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S25.E01: Go Big Or Go Home


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I don't have anything particularly new to add, ("But Wes, when has that ever stopped you before?,") so I'll make short work of it:

 

During the introductions, for which I was unspoiled, I only took an irrational instant dislike to two teams.  One, naturally, came in first, ensuring that they will be around for at least nine weeks.  But, in a welcome surprise, the other actually managed to come in last and get eliminated.  Yay Me!

 

I remember Bethany's story from it's beginning, ("Thirteen year old loses arm to tiger shark!  After this break.,") to the update news story on her still competitively surfing, through the 2011 promotion blitz for "Soul Surfer."  As an individual, one of the more traditionally "famous" people to be on the Race.  I have no doubt that she and Adam will morph into God-bother-er's eventually, but at the moment she ran a very impressive (from a physical standpoint,) first leg.

 

And in a contrarian stance, I actually liked the wrestlers.  They can ruin it by becoming the "yell at each other" team, or by relentlessly mugging for the cameras (damn hippie's,) but they came through the first episode well, bringing the funny (sinking their boat,) yet still being competent enough to come in fourth.  (From being on the second spoon fed plane to the USVI, and the last seaplane charter, with an assist from Shelley.)

 

And i really hope that future tasks are as difficult as that Roadblock.  The racers had to RtFC, and be careful in their execution.  (Can anyone imagine the trainwreck that some of our more ... excitable contestants would have been had they had to do that.  I'm looking at you Joey G.)

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While being impressed with Bethany, I couldn't help but notice that she doesn't seem to wear a bra (while running).  At first I thought maybe it was because of her arm/shoulder, but she was seen carrying a backpack with both straps.  

 

Meanwhile, I remember Whitney ("You disgust me!") and Keith from Survivor.  She was billed as a (minor) country-music star on Survivor.  

 

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So... is giving racers a compass that reads backwards from what everyone is used to the dirtiest trick this show has ever played on it's racers?  I mean I doubt even outdoor enthusiasts would know about them--only nautical historians would--so it took noticing where the sun was and/or having another compass on you to puzzle that one out.  Admittedly the sun thing SHOULD have occurred to everyone eventually.. but it certainly wouldn't help in the middle of the day.

Have none of these people ever seen a car compass?  In the days before the car manufacturers put an electronic indicator of direction on the dashboard, many people bought these things and stuck them on their dashboards.  I had one for years, and it was invaluable.  These things they had looked EXACTLY like the car compass with the floating indicator.

 

Regarding flying to the wrong country.  Wasn't there a recent season where there was a team that almost did just that?  They were all set to fly somewhere, but then they got to the airport and I think a guy mentioned how they were flying to some city, and another team said wait, what?, and told them where to go.  Am I making this up?

 

 

 

To be honest, I really don't know.   Ask ten firefighters and you may get ten different answers.   I don't think everyone who signs up to become a policeman/firefighter/soldier does it for purely noble reasons.   Some, certainly.   But others may pursue those professions because it's the best viable career choice available to them.   Or because they grew up in that kind of family and it's been part of their lives since childhood.    Others may do it because they like the feeling of power.  Others for the adrenaline rush.   Who knows.   But I don't think "hero" ought to be part of the official job description.  "Hero" is a title bestowed in acknowledgment of an extraordinary act, not just for performing a job you've agreed to do, even if that job is potentially dangerous.

I fully agree.  I think the word "hero" is overused in this society.  Why aren't teachers considered heroes?  It's a noble profession and without teachers, the future of the world is bleak.  Why aren't doctors usually considered heroes?  They are respected, but I never see anyone throwing around that all doctors are heroes.  

 

Do you have to risk your life to be considered a hero?  I have a buddy, college-educated, that chucked his career in sales because he hated it.  He became a firefighter, not because he particularly wanted to fight fires, but because he said it was a good lifestyle.  Work your shift, sit in the firehouse when there's nothing going on, lift weights, chat with your buddies, and then get like two whole days off to sit around at home and relax.  I doubt he considers himself a hero.  To him it's just a job.

