Welcome to the premiere recap of season ten of The Amazing Race! Ten, can you believe it? Nope, neither can I! Why it seems like just yesterday that we were complaining about team Guido, or watching Colin and his broken ox. I don't know about you, but I'm still trying to get the bad taste of the "family edition" out of my mouth, so let's hop right to it, shall we?
It's All Got To Begin Somewhere...
This season's race is beginning in the lovely city of Seattle, where our 12 teams arrive on seaplanes, in the rain. Let's meet our teams:
Peter & Sarah aka Team Hopalong - newly dating, from Southern California. Sarah has an artificial leg, and Peter makes artificial limbs. Is she bionic? Can he rebuild her, stronger, better, faster? Time will tell. They are triathletes.
Bilal & Sa'eed aka Team Itchy Beards - best friends from Cleveland, OH. They are Muslims and say they'll take five minutes and stop and pray as they race. I sort of think you can pray as you run, because I know I've done it that way.
Rob & Kimberly aka Team Bitchalot - dating, from Los Angeles. Rob has stupid pointy hair. If he's lucky maybe it's aerodynamic. They are using the race to test if they should go further in their relationship. Yeah, just what we all want to see.
Dustin & Kandice aka Team Smile 'n Wave - beauty queens. Miss California and Miss New York. They eerily look alike. Tougher than they look. If you've ever had to remove duct-tape from your boobs after a pageant, you can handle anything. Don't ask me how I know.
David & Mary aka Team Black Lung - married, from Stone, KY. He's a coal miner, and they show the saddest clip of their family jumping on a trampoline outside of their single-wide trailer. Single wide. Not even a double wide. I'm tearing up just typing that. Move along.
Erwin & Godwin aka Team Homeland Security - brothers who were pushed too hard by their parents, hence the "WIN!" part in both of their names. From the San Franciso Bay area.
Duke & Lauren aka Team Conditional Love - father/daughter duo from Rhode Island. She's gay, and it makes dad cry. Probably because once she came out, he could never look at his "Girls Gone Wild" tapes in quite the same way.
Vipul & Arti aka Team Earnest - married from Orlando, FL. Very pure and naive seeming, just the kind of people that get kicked in the teeth on reality tv.
Kellie & Jamie aka Team Backflip - best friends and cheerleaders from South Carolina. Most likely to be strangled with their own pom-poms when they won't quit cheering.
Tyler & James aka Team Ex-Junkie - recovering drug addicts and models from Hollywood. Will the race send them to Holland for a little legal relaxation? How about Jamaica and some nice ganja, mon? Will there be an international relapse?
Lyn & Karlyn aka Team Booty - single Moms from Birmingham, AL. Loud, strong, independent women. Get out of their way!
Tom & Terry aka Team Honeypie - boyfriends from NYC. Sickenly lovey-dovey and make me want to barf. This is no team Cha Cha Cha!
The Eyebrow Has Spoken
They met up with the ever-dashing Phil, who tells them that in this race, "there will be surprises you never expected". Well that's a nice tease, isn't it? Phil yells "go!" and they all run down a nice, wet, steep hill to their backpacks and the first clue. Unfortunately no one falls. Bah! Their first clue is on their backpacks, then they are to get in one of the marked cars to head to the airport.
Clue 1 - Fly to Beijing, China. Travel on one of two flights, United Airlines 875 departing at 1:22 PM or Korean Airflight 26 departing at 2 PM. $66 is included for this leg of the race.
Public Service Announcment
Should any of you readers be planning on applying for the Amazing Race, let me give you a big hint: learn to drive a stick shift! Why, after 9 seasons, can there actually be people on this show that have trouble with that? But yes, it's true, they're all at the cars, and someone is going to have trouble.
Tyler & James are first out of the lot, while Bilal & Sa'eed are right behind them, praying to Allah all the way. Most of the other teams get out of there quickly, except for our chosen few: Dustin & Kandice, who finally switch drivers to solve their problem, David & Mary who miraculously figure it out, and Duke & Lauren, who are last out of the lot.
Tyler & James stop and ask for directions to the airport, while others just go along, and even blindly follow fellow racers. David & Mary stop and ask for directions as well. There's an accident on the highway, and Peter & Sarah decide to take a gamble on a side road, but it pays off and gets them around the mess and temporarily in first place.
