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.
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
(regardless of winner)
12. TAR11: AS
— GROUP of TEAMS
5. TAR11: AS
— 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)
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)
Who I wanted to win
1. Dan & Jordan
Dan & Jordan (TAR7)
2. Uchenna & Joyce
Uchenna & Joyce (TAR7)
3. The Linz Family
The Linz Family (TAR8)
4. Tammy & Victor
Tammy & Victor (TAR14)
5. Nat & Kat
Nat & Kat or Brook & Claire (TAR1)
6. Rob & Brennan
Rob & Brennan or Frank & Margarita (TAR1)
7. Chris & Alex
Blake & Paige or Chris & Alex (TAR2)
8. Chip & Kim
Chip & Kim or Brandon & Nicole (TAR5)
9. Tyler & James
Tyler & James or Lyn & Karlyn (TAR10)
10. Flo & Zach
Teri & Ian or Ken & Gerard (TAR3)
11. Meghan & Cheyne
Brian & Ericka (TAR15)
12. Nick & Starr
Nick & Starr or Ken & Tina (TAR13)
13. Reichen & Chip
Kelly & Jon (TAR4)
14. Freddy & Kendra
Kris & Jon (TAR6)
15. BJ & Tyler
Eric & Jeremy or Ray & Yolanda (TAR9)
16. Eric & Danielle
Charla & Mirna or Dustin &Kandice (TAR11:AS)
17. TK & Rachel
Ronald & Christina or Don & Nicolas (TAR12)
My Final Subjective Team Rankings
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 – 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 – 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 – 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*
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 – 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 – 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 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.
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 – 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 – 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!
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.
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
Los Angeles, California
Pier J – Port of Long Beach Long Beach
Rose Bowl Pasadena
Stage 7, Quixote Studios, Griffith Park Los Angeles
Greystone Mansion Beverly Hills
Statue Square Hong Kong
Jill & Thomas 3:57am
Brook & Claire 4:23am
Nat & Kat 4:27am
Who Did the Detour? In order of completion
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? 6Nat Kat 5 5 Jill Thomas7 7Brook Claire 5
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
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
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 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 Thomas6 6Brook Claire 5 5 Nat Kat5 6 Nick Vicki4 *Nick & Vicki were not shown completing the Road Block.
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 – 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 – 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.
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.
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
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
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
*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? 5Nat Kat 4 5 Jill Thomas5 5 Brook Claire5 6 Nick Vicki4
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 – 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 – 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.
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.
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.”
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
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 – 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 – 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.
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 – 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.
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.“
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.
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.
Nat & Kat open their clue to find teams must now travel to Muscat, Oman. Once there, teams will make their way to Burj Al Mubkharah and find a man who will hand them a small ingot with the time they would be allowed to climb the fort’s watchtower the next morning for their next clue.
As all the teams head to the travel agent to book their flights, Chad & Stephanie sleep in and miss their departure time.
While Nat & Kat and Brook & Claire get tickets getting them into Oman at 8:55pm, the rest of the teams have to settle for getting into Oman at 10:35pm.
Back at the hotel, an hour and 52 minutes after their departure time, Chad & Stephanie finally wake up and end up at the Mat two hours late. They end up with tickets getting them into Oman at 10:45pm.
Brook & Claire and Nat & Kat get to Oman and pick up their ingot with a time of 7:30. Chad & Stephanie catches up with the other teams in Oman before they can all get out of the airport.
They end up getting the 7:45 ingot with Jill & Thomas while Gary & Mallory and Nick & Vicki have to settle for 8:00.
Teams camp out for the night and the next morning they are all treated to Chad proposing to Stephanie (who accepts) before the Race starts again.
The teams head up the tower and get their clue telling them to drive to Jebel Shams where they’ll find their next clue.
Driving in Oman has never been easy on the Race. As Gary & Mallory and Nat & Kat take wrong turns, Chad & Stephanie get perfect directions propelling them to first. Jill & Thomas are right behind. They find the Road Block.
In this Road Block, teams will have to rappel down the side of the mountain to a narrow ledge where they will search through dozens of magic lamps for Aladdin’s ring. They will exchange the lamp for their next clue.
Chad finds the ring as Jill just starts and he and Stephanie make their way to the city of Nizwa and a giant Stack of Books for their next clue.
Jill & Thomas leave next just as Nick & Vicki and Brook & Claire arrive. Meanwhile, Nat & Kat and then Gary & Mallory finally ask to get pointed in the right direction.
