Head Down and Hold On
They came, they Raced, they lost.
Throughout the 17 Amazing Races, nearly
400 Americans have gone on a Race around the world and back again...but
only 34 of them walked away with the million-dollar check. The
others...not so much. Now, 22 Americans from previous Races as far back
as #12 will get a second chance to win the seven-digit payout. Some may
call this another "All-Star" edition. For the 11 teams, however, it's
PALM SPRINGS, CALIFORNIA
The second windiest place on Earth
(somehow, I doubt Chicago's number one) and a gross of modern windmills
welcome the Racers, riding in small electrical ATVs. Let's see if you
can remember these folks:
Ron & Christina Hsu (Team Who's Your
Daddy): father-daughter team from Tacoma, WA. They finished as first
runners-up of AR 12 after blowing the last ROADBLOCK.
Kent Kaliber & Vyxsin Fiala (Team Dating Goths): dating Goths and
wait staffers from Louisville, KY. They came in 5th in AR 12,
Philiminated in Mumbai, India, wasting a U-TURN along the way.
Amanda Blackledge & Kris Klicka (Team Amandakris):
recently-engage couple from San Diego. They were 8th in AR 14,
Philiminated in Krasnoyarsk, Russia following a U-TURN.
Mel & Mike White (Team West Hollywood): Mike is a writer and
actor on such films as "Nacho Libre" and "School of Rock". Mel is his
clergyman father, who also happens to be gay. Mike doesn't mind it being
a gay man himself. They were 6th in AR 14, Philiminated in Jaipur, India
when the went WAY off course during a leg.
LaKisha & Jennifer Hoffman (Team Cardinal Sisters): former
collegiate athletes and sisters from Kentucky. Both attended the
University of Louisville, where Kisha played basketball and Jen played
volleyball. They were 4th in AR 14, Philiminated on Bejing, China after
(literally) wizzing their chance away in a urinal mere yards from the
Margie & Luke Adams (Team Hear My Song!): a mother & son from
Denver. Luke was the first deaf Racer, and Margie is his link to the
hearing world. They finished AR 14 in third place after Luke tripped on
the last ROADBLOCK.
Jaime Edmondson & Cara Rosenthal (Team Hollaback Girls): former
Miami Dolphins cheerleaders. Cara's a law student. Jaime's a police
officer. They finished first runners-up of AR 14 who lost their way at
the final destination city (Yup, that's FOUR teams from AR 14).
Zev Glassenberg & Justin Kanew (Team Puzzle Pieces): friends from
SoCal. Zev was the first Racer with Asperger's Syndrome, a mild form of
autism. They left in 9th place in AR 15, Philiminated in Phnom Penh,
Cambodia after losing their passports.
Herb "Flight Time" Lang & Nate "Big Easy" Lofton (The Trotters):
two members of the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters. They came in 4th
in AR 15, Philiminated in Prague, Czech Republic when Nate couldn't
figure out a ROADBLOCK and took a four-hour penalty.
Jet & Cord McCoy (Team Cowboy Bebop) - Cowboy brothers from
Oklahoma. They finished as first runners-up in AR 16 after the winners
cut in front of them at the airport booking their flight to the final
Gary & Mallory Ervin (Miss KY and Dad); She was Miss Kentucky
2009 and he's...her father. They came in 6th in AR 17, Philiminated in
Muscat, Oman after getting lost.
(Much obliged for Chico for coming up
with the nicknames over the years)
Phil Keoghan greets them
all...again...and goes back over the rules in case they forget. Go to
clue, follow clue to next one, eventually get to PIT STOP. You arrive
last at eight of said STOPs, you're out. You arrive last at the three
others, you're still in...but you'll be forced to take a SPEED BUMP task
somewhere along the following Leg. And the first to cross the FINISH
LINE!! somewhere in America...gets the one million bucks that eluded
Oh, right...and, just like the last Race,
the winner of Leg 1 will not win a trip or a car or cash or anything
like that. They'll win this:
The Express Pass will allow one
team the opportunity to bypass ANY task. If you cannot or will not
perform a task, simply hand the presiding local your Express Pass,
and he or she will give you the next clue, no questions asked!
You may only use the Express Pass
ONCE, so you must determine when it is in your best interests to use
And...one more thing. The teams' first
clue is NOT on their bags; it's in Phil's hands. To GET said clue, they
must get a "paper airplane" in a field well behind Phil that has to do
with the clue "Queensland And Northern Territorie Aerial Services".