And Now For Something Completely Absurd
We get a brief confessional of David & Mary, and Mary says "Where we come from, the man makes all the decisions and the wife just sits over and takes care of the kids and that's it." Where do they come from, 1935? She goes on to say that in the race, they'll be 50/50. I have to go back and re-watch a good 20 minutes of the show because I've sat here in shock at her statement about their relationship.
Peter & Sarah arrive first at Thrifty Air Port parking. It's obvious that Thrifty is doing some product placement because we hear it at least 20 times in the next ten minutes. David & Mary arrive 2nd, followed by Dustin & Kandice. Bilal and Sa'eed are getting close, with Bilal saying "This is butter man, this is butter. This is the will of God." Butter is the will of God? I really, really like butter but I've never found it particularly holy. But man, it's good. And heavenly. Ah, back to the race!
6 teams can get on each plane, with the 2nd plane scheduled to arrive in Beijing almost a full hour behind the first. Two of our first teams, David & Mary and Dustin & Kandice catch the same shuttle, where Mary is just astounded to be meeting the beauty queens. It's all very sweet.
Peter & Sarah make the United counter first, scoring the first tickets. It's scheduled to land at 8:05 PM, while Korean Air is scheduled to land at 9:00 PM. Peter & Sarah bump fists at their score. Fist bumping, and they're DATING? *smells something fishy here* Dustin & Kandice and David & Mary get the next seats on United. Tyler & James, Duke & Lauren and Lyn & Karlyn round out the earlier United flight, while everyone else ends up on the later Korean Air flight.
You Can Go to Harvard and Still Be A Dumbass
Since there's some time to kill before the actual flights, Erwin & Godwin decide to go into the restroom and fill up their water guns in the sink. Water guns. In an airport. They go out and when David tries to shake their hands they squirt him and Mary. Then they go and squirt Dustin & Kandice. Airport security finally catches on and confiscates their weapons before anyone's hair actually frizzes.
Peter & Sarah get to pre-board due to Sarah's leg, which has a few other racers giving each other looks. Then Peter says "we're going to be able to play that card for a lot of places." WHAT? I'm sensing some evil in Team Hopalong, but maybe I'm wrong. Now, the plane will get everyone there at the same time, but plans to play ANY kind of "card" sure seems a little off-kilter to me.
The United flight was delayed, arriving at 8:22 PM. Once teams arrive, they are to travel by taxi to "The Gold House" where they'll find their next clue. Lyn & Karlyn see Peter & Sarah running and comment "she can run the Ironman but she can't stand in line?" Oh yay, maybe there will be a bitter feud here, which always makes for a better race!
Duke & Lauren are first at the Gold House, where they find the:
Road Block - Who's hungry to stay in the race? One person must eat the eyes out of a bowful of fish heads to receive the next clue.
Duke is going to eat. Lyn & Karlyn arrive next, with Lyn doing the road block. Peter is eating for his team. Lyn sucks them down like they're nothing, blowing past the two men eating, getting the clue first.
Clue 2 - Take a taxi to the Forbidden City and find the Meridian Gate. Once there they have to locate a kiosk and pull one of three departure times for the following morning. This is where teams will encounter the first big surprise of the race.
Fish Heads, Fish Heads, Roly Poly Fish Heads
Duke finishes next, and he and Lauren grab a taxi. Peter, who has been visibly shaking during this gets the clue next.
Dustin & Kandice are still enroute from the airport, and their driver takes them to the wrong place. They wander into all kind of places asking for the Gold House, and no one knows. Meanwhile, David & Mary arrive at the Gold House, and Mary is eating for their team. She gets them down in no time, with James right on her heels. Kellie & Jamie and Tom & Terry both hit the Gold House next, while Dustin and Kandice are still hopelessly lost. They find a guy to walk with them, and they finally get to the right place. Rob & Kimberly are just getting there, too
Peter & Sarah get to Meridian Gate first, and pull a 7:00 AM departure time. Duke & Lauren do the same. Lyn & Karlyn get their 3rd and also get 7:00 AM. Tyler & James show up and grab the last 7:00 AM spot.
David & Mary get out of their taxi somewhere near the gate, only to see Tom & Terry and Kellie & Jamie zoom past them and get out closer to the gate, each of their teams securing at 7:15 AM departure time. David & Mary catch up to them and get the same time.
