The Amazing Race 20 Season Wrap-Up

The Amazing Race 20 Wrap-Up
       
The milestone 20th season of The Amazing Race has come and gone.  I definitely had high expectations for the season with a cast that looked great on paper and the hope of some sprucing up for the anniversary season.  Plus TAR19 took some steps forward to improve the Race and correct some of the mistakes and shortcomings TAR has had in the last few seasons.

A… Distinctive Cast
This was the first time a cast jumped out to me on paper before the season started.  There seemed to be distinct personalities.  Of course you had the established personas of Brendon & Rachel, but you also got a bunch of clowns, a pair of good ol’ country boys, sassy cousins, pretty sisters, guys you’d assume were from Jersey Shore , an army guy and his wife, female federal agents and border patrol guys?  Those are some interesting and diverse teams on paper and they left good impressions in their pre-Race interviews.

On the show itself, they definitely delivered.  Not so much in the competition aspect (more on that later), but they brought the entertainment.

Not many people will like it, but we had plenty of drama.  Art & JJ definitely instigated a lot of the drama.  Couples Brendon & Rachel, Vanessa & Ralph and Rachel & Dave bickering is not uncommon on TAR, of course.  But the conflict between teams, whether it be Vanessa having something against Rachel or Art & JJ starting drama for kicks, TAR20 carried a lot of negativity between teams.  I’m sure a lot of TAR fans don’t appreciate the show being anything but clean and above all the reality show drama, but the conflicts helped what was…

A Lack of Competition
You can’t deny Rachel & Dave and even Art & JJ had amazing runs on the Race.  The fact that they won all legs but one is certainly historic, but when you look at how they won their legs, with a Fast Forward each and other teams generally screwing themselves up, I can’t help but hold back from comparing them to some of the other dominant TAR teams of the past.

It’s all part of the Race sure, but just because they won close legs doesn’t mean they were completely dominant.  Maybe it’s just because I didn’t really care for them, but then again, I never really cared for the likes of Nick & Starr or Megan & Cheyne or even Colin & Christie back in TAR5 or Marc & Rovilson on TARA.

But I think the biggest reason for their success…

Leg Design! Leg Design!
Even after TAR19 brought back the extra, non-Road Block/non-Detour tasks to the legs as well as use more “thinking” clues, TAR20 scaled back on those and went back to those very linear legs that offered no opportunities for teams to catch up.  Again, it makes you realize that those Hours of Operations and airport equalizers were actually good things for the Race.

I know TAR’s simpler legs have to do with budget and cost, but it’s really taken a lot away from the competition and excitement of the legs.  One positive though…

Fast Forward!
This season actually featured more than one Fast Forward.  Though their placements were kind of odd, it’s nice to see it is not completely dead yet.  Some have suggested offering a Fast Forward in each of the first 8 or so legs.  As seen this season, the Fast Forward is merely a pass for a first place team to win at least a 2nd leg in a row.  I say it every season, but I’d like to see the Fast Forward be used like it was in the early (classic!) seasons again.  Create that drama and that lifeline for teams!

No TAR20 Bling?
I was probably most disappointed that we didn’t get any new graphics.  I thought the 20th season would’ve brought some freshening up to the on-air look with a fresh opening sequence and an update to the graphics similar to what we’ve seen with TARs from around the world.  Hopefully TAR21 will have some of those.

Hopes for Season 21
Speaking of… Can you believe we’re done with 20 seasons of The Amazing Race and are at least assured of two more?  For TAR21, I definitely hope we get fuller legs, an updated look, more challenging tasks, and maybe a more competitive group of teams.  The Amazing Race is still exciting and fun to watch, but they definitely plenty of room to continue growing and maybe capture some of the magic from the classic seasons.

Overall
Overall, TAR20 was a good, solid season.  It isn’t up there with some of the all-time greats, but it was still enjoyable with some really great teams, drama, good locations and some good tasks.  Let’s hope Bertram and Co. can build on the good momentum and step it up for TAR21.

ALL-TIME RANKINGS
OVERALL SEASONS
1. TAR3
2. TAR5
3. TAR8
4. TAR1
5. TAR11:AS
6. TAR12
7. TAR2
7. TAR6
7. TAR4
10. TAR20
10. TAR19

10. TAR10
10. TAR9

10. TAR17
15. TAR18: UB
16. TAR16
17. TAR14
18. TAR15
19. TAR13
*huge gap*
20. TAR7

FINALES
(regardless of winner)
1. TAR3
2. TAR12
3. TAR8
4. TAR5
5. TAR2
6. TAR1
7. TAR20
8. TAR16
9. TAR15
10. TAR14
11. TAR6
12. TAR19
13. TAR17
14. TAR11: AS
15. TAR4
16. TAR18
17. TAR9
18. TAR13
19. TAR10
20. TAR7

GROUP of TEAMS
1. TAR3
2. TAR8
3. TAR5
4. TAR1
5. TAR11: AS
6. TAR2
6. TAR12
8. TAR6
8. TAR4
8. TAR20
8. TAR19
12. TAR17
13. TAR18
14. TAR16
14. TAR15
14. TAR14
14. TAR13
18. TAR10
19. TAR9
*gap*
20. TAR7

