Having barely recovered from the surprising team choice for this All-Stars season (John and Jessica? Dave and Connor? Caroline and Jen? – REALLY?!), we encounter another surprise right at the start line.
This time the surprise seems to be the one out of anyone’s control: Bopper (of Mark and Bopper team) cannot race due to a sudden health problem. However, the teams’ and fans’ disappointment is somewhat mitigated by allowing Mark to race with a new teammate – Mallory Ervin (from TAR 17 and TAR 18).
I personally don’t mind Mallory – she was somewhat annoying in her exuberance, but her enthusiasm and joie de vivre were contagious. I do think though that changing the dynamics of a team so abruptly and putting together two people who barely know each other is almost a guarantee for a failure. So I will not be surprised if this newly made team will be eliminated very soon. Still – it is fair to give Mark a chance even if Bopper cannot run, and such solution is definitely better than eliminating the whole Mark-and-Bopper team right at the start for something beyond their control. So it is what it is.
As soon as Phil gives his famous “The world is waiting for you – GO!”, the teams have to find the right match for a Chinese spelling of the name “Guangzhou” – their first destination. The order in which they find the correct match would determine whether they get on the first or second flight to China. The “Afghanimals”, the “Cowboys”, the “Twinnies” and Dave and Connor get on the earlier flight.
The first task in Guangzhou is to find one of three specific bridal dress shops among tons of similar shops to receive the next clue. The streets are narrow and the layout of the area is confusing. The dresses are too puffy and the shops are too look-alike. The Afghanimals and the Twinnies are looking for the right shops together. Unsuccessfully, I must say. So unsuccessfully that people from the second flight catch up and surge ahead. In fact, the Twinnies are among the last teams to arrive to the next destination – Canton Tower, where the teams have to ride the world’s tallest “Ferries wheel” and look for their next clue.
The clues – it seemed – are placed only in the even-numbered cars of the “Ferris wheel”, and some teams that are more lucky than others discover them on the first ride. Our Twinnies – alas! – are not one of those lucky teams. They have to ride the “Ferries wheel” again and try their luck again. It doesn’t help them that they cannot come to a decision. Fighting and yelling at each other might make for an amusing TV, but it does not help our Twinnies at all.
Meanwhile, the teams with the clues are directed to the stadium where one member of each team has to perform a Roadblock – 5 high-wire flips. Here we get a chance to take a longer look at each team.
The Cowboys are quite efficient. The Globetrotters never lose their sense of humor. The Afghanimals are cheerful and joyful – Leo finishes his 5 flips but keeps going – just for fun. Joey (of the You Tube team) is acting even dorkier than he is – faking it for the cameras, no doubt.
Rachel calls her new husband “Pookie”. Seriously – “Pookie”?! That is quite a puke-y. Margie is quite a puke-y, too – whining non-stop (through the whole episode) how she (at 56) is such an old, old, old woman. And how she needs to prove to all old women something or other. Such clichés are just s000 puke-y!
Look, Margie – yes, you ARE an old woman. But not because you are 56 though. I know 60 and 70-something who are upbeat, optimistic and fun, and they come across as youthful. But you – even your voice sounds like worn-out creaking joints. O-l-d. Not because you are 56 – because you are sour and humorless. And full of clichés. And boring.
The rest of the teams are remarkably unremarkable, so I won’t waste the time.
The Cowboys are the first to arrive to the Pit Stop, and they get 2 Express Passes – one for them and one to be given away to the team of their choice by the 5th leg of the Race. Jessica and John (who arrive closer to the bottom) assure us that they are very happy precisely because they did not get the Express Pass this time. They want to avoid an “oy vey” moment. But happiness resulting from not getting an Express Pass – isn’t it an “oy vey” moment in itself?
At the end it’s between the You Tubers and the Twinnies. I wish that order was reversed, but – alas! – the Twinnies are the last team at the Pit Stop. Too bad. In the past – they annoyed some fans and delighted the others. But no one was left indifferent, no one could call them “boring”. Isn’t it what an ideal team on TAR should be? – fans can disagree about liking them, but none of the fans can sincerely call them “boring”.
Good-bye, Natalie and Nadiya. I was and am a fan. And I will terribly miss that “Come on, Twinnie!!!” As will many, many, many of us.
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