More Fish Heads
Vipul & Arti have arrived at the Gold House, and Vipul is going to eat the eyeballs. Arti is about to barf even though she's not the one eating. Kandice says they're not so bad, while Rob is in the zone. Kandice finishes next, while Bilal & Sa'eed are just showing up there. Rob finishes, quickly followed by Vipul. Where are Erwin & Godwin? Why, standing in the street yelling "Does anyone speak English?" Seriously. Bilal & Sa'eed finish right before Erwin & Godwin finally show up.
Back To The Gate
Dustin & Kandice arrive to grab the last 7:15 AM slot, while Rob & Kimberly get the first 7:30 AM one. Bilal & Sa'eed's taxi driver doesn't know where he's going, and stops to ask. Vipul & Arti ask for directions in a hotel lobby. Erwin & Godwin have finished eating and are now on the way as well. Vipul & Arti pull the 2nd 7:30 AM slot, while Erwin & Godwin have managed to catch up and pull the 3rd 7:30 AM slot. The very last slot says "Last Team" and that's what Bilal and Sa'eed get. It says "Find Phil" on the back.
They run to the mat where Phil is waiting, while the other teams are standing around looking very solemn. Phil says "Bilal & Sa'eed, you're the last team to arrive at this point in the race. I said there would be surprises. Even though this is not a pit stop, I'm sorry to tell you you've both been eliminated from the race." They're in shock, and say they didn't expect it because the clue didn't say it was a pit stop. Phil says "Remember I said there would be some twists and turns and surprises." The other teams are feeling sort of emotional about it, and Mary says "Expect the unexpected" and immediately I know that she watches Big Brother.
Rise and Shine!
The teams will be leaving in three groups based on the times they pulled the night before. They have to travel by motorbike to the junction of 14 Hou Hai Northbank Road. They have to get into the side cars of WWII motorbikes and direct the drivers to that junction, where a pedicab manager will give them their next clue.
Isn't there a Pep Boys or AutoZone in Beijing?
Sarah has discovered that her leg is leaking hydraulic fluid, and this is one thing that Peter can't fix. He compares it to riding a bike where your tire has a slow leak. I don't know why they don't just slap some duct tape on it, as that can repair most anything. Sarah says it doesn't hurt, it just makes things harder.
Peter & Sarah arrive at the pedicabs first, and open the clue:
Detour - labor or leisure. In labor, teams must travel by pedicab to a market where they must use traditional Chinese bricks and methods to pave a 45 sq. foot section of sidewalk in a specific pattern. In leisure, teams travel by pedicab 2 miles to a park. Once there, they take part in a new Chinese relaxation exercise known as Taiji Bailong, where you flip a ball around on a racket while performing a dance in unison.
Everyone picks labor except for Tom & Terry and Kellie & Jamie, who are both in the 2nd time group.
She's Like a Brick Hoooouse
Peter & Sarah arrive at the labor task and right away start in, with Sarah giving Peter the bricks. But, they haven't figured out that they need to first put down a border with larger stones, and they go right into the red brick design.
Lyn & Karlyn are making quick work of things, but they too have not realized that they need the larger border to make things fit properly. Duke & Lauren start and make the same mistake. Tyler & James are the first to discover they need the border, and Duke & Lauren and Peter & Sarah soon realize their mistake. Lyn & Karlyn then pick up on it as well.
Vipul & Arti, part of the last time group, are lost, yelliing "America, USA?" at people sitting on the sidewalk. Arti ventures that this might have been a good time for a map. They arrive last at the pedicabs and choose labor.
Tyler & James finish their brick pattern first, getting the final clue for this leg: travel by taxi to Juyonguan, one of the gateways to the Great Wall of China. This is the pit stop for this leg of the race. However, to gain access to the pit stop, teams must use a rope to scale up and over the wall, and the last team to check in may be eliminated.
Peter & Sarah finish second, while Lyn & Karlyn say that Peter tries to micromanage so much, and that he can kiss their behinds. Duke & Lauren finish up just as Dustin & Kandice arrive.
David & Mary then Rob & Kimberly all arrive for the labor task, while Lyn & Karlyn are finally finishing up fourth. Dustin & Kandice fly through the task and are the fifth team to finish. David & Mary have figured out that they need the border to make their pattern work, while Rob & Kimberly haven't, and Rob suggests bailing on the task. They see what David is doing, and Kimberly runs to grab the larger stones, throwing them down and breaking them. Erwin & Godwin arrive and one of them tries to take David's pile of stones, but gets informed that it's not a community pile.
