This episode, and I'm not going into a play by play post cause I really don't have the time (I'll save that when Season 4 of TAR Canada comes on), worked because of two things: Location and tasks. First, the country of Georgia looked fantastic. Unlike Armenia, it had a mix of an Soviet republic, old European charm along with modern touches. But there seemed to be a language barrier, not many folks spoke English, especially the cabbies. That kind of language disconnects always creates problems. Always. Any time the race hits a country where not many people speak English (or Spanish or French), you have teams jumping into bad cabs and getting lost, creating much needed drama.
And to make it more interesting, especially after an extended leg, this leg had difficult tasks. At first, the String side of the Detour seemed to be the easy one which is why most went for it. But String was time-consuming, and painful, and exactly. Clean was also time consuming, and cold, and exacting. Going down into the vat to clean it would have given me pause. I'm slightly claustrophobic so while I would go down there (Gord's probably too big to get in), I'd have some mental struggles while down there.
I also liked that the Detours were a far distance from each, so if a team decided to switch, which Tyler and Korey did, it would cost them. As well as create the potential for a bad cab, as Dana and Matt experienced. I also thought that it was great that teams had to go through a number of steps — find the fortress, take the gondola to the river and then take a cab out of town to the monastery before they actually got the clue for the Detour. That's how they used to do it in the earlier seasons, make the teams do a bunch of things before getting to the actual plot of the show. Sure, it's takes more planning and logistics but in the end, it makes for a better episode.
Following the Detour was the dance roadblock. And dance tasks are always difficult, even for people who have dance training. Sure Dana killed it but she's a pro dancer. But for those with little or no dance training, it was hard. Even Dana and other with some dance were sweating at the end of this task, and that's a great thing.
The whole point is that if you take the time to create a leg with many steps, difficult tasks in a country where English isn't as prevalent, you create a situation where teams get tired, get frustrated, get sweaty and then they lose focus and get into a bad cab and/or start to make mistakes.So you have no idea who's going to win even though someone left the roadblock first, or last. Or whatever. And all this things create drama which makes it easier for producers to find interesting things to edit so we can all enjoy a fantastic episode
So in the end, Zach and Rachel came first, only because Burnie and Ashley got a bad cab that didn't understand them. Still, these two have been teams to watch out this season and don't be surprised if they are in the final 3. Kurt and Brodie were in third but don't count them out. Even so, they are still drama kings, especially when poking their fingers with needles (even Tyler and Korey were commenting on their histrionics at the String detour). But Blair being eliminated might play a role in the next couple of legs. Dana and Matt are still in the same spot as most of the race but you never know with these two. And it was good to see Sheri do a great job on the roadblock to get some confidence back from the previous one. Tyler and Korey, on the other hand, seem to struggling more as the race goes on. I still like them but it possible that they don't have the stamina to make it through the end.
Scott and Blair are gone. I didn't expect these guys to make it all the way, but I hoped for more legs. I liked this team, especially Scott. He's a solid dad, not controlling of his daughter, helps her when she needs it but he can also kick ass. And as I said earlier, watch out if Blair's elimination has an effect on Kurt and Brodie. If I was on the race and this kind of thing happened, I'd be bringing up as much as possible to see if it would slow them down in some way.
Next week, off to Dubai where we see another water slide and wonder will teams back away from it like in a previous season. Doesn't look too scary but then again, I like water slides. The US race has been to Dubai many times so I hope they've worked just as hard on planning like they did in Georgia.