Resetting in St. Gallen, Switzerland, episode 4 begins 19 months after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The longest-ever serving pit-stopped teams run out to greet Phil at the mat; however, we are now down from nine to five teams.
The five returning teams are:
Akbar & Sheri
Kim & Penn
Lulu & Lala
Raquel & Cayla
Ryan & Dusty
Having the teams of Anthony & Spencer, Caro & Ray, Connie & Sam, and Taylor & Isaiah unable to return (due to various reasons), Phil and co will have to rely on some new TAR tactics, narratives, and maybe even some familiar faces to rejuvenate this season.
Speaking of familiar faces, the five returning teams are soon greeted by the two previously eliminated teams in Arun & Natalia and Michael & Moe, both of which have now re-entered the race. On the surface, The Original Five, let’s call them, look pleased, but indeed blood was boiling throughout. Let’s see how the once-eliminated duos and the blood-boilers handle the 19-month layoff and if they’ve learned from their mistakes…
The advantage of a race re-start is we are gifted with the classic Phil-ism of “The world is waiting for you (once again), GO!” The seven teams must race by foot to Museumstrasse, where teams will find three busses, leaving in order of which is on a first-come-first-served basis. The three teams on the first bus taking early leads are Ryan & Dusty, Raquel & Cayla, and Kim & Penn.
ROUTE INFO: Schwägalp
Teams are to make their way to Schwägalp and take a cable car 8,000 feet above sea level, where they find the next clue.
On bus number two, we have both returnee teams in Arun & Natalia and Michael & Moe, who are looking for redemption, both of which are adamant they will NOT be the first team to be eliminated again. Finally, the third and final bus consists of Akbar & Sheri and Lula & Lala.
All seven teams arrive at once (so the first-come-first-served basis of the busses was all-for-not). Ascending 8,000 feet in the cable car, Akbar & Sheri express their collective fear of heights, which will undoubtedly be a vital factor of this Road Block.
ROADBLOCK: Who Wants to Take in the View?
One member of each team must walk along a ridge 8,000 feet above sea level to retrieve their next clue.
Ryan is ready to go first, and there is no looking back for him as he rips through the ridge and builds a healthy lead for him and Dusty. With the clouds rolling in, Sheri is solely in last place. Te heights seem to be getting the best of her as the remaining six teams retrieve their clues and head back to their partners.
ROUTE INFO: Gasthaus Sonne
Teams must drive themselves to Gasthaus Sonne to receive their next clue.
Further widening the gap, the front six teams make the first cable car down the mountain, leaving Sheri the last contestant to complete the Road Block.
Much to the delight of many of the teams, the cars are automatic, finding the cop duo of Michael & Moe take a rare first-place lead and are first to the Detour.
DETOUR: Punch it or Toss It?
In Punch It, teams must tell a story using specialised hand tools by attaching ornaments in the correct order to a belt and have it approved by a master belt-maker. In Toss It, teams must learn a short sequence of flag tosses and twirls; once done correctly, teams will receive their next clue.
As quickly as they gained a rare lead, Michael & Moe find their lead evaporating into the Swiss fog and are again lost en route to Punch It, seeing perennial front-runners Ryan & Dusty and Kim & Penn take the lead and arrive at Toss It first.
Back at the Road Block, Sheri finally completes the task, seeing Akbar & Sheri still atop the mountain, with the teams in front of them already partaking in Detours.
Ryan & Dusty and Kim & Penn begin practicing their flag routines, with a rare glimpse of doubt and struggle from Ryan & Dusty as they contemplate switching Detours.
The front six teams all arrive at their respective Detours. The only two teams opting in for Punch It are the returnees of Michael & Moe and Arun & Natalia. Arun & Natalia appear to have a grasp on the challenge and the order in which the ornaments need to be laid out, where an admittedly confused Michael & Moe begin to Punch It cluelessly.
Doubling down on Toss It and ditching their doubt, Ryan & Dusty are the first of the tossing tandems to complete the task and receive their next clue.
PIT STOP: Altstätten
Teams must drive their way to the town of Altstätten, where Phil will greet them at the Pit Stop.
Ryan & Dusty begin to make their way to Phil as Kim & Penn and Lulu & Lana are the second and third teams to complete the Detour, respectively.
As Raquel & Cayla complete Toss It, Akbar & Sheri arrive at said Detour. Back at Punch It, Arun & Natalia complete the task, seeing Michael & Moe having to start again, knowing they did the complete opposite ornament order to the father-daughter duo who just passed them.
The teams start rolling up to Phil, securing their survival:
TEAM NUMBER 1: Ryan & Dusty
TEAM NUMBER 2: Kim & Penn
TEAM NUMBER 3: Raquel & Cayla
TEAM NUMBER 4: Lulu & Lala
An all-too-familiar feeling for Natalia seeps in as she and her father, Arun, appear lost driving to a Pit Stop, leaving the door open for Michael & Moe and Akbar & Sheri to catch up. Incredibly, having been miles behind and 8,000 feet above the rest of the teams, Akbar & Sheri are able to complete Toss It before Michael & Moe correct their Punch It errors and now have miraculously moved into sixth!
Once again, with driving and directions being Arun & Natalia’s downfall, we have an unexpected but well-deserved fifth place duo in…
TEAM NUMBER 5: Akbar & Sheri
TEAM NUMBER 6: Arun & Natalia, the door they opened finally closed on Michael & Moe, as the father-daughter duo manage to stave off elimination narrowly.
TEAM NUMBER 7: Michael & Moe, who adamantly stated they would NOT be the first team eliminated again, sadly could not stay true to their word.
The 19-month layoff so far does not seem to have muted any motivation for Ryan & Dusty and Kim & Penn as they continue to dominate the race. Only time (and Phil) will tell if any of the remaining four teams can overtake the top two duos and shake up the leaderboard.
RE-START Power Rankings
1) Ryan & Dusty
2) Kim & Penn
3) Raquel & Cayla
4) Lulu & Lala
5) Akbar & Sheri
6) Arun & Natalia