Some great news. The season finale of The Amazing Race 19 scored season highs in just about every important ratings measure it could. The finale scored a 7.0/10 household rating and share, 11.72 million viewers, a 4.5 adults 25-54 rating and a 3.3 adults 18-49 rating.
In comparison to last fall’s finale, that’s an 11%, 0.4 drop in the 18-49 demo and a smaller 4% drop in viewers. For season averages, TAR19 experienced a 12% drop in the demo (2.9 from a 3.3) and a 7% drop in viewers (10.2 million from 10.9 million). It seems The Good Wife lead-out (which skews very old) has not helped TAR. Should be interesting to see if CBS will make moves at midseason.
Ten years, 19 seasons. The Amazing Race may be getting older, but it is certainly not slowing down. TAR19 was a solid season and a huge improvement from the fun, yet uninspired Unfinished Business. Though far from perfect and classic, TAR19 had a great set of teams, excellent use of destinations, tricky riddled clues, and best of all, one of the best winners the series has seen. 😉
Good Set of Teams On paper, none of the teams really stood out. But as the Race went on, the teams actually delivered quite well. Early boots like Lisa & Kaylani and Liz & Marie were able to leave their marks in the short time they were in the Race. First boots Ron & Bill and the shocking Ethan & Jenna made an impact in the first two legs. Justin & Jennifer and Zac & Laurence stood out for their lack of trying and direction. Bill & Cathi defied expectations to become one of the stronger, most consistent teams. Andy & Tommy dominated by default most of the Race, but were still no doubt the team to beat. And the final three teams each solidified their place in the finals with steady, sometimes bumpy Race.
I’d say this was the best post-All-Stars group of teams since TAR12. Though definitely not close to the casts of the early TARs, it was still a great, distinct full cast that we’ve missed these last couple of seasons.
Great in Theory… Now on the other hand, what did look good on paper, ending up falling short. TAR19 had a couple of great ideas that suffered in execution.
Right of the bat, the Starting Line task in which teams had to figure out their first destination by looking for umbrellas with a set of letters (TAI) to add to the provided WAN and PEI was genius. It required teams to be at the very least aware of the world and really think.
Or not. It ended up being a guessing game with teams grabbing an umbrella and taking it to Phil and hoping it was correct. Trial and error is certainly not what Bertram and Co. had hoped for when designing the task and certainly not what many fans were hoping for either. Other than Jenna who was shown to actually say “Taipei, Taiwan,” it appeared 2/3 of the teams, at least, did not even know they were going to Taipei until they got into their cars. A huge disappointment.
And I guess to bookend the season, the Final Task, which looked absolutely epic in the previews, ended up being easier than most Final Tasks we’ve gotten in the past. At the very least it wasn’t setting up a trailer park front yard. But the task here wasn’t all that physically nor mentally challenging. The previews made it look like it would challenge TAR12’s Final Task/Road Block as the hardest but really wasn’t even as hard as TAR8’s puzzle.
The Final Task was especially disappointing because…
Where are the clue boxes? Where are the Pit Stop signs? The disappearance of the majority of clue boxes on the Race as well as the Pit Stop signs were odd enough to signal, maybe it would all play out in the Final Leg. Instead, the disappearance of the familiar green boxes can probably be chalked up to TAR cutting costs and saving money from having to transport the extra cargo of a few little green boxes and yellow and red flags. Or maybe the money went into…
The U-Turn, sponsored by Tablet Computers Everywhere …buying those four brand new tablets to make the U-Turn more high-tech. Gone are the sticker pictures, in with the touchscreen U-Turning.
Non-Hazard The one new twist this season ended up being half of a Speed Bump. After continuing the Starting Line challenge (which they need to keep), they decide to throw in a penalty for the last team to complete the task. That’s fine and when you look back at it, the Hazard/half-Speed Bump where only one person completes the extra task and a task that is fairly easy, is alright considering you don’t necessarily want the last team on the Starting Line task to be essentially eliminated right off the bat.
So a penalty for that team is okay, but the way Phil and TAR were hyping up the Hazard as some game-changing, Race-altering twist, you can’t help but feel let down.
And there was actually also the first ever double elimination on TAR, which after 18 seasons really was a long time coming.
The Express Pass On the other hand, the Express Pass has actually been doing okay. One thing I had realized is that every single team that’s won an Express Pass so far (TAR17’s Jill & Thomas, TAR18’s Gary & Mallory, TAR19’s Ernie & Cindy and even TARAu’s Sam & Renae) have all made it to the final 3. Interesting coincidence, strong contenders right out of the gate, or TAR luck?
But even with the Express Pass, I still, still miss the days of the Fast Forward. And now it seems like the Fast Forward is officially dead on TARUS. 🙁
Use Your Brain! One of the best tweaks this season is the challenging clue riddles that have been lacking on TAR for a long time. TAR’s gotten soft the last couple of seasons. TAR17 seemed to signal a change, but TAR18 was probably the worst offender of uninspired and easy tasks and clues. TAR was spoon feeding clues to teams instead of having them work for it. This season, that definitely changed. From looking up at balls, to tricky sounding clues, to full on riddles and WTF is this? clues, TAR19 stepped it up in terms of challenging the teams mentally. Especially when TAR’s been going soft on the teams’ physical challenges, the mental challenges are definitely a welcome part of the Race.
Improved Leg Design In addition to the more mentally challenging clues, Leg design was greatly improved this season with the help of bringing back extra tasks each Leg. For a couple of seasons, the Legs of TAR were becoming too linear and cut and dry; Pit Stop-Route Marker-Detour/Road Block-Road Block/Detour-Pit Stop. That was becoming old and boring. With the return of those extra tasks during a Leg, teams don’t know what to expect (and in turn, the audience doesn’t know what to expect either). It also allows for more opportunities for slip ups and comebacks, which again, makes the Race more exciting and unpredictable.
