Sunday, October 18, 2009

1x05: Auckland, New Zealand

Sure, there’s a reason why you should be annoyed about Team Idiot getting the boot. It’s… uh… it’s… um… okay, no, there totally isn’t.

Previously on Sydney Harbour Bitch: The pretty beaches and buildings of Bali were wonderful to look at, but the prospect of a third consecutive episode in a country (in this case Indonesia) was not. So everybody flew down to Sydney, Australia; home of a big new tower and a little old Opera House that had nothing to do with anything in the episode at all. But it was also the home of a big old bridge that did have something to do with making Sharon impersonate Leonardo DiCaprio, and with exposing Cirran's fear of heights for the crap that it is. The simple task of going to an aquarium and trying to find out what "Dangerous Australian Animals" left some teams perplexed, while others went behind the Perspex for the RoadBlock. For the second week in a row, the RoadBlock was quit, but this time it was only Howard who decided that he didn't want to feature in a cross-over with When Animals Attack!. Laura would have fallen arse-over-teakettle, if she had only been carrying an actual teakettle, and wound up with an unscheduled Detour to the back of an ambulance. Even so, she managed to limp to the finish line ahead of Howard and Cirran, who were saved by a non-elimination. Will they be the team to finally succumb to the no-money penalty, even though they're also one of the first teams to get the penalty in a country that's both rich and English speaking? Will Laura have to complement her unscheduled Detour with an unscheduled Fast Forward to the Loser Lodge? And which of the eight remaining teams will be eliminated... TONIGHT?

Credits. As fun as they were, those Indonesian plate dancers really don't compare to the roaring tiger that used to be in the American credits. [CHOMP.]

Did you know that the racers are in Sydney at the moment? If you didn't, will this shot of the bridge help you identify it? Because it's, like, the only landmark Sydney has. Oh, and there's some weird off-white Danish-designed building made from bathroom tiles, too. Sydney is "the largest city in Australia", which I am not in the least surprised to hear WuWho say, because it's the only way you can talk about how amazing Sydney is without implying that the amazingly ignored city of Melbourne is even better. And it's false anyway, unless you actually mean to say "the most populated city in Australia". Sydney is apparently famous for its stock-footage beaches, but we didn't see any last week. Docked on this adowable widdle harbour thingy Sydney also has is a replica of the Bounty. On the original there was a Mutiny, but twelve hours ago there was a mugging.

WuWho pretends to consider the possibility that Laura won't be able to continue racing, but the problem with this is that she was seen racing in the previews for this episode. But just ignore that and pretend you're surprised when the doctor tells her her leg is fine. And with any luck, she won't blame her incompetence on an injury like Omarosa did. Laura's leg is bandaged.

As the first place team, Antsy gets the pleasure of having their Pit Stop arrival replayed here in all its underwhelming "glory". At 12:30am, they are told to fly to Auckland, New Zealand. They have again been told which airline to fly, even though several fly the Sydney-Auckland route, and even though the normal show sponsors are not one of them. Ridiculous. Anyway, when they get to Auckland, they have to leave straight away. They'll take a ferry to Devonport, where they must find "the child on a swing". Sounds simple, right? WuWho recaps what Admiral Whinypants just said, calling Devonport a "charming historic seaside village", and confirms that the child on a swing is just that -- a small girl on a swing near the ferry terminal. Admiral Whinypants says that because the game is so dependent on luck, they are under no delusions of adequacy regarding their actual level of ability. They decide to sleep in line at the airport.

12:32am. Good morning, Sharon and Melody! Sharon tells us that people are "sociable when [they're] at rest, but when [they're] supposed to race against each other, hell hath no fury." Hee. In other news, I can count $120 in crisp, colourful Australian currency in Sharon's hands in their cab. Seriously, our money makes it look like we're world champions at Monopoly.

12:41am. SanFran leave, and they are wayyyy too excited about going to Auckland. San even calls it "home", and... like, now they're pretty much guaranteed to lose. Whenever someone says they know an area well, they've never won the leg. Team Guido in Paris, Tara and Wil in Bangkok, the Schroeders in New Orleans, Antsy in Kuala Lumpur... the list goes on. And so shall the show. For some reason, Kiwi San pronounces Auckland "Or Clend". Fran says that now that they've been racing for a while, they can sort of understand what to expect. San agrees, saying they'll be fine as long as they don't have to drive again. Bwah! San really is the Craig of this show, and not just in terms of smouldering good looks.

At 1:05am, the Super Marsio Bros. depart. Either Indonesian and New Zealander accents are very similar, which I don't think they are, because I would have mocked them for it already, or Marsio just did a perfect "Nuh Z'lend". Heh. Nice to see Aussies aren't the only ones who do that. Marsio also decides to talk about how "this race is so unpredictable", and how teams can go from first to last in an instant. Do you think that they're trying to prepare us for Antsy to come last? In their cab, Marsio makes the point of telling their cabbie that the reason they need the "Air New Zealand terminal" is because they're going to New Zealand. He does know that it doesn't actually have its own terminal, right?

1:31am. Team Idiot. Prashant is wearing a bomber jacket, which are usually nice and thick and woolly and are therefore not the best cold-weather gear you could take with you on a trip like this. Sahil has a peach bandanna. Yeah, not going there. Could, but won't. Sahil also talks about the unpredictability of the race. Gah. Prashant says they have to "be alert at all times".

1:36am. Zabrina and Joe Jer are also excited to be flying to New Zealand. How is everyone so excited at this time of night? Joe Jer tells us that they think they're smart by doing something nobody else is, and then when they find out that everyone else did the same thing, they get a little disheartened. I like these girls, even if booking a taxi doesn't count as the most strategically shocking thing someone could do.

1:38am. Andy and Laura. In their cab, a weirdly-framed shot shows Andy explaining how they didn't have a strategy, but then talking about how they were trying to not make mistakes, and hoping the other teams did. Doesn't that count as strategy, though? And four seventh place finishes in a row has shown how well that's worked, hasn't it? Arrogant tool.

As Howard and Cirran walk up to the mat, they notice the other teams have all left behind some money. Ew. At 5:36am, they depart, with Howard calling the race "an emotional rollercoaster". He also calls it "lucky" that the teams left them enough money to get to the airport. Luck, stupidity, it's a very fine line. They read the clue.

Howard voices over that they didn't expect to get money from Andy and Laura (I wonder what the backstory there is), and were correct in that assumption, but then adds that Andy and Laura tried to blame it on not remembering. It's not like they wouldn't have seen the money all the others left for them before they got to the mat. I'm not buying that story for a second. At the airport, Andy and Laura rant about how it's "unlucky" that they weren't asked. Dear Andy: Shut up with the unlucky talk, because I'm reaching the point where I just want to grab you and stick a rabbit's foot, a horseshoe, and a whole bunch of other luck-related items in a very uncomfortable place.

People buy their plane tickets. It's a very interesting eight seconds of footage. Except not.

