The 18th season of The Amazing Race kicked off tonight, and this one is called “Unfinished Business” due to all the returning cast members either being close to winning but falling short, leaving in heartbreaking fashion (U-Turns, etc), or simply just being a fan favorite I’d guess. I covered our list of teams here, along with what seasons they came from, and noticed something major, out of the eleven teams racing, almost half of them came from season 14. Would knowing each other from past seasons help or hurt the teams? Which teams are going to suffer the same heart break they suffered in the past? How many times will Mallory call from help from above? Those questions and more will be answered this season on The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business.
Not only are former racers back, but our very anti-climactic “Express Pass” has also returned, hopefully with a little more excitement than last season when it went quietly with no real impact on the race sometime in the middle of the season. For those who don’t know, the Express Pass is given out to the winner of the first leg of the race, and it’s a pass that allows a team to skip a challenge of their choosing whenever they want. Pretty nice in theory, but in play it’ll likely just be used when one team gets in a panic and thinks they may finish last, but didn’t realize they were in the middle of the pack anyway and were not going home.
So we begin in Palm Springs, California where we get our nice little intro showing us the back stories of each contestant and how they got booted from their original race. They do their traditional line-up while Phil gives his speech, which he tells them it’s going to be different this race (yes, one of these teams will win! .. unless of course Danielle and Jordan swoop in last minute). Like most recent races, they had to do and introductory challenge to find out where they’re going. Aided by the clue of Phil naming places in Australia, teams had to figure out they needed to return the paper airplane with the name of the Australian airline, Qantas. What I don’t understand is, right away teams were suggesting they were looking for something that started with Q and ended with S, how did they know that from the clue Phil gave them? Did I miss something there?
This challenge was interesting due to the fact that the first 8 teams will secure a spot on the first flight, the last 3 will be on the second fight 90 minutes later, and the last out of those three will be hit up with the U-Turn they must do at the first detour, which will be after the check-in. In theory, it would be possible then for the team that finishes last to get the Express Pass and save their ass right away, but that would require some divine intervention from above, good thing Mallory was one of the three teams on the second flight! While Amanda and Kris were officially last, and handed the penalty, they were given a new lease on life when Jesus answered one of Mallory’s many, many, MANY requests and ended up giving a guy a heart attack on the first flight, causing it to land in Hawaii and actually arrive in Australia after the second flight. (I kid because the Globetrotters said the guy was ok. If he’s actually not, I take back the last part)
It was time for the first Road Block “Swim With Sharks”, where one team had to put on a wet suit and dive to the bottom of a fish tank with sharks, and sting rays. At the bottom, they will find a compass which will help them decode flags outside giving them a message they then had to bring to someone to get their next clue. I’ll give you a spoiler of the clue:
Don’t Forget To Drink Your Ovaltine!
Mallory finished her swimming and praying, then was left decoding with both Amanda and Kesha, giving them a nice lead before the other teams minus Jet and Cord who were still hanging around the Manly Ferry.. and I’ll save you the brokeback mountain jokes with that. The top three teams finished their decoding and were off to the next Route Info where they had to sail around and get the clue for the check-in. Mallory finished first, so they were off, but the other two teams were not far behind, so it was going to be down to the wire to see if Amanda and Kris were going to hijack Mallory’s answered prayer and get the Express Pass.
If you’re a fan of spoilers, or seen the episode already, please continue reading…
Gary and Mallory finish this leg of the race first!
But, they were told the race is still going on, were given their next clue and ran off into the sunset like Doc and Marty at the end of Back To The Future, leaving us wondering what their clue said, where they were going, and more importantly, will Biff be there?
Now that the good part of the race was done, now came the pretty annoying part of the show. What seemed like half the remaining teams got the puzzle right, the other half either skipped the challenge, or got it wrong but were still handed the answer by the smart kids in class. This is the part where knowing other players can hurt teams like Jet and Cord who were all alone to try and solve their puzzle (and were failing horribly at that). I mean it’s not a good sign when two teams were wearing Harlem Globetrotters shirts at the beginning of the race, kind of made it a tad unfair to those teams who were the only ones representing their season.
And, just to continue on ruining a really good first episode of the season, they decided to show us every team checking in BUT Jet and Cord, who were clearly last, but because the race didn’t officially stop, we have no clue if they’re going home, or this was a non-elimination leg. The last 15 minutes definitely seemed very rushed, and certainly left the viewers with a lot of “Unfinished Business”, but hopefully they make up for it with a solid season which it’s really shaping up to be, despite the lame cliff-hanger to open the season.
Here are the rankings for… well, whatever this leg was..
- Gary and Mallory
- Amanda and Kris
- Kisha and Jen
- Zev and Justin
- The Globetrotters
- Jamie and Cara
- Margie and Luke
- Ron and Christina
- Mike and Mel
- Kynt and Vyxsin
- Jet and Kort (eliminated??)
To be continued I guess…..