First eight teams to do so get on the first flight out...after driving
to LAX in the (PRODUCT PLACEMENT ALERT!) 2012 Ford Focus cars
awaiting all teams. The other three are on the second flight, arriving
ninety minutes later. And the LAST team to do the task...will get an
automatic U-TURN! That means they must do BOTH parts of the first DETOUR
upon arriving at it. Did you REALLY think a "second chance" would come
"The world is waiting for you...
Twenty-two bodies run over cold, wet,
rough terrain to get to the field of planes. Team Amandakris are the
first to run back, followed closely by Team Who's Your Daddy. But Phil
says both of their guesses - "Queensland Pacific" and "Pan-Am"
respectively - are wrong and send them back. Team West Hollywood think
they have it and grab it. They run back and show Phil...and "QUANTAS" is
correct! (Had no IDEA it was an acronym, seriously!) And the host hands
them their clue:
FLY TO SYDNEY,
Drive to LAX and then fly over
7500 miles to Sydney, Australia. Upon arriving, travel by train to
Sydney Harbor and by ferry to Oceanworld in Manly. Your next clue
Right behind them are Team
Puzzle Pieces and Team Cowboy Bebop. But Team Hear My Song gets "Aeral"
incorrect and Team Cardinal Sisters miss it as well. As the first three
teams split, the others keep searching. Many seem to get the jist...but
Amanda & Kris and Team KY/Dad struggle. Team Dating Goths are fourth to
depart for LAX, Ron & Christina in fifth, Team Trotters in sixth, Margie
& Luke in seventh. And rounding out the first flight...
Team Hollaback Girls! And
there was much rejoicing...particularly amid those eight teams.
Now the race is for avoiding
the U-TURN. Kishi & Jen are first on the second flight, so the couple
and the dad and daughter freak. They look...and look...and look...
...and Gary & Mallory return
first! Which, of course, means Team Amandakris will have to double dip
the DETOUR approaching. Always a U-TURN for these guys, huh?
FLIGHT (QUANTAS FLGIHT 12, LEAVING 10:25pm):
Mel & Mike, Zev & Justin, Jet
& Cord, Kent & Vyxsin, Ron & Christina, Herb & Nate, Margie & Luke,
Jaime & Cara
FLIGHT (QUANTAS FLGIHT 108, LEAVING 11:50pm):
Kishi & Jen, Gary & Mallory, Amanda & Kris (Auto U-TURNed)
The flights take off
without a hitch. But ANYTHING can happen....
QUANTAS FLIGHT #12
SOMEWHERE OVER THE PACIFIC OCEAN
"Ladies and gentlemen, it is
a medical emergency..."
A person on the flight
(though not a Racer) has a heart attack and, as such, the flight is
re-routed to Honolulu to get him medical attention and get the plane re-feuled.
Many think it sucks that their 90-minute lead is gone...but Nate says
the important thing is that the person is fine and getting the proper
attention. As such, it is the SECOND flight that arrives FIRST in...
After close to 15 hours on
the plane, the three teams make their way to the trains. Upon boarding,
Mallory lets them know that she heard a flight attendant talk about
Flight #12 being delayed and, as such, THEY are the ones in the lead
now! But Jen doesn't believe Mallory, flat-out calling her a liar. And
Mallory claims that Kentuckians do NOT lie! (There ARE politicians in
that state, right?) Anyhow, they all hop the ferry that passes the famed
Sydney Opera House and enjoy the view.
Close to a half-hour later,
the first flight arrives. The eight teams and head for the train...but
Team Who's Your Daddy miss the train that all the others are on. They're
not alone: Team Cowboy Bebop and Team West Hollywood likewise didn't
make it. That means that, unless the ferry stays before they arrive,
they'll be the last group to get to...
Meanwhile, Team KY/Dad, Team Cardinal
Sisters and Team Amandakris find
their way to the aquarium and run smack into the Race's first...
WHO'S READY TO GET
Prepare to face your most primal
fears. One of you must don scuba gear and search a
1.5-million-gallon tank filled with sharks (some as long as 60 feet)
and a stingray (as big as a queen-sized bed) to find a large compass
somewhere on the floor. The rim of the compass has nautical flags on
them and their corresponding English letters. Take the compass
outside to a string of nautical flags and work out the destination.
Go there, find the person also told in the flags and give him the
secret catch phrase (also in the flags) to get your next clue
(The destination: "MANLY
16-FT SKIFF SAILING CLUB"; the person: "FIND THE COMMODORE"; the
message: "I AM BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA")
Mallory, Kisha (we all
remember the sisters can't swim for squat, right?) and Amanda choose the
task. Mallory is the first in and confidently trolls the bottom. Kishi...look
like she's soiling her wetsuit. Amanda was in full "Race mode" and just
focused on finding a compass.
