Tonight is the start of Season 22 of the journey called Amazing Race. The first few episodes are usually the most exciting because with 11 teams racing the action is usually exciting and the teams race a little harder to stay in the game in hopes of getting the early advantages of finishing first.

Let’s start this with the teams and preseason rankings for them.Last Season the Twins let me down in the final episode so hopefully this season I can actually pick the winner.

11.  Chuck McCall and Wynona McCall (The Old Timers)

10. Mona Egender and Beth Bandimere (The Derby Moms)

9. Pamela Chien and Winnie Sung (The Besties)

8. Max Bichler and Katie Bichler (The Newlyweds)

7. Caroline Cutbirth and Jennifer Kuhle (The Stealing Angels)

6. Joey Graceffa and Meghan Camarena (Team YouTube)

5. Jessica Hoel and John Erck (Team Young Love)

4.  David O’Leary and Connor O’Leary (Team Kick Ass)

3. Bates Battaglia and Anthony Battaglia (Team Hockey)

2.Idries Abdur-Rahman and Jamil Abdur-Rahman (The Doctors)

1. Matthew Davis and Daniel Moss (Team Firefighters)

I am most likely totally off but I do think the Firefighters will win the season. We will see how it plays out. Come back later tonight for my recap of the episode.

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We start at the Griffin Observatory in LA as the eleven teams head up the hill to start the race. We go through the regular introductions of the teams. Some quick thoughts:

  • Taxidermy grosses me out
  • The Amazing Race has to be one of the most romantic honeymoons ever. You get to see most of the world if you last a few weeks.
  • We get another dating couple were the girl wants to get married and the guy is dragging his heels. Chances are he’ll propose on the race although I was wrong on the Longhorns last season.
  • I hate the song “Oh My Darling”. It drives me crazy.
  • We got two teams saying they are looking for love although one of the teams say you have to be a millionaire with millions taped to your body. Can you say Gold Digger?

Phil tells them that about this seasons twist. The team to finish the first leg in first place not only wins the express pass but also gets an express pass to give to another team before the end of the fourth leg.

The leg gets started in an annoying way as the first clue is in a Ford Fusion. I love The Amazing Race but the product placement always takes me out of the show. Of course I’d rather see if here then in a drama like Bones.

Chuck from The Old Timers wipes out trying to get his bags. Teams are on their way to Bora Bora. There are two flights. Only five teams can get on the first flight which arrives one hour earlier then the second flight so the race is on. It surprises me that producers chose to split the teams up into two groups so early but I guess it could make it easier to film the teams and adds some extra excitement early on.

The Doctors and Besties get on the same shuttle. The Doctors try to say that they are delivery men but the Besties see right through the lie. The Old Times are first to get tickets. They are followed by the Besties and The Doctors.  The last teams on the first flight are Team Kick Ass and Team Young Love. The Besties are playing nice hoping to get the second express pass in case they don`t win the leg.

The second flight consists of The Newlyweds, Team YouTube, The Hockey, The Derby Moms, The Firefights, and The Stealing Angels. Katie instantly jumps out as the season`s villain as she is anti-social and talks about having so many fake conversations with the other teams.

This new twist is forcing teams to form early alliances which is great if this was Survivor but I hate when teams work together on the race. Smartly the Doctors suggest just giving the second express pass to whichever team finishes second which would remove the stress of having to decide who to give it to. The other four tribes in front all agree with the plan although a few teams looked a little nervous making the pact.

First Road Block: Teams will sign up for helicopter rides two teams at a time. One team member will skydive while the other team takes a water taxi to the landing zone. Once teammates meet up there they receive their next clue. It`s not a hard task but it will provide some great visuals that the show is known for.

John (Young Love) and Jamil (Doctor)  get on the same ride followed by Conner (Kick Ass) and Winnie (Besties) with Chuck (Old Timers) on the last flight.  I`ve always wanted to skydive so watching them jump from the helicopter was crazy.  Team Young Love get the next clue first and teams must now travel by water taxi to Eden Beach. They are followed by The Doctors.

As these two teams are off Conner and Winnie are ready to jump and soon after by Chuck.

On the beach we get a second Roadblock. This time teams must search sand castles. There are 400 castles and the heat can reach 100 degrees and they must rebuild the castles they destroy. The teammate who did not jump must do this roadblock.

As Team Young Love and the Doctors start busting castles the second flight arrives.  The flights include Caroline (Stealing Angels) and Anthony (Hockey), Matt (Firefighters) and Max (Newlyweds), and Mona (Derby Moms) and Meghan (YouTube). Mona made the first mistake of the season as she should have been on the second helicopter flight but signed her name in the wrong space.

The Doctors and Young Love are being serenaded as they dig and build. It is kind of easy to tell which castles have been hit as you can tell which castles have been rebuilt. Teams are having trouble in the heat and complaining about rebuilding the castles. Chuck and Wynona arrive and start awkwardly asking a local for a clue before they notice the other teams digging and see the clue.

Team Young Love are first to find the clue and are headed down the beach. They must attach a float to a canoe and must use strength and balance to paddle over to the pit stop at Motu Café. And the last team will be eliminated.

While paddling across Team Young Love flip over into the water because they at not staying balanced. With only one team gone the second group of teams start showing up with Team Hockey and The Stealing Angels arriving first. Team Hockey finds the clue quickly and are off to the pit stop. This pisses off the other teams. This is one challenge were arriving later is beneficial since the reconstructed castles look like crap.

