Did you skip last night's TAR because of basketball, or baseball, or dragons on HBO, or zombies? Solid call. The "everyone's starting to come apart" ep is usually good for some drama and/or inexplicable brain farts, but "Be Safe and Don't Hit a Cow" never really caught fire.

Watch, or skip?

Start and Transportation

"Watch out for all the poo!" says either Pam or Winnie as they make their way to their SUVs, and while that's good advice generally, the rest of the segment draaaaaags. Not one but two teams, the Country Blondes and the Newlyweds, get nailed by a speed trap and have to go to the cop shop that day to settle the tickets; a currency exchange that could in Jen's money getting stolen doesn't, and many minutes are spent on Botswanan municipal bureaucracy.

On the way out of the police-station parking lot, Max rams their car into a pole. It's like he wants Katie to restock on withering eye-rolls. Elsewhere, Team YouTube is, and stays, hopelessly lost, and Joey is unaware that, sometimes, you can just say something that you've realized, without a lot of drama-club cawing and hand-waving, to wit: his insight that living with GPS has shriveled their navigation muscles. It's a good point, but I barely heard it, because: Joey.

Fast Forward

The Hockey Bros grab the Fast Forward, which requires them to water-ski through croc-infested waters for one mile. The longer-haired one is apprehensive -- he can't get up on the skis, usually -- but they execute.

It's their motorboat trip towards the Pit Stop that's awesome. Longer Hair talks about how great Africa is and how he's relieved to have survived the FF. "Plus, I got to take my shirt off. Enh?" he adds, making Amirite Brows. Hee. Later, he goes for this rimshot: "Can't get better scenery than this, and Africa looks good too. [flexes bicep]" Love it.

Speed Bump

Max and Katie's punishment for finishing last in the previous leg, it involves ceremonial beading and a mating dance of some sort. Completed without much fanfare.

Road Block

Teams must wrangle two goats into a dugout canoe, pole the boat downriver to drop off the goats, and pole back to the starting point. The "goats are inherently funny" well is long dry on TAR, and despite a few "…Phrasing!" moments with Chuck telling Wynona to spread her legs and do such-and-such with the pole, it's primarily a showcase for teams' increasing exhaustion and shortness with each other. Also, Caroline is running around after goats all "don't you want to be friends?"

Mona is also holding her goat (…Phrasing!) the way little kids sometimes hold kittens, and it's painful to watch.

Detour

Brains (get on horseback, find 10 cutouts of safari animals, then place tiles in the order you saw the cutouts) and Brawn (convince a team of four donkeys to haul a sled of firewood to the next clue, using only a carrot and your own greed) doesn't seem that interesting, but it's fun. Chuck and Wynona's mnemonic adventure isn't actually doomed; the Country Blonde/Roller Mom donkey-team collision is hilarious (no donkeys harmed; one shooting the camera a side-eye all, "…fucking Americans"); Caroline encouraging her donkeys with, "You are so beautiful to me."

Also interesting: Pam and Winnie's relaxed approach to Brains. A couple key oversights prompt them to switch to Brawn, but they keep it chill. Is it because they make an effort not to freak, which causes mistakes? Or have they reached that "whatever" headspace TAR teams sometimes get to where something in their heads has just shut down?

Ugly Americana

Wynona sighs that Africa smells "like a big ball of dung."

Later, Chuck observes that he'd like to hunt in Africa. Okay, Hemingway.

Pit Stop

The Hockey Bros finish well in the lead thanks to the FF, but it'll just get airport-bunched into oblivion next time, so, enh. The Roller Moms leg out a second-place spot over the Country Blondes, followed by Chuck and Wynona in fourth.

YouTube (sigh) and the Newlyweds (sigher) pull up at the same time, but one of the great recurring moments on the show -- teams who think they're dead last find out they have life in the game still -- falls flat. Katie acts like Phil asked to borrow money, and on the other end of the acoustic spectrum, Joey is shrieking like a gibbon. I'm sorry I keep harping on that; when he's 25, he's going to be lovely. Right now, kid needs to shut it.

Pam and Winnie are last. "There's not going to be any tearful ending for us," they say, and they keep their words. I think they just shut down; anticlimactic ending for a likeable team.

Verdict

Do a fast-forward of your own to the segments with the Hockey Bros on the speedboat; enjoy the juxtaposition of Catskills humor with shirtless Italian hockey bruiser; go about your day.

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