Hopes for TAR20 And that brings us to the milestone 20th season of The Amazing Race. TAR19 started this 10th anniversary year off well and TAR has great momentum going into TAR20.
With an exciting confirmed team (Vegas!!!), there will definitely be a lot to talk about for TAR20. But I definitely hope Bert & Co. freshen up the show a little.
The brand new, enlarged U-Turn and Speed Bump signs were nice to see. It would’ve been even nicer if the on-screen graphics matched the spruced up signs. TARAu, Israel’s HaMerotz LaMillion and even TAR: Latin America have excellent brand new graphics as well as fancier opening credits. I’d love for TAR to do some freshening up for their 20th season. New graphics, glossy opening credits maybe a new remix of the iconic theme song.
I really, really hope they do something to freshen the show up for TAR20.
Overall But back to TAR19, overall, it was a good, solid season. With just enough freshness to help elevate above the show’s most recent seasons. Every leg found a good balance. The teams were great, what the show lacked in tasks, they made up for in highlighting the destinations and vice versa. Definitely one of the better seasons in a long time.
Here’s to TAR20! And again, Happy 10th Anniversary to The Amazing Race.
ALL-TIME RANKINGS OVERALL SEASONS 1. TAR3 2. TAR5 2. TAR8 4. TAR1 5. TAR11:AS 6. TAR12 7. TAR19 8. TAR17 8. TAR2 8. TAR6 8. TAR4 12. TAR18: UB 13. TAR16 14. TAR14 15. TAR15 16. TAR10 17. TAR13 18. TAR9 *huge gap* 19. 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. TAR19 12. TAR17 13. TAR11: AS 14. TAR4 15. TAR18 16. TAR9 17. TAR13 18. TAR10 19. TAR7 — GROUP of TEAMS 1. TAR3 2. TAR8 3. TAR5 4. TAR1 5. TAR11: AS 6. TAR2 6. TAR12 8. TAR6 8. TAR4 8. TAR19 11. TAR17 12. TAR18 13. TAR16 13. TAR15 13. TAR14 13. TAR13 13. TAR10 13. TAR9 *gap* 19. TAR7 — MY ALL-TIME TEAMS 1. Ronald & Christina (TAR12) 2. Teri & Ian (TAR3/AS) 3. Charla & Mirna (TAR5/AS) 4. Kris & Jon (TAR6) 5. Ernie & Cindy (TAR19) 6. Dan & Jordan (TAR16) 7. The Linz Family (TAR8) 8. John Vito & Jill (TAR3/AS) 9. David & Margaretta (TAR1) 10. Linda & Karen (TAR5) 11. Meredith & Gretchen (TAR7) 12. Brian & Ericka (TAR15) 13. Nat & Kat (TAR17) 14. Brook & Claire (TAR17) 15. Erwin & Godwin (TAR10) — NON TOP 3 TEAMS THAT SHOULD HAVE GONE FURTHER 1. Ron & Christina (TAR18) 2. Teri & Ian (TARAS) 3. John Vito & Jill (TAR3) 4. The Gaghan Family (TAR8) 5. Linda & Karen (TAR5) 6. Meredith & Gretchen (TAR7) 7. Charla & Mirna (TAR5) 8. The Paolo Family (TAR8) 9. Gary & Mallory (TAR17) 10. Joseph & Monica (TAR9) 11. Bill & Cathi (TAR19) 12. Jim & Marsha (TAR5) 13. Mel & Mike (TAR14) 14. Toni & Dallas (TAR13) 15. Steve & Allie (TAR16) — MOST DESERVING FINAL 3 TEAM (NON-WINNERS) 1. Brook & Claire (TAR17) 1. Kris & Jon (TAR6) 1. Teri & Ian (TAR3) 1. Charla & Mirna (TARAS) 1. Ronald & Christina (TAR12) 6. Ken & Gerard (TAR3) 7. Kelly & Jon (TAR4) 7. Gary & Mallory (TAR18) 9. Dustin & Kandice (TARAS) 10. Brian & Ericka (TAR15) 11. Eric & Jeremy (TAR9) 12. Nicolas & Donald (TAR12) 13. Frank & Margarita (TAR1) 14. Ken & Tina (TAR13) 15. Jeremy & Sandy (TAR19) — WINNERS (subjective; as a team) 1. Ernie & Cindy (TAR19) 2. Nat & Kat (TAR17) 3. Dan & Jordan (TAR16) 4. The Linz Family (TAR8) 5. Flo & Zach (TAR3) 6. Rob & Brennan (TAR1) 7. Uchenna & Joyce (TAR7) 8. Chris & Alex (TAR2) 8. Chip & Kim (TAR5) 8. Tammy & Victor (TAR14) 11. Kisha & Jen (TAR18) 12. Meghan & Cheyne (TAR15) 13. Tyler & James (TAR10) 14. Freddy & Kendra (TAR6) 15. Nick & Starr (TAR13) *gap* 16. Reichen & Chip (TAR4) 17. BJ & Tyler (TAR9) 18. TK & Rachel (TAR12) 19. Eric & Danielle (TAR11:AS) — WINNERS (with respect to final 3)     Winning Team       Who I wanted to win 1. Ernie & Cindy       Ernie & Cindy (TAR19) 2. Dan & Jordan       Dan & Jordan (TAR16) 3. Uchenna & Joyce       Uchenna & Joyce (TAR7) 4. The Linz Family       The Linz Family (TAR8) 5. Tammy & Victor     Tammy & Victor (TAR14) 6. Nat & Kat       Nat & Kat or Brook & Claire (TAR1) 7. Rob & Brennan       Rob & Brennan or Frank & Margarita (TAR1) 8. Chris & Alex       Blake & Paige or Chris & Alex (TAR2) 9. Chip & Kim       Chip & Kim or Brandon & Nicole (TAR5) 10. Tyler & James       Tyler & James or Lyn & Karlyn (TAR10) 11. Flo & Zach       Teri & Ian or Ken & Gerard (TAR3) 12. Kisha & Jen       Gary & Mallory (TAR18) 13. Meghan & Cheyne       Brian & Ericka (TAR15) 14. Nick & Starr       Nick & Starr or Ken & Tina (TAR13) 15. Reichen & Chip       Kelly & Jon (TAR4) 16. Freddy & Kendra       Kris & Jon (TAR6) 17. BJ & Tyler       Eric & Jeremy or Ray & Yolanda (TAR9) 18. Eric & Danielle       Charla & Mirna or Dustin &Kandice (TAR11:AS) 19. TK & Rachel       Ronald & Christina or Don & Nicolas (TAR12)
My Final Subjective Team Rankings
Ernie & Cindy – A great, great win. Definitely my favorite winners ever since I was rooting for them from the very start. They didn’t run a perfect Race, but they stepped it up when they needed to and Raced their best when it counted. They were funny and sweet, but not without a fire as well. They definitely have a spot on my all-time favorite teams list. A well-deserved and hard fought victory.
