The Amazing Race: All Stars Episode 1 Discussion and Recap (UPDATED)

Tonight is the season premiere of The Amazing Race: All Stars! Here is my recap for the first episode of the season:

Tonight is the season premiere of The Amazing Race: All Stars! Eleven teams return for another shot at the $1,000,000 prize. Let’s get reacquainted with the teams.

Jet and Cord are back for their third time on the race. The cowboys hope to dominate the race once again, but this time with a win. Next we’re reintroduced to country singers Caroline and Jennifer. They say they won’t be boy crazy this time, but will keep their eyes on the prize. Twins Natalie and Nadiya promise not to be a hot mess anymore. Brendon and Rachel are married now, but some fighting will probably still occur with these reality television veterans. John and Jessica hope to not embarrass themselves this time on the race (they were eliminated with an Express Pass in possession last time). Flight Time and Big Easy claim the race in the only competition they’ve ever lost, so they hope to be victorious this time around. Dave and Connor remember how they had to withdraw from the race their first time around due to David’s injury, so they’re grateful for another chance. YouTubers Joey and Meghan mention how they gained millions more subscribers since they first appeared on the race. Leo and Jamal admit to being sneaky liars, and they plan to live up to that reputation again. Margie and Luke are another team back for their third time, and Luke hopes to make up for his past mistakes. And the last team we’re reacquainted with is Bopper and Mark, and they hope to win the money for their family.

However, before the race can begin, a medical issue has derailed one of the teams. Bopper has an inflamed pancreas, and he is told he cannot compete. Nonetheless, Phil said that Mark can still race if he chooses to; another teammate will be provided for him. Mark is in tears as he is encouraged by Bopper to continue on without him. Mark agrees, but not without saying that it was the hardest decision he has ever made in his life.

So since Bopper cannot compete, who will be Mark’s partner? Why, it’s none other than Mallory of the father/daughter duo of Gary and Mallory! She’s another Kentucky native and she’ll substitute for Bopper. “In Kentucky, we got each other’s backs,” she says. After all the teams said farewell to Bopper (Rachel was in tears during this), the race began.

The starting line is at a stadium with the UCLA Bruin Marching Band. Phil informs the teams that they must find a marching band member with the correct Chinese symbol on his or her hat and bring that person to Phil to receive their next clue. Afterwards, they can get in a hybrid car and drive to LAX. There are two flights, and the first has a two hour advantage. During the rush of the task, the teams departing on the first flight are Leo and Jamal, Jet and Cord, Dave and Connor, and Natalie and Nadiya. The rest of the teams will be departing two hours later on the second flight to Guangzhou, China.

Once the teams arrive in Guangzhou, they must go to the Street of Wedding Dresses and find one of three specific wedding dresses shops. The first four teams take different methods of traveling to the district, but it is Jet and Cord who arrive there first. Leo and Jamal and Natalie and Nadiya are walking around together, but are unsuccessful in their search. Dave and Connor hop out of a taxi as soon as they spot Jet and Cord on the street. And right away, Jet and Cord locate one of the dress shops and are the first team to receive the next clue, putting them in first place. They must locate Canton Tower to find their next clue.

The other teams on the second flight arrive in Guangzhou, and Brendon and Rachel, Margie and Luke, Flight Time and Big Easy, and Mark and Mallory get on the metro before the other three teams. So currently in last place are Joey and Meghan, John and Jessica, and Caroline and Jennifer.

Dave and Connor find a dress shop and are now in second place. They’re now on their way to Canton Tower. The Twinnies and the Afghanimals are still working together, but reluctantly too; they’re already very annoyed by each other. And despite a two hour advantage, several teams find a clue in a wedding dress shop before Natalie and Nadiya and Leo and Jamal. Brenchel are in third place, Margie and Luke are in fourth place, Mark and Mallory are in fifth place, and the Globetrotters are in sixth place.

Jet and Cord have found Canton Tower. They must get inside a spherical cart that travels around the tower. Inside was a clue. However, only even-numbered carts contained a clue. The odd-numbered carts contained a fake clue that simply said “Try again.” Jet and Cord get into an odd-numbered cart, so they must wait for the cart to go around before they can get into another one.

Joey and Meghan, John and Jessica, and Caroline and Jennifer have finally made their way to the wedding shop district. Leo and Jamal and Natalie and Nadiya have split up. The Twinnies and the country singers went in one direction while the Afghanimals, the YouTubers, and John and Jessica went in another direction. And it is the latter three teams that find a clue, which currently puts Natalie and Nadiya and Caroline and Jennifer in last place.

Meanwhile, Jet and Cord get on a second cart and find the clue to their next destination. It is a stadium in Haixinsha Island where the 2010 Asian Games were held.  Afterwards, multiple teams arrive at the Canton Tower. Some teams get the clue on their first ride around the tower, while others were told to try again. Brenchel got the clue on their first ride, as well as Leo and Jamal. Margie and Luke, Dave and Connor, and Mark and Mallory must wait and aboard another cart to find a clue.

