch the first train to the Stadium while Brook & Claire and Nat & Kat have to wait for the next. 


At Seoul World Cup Stadium is the Detour.
In Full Throttle, teams head to Mokdong Ice Rink, dress up in state of the art Speed Skating gear and run a two person relay for a total of 24 laps.
In Full Bottle, teams head to Namdaemun Market, put on delivery uniforms and carry six bottles of ginseng roots to a holistic wellness center.  When they make their deliveries and drink a bottle of ginseng tonic, they’ll get their next clue.The clue also states teams must take the subway or walk on foot.



Jill & Thomas are happily in front, but Brook & Claire get testy with each other because Claire doesn’t know how to ice skate.  Not only that, but they take a taxi to the Detour.

They get to the ice rink and put on the suits just as Jill & Thomas arrive and wonder how they could be in 2nd now.

Meanwhile, Nick & Vicki arrive in Korea and meet a very nice man who offers to lead them to the where they need to go.  They take a toilet break and he buys Vicki some food.  Later they continue on and have fun with their very helpful Korean friend.

Brook & Claire and Jill & Thomas have a slow time getting through the speed skating Detour.  But Jill & Thomas get a lap lead on the ladies and head off to Yeouido Hangang Park.



With Nat & Kat themselves getting a slow start at the Detour, Jill & Thomas and Brook & Claire taxi their way to the park.  Jill & Thomas have trouble finding the cluebox (under an airplane) and Thomas adds the elderly to the list of people he looks down upon.  Brook meanwhile has a new fan in the taxi driver who really has fallen in love with her.  He asks for a kiss and B&C’s kiss count is up to 9.

The kiss brings good luck as Brook & Claire find the cluebox first and they get the clue telling them to head to the Pit Stop at Wongudan or the Temple of Heaven.  They get to Phil, but he gives them the bad news.  Brook & Claire head to the side to wait out their 30 minute penalty.

That lets Jill & Thomas waltz win for another win.  Brook & Claire are fine in 2nd and Nat & Kat come in 3rd.

Back up north, Nick & Vicki go through their leg, including their Speed Bump which had them cleaning one of the tanks at the military base.  They arrive at the Mat and they are officially eliminated. 



Episode Thoughts
This might have been the best episode of the season.  It had everything.  The exciting whitewater rafting, a nice tip of the hat to the armed forces, speed skating, Korea!  There were also a lot of fun moments during the leg from all four teams.

I would’ve liked to have seen the teams use only the subway during the leg though.  Seoul’s subway system can go anywhere, but it can be a maze.  And rush hour in the Seoul Subway is almost as bad as riding a train in India.

Heading into the DMZ was great.  I’ve read how beautiful it can be in the DMZ that it can offer a fascinating contrast to the tension around it.  

The tasks were great, and the Detour was very appropriate to Korea.  A great episode leading into next week’s finale.

Leg Eleven Itinerary
PIT STOP
Statue Square
Hong Kong

CASH
$117

DESTINATION CITY
Seoul, South Korea

ROUTE MARKERS
Seungil Bridge
Cheorwon, Gangwon Province

Seoul World Cup Stadium
Seoul

Yeouido Hangang Park
Seoul

ROAD BLOCK
Camp Casey
Dongducheon, Gyeonggi Province

DETOUR
Namdaemun Market
Seoul

Mok-dong Ice Rink
Seoul

PIT STOP
Wongudan – Temple of Heaven
Seoul

Departure Times

Statue Square
Hong Kong

Nat & Kat 4:37pm
Jill & Thomas 4:47pm
Brook & Claire 5:26pm
Nick & Vicki Timeless +6 hours

Who Did the Detour?
In order of completion

FULL THROTTLE



FULL BOTTLE
None.