Tom & Terry and Kellie & Jamie cheer their way to the leisure task, which makes me want to hurt them. There's much laughing as they try to balance their ball on a raquet while doing the required moves, and no one seems to really be concerned that they're in a race.
The Great Wall
Peter & Sarah get out at the Great Wall, and Peter takes Sarah's pack and sends her running off up a bunch of stairs, all the while yelling "you are my girl, you are a world-class athlete, you are conditioned!" Well if he'd shut the hell up once in a while he might realize that they're in the wrong place.
Tyler & James are at the correct place, and Tyler is going to climb first. He announces that he's not going to use any of the loops for his climb, and retracts that statement less than 2 seconds later. Duke & Lauren are already there, with Duke leading the climb. Peter & Sarah have found where they should be, and Sarah is having a time of it. She's really upset, breathing hard, but Peter is talking her through it, with his motivational "life without limitations" and such. Apparently that works for her, as she's doing a little better.
Tyler & James get over the wall first, and run to the pit stop. Phil announces that they're team number one, and that as the winners of this leg of the race they've won $20,000. Tyler then asks to use Phil's cell and he calls his dealer Carlos to set them up for one heck of a party. Okay, kidding. We all know they can't relapse until after the race, as they won't actually get the cash until then.
Duke makes it over the wall, and Sarah is now saying motivational things to herself. "Stay strong, stay focused, find your power." Peter tells her that when she gets over that wall he's going to cry. Then she does, and he practically has an aneurysm yelling about it. Lauren is over next, joining Duke and they rush to the mat to be team number two. Peter makes it over, and he and Sarah make up team number three.
What? People Are Still Laying Bricks?
David & Mary finally are finishing up, followed by Rob & Kimberly. Somewhere along the way Vipul & Arti have shown up and I missed it. Erwin & Godwin complete the task and rush off to the pit stop. Vipul & Arti finish a good bit after them and leave.
What, There's A Race?
Tom & Terry and Kellie & Jamie have both seemed to have suddenly realized they're in a race and they all finish and rush to find cabs. I guess that "relaxation" part of that Taiji Bailong must really work.
The Final Ascent
Dustin & Kandice get to the wall, and climb like they're a couple of much prettier squirrel monkeys. They hit the mat and Phil announces they are team number 4.
Lyn & Karlyn aren't faring too well on the wall. Karlyn is just sort of hanging there about 2 feet off the ground, saying she can't figure out how to do it. Tom can't get the hang of it, and is banging himself up pretty well on the wall. David does fairly well, and tries to yell instructions down to Mary, but she yells at him that he's helping people by doing that. Tom's all twisted in the ropes, and Terry's yelling at him "you have to go straight!" which cracks me up since they're a couple of gay men and apparently I'm about 12 tonight.
Rob & Kimberly, Erwin & Godwin and Kellie & Jamie all arrive. Kimberly flies up the wall like it's no big deal. Kellie hops on the wall and compares it to cheerleading step up drills. David starts yelling tips to Mary and she screams at him to shut up. Karlyn finally makes it over! Rob joins Kimberly and they race to the mat to be team five.
Kellie & Jamie finish next to be team six, followed by Erwin & Godwin as team seven. Tom & Terry make it as team eight, and then do a dance so horrid I cannot begin to describe it. Meanwhile Mary's yelling at David to shut up as she's still struggling up the wall, while Lyn is a couple of feet ahead of her. Karlyn yells to Lyn that it can't be any worse than childbirth. They finish and hit the mat as team nine. Mary feels a little guilty for yelling so much, as she finishes, and says "I'm sorry David, I really am" to which he says "I love you honey" and she replies "Yeah, I'm sure!" Hee. Then she apologizes again. They hit the mat and are told that they're team number ten, and Mary can't believe it. She hits David and says that he told her she was last. Then she proceeds to pull her bra strap up on national television. Mary grabs Phil in a bear hug, while he suggests that she hug her husband. Mary's too busy hugging the Chinese guy next to Phil to pay any attention to her husband.
Vipul & Arti arrive and scale the wall, arriving last. They're eliminated from the race.
So there you have it, we're down to ten teams already, which should at least make recapping easier! Join my lovely co-recapper Waywyrd next week for the next episode!
Disclaimer: If this recap or any part of this recap offends you in any way, please contact Mariner, as it's all her fault