MY ALL-TIME TEAMS
1. Ronald & Christina (TAR12/18)
2. Teri & Ian (TAR3/AS)
3. Charla & Mirna (TAR5/AS)
4. Kris & Jon (TAR6)
5. Linda & Karen (TAR5)
6. Brendon & Rachel (TAR20)
7. John Vito & Jill (TAR3/AS)
8. David & Margaretta (TAR1)
9. Meredith & Gretchen (TAR7)
10. Brian & Ericka (TAR15)
11. The Linz Family (TAR8)
12. Ernie & Cindy (TAR19)
13. Nat & Kat (TAR17)
14. Brook & Claire (TAR17)
15. Erwin & Godwin (TAR10)
16. Dan & Jordan (TAR16)

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. Bopper & Mark (TAR20)
7. Meredith & Gretchen (TAR7)
8. Charla & Mirna (TAR5)
9. The Paolo Family (TAR8)
10. Gary & Mallory (TAR17)
11. Joseph & Monica (TAR9)
12. Bill & Cathi (TAR19)
13. Jim & Marsha (TAR5)
14. 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. Brendon & Rachel (TAR20)
13. Nicolas & Donald (TAR12)
14. Frank & Margarita (TAR1)
15. Ken & Tina (TAR13)

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)
*gap*11. Kisha & Jen (TAR18)
11. Meghan & Cheyne (TAR15)
11. Tyler & James (TAR10)
14. Freddy & Kendra (TAR6)
15. Nick & Starr (TAR13)
16. Rachel & Dave (TAR20)
*gap*
17. Reichen & Chip (TAR4)
18. BJ & Tyler (TAR9)
19. TK & Rachel (TAR12)
20. 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. Rachel & Dave
       Brendon & Rachel (TAR20)
18. BJ & Tyler
       Eric & Jeremy or Ray & Yolanda (TAR9)
19. Eric & Danielle
       Charla & Mirna or Dustin &Kandice (TAR11:AS)
20. TK & Rachel
       Ronald & Christina or Don & Nicolas (TAR12)
My Final Subjective Team Rankings

Brendon & Rachel Brendon & Rachel – I definitely had high expectations for them.  They are highly competitive and they can also entertain with their drama.  But what was interesting was TAR’s decision to keep them pretty low key.  Unless you are so blinded by your hate for them, you can’t deny that the drama came to them.  They never instigated any drama or conflict with other teams and only responded when they were confronted.  Now, drama with each other, that’s nothing new for them, nor it is new for TAR itself.  Save for the meltdowns in Italy and their collapse in the finale, they’ve been pretty normal and subdued, enjoying the scenery and their trip around the world.  It sucks that they did themselves in in the final leg, but I think there were also times they didn’t push themselves enough during the Race.  They placed 2nd a few times and had opportunities to grab first, but didn’t. One thing’s for sure, they’re pretty much a lock for All-Stars 2, right?
Mark & Bopper Mark & Bopper – Such a wonderful surprise to have these guys turn out to be a whole lot of fun.  An endearing team, a truly endearing team that TAR managed to get right and push.  We’ve been forced to “like” some teams in the past (quite unsuccessfully, sorry TAR), but Bopper & Mark didn’t need TAR’s help.  Their upbeat, happy and fighting spirit personalities definitely made you root for them.  Their determination and perseverance, especially in their last legs was great to watch and something we haven’t seen on TAR in a while. It’s great to have regular people like them on the Race.
Nary & Jamie Nary & Jamie – I had high expectations for them too.  You kind of expect a little more fire in a pair of federal agents, but they lacked that spark and drive.  They didn’t have the hustle to get themselves out of the bottom of the pack.  And I liked them so it was sad to see them underperform every leg.  Them lying about their jobs wasn’t anything to make a big deal out of and they actually handled that situation well.  Them standing up to Art & JJ was great.   Just sucks they didn’t try harder.
Kerri & Stacy Kerri & Stacy – They had an underwhelming start, but once they got in the groove, they became a fun, feisty and sassy team.  It’s  a shame they didn’t stay longer and it was a shame TAR decided not to include their airplane drama with Vanessa & Ralph and the twins on the show.  It would’ve shown the cousins to be fighters and strong.  They stood up for themselves and wouldn’t let anyone push them around.  It was great to see that fire in them before they got eliminated.
Joey & Danny Joey & Danny – I’m not a fan of Jersey Shore, so the implication that these guys were in the same vein as the Situations of the world definitely gave me a bad first impression pre-Race.  But as we saw more of them, I was pleasantly surprised to realize they weren’t so bad after all.  They were actually a pair of normal, fun guys who tried to make a big move, but ended up being their undoing.  I definitely would’ve preferred them to have stayed over some of the other teams we eventually got in the later legs.
Dave & Cherie Dave & Cherie – They were the nice, older couple that unfortunately became typical early boot fodder.  It would have been nice to see them make it farther in the Race (and it certainly would’ve helped add numbers to the “other side” of the drama that popped up later).  A shame they had to be eliminated so early.
Misa & Maiya Misa & Maiya – I definitely had high hopes for them pre-Race.  Both athletes, you’d think they would do well on the Race.  But their first leg was a mess, capped off with their fatal mistake at the Mat.  They would’ve survived at least the first leg if it wasn’t for that unprecedented error.  It was too bad they screwed up, it would’ve been nice to have more women on the Race, especially in the later legs.
GAP
Rachel & Dave Rachel & Dave – They started off great, but as we saw more of Dave and we saw them walking into first place every leg, it got very tiring.  Rachel is an amazing competitor though.  She definitely carried more weight on the team than Dave did, especially with him berating every other minute.  Sure, the fights meant nothing to them after the fact, but it wasn’t any fun to see a husband talk down to his wife all Race.  They deserve kudos for winning so many legs, but I just can’t give my full kudos for being a dominant team when there were so many different factors.
Elliot & Andrew Elliot & Andrew – The prospect of fun sibling bickering wasn’t fully realized, but in a way it was good that they were eliminated before they and Vanessa & Ralph decided to team up and target other teams with drama.  They had otherwise quiet legs and were hardly missed once they were eliminated.
Art & JJ Art & JJ – What a strange team.  For most of the Race, you couldn’t stand their cocky attitudes and unnecessarily looking for drama from other teams.  But in these last few legs, I guess with less competition, they dropped the act and didn’t seem as horrible as they were in the legs previous.  JJ calling Rachel a “nice lady” then encouraging her in the final Road Block just shows that all that shit-stirring was them forcing the drama and thinking it would get them far.  Well, they did place 2nd, though I don’t know if confronting teams for no reason or pitting teams against each other played a big part in that.
Vanessa & Ralph Vanessa & Ralph – Oh boy.  It all started with Vanessa’s strange obsession with Rachel’s ass at the watermelon Detour.  Since then, it was a mean-spirited, catty, and personal vendetta against Rachel who never even really had Vanessa in her radar in the first place.  Ralph was definitely the level-headed one of the two, but the fact that he couldn’t control or didn’t attempt to stop Vanessa’s craziness says something about him too.
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Recap: The Amazing Race 20, Episode 11 – It’s a Great Place to Become Millionaires

