EPISODE 10-01: REAL FAST! QUACK, QUACK!
The Amazing Race is back. It doesn’t seem too long ago that BJ and Tyler TTOWed their way to victory.
But it still a welcome sight to see the four-time Emmy winner back with new episodes, and this its 10th season. Twists, surprises, the usual TAR antics filled Sunday’s 90-minute premiere.
First off, the teams. TAR introduced its most diverse cast yet, but unfortunately, it was the Muslim and Indian teams that were eliminated first. Bilal & Sa’eed, the Muslim team, were great, as were Vipul & Arti, the Indian team aka “Team Karma.” It was sad to see them go so early. (More on the twist later).
Meanwhile, Erwin & Godwin managed to get themselves back into the Race after hanging around last for much of the first half of the leg. They can be considered this season’s “alpha male” team, along with models and former drug addicts Tyler & James.
There’s a little déjà vu with three teams. Lyn & Karlyn could be this season’s Bowling Moms (TAR5), while boyfriends Tom & Terry seem to be trying a little too hard to be Team Guido 2.0. And Rob & Kimberly seems set to be TAR10’s quarrelling couple.
Father and daughter Duke & Lauren got off to a good start, while parents David & Mary ran smoothly until frustration set in before the Pit Stop. Sarah, who has a prosthetic leg, probably had the most to overcome. She and partner Peter used her prosthetic leg to get an advantage in some places, but was a big hurdle when climbing the Wall.
And finally, we have the two teams of pretty, young women; cheerleaders Kellie & Jamie and Miss America contestants Dustin & Kandice. Both teams were all right.
Now on to the Race itself. The first difference from previous Races was that the teams traveled West instead of East. Usually, destinations in Asia and Africa, where many consider to be the hardest in terms of cultural differences, would come when there were only a few teams left. This time, all 12 teams traveled to one such destination.
China served as a great backdrop for the beginning of the Race. The Pit Stop at one of the great Wonders of the World, the Great Wall, was reminiscent of one of the final legs of season 1. While the Starting Line at Gasworks Park in Seattle served as the Finish Line for season 3.
The first task of season 10 was an eating task with teams having to eat Fish eyes. Eating tasks are something that many fans would rather do without. However, it turned out to be harmless, and served as the first look at Chinese culture. This was the first time since season 2 that teams had to complete a Road Block in the first leg.
The teams were in for a huge surprise though, as Bilal & Sa’eed were eliminated at the Forbidden City in the middle of the first leg. Phil had promised many surprises this season. It was unexpected and definitely woke the teams up to the fact that this season of The Amazing Race is going to be very different.
The Detour was a little more challenging. The Labor Detour presented the teams with a real observation tasks that required them to really look at what they were doing with the bricks, while the Leisure Detour gave teams the chance to actively participate in Chinese culture. Both were great tasks.
But it didn’t end there. Teams had to scale up a wall on the Great Wall of China, and it proved to be very difficult for a few teams who realized it wasn’t the same as repelling down the side of a cliff.
Overall, it was a good premiere. The 90-minute runtime was far better than the 2-hour premieres of the last 4 seasons. The excitement is back, the edge of your seat finishes are still in tact, the teams are a more diverse mix than usual, and new surprises await the teams as the milestone 10th season of The Amazing Race is now underway.
QUOTES FROM EPISODE 10-01
Mary: “Its like dropping a 30 year old baby in the world and…”
Bilal: “I’m from Cleveland, Ohio… what do I know about chopsticks?”
Pete: “Now I have to do it. I’m going to look like a ding-a-ling here”