Liz & Marie – It was a rough start, but they turned out to be a cute, fun and breezy team. They had two horrible legs, but through it all, they enjoyed the Race, had fun and were more than fun to watch. It is always refreshing to see teams having fun and enjoying the Race and really appreciating what they were experiencing. I definitely wished they had gone further in the Race.
Bill & Cathi – They definitely played too much into the “old folk fodder” role at the start. A terrible first leg that should’ve gotten them eliminated if not for the double elimination twist. They made up for it on the next legs and probably had the most consistent Race of any team this season. Though they did lack urgency a couple of times, especially in their elimination leg, they Raced well overall and were a fun, fiery team.
Jeremy & Sandy – Sandy’s resemblance to TAR12’s Jen was this team’s only similarity to the quintessentially loveable bickering couple. Jeremy & Sandy weren’t dysfunctional and were in fact nice and sweet. Sandy’s blowups were merely frustration and Jeremy is probably one of the most level-headed guys ever on TAR. I wouldn’t have been upset if they had won. They didn’t Race perfectly either, but they too stepped it up when they needed to. They weren’t so much boring, as they were invisible part of the Race, but a nice couple nonetheless.
Kaylani & Lisa – They were fun and had the potential for big blowups. Plus they were hot. Which makes their early elimination all the more sad. With the revelation that Kaylani was actually supposed to Race with Big Brother‘s Rachel, looking back, this team should have definitely done better and made a bigger wave. The passport drama almost ended their Race before it started, but if they caught that one break, they could have gone very far.
Amani & Marcus – They did just enough to make it to the final 3, but their collapse in the final leg was really representative of their entire Race. Like Phil’s recap at the start of the finale, Amani & Marcus really did shoot themselves in the foot. And like how you cannot shoot yourself in the foot in football, you can’t do that on the Race. Luck was on their side most of the time when they didn’t have that one or two good leg. Definitely a disappointing Race from them as I had expected a lot more from them.
Ron & Bill – They barely made an impression other than them being domestic partners, but the way they Raced in their only two legs made it seem like they weren’t long for the Race anyway.
Ethan & Jenna – Probably the most shocking elimination of the season. What an early exit for the Survivor winners. Granted, the double elimination came into play and that tricky clue screwed up many teams, but Ethan & Jenna definitely should have Raced better. They barely made a dent in the Race which again, is surprising considering who they are.
Andy & Tommy – A strange team. At times, likeable and goofy, other times as annoying as TAR9’s Hippies and the Cowboys. Their so-called dominance of the Race definitely comes with an asterisk with half their wins coming by default thanks to other teams’ mistakes. But even when they did Race well, any goodwill was negated by how apparently they’re the only team blessed while the other teams rely solely on luck. Okay.
Laurence & Zac – I had high expectations from them at the start, but they ended up being a clumsy team. Laurence’s bravado and inappropriately condescending attitude towards other teams and especially Zac was not fun to watch at all. Not to mention their severe lack of direction despite having sailed around the world?! A big disappointment.
Justin & Jennifer – The entire Race, Jennifer was strangely uninterested in anything. And that apparent disinterest got them eliminated. It would’ve been an interesting dynamic to see squabbling siblings, but when one of the team members seems like she doesn’t want to be here, where’s the fun in watching them?
<font face="georgia" size="4"Relive The Amazing Race 19!
Click here to go to the archive to see all my recaps from the season and from seasons past!
The Amazing Race 19, Episode 12 – Go Out and Get It Done
The final leg begins and the final three open their clues telling them to fly to their final destination city, Atlanta, Georgia. They all take the same Delta Airlines flight. Once in Atlanta, Jeremy & Sandy get the first taxi out, followed by Amani & Marcus and Ernie & Cindy.
Teams head to Flight Safety International for their next clue. Here, teams will pick a flight instructor and learn how to fly a Learjet flight simulator and then complete a successful landing from 2,500 feet to receive their next clue.