While they wait for the plane, Howard and Cirran start begging for money. We get a montage of shots -- I counted 13 in total, including some taken from a distance like the Portable Posse's airport-lounge begging -- and Cirran tells us one guy gave them fifty bucks. The Monopoly money makes another appearance as Howard counts it on a seat. Unfortunately, the Isn't This Funny music also returns.

The Super Marsio Bros. tell the lady behind the ticket counter that they're brothers. But we don't get any actual context to the remark, so you won't get any context to the punchline here either: Panpipes.

WuWho voices over that all eight teams made it onto the same flight to Or Clend. Whichever graphics guy incorporated the "plane taking off" and "plane landing" shot into the background is a fucking genius.

At Or Clend Airport, teams run out and catch taxis. Just like every other week. In their cab, Mardy tells us that Laura pushed him out of the way so she could get a cab. Marsio points out that "they like to play dirty, huh?" And: exactly. Weren't they one of the teams that did the same thing way back in Jakarta?

Zabrina and Joe Jer overtake Andy and Laura. Woo!

SanFran are the slow getting into a taxi, and Fran tells the driver that they need to get ahead of all the other cabs. San tells her to relax. Because they can use his Home!Town!ADVANTAGE!!1!1! to get ahead.

Sahil tells us that Andy looks "whiny", and that "on a straight, [they]'re gonna burn 'em". Yeah, it didn't make any sense to me either. But if it's about Team Idiot being able to beat the other teams in a fair competition, you can call that Foreshadowing, Part 1.

Howard and Cirran catch a cab.

There are more shots of mildly unsafe driving, but it's much better than what we got back in Jakarta. And therefore, it's also much more boring.

Howard tries to get his cabbie to confirm that a child on a swing is something that's in a store. The driver agrees, probably just to get him to shut up.

Andy and Laura are the first team to get to the ferry terminal. Notably, Team Idiot is still in their cab, where Prashant is trying to smooth his hair down. They also have these big huge sunnies on which, while they may be good for your eyes, cannot possibly be helping your back. As Andy and Laura find out that the next ferry leaves at 1:30, Sharon and Melody rock up. Soon, everyone else does. Crappy bunching. For them.

On the ferry, the Super Marsio Bros. confront Andy and Laura over Rob And Amber II: Cab-Steal Boogaloo. Mardy tries to say he had his stuff in the cab and was talking to the driver, but Laura whinily claims that Andy was. Hang on a second, let me just rewind a little bit and see who was right here.

...Okay, Andy actually was talking to the driver. This time. Short-term memory crisis over.

Andy and Laura confessional that "you can just detect the building animosity". But, seriously, can you blame these teams? You guys are really, REALLY annoying! Andy tries to explain how you know when a taxi is your taxi (the only correct answer to that question, by the way, is "when you buy it"). Back in the real world, Laura points out that it didn't matter that the Super Marsio Bros. had to get another cab, because they made the ferry anyway. Which is completely true. Mardy whines about how "it wasn't quite nice like that, you know?". Dude, does Laura LOOK like she's made of sugar and spice and all things nice?

Sahil and Prashant observe SanFran waiting by the doors, apparently in case they decide it's a good time to jump off the boat and swim to shore. Or something.

They don't jump, and the ferry arrives as expected. Now here's where this episode finally gets fun. Everybody runs out of the terminal, and everybody is instantly flummoxed by the instructions. Sharon and Melody think they're looking for an actual cluebox. Andy and Laura and SanFran have no clue at all. Sahil and Prashant have found a playground, but there's no girl. They mention that they "might have to go back to school" (Foreshadowing, Part 2). Antsy wonders if the swing is at the terminal building. Wouldn't at least SOMEBODY have noticed if that was the case? Prashant feels the need to explain the definition of "school" to a group of random locals. As stupid as it is, I'd be doing the same thing, except I'd probably be doing it just to piss them off. Fran says that it might be "a bar" or "a restaurant", and it's right around here I get the feeling the producers might have capitalised random words like they tend to on this show, so that it might have read something like this:

In some other part of Devonport, Howard and Cirran get directions. Or so they think. Admiral Whinypants tells Syeon that he thinks everyone missed it because they were running so much. Sharon gets directions to "the other side of the mountain". Oh, dear. Sahil mentions that Team Idiot "can't make a mistake" (Foreshadowing, Part 3). A different guy starts leading the Super Marsio Bros. to the primary school. He's sort of cute.

But they're all heading the wrong way, because Antsy are walking along the edge of the water and they find the right girl. She doesn't even stop swinging as she gives them the clue. You'll note she gets increasingly listless throughout the afternoon, as you would when the teams are going to wind up so spread out. How spread out, I hear you ask? Well, take note of the fact that Antsy gets the clue (per my count) 9 minutes and 19 seconds into the episode. They hide behind a van, and read the clue, which is this week's Detour. They also provide a brief explanation of the two tasks before WuWho interjects.

Just like it has been every other time, a Detour is a choice between two tasks. The tasks have pros; they also have cons. And not the Bernie Madoff kind of cons, either. Against some pretty white clouds, which shockingly do not appear to be long, WuWho tells us the choice this time is between "two New Zealand sporting favourites": The first option is called "Rugby", and to complete it, teams have to go to Victoria Park, like WuWho just magically did. There, they have to put on an All-Blacks rugby jersey, and kick three goals between them from the 22-metre line. The second option is called "Rigging", and involves going to Westhaven Marina, which you may remember as the starting point for the RoadBlock in that TAR5 episode with the broken ox. When teams rock up, they have to "rig a yacht using only the example given". Though WuWho doesn't actually explain why the rugby could be hard, it seems like the rugby place must be farther away or harder to find or something, because otherwise this is strangely lopsided. ["And yet I'd still pick the yachts, because they wouldn't let me back into the country if I was filmed wearing an All Blacks jersey." -- EmoHunk]

Antsy chooses Rigging. Melody tells us she knew the swing was "up the hill". Andy confessionals about how he and Laura went all the way up the hill looking for the swing. Teams are lost, and Zabrina tells us that she and Joe Jer only went up the hill because everyone else was. Joe Jer wants to imagine she's a donkey. All righty, then. Sharon asks some guy in his car if there's a school around. Which might have been a good idea BEFORE she climbed up the big-ass hill. Andy calls everyone else "sheep, following everybody". And by "everybody" he clearly means "us", even though there are teams walking ahead of them. It doesn't matter how good-looking you are, you can still make it onto The List, and Andy just has. And thanks for stealing the obligatory sheep joke. Bastard. Now what's left, netball?

Team Idiot is told that there are no parks or swings or anything even remotely resembling what they're looking for over the hill. Marsio reminds Mardy that they are in a race, as though he got amnesia and forgot the last four-and-a-bit legs have happened. Mardy, wearing an All Blacks cap, pauses against a brick fence and tells us how bad it hurts. Team Idiot has found a school, but can't find a swing. As an unidentifiable female team walks back down the hill, a lady tells SanFran there are a couple of swings by the shore. Once again, Marsio orders Mardy to try harder.

Back down at the ferry terminal, Antsy is hiding because they don't want anyone to see them and figure out that the clue swing is right near the ferry terminal, and they want to get a lead by taking the next ferry, which leaves in fifteen minutes, on their own. What they don't know, of course, is that there's no danger of that, because everybody is on a wild sheep chase right now.

Back on the hill, Andy and Laura tell Sharon, Melody, Howard, and Cirran about the two parks near the ferry terminal. It turns out that, per Andy, one's on one side of the ferry terminal, and one is on the other. Which makes it doubly weird that pretty much everybody somehow missed both of them.

Mardy asks a random guy if he can take them to the park, but Marsio shuts him down, pointing out once again that teams are forbidden from hitchhiking (Foreshadowing, Part 4). Marsio voices over that they didn't end up getting in the car as, back in the real world, he reminds Mardy that they don't know how big the penalty is.

The ominous music of Hey, You Idiots, That's Not Right! plays as Team Idiot convinces an older lady to give them a lift (Payoff, Part 1). Suddenly, WhoreBoy gets excited. ["Luckily, that was not a euphemism. As far as I know." -- EmoHunk] ["Relax, dude, there's only two guys who can make me hard, and they're both in front of this computer right now." -- WhoreBoy] ["See, there's this line you shouldn't cross, and you just straddled it and barfed." -- EmoHunk] ["Yeah, but... you started it! And need I remind you about the whole pants-wetting incident?" -- WhoreBoy] ["Guys, if you're going to act like babies, then I'm going to have to bend you over my knee and spank you." -- Raceguy] ["He'll enjoy that too much!" -- EmoHunk] ["How 'bout this: If you don't act like normal people, you get your arse fucked and he doesn't?" -- Raceguy] ["Remember that line I mentioned? I think I can see it vanishing in the distance..." -- EmoHunk] Tingly, masculine sounding wind chimes play us out.

Commercials. You are feeling very sleepy. You are feeling very sleepy. You are feeling very sleepy. Buy pillows.

Sahil gets annoyed when even their against-the-rules hitchhiking is not helping them find the clue. Serves you right. Meanwhile, SanFran are hoping everyone else is as stupid as they are. Heh. Howard and Cirran appear to be window-shopping while they search.

In happier news, Zabrina and Joe Jer have found Little Miss Seemingly-Invisible. Andy and Laura are still lost. Zabrina and Joe Jer read the clue. Laura is pissed, and the captioners finally get a real reason to type "'tis", as she figures out that the weird swinging thing she's staring at is indeed the girl on a swing.

At the ferry terminal, Antsy are once again getting antsy as they wait.

Zabrina and Joe Jer select Rigging. Andy and Laura retrieve the clue. Antsy are still waiting, and the girls are rushing back to the terminal for they 2:15pm ferry. Andy and Laura also choose Rigging. They too run to the terminal.

The Super Marsio Bros. are still ambling along. I know, you're shocked too. Except, you know, not at all. Marsio takes Mardy's bag. Hee. Mardy is the Flo! Fran says that she and San are going to grab a cab if they see one. Apparently, there's no penalty if you get into an actual cab, but you can't get into a private vehicle. Just so you know, if you ever decide to audition. At a place called "The House Of Toys", Howard asks if there are any swings inside. The Super Marsio Bros. are still lost and whining. An Italian-sounding lady points down the road when Howard and Cirran asks for directions. Except with more hand motions. Fran tells us she hates not knowing where everyone else is, because they might be in front of her. Well, she should be used to that, after the first two legs.

The three teams already back at the ferry terminal board the boat.

Howard and Cirran realise the ferry is leaving. Without them. And they find the clue practically immediately afterwards, if the editing is anything to go by. Which it usually isn't. But it is 13 minutes and 49 seconds into the episode, if anyone cares. They read the Rugby section of the clue, and we cut to them laughing about how they'd still be there if they picked that one. So, obviously, they picked Rigging. Stereotype Lesson of the Week: Gay people suck at sport. Really, we do. As the boat finally departs, Cirran reads that they have to be on it.

A very wide shot of Howard and Cirran walking to the terminal zooms out to reveal that it's being taken from the departing ferry. Nice catch. On said ferry, Andy confirms that they've got at least a thirty-minute lead on anybody behind them. Howard and Cirran enter the terminal. Zabrina and Joe Jer get directions to the marina, as Andy and Laura laugh for some unexplained reason. Howard and Cirran realise they can see the girl on the swing from inside the terminal. The ferry makes its way back to Or Clend.

The music abruptly changes, and we cut to the Super Marsio Bros., still travelling at a snail's pace. What? There have got to be snails that move that slowly, at least somewhere in the world.

Team Idiot has found a whole heap of swings, but there are no kids anywhere. And especially not kids with clues. But they get out anyway (Payoff, Part 2). It's at a school, and they interrupt a class with a teacher who doesn't know anything. About the clue, at least. I'm sure she knows stuff about something else. Probably. Maybe. Actually, I'm not sure at all, really. She looks smart, though.

The Super Marsio Bros. decide to get a taxi.

Team Idiot is trying to hitchhike again, but can't get a car to stop (Payoff, Part 3). Sharon asks someone driving if "the child on a swing" is a local landmark or something. As Team Idiot still fails to hitch a ride (Payoff, Part 4), the guy -- who sounds pretty sleazy -- offers to "give [them] a ride". I know he means it in the non-sexual way, but still? Ew. Sharon politely refuses. Team Idiot, hitchhiking again (Payoff, Part 5). Sharon waves to the guy they stopped as he drives off, and Melody laughs at what just happened. If only she knew what else was going on. The car immediately behind that one stops and offers them a lift, too. The girls confessional that they really wanted a lift because they were so tired, but they couldn't. Sharon tells us that "the rules stated what type of transport we might use throughout the race very specifically", and Melody confirms they would have been allowed to take a metered taxi. A guy offers SanFran and their crew a ride, if they can "all pile in here", but Fran also politely refuses. Team Idiot have finally stopped someone and ask for a lift to the school (Payoff, Part 6).

Meanwhile, the first ferry returns to Or Clend. They rush into taxis, with Antsy being confused for a second. And when they get into their cab, Syeon asks for "Westpoint [sic] Marina, Pier D", which I'm thinking won't help. Andy lets us in on his philosophy, the Six P's: Proper Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance. I want to know what the sixth P is, given that piss-poor is a hyphenated word, at least according to my spellchecker. Pricks? Petroleum? Pornography? Pistachio? Payoff?

Team Idiot is in their helper's car, and Sahil voices over that they were walking for ages. Yeah, right (Payoff, Part 7). Prashant adds that they "must have gone to maybe thirteen, fourteen places" (Payoff, Part 8). They get dropped off at a swingset, but it's not the right one (Payoff, Part 9). Sahil tells us "there were no taxis in Devonport". The editors cut immediately to the Super Marsio Bros. getting into a taxi. Bwah! (Payoff, Part 10) SanFran have also got a taxi (Payoff, Part 11), and San tells us he thinks it's "the sensible option". Soon, SanFran are checking swings everywhere, and sliding down a bunch of slides. Well, if you're going to get lost and confused, you might as well have fun doing it, I suppose. Fran complains that her "ass is too big", using a phony American accent for "ass". Huh. They get back in their taxi.

An older couple provides Sharon and Melody with directions to a swingset. They (Sharon and Melody, not the older couple, though they might have done it too) walk along the beach, and Sharon points out some lavender bushes.

In their cab, the Super Marsio Bros. are confused. As their meter ticks over to $13.00, Mardy confessionals that they were stupid for not realising that the clue said the swing was at the ferry terminal. Well, he doesn't actually say that, but you can tell it's what he's thinking. And it's what I'm thinking. One point for me.

Howard and Cirran's ferry arrives, and they're still the only team on it. The Super Marsio Bros. and SanFran both get their taxi drivers to drive them back to the ferry terminal. Inside the terminal, Howard and Cirran watch the kid-on-a-swing in case anybody finds it.

Team Idiot tries hitchhiking again (Payoff, Part 12). Howard and Cirran wait for everyone to get off the ferry. Team Idiot gets into another car. (Payoff, Part 13). In their legally-acquired cab, Marsio remarks on his team's stupidity. Heh. Team Idiot directs their driver. (Payoff, Part 14).

Mardy sees the girl-on-a-swing. God, finally. Cirran thinks that the two larger Indonesian guys with the camera crew happen to be THESE two larger Indonesian guys with a camera crew, but Howard thinks it might be two OTHER larger Indonesian guys with a camera crew. At 17 minutes and 56 seconds, the girl-on-a-swing welcomes the Super Marsio Bros. to Or Clend, and hands over the clue. Mardy calls her "a cutie". Awww. Howard and Cirran board the ferry as the Super Marsio Bros. read the clue. Howard asks what time the ferry leaves, and the answer? Before the Super Marsio Bros. can get on. Howard is happy to have gotten the ferry on his own, while the Super Marsio Bros. lament all the time it took them to read the fucking clue. Cirran half-correctly assumes that "Andy and Syeon" [sic] knew where they were going and lied. Howard compliments them on "playing the game".

Speaking of Antsy, they arrive at the marina. Apparently, their cabbie knew where "Westpoint Marina" actually was. In their cab, Joe Jer tells Zabrina she's never rigged a yacht before, and that she's "not good with her hands". So, great Detour choice, then. Zabrina makes a funny face.

Antsy -- now wearing matching outfits -- finds the task, and they get the explanation. Roughly, "make your boat look like this one". They get the sail, two big blue ropes, two "loops" (so the sail doesn't go flying off into the ether), and a green and white rope to pull it up with. It actually doesn't seem so complicated. Of course, Rugby would still be the easier option, but this isn't as bad as I expected. And, as Andy and Laura show up, of course Syeon wants him to "explain that again". Heh.

Zabrina and Joe Jer arrive at the marina, and follow the race arrows to the boats. Another interesting four seconds of television, and you saw it here first, people. As Admiral Whinypants starts rigging the sail, Andy wants to get all of his and Laura's stuff on the boat to make it quicker. Because those three seconds you save here will wind up making a difference, I'm sure. Like, I get the idea, but there's a time for doing everything you can on the race, and I'm not sure this is it, especially when you know you've got -- at the very minimum -- half an hour on the other teams. So why bother, you know? Zabrina and Joe Jer say hi to the others on the way to the "demonstration", as Admiral Whinypants realises he's much more of a landlubber than he realised. Antsy switches to Rugby. Admiral Whinypants says that the only reason they couldn't do the rigging was because they weren't calm. Zabrina and Joe Jer appear to be working calmly, just like a good team should, while Andy and Laura talk about the other teams. Again. Sigh. Just run your own damn race already. Antsy leaves the marina, and the other two teams present continue working like they know what they're doing. Zabrina realises that it might take a fair while to complete, while Laura tells us that Andy's "so good at building things" that they didn't even hesitate about which task to choose. In less verbose terms? Andy is Handy. For some reason, the tense music of Flo Is The Winner plays as Handy and Laura finish the task, with Zabrina and Joe Jer discussing switching in the background.

Antsy have gotten to Victoria Park remarkably quickly, and there are a group of rugby players on hand to help them with the task. You will notice that none of them are actual All Blacks. Epic music swells unnecessarily as they take their place on the field.

Handy and Laura get the clue, which tells them to "take a taxi to Sky City, and complete the Vertigo Climb". Basically, it's a giant ladder inside a 300-foot-high elevator shaft. WuWho claims that Sky City is New Zealand's largest casino, and I guess they're gambling on... whether people survive? I don't know. But I do remember seeing this task on an Australian show called Who Dares Wins all the way back in the 1990's. And that show at least added the climbing up the spire bit, which became a Fast Forward in TAR 13 as well. Bad work, producers. Let it be known, Sky City is all televisioned out for a while. (I say this as someone who is as sick of seeing it as I am of seeing China and India on this show, rather than as someone who actually represents the casino. Also, put it all on blood red!) (By the way, according to my research, the Who Dares Wins and TAR13 episodes in question are the only times the spire has ever been climbed.) Handy and Laura head off in their cab, and we get a nice shot of the Sky Tower framed by yacht masts, zooming in on the tower. The camera effects seem to be as good this week as they have ever been on The Amazing Race, maybe even better. Good work, show.

Zabrina still wants to switch, because she knows how to kick, but she doesn't know how to do the rigging on a yacht. One point for Zabrina, explaining things logically.

Speaking of the rugby, Admiral Whinypants kicks off. Okay, I'm going to be honest here, and point out that my football code of choice is Aussie Rules, and not just because the players are hotter. So anything I say about the racers' skill is to be taken at face value only, rather than as it would coming from anybody who actually knows jack shit about what they're talking about. Because I know as much about rugby as Team Idiot knows about reading the rules. Admiral Whinypants's first attempt is pretty good, landing right in the middle of the goal posts. But it's rolling along the ground instead of clearing the crossbar like it's supposed to do. So it doesn't count. And, besides, they aren't wearing the jerseys. Syeon realises they both suck at this, but that they can't waste the time going back to the marina.

Commercials. Raceguy's Hunk Of The Week this week is... well, actually, after last week's non-recap, let's have two. Raceguy's HunkS Of The Week this week are Matthew Mitcham and Alexandre Despatie. Fuck or pass? ["With a bulge like Alex's, shouldn't the question be 'Be fucked or pass?'?" -- WhoreBoy]

We return to the field with Antsy, and Syeon's ball Charlie Browns itself, even without Lucy around. Her kick doesn't even make it off the ground. Seriously, people it's probably not that hard. Just kick the ball from below, and aim in the right direction. Syeon tells us she sucks. Yes, we know. Back at the yachts, Zabrina has taken charge, and they appear to be making some progress. At the rugby, we get a few shots of Syeon sucking, before they realise that they were supposed to be wearing the jerseys. Idiots. Syeon tells us that, in effect, they relaxed more as their lead shrank. Andy makes a kick that looks alright, but appears to not make the distance. Or something.

All the way over at Swinger's Paradise, Fran is getting pissed with the "ridiculous" search. In their cab, San wonders if the "little kiddie got tired of swinging" and went home. Well, if she did, she's not getting her pocket money, and she has to go to bed without dinner. Sharon and Melody are still trying to figure out the clue. There's a shot of the girl-on-a-swing here, in case you had forgotten what the teams are looking for. SanFran stop a couple of women and ask if there are any other swings in Devonport, after Fran says she "never want[s] to see another swing again after this day". Heh.

Team Idiot is in another car, and they find Sharon and Melody (Payoff, Part 15). Melody points out that they're not allowed to hitchhike (Payoff, Part 16). Team Idiot wonders where it says that, and Melody points out it's a race rule (Payoff, Part 17). Team Idiot gets out; as Sharon points out they're going to be in trouble (Payoff, Part 18). Prashant tells them not to tattle, as though all of their hour-or-so of hitchhiking wasn't caught on, like, a television camera or something similar. Walking through a park later, they realise that the damage is done (Payoff, Part 19).

On the ferry, Howard and Cirran go over the rules for the Rigging. They arrive in Or Clend and get a taxi.

At the marina, Zabrina and Joe Jer pull their mast up and go to get the clue, but it's not done right. Zabrina thinks they attached the sail to the wrong rope. I think; it's sort of hard to tell.

On their own ferry, the Super Marsio Bros. finally explain that they've chosen Rugby, because 22 metres really isn't that far.

At the rugby, Admiral Whinypants whines that Malaysians don't know anything about kicking a rugby ball, and: Isn't that the entire point of doing this task in New Zealand? If you guys were experts at everything, we could have held the entire race within a six-block radius in Kuala Lumpur! Admiral Whinypants misses again.

In their cab, Laura expresses her disgust at being asked to perform a physical task. Grow up, lady. They arrive at the tower and suit up. Handy expects he'll be extremely visible in the construction-worker orange jumpsuit they have to wear. And he will. Just not by anybody outside the climbing shaft.

Zabrina and Joe Jer fix what they thought was the problem, but it wasn't. Take three. Howard and Cirran arrive at the marina and begin. Howard whines that he doesn't know what he's doing, and Cirran cheerfully points out that they aren't going to be a part of the America's Cup. Zabrina and Joe Jer fuck up again.

Admiral Whinypants and Syeon are at the rugby, and have scored two of the necessary three goals, which are handily shown with little ball graphics. Heh.

Howard and Cirran run around their yacht like a couple of headless sheep, while Zabrina and Joe Jer finally piece it together. Zabrina tells us in a confessional that Joe Jer's gut is always right. Which might have helped the first time, rather than having to take four attempts, I would think. They get the clue, as Antsy also finishes the rugby. Both teams read the clue and leave their respective tasks. We get another through-the-yacht shot of the Sky Tower.

Wayyyy back in Devonport, San wonders if they're looking for a book. Luckily, they're right outside a library, so they decide to check. Nothing doing. Sharon and Melody haven't seen the swing either. Inside the library, San walks around checking the children's books for one about a girl on a swing. As they leave without a clue, Fran resorts to death threats. ["Hey, those are my job!" -- WhoreBoy]

Techno music plays as the Super Marsio Bros. arrive in Or Clend. It continues as Cirran tells Howard to pretend they're hanging curtains. Heh. They get their handiwork checked, and it's wrong. The Super Marsio Bros. direct their cab to drive as close to the task as they can, because "[they] don't want to walk that much". I suspect it might be laziness as opposed to the few seconds they'll lose that motivated that request. They put on their jerseys and ask how the task works. Did they not read the clue? God, this is one of those episodes, isn't it? Back at the harbour, Howard title-quotes as he tightens the sail that "it's blowing like your mum's pants on a windy day". Only if your mum is anorexic and wearing maternity pants. They get their worked check again, and this time they're right. Clue! Howard is impressed with how quickly they got it done.

As he reads the part about the Sky Tower, we cut to not one, but three helicopter shots of it. Oooh! They cut back just in time for us to see Cirran's face fall as soon as he realises the next task involves heights.

Antsy arrive at the tower, as Handy and Laura start climbing. Admiral Whinypants realise Handy and Laura beat them, and is not happy. Oh, well. Zabrina and Joe Jer arrive next. Handy asks Laura whether Cirran will even attempt the task. He doesn't have a choice, does he? On cue, Howard is giving a half-arsed attempt to calm Cirran down. Well, not even half-arsed. It's more "hundredth-arsed". As some guy welcomes Zabrina and Joe Jer, Laura points out that the Super Marsio Bros. will have more trouble.

We cut to them at the rugby, where there is more bad kicking than in a D-grade martial arts film.

Sharon and Melody get onto a computer and try searching for the kid-on-a-swing. The computer is blurred, which is how you can tell they were using a search engine that didn't pay for a completely phony product placement. Meanwhile, Team Idiot stops at a [Shell] service station to ask, and the companies name IS featured, which is how you can tell they're about to pay for an episode. Sharon, Melody and SanFran are all still overthinking the clue. Another shot of the girl-on-a-swing.

At the Rugby Detour, the Super Marsio Bros. are still hopeless. Marsio figures he has a better chance, so he gets Mardy to make the smallest kick possible. Bad idea. It'll still take time to reset the balls (Sounds dirty! Isn't!), so you might as well use every chance you have. Marsio makes a decent kick, and almost Ralph Wiggum's that he's "learneding". The camera closes in on one of the rugby players, on the verge of laughter. After about 45 minutes of sheer suckitude, Marsio decides he's had enough, and wants to switch to the Rigging. I think this is one of only a handful of times where you've got different teams switching from both tasks. Cool.

Handy and Laura get the clue after their climb. They have to go down to the 53rd floor before they can read it. Handy asks the task people if they can "take ages unclipping the other people's" because "[they] need all the lead [they] can get", and Laura calls him "a sneak". She kisses him anyway.

Howard tries to reassure Cirran that the building they're expected to climb isn't the giant tower in front of them, but their cabbie decides to have a little fun at Cirran's expense and says it is. Dude, their cabbie rocks. They arrive at the tower, with Cirran once again saying he can't do it.

As they climb up, Admiral Whinypants baby-talks to a crying Syeon about whether she can do it. What? They haven't even really gotten that far, and she's already crying? Big baby!

Howard tells Cirran to cram it until they find out what they're doing. One of the people who run the climb does that passive-aggressive reassurance thing that annoys me so much.

Admiral Whinypants and Syeon make it out the top safely. It's just like giving birth, except you're coming out of a 300-metre-tall penis, and you're standing up when you finish. So not like birth at all. So it's more like conception, really. Man, between this and zorbing, New Zealand's got a very dirty mind. ["No, that's only you. And possibly WhoreBoy." -- EmoHunk]

Zabrina and Joe Jer climb, and Joe Jer tells us, basically, that the race makes you do crazy things like climbing up the inside of one of the world's tallest buildings. They finish and admire the view before walking around the roof to get the next clue.

Back down at the bottom of the tower, the guy compares this tower to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, except this one doesn't move and doesn't give you a fun view along the way. Also, this is more physical. And about three times as high. But aside from that, it's exactly the same! And trust a Kiwi to make Australia sound crappy. As long as he doesn't mock Melbourne, he's all right. Unsurprisingly, Cirran does not look convinced with the bridge comparison.

SanFran gets a woman to lead us to the girl-on-a-swing. They get the clue, 28 minutes and 18 seconds into the episode. Which only runs for about 45 minutes, without commercials. And there are still two teams left. God, what a brutal task. But let's be honest, it was also brutally fun. More tasks like this, please. They appear to choose Rigging. As they walk back to the ferry terminal, Fran whines about the money they spent on the taxi. Sharon and Melody see them at the ferry terminal, and yell out asking if they've seen the clue. No, they think the swing might be back in or Clend. Of course they've seen the clue! Why else would the be about to board the ferry again? Fran voices over that she ordered a pitying San not to tell anyone where the clue was. The girls are still looking as the ferry pulls in, and they find someone who knows what they're talking about, who points her in the general direction. So, 29 minutes and 38 seconds into the episode, they are the seventh team to find the girl-on-a-swing. Sharon and Melody hug the girl-on-a-swing. Who's still looking, I hear you ask? Why, Team Idiot, of course (Payoff, Part 20). They sound a little surprised to learn that they're the last ones to find her, 30 minutes and 5 seconds in (Payoff, Part 21). All three of these teams get onto the same ferry. Sharon vows to "focus on the next task", and Melody says she's learned not to "trust anybody". The ferry leaves.

Handy and Laura are walking down the stairs inside the Sky Tower, and are momentarily confused about which floor they were supposed to stop at. Inside the shaft, Admiral Whinypants confesses that he got "88 storeys" and "88 metres" confused. As you do. Admiral Whinypants accidentally steps on Syeon's hand. Again, as you do.

Downstairs, Cirran is freaking out again. Sigh.

Antsy is on the 55th floor, having somehow almost caught up with Handy and Laura, who are on the 53rd floor and are now allowed to open their clue. It's a RoadBlock. A RoadBlock is, as it has always been, a task that only one person can perform. WuWho turns up and tells us that whoever does it must "ascend to a platform of Level 53", which is impossible because they're already on that level, and complete the Sky Jump. Basically, it's a bungy jump, except without the part with all the springing back into the air. The platform is 192 metres above the ground, and whoever doesn't do the task has to take a photo with a [Polaroid] camera. We don't yet find out whether Handy or Laura will jump, but Admiral Whinypants is. Time-lapse clouds swoosh past the tower, as Laura rides the glass-bottomed elevator to the ground. A cute guy watches her. Out on the platform, Andy wonders whether a RoadBlock can magically be transformed into a second Detour. It looks very high, and the camera guys get a nice shot looking down.

Commercials. Man, why did I ever think Atie-Kay Olmes-Hay could act?

As is customary, the usual Will-They-Or-Won't-They act break is followed by a moment of They Will! Handy leaps from the tower, and is somehow still wearing his glasses when he lands. We see the photo of his jump that Laura took, but there's an AXN promo covering much of his body. So, to recap, there's the name of the camera used, a bad shot of the tower, and a promo for Alias. And not much else. Way to make another product placement look stupid, guys.

In the elevator, Cirran tries to chicken out again. He gets more reassurance from Howard and one of this week's stunt whores, and suddenly wants to climb up the ladder before Howard. Which makes sense, to me, in a weird sort of way. Because if Cirran goes first, then there's no way he can quit halfway up. As he begins, Cirran wonders why he's "doing this". He's not the only one. For someone with such a big fear of heights, he sure seems to have no problem with the tasks once he starts them. Cirran voices over his Sob Story of the Week, which basically involves getting stuck on a coconut tree. He says that ever since then, he's been afraid of not being able to get down from anything he climbs. Which, you'll note, has nothing to do with why he's crying here, and why he cried at the abseiling back in the first leg. Don't get me wrong, I'd feel sympathetic towards him if the reason for his fear had anything to do with the tasks, but they don't, so I won't. They make it to the top, and Cirran hugs the tower as he walks around. Literally.

Zabrina and Joe Jer are excitedly walking down the stairs.

On the ground, Syeon tells us that Admiral Whinypants is "afraid of heights, so he's going to get over his fear". Well, I'm sure one little jump can make up for an entire lifetime worth of being afraid, at least somewhere in the world. Andrew steps up to the edge. Zabrina and Joe Jer arrive on the 53rd floor, and are immediately in awe.

It's only now that Handy and Laura get to read the clue, which sends them to the Pit Stop, at the Auckland Museum. Time-lapse clouds fly behind WuWho and the museum as he explains that the museum shows off "New Zealand and its uniqueness". The last team to check in may be eliminated. In the event of a tie, the first team to return with full Maori facial tattoos remains in the race. The losers? Well, on the plus side, their trip to New Zealand really will be unforgettable. (Last week, I hear you ask? My sources are vague, but I hear whipped cream, blindfolds, and fluffy handcuffs were involved.) Back at the tower, Andy and Laura run up an escalator, telling people that they're in first place. Way to protect the show from spoilers.

Zabrina takes the RoadBlock. Andrew leaps from a bunch different angles. When he lands, Syeon shows the camera her own, not realising that the editors are adding in all the snapshots, in accordance with this week's theme of Camera Tricks Are Fun. Syeon tells Admiral Whinypants that Handy and Laura left "about five minutes ago". Apparently, five minutes is just enough time to get a cab, which Antsy also does without much difficulty.

At the marina, the Super Marsio Bros. have arrived. The guy literally tells them "put a sail on like that, put it up exactly like that". Heh. What informative instructions. Mardy reminds Marsio that they're in last place. Which they aren't, but go with it.

The teams who actually are in last place have just arrived back in Or Clend. They head off to their options, with the girls and SanFran going to the marina, while Team Idiot goes to the option that doesn't require much brainpower. Probably a wise move. San tries to tell Fran that they still have a chance, but Fran does not appear to be buying into it.

Another through-the-yacht shot for no reason. On top of the tower, Cirran is still firmly attached to the wall. He almost apologises to Or Clend for his fear, and makes his way around as Howard promises to do the RoadBlock. One of the stunt whores asks if Cirran looked at the view, and Cirran says that "[he]'ll see postcards". Ha!