The Amazing Race 20, Episode 11 – It’s a Great Place to Become Millionaires

The Leg



The penultimate leg begins and all four teams get on the same flight to Hiroshima, Japan.  At the airport, Brendon & Rachel miss the first bus to the train station while the other three get ahead.  But after arguing on the bus, Brendon makes a new friend who helps them buy tickets getting him and Rachel first on the train together with Vanessa & Ralph and Art & JJ.  The three teams also make the last ferry of the night, leaving Rachel & Dave behind.  But at Miyajima, they find a Route Marker saying they’ll receive their next clue with “the rising sun.”  That allows Rachel & Dave to catch up.

In the morning, a farmer pulling a rickshaw hands them their next clue telling teams to find the Atomic Bomb Dome at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.  There, teams pay their respects before being handed the next clue by a guard telling teams to take a bullet train to Osaka.



Once in Osaka, teams must head to the TV 8 Studios for their next clue.  Brendon & Rachel and Rachel & Dave both choose to take the subway to the TV station while Art & JJ and Vanessa & Ralph take taxis.  The taxis are faster, but Vanessa & Ralph are taken to the wrong studio. 

That puts Art & JJ in the lead and they grab the next clue to find the Road Block.


In this Road Block, teams will have to participate in a Japanese game show where they will run on a running track while trying to grab three rubber chickens hanging from the ceiling.  They must then run to the end and jump on the pads to finish.  If they stumble and fall, they’ll have to try again.



Art does the Road Block and finishes before the other three teams arrive at the same time.  Brendon finishes first, followed by blonde Rachel.  But Vanessa is struggling with her now swollen, sprained ankle from last leg.  She fights through it and finishes.


Teams must now head to the Omeda Sky Building and head to the Floating Garden Observatory.  After locating the two Sony Windows 7 touchscreen PCs, they will find the two Detour options by pressing Play.
In Bingo Shoutout, teams head to a sushi restaurant where they must pick sushi from a conveyor belt, listen to the bingo caller and place the correct sushi (with the correct letter on the flag) onto their bingo cards.  When they’ve got bingo, they must yell out “Sushi!” and if correct, they must eat all five pieces before getting their next clue.
In Photo Cutout, teams must collect two life sized sumo wrestler cutouts and a camera and take pictures of ten groups of three people with the cutouts to get their next clue.



Rachel & Dave finish the Photo Cutout Detour first and head to the Pit Stop at Osaka Castle to claim their 7th win and a trip to New Zealand.  Art & JJ finish the Sushi Detour first as Vanessa & Ralph catch up to Brendon & Rachel before they leave.

At Osaka Castle, Art & JJ and Brendon & Rachel run around the grounds looking for an elusive Phil and they eventually check-in 2nd and 3rd respectively.  That leaves Vanessa & Ralph in last and eliminated.



The final leg begins and teams learn their final destination city is Honolulu, Hawaii.  Teams must travel on the lone Hawaiian Airlines flight from Osaka to Honolulu, getting all three teams in Hawaii at the same time.

Once in Honolulu, teams need to figure out a riddle that will lead them to the twin towards of Makua and Makai.  Rachel & Dave’s taxi driver knows.  Art & JJ meanwhile decide to just follow them, but eventually lose sight of them.  The taxi dispatchers at the airport, meanwhile, help Brendon & Rachel with the location. 



Rachel & Dave open the next clue.  Teams must now use an ascender to get to the top of the 45-story tower.  At the top, they’ll have to scan the horizon to find a large Race flag which they’ll have to go to for their next clue.  But first, they must rappel back down to the ground, face first.

Brendon & Rachel arrive just as Rachel & Dave suit up and the Rachels are happy if either of them wins, as long as it’s not Art & JJ.  Meanwhile, the Border Patrol agents ask for help at a hotel and get pointed to the wrong location.

Rachel & Dave stay in the lead with Brendon & Rachel close behind.  They head back down the building and over to Sand Island Park where they find the Road Block.