Meanwhile, back on dry
land...Team Trotters, Team Dating Goths, Team Hollaback Girls, Team Hear
My Song and Team Puzzle Pieces take the ferry, leaving the other three
far behind. The other three show up and, while Mel & Mike and Ron &
Christina get info right at the dock, Jet & Cord run someplace ELSE to
get info. As such, they are now in last...and feeling a little broke
back. Uh,...wait a sec...
In the drink, Mallory finds
a compass and gets a thumbs-up from Gary as she surfaces. Amanda is
second and gives the "shaka bra" sign to Kris. At the flags, Mal works
out "F" and "I" and automatically thinks it's "FIND YOUR WAY"...though
she continues with the diciphering as Amanda joins her and the second
ferry makes dock. The five teams spill out and sprint for the aquarium
where Margie, Herb, Justin, Jaime (who assumes "shark tank") and Vyxsin
decide to hit the tank. IN said tank, Kisha finally finds a compass and
surfaces. The other five start their search, Justin TRYING not to panic
in order to control his breathing and Vyxsin looking like a "pink little
mermaid" according to Kent.
Back at the dock, the third
ferry arrives and the straight father/daughter and gay father/son hit
the ROADBLOCK in 9th and 10th, respectively. Christina and Mel decide to
take the plunge. Meanwhile, Mallory finishes her deciphering, repeats
the phrase correctly to her dad and they head off to the Skiff Sailing
Club while Kisha arrives to start THEIR puzzle. In the tank, Justin and
Margie find the compass, with "Flight Time" right behind. Jaime finds
hers...but Vyxsin is still down as the final ferry docks and Jet & Cord
disembark in last. Jet opts for the ROADBLOCK.
Christine and Mel begin
their search under da...water with Jet close on their fins. With four
under and six drying and/or deciphering, Team KY/Dad tell the commodore
at the club the phrase...and he hands them their next clue:
JOIN THE CREW!
Head for the club and change into
sailing gear. Then you will help a small crew sail a 16-foot skiff
sailboat out onto Manly Bay. When you get to a certain boat, a
seaman will fire a gun and only THEN will you be allowed to sail
towards one of three large numbered bouys that have your next clue
attached to them. You may NOT swim to the clue. Do NOT open your
clue until you have returned to the club.
The father and daughter don
their sailing gear...but getting the hang of sailing a boat no longer
than two-and-a-half men ain't easy. They're going so fast that Mallory
is PRAYING against a flip. Back at Oceanworld, Justin and Margie join
the decipherers. Kisha and Amanda decide to pool their resources and
work out the clue together. As they finish, the others still work on it
and Herb and Jaime get to working it out. Just like in AR14, the
cheerleaders and the mother/son team work together to work out the clue.
Team Cardinal Sisters and Team Amandakris get the commodore's clue in
2nd & 3rd and get set to hit the high seas (and Kishi's SO happy not
having to swim to the clue).
Meanwhile, on said seas,
Gary spots one of the buoys and LEANS out to grab it on his first try.
As they head back, Amanda & Kris grabs a clue of their own...with Jen
grabbing one close behind. Back in the depths, Christina finds a compass
and surfaces to get to working the clue out. Mel quickly follows as does
Cord. Vyxsin is the last one to get it as they all get to drying out and
code-cracking...though the pink-haired goth DOES have some difficulty
finding her way OUT of the tank.
Gary & Mallory beach the
skiff and read their next clue:
MAKE YOUR WAY TO
THE PIT STOP!
Head for Shelly Beach, one of the
hottest surfing beaches along the Pacific Coast. The PIT STOP for
this Leg of the Race is on the beach amid the crowds..
WARNING! The last team to
check-in MAY BE ELIMINATED!
With a scream of delight,
Mallory leads her dad back to the club to get out of the sailing rigs.
Team Amandakris and Team Cardinal Sisters depart in 2nd and 3rd.
MANLY REGION, SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
It's apparantly not that far
to the beach as Team KY/Dad find their way on foot...but they seem to
have a hard time finding the actual BEACH...and Amanda & Kris have
closed the gap, feeling they HAVE to get that EXPRESS PASS in order to
counter the Auto U-TURN they still need to face. Phil and a
surfer-shorts-wearing Aussie await as two Americans hit the small
mat...and then Phil lets them have it:
"Gary & Mallory...you are
the first team to arrive..."
"...which means you have won
the EXPRESS PASS!"