 

Regarding these two Boston guys, one of them said he was near the finish line of the marathon and helped out.  Is he a hero?  I wouldn't say so, I'd say he was doing a job.  To me a hero would be a guy who saw that backpack and sacrificed his life by throwing his body over it to prevent more deaths.  I don't see this particular Boston firefighter as any more of a hero than that helicopter pilot that was on TAR some time back who became a "hero" simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time and getting captured.

Edited by blackwing
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During the introductions, for which I was unspoiled, I only took an irrational instant dislike to two teams.  One, naturally, came in first, ensuring that they will be around for at least nine weeks.  But, in a welcome surprise, the other actually managed to come in last and get eliminated.  Yay Me!

 

Way Wes, what makes you think that the Dentists are ensured to be around for 9 weeks? I didn't hear that they could use the save more than once. All it ensures is that they will be around for at least 2 more weeks. If they come in last and use it next week, and come in last the following week or any thereafter (assuming not a NEL), they will be gone. Which I am grateful for since I can't stand them.

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Just watched the first episode last night and it was fairly enjoyable.  I'm rooting for Bethany and Adam, since I live in Hawaii.  It usually take me a couple of episodes to find a team(s) to root for through the entire race.

 

Question: When the realtors figured out they were going to be last, could they have just turned around and gone back to the Roadblock to see if they could finish it?  They might have found it in less than the four hour penalty, since they were so close.

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True. I assume they've scheduled out the season under the assumption that the Save will get used. Because they'd have an easier time paring down an hour if it doesn't, than to plan the schedule under the assumption the Save doesn't get used, and then trying to add an hour if it does (which is probably impossible).

The first thing in production's favor is that John from S22 didn't win the save, so there's that.
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Question: When the realtors figured out they were going to be last, could they have just turned around and gone back to the Roadblock to see if they could finish it?  They might have found it in less than the four hour penalty, since they were so close.

 

No, once they take the penalty, that's it. They're accepting the penalty (four hours to be served at check-in on tha mat) in exchange for the next clue. Once the clue is awarded, the task is "over" for them. No going back.

And in a contrarian stance, I actually liked the wrestlers.  They can ruin it by becoming the "yell at each other" team, or by relentlessly mugging for the cameras (damn hippie's,) but they came through the first episode well, bringing the funny (sinking their boat,) yet still being competent enough to come in fourth.  (From being on the second spoon fed plane to the USVI, and the last seaplane charter, with an assist from Shelley.)

 

 

I don't mind the wrestlers either. I'm not going to say I'm actually rooting for them or anything, but, so far, at least I don't hate them. Maybe because the Dentists were even more yelling than the wrestlers, and Mr. Dentist is so much more intense and crazy-eyed. The wrestlers at least seem to have a bit of the "in-on-the-joke" personality that makes me not dislike them.

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My theory is if it isn't used, or if it is used on what would have been a non-elimination anyway, the leg it expires on (Leg 9, right?) will conveniently be a non-elimination anyway; if it is used on one of the other elimination legs, it'll become a non-elimination and the leg it was supposed to expire on will be an elimination. No way to prove it though.

 

Ex-Racers? I think I recognized Frank from TAR1. Who else was at Times Square? BTW, I feel like a herb for not going, since it was happening at 3 in the damn morning. That's enough reason to not go even if you're from Staten Island like me . . . right?

 

The guy to the right of Frank in the teal shirt who made a point of looking behind him was Terence from TAR13. I didn't see anyone else though.

 

As much as I loved the shoutouts to a time when the show was more warm and humble than it is now (and really, if the show fixes that most of the other issues will sort themselves out), I think my favourite part was just how utterly unnecessary the "Hi, Mr. Phil!" stand-up was. It was literally "Teams were there, now they're here, yay challenge!" and then cut to a voice-over. Amazing. (Although now that I think about it, I'm just sad nobody's ever been all "Bye, Phil!" at the starting line.)