At the Stack of Books, Chad & Stephanie find the Detour. In Water Table, teams make their way to an ancient well where they will pump water into a water truck to deliver to a designated home. Once they deliver the water, they’ll get their next clue. In Wedding Table, teams would make their way to an Arab market, buy 25 chickens and other ingredients for a traditional Omani dish called maqbous, and then deliver the dish to a bride and groom who will hand them their next clue.
Chad & Stephanie, Jill & Thomas and later Brook & Claire all choose Water Table. Back at the Road Block, Nick & Vicki have to deal with a flat tire before heading off and Nat & Kat finally arrive. Still on the other side of town, Gary & Mallory are already sounding defeated.
Jill & Thomas stumble on a little luck when they run into the cousin of the person they are supposed to deliver water to. They get their next clue before Chad & Stephanie can find their home and they head to the Muttrah Souq back in Muscat where they will have to search for a store and pick up some frankincense which they would have to deliver to Ali Baba for their next clue.
Chad & Stephanie are close behind, as are Brook & Claire to Nick & Vicki who have passed them again at the well.
Jill & Thomas get to the Souq and find Ali Baba who hands them the clue telling them to head to the Pit Stop at the Al Alam Palace. Chad & Stephanie are right behind.
When Jill & Thomas get to the Pit Stop, they are excited to have arrived first, but Phil drops the bad news. They’ve incurred a 30 minute penalty for paying a taxi driver to lead them (which is against the rules now). The couple have to step aside and sit and watch newly engaged Chad & Stephanie miraculously finish first after their crazy start to the leg. Jill & Thomas officially check in 2nd.
Nick & Vicki look for “Ali Baba in a suit” and then cross paths with Brook & Claire who are still hot on their tails. The dating couple head to the Pit Stop and finish 3rd while B&C take 4th.
Nat & Kat deliver their water and are shocked to cross paths with Gary & Mallory who are ecstatic that they are still in it. But it wasn’t in the cards. The doctors are safe in 5th and the father and daughter are eliminated.
Episode Thoughts I don’t know if I really enjoyed this episode. Mainly because the three teams I dislike the most were leading the whole way through while the three teams I’m rooting for were struggling the entire leg.
And also, they’re in Oman, yet no sign of a camel? That’s a big fail right there.
Seriously though, the tasks were a little too simple and uninspired. Rappelling plus needle in a haystack Road Block is nothing new, neither was the shopping at a market Detour which has been done before. The water reserve Detour was interesting and a nice look into Omani daily life, but I feel like they wasted a leg with opportunities for some great tasks.
This was also the first leg where the teams had to extensively drive themselves, or at least the first leg where getting good directions actually mattered. Oman’s been known to be difficult for teams in the past in terms of driving.
So, for me, just a so-so episode. It could have much more enjoyable even with the less than desirable outcome.
Leg Eight Itinerary PIT STOP Peter and Paul Fortress St. Petersburg, Russia
CONNECTION Amsterdam, The Netherlands
DESTINATION CITY Muscat, Oman
ROUTE MARKERS Burj Al Mubkharah Muscat, Oman
Riyam Park – Burj Al Mubkharah Muscat, Oman
Stack of Books Nizwa, Oman
Muttrah Souq Muttrah, Oman
ROAD BLOCK Jebel Shams Al Hamra, Oman
DETOUR Aswat Al Eid Nizwa, Oman
PIT STOP Al Alam Palace Muscat, Oman
Peter and Paul Fortress St. Petersburg, Russia
Nat & Kat 1:06am Brook & Claire 1:28am Nick & Vicki 1:29am Gary & Mallory 1:46am Jill & Thomas 1:53am Chad & Stephanie 2:45am 4:45am
Who Did the Detour? In order of completion
WEDDING TABLE No teams chose this Detour
Road Block Count In order of completion; Italics indicate who did this week’s Road Block
Who wants to add a little magic to their life? 5Chad Stephanie 3 4Jill Thomas 4 5 Nick Vicki3 4 Brook Claire4 3 Nat Kat4 4 Gary Mallory4
Order of Finish 1st Chad & Stephanie (+5) 2nd Jill & Thomas (+3) 3rd Nick & Vicki (=) 4th Brook & Claire (-2) 5th Nat & Kat (-4) Eliminated Gary & Mallory (-2)
My Subjective Team Rankings for Leg 8
Brook & Claire – Not a good leg for them, but not as a bad as it could have been. The good thing, and it bears repeating, is they kept their calm even in bad situations and that will always help on the Race. They might have hit a speed bump, but they’re still on track for a final 3 finish.