Good thing Team KY/Dad was
too excited to hear that.
But, WAIT,...this isn't a
usual PIT STOP. Normally, a PIT STOP lets you rest for at least 12
hours. At THIS one...it's more like 12 SECONDS! Phil hands them their
next clue and explains, "You're STILL Racing!" They open their clue
right there (which says something about going to "Back and
Beyond")...and Phil has to almost literally push Mallory out to keep her
and Gary going!
Amanda & Kris are a little
disappointed to have missed the EXPRESS PASS...but it's quickly replaced
by SHOCK when they're handed their next clue right away which will MORE
than likely include the two DETOURs they must do. Kishi & Jen get the
same: "third team, here's your clue, get a-goin'!".
At the Skiff Sailing Club,
Team Puzzle Pieces finish the ROADBLOCK in 4th and get set to sail. Team
Hear My Song arrives...but Margie misses the word "BETWEEN" in the
message...which means Team Hollaback Girls have it wrong as well. Team
Trotters didn't finish ALL the flags...but they get HELP from the
departing Zev & Justin in telling the clue, re-forming ANOTHER alliance
from a previous Race. (Wonder if that was the idea? Hmmm...) Margie gets
an idea and waits for Herb & Nate to say the phrase aloud...but they
ain't falling for THAT as they WHISPER the phrase and get the fifth clue
from the commodore. Back to the aquarium for the AR14 alliance...and
onto the skiffs for the AR 15 alliance. Cara TRIES to get Team Puzzle
Pieces to help them...but they no can do (since the girls are strangers,
unlike "Flight Time" and "Big Easy").
On the skiffs, Zev & Justin
seem to be fine with the sailing. Team Trotters...not so much. They
nearly SINK their skiff at first but once they get the balance down,
they have fun with the other crew members. They actually run INTO the
bouy to get their clue, right behind Team Puzzle Pieces.
Meanwhile, Mel and Christina
pool their talents to work out the flag clue. They get the phrase...but
only part of the destination. That's enough for them to skedaddle,
leaving Vyxsin and Jet behind. Those two teams run into the two AR14
teams and agree to help them. They return to the Club and agree to all
say the phrase together. It's Who's Your Daddy in 6th, West Hollywood in
7th, Hollaback Girls in 8th and Hear My Song in 9th. But will the goth
or the cowboy finish the code next?
Well, Jet & Cord leave
first...though what Jet wrote looks like garbage. Still, it's enough to
freak out Kent & Vyxsin into only finishing part of the message before
running off. Team Cowboy Bebop arrive at the commodore...but they DON'T
have the phrase. Team Dating Goths get help from Margie on the
phrase...not so much out of kindness as the thinking that, between them
and the cowboys, she thinks she and Luke can beat them to the FINISH
LINE!! later on. As such, they leave the ROADBLOCK in 10th.
On the seas, Jaime & Cara
capsize their boat. It takes time for the rest of the crew to flip it
back, telling the girls, "Head down and hold on." Despite the little
setback, they are the next to get their PIT STOP clue, followed by Rob &
Christina, Margie & Luke and Mel & Mike.
Back at Shelly Beach, more
teams get the "still Racing" treatment from Phil: Zev & Justin in 4th,
"Flight Time" & "Big Easy" in 5th (with an "oh no" from Herb), Jaime &
Cara in 6th, Margie & Luke in 7th, Ron & Christina in 8th and Mel & Mike
in 9th. All of them are checked-in and just as switly checked-out. All
the while, Jet continues with the deciphering...and Cord starts to think
they're doomed. And they may be right, since Team Dating Goths grab
their clue (and drag the bouy with them for a few feet) and head back to
shore before Jet leaves. They tell the commodore the destination...but
they STILL don't know the phrase!!
Needless to say, Kent &
Vyxsin are the tenth (and possibly final) team to get the
hello-and-heave-ho from Phil on the beach! Jet is confused as all hell
and says, "We're screwed." And the next thing on the screen is...
(To quote Chris Griffin, "WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!?!?!?")
AFTER LEG 1: LOS
ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, USA to SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
1) Gary & Mallory -
2) Amanda & Kris (Auto U-TURN forthcoming)
3) Jill & Thomas
4) Zev & Justin
5) "Flight Time" & "Big Easy"
6) Jaime & Cara
7) Margie & Luke
8) Ron & Christina
9) Mel & Mike
10) Kent & Vyxsin
11) Jet & Cord (ELIMINATED?!)
To see this episode in its
entirety, or to apply to be a contestant on "The Amazing Race", visit
the official website at