All three teams arrive one after the other, but it is Jeremy & Sandy who get it on their first try while Ernie & Cindy and Amani & Marcus fail. They get the next clue, a riddle telling teams to “Find the former residence known as ‘The Dump’,” referring to the former home of the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell.
Jeremy & Sandy tell their taxi driver to head to an intersection so they can ask people. Ernie & Cindy safely land their plane and head out. Their driver doesn’t know The Dump either, so they call information. While Jeremy & Sandy get pointed to an old Home Depot location, Ernie & Cindy get the correct information.
And Ben, their taxi driver, takes them to the next clue and the Road Block.
In this Road Block, teams will have to use a Remington typewriter, like the one used by Margaret Mitchell, to completely type out their next clue, including knowing to use the lowercase L as the number 1.
Meanwhile, as Marcus continues to collapse at the flight simulator, Jeremy & Sandy finally find the right location after wandering around inside this home store. Ernie finishes the Road Block and now teams must use the three numbers provided in the clue, “44 – 715 – 74,” and figure out that the numbers correspond to #44 Hank Aaron’s 715th homerun in 1974, breaking Babe Ruth’s all-time record.
Ernie & Cindy head to a hotel to Google it as Jeremy & Sandy arrive at the Road Block. And after their 12th attempt, Marcus & Amani finally land safely on the ground.
Ernie & Cindy learn that the numbers correspond to Hank Aaron, so they head to Turner Field where they find the cluebox. It’s the Final Task.
One team member (the one who didn’t do the Road Block?) will get rigged to a giant map and with their partner helping from afar, must map out the Race by threading the rope through hooks attached to each country they’ve had a Pit Stop in.
It’s easier than it looks and Cindy quickly finishes it as she and Ernie get the last clue telling them to head to the Finish Line at Swan House. Jeremy & Sandy appear to catch up at Turner Field, but it’s no use.
The gates open and in run Ernie & Cindy.
They step on the final Mat of the Race and Phil officially declares them the winners of the The Amazing Race. Phil asks them about what they’ll do with the money and Cindy describes how they want to start an organization that’ll multiply the million and help the needy around the world.
Jeremy & Sandy officially finish in 2nd Place with Amani & Marcus taking 3rd.
Episode Thoughts Wow. A very interesting finale. Certainly not the most exciting finale, but also far from the most boring. (Really, nothing will ever be as boring as the TAR10 finale.)
It was a great outcome for me personally, but there were still a few things TAR could’ve done better in this finale. That Final Task, which looked so epic and amazing in the previews fell a little flat. It was surprisingly simple and easy instead of being some intense, challenging Final Task that should’ve rivaled TAR12’s. It’s a nice concept in theory, but it came out being too easy, though still better than putting together a trailer park front yard (TAR18).
The Leg was also pretty simple considering how past final Legs have had more than three Route Markers. Granted, the clues that needed Googling are a step up from spoon feeding the teams, I think maybe they spent a little too much time at the flight simulator and the typing Road Block.
And speaking of, I feel great about myself knowing that the lowercase L is used for the 1 on many typewriters of the past. I guess it helped that we had a typewriter my whole childhood and how I loved using it all the time. I was surprised the teams did not know about the L/1 immediately, and they’re all at least 10 years older than me!
Still, overall, a solid finale helped greatly by the eventual winners.
PIT START Panama Viejo Panama City
FINAL DESTINATION CITY Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.
ROUTE MARKER Flight Safety International Atlanta
ROAD BLOCK Margaret Mitchell House & Museum Atlanta
ROUTE MARKER Turner Field Atlanta
FINISH LINE The Swan House Atlanta, Georgia
DEPARTURE Panama Viejo Panama City
Jeremy & Sandy 12:04am Ernie & Cindy 12:05am Amani & Marcus 12:06am
In order of completion > or < indicates team switched Detours.
Who did the Road Block? Who gives a damn? In order of completion; Italics indicate who did the Road Block
1st Ernie & Cindy +1 2nd Jeremy & Sandy-1 3rd Amani & Marcus =
Ernie & Cindy – They ran mistake free when it counted. While Jeremy & Sandy made what would’ve been a characteristically Ernie & Cindy mistake, Ernie & Cindy had the right combo of luck, good taxi, and skill to grab the lead and maintain it to the end. It was a near flawless leg and they stepped it up when they really needed to.
Jeremy & Sandy Just like one wrong move can cost a team the Race, so can one wrong move cost a team a million dollars. They were in the lead and with the simple Leg, could’ve floated to the Finish Line, but that one wrong bit of information killed their chances at the win. A solid leg from them outside of that huge waste of time at The Dump, but it was not enough.
Amani & Marcus – They ended up like they’ve run the entire Race. Shooting themselves in the foot and falling behind with no chance to catch up. What a meltdown at the flight simulator. One of the biggest finale collapses ever I think, right in it with the other two teams and then falling so far behind by your own doing. Definitely the story of their Race.
Quotes from Episode 19.12
Sandy: “I have to get on Prilosec when I get home.” Jeremy: “If we can make it, you can afford all the Prilosec you want.”
Cindy: “It’d be like losing it to the ‘C’ students when we’re ‘A+’ students.” Ernie: “Well, you’re an ‘A+’ student, I’m more of a ‘B+’ maybe a ‘C’.”
The Amazing Race 19, Episode 11 – We Are Charlie Chaplin
After sleeping in the Atomium and customizing Mustangs online, teams set out on the penultimate leg of Race 19. Dressing up in costumes provided to them in a box at the Pit Stop, teams must figure out they are dressed up as two characters from the classic comic book series The Adventures of Tintin. They must find out the characters are detectives and named Dupont & Dupond, Jonson & Johnson, or Thomson & Thompson then find and tell Tintin (and Snowy) in exchange for their next clue,
Jeremy & Sandy, Ernie & Cindy, and Amani & Marcus get the correct info from the locals, but Andy & Tommy take one local’s word for it and believe they are Charlie Chaplin. After sorting that all out, teams follow their clue and take a train to Amsterdam before flying across the Atlantic to Panama City.
