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  1. Boo. Final legs are always compromised, but after a genuinely fun night leg in HK, the SF one was just lacking in lots of ways, and that probably determined the final outcome. TPTB haven't been able to come up with a really compelling final leg since TAR13 in Portland, and I don't think they can square that circle. And that's all I really have to say.
  2. Yep. If you "1-and-2-and-3-and-4-and" the rhythm, then you need to recognise that the vocals go on the "ands" and adapt to that.
  3. It's 4/4, but like a lot of sub-Saharan popular music, it's syncopated so the accents are on the "off" beats, which means that if you're attuned to songs where the phrasing lines up with the "on" beats, you're going to get out of sync very quickly. (There's also some triplet stuff there, I think.)
  4. I was actually okay with how the partner-split gimmick turned out, even though it could only have ended with a NEL or TBC. I was less okay with the continuation: another W-turn at the very beginning and a judged performance task at the very end? As others have said, repeatedly failing to nail a routine is KF for the viewer, and I admit I skipped a lot of it, but it also compresses the finishing order down into "how many times are we going to be failed and what can we do differently to get the pass?" It's a bit of a crapshoot. No Road Blocks in either leg, though. Admittedly, both Detour options in the first part seemed pretty long and were wrapped in a lot of travel and the overnight camp, but it felt like TPTB spent all their Zimbabwe budget on B-roll of animals and stretched a single leg's tasks over two legs. Also, it's a RAAA--oh well.
  5. I was glad that Evan and Henry seemed to do okay from their metro trip at Evan's insistence (which probably involved one change) because of the TAR unwritten rule about public transit working against you when the cab option is available. That said, the leg winners were the ones that kept the same cab from start to finish and paid for the privilege. If TPTB were careful enough with money that committing to a single-cab leg cost you later on, I'd be fine with that, though it'd probably be inexplicable television.
  6. Obviously, that U-Turn setup was bullshit and TPTB ought to be ashamed of themselves for putting it at the very beginning of the leg, making it dependent mostly on taxi luck and spotting the clue box. Perhaps if two teams had used it there would have been a proper contest, but the flight-splitting (semi-spoonfed or luck, doesn't really matter) set things up for second-last to put the hammer down on the last team. And Phil can shut up about Big Brother tactics to the Big Brother stuntcasts. Otherwise, it was okay. Beer task was fun, lecture task was meh and weird because geocentrism vs heliocentrism isn't flat-earth vs round, you muppets, and nice to have the phones back. And for once we saw a team take public transit -- Henry and Evan en route to the Detour -- and not suffer terribly as a result. Oh, Extreme or firefighters for the win now, please. Competent, good-spirited, aware of their surroundings and self-aware. They'll probably both be gone soon because we can't have nice things.
  7. It's hard to comment on double-legs that aren't TBCs, but the best way to sum up this pair is "weak teams get eliminated for the reasons they were weak", which is honestly what you expect and want from a good season. The NBA pair got done from on-foot navigation, the Eaters got done from bad driving and just generally being slow through everything. I liked both legs apart from the Head to Head which is terrible in so many ways, even worse than the TARCan Face-Off. Self-navigation is always a plus, and TPTB seem to be building tasks out of the locations and making the map part of the game. All a wee bit Euro-centric for now, though, which makes me wonder how big the KF will be when everything takes a big leap eastwards. Honestly, it won't unless you're really playing around with the gearstick. The point of the lift-to-reverse is that you don't accidentally put it in reverse. You might get it to a position that you think is reverse, but it'll be in neutral.
  8. Oh, yeah: they finally made a carry-the-gnome episode that didn't feel corny and forced because they put the gnomes on ziplines.
  9. North Africa, we've missed you. Morocco in particular is a country that has delivered some of the best legs throughout the series -- it never gets dull in terms of task options, and the cities are challenges all by themselves -- but it's been hard (for obvious and sad reasons) for TPTB to go back in recent years. Cats at the wharf! Crazy back-alleys! Uphill both ways! Strange that the Detour felt like a kind of afterthought after that extreme Road Block, which seemed designed to induce early Killer Fatigue (especially if you haul your backpack) and make everything that followed much harder than it would have been at the start. Definitely the kind of leg where you felt glad of a NEL because of how everybody made a few mistakes but nobody had a really terrible day. Also perhaps the first leg where two team members spoke enough Arabic for basic navigation, and a majority could do greetings? Anyway, I liked that a lot, and it was a reminder of how TAR at its best when the location is well-integrated into the tasks. Still don't have a good sense of who'll prevail, but the Eaters are going to run out of luck sooner than later, I think: their navigation in this leg felt chronically bad. It was actually a double bunch at the start, since they took the train back to Schiphol for the flight. All of the stuff after the credits and before the check-in was filmed in the main concourse there, near the escalators for the train station below.