<P ALIGN="CENTER"
Nick & Vicki were not shown completing the Detour.
Road Block Count
In order of completion; Italics indicate who did this week’s Road Block

Who’s ready to be all you can be?
5 Jill Thomas 6
6 Brook Claire 5
5 Nat Kat 5
6 Nick Vicki 4
*Nick & Vicki were not shown completing the Road Block.

5 Chad Stephanie 4
4 Gary Mallory 4
3 Michael Kevin 4
3 Katie Rachel 2
4 Connor Jonathan 0
0 Andie Jenna 2
1 Ron Tony 0

Order of Finish
1st Jill & Thomas (+1)
2nd Brook & Claire (+1)
3rd Nat & Kat (-2)
Eliminated Nick & Vicki (=)

My Subjective Team Rankings for Leg 11

Brook & Claire Brook & Claire – It’s all in the details! [/TAR6Kris]  It was the Jumbas’ downfall, Brook & Claire should be careful not to let details in clues about transportation be what causes them a million dollars!  Other than that, a good leg for them.  Again, they get snippy with each other, but they quickly get over it and focus on the task at hand.  And most of all have fun with it all.    
Nat & Kat Nat & Kat – Another leg with a lack of hustle, but they did fine.  They’re still in a good position heading into the final leg, but they’re going to have to step it up now if they want to win the million.  Slow and steady can be nice, but they’ll need that extra push to get them over the edge.
GAP
Nick & Vicki Nick & Vicki – What a schizophrenic team!  One week they are fighting, the next they are having fun with Koreans.  Looking back, it seems they were this way the whole Race.  Leg to leg, frustration would bring out the worst in them (or just Nick).  Maybe knowing they were out of it let their guards down and let them actually enjoy the Race. 
GAP
Jill & Thomas Jill & Thomas – …
Quotes from Episode 17.11

None :(




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Recap: The Amazing Race 17, Episode 10 – “We did suck it out.”

Episode 17.10 – I Hate Chinese Food

 

The leg begins and teams must make their way to Hong Kong where they’ll take a bus and ferry to Cheung Chau Island and find the Cheun Po Tsai Cave for their next clue. 

At the airport, as the teams are checking in, Brook & Claire and Jill & Thomas come face to face for the first time since the U-Turn.  And B&C are the first U-Turned team to stay in the Race.  They ask the couple what their logic was in U-Turning them and they shake hands in the spirit of good competition. 

Once in Hong Kong, Jill & Thomas catch the first bus to the ferry, but Brook & Claire and Nat & Kat manage to catch the same ferry.  Vicki’s asthma slows her down though and she and Nick miss it.  He is very upset, she starts crying.

At Cheung Chau Island, the first three teams find the next clue directing them to Majesty Chinese Restaurant in Kowloon.

Brook & Claire have a little spat on the way back, but Nick is just very upset, still, and frustrated.  Vicki tries to get him to be positive to no success.

Nat & Kat get to the restaurant first and find the Road Block, along with two karaoke leaders and tables filled with very excited patrons.


In this Road Block, teams will have to search through a table full of food for five pieces which are fake and made of plastic and normally used as window displays for restaurants.  When they find the fake food, they can exchange it for a clue.  However, teams will have to eat every piece of food they touch until they find the fake one.

 

Nat goes to do the Road Block and the female karaoke singer starts grinding on Kat.  Jill & Thomas and Brook & Claire arrive soon after and they all start eating… and dancing.

Nat finds the fake food and the doctors get the next clue telling them to head to Avenue of the Stars and Enter the Dragon.  They’ll find their next clue next to the statue in tribute of Bruce Lee.


Nat & Kat get to the clue and find the Detour.
In Ding Ding, teams will board a hundred year old tram system known as the Ding Ding and try and spot three different signs (“Pit Stop,” “Statue,” and “Square”).  When they find the answer, they can disembark and move on.  But if they don’t see the signs, they’ll have to ride the route again.
In Sampan, teams pick-up a wooden cage of two parakeets and board a sampan.  Heading out into Aberdeen Harbor, teams must search the boats and match the registration number on them to the number on the birdcage.  Teams can then trade the birds for the Pit Stop.