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I'm just really hoping this season that people don't help out as much as they did last season with everyone helping country girls who were more than capable of running their own race and have shown that they can but people kept helping them. It's alright to help in the beginning but when down to final 7 or so run your own race.

Also if they go to Africa this season I really hope the racers keep their ignorant comments to themselves and treat the people with respect over the years everytime they visit that continent racers just act so rude with throwing money at the ground for cab drivers to pick up, saying things like "this country smells like shit, these people bring flies, why they keep breeding, ghetto" just nasty things. I understand you're out of culture and lifestyle you're use to but geez keep it to yourself and have an open mind.

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What I disliked most about the dentists was when he said something about how they decided since the save was on the line he would do the roadblock, as though it were obvious that no matter what the roadblock was, he'd be better at it. And maybe he would, but then I dislike her for being less than useful if not completely useless.

When he said that I really wished for a roadblock that would have them put on coconut bras and dance or something equally silly/potentially humiliating.  If you're so certain your partner is useless, bring another partner.  If they can see some of what the roadblock requires it might be different if they can guess it's a swimming task, for example, they may chose the strongest swimmer, regardless of gender.  

 

All of the talk about heroes makes me think of The Simpsons episode in which Bart pretends/is trapped in a well.  Lisa asks how that makes "Little Timmy" a hero.  Homers answer, "Because he is!!!!!" 

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No, once they take the penalty, that's it. They're accepting the penalty (four hours to be served at check-in on tha mat) in exchange for the next clue. Once the clue is awarded, the task is "over" for them. No going back.

Ah, that's right.  I forgot that in order to get the clue to where the Pit Stop is, they have to take the penalty then and there.  Thanks!

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Is it still a rule that each team member must complete a certain number of roadblocks? I know the issue was brought up last season with Dave and Connor and maybe The Dentists won't be so good as they think they are since he considers Mrs. Lighthouse useless and she has to do a challenging roadblock which may cause them to use the save.

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My theory is if it isn't used, or if it is used on what would have been a non-elimination anyway, the leg it expires on (Leg 9, right?) will conveniently be a non-elimination anyway; if it is used on one of the other elimination legs, it'll become a non-elimination and the leg it was supposed to expire on will be an elimination.

 

I'd assume that The Dentists are now prime targets for any U-Turn before leg 9 unless they're first in, regardless of whether it makes sense on the day. Perhaps TPTB will top-load the U-Turns this time round, but they're definitely setting themselves a challenge here in terms of getting to the final leg with three teams.

 

 

(and really, if the show fixes that most of the other issues will sort themselves out)

 

Preach it. TAR Canada has been a good reminder of that.

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I read Whitney is still mad at Cochran for flipping.  They were the idiots who made it clear he was at the bottom with them.  I don't like them.  

 

Yeah that is why I do not like her as well.  That tribe treated him like shit for the most part and made it clear to him that he was on the bottom, so why would he not flip.

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To be honest, I really don't know.   Ask ten firefighters and you may get ten different answers.   I don't think everyone who signs up to become a policeman/firefighter/soldier does it for purely noble reasons.   Some, certainly.   But others may pursue those professions because it's the best viable career choice available to them.   Or because they grew up in that kind of family and it's been part of their lives since childhood.    Others may do it because they like the feeling of power.  Others for the adrenaline rush.   Who knows.   But I don't think "hero" ought to be part of the official job description.  "Hero" is a title bestowed in acknowledgment of an extraordinary act, not just for performing a job you've agreed to do, even if that job is potentially dangerous.

To me, a hero is anyone willing to put their life on the line for others. Firefighters are willing to put themselves in danger to stop people from dying from the spread of a fire. I believe that all firefighters have to be prepared to run into a burning building in an effort to save people in that building. They are willing to risk their lives to protect others, so that makes them heroic. Maybe they are doing this for other reasons, they like the lifestyle, they are adrenaline junkies, there is a family tradition, whatever but they are volunteering to do something that I am not so certain I would be able to do. So, yeah, I count that as something special and note worthy. Same for Police Officers and members of our Military. They train to do something that very few of us are ready and willing to do and they know that there is a real possibility that one day they will be called to put their life on the line to defend others.

