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The Amazing Race: Season 25 Premiere, 9/26/14

September 29th, 2014 · 1 Comment

As host Phil Keoghan explains in the introduction, this is the silver season–Season 25–of The Amazing Race.  The premiere begins by flashing back to the Season One starting line in New York’s Central Park.  For Season 25, TAR returns to New York–but this time the starting line is in Times Square, with fans and former racers cheering this season’s field on.  The eleven teams are introduced as they arrive in New York taxis:

1.  The superstar of surfing who’s been getting huge pre-season hype, Bethany Hamilton, who became world-famous after getting her left arm bit off by a shark in 2005–and then going on to become one of the world’s top pro surfers anyway. Since she doesn’t use a prosthetic arm, her race promises to be very interesting as she takes on the various physical challenges.  Her teammate is her husband Adam Dirks.

2.  Amy/Maya, one of four female teams. They’re friends, lab mates and sweet food scientists–they specialize in testing ice cream and candy.  They’re also a mixed-race team–Maya’s black, Amy’s white.

3.  Dennis/Isabelle, a zestful young male-female couple from Orange County (as in the real OC).  He’s Cambodian-American and an accountant, she’s Vietnamese-American and a model.

4.  Brooke/Robbie, dating pro-wrestling couple.  As this episode progresses, they lay on the trash-talking.

5.  Whitney Duncan and Keith Tollefson, engaged couple who met on Survivor Season 23, where they gained many fans with their Southern charm. She’s a country singer, he works in the energy efficiency field, and they postponed their wedding so they could be on TAR.

6.  Kym/Allie, two female racing cyclists, but not the Lance Armstrong type of cycling.  They do X-treme street cycling, racing through city traffic.

7.  Lisa/Michelle, very attractive blonde sisters who are also very successful real estate agents. 

 8.  Boston firefighters Michael/Scott, at least one of whom was on the scene of the Boston marathon bombing.

9.  Zestful young California gay couple, Tim and Te Jay, a team that other racers quickly start calling T & T.  Tim’s Chinese-American and a flight attendant.  Te Jay’s part Korean, and works as a female impersonator.

10.  Shelley/Nici, a mother-daughter team, African-American flight attendants.

11.  Misty/Jim, husband-and-wife dentists.

Before starting the race, Phil announces a new twist this season–a “save” prize.  The team that wins this leg will be given a pass with which they may save themselves once from elimination.  It must be used, if at all, on one of the first nine legs.

When teams get their first clue, it instructs them to go to where the first TAR season ended.  Several teams ask former racers in the crowd for the answer–unfortunately I couldn’t ID who they were talking to.  Hardcore TAR fans know TAR Season One ended at the globe sculpture in Flushing Meadows, and Bethany/Adam get there first.  They open the clue box and find the second clue–to fly to St. Thomas, the US Virgin Islands, the first time TAR has ever visited there.

Teams are divided between two flights, and five teams are on the first flight:  T&T, Bethany/Adam, Isabelle/Dennis, the female cyclists, and the married dentists.  The remaining six teams have to take a Delta flight that arrives about 40 min. later.

Once teams are in St. Thomas, they have to sign up for seaplane rides, two teams to a plane (except for the fifth-place team, which gets the third seaplane to themselves).  Bethany/Adam and T&T get the first flight, the dentists and the cyclists the second one, and Isabelle/Dennis get the third plane to themselves.

At the end of the seaplane flight, teams transfer to waiting motorboats and are taken to a rock outcropping for their first task, which is neither a detour nor a roadblock.  They have to rock-climb up to the top, then dive into the ocean (from about a two-story height) and retrieve messages (clues) from bottles anchored a short swim away.

To make the climb teams have to go up a cargo net, then rope up for the ascent.  I’d have liked to have seen more footage of Bethany making the climb with one arm.  Her husband says she can do things with one arm on a surfboard that he can’t do with two.  So maybe that goes for rock-climbing, too.

The clue in the bottle directs teams to travel in their motorboats to an old sailing vessel–Blackbeard’s pirate ship.  Once teams have climbed aboard the ship, Blackbeard (although he looks more like Greybeard) gives them their next clue envelope.  Then he fires off a ship’s cannon and orders them off his ship and into waiting rowboats!  As teams land on a nearby beach, they can tell by the cannon fire when another team’s caught up.