 

Nat & Kat choose Sampan and it isn’t very easy, especially in the dark.  Jill & Thomas do the Ding Ding, but they miss all the signs.  Back at the restaurant, Vicki isn’t excited about all this raw seafood.  And Claire just can’t stomach anymore until she runs to the restroom to throw up.

She heads back out and finally finds the fakeout.  The restaurant erupts in cheers and applause and Brook & Claire do happy dances.  They head out, leaving Nick & Vicki frustrated some more.  Vicki gets sick herself and runs to the restroom.  Nick comes and encouragingly wants to quit.

Jill & Thomas decide to switch Detours and run into Nat & Kat in the harbor.  The couple ends up finding their boat first and they head off for the Pit Stop at Statue Square.  The doctors end up finishing right behind them and then are able to get into a taxi first just a couple of feet away from Jill & Thomas.  That is the little bit of luck they needed to get them another first place finish.  Jill & Thomas settle for 2nd.

 

After Brook & Claire finish the Detour, the head to the Pit Stop and finish 3rd.  

As patrons begin leaving the restaurant, Vicki finishes the Road Block and they head to the Detour where they choose Sampan as well.  Nick gives up and literally lays of the floor of the boat and sleeps.  Vicki doesn’t know what to do, she doesn’t want to quit, but she feels like she can’t do this by herself.  Nick wakes up, sees Vicki still looking and can’t believe it.  Vicki decides they’ll just take the penalty so they head to the Pit Stop where Phil tells them this is a non-elimination. 

Episode Thoughts
TAR’s Hong Kong legs have historically been enjoyable and this one was no different.  A good leg with fun Detours and Road Block.

The eating Road Block can be forgiven by the fun atmosphere in the restaurant while the Detours were simple, but challenging enough and made even more so by the darkness.  (More nighttime legs please!)

A pretty full final four episode which can be rare and the non-elimination was definitely not a surprise.

Leg Ten Itinerary
PIT STOP
Lalbagh Fort
Dhaka, Bagladesh

CONNECTION
Singapore

DESTINATION CITY
Hong Kong

ROUTE MARKERS
Cheung Po Tsai Cave
Cheung Chau Island
Hong Kong

Statue of Bruce Lee, Avenue of the Stars
Hong Kong

ROAD BLOCK
Majesty Chinese Restaurant
Kowloon, Hong Kong

DETOUR
Hong Kong Tramways
Hong Kong

Jumbo Kingdom/Aberdeen Harbour
Hong Kong

PIT STOP
Statue Square
Hong Kong

Departure Times

Lalbagh Fort
Dhaka, Bagladesh

Jill & Thomas 8:25am
Nick & Vicki 1:59pm
Nat & Kat 4:05pm
Brook & Claire 5:15pm

Who Did the Detour?
In order of completion

DING DING

SAMPAN
*

* Jill & Thomas attempted the Ding Ding Detour

Nick & Vicki did not complete the Detour.

Road Block Count
In order of completion; Italics indicate who did this week’s Road Block

Who’s feeling a littke peckish?
5 Nat Kat 4
5 Jill Thomas 5
5 Brook Claire 5
6 Nick Vicki 4

5 Chad Stephanie 4
4 Gary Mallory 4
3 Michael Kevin 4
3 Katie Rachel 2
4 Connor Jonathan 0
0 Andie Jenna 2
1 Ron Tony 0

Order of Finish
1st Nat & Kat (+2)
2nd Jill & Thomas (-1)
3rd Brook & Claire (+1)
4th Nick & Vicki (-2)
My Subjective Team Rankings for Leg 10