 

I would say that the people who offered aid and assistance at the Boston Marathon, on 9/11 and at the scene of any emergency are very good people who act in a way that is not self serving. I don't know how I would respond but I do know that as a Fire Fighter he is trained to respond and do a very difficult job in a very difficult situation and because of his willingness, and the others who were there who did the same thing, many more lives were saved. Thank God they were there. The fire fighters, the medical volunteers, the police officers, all of them. Keep in mind that everyone who stayed at that scene to render aid was doing so not knowing if someone was going to appear with a gun and shot at them or if another bomb was going to go off or if a building was going to come down. They stayed and took care of those who needed help. That is heroic.

 

So yeah, job or not, staying at a scene like that and volunteering for a job that could take your life gets you the title of hero in my book. I am proud to work along side a large number of folks who served in the military and saw combat. Most of them would say that they are not heros, they were doing their job and they came home. It is a very real sentiment for them. But their service means that I live the life I want. Their service meant others came home. They are heros even though they do not call themselves that.

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Way Wes, what makes you think that the Dentists are ensured to be around for 9 weeks? I didn't hear that they could use the save more than once. All it ensures is that they will be around for at least 2 more weeks. If they come in last and use it next week, and come in last the following week or any thereafter (assuming not a NEL), they will be gone. Which I am grateful for since I can't stand them.

 

Pessimism.  While I love your scenario - as a NEL typically doesn't occur in the first three legs, I have my doubts.  The Dentists, with our admittedly small data set, seem to be competent racers.  (And they were smart enough to bring their own compass, so there's evidence of forethought as well.)  The "Save" pretty much acts as insurance against bad taxi luck, which is the usual cause of early eliminations of competent (seeming) teams.  [i'd say it was U-Turn insurance as well, but it's much more like a U-Turn magnet if the other racers use their heads.]  So it's not so much that I think they'll stick around for at least nine weeks, I just expect them to. (Because: of course that would happen.)

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Perhaps TPTB will top-load the U-Turns this time round, but they're definitely setting themselves a challenge here in terms of getting to the final leg with three teams.

 

 

I found an episode guide online.  It is unofficial and I don't know what their source is, but they list a total of 12 episodes this season, with the finale airing on December 14th.

 

If we take The Save out of the equation for a moment, that means that if TPTB want a F3 for December 14th, they need 3 episodes to end without an elimination, either by way of NEL or a TBC-leg.

 

I don't know how accurate the Wikipedia entries are for TAR, but they show that the most recent seasons have all had 3 episodes where no team was eliminated.

 

So it appears that they scheduled this season as per their usual format.

 

I think that means that the suggestion, made upthread, that if The Save is used they will convert a subsequent NEL into a regular leg, is the most likely scenario.

 

Although I suppose another possibility might be that use of The Save could trigger a double-elimination in a subsequent leg. 

Edited by Alapaki
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And, to add a little more grist to the mill, I looked back over the last 10 seasons on Wikipedia.  Nine of them have had NELs in either Leg 9 or Leg 10 (the only exception was Season 18 which had an NEL in Leg 8).  In fact, over the past Five seasons, the NELs have alternated between Legs 9 and Legs 10.  That alternating pattern would give this Season a Leg 10 NEL.  

 

So it's quite possible that they have Leg 10 as an NEL which they would convert to an elimination leg if the Save is used earlier.

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Can we discuss the Bonus clips here or should we start a new topic? Because the Bonus clues have a lot of interesting info. Isabella and her boyfriend lost their clue and the gay couple left their shoes back at the beach. People are not reading the clues or taking care of their stuff and it is only the first leg of the race.

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Bethany probably can't put on a traditional bra with hooks in the back (or front), and probably has to wear those semi-sports bras that don't really have much support.

I was thinking the same thing about her not being able to wear a traditional bra. Victoria's Secret has great sports bras with support - better than traditional bras for me.

