It’s looking like we’re going to get through this season without having a single team to mercilessly rag on. I know that a whole crew of likeable Racers strikes the fear of boredom in some of you TAR historians; but with the marriage proposals, blind-date breakdowns, and the men in drag, there’s plenty going on to keep us entertained. I am all in on this stranger danger season. Well, mostly I’m all in on Phil forcing himself to ask the blind date couples how the luuuuuv connection is going and having them be all, “Phil, we’re sweating. We’re annoyed with one another but have to be polite about it, and we’re not even physically attracted to each other…this is not going to end in a CBS wedding.” These blind daters keep it real.
That must be why they’re kicking all the dating couples to the back of the pack, one team at a time. Team Attractive think it’s because the couples who have been together longer butt heads and argue, whereas, a few days in to knowing each other, they’re still worried about being polite. But Tyler rightly points out that they’ve been in the lead the whole time—when you’re winning it’s not so hard to be nice to each other. As Team Medical found out on this leg, at some point, usually around the time one of you royally screws up, politeness goes out the window. And yet, this is the first time Blair and Hailey have finished at the front of the pack! Human dynamics, they cannot be contained.
On the third leg of the race, the nine remaining teams are heading from Nagano, Japan to Phuket, Thailand, which means planning their own flights. But by the time they get back to the Tokyo airport, all of the counters are closed until morning, so, even though the teams headed out in the order that they finished the last leg, everything basically gets flipped the next morning when the Truckers, Hairdressers, Jeff and Jackie, and Team Medical—last week’s last four finishers—make it on the first flight to Phuket, along with the Olympians. The Lawyers and Team Attractive make it on the next flight, and the Blonde Boys just barely make it out that night on a flight arriving at 11:59 p.m. flight. The New Kids, though, can’t get on a flight until the next morning.
In the end, the crazy flight times only really hurt the New Kids, because when everyone arrives at Patong Beach in Phuket, they find the next leg doesn’t start until the next morning. The first three teams get an 8:30 start time, then three at 8:45, and three at 9:00. With the New Kids arriving at 9:35 a.m., that really only puts them about an hour behind, and whereas they’re all rejuvenated from the hot springs date they won last leg, everyone else in Phuket was taking shooooooots. OK, probably just one shot, but that seems like about the last thing I would want to do after 24 hours in transit.
Luck is in the teams’ favor though, because they’re not facing a particularly physically demanding leg. Actually, it’s not really mentally demanding either. Now that I think about it, following last week’s similarly random leg, the challenges this season could use a little ante up. My theory is that the TAR team is luring all these couples into a false sense of security and then, just when they think running this race with a stranger is kind of a cinch, they’re going to hit them with the good stuff (torture massages, tight rope walking, and something that involves a stubborn barnyard animal).
Tonight, they start out with the Detour instead of the Road Block and there is definitely a right choice in SKI vs. TREE. In “Tree,” the teams must deliver a tray of food to waiting customers, traveling by zipline without spilling or losing any of their menu items. “Ski” is actually wake boarding, but wake boarding doesn’t rhyme with anything. The Olympians figure that water sports and winter sports are transferable skills, and they’re not wrong, but wake boarding just takes a while to get the hang of. They’re on about their eight attempt at the lap they have to complete by the time Jeff and Jackie get there, and after a few more tries, they decide they have to switch to Tree, followed shortly by Jeff and Jackie.
NEXT: Relationships with strangers are all about listening…