Brook & Claire Brook & Claire – They can get snippy at each other, but they never forget to have fun and enjoy themselves even in tough situations.  They can relax, but they also know when to step it up.  That drive has helped give them that extra push to stay safe and most of the time dominant this Race.    
Nat & Kat Nat & Kat – Thomas made an excellent point.  While Nat & Kat have won more legs, they’ve also come very close to elimination several times as well.  That all goes back to their lack of urgency.  Another leg, another task where they are ahead and get caught up to.  They need to know when to hustle because it only takes one misstep to lose, especially now with only four teams left. 
GAP
Nick & Vicki Nick & Vicki – Vicki has been surprisingly tough this entire Race.  Nick, on the other hand, has been frustrated, pissy, and unsupportive.  Him laying down and sleeping during the Detour was unprecedented.  What is there to say about that?  Poor Vicki.
GAP
Jill & Thomas Jill & Thomas – Not even Nick’s quitting can get them out of the bottom of my list.
Quotes from Episode 17.10

Brook: “Let’s hug it out.”
Claire: “We did suck it out.”

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Recap: The Amazing Race 17, Episode 9 – “You’re not going to have a very good teammate if I’m passed out.“

Episode 17.09 – There’s a Lot of Nuts and Bullets




Chad & Stephanie open their first clue and find they have to fly to Dhaka, Bangladesh and make their way to Sundarban Square Supermarket.  There, they will look for a sugarcane press, use the machine to squeeze enough sugarcane juice to fill a mug and then drink the juice for their next clue.

BUT! They are also warned of a Double U-Turn ahead.

All teams head to the airport and try looking for tickets, but so far, they only find a flight getting them in at noon tomorrow.  Chad & Stephanie decide to go get some Dairy Queen while other teams continue searching for flights.  Nat & Kat meanwhile only have tickets booked through Dubai.

Jill & Thomas’ not eating pays off and they catch a flight getting them into Dhaka at 5am.  Brook & Claire try getting on the flight, but no can do.  They and Nick & Vicki go searching for more and the couple manages to get a flight arriving in Dhaka at 8:40am.  They grab the last tickets, keeping B&C on the noon flight.

They meet back up with Chad & Stephanie and later Nat & Kat who all end up on the same flight from Mumbai to Dhaka.  


Now that first and second has already been decided, Jill & Thomas fly through the rest of the leg.  After pressing their sugarcanes, they get the Detour.
In Balanced Meal, teams head to the harbor and pick up 30 tiffin meals in stacked metal lunchboxes.  They’ll then load them onto a boat and cross the harbor to a cargo ship where they’ll hoist the meals up to the deck.  They’ll then return to shore with ten empty tiffin containers for their next clue.
In Balanced Bricks, teams head to a supply barge in the harbor and transport 100 unbroken bricks to a shop using a basket balanced on their heads.  Once they’ve delivered 100 bricks, they’ll get their next clue.



Jill & Thomas decide to do Balanced Bricks.  When they finish, they get the next clue pointing them to head on foot to Dhaka River Port where they find the first ever Double U-Turn.  Now two teams can U-Turn another team.  Jill & Thomas decide to U-Turn Brook & Claire who’ve been dominating the Race so far.


They get their next clue telling them to take a rickshaw to Nazira Bazaar.  There, they find the Road Block.  In this Road Block, teams will have to assemble a rickshaw.

Jill decides to do the Road Block just as sure 2nd place team Nick & Vicki arrive in Dhaka.  The other three teams are still just waking up in Mumbai.



Nick & Vicki get to the sugarcane and then choose to do Balanced Meals.  Jill & Thomas finish the Road Block and head to the Pit Stop, Lalbagh Fort.  And they’re first, winning a $15,000 Discover gift card.

As the other teams arrive in Dhaka and head to the Balanced Meals Detour as well, Nick & Vicki get to the U-Turn and Vicki convinces Nick out of using it on Chad & Stephanie saying they have no need.

After the three teams do the sugarcane, Chad & Stephanie’s rickshaw takes them the wrong way, pushing them to last.  