Edited by Boilergal
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I am curious to see how the save works. I mean we have a fixed number of episodes. But the save may or may not be used, so essentially there is a non elimination leg that may or may not happen. I mean what happens if they don't use it?

 

I also wonder if the save is transferable. 

I just assumed that the team coming in second to last would get the boot instead of the team using the save .

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I just assumed that the team coming in second to last would get the boot instead of the team using the save .

 

I think if that was a consequence of using The Save, Phil would've mentioned it.  Because that seems like a pretty big deal.

 

Meanwhile, in a monumental "duh" moment, it dawned on me that the Race was completed long before the premiere aired (and possibly even before CBS finalized their Fall schedule).

 

Therefore, the use (or non-use) of The Save really doesn't complicate the schedule at all.  They knew how many eliminations they had, how many hours the Network was giving them, and edited the season accordingly.

 

So, to quote Emily Litella, nevermind.

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Uh, Phil, that's not how you pronounce Caribbean...

 

I missed how he said it, but there are two commonly accepted and commonly used pronunciations, CARE ih BEE un and care IB ee un.  I prefer the former, but I hear both all the time, and Dictionary.com has both.

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Is it still a rule that each team member must complete a certain number of roadblocks? I know the issue was brought up last season with Dave and Connor and maybe The Dentists won't be so good as they think they are since he considers Mrs. Lighthouse useless and she has to do a challenging roadblock which may cause them to use the save.

 

 

One of the bonus videos has Shelly and Nici discussing whether they hope the upcoming challenge is an RB or a detour.  I believe it is the mother who says something like "I'd like to get the roadblock done, so then I can just have 4 more left and be done with it" or something to that effect..  So that would imply that racers have to do at least 5.  It used to be 6 back in the day.

 

As for former racers at the starting line, I saw Frank from TAR1, Terrence from 13, and behind Terrence was one of the Dandrew guys from 13 (I can't remember which was which at this point).

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there are two commonly accepted and commonly used pronunciations...

 

There are two common pronunciations I am aware of:

 

1)  kah-rib-BEE-an

2)  kuh-RIB-bee-an

 

I believe (and have always been taught) that the first is correct, and that the second, although common, is incorrect because there were no Cuhrib indians, only Carib indians.  (ETA:)  I find myself using #2 myself from time to time, if talking to someone who uses that form, where I just follow suit.  But otherwise, I use #1 because, as I said, I believe it to be correct.

 

However, it is of little importance, and I was only teasing Phil anyway.  (He does read this forum, right?)

Edited by Netfoot
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As for former racers at the starting line, I saw Frank from TAR1, Terrence from 13, and behind Terrence was one of the Dandrew guys from 13 (I can't remember which was which at this point).

 

I think either Tom or Terry was there as well. I don't think we'd see Andrew or Dan, since they'd be out of camera range, having tripped on their own feet.

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To me, a hero is anyone willing to put their life on the line for others. Firefighters are willing to put themselves in danger to stop people from dying from the spread of a fire. I believe that all firefighters have to be prepared to run into a burning building in an effort to save people in that building. They are willing to risk their lives to protect others, so that makes them heroic. Maybe they are doing this for other reasons, they like the lifestyle, they are adrenaline junkies, there is a family tradition, whatever but they are volunteering to do something that I am not so certain I would be able to do. So, yeah, I count that as something special and note worthy. Same for Police Officers and members of our Military. They train to do something that very few of us are ready and willing to do and they know that there is a real possibility that one day they will be called to put their life on the line to defend others.

 

I would say that the people who offered aid and assistance at the Boston Marathon, on 9/11 and at the scene of any emergency are very good people who act in a way that is not self serving. I don't know how I would respond but I do know that as a Fire Fighter he is trained to respond and do a very difficult job in a very difficult situation and because of his willingness, and the others who were there who did the same thing, many more lives were saved. Thank God they were there. The fire fighters, the medical volunteers, the police officers, all of them. Keep in mind that everyone who stayed at that scene to render aid was doing so not knowing if someone was going to appear with a gun and shot at them or if another bomb was going to go off or if a building was going to come down. They stayed and took care of those who needed help. That is heroic.

