So we're in still in Guangzhou and according to the short description of this episode, we're gonna stay here. I'm not a big fan of when they stay in the same city for more than one episodes, it smacks of a tourist commercial rather than a race. I prefer the old school legs which hit a couple of cities, with tasks even on different continents of the same leg. But producers got to keep costs to a minimum while still putting on a show. Let's see if this one is a keeper or just a bit of filler along the way.
So Phil does his bit for the local Chamber of Commerce and then Jet and Cord depart at 8:16 am. The Cowboys read that they must get to the Chen Clan Academy and stand still as the master presses the clue (in Chinese characters) on their forehead. Only one, or both? Either way, they're gonna have to get someone to read their forehead to know where to go next. So the boys head out, worrying about who and when to give the extra Express Pass. Also, they need to find a cab. Didn't call for one the night before. Other teams have done this in previous seasons. Because of this, the boys meet up with a dude who tells them it takes 50 minutes. "Five kilometres? Five minutes?" Cord asks, misunderstanding the dude's hand signals. They think it's 15 minute jog, so head off. Uh, oh. Not a good start boys.
Big Brother (Brendon and Rachel) are second and immediately seem to get lost in a clutch of woods. Brendon tries to slow her down, figuring it's best to know where one is going before running into the woods. He also jokes about how she didn't cry in the whole leg last time. Funny stuff, glad she took it well. Then again, we don't see them sitting on the couch at home as they watch. I expect Brendon now has a bruise on his shoulder. But they seem to get good directions, told to take the Metro by some nice lady. Metro is always best.
Margie and Luke head out, good third place. But have a short argument before getting into a cab. Cool. Now we got three different teams taking three different means: foot, cab and Metro. Wonder who gets there first? Dave and Conner head out, are told to take a subway. Quick cut to the Cowboys as they ask another dude. He also says it's very far away but the Cowboys think he means it's just over there. They keep running, although they are wondering if they should take a cab.
Big Brother, and Dave and Connor get to the Metro and go. The Afghanimals and Team Kentucky head out. And not surprising, the boys decide to work with another team. The Globetrotters are next, followed by Joey and Meghan and then Jessica and John.
J &J take the Metro which is a nice cut to a couple of the lead teams exiting the Metro. And yes, my stance about the Metro is justified. Both teams arrive at the academy in pretty good time. And probably paid 10 times less than what a cab would cost. So the teams watch the movements of the students until a Master moves forward, swinging his arms. He tags Rachel and then Brendon. Excellent, they have to get folks to read their foreheads.
However, if you take a piece of paper and press it to the wet ink on your forehead, you can get a reverse copy of the clue. Let's see if anybody figures that out. Cause you never know, if you sweat, the clue may wash away.
Dave and Conner get tagged just as Margie and Luke pulled up in their cab. All teams, as Dave suggests, beating the Cowboys. Big Brother find a lady to read their forehead and get her to tell the taxi where to go. I would also get the lady, if she speaks English well enough, to translate the words for them (the sweat thing again). Big Brother's cab doesn't seem sure but Dave and Connor's does. Although, cabbies say that all the time on TAR, whether they know or not. Should have asked if they could take the Metro to the location.
But off they go. Finally, the Country Singers leave the Pitstop just over an hour after the Cowboys. And you know what, these girls are so bland and forgettable, I forgot they were on the race; I thought that all the teams had left the building. Oh yes, they say they are going to flirt to get ahead. Like we've never heard that before. Although, I must admit, Gord flirts with everyone. Everyone! And even though he's not a blond, female country singer, it seems to work for the big guy. People just meeting Gord want to tell them their life story, to become his bosom friend for life. Which is good, if you're competing against them.
Anyway, we're back to the Cowboys still jogging, finally realizing they made a mistake. They're already behind the Kentucky Afghanimals who arrive at the academy. And crazily, Big Brother is still there, looking for a taxi. Find out what the words mean and go from there. Then we see various shots of various teams getting tagged, none of them the Cowboys. Doesn't look good boys. Don't wanna go from first to last. And it would be a shame to use the Express Pass this early.
