A few points:
1. So glad the Cowboys woke up and are safe and continuing in the race. They probably now know that it's going to be more of a mental game, and they need to focus here.
2. Zev and Justin - I know a lot of people find them a bit irritating (and admittedly part of that can be Zev's Aspergers), but I found them endearing here. It's good they at least have won a leg now, because I do think they were the team who was first, but because one lost their passport, they either searched for it and couldn't find it or just had to be eliminated. Either way it was sad.
3. My favorites are all still in it, though Ron/Christina must start realizing the bickering will be their downfall.
4. Was SO scared for Mike in this leg - but thankfully a. Margie I think has nursing training or is a nurse, and b. I'm sure if he was in dire straights they'd called for first aid and the like. Plus, if he was in severe danger, they'd eliminated the team on medical - Margie I remember had a similar issue thanks to the stunt pulled by that one team that ended up eliminated on double penalties that leg of the race (double as in two different legs of the race).
5. Loved Phil having to AGAIN tell a team to get a move on and hurry along on the double leg of the race. The cowboys were actually cute here and ridding the sailboat.
6. Kris and Jon - why were they even on this race? Though I will say that their demise is very ironic - losing out twice. This holds true when the U-Turn opposite isn't that difficult - you just have to deal with clay used in the paint.
Overall, not too bad of a leg of the race. I like the ideas they had here - the express pass, and auto U-Turn if last to arrive and the extended leg.
Actually, I like the idea of the auto U-Turn in the first leg for future races - that way everyone gets a chance to run at least two legs of the race. That said, I would ONLY want it for the first leg here where the teams are relatively closer together. Future legs you may as well just eliminate the team.
Woo-hoo--Cowboys go from last to third. I like them because no matter how bad things get, they don't lose their tempers with each other, and they're funny. Loved Cord telling Jet he should be the one who's better at figuring out the periodic table clue, because he watches more Discovery Channel than Cord does. I wish they could have worn their hats over their kangaroo costumes, though. That would have been great. Oh, I also liked Jet telling the person steering the sailboat to just slam him into the buoy, and he'd grab the clue. I guess if you've done enough rodeo, you don't mind being smacked head on into something. I don't remember for sure, but didn't the Cowboys have some trouble early in the race last time too? Maybe it just takes them a while to get their groove.
I felt sorry for Mel and his dad, and I liked how the other teams seemed concerned about them. In fact, I like that when they picked the teams for this season, they didn't pick anyone like Jonathan and Victoria who were known more for screaming at each other or attempting to screw over other teams. Yeah, Ron and Christina can have their moments--and they really do need to learn to communicate more respectfully with one another--but overall, the teams are reasonably polite to each other and one another. I, too, appreciated that the legs were more difficult. They really should be, since this is the second time around for every team. I was also glad that someone did have to do both of the first two challenges, just because I don't like it when every team chooses the same challenge, since I like seeing what each of the challenges are like. By the way, did anyone else wonder why everyone went with the mosaic challenge, when the other one looked like it would be much less time consuming?
One question: Does anyone know if the show has the right to disqualify a team on medical grounds, even if they want to try to continue? I thought of that when Mel's dad seemed to be in such distress but still insisted he'd continue. As it turned out, he recovered decently, but sometimes, in the heat of competition, people will insist they can go on, even when it really isn't a good, or even safe, idea.
Oh, and I thought the kangaroo challenge--complete with the shot of the animal control truck--was hysterical. I'd like to try a pair of those springy shoes. Finally, what was the deal with the previews for next week? When they referred to the cheerleaders having a problem that could throw them out of the game after they'd apparently hit someone with their car, I thought, "Geez, I think it's slightly more important that they ran into a person than that they might lose because of it." It was kind of like the airplane thing all over again. Yeah, it's annoying to get a flight delay, but it doesn't compare to someone having an in-flight heart attack.
I like some of the points you touched on jade. I remember Margie fainting, but forgot the reason why. The dad half of Mel/Mike really looked ready to pass out this episode as it was. Since it's the second time he's dealing with injuries, it makes me wonder why they'd attempt it a second time. Unless the race brings this out in him, which I know is possible. I'm not thinking they're going to get very far if things keep up at the difficult pace we're already seeing. It's an all-star race, so things should be a little tougher.
I felt sorry for Amanda/Kris that there race was cut short before due to the U-Turn, and cut short a second time for the same reason. I think they could have been a pretty strong team to deal with if they hadn't had that obstacle. On the other hand, they didn't seem too smart. I think going far in the race would have resulted in seeing the bickering duos we've all come to know and hate. I don't think they deal with the stress very well. This time they knew the U-Turn was coming. I'm still undecided what I think about the U-Turn. I liked having a challenge week 1 right off the bat that determined what flight a team got on, rather than driving to the airport and piggybacking off another team to get on a better flight. The U-Turn was a nice penalty to get teams moving and try not to be last. But I think the race has enough challenges to stop a team in it's tracks (sometimes their own stupidity is enough) that they don't need the U-Turn, Speed Bump, or the Yield that was in season 5.
I think the cowboys will make ground up, because we know there's going to be physical challenges down the road. Plus, they're a young, fit, all male team. I think they got off to a shaky start right off the bat but will probably be more with it now. At least I hope so. I also hope Gary/Mallory get it together. Besides those 2 teams, the goths, and the globetrotters, anyone else can go next for all I care. Oh, and Kisha/Jen. With so much being put on teams helping each other and sticking together in the first two episodes, I wonder if we'll see some clashes down the road.
Zev/Justin couldn't continue the first time around because they were unable to find the missing passport. I don't remember if they went back and hunted, but they didn't find it by the end of the leg. I didn't realize that Zev had Aspergers, but quite honestly I don't remember much about them. If it weren't for the Globetrotters I don't think I'd remember what season they were even on (season 15 and 16 blur together for me).
ETA: Tilden, I would think that if the producers thought someone was too ill to continue and that it might cause greater health problems if they continued, I think they could take them out. I'd hope a team would have the common sense to realize their health isn't worth a million bucks and go out on their own. I know some teams in the past caught the flu, and the brother team in season 7 had that car wreck on the way to the pit stop but were able to continue. I had the same feeling you did about the previews and the reds, but I'm thinking/hoping the previews are making a bigger deal out of it.
My daughter took one look at the TV last night (she doesn't usually watch it) and yelled "that's Ned Schneebly" My husband and I had been sitting there trying to remember who Mike was.
This duo was just... well bitter to me, especially when they knew the U-ey was a potential in the race and they got peeved that Margie and Luke used it on them.
Dagwood, you are right - it was those, but what didn't help was that she had to pull a rickshaw after she remembered Luke couldn't hear her directions, and on top of it the wheels were not inflated due to that one duo's hiding equipment (which caused a penalty), making the pull harder.
My DH and I were hoping that Christine and her Dad would be eliminated. He is worse than he was the first time around. I kept saying "Ron, just shut up". He made those last few minutes very difficult to endure.