 

So yeah, job or not, staying at a scene like that and volunteering for a job that could take your life gets you the title of hero in my book. I am proud to work along side a large number of folks who served in the military and saw combat. Most of them would say that they are not heros, they were doing their job and they came home. It is a very real sentiment for them. But their service means that I live the life I want. Their service meant others came home. They are heros even though they do not call themselves that.

 

I respect your opinion.    No doubt we could have a long and lively discussion on this topic, but this probably isn't the time or place.

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I think that means that the suggestion, made upthread, that if The Save is used they will convert a subsequent NEL into a regular leg, is the most likely scenario.

What if the Save is used after the last NEL though?

However,

Meanwhile, in a monumental "duh" moment, it dawned on me that the Race was completed long before the premiere aired (and possibly even before CBS finalized their Fall schedule).

 

Therefore, the use (or non-use) of The Save really doesn't complicate the schedule at all.  They knew how many eliminations they had, how many hours the Network was giving them, and edited the season accordingly.

.

Pretty much sums it up.

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that would imply that racers have to do at least 5.  It used to be 6 back in the day.

 

That was a topic of discussion last season, when it looked like Dave and Connor broke the old RB rule: Phil tweeted the new rule, which is "no more than 6 RBs up to the end of Leg 10, then a 2-1 split afterwards", which makes an 8-5 split possible over 12 legs if there's a double RB at the end, as has been fairly common. Based on that bonus clip conversation, I'd assume the same rule applies in TAR26.

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If I were making the rules, I'd have ruled that if the last team uses the save the one who came just before gets eliminated. If you wanna go evil with Survivor tools, go evil all the way! and forget the NEL while you're at it, TBC are more satisfying to me :-) 

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I'd have ruled that if the last team uses the save the one who came just before gets eliminated.

 

That would be awful.  You'd have to send for the team at the stop-over, and say "I know we told you you were safe, but we've decided to eliminate you anyway."  Either that, or the 2nd-last team be eliminated when they get to the pitstop, even with one team not yet checked in, if the missing team holds the Save.  On the reasonable assumption that the last team will Save themself.   Ugh!

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That would be awful.  You'd have to send for the team at the stop-over, and say "I know we told you you were safe, but we've decided to eliminate you anyway."  Either that, or the 2nd-last team be eliminated when they get to the pitstop, even with one team not yet checked in, if the missing team holds the Save.  On the reasonable assumption that the last team will Save themself.   Ugh!

 

Good point. And what if the team with the Save lost their passports, or someone pulled an Achilles tendon, for example? I suspect TPTB have thought of most of the contingencies, but it's just about impossible to anticipate everything that could happen.

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I also had thought that if a team used the Save, the next-to-last team would be booted.  And it is not a mystery to the next-to-last team (penultimate, if you prefer!), because they all would know the Save team would use the Save.  Because, there is no point to NOT using the Save!

 

But as others pointed out, yes, I would have expected Phil to mention this when he announced the Save.  Please just don't change Phil's patter:  "The last team to check -- MAY -- be eliminated" -- ("unless that team has the Save, or unless the final team is Saved by the team with the Save or unless a camel eats more than 50% of the Save"). 

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I finally got around to watching the first episode.  

 

I found this batch of contestants rather abrasive, with a couple of annoyingly arrogant teams and several clearly mugging for the cameras.  Enough already with the stunt-casting.  

 

The dentists were so full of themselves, though I actually do give him props for helping two teams when he was sure he would be first.  I wonder if he's nice or he can't help himself since his intelligence is so superior over the others.  

 

I do hope contestants are allowed to bring a compass with them on the race, since I always have one when I'm travelling and I find them so useful.  I think I would have been really confused about that reverse compass they had on the show, though.  

 

For once, I was quite happy with the team who was eliminated first.  Karma really bit them, hard.  I was a tad disappointed in the firefighters for giving up at the end.  I expected them to blow through the challenge, but he wasn't even measuring with the shovel and was using steps to measure distance.  