  10. It was funny that teams expected the change to the train in Amsterdam to be a big deal when a) the train station at Schiphol is in the airport; b) trains to Antwerp are sufficiently infrequent that it was always going to be a travel bunch and an Hours of Operation bunch, and they didn't even bother filming it because there was no drama and lots of tedious frite-racing to show instead. It was basically a classic relocation leg from a relatively remote destination with few flights where the primary aim for TPTB was to set up travel for the next leg. I hate hate hate the head-to-head (from TARCAN Face Off experience) more than the U-Turn, because most of the time it essentially penalises a team for failure because the fatigue outweighs any benefit from previous attempts, as well as destroying any gains from the previous tasks. At best, it works better as a race mechanic to shuffle the running order than on television where you're seeing the same thing over and over again with little variation. But mostly it punishes good racing. And as a final challenge, it sucks for teams that don't have physical advantages. Running commentary from Phil didn't even help much. I am similarly a purist: The Race as originally conceived is like a round of golf or a slalom ski run. There are different options that add or remove challenges, but ultimately you're competing against yourself and the course, which is the world and the tasks. That said, I was generally okay with this leg, apart from the head-to-head: the other challenges were a good mix of physical and mental/skill/painstaking, and I loved the Detour. (And props to Shawn/Cedric for nailing the printing press task so quickly.) At least they made Phil's segments for the tasks a bit more flashy.
  11. Show's back. Strange to get the new titles and the public start when there's a slightly muted dead-show walking vibe and the season's going to be burned off during the Winter Olympics. And yet again a sense of it being an Amazing Race re-enactment. But anyway. The theme/teams feel stuntcast-ish but it's mostly not "people who bring TV personas to the start" or "people who have crafted 'TV' personas for the Race." Glad to see Iceland, glad to see self-navigation -- and not a short drive either from the airport to the first task: about 2hrs even if you don't get ridiculously lost. I think we'll have a better sense of who the teams are in a couple of legs.
  12. Late on this, mostly glad that it wasn't a taxi luck ending, and you can't really take it away from Sam and Paul based on how they ran the previous legs. I was glad we got to see a brief moment of the hosers in the cab prepping for the second RB, showing an awareness that wasn't typically on display, even though Ryan messed up his flag-spotting. (At least he wasn't scrabbling in the gravel like Ivana.) It's nice that they could do a lot of challenges in the open in a city during the day -- something that's become difficult for TAR:US -- though the leg itself was very taxi dependent, and the cab drivers probably got most of the $850 on the Yes We Know They're A Sponsor Debit Card. There was the initial split between teams at the Montmorency Falls based on where they were initially dropped off, and that basically held throughout the leg, even though it tightened somewhat at points along the way. TARCan's "yay Canada" stuff is great to watch but doesn't engage much with francophone Canada even when it visits francophone locations with francophone participants, which in turn reflects how TV in Canada is essentially two parallel monolingual entities.
  13. I really don't like "vermin" challenges; I'd take a gross-out eating challenge over them any day. It reminded me a bit too much of Fort Boyard, where they love using rats and frogs and snakes and insects. To me, it's not really a TAR thing. Karen and Bert were always the expected team to go, because they've typically managed to turn challenges into drawn-out struggles and this was no exception. They're sort of the opposite of Sam and Paul, who seem to steamroller their way through, especially after a setback. At least we had the alpacas and crokicurl, which were fun. And I've no idea who'll win the whole thing, though I don't really have any favourites I want to win either.
  14. ALL of the sponsors. That was a weird leg. I don't think I've seen one (Can or US) where the order changed so many times with so few teams left in the race, or where the conventional U-Turn strategy to guarantee an elimination went out of the window because the Speed Bump'd team was up there and competitive. Props to Bert for finding the short-cut. Looking at the map, tasks were slightly spread out, but being in Flatskatchewan, the navigation choices were The Highway or the extremely straight but bumpy back roads. The Detour was essentially a "follow the instructions" task vs. a "work it out for yourself" one, and in a U-turn scenario, I suppose the safe bet is the one where you're given the instructions. I'd have liked to have seen a team work out the conveyor switch earlier, to make it more of a race to the board, but it didn't play out that way. And I'll say it: bee-dle in a beestack. That was the only task where you benefitted from luck; the others were ones that punished you if you didn't nail them.
  15. That was a weirdly uncompelling leg for me: I sort of lost interest when the majorette task began. I didn't predict a NEL, but there was somehow a kind of NEL-ness wrapped into it, and it felt like everyone was racing with sufficient Killer Fatigue to suck at something along the way, but not suck amusingly. Karen and Bert won the prize for making the most mistakes -- and getting the most frustrated about making those mistakes. The naughtiness of placing a deceptively-hard beer Detour against a boxing one, though, was something you probably wouldn't get in TAR:US, so a tip of the hat to TPTB-Can for doing it.
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