Nat & Kat – Like B&C, not a particularly good leg for the doctors. But we’ve seen them be able to bounce back before. They could just as easily get back in the Race and after seeing how they’ve Raced so far, I don’t doubt they will.
Gary & Mallory – The frustration finally set in for Gary & Mallory. And while it was necessarily 100% their fault, I didn’t see the sense of urgency to pick themselves up and get back in the Race. This is a leg where their usual upbeat attitude could have helped and driven them to get back in it, but it was absent and they’re done. Too bad. It’s about time a parent-child team wins the Race.
Chad & Stephanie – They were definitely the stars of this episode. I wonder how they worked that out. First off, we can excuse TAR2’s Peggy & Claire for sleeping in (because they’re sweet old ladies), but Chad & Stephanie oversleeping? Nope. That’s horrible. What must they have been doing to be that tired? Then, the marriage proposal. And then the first place finish. They couldn’t have had a better leg if they had planned it all.
Nick & Vicki – They’re staying in the Race. I don’t know how, but they are. They’re still one second away from elimination though. Because unlike other teams, they have not shown they can bounce back and get themselves back to the top. Mainly because they haven’t been at the top yet.
Jill & Thomas – I just really hope they don’t win. I might not hate them like I have teams in the past, but I really hope they don’t win. And Jill can thank Notre Dame-educated Thomas for that. And can someone tell Thomas to stop playing with his tongue?
Episode 17.07 – I Want to Be In the Circus, That’s Where I Belong
The leg quickly starts as all teams head to Avtovo Circus where an Hours of Operation bunches the teams together. The fake bear Michael sees in Norway makes a return appearance (hmmmm!!!!) before the teams get the earliest Detour ever on a leg in The Amazing Race.
In this Detour, teams will choose between two acts in a Russian circus, Circus Band or Circus Clown. In Circus Band, teams will choose an accordion player who will teach them a Russian folk song. They will then have to play that song on the accordion with the circus band and if they get it right, they’ll get their next clue. In Circus Clown, teams head inside the big top and have to perform an act involving spinning plates. If they can have ten plates spinning simultaneously for at least ten seconds, they’ll get their next clue.
Nat & Kat and Gary & Mallory do Circus Band and have a pretty easy time with it while the rest of the teams have to take a while to get the hang of the spinning plates inside. Brook & Claire finish the Detour first and get the next clue, which is a mystery, telling teams to look for a canal bridge guarded by four creatures with golden wings which was Bank Bridge. Nat & Kat are right behind.
They arrive at the bridge and the clue tells them to find a historic building, 1 Vladimirskiy Prospekt Tower. They must travel on foot and can ask locals for help, but can not pay a taxi driver to lead them. Once there, only two people at time will make their way up the tower and figure out their next clue is a figurine on the ledge, a replica of the Church on Spilled Blood that can be seen from the tower. They’ll make their way there on foot for their next clue.
Nat & Kat and Brook & Claire set off on foot. Nick & Vicki, Michael & Kevin, and Gary & Mallory arrive at the bridge next, but the father and son make a critical error. They let their taxi lead the way.
Chad & Stephanie finish the Detour after switching to the band and leave Jill & Thomas who have to switch back to their original choice of Circus Clowns.
Nick & Vicki team up with Nat & Kat and get to the tower first. Nick and Kat head up, but can’t see the figurine. Meanwhile, Michael & Kevin arrive thanks to their taxi. Brook & Claire notice the taxi waiting outside and Kevin notices they have their backpacks with them. B&C tell him they were supposed to leave their backpacks and walk. No reaction from Kevin.
Nick and Kat see something painted on a wall saying “DS13” (with a really good scribble of “The Scream”) and think that’s it until Nick realizes the figurine and the church in the distance. They head back down and decide to lie to the other teams.
Kevin and Claire are next up the tower and Kevin suggests they just go to DS13 because Nick would never lie to them “because he’s awesome,” but Claire says no, no. They have to find it themselves. When they do, they head back down and both teams jump into a taxi. Strike 2 for Michael & Kevin.
Jill & Thomas meet up Gary & Mallory and they decide to work together while Chad & Stephanie are in last.
Nat & Kat and Nick & Vicki get to the church and find the next riddle, “Peter the Great is buried inside me.” Teams will now head to the gorodki courts Peter and Paul Fortress for the next clue. Michael & Kevin and Brook & Claire catch up to them and Kevin tells Nick that he lied to them, but Nick denies it. “Are they fibbing to us again?” Brook asks. But Nick sees they took a taxi and Kat knows they’ll get penalized.