In this Road Block,teams must use a Samurai sword to shave enough ice from a block to fill up 14 quarts.  When they’re done, actor Taylor Wily will hand them their next clue.



Dave finishes first and they get the next clue telling them to make their way on foot to the waiting helicopters in the nearby outfield.  Art & JJ arrive just as Brendon finishes the Road Block.

But!  Brendon & Rachel hop back into their taxi, ask if there’s a nearby stadium.  Aloha Stadium is nearby, so they tell the driver to go there.  That allows Art & JJ to pass them as they read their clue correctly and get on a helicopter.  Brendon & Rachel realize their mistake when Aloha Stadium is closed and they backtrack, losing them about 30 minutes.

Rachel & Dave touch down on the North Shore and get the next clue.  One team member must drive a wave runner through the water while the other gets pulled behind on a sled.  They must rescue a victim and bring them safely back to shore.



Rachel & Dave finish and get their clue telling them to head to the Coral Kingdom Gate to Hakipu’u Valley.  (The clue also states to take all their belongings and release their taxi.)  Art & JJ are close behind and after letting out some heavy frustration, Brendon & Rachel trudge on.

Rachel & Dave get let off and they run down to a dock where they find a Race sign that says to take a paddleboard across the fish pond.  Meanwhile, Art & JJ get to the Coral Kingdom Gate and follow a marked path.  They must be right because they find the 2nd Road Block.


For this Road Block, teams must take part in two traditional Hawaiian games.  First, they must use a Papa hōlua or land sled to slide 150 feet down a hill and past a line without falling over.  Then teams must play a game of ʻulu maika by picking up a disc-shaped lava rock and roll it 50 feet into a goal.



While Art struggles with the sled, Rachel & Dave get across the pond and stumble upon the Finish Line.  They are excited, but Phil breaks the news that they’ve missed a Road Block.  So they have to go back and complete it.

Rachel & Dave run up the road and find the marked path where they catch up to Art & JJ at the Road Block.  Brendon & Rachel get dropped off half a mile down the road as well.

Rachel moves on to the ulu maika as Art continues to struggle with the sled.  She gets the rock in the goal and now Rachel & Dave can officially head to the Finish Line on Secret Island by taking an ATV to the dock.



Back at the Road Block, with Brendon (and JJ’s!!!!) encouragement, Rachel slides past the line.  She moves on to the ulu maika, but again grows frustrated when she comes close several times.  That allows Art to catch up to her and eventually pass her.

And so Rachel & Dave claim the million dollars (and the record for most wins ever on an American TAR).  Art & JJ finish 2nd and Brendon & Rachel are officially 3rd.




Episode Thoughts
Well what a finale!  While I’m sad at the final outcome, it was probably the most exciting finale in a couple of seasons.  Both legs had plenty of lead changes and placement shifts and the final leg especially was pretty much up in the air right up until blonde Rachel finished the Road Block. 

For the Japan leg, it was awesome to have more Japanese game show fun.  TAR15’s Wasabi Road Block was hilariously awesome and this chicken Road Block was fun as well.  The camera side of the Detour was very TARA-like, specifically the Sony-sponsored task requiring teams to use their provided Sony High Definition camcorders to record locals singing. lol It was nice to have that little Hiroshima tribute too.

With the final leg, it was sad to see no memory or mental task.  Everything was purely physical.  Except for the clues and taxis of course.   But overall, it was nice to see all three teams so close to each other, even when teams made big mistakes and all three of them did, We haven’t had that in a while.  Though it sucked that the Finish Line mishap ended up being nothing (lol, darn it).   





-Leg 11-

PIT STOP
Cheena Vala Fishing Nets
Vypin, India

DESTINATION CITY
Hiroshima, Japan

ROUTE MARKERS
Itsukushima Shrine
Miyajima

Hiroshima Peace Memorial
Hiroshima

ROAD BLOCK
TV 8 Studio
Osaka

ROUTE MARKER
Floating Garden Observatory, Umeda Sky Building
Osaka

PIT STOP
Osaka Castle
Osaka, Japan

-Leg 12-

PIT STOP
Osaka Castle
Osaka, Japan

FINAL DESTINATION CITY
Honolulu, Hawaii

ROUTE MARKERS
Mauka and Makai Waterfront Towers
Honolulu

ROAD BLOCK
Sand Island
Honolulu

ROUTE MARKER
North Shore, Oahu

ROAD BLOCK
Coral Kingdom Gate, Hakipu’u Valley
Kaneohe

FINISH LINE
Secret Island
Oahu, Hawaii



DEPARTURE
Leg 11
Cheena Vala Fishing Nets
Vypin, India

Dave & Rachel 1:10pm


Leg 12
Osaka Castle
Osaka, Japan

Dave & Rachel 4:15pm
Art & JJ 4:47pm
Brendon & Rachel 5:05pm

BINGO SHOUTOUT



PICTURE CUTOUT
 

In order of completion
> or < indicates team switched Detours.