Dave and Conner seemingly arrive at the clue, some kind of play park. And yep, it's the proper place, with a clue box in the middle. And it's a Roadblock. More Chamber of Commerce bit (yes they make a shitload of toys) and teams have to build a kiddie kar (I'm going for alliteration here). An interesting task, one Gord and I would probably be adept at, seeing we both have kids and have spent many a frustrating hour putting a toy or something together. Wisely, Dave takes this on. He's got five kids and seven grandchildren, he's got this cold. Ha! The instructions are in Chinese. Not so fast.
Margie and Luke are next and she's a mom so she's done this. The Afghanimals are next but without Kentucky. Jamal takes it on. Meanwhile, the three dudes not tasking ask the question we are all asking: "Where are the Cowboys?" But no cut to the boys. Some shots as Big Brother and Kentucky arrive. Brendon steps ups and since Mark knows his stuff, he's on it. Globetrotters arrive and Flight Time takes it. Dave talks how frustrating these things are to build, especially on Xmas Eve and I know, buddy, I know. Been there myself.
More teams arrive but it's not the Cowboys. I sense an Express Pass being used this leg. Meanwhile the Country Singers get to the Academy while the Cowboys are in a cab. First to last in a couple of hours it seems. Amazing what one tiny mistake/misunderstanding can do to a team. And finally the boys arrive, just as the girls are getting done. But that doesn't last long as the boys get a cab first, leaving the girls behind. Still not good and the boys know it.
Back to the construction sight, Rachel's biological clock is ticking. And yeah, kids are cute and I love mine to death but you know, kids are kids. If you have kids, you know what I'm talking about. Just as I write that, one kid messes with Flight Time's task. Perfect timing man, that's what it's all about. And the kid's a cutie, ain't afraid of the big, tall basketball player. "I'm going to complain about you," she says. "You're sweating a lot." That's good stuff, man.
Finally, the Cowboys arrive. Cord suggests using the Express Pass but Jet says he's not going to need it. Famous last words, man. It's a good idea to try to task, to see if you can do it fast, but don't wait too long. Just ask Jessica and John. Still, I'm guessing the Country Girls aren't as adept at building things as the Cowboys. So the teams are building, Mark done fast, first team done, even though they were the fifth team to arrive. Next they got to go to the Guangzhou Children's Cultural Centre with their car in the back of a cab.
Margie gets done ahead of Dave, prompting some ribbing from his son. Meanwhile, as Kentucky is loading their cab, Mallory forgets a backpack. We were aware of this because of this episode's teaser, but not sure how much it will hurt them. Hopefully not too much. So Dave is done as Margie and Luke convince a cabbie to load their truck on the top. No low level bridges, please. The Afghanimals are done as the Country Singers fight over who does the task. So it seems the Jet was correct, he won't need the Express Pass.
As Kentucky stop to check the car, Mallory realizes she left Mark's backpack behind. Although she has his passport, the clues and stuff and could go on. But that blows the trust in this unknown relationship. But other teams are struggling. The Afghanimals are looking for a cab (should have got one to wait like the Country Singers). And Jennifer is working on the Cord for the Express Pass. Nice try, but no way will he give it to her right in the middle of a difficult task. That would be totally stupid. Even the Youtubers say that.
Brendon gets done while Jennifer works on Cord but thankfully, Jet gets done. And holy cow the boys are morons cause they do give it to the Country Singers. Wow, I am completely floored. That's a bonehead move, and another reason why the Cowboys need a third try at winning TAR. So the Girls are done just as the Globetrotters are done, leaving the other teams, shocked and stunned, still on the task. To paraphrase Joey, "The blonds really can't get anything done on their own."
Finally the Afghanimals get a cab just as Kentucky arrive at the Cultural Centre. Mallory suggest they deliver the truck before heading back. That's a smart move cause if you got your passport and nothing is holding you back, keep moving forward. No doubt other teams will lend Mark clothing and stuff cause of what happened to Bopper. They are in first and no idea what's going on behind so I would just keep moving.
Next task is a Detour. In Featherball, teams must play a version of hackey sack making ten passes of a badminton bird. Okay, what's the other task? China Cup. Partake in cupping therapy. Easy choice, the one where you have to lie on your stomach and not have to kick at shuttlecock 10 times in a row. Maybe the Globetrotters can do the Featherball, I'd prefer the therapy. Meanwhile, Mallory is suggesting they continue on, believing in the good of other and they will grab his backpack. I don't care about the good of others, move on, don't need no stinking backpack. Don't risk being eliminated due to a stupid backpack.
