Recap: The Amazing Race 12, Episode 1 – “Not bad for a old fart.”


The 5-time Emmy winning The Amazing Race is back!!! (And a few months earlier than planned!)

From an eclectic mix of contestants to a beautiful destination and awesome tasks, the premiere episode of the show’s 12th season showed exactly why they deserved every one of those 5 Emmys.

The Leg
As Phil’s familiar intro begins, the teams make their way to the starting line… none other than the Playboy mansion. It was a random starting line since other than having a pretty front yard and a one-way driveway, there wasn’t anything special about the place.

After receiving their first clue, teams dash to their cars with a lot of them heading to the back of the line, leaving grandfather/son Nicolas & Donald to hold everybody up at the front of the line. (First funny moment of the night, and within the first 5 minutes!)

The teams arrived at the airport to get tickets for a British Airways flight (which departed first) or an Aer Lingus flight. Almost predictably, (though still exciting), the British Airways flight gets delayed in London and the back of the pack takes the lead with their flight arriving in Shannon, Ireland first.

At the airport, the self-proclaimed “bitch,” Ari and his partner Staella take the taxi reserved for Ronald & Christina, in a move that may just come back to bite in them in you-know-whats.

All 11 teams eventually catch up at the ferry terminal in Rossaveal and make their way to Inis Mór island where teams must sign-up at Teampall Bheanain, the smallest chapel in the world, for one of three ferries leaving the next morning.

After a night’s rest, the teams set out on their first full day of racing, driving to Cleggan Farm where they have a long tandem bike ride through the mud to their next clue.

And then we have our first Road Block of the season. (No Detour! First leg ever without a Detour!)

In this Road Block, one team member must ride a bike across a wire over a breathtaking ravine, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, while their partners are along for the ride, hanging on 8 feet under them.

After completing the Road Block, the teams must choose a donkey, load it’s baskets with 15 pieces of peat and head back to the farm entrance.

The teams have varying degrees of success in making friends with their donkeys. While other resort to calling them names (which is probably why they go from front to back of the pack), others become friends with theirs’.

As some donkeys run to where they have to go and the ones left behind go crazy trying to get away from the annoying Ari & Staella, Nathan & Jennifer’s (and Ari & Staella’s) donkeys refuse to respond to the insults. In fact, Nathan & Jennifer’s donkey had a lot to say back to them apparently.

Let me just say, I think donkeys are now officially up there with camels and oxen/carabaos as the best TAR animals ever. And poor donkeys being pushed and shoved all over the place. Though they were pretty strong.

With minute-by-minute place changes at the back of the pack, the leaders make their way to the Pit Stop, the Connemara Heritage & History Centre.

Azaria & Hendekea take first, followed by Kynt & Vyxsin (I’m going to have a great time trying to spell this season!). The new “hippies”-lite TK & Rachel blow their lead and fall back to 3rd.

Lorena & Jason manage 4th, Grandfather/son Nicolas & Donald take 5th, and last place at the Road Block Shana & Jennifer jump to 6th. Father/daughter Ronald & Christina edge out Kate & Pat for 7th. Marianna & Julia then outrun Nathan & Jennifer for 9th and the potentially annoying Ari & Staella are eliminated.

Some random things to point out…
• At one point, Shana & Jennifer were incorrectly labeled as Nathan & Jennifer. Hehe, definitely not the first time our otherwise perfect TAR editors have typed up the wrong thing.

The Teams
Well, we definitely have an interesting bunch this season…

Ronald & Christina are as awesome as advertised in those commercials so far, though looks like they have a little problem next week. I’m definitely rooting for them, for one, to avenge the early losses of past father/daughters TAR5’s Jim & Marsha and TAR6’s Gus & Hera.

Meanwhile, our first grandfather/son team Nicolas & Donald did all right. Donald seems to be a wild one! In addition to him being blurred and bleeped the most this episode, he’s going to “[go] Tarzan” according to Phil. Ha.

Azaria & Hendekea have shades of TAR2’s Blake & Paige, being nice, energetic siblings, and doing very well in the Race. Kynt & Vyxsin, who I was really not excited about before the Race, not because they were Goths, but because they smelled of gimmick all the way through their interviews. I’m relieved to see they’re all right people and pretty good Racers too.

Kate & Pat were okay as well. They’re going to have to find a way to stay in the front of the pack though. Jennifer & Nathan seem to be more like TAR9’s Joseph & Monica than TAR6’s Jonathan & Victoria, in that they were pretty nice to each other most of the time, and it was only in frustration that the strong words started flying.

On the other hand, Lorena & Jason are probably this season’s conflicted couple. The usual, “I want to get married, he doesn’t,” and “I’m not going to listen to you because I’m right,” are going to be recurring themes for them I believe. And Rachel & TK are the complete opposite. Already being called “hippies” by the others, they made a few mistakes that cost them a possible romantic trip to Canada but kept their cool.

Shana & Jennifer are no BQs and I don’t think they’re “we’ll use our sexuality” strategy will go far if they’re trying to catch up the entire leg. Marianna & Julia talk a lot of talk, but they were pretty lackluster in their Racing skills. At least these two teams aren’t wanting to rip each other’s hair out.

And finally, thankfully Ari & Staella were eliminated. They were definitely not Aaron & Arianne, especially with Ari already starting to grate in just the intro video.

Anyway, it’s great to have The Amazing Race back earlier than expected (Thanks Viva Laughlin!). This season’s already started off on a high note!

Kate: “The Amazing Race is a love letter to the planet.”

Kynt: “Oh my goth, where are we going?”

Vyxsin: “Two fairies on a ferry.”

(Nathan &) Jennifer: “Do donkeys kick?”

Haendekia: “Thank you Eeyore.”

Ronald: “Not bad for a old fart.”

Christina: “Donkeys have souls too!”

One of the ministers: “You pick donkeys like nobody’s business baby.”

Phil: “And Grandpa goes Tarzan”


1. Ronald & Christina
2. Azaria & Hendekea
3. Nicolas & Donald
4. Rachel & TK
4. Kate & Pat
6. Marianna & Julia
6. Shana & Jennifer
6. Nathan & Jennifer
6. Kynt & Vyxsin
10. Lorena & Jason
11. Ari & Staella

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