Who did the Road Block?
Who wants to bring home the chicken?
In order of completion; Italics indicate who did the Road Block

5 Art JJ 4
5 Brendon Rachel 5
5 Rachel Dave 4
5 Vanessa Ralph 5


After final leg
In order of completion; Italics indicate who did the Road Block

6 Art JJ 5
6 Brendon Rachel 6
6 Rachel Dave 5



3 Bopper Mark 5
4 Nary Jamie 2
3 Joey Danny 3
3 Kerri Stacy 2
1 Elliot Andrew 2
1 Dave Cherie 1
0 Misa Maiya 1

LEG 11 PIT STOP
Osaka Castle
Osaka, Japan

1st Rachel & Dave =
2nd Art & JJ+1
3rd Brendon & Rachel -1
Eliminated Vanessa & Ralph-1

FINISH LINE
Secret Island
Oahu, Hawaii

1st Rachel & Dave =
2nd Art & JJ=
3rd Brendon & Rachel =
Brendon & Rachel Brendon & Rachel – Man, what a bummer.  Definitely a disappointing final  leg.  After running the Race pretty calmly and consistently, they save all their volatility and frustration for the final leg.  Plus, after making almost no mistakes the entire Race, they make one that played a huge part in them losing.  Without misreading the clue, they wouldn’t have gotten frustrated, Rachel would’ve been calm and they could have easily slipped past the other two teams.  But in addition to poor taxis, it was their own fault they ended up third.  Incredibly sad and disappointing.
GAP
Rachel & Dave Rachel & Dave – These two legs pretty much proved Rachel carried this team.  Not army Dave, Rachel.  Ever since the first time Dave suddenly started being overbearing towards Rachel, it was her that made their wins that much tolerable.  They deserved this win if only because Rachel performed excellently when she had to. 
GAP
Art & JJ Art & JJ – I’m strangely conflicted on them, especially after this final leg.  I still think they’ve been cocky jerks the entire Race, yet you get a scene of JJ… JJ!! encouraging Rachel Reilly at the Road Block.  And this was after he called her a “nice lady” last week.  I’m now sure they only started trouble and drama just to do it.  They’re still cocky jerks, but I don’t hate them as much anymore.  Strange.
Vanessa & Ralph Vanessa & Ralph – Though not as emotionally moving as Mark’s perseverance through the Bollywood Road Block, Vanessa definitely deserves props for fighting through the pain to finish the Road Block in Japan.  Her ankle definitely did not look well so she deserves a lot of credit for pushing through when other teams have quit for much less. 
Quotes from Episode 20.11

JJ: “Three teams got on, Big Brother, ourselves and Conan and Kardashian.”





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Mark & Bopper Get a Surprise from The Talk

Mark & Bopper Get a Surprise from The Talk

Look at Julie Chen handing Mark & Bopper a BIG surprise on The Talk today:



Bopper & Mark/Brenchel/Nary & Jamie/Kerri & Stacy Super Alliance for TARAS3 please!

Bopper & Mark Talk About Their Time on the Race

Bopper & Mark Talk About Their Time on the Race

Bopper & Mark detail their tense final legs to Reality TV World as well tension between teams.

Bopper & Mark tell Deadbolt how the Race changed their outlook on life.

TVGuide ask Bopper & Mark what they’ve been up to since the Race.

HitFix asks about the money Art & JJ promised them.

Recap: The Amazing Race 20 Episode 10 – “Alright buddy, I’m gonna ride you!”

The Amazing Race 20, Episode 10 – I Need Hair to Be Pretty

The Leg



Rachel & Dave open the first clue telling teams to head to Cheranallur Temple where they will receive a blessing from the head priest before getting their next clue.  They’ll also have to remember to remove their shoes.

Brenchel leave the Pit Stop a half hour behind.  But just minutes apart, Art & JJ’s trouble getting a rickshaw allow Vanessa & Ralph to get ahead.  Back at the Pit Stop, Bopper sits by Mark as he receives an IV, still not 100% after last leg.

Rachel & Dave receive their next clue and find the Fast Forward, which they can’t take since they already took one.  Brendon & Rachel, however, in 2nd place can, so they decide to go for it.



The clue says they must take part in an Indian good fortune ritual by looking for the priest at the Mutharaman Devastanam Temple.  They arrive and they read the clue.  To win the Fast Forward, they must both shave their heads.  Phil reminds us that this is a Switchback to season 7’s unforgettable Fast Forward featuring Joyce (of Uchenna & Joyce) shaving her head and eventually winning the Race.

Rachel can’t do it though.  She paid $500 for extensions.  So they have to backtrack and instead head to the next Route Marker at Pattanacaud Coir Mats and Matting.  Vanessa and Ralph manage to arrive first and they find the Road Block.



In this Road Block, teams must spin 40 feet of rope from coconut husks, following a demonstration by the women in the facility.  Then, they must spool four bundles of already made rope onto one spindle before receiving their next clue.



Ralph, Dave and Art all decide to do the Road Block.  Brendon & Rachel arrive and JJ can’t believe they didn’t do the Fast Forward, fearing Bopper & Mark will, making the four teams have to fight for last.

It amazes JJ that he and Art are the only ones playing strategically.  Rachel says she knows one girl did it on a previous Race, but “she was really cute and skinny and pretty” and that she needs hair to be pretty.

Dave finishes the first part of the Road Block first with Ralph and JJ close behind.  They get started on the spooling while Brendon tries to catch up.  Vanessa and Rachel Reilly are encouraging their partners, but Dave rejects his Rachel’s encouragements and tells her to be silent.

Ralph finishes first and he and Vanessa run off to the next Route Marker at Fort Kochi.  But on their way to their rickshaw, Vanessa twists her ankle and falls to the ground.  She gets up, but Dave & Rachel pass them. 



As Art finishes the spooling, Dave asks Rachel again why they didn’t take the Fast Forward.  She tells him that it was head shaving and he sort of understands. JJ says Rachel’s a nice lady and all, but she’s pretty gullible so he uses the opportunity to psych her out by saying Mark & Bopper could easily get in front of them all, leaving Brendon & Rachel in last and possibly eliminated.  