Margie and Luke take Featherball while Mark and Mallory argue over the backpack. She's right, this could cost them the whole race. However, they are a new team, barely know each other so I can understand frustration on both sides. Dave and Connor arrive as Kentucky work against each other. And they take Featherball. Mallory then tells Mark this could cost the race and Mark says he doesn't care, he needs his stuff. Big picture man. Get your stuff, let down Bopper and possibly lose the race, or screw the stuff and stay in. He thinks is a money thing, he doesn't have much money and the stuff is important. She does have money and stuff isn't. But if he wants the million bucks, he's got to let it go.
So Margie and Luke try Featherball and they suck. Yep, it's hard. same for Connor and Dave who are also athletic. The next three times arrive (Country Singers, Cowboys, Afghanimals) and they all take the task that requires excellent hand eye coordination and athletic skill. I have all three but no way would I take Featherball. Of course, the Globetrotters take Featherball while the Youtubers and Jessica and John are way at the back. Meghan asks Jesus for help (I think he's got more important things to do) but she gets it. Sorry Jesus, forgot you are an omnipotent God who can handle everything.
And then Meghan helps John cause they were in an alliance with them in their season. And that's nice and all, but last place on the line, you gotta let that go. Another bonehead move. Besides, having that alliance hurt Youtube in the end. Although I like Meghan's comment about the Country Singers need to have someone always help them. So the final two teams move on just as the Mark and Mallory get the backpack. Oh, Mark, say it ain't, not bonehead move #3. They head to the Featherball. And Mark gives Mallory heck for being mad at him, which was a low point for him.
And no team takes China Cup. Could have been done by now, I'm guessing. Although Dave and Connor get done. And it's a Pitstop on Shaimian Island. Quickly, other teams get done, including the Country Girls. Wonder if they'll wait for the Cowboys. Doubt it. But the boys get down as do Big Brother. And surprisingly the Globetrotters are also only finishing, followed by the Afghanimals. Big race to the finish.
Meanwhile Kentucky is still working while the final two teams arrive. Exciting stuff. no way is this a filler episode. There's also a bit of a race to the pitstop as a bunch of teams seemingly arrive at the same time. Editing? We'll see. Instead of running around, Big Brother look at a map and are in a foot race with Margie and Luke. Good try by all, although Rachel wanted to quit and go second, but it's Big Brother in first, Margie and Luke in second. Big Brother wins and it's good thing Luke is hearing impaired because that was an amazing scream from Rachel. My ears are still ringing. Feel sorry for the audio guy.
The Country Girls arrive third, followed by Dave and Connor and then the Globetrotters, having five teams on the mat. Nope, no editing there. They all must have arrived with seconds of each other. Phil's so confused at the number of teams that he calls Dave and Connor Team 5 when they were 4th. And then Cowboys arrive, three teams behind the Country Singers to be 6. Next leg's start is going to be something with all these teams leaving right behind each other. Oh wait, we got a seventh team with the Afghanimals. Finally, we hear that Big Brother get $2,500 each.
Back at the Featherball, teams are still struggling. Cups, man, cups. But Youtube get done followed right by Jessica and John. Kentucky are still there, stuck in last. J & J are 8 with Youtubers Team 9. Obviously they the Youtubers have figured out that helping a team, especially at the back of the pack, is a mistake. And so Kentucky is done their task, but in last. Is this the end or is it a non-elimination. With all the teams hanging around, it's obvious they are gone. You blew it Mark, should have left the backpack. Mallory is, understandably, heartbroken. There is the possibility that he was only looking for an opportunity to not race anymore without his teammate. Sure, Mallory left behind the backpack but he was so keen on getting his stuff that he lost the race for them. And for Bopper.
Still, all in all, a stellar episode. Frustrating as hell to watch as three teams made huge bonehead moves, but great TV. Gord and I will have out video recap in the next day or so. That's gonna be interesting. And next week, off the Malaysia where the Globetrotters dance and Big Brother fall into a river.