Blackbeard’s clue directs teams where to dig for buried treasure.  Phil’s narrative explains some people believe there may still be some of Blackbeard’s treasure buried in this area–somewhere.  The treasure hunt is this season’s first roadblock.  Each team’s clue contains coordinates (such as NW 15, S 23) from one of four starting points.  On the beach, there are shovels to measure and dig with, and each team gets a type of compass that’s particularly difficult to read.  (One racer comments, it’s like reading backwards.) Reading the regular type of compass can be hard enough!

As the five front teams negotiate the rocks and the pirate ship, they separate into a running order:  T&T 1st, Adam/Bethany 2nd, the cyclists 3rd, the dentists, 4th.  By now the second flight’s arrived at St. Thomas and the trailing six teams are scrambling to sign up for the seaplanes.  The mother-daughter flight attendants and Whitney/Keith get the fourth plane.

No one wants to be on the last seaplane. Scientists Amy/Maya are first to get on the fifth plane.  One of the firefighters starts to sign up for that flight–then one of the blondes rudely yanks the pen out of his hand, violently elbows him aside, and signs her team instead.  Hey, Lady, that’s a hero of the Boston marathon bombing you just did that to!

That bumps the firefighters and wrestlers onto the sixth and final seaplane. However, everybody bunches up on the beach.  The running order gets scrambled because the treasure hunt RB is impossible to put a clock on.  As one of the female scientists comments, if the angle of the coordinates is off just a little bit, it can make a big difference.

Jim the dentist arrived on the beach 4th but is the first to finish the treasure hunt RB.  He digs up a pirate chest, opens it, and finds inside that there’s a clue in metal, in place of the usual paper envelope.  It’s the clue for this leg’s pit stop.  Phil and the mat are waiting at Ft. Christian, a historical attraction.  Teams ride their motorboats back to an area where they can get taxis, then take taxis to the fort.  Jim and his wife Misti win the leg and the all-important “save” pass.

After that, seven teams reach the pit stop in the order they complete the RB.  T&T are 2nd, the wrestlers (who were dead-last to start the RB) are 3rd, the female cyclists, 4th.  Soul surfer Bethany and her husband Adam are fifth. The female scientists are 6th.  Dennis/Isabelle, who were 5th to the beach, are seventh to the pit stop.  The mother-daughter team is eighth.

In an eerie replay of the RB on the first leg of TAR season 22, three teams are left struggling for hours on a hot beach.  As in Season 22, the teams are one couple (Keith/Whitney), two blondes, and two firefighters.  More than three hours go by, the sun goes down, and teams are using flashlights to see. Nobody’s finding a thing. At one point on-screen graphics tease where each team should be digging. Nobody’s more than a few feet off, but people are becoming physically exhausted.  Keith says he’s about to faint.  He made it through several weeks of Survivor but this particularly punishing TAR challenge has him spent.

As happened on Season 22, the teams agree to stop and take the four-hr. penalty.  Whitney suggests it, and the blondes agree.  The firefighters could probably keep trying a little longer but they agree to stop as well.  In a post-leg interview, the blondes say they worried about outrunning Keith but thought they could outrun the firefighters.  (Really?) They also said they’d have never agreed to the penalty if they thought they’d be last. (Again, really?)

When the final three teams reach a street, they literally race to find taxis, which are like vans. The Survivor couple get one first.  One of the firefighters jumps in a second one.  One of the blondes forces herself in after him and tries to force the second guy out.  He forces her out and slams the door on her, as she tries to fight her way back in.

“I was a gentleman earlier and it wasn’t going to happen again,” he says.

The blondes get in a third cab while whining about “not friendly” and “the way they play.”

At the fort one of the firefighters reaches the mat in ninth place but Keith/Whitney outrun his teammate, who does just barely outrun the blondes.  Phil tells the women they’re eliminated.  One of the women says they didn’t play ruthless enough (really?), that they were nice and some other people were mean.  The firefighters probably can’t say anything nice, so instead they just don’t say anything at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: Amazing Race

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 lynjensen // Sep 29, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Some sentences have been disappearing from some of my posts recently. This one is missing the eighth team introduced, Boston firefighters Michael/Scott.