Despite the boring beginning, this was a good episode. I say “boring beginning” because for almost a third of the episode we are either watching our teams getting on one of two flights  to Abu Dhabi or else – we are (over)treated by various shots of the Sheikh Zayed mosque. The difference between two flights are only 10 minutes, so absolutely no drama there. As for the mosque – it is certainly gorgeous  (“Jesus, what a mosque!” says one of the Afghanimals and makes me smile). But as beautiful as it might be, it is not a travelogue – it’s a race, so how about picking up the pace!

The Detour is a choice between two tasks – “Sort it out” (where the teams had to arrange a tray of fresh and dry dates of various sizes, colors and shapes according to a display) and “Sew it up” (where the teams had to assemble a fishing net). Jason and Amy and well as the doctors choose the latter, the rest of the teams choose date trays. Doctor Nicole completely messes up sewing the net (does it make you wonder how she sews wounds in that ER of hers?!) and briefly contemplates using the Express Pass. But! – Travis to the rescue! – they eventually complete the task, even though they are behind Jason and Amy.

Detour (TAR 23, Episode 7)

Meanwhile, at the other task, none of the teams except “hunny-bunnies” (Nicky and Kim) seem to find the right kind of dates for their trays. The Afghanimals ask for bunnies’ help in finding it, but the bunnies just ignore them (Cue: be mindful of karma!). Eventually all the teams find the right dates and finish the task. Actually it’s hunny-bunnies who are the last team to finish!

The teams now have to take a short but beautiful boat ride to the destination of their Roadblock. The clue for the Roadblock is “Who wants to jump into one hot lap?“, and one of the blond clones (either Ally or Ashley, but really what’s the difference?) cracks me up by promptly inquiring “whose lap?”

Anyway, the Roadblock seems fun – one member of each team has to part-zipline-part-jump-part-rappel into a race track. There they  had to get into a race car (with a driver) and ride on a lap of Yas Marina Circuit. While riding, they had to watch for multiple signs with names of  Abu Dhabi Grand Prix racers and their times. They also had to determine which of these signs has the best time and give this time (along with the name of the appropriate racer) in order to get their next clue. I think that’s the first time during this season that we encounter a task where they have to utilize (even if only slightly) their mental faculties (memory in this case), so I find it very refreshing.

Roadblock (TAR 23, Episode 7)

I love, love, love the challenges where the racers have to use their brain and knowledge (as opposed to purely or mostly physical tasks). When recapping the last season (TAR 22), I posted a poll to find out what the majority of TAR fans prefer – to see mostly mental or mostly physical challenges on the Race. The overwhelming majority seemed to enjoy mental challenges the most, yet unfortunately we don’t see them often enough on TAR.

The Afghanimals were the first team to the Pit Stop, and I am glad they finally won! They are silly and sometimes annoying, yet they seem happy, enthusiastic and exuberant – all the qualities I appreciate a lot in the racers. They are also memorable, which you cannot say about most of the other teams. So – they did win this leg of the Race. Good for them!

Two teams were fighting for the last place – blond clones and hunny-bunnies (not terribly surprising in a mental challenge). Eventually it was the hunny-bunnies that were the last team to arrive. Unfortunately it was a non-elimination leg. If you don’t understand why I say “unfortunately” – please re-watch them at the Pit Stop. All boring cliches, and silly facial expressions, and some nonsense about “I am a mother, so I don’t have a chance to form memories…but this Race…blah-blah-blah.”   Whaaat??? Well, we are stuck with them for yet another episode. Let’s see who goes home then!

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