Sunday, 24 July 2016

Recap of Episode 4 "Shine Your Light" ...Or Worms in My Mouth, Worms in My Ear

Teams set off from the Mekong Lodge in a late morning/early afternoon start. Note: only two hours separate first and last place teams, so there is potential here for some shuffling, and anyone can win this leg:

Joel & Ashley 11:41 AM. Joel says, "It's hotter than a hoochie-coochie!"
Steph & Kristen 11:44 AM. (3 mins behind the lead team) They have kept the Express Pass a secret from the other teams as part of their strategy, but think they may give it to either Frankie & Amy or Anne & Tanya. Their reason is because they like how those teams run the race...but also they think they can be beaten in a footrace.
Kelly & Kate 11:45 AM. (4 mins behind the lead team) The girls feel at home in big cities, cos they like to shop.
Jillian & Emmett 12:14 PM. (33 mins behind the lead team) Jillian thinks their bickering helps to push each other to win. Foreshadowing, foreshadowing, foreshadowing. Are they going to bicker or are they going to be calm this leg?
Frankie & Amy 12:29 PM. (48 mins behind the lead team) Amy says they haven't won anything yet, so if they can get first place, it would be amazing. As any TAR fan will tell you, this translates into one fact and one fact only. They will not be winning this leg.
Rita & Yvette 12:52 PM. (1 hr, 11 mins behind the lead team) They say, "Ho Chi Minh City, here be come!"
Julie & Lowell 1:15 PM. (1 hr, 34 mins behind the lead team) Lowell likes the horn on the bus and would like it to be his ringtone.
Anne & Tanya 1:44 PM. (2 hrs, 3 mins behind the lead team) They say that since both male/male teams have been eliminated, at least one woman will win this season. They want it to be them. Oh my...did Anne & Tanya just jinx themselves?

Teams must catch a water taxi, then catch the local #3 bus and find Ba Thien Hau Temple in Cho Lon, Ho Chi Minh City. Here, teams must release a cage full of birds, representing the release of negative energy and bringing good luck. So I have to wonder what caging 20 ducks and bringing two to market meant in the last leg. I mean, other than a good duck dinner, that is. Kate explains her bird-phobia again. It's the wings that get her.

Just like IKEA
The Roadblock is up next. "Who feels like a tool?" requires one person from each team to reassemble a scooter, using a set of provided tools, a diagram with pictures and instructions in Vietnamese, and a completed scooter to use as a guide. The important thing to note here is they are just fastening components. Pfft. If they just think of it as assembling Ikea's Billy shelves and they should be fine.

Joel: "I always feel like a tool, cos I'm a mechanic." He gets it quickly on his first attempt - with Ashley cheering him on with "Look at him go!" They are in first place.
Kristen: She has a couple of screws left over after her first attempt. [Hey, I told's just like IKEA]. She is successful after her second try WHEN she noticed there are instructions. [Once again, just like IKEA.]
Emmett: He also completes the task on his first attempt - allowing him to pass Kelly, because he's done this sort of thing before... on the dairy farm. I just notice Jillian is being very quiet this leg. Hmmn.
Kelly: Is flustered by all the small details, but she can put it and herself together when it counts.
Frankie: A bit confused about what to do at first, but gives a celebratory hoochie-coo dance when she completes the assembly correctly.
Yvette: She barrels through it, but the funny part is their cabbie guiding both twins through the crazy traffic, weaving between the oncoming scooters.
Julie: Lowell  gives us his now customary commentary: "Get Julie to scooter along, one screw at a time. Hope she doesn't screw it up." The sun is setting as they leave, but Anne and Tanya have not even arrived. It gives them - as Lowell puts it, "a bumper."
Anne: They were the last to arrive (it's actually dark out by the time they get there), and the last to leave. Tanya calls Anne a Ho Chi Minh Hottie for barrelling through the task.

That's not Timbits in there, I'll tell you that much.
The next clue directs the teams to Quan Oc A Soi restaurant, where they must enjoy a plate of local delicacies. Okay, so in any TAR leg, if you are abroad and are presented with a task described by the phrase "local delicacies", you know it does NOT mean a Big Mac and fries. YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TO EAT SOMETHING VERY DIFFERENT. And a hell of a lot different than having a double double and a box of Timbits - the local delicacies here in Canada.  And on this day, in Ho Chi Minh City, local delicacies mean fried centipedes, crickets, and worms beautifully grouped around a fried bat. A WHOLE FRIED BAT. And dessert? Well, that consists of two LIVE coconut worms, with a tasty dipping sauce on the side. Both team members MUST eat one, even if only one person has eaten the main course. Now, I have heard that coconut worms are delicious, but aren't they the ones you have to bite and chew before swallowing? I seem to remember someone on Survivor who found this out the hard way when he swallowed one whole. Anyway, I think if I was there I could handle the bugs. Oh, there would be gagging noises and a huge fuss, but I could do it. It's the whole bat that would get to me. Nuh-uh, nope. I don't relish my food having a face. Eyes looking up at you? The mouth open to reveal a set of canine-like teeth? Nope.
Stop looking at me!
Ashley has the most unique repetoire of gag noises I have ever heard, and I found myself brought to tears, laughing. A few dozen onlookers have gathered to watch the hapless Canadians, and Kristen responds with the most Canadian response ever... she says she's sorry for making faces over the local delicacy. Rita and Yvette say grace before digging in. Frankie eats everything on the plate, as Amy is a vegetarian. But even Amy must eat the dessert - and does. Anne freaks out then says, "Hail Mary, help me."
Always funnier in reverse.

