We’ve got to talk about Hayley. We have to talk about the Olympians, too. And also, the severe funk that Daddy Phil slipped into somewhere between second and third place and simply could not get himself out of. It’s been three weeks since TAR last aired and there’s just a lot to talk about. The fifth leg of the race felt almost like two legs with just how much the teams had to accomplish while making their way through Bavaria. There was a standard Detour and Road Block to get through of course, but before they could even get there they had to scale a tower and reverse their **brand new, GPS-ENABLED, beeeeeautiful** Ford Focuses through the winter version of a haunted warehouse.
I could hardly keep up with everything that was going on once the eight remaining teams left Bangkok, but I liked the that the leg was more pace-focused than challenge-focused—that’s what separates the good partnerships from the weak; I’m really growing to like all of the teams we have left, and that includes the terrible ones. And by terrible ones, I of course mean Hayley. In episode 5, the editors have officially gone balls to the wall on showcasing her every nag, her every complaint, her every snipe at Blair. And if it wasn’t for Blair’s sly-grin-and-bear-it approach to just accepting the partner he has, their team would be intolerable. But the way that he both puts up with Hayley being annoyed with him all the time, but also doesn’t exactly let her get away with it is making me root for their team. The guy wants to win—and really, Hayley does too—so, unlike tonight’s last place team, they’re going to keep trying to adapt to each other’s opposing styles until the end. They hate each other so much at this point, I almost ship them.
But there are still couples around with actual futures to root for, and the Olympians finally stood out as a particularly solid and adorable couple this week. They haven’t gotten a lot of focus until this leg, but with as much skill and attractiveness as they have between them, it was about time that they got out in front of the pack. Speaking of, now that Team Attractive—once deemed that because Laura could not stop talking about how attractive her new partner-boyfriend, Tyler, was—has declared their deepest feelings for each other as having “a mutual respect for one another,” I think it’s time for a rebrand. Team SoCal, as TAR calls them, seems fitting, especially regarding the completely chill approach they took to Tyler leaving the fanny pack that contained their passports and money in another team’s car. It’s just a million dollars, we’re all good here!
All eight teams head out on the same flight from Bangkok to Munich where they’re to head to Weis’n Tracht & Mehr clothing shop when they arrive to pick up appropriate Oktoberfest attire that they’ll wear for the rest of the leg. That means bells on the left to indicate unmarried women for the ladies, and shimmying into leather lederhosen for the guys, or as Kurt says, “It’s like squeezing a creampuff through a keyhole.” After the creampuffs are appropriately squeezed, the teams have to climb to the top of Alter Peter Tower so they can spot their marked Ford Focuses, go pick one up, and drive to Schlafwagenfabrik. Team SoCal are the first to make it up the tower and to the cars; after they hop in random car, they smartly switch to the one in front so they can just pull straight forward (always avoid parallel parking when at all possible), but opposite-of-smartly leave their fanny pack in the first car that then gets chosen by Jeff and Jackie… but not before they have an epic blowup.
Jeff and Jackie have certainly been Phil’s best chance at making any sort of romantic connection happen between the blind date couples on this season, but passion has two sides, and tonight the side that has one person screaming at the other to never disrespect them, and the other one screaming back to shut up, emerged. J&J were the second team to make it down from the tower, but not being able to locate the cars once they were on the ground led to Jeff not listening to Jackie and Jackie really not liking that. But, they screamed at each other, screamed at each other a little more, decided to drop it, and then apologized for being ugly and got over it. These two really might make it as a couple.
But the Olympians and their real couple status (and familiarity with German roads and driving a stick-shift) are still the team leading the pack and arrive first at GO BACK TO GO FORWARD where they have to use the rear view camera to drive their Ford Focuses in reverse through a winter wonderland that’s been created in a warehouse, complete with a knockoff Elsa from Frozen, a dude in a polar bear suit, and an actual reindeer. Along the way, the passenger has to spot letters on road signs, put them together, and pronounce correctly to Faux Elsa: It’s “Schliersee,” where teams are to drive to retrieve their next clue.
NEXT: The drive to win (brought to you by Ford Focus)…