They see that it doesn’t anything about not taking a taxi in the latest clue, so Nick & Vicki go find a taxi while Nat & Kat run all the way back to the bridge to get their old taxi with their bags in it.
On the way to the fortress, Brook & Claire realize their mistake and tell their taxi driver to take them back to the tower where they were supposed to walk from, knowing they would get penalized. Michael & Kevin have no idea where B&C went.
Nat & Kat get to the courts first and find the Road Block. In this Road Block, teams will play a Russian version of bowling called gorodki. Using a wooden stick, they must knock three different formations of pins completely off the marked court in two chances. Otherwise it will be reset.
Brook & Claire correct their mistake and arrive at the Road Block 3rd after Michael & Kevin. Kat finishes quickly but Michael struggles. Nat & Kat get the clue telling them to head inside Peter and Paul Fortress and find the Pit Stop. The doctors run in and claim another 1st place win and $5000 each. Brook & Claire are right behind them and finish 2nd.
All the other teams catch up to Michael & Kevin at the Road Block. Kevin starts getting frustrated, but Michael soldiers on. Nick gets through his quick and he and Vicki finish 3rd.
Jill & Thomas are finished, but have to pay their taxi. That allows Gary & Mallory to run past them to claim 4th. After finally getting the first one, Michael quickly takes care of the second and third formations and they run off to pay their taxi as well.
But neither Jill & Thomas nor Michael & Kevin have enough (or won’t give enough) to pay and the drivers try to hold them, literally, until they pay up. Stephanie meanwhile is still at the Road Block and Chad is starting to get frustrated.
Jill & Thomas settle the taxi and run in to officially check in 5th. Chad & Stephanie finish the Road Block just as Michael & Kevin cough up US$40. Chad & Stephanie decide to leave their bags in the taxi and just run, especially when they see Michael & Kevin running, thinking they can beat them in a footrace.
Chad & Stephanie get to the Mat first but Phil tells them they must pay their cab before they can check in. Michael & Kevin step in, but Phil drops the bomb. They broke two rules, having a taxi lead them and then taking a taxi when the clues specifically said against both. That’s 30 minutes each for a total of a one hour penalty. They sit and wait.
Chad & Stephanie make their way back but they too have a penalty. But only one. Which still puts them ahead of Michael & Kevin. The dating couple officially check in 6th and Team Jumba end up eliminated.
Episode Thoughts So this was an absolutely crazy leg! In good and horribly bad ways.
First off, the most egregious oversight has to be TAR feeling no need to explain away the lack of a Speed Bump. There’s talk that Nick posted on his Facebook that there was a judging error at the piano Detour last week where they had already showed the correct three pieces but were told it was incorrect. So apparently, TAR waived the Speed Bump for them to make up for the production error.
Okay, fine. But why absolutely no mention of it on the episode? For TAR fans, that’s a pretty jarring omission. They could’ve at least found a creative way of explaining the absence of a Speed Bump even without saying they made a stupid boo-boo.
The other possibility is the Speed Bump was so boring and/or it didn’t affect Nick & Vicki’s placement so it was edited out, which is done from time to time on TAR. But because this is a Speed Bump, no matter how dumb or boring (and most of them have been dumb and boring), they still have to show it since it is a penalty.
Some are saying last week may never have been a non-elimination and was only so to keep Nick & Vicki in the Race and not get eliminated due to production. Still, they could have come up with a quick Speed Bump in that case.
I honestly think it was horrible for TAR not to even mention it. I did notice them either editing out the Speed Bump tag last week or Phil never even mentioned it to Nick & Vicki at all. It was odd and awkward. TAR shouldn’t be making these kinds of stupid mistakes after 17!! seasons and they shouldn’t be slighting fans by thinking no one would notice.
Now the good parts of the leg. It seems like it was designed specifically to mess with the teams and that is a good thing. Having them run all over the city is something we haven’t seen in a while. And Heavegate from TAR3 has forever engrained the importance to reading and re-reading your clue especially when it talks about walking. The riddles and non-straightforward clue were a refreshing change as well. There need to be more of those sprinkled throughout the Race.
Phil getting knocked off the block? Hilarious and shows just how awesome Phil is.
And the fake bear!? Is he going to play a part in the final memory task? Or is he just a cute little easter egg for TAR fans?