Once in Panama, teams must head to Puerto El Corotu to take a boat up the Chagres River to the village of Parara Puru. The drive from the airport to the puerto takes them into the middle of the night. Andy & Tommy and Jeremy & Sandy arrive first and their native boat driver takes them through the treacherous waters in the dark to the village where they must sign up for one of three appointment times the next morning to get tattoos.
Andy & Tommy pass Jeremy & Sandy to get the 7:00am appointment, with the dating couple settling for the 7:20am appointment. Amani & Marcus and Ernie & Cindy end up with the 7:40am appointment.
After spending the rest of the night in hammocks and mosquito nets, teams get ready for their tattoos. They must read the tattoos telling them to head to the San Francisco Bay towers back in Panama for their next clue.
Taking the taxis waiting for them on the other end of the river, teams head back to Panama City. Andy & Tommy get to the cluebox (!) first and find the Road Block.
In this Road Block, the team member who hasn’t maxed out on Road Blocks yet must walk a tightrope across the two towers, grab a clue, and head back across.
Andy, Sandy, Cindy, and Amani have to do the Road Block. The next clue was a riddle, “Success in Suez led him to Panama. His failure inspired others to succeed. Find him beneath a rooster and you’ll find your next clue.”
Teams need to figure out they have to go to Plaza de Franciaand find the Ferdinand de Lesseps statue under the rooster for their next clue. Andy & Tommy head out first. Jeremy & Sandy are 2nd and their taxi driver knows where to go, so he tells the taxi drivers of the other two teams.
At the plaza, teams find the Detour.
In Filet, teams must head to the El Mercado de Mariscos fish market and deliver all the seafood in their respective bins to stalls with specific orders.
In Sole, teams must head to Salsipuedes Market and find a cobbler where they’ll make a pair of sandals for a customer from one piece of leather and straps.
Andy & Tommy, Jeremy & Sandy, and Ernie & Cindy choose Sole and are neck and neck. Amani & Marcus choose Filet, but their taxi driver, having talked to his friends again, thought he had to take Amani & Marcus to the same place at the Sole side of the Detour. They have to run back to their taxi and off to the fish market.
Andy & Tommy finish the Detour first and Amani & Marcus speed through their side of the Detour and they get the next clue telling them to head to the Plaza de la Catedral/Cathedral Square and search among the pollera dancers for the location of the next Pit Stop. What they don’t know is that the clue is printed on one of the dancer’s dresses and is symbolized on the necklaces of all the dancers.
Andy & Tommy stay in first and get to the dancers, but all they see are the coins with “Balboa” printed on them, so they believe that’s their clue.
The other three teams catch up to each other at the plaza with all of them stumped as to where to go. Meanwhile, the taxi driver takes Andy & Tommy to the Panama Canal. One of the guards or officials there tells them there’s a statue of Balboa back in Panama City, so they head back.
Back at the plaza, Ernie & Cindy decide “Balboa” is their next clue so they take off. Jeremy draws the building on one of the medallions and their driver immediately recognizes it as Panama Viejo. Amani & Marcus take the “Balboa” clue as well. The three teams head off. Jeremy & Sandy’s taxi driver calls Ernie & Cindy and Amani & Marcus’ drivers and tells them where he’s taking them.
Back, again, to the plaza, Andy & Tommy search and finally find the one dancer’s dress with “Panama Viejo” on it. They go, but it’s too late.
<BRJeremy & Sandy, Ernie & Cindy, and Amani & Marcus happily arrive within seconds of each other at the Pit Stop and each claim their spot in the final leg of the Race.
That leaves Andy & Tommy in last and eliminated after winning 6 out of the last 11 legs.
Now this was a great episode! I’m not gonna lie about that ending being one of the best endings ever, but the rest of the episode really was great.
Let’s start at the beginning. I am shocked that none of the teams knew who Tintin was! I grew up watching Tintin everyday and recognized him and Snowy and those two detectives right away. I might not have remembered the their names immediately, but I knew they were from The Adventures of Tintin at least.
Then that crazy nighttime boat ride in the pitch black darkness of it all. That was great and apparently, that drive from Panama City to the river was a couple of hours away at least. Yay for TARAu-esque out of the way Route Markers!
The Road Block was standard TAR and even the Detour really. But they served their purposes as equalizers that would setup the shocking finish.
Looked like Andy & Tommy had ditched their truck taxis from the river once they got to Panama, while the other three teams stayed with them the entire way. That certainly helped since those taxis were TAR-provided, so they naturally would all know each other. But I do think Jeremy & Sandy’s move of having their driver tell the others after the Road Block was what started that continued taxi alliance to the end. That final clue with the dress and the medallions has been in line with TAR’s more mental, riddle-infused clues this season. I hope the final leg will have the most mental, riddliest clue ever to cap off the season.
The final three teams arriving at the penultimate Mat together is definitely a first and it was fun to watch. Marcus’ football analogies have gotten pretty old, but his David & Goliath one this week was actually on the money. The six asterisked wins of Andy & Tommy did seem insurmountable. But again, one mistake could be the end for any team. As always, taxis are the biggest TAR variables and they were once again here.
Of the four, I like this final 3 and I do hope they can bring a good fight next week.
