Ah, yes, choreography… the great TAR equalizer. Coming out of last week’s leg — technically a continuation leg and not a N.E.L. as I had assumed — I would have figured that Tyler and Korey would get right back on top where they’ve been for most of the race, and Sheri and Cole would have had a nearly impossible time getting out from the bottom following Sheri’s oil change snafu…
Of course, that would have been assuming that no one has to learn a complicated “Georgian tango” on fast-forward as their last step before the Pit Stop. And since that did end up being the case, this was a leg where just about any team could have wound up on top, and just about any other team could have sunk to the sudden bottom. In the end though, the last place team wasn’t so shocking, but the race to see who landed there was Bonkers Bananas Crazytown. And while some of that came down to taxis, with Scott at the helm (or… the opposite of the helm?), it didn’t feel like your average TAR taxi drama.
This week, the teams were taking a midnight train to Georgia — wordplay credit: Mr. Phil Keoghan — from Armenia, meaning they start this seventh leg all on equal footing heading into Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi. They get tiny little overnight train compartments, and wouldn’t you know it, Blair is hanging out in the Frisbee Boys’ car. And you just have to imagine Kurt, fan of Platform 9 ¾ , is thinking, “Scram, Hermoine, there’s not enough room for three people here, let alone romance.” But the editors are pushing this coupling hard, and if you’re not a fan of it — well, stay tuned.
They head straight to St. George’s statue, where they’re then instructed to head to Jvari Monastery, accessible by gondola from Narikala Fortress. And somehow, no matter how even the ground they start on is, Teams Torey and Frisbee are always fastest to the first clue, which makes the first teams to head toward the DETOUR: CLEAN vs. STRING, where they basically have to choose between wine and candy — a Sophie’s Choice, if I’ve ever heard one.
In String, the teams must make five strands of Churchkhela, a traditional Georgian treat that involves stringing 20 whole hazelnuts and then dipping them in a candy glaze. Presumably this would be the more coveted task since there are only four spots available, but as it turns out, stringing the hazelnuts is a course in “Bloody Fingers 101.” My favorite line of the night was a tie between one of the Georgian candy-makers cackling, “My god. He is doing it with such difficulty,” and Tyler saying, “You’re driving me nuts — you’re driving me HAZELNUTS!” For the record, both are said in response to Brody’s candy-stringing screams, so apparently this season’s volume issue is a global concern.
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In Clean, the teams must clean out an underground clay wine cask, by going all the way down in it, while their partner runs back and forth, throwing away they gunk they eliminate. It would be hard to judge the difficulty of this task from the description, but it would be easy to think that if you’re toward the back, you should probably choose the task that doesn’t have limited spots. Apparently the Dancers and Juicystar07 do not agree with that logic, however, as even though they’re in last, they head straight to String. When the Dancers see all the spots are full, they hop into a cab to head toward Clean; but Blair and Scott decide to stay, observe the process, and wait for a spot to open up…
NEXT: Georgia is for dancers…[pagebreak]
Two roads diverged in a Georgian wood and all that, and the Dancers… well, they choose the one twice—no thrice!—traveled, by riding 15 minutes in the taxi toward Clean, becoming convinced the driver is lost, heading back to String, seeing that Tyler and Korey are leaving it for Clean because their fingers are too numb and bloodied to continue stringing nuts, and then getting back in their cab to head toward String again. But they still somehow got to the ROAD BLOCK: LIGHT ON YOUR FEET before Juicystar07, though Scott did made quick work of those hazelnuts once at the station. Clean just ended up being a task you could be quite efficient in, and considering Sheri and Cole made the choice to go straight there, they’d work themselves up to the middle by the Road Block…
But as I said at the top, everything that happened before the Road Block could be a total wash, depending on your team’s proclivity for picking up choreography. Ashley’s, Sheri’s, and Dana’s skill level (I wish we could have seen both Dancers do this): good to great! Zach’s: more on the decent side, but an early arrival gave him some extra time to master the insanely fast dance at the Rustaveli National Theater, and the same goes for Kurt, who took a few rounds to calm down enough to show that he actually had the choreography down quite well.
Korey’s and Scott’s “Korey-ography” skills, however: not the best. Luckily for them, their race for last was just about evenly matched. Blair was right (though I have about 1,000 questions about why she offered her dad up for this task instead of herself) that both Korey and Scott were getting so close with each new attempt that you just knew one of them was about to get it. And that it ended up being Scott, who was able to master the dance in his sixth attempt, followed immediately by Korey. All that separated Team Torey and Juicystar07 was the length of one very speedy Georgian dance…
Well that, and the time it took Scott to run back Tyler’s backpack that he accidentally took off with. That insane moment suddenly took Korey and Tyler out of place, and put them firmly in tied-for-last-place, a spot they surely don’t like, but seem to be very good at getting out of. Once in cabs on the way to the Pit Stop at the Bridge of Peace, Team Torey’s cab gets ahead just enough, and they sprint just hard enough to overcome last place as quite literally the very last moment:
1: THE KINGS, who had no idea they were in first, but ended up with a trip for two to Turks and Caicos thanks to Bernie and Ashley accidentally getting dropped off at the wrong park on their first attempt at finding Phil.
3: FRISBEE BOYS
5: TEAM ALABAMA
6: TEAM TOREY: Welp, I got teary when Korey sprinted onto the mat, thinking just seconds ago that they might be eliminated, and started weeping and hugging his best friend, who he so badly did not want to let down.
ELIMINATED: TEAM JUICYSTAR07, Scott and Blair, who were the juiciest of stars and held off dead last for as long as they could, but finally met the leg they couldn’t quite conquer in Georgia. They both say how proud they are of each other’s successes, and it is very, very sweet.
Next week: golden Speedos in Dubai!