But as Brendon finishes up the Road Block, Bopper & Mark are just leaving the Pit Stop.  They head to the Temple and they have whole Speed Bump yet to do.



Meanwhile, the other teams look for their next clue from a barber under a tree.  Rachel & Dave get there first and find the Detour.
In Pachyderm, teams must decorate an elephant with a headdress and golden ornaments.  Then, they must shovel and transport 15 wheelbarrows of elephant poop to receive their next clue.
In Pack a Box, teams must head to a ginger processing center where they must fill 10 empty wooden boxes with dried ginger, properly seal and stencil the boxes for shipping and transport them to a nearby shipping depot. 



Rachel & Dave, Vanessa & Ralph and Brendon & Rachel all choose the elephants while Art & JJ decide it’s time for them to do manual labor.



Mark & Bopper find their Speed Bump at the Cheranallur Temple where they must paint a tiger on the belly of one of the Pulikali Tiger Dancers.  Once they’re done and the dancers perform for them, they can continue Racing.



At the Detour, Art & JJ realize they have a lot of work ahead of them.  On the other side. After decorating the elephants, Rachel & Dave maintain a lead, while Vanessa maintains concentration on Brendon & Rachel and think they’re skipping wheelbarrows of manure.

Bopper & Mark finish their Speed Bump and get the next clue from the priest.  They decide to take a chance and go for the Fast Forward. 

Back at the Detour, Rachel & Dave finish with Vanessa & Ralph and Brendon & Rachel close behind.  Teams can now head to the Pit Stop by taking a ferry to the Cheena Vala Fishing Nets.  Rachel & Dave get to the ferries first and attempt to pay the captain so they can leave before the other teams get there.  The ferry leaves anyway, leaving Brendon & Rachel and Vanessa & Ralph at the dock.

While Art & JJ pass the time at the Detour by imitating Dave being condescending to Rachel, the married couple steps on the Mat first, their 6th win, and claim $10,000 each.



Brendon & Rachel just outrun Vanessa & Ralph to finish 2nd with the divorcees taking 3rd.  Phil for some reason mentions penalties and Ralph & Vanessa bring up thinking Brendon & Rachel somehow miscounted their wheelbarrows.  Things get tense as Phil asks why they can’t get along.  Rachel mentions Vanessa not liking her sequins, making fun of her nose and recalling when it all started at the watermelon Detour when Vanessa laughs at Rachel’s ass.  Vanessa says she has nothing against Rachel except for the craziness at the airport.  Brendon tries to stop Rachel from going any further. 

Rachel and Vanessa seem to apologize to each other, but Rachel says she is offended when they come to the Mat and get accused of somehow cheating.  Vanessa defends her accusation, but Phil stops her by noting how she doesn’t like to let things go.  Rachel then extends her hand and they shake.

As Bopper & Mark happily get their heads shaved, Art & JJ struggle to finish their grueling Detour.  And despite getting slowed down, the border patrol agents arrive on the Mat in 4th and safe.  That leaves Bopper & Mark, even with the Fast Forward, in last and eliminated.




Episode Thoughts
Well, it seemed like another poorly designed leg that allowed for zero chance for Bopper & Mark or any trailing team be able to catch up.  Though the ginger side of the Detour seemed incredibly unbalanced with the elephant side and maybe if Kentucky weren’t three hours behind everyone else, they might have caught up yet.

The tasks were good, though all physical.  It would’ve been interesting to see Nary & Jamie or any all-female team have to keep up with the others having to do the physically demanding Detours and Road Block. 

The Switchback to the TAR7 Fast Forward was nice even though you knew Rachel or any other woman not named Joyce or Joey (TARAu shoutout!) would’ve done it, especially knowing a team was hours behind.

This leg also revealed how a leg with both a Speed Bump and Fast Forward would work.  The Speed Bump will likely always be placed before the Route Marker containing the Fast Forward clue.  So actually, if close enough, a Speed Bumped team could still be safe in the event a FF is present on the leg.  As long as they aren’t so horribly behind.

Interesting Mat Chat between Brenchel and Vanessa & Ralph.
But even more interesting was the preview for next week’s finale.  Phil’s teases better deliver! 





PIT STOP
Bolgatty Palace
Cochin, India

ROUTE MARKER/SPEED BUMP
Cheranallur Temple
Cheranallur, India

ROAD BLOCK
Pattanacoir Mats and Matting
Cochin

DETOUR
Fort Kochi

PIT STOP
Cheena Vala Fishing Nets
Vypin, India



DEPARTURE
Bolgatty Palace
Cochin, India

Dave & Rachel 6:53am
Brendon & Rachel 7:20am
Art & JJ 7:28am
Vanessa & Ralph 7:32am
Bopper & Mark  10:38am

PACHYDERM
 


PACK A BOX

In order of completion
> or < indicates team switched Detours.


Bopper & Mark used their Fast Forward.

