The Amazing Race 20, Episode 1 – Tears of a Clown
Happy 20th season Amazing Race!
Phil happily welcomes us to the 20th season of The Amazing Race on a bicycle and wearing a snazzy TAR cycling outfit. The 11 teams are in the peloton behind him as they ride to the Starting Line at Bridlewood Estate Winery in Santa Barbara, California.
At the Starting Line, Phil tells the teams there are 12 legs on the Race and that he’ll be “eliminating most of” them. He gives them their first challenge. Behind them are 100 red and yellow balloons flying high in the air. Only 11 of them have clues. Once they find a clue, they can hop into one of the brand new Ford Tauruses.
Phil wishes them luck and to travel safe and they’re officially on The Amazing Race. Vanessa & Ralph, Elliot & Andrew, and Joey & Danny are the first ones to find a clue in the baskets attached to the balloons, telling them to “Fly to Santa Barbara.”
They head to the Tauruses and Phil gives them the rest of their instructions in the car. Teams will fly out of LAX (of course!) to Buenos Aires, Argentina. There, the first six teams will get a 2 and a half hour headstart by taking the first connecting flight to Salta and then driving themselves to the town of Santa Barbara.
Misa & Maiya end up in last and only find their clue after an hour and 44 minutes of looking.
On the first flight to Salta are Elliot & Andrew, Brendon & Rachel, Nary & Jamie, Art & JJ, Dave & Rachel, and Vanessa & Ralph. They arrive in Salta and drive to the first Route Marker in Santa Barbara. They open the clue telling them to head to the Aerodromo Gilberto Lavaque in Cafayate for the next one.
The 2nd flight arrives as the first group gets going. Cherie is brought to tears as she and Dave are in last place.
At the airport, Art & JJ arrive first and find *gasp* a cluebox! And inside, the first Road Block of the Race.
In this Road Block, the team members choosing to do it will have to navigate themselves to a marked landing zone while their teammate makes a 10,000 foot skydive. Once they reunite with their partners, they’ll be given their next clue.
Up in the first plane are JJ and both Rachels who make the jump and meet their partners a the big red and yellow X. They get the next clue telling them to head to Patios de Cafayate to search the grounds for their next clue,
Nary, Elliot and Vanessa are the second group. And in the third group, Bopper, Misa and Danny. Danny’s partner Joey can’t drive a stick and Maiya gets herself stuck in the sand. Mark has no problem finding the landing zone and he and Bopper head out as Misa and Danny wait for their partners.
Meanwhile, Art & JJ, Brendon & Rachel and Rachel & Dave find the winery and the next clue. Teams will learn how to make 120 empanadas, each of them doing 60 of either meat or cheese filling, taking note of the different folding patterns for both. Once the empanada-making champion gives them a “Si,” teams can head to the Pit Stop somewhere on the grounds.
As Nary & Jamie, Elliot & Andrew, and Vanessa & Ralph join the first three at the empanadas, Dave & Cherie pass a still waiting Misa and Danny at the landing point. In comes Kerri and out goes her and Stacy leaving Misa alone in last. Maiya gets some men to help pull her out of the sand and she reunites with Misa as they head off to try and catch up.
At the empanadas, Brendon & Rachel as Margarita, the empanada champion to check their batch first. But she doesn’t approve. Art & JJ are next, but they are given the thumbs down as well. Dave & Rachel call Margarita over and they get the green light. The married couple run to find Phil. They step on the Mat and officially take 1st and the Express Pass.
Brendon & Rachel come in right behind them in 2nd, Art & JJ are 3rd, Nary & Jamie take 4th, Vanessa & Ralph check-in 5th and Elliot & Andrew finish 6th.
The 2nd flight group begin arriving. Mark & Bopper arrive first and the rest of the teams trickle in. Misa & Maiya are still in last and head into the empanada courtyard, deciding to leave their bags in the car.
Kerri & Stacy manage to speed through and they officially finish 7th. Dave & Cherie take 8th and Mark & Bopper finish 9th. That leaves two teams.
Misa & Maiya finish before Joey & Danny, but they have to run back to their car to get their bags. They run back into the winery and step out of the building and stop by the pool. Phil is over to the right of where they’re standing, but they don’t see him. They decide to turn back inside and go the other way, Phil is
And The Amazing Race is off and running again. Always thrilling to see a fresh set of teams at the Starting Line. And the cycling to the Starting Line was pretty awesome. A brand new way to transport the teams and awesome for Phil who holds cycling as a big part of his life. Also, I want one of those TAR cycling jerseys. CBS Store, get on that. You’d sell a ton of ’em.
The Starting Line task was fine. I want one of those yellow and red TAR balloons too just to fly outside my house everyday. I’d say it was better than last season’s WANPEI umbrella task since at least this one didn’t pretend to be some difficult mental challenge. Though I do rather prefer those kinds of starting line challenges than the luck tasks. Hopefully they come up with a creative Starting Line task for TAR21.
Wow, TAR21 and TAR20. Whodathunk? This being the 20th season, I was expecting some fresh graphics and opening, but we got nothing. Not surprised, but still kinda sad. Phil said in an interview with TVGuide that they didn’t really make any big changes or bring in new twists this season, which is both cool and not. Cool because he made a great point about how TAR is fresh every season thanks to the destinations and challenges. But not so cool since this is a milestone season after all.
We got a cluebox sighting though! But it looks like the Pit Stop signs are officially gone.
A couple of interesting details. Phil mentions “I’ll eliminated MOST of you,” as if to say maybe we’ll have more than three (or less than?) teams in the final leg. I doubt that, but it’s a new way of saying not all 12 legs are elimination points. Also, I think this was the first time in a long time the clue says the last team WILL be eliminated on the first leg. They’ve usually kept the MAYs until the penultimate leg. And the Road Block trickery was fun. Hope to see more of those in the future.
The season premiere as a whole was enjoyable, though maybe a little too rushed. We had almost no insight into the teams. And the leg design kind of kept the teams and tasks in chunks instead of a free flowing Race. A 90 minute or even 2-hour premiere would’ve been nice.