 

The surfer guy took so long even after the dentist guy told him how to use the compass, and how did the wrestler guy get it so quickly when the flight attendant mom taught him how to use the compass?  

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I do hope contestants are allowed to bring a compass with them on the race, since I always have one when I'm travelling and I find them so useful. ... 

 

 

They always have been allowed.  Blake from Blake & Paige used one several times way back on my favorite season -- TAR2.

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Hey, at least the steroids didn't prevent him from *remembering* that he had a compass!  ;)  I suspect the contestants might not be allowed to bring a compass but are allowed a watch and production just didn't realize that Gigantor's watch had one.

I think they allow compass watches.  I vaguely remember in a past season a ditzy team came to some sort or orienteering task and said something like "We don't need the coordinates, we have a compass!"

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I started out as a rabid anti-dentite, but they grew on me a little by being competent and being nice enough to show 2 or 3 other teams how to use the compass.  I still don't like them, but instead of hating them with the fire of 1,000 suns, it is down to about 10 suns. :)

 

I had a similar reaction to the wrestlers.  Started out hating them, but realized a lot of their bravado was really a wrestling "heel" act. Still don't like them, but don't hate them either. 

 

I was so glad the realtors were eliminated.  They were obnoxious in every way and one of them had a lazy, slurred voice that was like finger nails on a chalkboard and babies crying, all at once, to me.

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This is the first time I can ever remember Phil actually being present in the race - when he was standing next to the clue box ready to explain to the camera the impending challenge, and as Tim and Te Jay ran by (one of them hilariously calling out "Hi Mr. Phil!") - I think that must have been staged. Historically the racers do not see Phil until they reach the pit stop. If I was running towards a clue box and saw Phil standing there, I'd be like "Wait, did I accidentally go to the pit stop?" How do you just race past Phil and keep going as if it's no big deal he's standing there?

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I never have time to view the extras, but maybe "Hi Mr. Phil!" is explained there?  I really thought it was an "oops" on the part of production or the timing, maybe with Phil's flight or ride getting delayed?  My recollection is that they tend to put him on an advance flight whenever possible. 

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Finally got around to watching this tonight (forgot to set my DVR last week, so didn't have the season pass set up- luckily I do now, so episode 2 is waiting for me after dinner).  I enjoyed the format for this leg; the compass challenge was (surprisingly) the kind that can jumble up the order, which is something TAR had stopped doing enough of over the years.  Too many legs end up being these many point-to-point, hand-guided/taxi'ed legs where the drive times or challenges were never difficult or lengthy enough to allow for teams to have any real chance to jump ahead/fall behind.  I hope that return to form will maintain throughout this season, since the casting sure isn't winning me over.  Mactors and couples, ugh.

 

We should see some spectacular flame-outs this season; some of these teams are looking pretty dumb and easily frustrated after Leg 1, so "my ox is broken" type breakdowns should be on the horizon.  Good lord, three RB penalties in episode 1?  The two remaining teams are not only starting leg 2 far behind, but have shown such a lack of patience, focus, or competence that it hardly bodes well for them going very far.  Heck, wasn't also it the woman in the Asian dating couple who crying and showing race fatigue... in the cab ride to the pit stop of Leg 1?!?  Although given how easily people were offering clues about the compass after they finished, I'm worried we'll see some of last season's clique-y "You gotta help us, we're an ALLIANCE!" whining.

 

While I like that the RB jumbled things up by being tricky, I don't understand the compass challenge being multiple hours hard for some teams.  For starters, there were any number of ways to figure out basic compass usage- and not "knowing" a car compass is no excuse, in 5 minutes of critical thinking you could figure out how to read it since other than "suns sets in the east" woman, they should know their 4 compass points enough to figure out how to read the compass properly- the only trick was knowing which side to read, since a normal compass you look at the far side.  Second, as noted by many here, if the teams that finished hours ago all were digging very shallow and yelling things like "Oh hey, that's not deep at all!" as they dug up their chest, maybe you should be digging shallow holes or just jabbing your shovel down all over the general area- not one big hole about a yard from the actual chest location.