The Atomium Brussels, Belgium
ROUTE MARKER Tintin Mural at Stockel metro station Brussels
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Puerto El Corotu/Parara Puru on Chagres River Panama
San Francisco Bay Towers Panama City
Plaza de Francia – Ferdinand de Lesseps statue
El Mercado de Mariscos Panama City
Salsipuedes Market Panama City
Cathedral Plaza Panama City
Panama Viejo Panama City
The Atomium Brussels, Belgium
Andy & Tommy 3:46am
Jeremy & Sandy 4:20am
Ernie & Cindy 4:35am
Amani & Marcus 4:40am
In order of completion > or < indicates team switched Detours.
Who did the Road Block? Who wants to walk in rarified air? In order of completion; Italics indicate who did the Road Block
6 Ernie Cindy6 6 Jeremy Sandy6 6AmaniMarcus6 6AndyTommy6
1st Jeremy & Sandy +1 2nd Ernie & Cindy +1 3rd Amani & Marcus +1 Eliminated Andy & Tommy -3
Ernie & Cindy – Well, they made it to the Final 3. Their solid Race needs to carry over into the final leg for them to be able to win. They can’t allow their late-leg collapses to cost them the million. They certainly have what it takes to beat the other two teams in the final three so as long as they stay mistake-free, they have a million bucks.
Amani & Marcus – I guess the comeback kids title works for them. They’ve been very down and they’ve been very up this Race, but they’re still in it. They did just enough to make it to the Final 3 even though I still wish they had stepped it up more when they’d flounder half the time. But now that they’re in the final leg, it would be the best time to really bring their A-game. They have a great shot as long as they put in the effort.
Jeremy & Sandy A solid leg and a solid run for them so far. They were under the radar, but pushed forward when it counted. They’ve got a great shot at the million especially with only two other competitors. Anything can happen, but both Jeremy and Sandy have shown they can get physical when they need to. It’s anyone’s Race at this point.
Andy & Tommy – Woohoo! A very unlucky leg for them. But they seemed doomed from the start. From Charlie Chaplin to Vasco Núñez de Balboa, Andy & Tommy were just out of it on the mental challenges and that’s not something you can do. They also got struck with back taxi luck and that will almost certainly kill any team. They had a good run, but the Race is a marathon and leg to leg. They lost this leg. And their shot at a million. (But they got a Mustang at least!)
Quotes from Episode 19.11
Sandy: “Hi, do you like me as a man?” Jeremy: “Yeah, I like it.”
Marcus: “I dunno, sounds like we’re about to get a crash course in head shrinking.”
The Amazing Race 19, Episode 10 – Release the Break
Amani & Marcus are shocked when Phil hands them their next clue, telling them the next leg starts right now. The clue tells them to drive themselves to the Ford Proving Ground in Lommel, Belgium. Ernie & Cindy officially check in 2nd with Jeremy & Sandy in 3rd. Andy & Tommy and Bill & Cathi get through the Detour finally and finish 4th and 5th with Phil giving Bill & Cathi the good news that they are still Racing (though no non-elimination penalty).
While everyone gets directions, Ernie & Cindy go straight to the Ford Proving Ground first and next to a row of brand new Mustangs, their next clue, the Road Block.
In this Road Block, teams will put the brand new Ford Mustangs through three performance maneuvers. First, they must drive to 100mph and then brake at a designated spot. Then, they’ll have to navigate a slolom course in 16 seconds or less and then safely stop the car in a box without hitting the balloon. Finally, they’ll do a double victory donut to receive their next clue.
Ernie excitedly decides to do the Road Block. After suiting up, a driver takes the teams on a designated course. Teams will then take over the wheel to complete the three tasks. Ernie easily finishes the first task, but has a lot of trouble with the slalom, allowing Jeremy to catch up behind him. They are neck and neck as they get the next clue telling them to drive to Gent and find the next clue at the Hoofdbrug.
Amani & Marcus and Andy & Tommy arrive together next with Bill & Cathi staying in last place.
Ernie & Cindy maintain their lead and arrive in Gent first to find the Detour. In Water, teams must build a floatable raft using the materials provided and then use it to search the waterways for two halves of one clue that together will give them their next destination. In Waffle, teams must set up a waffle stand and then watch a demonstration to learn how to make 18 waffles exactly like the pros have already set up. Once the judge gives them the thumbs up, they’ll get their next clue.
They choose Waffle, as do Jeremy & Sandy who arrive not long after them. As they get to their waffles, Amani & Marcus arrive next and originally choose Waffle, but decide to switch to Water where Andy & Tommy arrive right behind them and end up finishing the raft before them.
Ernie & Cindy get the thumbs up from the judge and they get the clue telling teams to head to De Muur Van Geraardsbergen. Andy & Tommy are close behind them in 2nd now.
As Amani & Marcus finish their Detour, Bill & Cathi arrive and get started with the raft after deciding to pass on the waffles. Meanwhile, Sandy is starting to get frustrated when the judge says their waffles are incorrect. She wants to switch, but they eventually find the mistake and move on.
As Bill & Cathi wrap up their Detour, Ernie & Cindy get to De Muur and open the clue. Teams will watch as a trainer unleashes a flock of homing pigeons, one of which is carrying their next clue. They’ll be given an address where they’ll meet with that pigeon to get it and reveal the next Pit Stop.
Andy & Tommy continue to be right behind Ernie & Cindy while Jeremy & Sandy and Amani & Marcus arrive at the pigeons together. Ernie & Cindy end up getting lost allowing Andy & Tommy to find their pigeon first and the location of the Pit Stop, the Antomium in Brussels.