Who did the Road Block?
Who’s at the end of their rope?
In order of completion; Italics indicate who did the Road Block

4 Rachel Dave 4
4 Vanessa Ralph 5
4 Brendon Rachel 5
4 Art JJ 4
3 Bopper Mark 5



4 Nary Jamie 2
3 Joey Danny 3
3 Kerri Stacy 2
1 Elliot Andrew 2
1 Dave Cherie 1
0 Misa Maiya 1

PIT STOP
Cheena Vala Fishing Nets
Vypin, India

1st Rachel & Dave =
2nd Brendon & Rachel =
3rd Vanessa & Ralph +1
4th Art & JJ -1
Eliminated Bopper & Mark =
Brendon & Rachel Brendon & Rachel – The Fast Forward was worth a shot, but considering they didn’t do it, had to catch up with the other teams and still finish 2nd, they did pretty well this leg.  Makes you wonder if they had just stayed with the others, they might have won the leg outright.  That should boost their confidence going into the final two legs.
Bopper & Mark Bopper & Mark – It wasn’t meant to be.  Bopper & Mark have been one of the very best and most enjoyable teams to ever run the Race.  They were strong, consistent competitors and they enjoyed every single minute of it.  They were genuine and sincere and it is a shame they didn’t make the final four, let alone the final three.  They should be a shoo-in for the next All-Stars, yes?
GAP
Rachel & Dave Rachel & Dave – Art & JJ summed up their relationship perfectly.  Dave’s overbearing nature towards Rachel in the heat of competition is so odd.  I mean, you know he loves her, but then he treats her like crap half the time.  As for their wins, they’ve been just as boring as the other teams who’ve set win records, aka Meghan & Cheyne and Nick & Starr.  Boring, boring. 
GAP
Art & JJ Art & JJ – So this leg pretty much proves that Art & JJ merely like stirring the pot.  Apparently for strategic reasons.  How odd was it when JJ said Rachel was a “very nice lady.”  Huh!?!  Since when was that how he felt?  But really, it just shows they love getting under people’s skin and turning other teams against each other.  Which isn’t the worst strategy ever, but then again this isn’t Big Brother (Zing!!).
Vanessa & Ralph Vanessa & Ralph – If you haven’t seen the extended clip of the Mat Chat, you must.  It sums up Vanessa & Ralph perfectly.  Ralph is pretty much fed up with Vanessa’s antics and drama-starting.  Bringing up Brenchel’s supposed miscounting was the last straw for him and it wasn’t the first time he’s been annoyed by Vanessa focusing more on Rachel than on the Race.  Vanessa’s obsession with Rachel as well as her apparent lack of self control when it comes to causing unnecessary drama will probably spell the end for them in the penultimate leg.
Quotes from Episode 20.10

Blonde Rachel: “Dave looks pretty good in a skirt.”
Vanessa: “Actually, Ralph is one of my few boyfriends that [hasn’t] crossdressed.”

Red Rachel: “I already feel bad about my big nose Vanessa pointed out.  I don’t need a big nose and no hair.”

Blonde Rachel: “Alright buddy, I’m gonna ride you!”



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The Amazing Race, Season 19 - The Amazing Race
 

Recap: The Amazing Race 20, Episode 9 – Bollywood Travolta

The Amazing Race 20, Episode 9 – Bollywood Travolta

The Leg

A couple of hours before the Pit Start, a medic comes to check on Bopper’s knee which he twisted in leg 7.  The medic says he should be okay with a brace.  Later that night, they start the leg and open their first clue telling teams to fly to Cochin, India.

Having to book tickets at a travel agent first, Rachel & Dave and Art & JJ give each other the silent treatment after last leg’s misunderstanding/betrayal.  Later, Vanessa & Ralph decide to take a chance on a different flight that’ll arrive earlier, but the other four teams end up arriving in India within minutes.

Once in Cochin, teams must take a bus to Sacred Heart College in Thevara to get their next clue.  Rachel & Dave get on the first bus, Brendon & Rachel and Art & JJ get on a second bus, with Vanessa & Ralph on a third.  Bopper’s knee acts up and they bring up the rear.

Rachel & Dave arrive at the college and find the Road Block.


In this Road Block, teams will have to dress up in traditional attire and learn a Bollywood dance routine.  They’ll then perform the routine for a Bollywood director and will receive their next clue with a thumbs up. 

The other teams are right behind.  Both Rachels, JJ, and Vanessa decide to do the Road Block.  On the way to the College, Mark’s motion sickness kicks in and he throws up on the bus.  But once they get to the Road Block, because of Bopper’s knee, Mark decides to dance.

The first person to go up on stage to attempt the routine is JJ, but he fails. Next up is blonde Rachel and she gets it on her first attempt.  They get the next clue telling them to take an auto rickshaw to the Indian Coffee House and find the head waiter who’ll give them their next clue.

Vanessa, Rachel, and JJ give it a try, but fail their first attempts. 


Meanwhile, Rachel & Dave arrive at the Coffee House and receive the Detour.
In Cricket, each team member must hit a ball past a professional player to a boundary line.
In Clutch It. each team member must learn how to drive an auto rickshaw and transport passengers though a training course.

They choose Clutch It

Back at the Detour, JJ and Rachel try again, but still can’t get it.  Neither does Mark on his first attempt.  But Vanessa gets through her routine on her 2nd try and they head off.  Rachel perfects the routine on her 4th attempt, as does JJ, leaving Mark and Bopper behind at the Detour.

At the Road Block, after more bickering, Rachel and her “freakin’ husband” Dave finish and receive the clue telling them to head to the Pit Stop at Bolgatty Palace. 

At the Detour, Vanessa & Ralph choose Clutch It, while Brendon & Rachel and Art & JJ both choose Cricket.  Back at the Road Block, Mark fails his 4th, 5th, and 6th attempts and Bopper is starting to get worried for his friend’s health. 