Firefighters and Newlyweds are now arriving as Team Young Love arrives in first place and get the express passes.  They quickly state that they will not just hand over an advantage even though they made an alliance. The last few teams arrive as the teams keep searching.

Team Hockey arrives in second place.  This is followed by Team Kick Ass and Team Derby Moms find a clue next. Shortly after the Besties and Team YouTube get clues.

Team Kick Ass finish in third as Team Doctors find their clue.

The Besties are fourth and are followed by The Derby Moms.  The Doctors wipe which is bad for two guys afraid of water. They are passed by the Old Timers but at this point are just worried about getting out of the water. Team YouTube finish in sixth followed by The Old Timers in seventh and The Doctors in Eighth.

It is done to The Stealing Angels, The Firefighters, and the Newlyweds. At this point I am worried about my preseason pick. Amazingly the three teams choose to make a Losers Alliance to take the penalty and race for the pit stop. The firefighters are confident in their canoeing skills but quickly wipe out and are passed. The Firefights are trying to speed up to catch up and wipe out again. The Newlyweds finish in ninth and Stealing Angels finish in tenth. And with that The Firefighters are first to be eliminated and there goes my pick to win it all. It`s kind of embarrassing but you can`t control the race.

It was a disappointing first episode in my opinion. That second roadblock killed the momentum of the episode with the teams basically just lying around in the sand. It dragged on two long but we will see where the season goes from here. Also while I understand the decision to take the penalty I don’t like the concept of giving up on a challenge. I don’t think it really hurts the teams this early because the Race tends to have legs with flights or challenges that allow teams behind to catch up. But if the next leg stays in Bora Bora then one of the two teams in the back will be in trouble.

See you next Sunday.

 
  • http://twitter.com/Girltalkbf AlesheaDominique

    So far I’m not that impressed. I liked the Firefighters and can’t stand the newlyweds. The doctors are always annoying with all the laughing. You know what you are getting into when you try out for the show. Millions would kill for this opportunity and to take a penalty this early is crazy to me. 

  • Eric Mitchell

     The episode was lackluster overall. Here’s hoping it picks up.

  • forwarddad

    I was rooting for the firefighters.

  • breakdown

    At first glance, rooting for the father-son cancer survivors.

  • yclept

    Interesting strategy.  You are pretty much putting skill ahead of luck – the skill/strength to row a boat to the finish line vs. the the luck of finding a clue in the sand.    Of course, the skill part has the addition of a 4-hour penalty tied to it.   The luck also has the added benefit that if you find the clue first, you are cruising to the finish with no threat of being caught from behind.
    The Amazing Race, as we know, has a lot of spots where all teams catch up to each other – but we have also seen in the past that a team or two would be so far back that they can’t even make it to the “bunching up” point.  4 hours is a long time.   Plus, I believe it is 4 hours in ADDITION to the amount of time they were already behind the 8th place team.   
    Personally, I would have stuck with the luck.  I would have not taken the 4-hour penalty – I take my 2/3 shot that I won’t be eliminated *AND* I won’t have to endure the long penalty.    Essentially, either option gives you a 2/3 chance – but one of the options has a penalty attached to it.  I don’t see where that is a better choice.
    The newlyweds made it sound like this was such a brilliant strategy on their part – it wasn’t.   When Rob Mariano did it during a food challenge, it had more brilliance to it – because he was first to declare he wasn’t going to do it, so anyone who followed him was going to be behind him.    To make this strategy work, you have to convince other teams that they can’t do it either – AND make sure you are first in line.
    It wasn’t a terrible opening episode – we have seen these types of challenges in the past.    I usually like challenges with a more strategic element to figure out where the clues are, but luck has always played a role in this game.

  • hcpoirot

    The decisions to take the penalty is right. First, the 3 teams already digging for hours in the sun and still cannot find the clue cards. And this challenge is based on luck rather than brain or brawn.

    If I was them, I will also take the penalty. cause they never know when they will find the clue. What if after another 3 hours two teams find the clue and the last team did not find it, he /she will be digging for hours and eliminated.

    With 3 teams taking the penalty, at least the teams had 1/3 equal chance to finish the race and not get eliminated.

    And even if they are behind 4 hours next episode, at least they still get 50:50 chance to not be eliminated. Usually after 2 episodes, they will fly to other continents and they can catch up then.

  • poipugirl

    I love Boston Rob on any reality show! He is my all time fave Survivor and Amazing Racer with his humor, strategic moves and just plain awesomeness!

    That sucked about the Firefighters.  Thanks for recapping this show!

  • HKfan

    I didn’t realise we would be getting the new season the same time here as the US so missed the first half……so haven’t got too many comments, would just like to say how stunning Bora Bora looks!

  • Miz

    Eric, the place they started out is Griffith Observatory. Sorry your #1 team is already eliminated.

    I’m not sure who I will be rooting for yet, but I know I’m rooting against the newlyweds. What an obnoxious and unlikeable couple.

    I call your ‘oldtimers’ ‘the mullets’. I really like the father/son team. I also like the roller derby moms and the youtube team. I was going to root for the doctors, but so far they don’t look too promising. 

    The sand castle challenge was a bad idea. Very boring.

  • Michael King

    I wonder what the “firefighters” do for a paid job.