They head to the Pit Stop and officially win another leg and a pair of customized Ford Mustangs. Jeremy & Sandy find their pigeon 2nd and then check-in 2nd at the Mat. Ernie & Cindy are relieved to finish in 3rd. Amani & Marcus settle for 4th and Bill & Cathi remain stuck in last and now eliminated.
Episode Thoughts A very nice episode. Very quick episode too. It had simple, but good tasks that somehow made the episode go by very quickly. The Road Block looked like huge fun and the Detour was very straightforward, yet tricky at the same time. The extra task/Route Marker with the pigeons continues the non-formulaic leg design we’ve had this season.
Still pretty linear though that partly kept Bill & Cathi from really making a move out of last, but an overall solid leg and episode.
Most interesting thing about this ep though was the continued inconsistency with non-elimination legs and its variations. TAR considers these last two eps as two separate legs. But it wasn’t necessarily a non-elimination leg since Bill & Cathi were not issued any kind of penalty. And it wasn’t really a double/TBC-leg since Phil specifically said “the next leg starts right now.”
It is a little confusing. For TAR18, Phil tells teams they are “still racing” suggesting the leg is not over. Then again, this brings up the question of what constitutes a leg? Is it the presence of a Mat? The lack of a mandatory rest period? Having a complete set of a Road Block and a Detour?
If these legs are indeed separate, then it should still be a non-elimination leg with a Speed Bump for the last team, only with a zero-hour Pit Stop. If there is no penalty for the last team, then really these should be considered double-length/super legs.
Oh well. Who knows, maybe this is all just more cost-cutting, avoiding having to pay a night of accommodations with one less “mandatory rest period.”
Oh and I just knew the winners of this leg would be winning Fords. I saw it a mile away.
PIT START Parc Elisabeth Brussels, Belgium
ROAD BLOCK Ford Proving Grounds Lommel, Belgium
DETOUR Burgstraat – Hoofdbrug Gent, Belgium
ROUTE MARKER Muur van Geraardsbergen Geraardsbergen, Belgium
PIT STOP The Atomium Brussels, Belgium
DEPATURE Parc Elisabeth Brussels, Belgium
Amani & Marcus 1st Ernie & Cindy 2nd Jeremy & Sandy3rd Andy & Tommy 4th Bill & Cathi 5th
In order of completion > or < indicates team switched Detours.
Who did the Road Block? Who wants to play with the Ponies? In order of completion; Italics indicate who did the Road Block
6Ernie Cindy 5 6Jeremy Sandy 5 5 Amani Marcus6 5 Andy Tommy6 6Bill Cathi 5
1st Andy & Tommy +3 2nd Jeremy & Sandy +1 3rd Ernie & Cindy-1 4th Amani & Marcus -3 Eliminated Bill & Cathi =
Ernie & Cindy – Another mistake costs them the leg win and could’ve easily been their downfall. They’ll need to stay on their toes next leg and if they make it, the last leg if they want to win. They’ve got everything they need to go all the way, they just have to clean up their Race a little bit. Also, more fun moments from them as well this leg.
Bill & Cathi – Sad to see them go, but it was definitely not unexpected. Directions were their kryptonite this entire Race and it ended up being what did them in. They’re a great team and great people, but they absolutely suck at directions. They also lacked a sense of urgency this leg which was sad to see since they could’ve easily sneaked by into 4th.
Amani & Marcus – An okay leg for them. But getting lost and getting passed numerous times during the leg will be a concern. They have a problem maintaining leads. They can move ahead when starting from behind, but when they start out in front, they fall out of first place and usually never recover until the next leg. With four teams left, they’ll have to fix that.
Jeremy & Sandy A little worrisome seeing Sandy wanting to give up on the Detour so easily like that. Good that they didn’t, but they’ll have to work on that if they want to run for the Finish Line. They can’t let their frustrations get to them, otherwise they can easily fall apart and lose.
Andy & Tommy – Another win from them. At least this time it wasn’t by default. They’re in prime position with the momentum, but as shown last week, they aren’t invincible. So if they can keep the momentum going, they’re the team to beat (unfortunately, if only because that would be very boring).
Quotes from Episode 19.10
Cindy: “That’s farting like a monster. We’ll call that waffle, ‘Ernie.’ He farts.”
The 9th leg begins as Ernie & Cindy start off with an hour and a half lead. They head to the first Route Marker the Hans Christian Andersen statue at city hall where they find the Road Block.
In this Road Block, teams have to memorize the poem: “To Move, to breathe, to fly, to float, to gain all while you give; To roam the roads of lands remote, to travel is to live.” They will then ride a bike and follow the map on the front wheel to the Teatermuseet where they must perform a dramatic reading for a period drama critic who will hand them their next clue.
Despite a crowd of tourists getting in the way, Cindy memorizes the poem, finds the theater, gets a Bravo from the critic and heads back to Ernie before any other team arrives. The next clue tells them to drive to the original Legoland in Billund and the pirate carousel ride for their next clue.
Bill & Cathi and Andy & Tommy arrive long after Ernie & Cindy leave, but stall when Cathi and Tommy cannot find the theatre. That allows Amani & Marcus to catch up with Amani getting the thumbs up from the critic on her first try.
Cathi finally finds the theatre, but misses one word. She has to go all the way back to the start to be able to give another go at it. Sandy ends up catching up to Tommy who gets the thumbs down for his unenthusiastic recital and not a performance, so he must go back as does Sandy.
While the other finish up at the Road Block, Ernie & Cindy arrive at Legoland and are handed a Lego box with puzzle pieces. They must get on the spinning ride and put the puzzle together, only working while the ride is in motion, to get their next clue.