The Detour is saved for last and seems to be a nod to Ho Chi Minh City nightlife. So that was the reason for the mid-day start, eh? Night legs - or legs that last into the evening are always the most hectic, and there is always an added sense of urgency to them. Some fans love them, as do I. This one is called, "Flip-Flop or V-Pop." In "Flip-Flop" teams must make their way to GLOW Skybar rooftop lounge to learn and perform a flair bartending routine and successfully mix the club's signature drink called, "Hello Vietnam." Meanwhile, "V-Pop" is at Kingdom Karaoke, and requires teams to learn and perform the song, "Shine Your Light" in front of an audience, of course. They are given the Vietnamese lyrics, along with an English phonetic breakdown. From there it's on to the Pitstop at Ho Chi Minh City Hall, where a large group of onlookers have started to gather. There is no doubt that a TAR Pitstop mat is known worldwide, regardless of any franchise version.

Not Vietnam, and probably not Prince Rupert.
Kelly and Kate: The girls had a good start out of Cai Be, but were slowed down a bit by the birds and the scooter reassembly. They were able to make up time at the bug eating task, because they are used to eating everything in their own Chinese cuisine. But it was the Karaoke task that clinched their win. They phonetically translated the lyrics into Chinese (a great move) then passed it on their first attempt. They win the leg, along with a trip for two to Los Angeles - excited that they will get to shop in a city they've never been to before. In their confessional, they say it's their best day ever. But the location of that confessional is a puzzlement. It doesn't appear to be Vietnam, or Prince Rupert. Just putting it out there, some food for thought - even though I think I know. Muah-ha-ha.
Steph and Kristen come in second. They chose to do the Flip-Flop task, believing their hand/eye coordination learned from softball is a transferable skill. They may have been right, as they only required 25 attempts - a lot better than than the others. At the mat, they tell Jon they are giving their extra Express Pass to Frankie and Amy Jon says he will call them to the mat when the mother and daughter check in. Why they didn't give the EP to Frankie and Amy in private is beyond me, especially since they lied about getting the EPs and did not want to become a target.
Rita and Yvette are third, putting in a very strong leg, considering they started off over an hour after the lead team, Joel and Ashley. They chose to do V-Pop and got it on their second attempt. Well done! They celebrate by doing a dance, and sing "Shine Your Light" while walking away from the Pitstop. Apparently the song was just as much as an ear worm for them as it was for us.
Frankie and Amy are fourth. They also picked V-Pop, where Frankie turned into Cranky-Frankie and became frustrated over the vietnamese lyrics. Amy tells her that not memorizing the lyrics isn't helping matters. I'm a bit disappointed in Frankie not pointing out to her daughter she just downed a plateful of vermin for her. UGH. After taking their time learning the lyrics, they are successful on their second attempt. They hit the mat just ahead of Joel and Ashley. While both teams are on the mat, Jon calls Steph and Kristen over and they give the Express Pass to Frankie and Amy, after admitting they lied about getting it.
Joel and Ashley are fifth. They struggled at the Detour doing the Flip-Flop task, taking 59 attempts before being successful. Still, I am glad they didn't switch tasks and decided to stick it out. The pitstop turned into a "that awkward moment when..." they have to stand there and watch while Steph and Kristen hand the second Express Pass to Frankie and Amy. Forced smiles broke out all around and Ashley wasn't a happy girl. Ooopsie. Joel and Ashley are now onto Steph and much for the girls trying not to become a target.
Julie and Lowell are sixth, managing to stay ahead of Anne and Tanya for the whole leg. They pick the karaoke task because Julie hopes they get to dress up as V-Pop stars, a thought that excites Lowell. They had to have taken their time learning the lyrics, but they got it on their first attempt. Lowell says, "I'm sure it doesn't look great, but we're having fun!" And that is exactly why I love these two. It doesn't seem to matter what happens, they are always upbeat and supportive of each other. It's as though they are the exact opposites of Jillian and Emmett. Their attitude reminds me very much of Season 2 winners Mickey and Pete, and that is not a bad thing at all.
Jillian and Emmett are seventh. Oh-oh. The Exes  were doing well until the Detour. First they picked V-Pop, but decided to switch to Flip-Flop after Emmett got spooked over a failed first attempt. Flip Flop proved even more of a challenge for them - a huge mistake that nearly cost them the race. The only thing that stopped them from going back to the karaoke task was the long distance between the two tasks - through heavy traffic. It took them 63 attempts to perform the task well enough to pass. Perhaps they learned their lesson here about switching tasks, it has been the downfall of many teams who panic too easily. Sadly there was no episode of Jillian's Meltdown Minute this week. Looks like when the pressure is REALLY on...when they come close to being eliminated, Jillian can keep calm. So she panics and freaks out when a win is on the line, hmmn? That is very interesting indeed!
Anne and Tanya are the last team to arrive and are eliminated. They did well on each task, but why they didn't choose to do the V-Pop, with Anne's singing skills, is beyond me. Seeing as how they were on their 16th attempt (they needed only 30) when Emmett and Jillian finally succeeded, I think they could have survived if they chose to do the karaoke instead. All things being equal, I think it's safe to say they were doomed from the start because of that long, slow bus from Cai Be that they were unfortunate enough to catch.

These last two legs in Vietnam were classic TAR...and very difficult ones to boot. So, of course you know what that means, right? Yep, the teams will head back home for the next leg that is sure to appease the "Stay-in-Canada" fans. It may even over-compensate, because it is sure to be a beautiful one in Haida Gwaii and Prince Rupert, British Columbia.

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