The three teams all see each other on the water, but Nat & Kat finish the Detour before the other two, allowing them to U-Turn Chad & Stephanie to help ensure their safety.  And boy did they need it.



Nick & Vicki make their 2nd place finish official and Brook & Claire discover their U-Turn.  Claire is exhausted, but Brook tells her to push through it.  After getting a little lost again, Chad & Stephanie discover their U-Turn.

As Nat & Kat start the Road Block, Brook & Claire finish the bricks while Chad & Stephanie start.  Tensions are high, even more so when B&C get to the Road Block after doing both Detours and still find the doctors there.  Not only that, Chad & Stephanie get to the Road Block before the doctors finish.  Huh!?

Chad tries taunting Nat, but the doctors head off to check in 3rd.  With two teams left, both Brook and Stephanie are having trouble with their last pieces, but Brook edges Stephanie and she and Claire finish 4th.  That leaves Chad & Stephanie in a hard fought 5th and Eliminated. 



Episode Thoughts
This was definitely a much better episode than last week.  That is in spite of the horrible flight options that TAR usually magically takes care of.

Jill & Thomas and Nick & Vicki finishing 1 and 2 was pretty much decided as soon as they booked their tickets in Oman, so the main attractions in this episode were Bangladesh itself and the genuine drama and excitement of the last three teams fighting it out to stay in the Race.

The Double U-Turn is a very interesting new facet to what has largely been a successful, if even just relatively speaking, twist to the Race.  While unclear as to the full extent of the Double U-Turn power, I think this new twist to the twist is good.  It certainly did not take away from the drama and having it when there are only five teams left also adds more heft to it than if it showed up towards the start of the Race.

The question I have, does the first U-Turned team have the power to U-Turn another team for the 2nd U-Turn?  If so, that could very much be an interestingly strategic move that causes drama but still doesn’t ensure safety, as seen in this leg when all three teams caught up to each other at the Road Block.

Even if TAR’s excellent editing team worked their magic at the Road Block, the fact that all three teams were there even for a few minutes at the same time was amazing.  It either says a lot about Brook & Claire and Chad & Stephanie knowing how to step it up and hustle or about Nat & Kat’s weakness of not knowing when to hustle.  Or both.

The tasks were simple, two of them even retreads from past seasons, but the new locale and the team drama were able to help prop it up for a good episode.

Leg Nine Itinerary
PIT STOP
Al Alam Palace
Muscat, Oman

CONNECTION
Mumbai, India

DESTINATION CITY
Dhaka, Bagladesh

ROUTE MARKERS
Sundarban Square Supermarket
Dhaka, Bagladesh

Dhaka River Port
Dhaka, Bagladesh

DETOUR
Dhaka Harbor
Dhaka, Bagladesh

ROAD BLOCK
Tekka Mistiri Rickshaw Garage, Nazira Bazaar
Dhaka, Bagladesh

PIT STOP
Lalbagh Fort
Dhaka, Bagladesh

Departure Times

Al Alam Palace
Muscat, Oman

Chad & Stephanie 11:10am
Jill & Thomas 11:27am
Nick & Vicki 12:57pm
Brook & Claire 1:36pm
Nat & Kat 3:37pm

Who Did the Detour?
In order of completion

BALANCED MEAL



-1
-1

BALANCED BRICKS
-2
-2

<P ALIGN="CENTER"
Road Block Count
In order of completion; Italics indicate who did this week’s Road Block

If you build it, the Clue will come.
5 Jill Thomas 4
6 Nick Vicki 3
4 Nat Kat 4
5 Brook Claire 4
5 Chad Stephanie 4

4 Gary Mallory 4
3 Michael Kevin 4
3 Katie Rachel 2
4 Connor Jonathan 0
0 Andie Jenna 2
1 Ron Tony 0

Order of Finish
1st Jill & Thomas (+1)
2nd Nick & Vicki (+1)
3rd Nat & Kat (+2)
4th Brook & Claire (=)
Eliminated Chad & Stephanie (-4)