Rachel & Dave meet Phil at the Mat first and win a trip to St. Lucia.

At the Detour, Vanessa is having trouble driving.  Next door, Brendon and JJ get the first boundaries for their respective teams. 

At the Road Block, Bopper says they should just take the penalty instead of Mark having to struggle under the scorching sun.  But Mark isn’t going to give up, “I’m gonna do this or die.”  Mark tries his 8th attempt and still doesn’t get it. 

Art finally hits the ball past the boundary just as Vanessa & Ralph are finishing up their side of the Detour.  With Mark continuing to struggle at the Road Block, Art & JJ and Vanessa & Ralph finish 3rd and 4th respectively.

That leaves Bopper & Mark.  After getting the thumbs down on his 11th attempt, Mark decides he wants to quit before dying for real.  They are very emotional as he heads back to the tent to undress, but Bopper and Mark’s dance instructor convince him to give it one more shot and not to quit.  And on his 12th attempt, the director mercifully gives it to him.  Everyone cheers them on as they head to the Pit Stop.

They’re in last place, but Phil tells them this is a non-elimination leg.

Episode Thoughts
A good solid leg, but wished they were more Route Markers though.  Not surprised it was a non-elimination, but I was definitely hoping for a double leg/To Be Continued/zero-hour Pit Stop.

It’s really interesting to think how this is the 20th season of TAR and in those 20 seasons, we’ve had some of the very best legs take place in India, but never a Bollywood task like this one yet.  It’s about time!

The Detour was nice, though simple.  The Indian-flavored ballpark music was awesome though.  Let’s hope we see more of India in the next leg.
 

PIT STOP
Lake Manyara
Tanzania

CONNECTIONS
Nairobi, Kenya
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

DESTINATION CITY
Cochin, India

ROUTE MARKER
Rajiv Gandhi Municipal Bus Terminal
Aluva. Cochin

ROAD BLOCK
Sacred Heart College
Thevara, Cochin

ROUTE MARKER
Indian Coffee House
Cochin, India

DETOUR
Dr. Ambedkar Stadium
Cochin, India

A2Z Driving School
Cochin, India

PIT STOP
Bolgatty Palace
Cochin, India

DEPARTURE
Simba Campsite
Ngorongoro, Tanzania

Bopper & Mark 9:06pm
Rachel & Dave 9:07pm
Art & JJ 9:32pm
Brendon & Rachel 11:55pm
Vanessa & Ralph 1:31am

CRICKET

CLUTCH IT
 

 

In order of completion
> or < indicates team switched Detours.

Who did the Road Block?
Who’s got all the right moves?
In order of completion; Italics indicate who did the Road Block

4 Rachel Dave 3
4 Vanessa Ralph 4
3 Brendon Rachel 5
3 Art JJ 4
3 Bopper Mark 5

4 Nary Jamie 2
3 Joey Danny 3
3 Kerri Stacy 2
1 Elliot Andrew 2
1 Dave Cherie 1
0 Misa Maiya 1

PIT STOP
PIT STOP
Bolgatty Palace
Cochin, India

1st Rachel & Dave +1
2nd Brendon & Rachel +2
3rd Art & JJ =
4th Vanessa & Ralph +1
5th Bopper & Mark -4

Bopper & Mark Bopper & Mark – You gotta give them a standing ovation for their performance this leg.  When many teams have quit for less, Bopper & Mark, especially a visibly struggling Mark, pushed through and didn’t give up.  They finished the leg with class and dignity and live to see another leg.  You can’t help but root for them and with so much negativity this season, they are a breath of fresh air.  I really, really hope they make the final 3.
Brendon & Rachel Brendon & Rachel – A very solid leg for them.  Rachel definitely needs to keep her emotions in check and keep from getting frustrated because they were very close and could’ve taken first if she focused a little more during the Road Block.  But they’ve avoided making mistakes and that bodes very well.  All they have to do is focus, not get caught up in the drama and they’re gold.
GAP
Rachel & Dave Rachel & Dave – So Rachel continues to be the better half of the team.  “Listen to your husband!!!”  Umm… yeah.  I think they’ve benefited from a slightly weaker field.  They haven’t necessarily dominated the Race with any difficult, and I guess the easier Race contributes to that.  But I can’t seem to put them up there with the Nick & Starrs or Kris & Jons or Eric & Jeremys of the past.  That and probably because I don’t really care for them.  (But I didn’t really care for Nick & Starr either.)
GAP
Vanessa & Ralph Vanessa & Ralph – So without them starting drama, they’re pretty boring.  And their cattiness just comes off as forced and annoying.  Their days are definitely numbered unless someone else royally screws up.
Art & JJ Art & JJ – Vanessa & Rachel call Brenchel “Big Baby,” but the real big babies on the Race are Art & JJ.  God forbid a woman beats them at something, let alone Rachel Reilly, right?  Or that a team wants to play for themselves in an individual competition.  Okay.  They would easily be the worst TAR winners ever if they are ever so lucky to make it that far.
Quotes from Episode 20.09

:(

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Nary & Jamie Talk About Their Friends (and Enemies) on the Race

Nary & Jamie Talk About Their Friends (and Enemies) on the Race

Reality TV World ask Nary & Jamie about befriending Brendon & Rachel and Bopper & Mark and why they only told them about their real jobs.

Nary & Jamie tell TVGuide how they couldn’t take Art & JJ’s arrogance any longer.

Deadbolt ask Nary & Jamie about what they wished made it to air.