So overall, a strange but exciting episode.
We’re not stupid TAR!
Leg Seven Itinerary PIT STOP Saint Isaac’s Cathedral St. Petersburg, Russia
DETOUR Avtovo Circus St. Petersburg, Russia
ROUTE MARKERS Avtovo Circus St. Petersburg, Russia
Bank Bridge St. Petersburg, Russia
1 Vladimirsky Prospekt Tower St. Petersburg, Russia
Church of the Savior on Blood St. Petersburg, Russia
ROAD BLOCK Peter and Paul Fortress St. Petersburg, Russia
PIT STOP Peter and Paul Fortress St. Petersburg, Russia
Saint Isaac’s Cathedral St. Petersburg, Russia
Jill & Thomas 8:30am Brook & Claire 8:35am Michael & Kevin 8:40am Nat & Kat Not Shown Chad & Stephanie Not Shown Gary & Mallory Not Shown Nick & Vicki Not Shown
Who Did the Detour? In order of completion
<P ALIGN="CENTER"*Chad & Stephanie switched from Clown to Band. ^Jill & Thomas switched from Clown to Band and back to Clown.
Road Block Count In order of completion; Italics indicate who did this week’s Road Block
Between the two of you, who’s the real player? 3 Nat Kat3 4Brook Claire 3 5NickVicki2 3 Jill Thomas4 4Gary Mallory 3 3Michael Kevin 4 4 Chad Stephanie3
Order of Finish 1st Nat & Kat (+3) 2nd Brook & Claire (=) 3rd Nick & Vicki (+4) 4th Gary & Mallory (+2) 5th Jill & Thomas (-4) 6th Chad & Stephanie (-1) Eliminated Michael & Kevin (-4)
My Subjective Team Rankings for Leg 7
Nat & Kat – I am so excited for them. Thank goodness their horrible first Ghanian leg was a fluke and that they really are a strong team. They are dominating and working so well together. They don’t give up when things are rough and they have performed very well the last few legs. I can definitely see them winning.
Gary & Mallory – They may fall behind, but they get right back up and that’s a great quality to have on the Race. They stay the course and while Mallory has her little moments, they usually amount to just Mallory being Mallory and they quickly find their way. I still think they are one of the teams to beat.
Michael & Kevin – It seemed like a matter of time before they did themselves in. Not one, but two critical errors that had them shooting themselves in the foot. One of the unwritten cardinal rules on TAR is to read and re-read and re-read your clue, no matter how much of a rush you are in. Kevin didn’t seem too positive at the Road Block either even though Michael kept his spirits up even when he wasn’t doing well at all. It is too bad because when they were good, they were good. But it’s all in the details and they missed the details..
Brook & Claire – Still a very strong team and I wouldn’t mind seeing an all-female fight for the million. The kiss count and dance breaks could ease up a little, but otherwise they are doing very well as long as they don’t makes mistakes.
Chad & Stephanie – Not much dysfunction this leg, but more evidence to show that they are far from being the typical bickering couple. They’ve shown to get over their quarrels fast and then there’s Chad’s awkwardly hilarious squeals of joy. They’re not Racing too well, but they are certainly interesting to watch.
Nick & Vicki – Looks like Nick forgot his promise to Vicki in Ghana. Like Jill & Thomas, only less so, they’re only nice to each other when things are going their way and Nick takes his frustration out on Vicki when things aren’t. Their survival is leg-to-leg and unless they’ve got tons of luck, they’re still in firing range.
Jill & Thomas – If Nick gets frustrated at Vicki when things get rough, then Thomas gets frustrated at Jill two-fold. Horrible performance at the Detour and they are definitely living up to the stereotypical bickering couple archetype. Really would not mind seeing them go sooner rather than later.
Tassler tells THR, “Yes, yes, yes. We are doing Amazing Race in HD next year. I just announced it, there you go.”
CBS had already begun filming and broadcasting Survivor in high definition two years ago, but the network and producers had cited high costs, the difficulty with the logistics of the Race, the bulkiness of equipment as well as having to upgrade local equipment worldwide as deterrents to make the move to HD. That was despite many who said the international locales on TAR were prime for HD treatment.
Tassler, however, does not confirm if the upgrade will happen for TAR18 (expected to begin production later this month) or even whether or not TAR18 will premiere in the Spring or be held until Fall 2011 which will be the series’ 10th anniversary.
Read full article from James Hibberd at THR and read Nina Tassler’s full interview in the new Hollywood Reporter Magazine, in stores this week.