My Subjective Team Rankings for Leg 9

Brook & Claire Brook & Claire – It was a good leg and a bad leg for them.  Bad because they had to crawl themselves out of elimination’s way but good because in spite of that and they apparent exhaustion, they managed to overcome a U-Turn, catch up, and survive.  Now for sure, the Double U-Turn helped a lot (they’d probably be eliminated if it were just them U-Turned), but they showed again that they can step it up and push forward.  
Nat & Kat Nat & Kat – This leg showed once again what could be their one weakness in the Race; not knowing when to hustle.  Having two U-Turned teams catch up to them is kind of unbelievable and shows how they seem to not remember that every minute counts.  They slow down and even when competition gets tough, they don’t step up.  I hope that won’t be their downfall in the Race.
GAP
Chad & Stephanie Chad & Stephanie – They’ve been a middling team the entire Race.  One of those teams that can make it far only because stronger teams make fatal errors.  They didn’t make a fatal error, but they didn’t do much to keep themselves in the Race longer either.  A sort of schizophrenic team they were too.  But at least they got engaged on the Race.
Nick & Vicki Nick & Vicki – If you told me Nick & Vicki were going to make the Final Four, I’d have laughed in your face.  I thought for sure that them falling forwards leg after leg would eventually have them falling backwards out of the Race sooner rather than later but it hasn’t happened yet.  Like Chad & Stephanie, they haven’t made fatal mistakes that other teams have, but they definitely have not proven themselves to be a contender.
GAP
Jill & Thomas Jill & Thomas – Just seeing Thomas’ smug face at the Mat, tongue licking his lips is enough to renew my strong dislike for this team.  
Quotes from Episode 17.09

Thomas: “Just keep your extremities in.”
Jill: “By yelling at me?”
Thomas: “Your extremities, your arms and your legs.”

Claire: “You’re not going to have a very good teammate if I’m passed out.“




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The Amazing Race Video Game is Out!

The Amazing Race Video Game is Out!

Ever wanted to play The Amazing Race in the comfort of your own home?

Well, now you can! 
Unbisoft and Ludia Inc have finally released TAR’s very own video game for the Nintendo Wii console.

Here is the full press release:

SAN FRANCISCO – Today Ubisoft and interactive entertainment company Ludia Inc., under a license from CBS Consumer Products, announced that The Amazing Race is now available for the Wii system from Nintendo in North America. Now players can participate in one of the most exciting reality games ever and compete against friends to win the ultimate challenge. The Amazing Race video game is available for an MSRP of $29.99 and is rated “E” for Everyone.

Just like the TV show, in The Amazing Race video game players will race each other across the globe in a quest to be the first to arrive at the final destination. Players can play in two-player cooperative matches or four-player competitive matches as they grab their clues, choose their transportation, and make their way to the pitstop where they will meet host, Phil Keoghan who introduces each exciting challenge. For an authentic experience, players will complete Detours, Road blocks, Fast Forwards, and Intersections as they race in exotic locations. Competitors will experience all of the excitement of the show as they compete against each other and overcome unexpected obstacles to be the first to reach the pit stop.

Key Features:

  • Compete in 16 Different Types of Minigames as you make your way through exciting challenges
  • Choose from short, medium, or long races
  • Race in 84 unique locations, 28 cities, and 5 continents
  • Play against familiar duos like the Goths, the Cowboys, Students, and more
  • Experience random events, like flat tires and shortcuts that give teams an extra boost or obstacle

“I’m excited that families can now interact with The Amazing Race experience in an entirely new way. The game allows players to race each other across the globe and experience the thrill of competition the show has brought to fans for nearly a decade,” said Phil Keoghan, host of The Amazing Race.

The Amazing Race has been a hit reality series since 2001, earning seven Emmy awards including seven Outstanding Reality-Competition Program awards.

The Amazing Race airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on CBS.


Here is the trailer: