Episode 4 begins with the teams setting sail down (unsure of direction) the Amazon canal. As the teams mingle during the cruise, all eyes are on Leo & Alana as they confront leg three winners, Will & James, about THAT U-Turn. As Leo predicted, Will & James went with the strategic flattery approach when confronted by the U-Turned duo.
The stating the obvious quote of the night award: “If they leave, we’re not sad about it.” – Alana (referring to Will & James).
I still don’t hate this move by Will & James. As I said last week, U-Turns are a rarity in TAR; use them, especially when they’ve established a seeming majority alliance.
The aforementioned leg three winners, Will & James, are the first to depart the Amazon.
Fly to Asunción, Paraguay (NOT in Africa).
Once landed, teams will find their next clue at the Orquesta de Reciclados de Cateura.
All eight remaining teams will board the same flight to Asunción, back to an even playing field. A strategic sharing of the information amongst the alliance, spearheaded by Will & James, occurs while the teams await their flight. The use of subtle note-handoffs, and Gary using his NFL blocking skills (blocking the view) of the other teams who are not privy to an alliance benefit of airport Wi-fi and print outs.
Again, this is an intriguing play from the alliance, especially with The Race always throwing in these equalizers throughout the season; moves like this sharing-of-information will ensure the alliance gains an advantage.
And the plot thickens…
The teams touch down (unintentional NFL reference) in Asunción and scramble for taxis at the capital’s airport. Immediately, sisters Michelle & Victoria are forced to switch taxis as their driver is unfamiliar with the Orchestra’s location—a similar fate bestowed upon multiple teams as they make their way to the Orchestra.
Brothers Riley & Maddison and siblings Eswar & Aparna are the first teams to arrive at the Orchestra and receive their next clues.
Who is feeling instrumental?
One member from each team must repurpose items from a landfill to build a cello.
Leo (he and Alana currently in third place) highlights that his mother is a teacher of string instruments, while, once again, Eswar reaffirms his engineering acumen. As a reality TV trope, there is no way this is going to work out particularly well for one, if not either of these men.
Alliance members DeAngelo & Gary, along with Hung & Chee are the next Orchestra arrivals, followed by Will & James, who round out the alliance of five.
Unintentional comedy moment of the night award nominee: DeAngelo stating his number one claim to fame is putting IKEA furniture together. (Really? More so than playing in the NFL or starting the breast cancer awareness across the league? THIS is what you pride yourself in??).
As the alliance (plus Leo & Alana) get cello-building, sisters Kaylynn & Hayley and Michelle & Victoria are growing concerned as their taxi drivers seem to be unaware of their desired destination. Kaylynn & Hayley’s driver all but abandons them in the streets of Asunción (still not Africa).
Unintentional comedy moment of the night award winner:
Victoria: Who is feeling instrumental?
Michelle: (raises her hands with glee)
Victoria: (not impressed) OK, so open it!
This Road Block is orchestral music to the alliance’s ears as they appear content and willing to continue to help one another. And it seems to be working, as IKEA’s favorite son, DeAngelo, is the first to build his cello and receive approval from the judge.
Find Tereré Vendor at Mercado 4
Teams are instructed to travel by taxi to Tereré Vendor at Mercado 4, where they will receive their next clue. WARNING: Yield ahead.
DeAngelo & Gary make their way to the Yield, as Kaylynn & Hayley arrive in last place at the Orchestra. Teams are struggling at the Orchestra, with the alliance continuing to help one another. Why are the musically inclined Road Blocks the toughest this season? I was incredibly fearful of a repeat playing of “Day-O” from episode one’s musical shenanigans.
DeAngelo & Gary arrive at the Yield, choosing to forgo it and receive their next clue.
Teams must prepare the national drink of Paraguay: Tereré. Once prepared correctly, they must carry it with them for the remainder of the leg.
DeAngelo & Gary rip through the Tereré task and receive their next clue, building upon their sizeable lead.
Stack Your Melons OR Use Your Melons
In the series’ first-ever Double Switchback (now THAT sounds like a national drink), teams must select between two Detour tasks from season 20.
Stack Your Melons involves the teams building a 10×10 watermelon pyramid, while Use Your Melons sees the teams having to balance bottles on their head/melon during a choreographed routine. The NFLers opt with stack and look to capitalize on their substantial lead, possibly usurping James & Will for the overall lead.
Back at the Road Block, Hung, one half of the perennial front-running duo of he and Chee, continues to struggle to build the makeshift cello.
Honorary nominee for stating the obvious quote of the night award: “I’ve never built a cello in my in my entire life.” – Kaylynn (that is such a specific act to have never done).
James is next to complete the task, capped off by a less-than-impressed Leo exclaiming, “Looks like James got it… good for him.”
The NFLers arrive at the STACK half of the Detour and commence building their watermelon pyramid, while Will & James arrive at the Yield (choosing not to use it).
While at the Yield, Will & James receive their next clue for the Detour and are shocked to learn that they had indeed practiced the USE portion of the Detour by balancing bottles on their heads/melons in their living room (accompanied by home video footage). Impressed as I am by this dedication, it would’ve been even MORE impressive had their home video shown 100 watermelons in their living room to practice the Stack Your Melons challenge (idea for next All-Stars, fellas).
At the Road Block, Chee is next to complete the task, lending Maddison a helping hand on his way out. Son-of-a-string-instrument-teacher, Leo, is next as he and Alana are currently in fourth place and make their way to the Yield, leaving Maddison, Eswar, Michelle, and Kaylynn battling it out for the fifth spot.
Meanwhile, at STACK, the NFLers build their watermelon base, with Gary giving a doom-inducing call of, “I think it’s going to be easy…”
Will & James seek to put their bottle balancing practice to the test as they arrive at the USE half of the Detour. I tried balancing a bottle on MY melon while sitting still writing this article, shambles. It is impressive to see the homework and dedication this team has shown going into The Race; thus far, it appears to be paying off.
Hung & Chee arrive at the Yield and decide NOT to Yield anyone. Disclaimer: no teams opt to use the Yield this leg, with the Yield being a non-factor, along with the teams having to carry the Tereré drink with them for the remaining of the leg; pointless, come on, Phil!
A-ha, Eswar sheds further light on his engineering background, which he says is NOT helping him turn trash into a cello. Who could’ve seen this coming? The Road Block’s first arrival, Maddison is next on the docket and completes the task, seeing he and brother Riley drop into fifth place.
Michelle completes the task, with her and sister Victoria in sixth, leaving Kaylynn and Eswar battling for seventh. To be fair to both Eswar and Kaylynn, this task would be remarkably tricky, with the particular difficulty being beautifully edited by the string snapping montage on Eswar’s cello, I felt for both of these teams.
At the Detour stage, Leo & Alana opt for USE, as Will & James look to perfect their living room bottle balancing prowess. Leo & Alana and Hung & Chee arrive at USE, seeing both teams break many a bottle attempting to complete the Detour.
Current fifth-placers, Maddison & Riley opt for STACK, while sisters Michelle & Victoria go for the USE route. Meanwhile, leaders DeAngelo & Gary begin to bicker as they blunder the building of their pyramid, potentially squandering their lead. At this stage, it appears to be any one of the six Detoured teams’ leg to win.
It looks like their homework paid off, as on their third attempt, Will & James successfully complete USE and receive their next and final clue of this leg of The Race.
Go to Pit Stop Plaza Italia
The last team to arrive…MAY be eliminated.
- Team Number 1: Will & James
Finally, Eswar completes the Road Block, leaving Kaylynn behind as she and sister Hayley remain in last place.
At STACK, Riley & Maddison seemingly have mastered the task and have overtaken allies DeAngelo & Gary. At the same time, we see a frustrated Hung & Chee drastically change Detours and are now stacking melons. At USE, the third attempt seems to be the charm for some teams, as Michelle & Victoria find success and complete the Detour.
- Team Number 2: Michelle & Victoria
Eswar & Aparna are USING their melons, while Leo & Alana completely leaped from eighth to third place, completing the Detour. At the Road Block, Kaylynn remains patient as she steadily builds her cello; could the sisters’ taxi mishap from earlier come back to haunt them?
At STACK, the NFLers continue to see their lead and pyramid plummet as Riley & Maddison better DeAngelo & Gary and leapfrog them into fourth.
Kaylynn states she’s never looking at a cello again, Riley states HE’s never eating watermelon again. The Race is supposed to expand, NOT contract your horizons, people!
- Team Number 3: Leo & Alana. Impressive showing by the pair this week, after a problematic third leg.
- Team Number 4: Riley & Maddison
What’s this?! It looks like their engineering background has paid off in the most unexpected of places, as siblings Eswar and Aparna have smashed (in a non-bottle smashing sense) the USE Detour, and all of a sudden are in fifth place! Detour switchers Hung & Chee are the next to complete the STACK, as the NFLers continue their pyramid plights.
- Team Number 5: (a shocked) Eswar & Aparna. Great turn around by these two!
- Team Number 6: Hung & Chee
Three hours and seven minutes in, DeAngelo & Gary are STILL at the STACK. Like their pyramid, this could be a monumental collapse by the NFLers. As night falls, Kaylynn & Hayley arrive at USE upon Road Block completion, stating that they dream that somebody is stuck at STACK. It turns out dreams DO come true, in the form of DeAngelo & Gary, who 3 hours and 46 minutes in are still stacking (apparently, IKEA doesn’t sell assemble-your-own-watermelon-pyramid sets).
A whole minute passes, then the NFLers’ pyramid is up for judgment… it’s a thumbs up finally. The guys have dropped from first to seventh, but alas, they have completed the task.
Third attempt is again the charm, as Kaylynn & Hayley complete USE and Race to Phil. All I will say is that thankfully it was nightfall when BOTH teams completed their Detours as the edit proved deceptive as to who would finish last. Still, ultimately it was DeAngelo & Gary marching ahead of the sisters into seventh.
- Team Number 7: DeAngelo & Gary
Last Team to Arrive: Kaylynn & Hayley. BUT, much to their delight, Phil proclaims this is a non-elimination leg!
I think a non-elimination was only fitting for the sisters here, as their major downfall this episode really wasn’t their own doing; it was just down to the pure lousy luck of the draw of those initial airport taxis. People will say Kaylynn should have built the cello faster; however, all teams (minus DeAngelo) struggled with that challenge, so I think it would be unfair to lay the fault on Kaylynn in this regard.
Power Rankings Based on Placement Average:
- Hung & Chee (1, 1, 2, 6) 2.5
- Will & James (4, 6, 1, 1) 3
- Riley & Maddison (3, 3, 4, 4) 3.5
- Michelle & Victoria (2, 5, 7, 2) 4
- Eswar & Aparna (7, 4, 6, 5) 5.5
- Alana & Leo (6, 7, 8, 3) 6
- DeAngelo & Gary (10, 2, 5, 7) 6
- Kaylynn & Hayley (8, 8, 3, 8) 6.75