 

Haven't formed a strong opinion on any teams, but I'm wary of the overly tan dentists and some of the obvious famewhore types.  And chiming in on the realtors; they were especially snotty seeming, and seemed none-too-bright.  Instant dislike from me, and glad to see them go early; they weren't remotely pretty enough to compensate for their Resting Bitch Face.  Although if they really are the top realtors in Miami, then the annual income of these two dim, shallow bulbs surely dwarfs my own, and that saddens me.

 

Gaming the penalty:

I love when these kinds of shows have game theory moments worth discussing, and the penalty was a clear one.

 

The thinking was (can't recall who first suggested it among the teams) that you get all three remaining teams on board, then it's a straight race to the mat.  The 4-hour wait would not be physically enacted if Production knew you were the last teams (since they can just skip the 4 hours after check-in, and assess it at the start time so everyone isn't staying up late).

 

But as others have suggested, if you see it getting dark, and having been there for hours are convinced you'll all be haybale-ing it, then you do one of three things:

 

1) Quietly take the penalty first, then convince the others to do so without knowing your clock has started. 

Can't recall who suggested this, but in theory all these people should have read the race rules.  Still, if you are a risk-taker and this would be allowed: you go to production and quietly take the penalty- maybe make a show of needing a break, or having a breakdown- and shove the next clue into your pocket.  Then look like you've gotten your second wind, go back and fake-dig for 20 minutes, then try to convince everyone to take the penalty together. 

 

If you succeed, you have a 20 minute head start that they won't know about until just after they've taken the penalty.  If they don't bite, then you race to the mat (your penalty has already started) and hope they're out there digging for 4 hours more in the dark.

 

2) Convince the other teams to take the penalty- then back out

This comes down to how they enforce it. If I was one of the three teams, I'd handshake or whatever, let two teams tell production, and then immediately welsh and say "Well, you just took the penalty; if we can find the chest in less than 4 hours, we waltz into the next round".  If you find the chest in the next two hours, you'll breeze past those teams sitting near the mat waiting to check in.  If not, then you are eliminated, but at least you made those other two teams stick around for 4 hours waiting to check in instead of sleeping.  Small comfort, but it's a risk like option 1 above.

 

But I'm wondering how production enforces that.  The on-camera handshake we saw might have been a verbal contract for all teams- once they agreed to the three-way penalty, the on-camera "go team" group handshake might have been established as irrevocable commitment to take the penalty.  Because if they lined up to some off-camera production staff to get their clues and take the penalty, I can't in my mind imagine team 3 not saying "uh, well we're already one minute behind in a cab race to the finish, so let's just go dig".

 

3) Don't take the penalty at all, you jerks!

Because that's really lame!  Taking a penalty on a challenge that other teams finished in what, an hour or less, in leg 1 of TAR?!?  That's such an insult to the integrity and spirit of the race.  Dig till you drop- but if you're there for hours, maybe you ought to take 15 freakin' minutes to lie down, drink some water, and rest.  Then, ponder... why are we still here when everyone else finished in a few minutes to an hour or two?  Did I misread my clue?  Am I doing something obviously wrong?  Are there any clues in the locations or depths of other holes that might tell me what I am doing wrong, or what I can assume about my own undiscovered spot? 

 

Because apparently on TAR, simply taking a minute to double check your clue/directions and re-think your assumptions is some kind of super power.  Hell, the Brenchels in the finale of last season bombed out through poor clue reading- as a two-team TAR team that made it to the finals in both seasons, and you can't read your clue because you easily panic like a hyperactive chihuahua?!?

 

This penalty taking really rankles me, as a long time TAR fan.  And to do it so early in the race?!?  Ugh.  It's all marinated in a reduction of lameness, and then smothered in lame sauce.  The realtors are gone, but screw the other two teams: I hope they are eliminated in the next two episodes or soon after.

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