John and Jessica and Joey and Meghan make their way to Canton Tower while Natalie and Nadiya and Caroline and Jennifer are still struggling to find a wedding dress shop with a clue. They finally find the correct ones, but since each shop has a limited amount of clues, it is not until they locate the third shop until they get a clue.

Dave and Connor go into the cart they saw the cowboys in and get the correct clue. The Globetrotters arrive at Canton Tower and get the clue on the first cart they aboard. Joey and Meghan, however, got a “Try again” message. Caroline and Jennifer and Natalie and Nadiya finally arrive in Canton Tower. The country singers get a clue on their first ride around the tower, but the Twinnies must try again.

By the time the Twinnies get out of their cart, the only other team still there is the YouTubers. A moment of indecision occurs when Natalie wants to get into another cart right away, while Nadiya wants to wait for a sure thing. However, Natalie is sure about the even-numbered carts having the clue, so she goes into one with Nadiya following uncertainly behind her. And they finally get a clue to their next location, but are currently in last place.

Meanwhile, at the stadium in Haixinsha Island, there is a Roadblock that one team member must complete. They must go 300 feet in the air and flip around five times while being attached to a wire. The cowboys arrive at the Roadblock first, and Cord is the one who does the task. Brenchel is right behind them, and it is Brendon who does the task. “Brenchel’s on fire, baby!” Rachel exclaims as she cheers on Brendon (the participants of the Roadblock were required to wear a fiery-designed costume).

Cord completes the task, and he and Jet make their way to the Pit Stop and are Team #1! As a reward, they are given two Express Passes, and one must be given to another teammate. They are soon followed by Brendon and Rachel, and they are Team #2!

The rest of the episode goes by without any suspense. We are simply shown each team at the Roadblock before they check in at the Pit Stop. Coming in third place is Dave and Connor, and they are followed by Margie and Luke, Leo and Jamal, Mark and Mallory, Flight Time and Big Easy, John and Jessica, and Caroline and Jennifer. That means the last two teams battling for survival are Joey and Meghan and Natalie and Nadiya. However, the Twinnies fell too far behind that they were unable to catch up. The YouTubers check in as Team #10, while Natalie and Nadiya are the last team to greet Phil at the mat. They learn they have been eliminated from the race, and they are very disappointed. They admit that this was their worst leg they have ever done in the race, which unfortunately cost them the million dollars.

Overall, I thought this was a solid episode. It didn’t allow any room for suspense since the Roadblock was extremely easy, which meant that the order of the teams was going to stay the same once they arrived to do the task. But this was just the season premiere, so there are really no complaints from me.

In addition, I agree with some of the producers’ choices for teams to bring back to the race. Brendon and Rachel are an entertaining, yet polarizing team, so they definitely deserve to come back. Dave and Connor had to withdraw last time, so I’m glad they’re getting a true second chance at the race. Joey and Meghan bring a lot of energy to the race, so I’m glad that they’re back too. Natalie and Nadiya were a large presence their first time around, so I understand bringing them back too. Bopper and Mark is another team that was definitely memorable enough to bring back for another chance. However, the hybrid of Mark and Mallory was a bit random. The producers are lucky that they have that Kentucky connection, because that’s the only way that pairing makes sense. And since they’re just getting to know each other, it makes the team a bit awkward, which was already shown in the premiere.

Anyway, even though I’m not thrilled about teams returning for a third time, I definitely understand bringing back Jet and Cord. They are one of the most beloved teams of all-time, so I can’t blame the producers for wanting them back. However, do we really need to see Margie and Luke and Flight Time and Big Easy again? I don’t think so. Why not invite back other memorable teams for a second chance, such as Brook and Claire, Jaymes and James, or Andy and Tommy? However, Caroline and Jennifer are a team I’m glad to see return, but I was a bit surprised the producers wanted them back since they just followed Anthony and Bates on their first season. On the other hand, Leo and Jamal are a team I do not like, but they were big characters last season. So I understand why they’re back. But how is John and Jessica an all-star worthy team? Just because their elimination was note-worthy, the two of them as racers were rather forgettable. Anyway, for the most part this is a great cast of teams, so I’m looking forward to seeing how the season plays out.


Episode Summary:

1st place: Jet and Cord (Won two express passes)

2nd place: Brendon and Rachel

3rd place: Dave and Connor

4th place: Margie and Luke

5th place: Leo and Jamal

6th place: Mark and Mallory

7th place: Flight Time and Big Easy

8th place: John and Jessica

9th place: Caroline and Jennifer

10th place: Joey and Meghan

11th place: Natalie and Nadiya (Eliminated)


Thanks for reading and join me next week for another recap of The Amazing Race: All Stars!

About Steven Curtis 561 Articles
Steven is a graduate of the University of West Florida with a bachelor's degree in communication arts. He enjoys watching reality competition shows, such as American Idol, Survivor, Big Brother, and The Amazing Race.