They finish the puzzle and must figure out that they will have to drive themselves across the border into Germany and to the Hamburg train station for their next clue. Ernie & Cindy maintain their lead and open the clue telling teams to take a train through Cologne to Brussels, Belgium.
While other teams have a tricky time with the task at Legoland and Bill & Cathi get hopelessly lost, they will all catch up to Ernie & Cindy who find out the only train to Brussels leaves at 12:30am.
But even worse than losing their lead is losing their tickets. Ernie & Cindy find they have lost their Cologne-Brussels tickets and they don’t have enough money to buy new ones. In Cologne, they transfer onto the next train anyway and they end up safe when no conductor comes to check tickets.
The teams arrive in Brussels and must now make their way to the European Parliament building for their next clue on a bike. Bill & Cathi find the clue first and it is a Detour.
Teams must head to the Concert Noble where they will pay tribute to the Muscles from Brussels Jean-Claude Van Damme by participating in a bobybuilding posedown. After putting on bikinis and competition tanning oil, teams will learn a routine of poses from a pro to perform for a set of judges who must give them a total score of 12 before getting the next clue.
Ernie & Cindy go up first, but only get 9 points so they’ll have to go again. Andy & Tommy are worse off though on their first attempt with only 4 points. But Amani & Marcus get 12 right off the bat and get the next clue telling them to head to the Pit Stop at Parc Elisabeth.
They head off and Andy & Tommy go again, but get just 5 points. Ernie & Cindy’s 2nd attempt gets them 12 points and they are right behind Amani & Marcus. It’s a taxi race to the Pit Stop with Amani & Marcus coming out on top.
They win a trip to Panama, but Phil’s got even bigger news. The leg is not over yet next leg starts now.
To Be Continued!
Episode Thoughts Very interesting leg and leg design. It sort of reminded me of the TARAu legs that had clues and Route Markers that were completely out of the way or so far apart. Whenever teams get huge leads coming off the last leg, I do like that there was that equalizer midway through the leg, even though it negates the advantage for a team I’m rooting for.
However, I think the leg design would’ve been more suited for a double-leg, which we haven’t gotten for a few seasons if I recall. TAR18 began the zero-hour Pit Stops which essentially replaces the double/”The leg is not over yet”-legs. Those eliminate the need for a non-elimination/Speed Bump and instead just keeps teams Racing without having to officially check-in to a Pit Stop. One positive for zero-hour Pit Stops over double-legs is that the first place team still gets a prize, though they could still give out prizes on those double-legs.
Lots of memorization this season, which isn’t a bad thing as it requires teams to use their brains. Simple Road Block, but effective. The Legoland task was cool too and again, I am liking the extra tasks this season since we haven’t seen much of any extra tasks outside the Detour and Road Block recently. The bobybuilding Detour (which was indeed a Detour, but introduced as a task this leg) was great, gratuitous fun. Definitely the fittest TAR cast ever it would seem.
This was probably the most skin ever seen on TAR ever!
I do think the episode was the strongest we’ve had in weeks. And this is a very solid final 5.
And WOAH!!! What was that green thing with the Race flag on it? That is a very strange thing. Is it a new addition to the Race!? I wonder what it means?
PIT START Havet Ship Copenhagen
ROAD BLOCK Hans Christian Andersen Statue Copenhagen
ROUTE MARKER Legoland Billund
Hamburg Hauptbahnhof/Train Station Hamburg, Germany
ROUTE MARKER European Parliament Brussels, Belgium
DETOUR/TASK Concert Noble Brussels
PIT STOP Parc Elisabeth Brussels, Belgium
DEPATURE Havet Ship Copenhagen
Ernie & Cindy 9:01am Bill & Cathi 10:34am Andy & Tommy 10:39am Amani & Marcus 11:43am Jeremy & Sandy 12:08pm
NOT YET COMPLETED
In order of completion > or < indicates team switched Detours.
Who did the Road Block? Who’s ready to take a fairy tale ride? In order of completion; Italics indicate who did the Road Block
5 Ernie Cindy5 5Amani Marcus 5 5 Bill Cathi5 5 Andy Tommy5 5 Jeremy Sandy5
1st Amani & Marcus +3 2nd Ernie & Cindy-1 TBA Jeremy & Sandy ? TBA Bill & Cathi ? TBA Andy & Tommy ?
Ernie & Cindy – It was a great leg for them until they lose their tickets. It’s those little, careless mistakes that could do any team in and Ernie & Cindy definitely don’t need those kinds of careless mistakes. An otherwise great leg for them though and they need that momentum in the final legs of the Rac.e
Bill & Cathi – Their lack of navigational skills could be their undoing on the Race. It could certainly catch up to them sooner than later and it’d be a big shame since they’ve been Racing very well otherwise. A strong team in everything but directions.
Amani & Marcus – Another great leg for them. They’ve once again capitalized on other teams’ mistakes and again shown how frustrating it is to see them when they actually Race well. They need to maintain that level and build off of that, not revert back to their poor performances.
Jeremy & Sandy Even with just five teams, they were pretty quiet this leg. They were running from the back the entire leg, even after the equalizer. They haven’t stepped up yet and they’ll have to if they want to make final 3.
Andy & Tommy – It was also a quiet leg from them and like before, a quiet leg from them makes them more likeable. They were definitely out of sync the entire leg though. Very poor leg from them.
Quotes from Episode 19.09
Marcus: “Are you serious?” Amani: “You don’t know who you rollin’ with dawg.”
Cathi: “Our kids are just gonna die when they see us in this little clothing. I’m gonna die, so you know, it’s going to be a family death.”