More tense music picks up as Zabrina prepares to jump. On the ground, Joe Jer tells us she was happy she didn't have to jump, but is now afraid she's going to miss getting the photo on her [Kodak] camera. She jumps, and the shot is taken. When she gets to the ground, Zabrina exclaims how fun the task was. I'll bet, given the tightness of those harnesses, that this is the sort of task that women would enjoy more than men, if you know what I mean. And I think you do. They thank one of the stunt whores as she gives them the clue.

Howard and Cirran climb down to a platform but apparently still aren't finished. According to a display behind them, the wind's blowing at 32 kilometres per hour, it's currently 13 degrees Celsius, and there's four and a half degrees of wind chill.

Team Idiot puts on their rugby gear and Sahil asks Prashant to read the instructions (Payoff, Part 22). Sahil scores the first goal immediately. Meanwhile, SanFran arrive at the marina, with San happy to see the Super Marsio Bros., who reciprocate the happiness. Awww. In other news, Prashant sucks at kicking the ball. Sahil does not, sadly. Sharon and Melody arrive at the marina. Prashant misses again.

In their cab, Handy points out a building, hoping it's the Pit Stop. It is, and WuWho and the cool-looking Maori greeter are waiting. The greeter blows a conch shell as Handy and Laura run up. He does the now-standard bilingual greeting. Welcome, Handy and Laura, you are Team Number One. Hey, you know, with one little horizontal line, you could be seventh again! Antsy approaches in their cab, and the greeter blows again. The camera cuts to a helicopter shot of the museum, so I guess we're supposed to believe that the shell is really loud or something. Yeah, not buying it. I'm just surprised they didn't keep cutting out until we got to a satellite image of the world. Because you just know they had one ready to go. Kia ora, Antsy, you are Team Number Two.

At the marina, everyone remains confuzzled by the task. At the park, Sahil kicks Team Idiot's final goal. For some reason, Sharon and Melody are given detail instructions about how to finish the rigging, which I don't remember any of the other teams getting. But this is one of my favourite teams, so I don't mind. If this was, like, Team Idiot or Antsy? I'd be swearing up a storm right now. Team Idiot reads the clue.

Zabrina and Joe Jer share a congratulatory hug in their cab as they leave the Sky Tower. Inside, Howard and Cirran have finally gotten to the 53rd floor, and they're immediately bitching about the next task, despite (1) not knowing what it is, and (2) not knowing that it's a RoadBlock. Though how they couldn't tell for sure that it's a RoadBlock mystifies me, really. Cirran says that he was thinking, "you can take your game, and just... shove it somewhere! Because I'm not doing it." Which is entirely unnecessary, because he isn't even going to perform the RoadBlock, the little teaser hint for which is, "Who's ready for a leap of faith?” Howard snits that he's doing it because Cirran won't. Does he remember that he was the one crying like a little schoolgirl in the aquarium last week? Apparently not. Howard is on The List.

Back at the marina, the Super Marsio Bros. start raising their sail, while Fran runs around taking charge of the situation, and Sharon and Melody look flummoxed, even with the extra help they got.

Team Idiot arrives at the Sky Tower. They suit up, with one of the stunt whores calling Prashant "a giant". I love how even the locals are mocking these twits. Make me feel like I'm not alone. (You know what else makes me feel not alone? Comments. There, I said it.)

At the marina, SanFran are unable to tell which side of their sail is the inside and which is the outside. Sharon and Melody carry their sail onto their boat. Marsio whines that they won't allow themselves to be passed by the other teams.

Team Idiot leaves in the elevator for their climb, and the display shows that it's 4:56pm on May 29th, 2006. I can't ever remember the date being so obvious for the timeline geeks like myself. But, if I recall correctly, it doesn't match up to the spoilers, which had the Or Clend leg taking place on June 1st. Eh.

Zabrina and Joe Jer see the Pit Stop, and it looks like we get the shot of the building from a cab recycled from when Antsy arrived. The greeter blows and hellos, and the girls thank him. Kia ora, Zabrina and Joe Jer, you are Team Number Three. The Horns Of Perseverence tootle.

At the base of the Sky Tower, Cirran tells us he's "petrified for [Howard]". Awww.

Inside the shaft, Sahil tells us he knows he can't fall, and Prashant reminds him that if he falls, he'll be falling on him. Oh, don't tempt me to start making homoerotic jokes. Please.

SanFran are slowly figuring out their boat, while the Super Marsio Bros. are told that their boat is "still incorrect". Sharon and Melody are also wrong. So are SanFran. They all screw up a bunch of times. SanFran says they should've done the Rugby. It's a little too late for should'ves now. And not just because the sun is setting.

Team Idiot is at the top of the climb. Sahil is also looking into the tower as he walks around. The get the clue, in fifth place.

Howard jumps. Cirran almost doesn't even realise. Heh. When Howard hears how freaked Cirran was, he wonders why, and says, "I just wanted water". BWAH! They read the Pit Stop clue, and leave in a taxi.

At the marina, there is more yacht-fiddling as Flo Is The Winner starts again, and the Super Marsio Bros. are the first team in this bunch to get their handiwork approved. SanFran also get it, with San doing his little Three Stooges cheer. Fran seems surprised that they are expected to do one of the most touristy extreme-sports activities in town, in a country renowned for them. Whatever. Fran wishes Sharon and Melody luck, and they're almost immediately finished. Woo!

Fran calls a cab, and asks for it not to stop for anyone else. As it turns out, it's a good move, because they do try. The Super Marsio Bros.' cab arrives next.

Back at the Sky Tower, Team Idiot reads the RoadBlock clue. Prashant is doing it, and they mug their selection to the camera. Ugh. Just fuck off already. Prashant switches jumpsuits and prays. WhoreBoy prays to a different God for a different result.

Museum. Blow, hello. Kia ora, Howard and Cirran, you're Team Number Four.

SanFran and the Super Marsio Bros. arrive at the tower. Inside, they find out in the presence of a camera crew that SanFran gets to climb first, and they leave. Sharon and Melody are outside. Marsio calls this their "last chance" to beat the girls, and this is my problem with having adventure sports tasks near the end of the leg. Imagine if this was first, and the teams did this before going out to the girl-on-a-swing. It'd make the Detour a lot more important than it ultimately was, and you'd get the bonus of a probable close finish, even though it'd almost certainly wind up with the same teams at the back of the pack. In other news, the temperature has dropped to 12.5 degrees. Outside the tower, Sahil promises to photograph Prashant "on a bad hair day". Well, duh. Prashant jumps, and because Sahil forgot to use the [Minolta] camera, he takes the photo as Prashant lands and is getting unharnessed. They read the clue.

Marsio and Mardy are assured that the little carabiners will hold their weight. Marsio even asks if it will hold a car. Because they're FAT, ha ha ha! Sigh. Inside the shaft, Fran realises how "breezy" is. Sharon asks if "two tall Indian boys" (also known as Team Idiot) have shown up as she and Melody put on their jumpsuits, and the stunt whore confirms that he has. Uh-oh.

Team Idiot gets a taxi.

It's now after dusk, and an excited SanFran finish the climb. Mardy and Marsio climb without much difficulty. Laura, wrong once again!

In their cab, Sahil babbles about how they rocked the tasks at the end of the leg (Payoff, Part 23), but Prashant says they "always screw up on the first one", complete with finger action (Payoff, Part 24).

The Super Marsio Bros. finish the climb, and a dizzy-looking Marsio calls the city "beautiful". Sharon and Melody make it up the shaft, apparently without even climbing. They too admire the view.

Blow, hello. Kia ora, Team Idiot. WuWho refuses to tell them of their position, deciding instead to rag on them for their rule-breaking (Payoff, Part 25). They get a one-hour time penalty, which seems a little lenient for what they did. That's, like, twenty minutes per hitchhike! Remember when the rule was "thirty minutes, plus the time you gained"? Sahil in particular looks shocked that they found out (Payoff, Part 26).

Commercials. Man, am I glad I'm recapping this version. Because the current American season is quite possibly the worst season ever. Which is a hard feat to top, given some of the efforts of the past.

Team Idiot looks pissed (Payoff, Part 27). Prashant whines that they "did not even realise that they could not hitch a ride" (Payoff, Part 28). He calls the penalty "harsh". It's, like, the smallest time penalty per infraction in the show's history! And Sharon and Melody told you that you couldn't hitchhike! And it was in the rules! And Sahil mentioned that it was forbidden back in the first leg! Boy, if only someone could write something showing how badly you suck, and call it something like "Foreshadowing And Payoff In 32 Easy Parts", and we can all wonder at your magnificent stupidity. Oh, hey, I just did! What a couple of fuckwits.

SanFran swing down the stairs to the RoadBlock, and Fran takes it even though San wants to. Fran says that San "was like a child that had his little red fire engine taken away from him". Eh. San really seems to me like he would have been more of a Tonka-truck-and-Matchbox-car person growing up. Mardy also takes it. A boom mike gets in the shot as SanFran share a good-luck kiss. Marsio tells one of the stunt whores the reason he's not doing it is because he's "a good photographer", and Mardy laughingly calls him out on it. Sharon and Melody read the hint in a voiceover, over a shot of them standing next to the weatherboard (current temperature? 12.3 degrees). Fran jumps and yells out that San better be taking the photo. He is, but she doesn't end up in the picture. Heh. Sharon puts on the Sky Jumpsuit (tm EmoHunk), as one of the stunt whores tells Mardy that he doesn't care what happens, as long as Mardy falls almost two hundred metres. Not in so many words, of course.

SanFran reads the Pit Stop clue.

Mardy tells us he didn't have a choice because Sharon was behind him, and the penalty for quitting was too big. Marsio watches with interest as his brother jumps. Mardy calls it "one of the scariest jumps [he's] ever made in [his] life". Aside from that time he jumped over a really vicious-looking puddle. Marsio's good photography skills result in a photo of Mardy's feet and butt. Heh. They read the Pit Stop clue, and it's really noticeable here how much weight Mardy has lost. Remember at the start, how they had very similar body shapes? Now, it's almost like looking at the before-and-after shots of Biggest Loser contestants. Sharon jumps, cheering for the camera as she lands. Awesomely, as they read the Pit Stop clue, Sharon starts telling Melody to leave literally as soon as she finishes the final word. It's about time someone in last place actually started racing like they were trying to get out of it.

Pit Stop. The greeter blows once more. Kia ora, SanFran, you are, despite what WuWho says, Team Number Five.

In their cab, Sharon explains that she was hoping someone else quit a task or got lost or something. Well, she should know that was the case, because she herself told Team Idiot that they were breaking the rules.

Pit Stop. There is no greeting, but the Super Marsio Bros. are Team Number Sivin (Uh, Seven). By which WuWho actually means: Kia ora, Super Marsio Bros., you are Team Number Sex. (Uh, Six.) Marsio tells WuWho how proud he is of Mardy for jumping, and it sounds like Marsio was the one who really wanted to race, but Mardy is just there for the numbers.

The conch shell blows one final time. Sad tinkly music plays as Sharon and Melody walk up. They are crying as WuWho tells them they're the last team to arrive. WuWho explains the penalty situation to them, and the editors cut directly to Team Idiot. And it turns out that their tiny penalty was still large enough to push them into last place. So Sharon and Melody are Team Number Sivin (Uh, Seven.) They are deliriously happy.

Team Idiot is not as happy, and WuWho looks downright annoyed that he's had to wait out in the cold for this long. Even the greeter got to go home! Or perhaps he had Team Idiot in the office sweep. Team Idiot, you were idiots, and now you're eliminated idiots. Sahil voices over as they walk off the mat that they got eliminated by something they didn't know. Yeah, well, so did the Nazis. He says that they would have beaten them on merit. Out of the four Detours you completed, you fucked up two of them -- the batik in the first leg, and the prawns last week -- so badly you had to start over, and Prashant was completely useless at the Detour this time. And the other Detour involved just sitting on a boat and rowing. Nitwits. Prashant tells us that the were "the biggest threat" to the other teams, and that they "must be having a party right now, and they are rejoicing the fact that we are out." Yes, and I know I'm also having a party in my mind right now, but it's not because you were threats. It's because you were a pair of arrogant, delusional tools who had no idea about the race, thought you were above the rules, and were only there to further your own careers. Hilariously, their final shot is of them being driven off, sitting in the back seat of a car like a pair of caught movie criminals. FUCK OFF.

Man, that was a great episode.

Executive Producer? Michael McKay. Country producer? Fiona McInerney. Once again the Pit Stop hotel is not thanked. Damn seventeen-dollar minibar Snickerses!

Next week: There is a muddy, muddy quadbike race. After the result of this leg, WuWho sends the police out when Andy breaks the rule. Apparently, he doesn't want a repeat of Idiotgate. Zabrina and Joe Jer are gleeful at this development. There is bungy jumping, from a place that has been on this show before. God, didn't we already do the big jumpy task?


  1. I loved this episode. For something that the challenge planners probably thought was a very straight-forward task - go here, find this, go here - it was absolutely beautiful how many teams ran straight out of the ferry terminal and turned right without looking in both directions.

    And Team Idiot were just the icing on the cake. Still no idea why Sandy didn't do the rugby, I'd have thought he'd have had experience at that growing up or something. I mean sheesh, even I can drop punt and handball a football, and I've played exactly one game of AFL football.

  2. Also I wondered if the time thing (May 29th/June 1st) was due to a rest day in between, so that the spoilers referred to the next leg. Because I can't really see the Auckland tower bothering to change the time/date display just to screw with the minds of a small number of obsessed fans. ;-) Heh.

    (although if I were in charge... I'd be tempted.)