Recap: The Amazing Race 32, Episode 1 – One Million Miles
As The Amazing Race reaches its one millionth mile, 11 new teams gather for the 32nd season of the Race. Phil engages the teams in some banter before he flags them off.
Teams run through the iconic Hollywood Bowl to their backpacks telling them to fly to the island of Trinidad. They hop into waiting taxis and head to LAX.
Upon arrival in Trinidad, teams must make their way to a 24-hour fruit stand in Saint Augustine. Here, they must pick up oil drums used to make steelpans. Teams must roll them one mile to a Carnival party and find the Midnight Robber who will give them a ticket on a flight to Tobago.
On the first flight departing at 7:40am are Gary & DeAngelo, Jerry & Frank, Riley & Maddison, Hung & Chee, Nathan & Cody, Michelle & Victoria and Will & James. On the second flight departing at 9:10am are Kellie & LaVonne Kaylynn & Hayley, Leo & Alana, Eswar & Aparna.
Next morning, the first flight leaves for Tobago. Once there, teams must make their way to Swallows Beach. Teams will then travel by boat to Nylon Pool. There, teams will jump into the water and search amongst 125 fish for one with a unique trio of colors on the fins matching the fish on their chosen boat. The code attached to their boat fish will unlock the fish.
Michelle & Victoria are the first team to unlock their fish and they exchange it for their next clue. They must now hop back into their boat to take them to Pigeon Point. Riley & Maddison are next followed by Jerry & Frank and Will & James. Hung & Chee, who did not pay attention to the colors of the fin, end up stumbling upon the right fish.
The four trailing teams have arrived and caught up to the first flight teams.
Michelle & Victoria reach the next clue revealing a Road Block: Who thinks they can steel the show? For this Road Block, teams must learn how to play the well-loved traditional song “Day-O” on the steelpan in order to receive the next clue.
Victoria and Maddison choose to do the Road Block with Will, Frank and Chee close behind.
All the other teams get caught up once again as Victoria goes for her first attempt. She gets the thumbs down. Chee gives it a try and he passes with his first attempt. Michelle goes for another try and she gets the thumbs up.
Both teams can now hop back into their boat and make their way to Buccoo Integrated Facility, the Pit Stop for this Leg of the Race.
In order to check in with Phil, teams must participate in goat racing and accompany two goats while they run out of the starting gates. Teams must not drop the reins of their goat until they reach the Finish Line. If they do, they must start over.
Hung slips on the Mat when her fast goat pulls her, but she and Chung are able to check in as Team #1. Michelle & Victoria are Team #2.
But teams have no time to rest as Phil hands them the next clue telling them to fly to Bogota, Colombia. They also get another $232 for this next Leg that starts now.
Riley & Maddison are Team #3, followed by Will & James in 4th, Jerry & Frank in 5th and Leo & Alana in 6th.
As other teams leave the Road Block, it is down to Cody, Gary and Kellie. Gary is struggling with his rhythm while Kellie, who is dyslexic, has some trouble as well.
But Gary and Kellie are soon able to get the thumbs up.
Over at the Pit Stop, Eswar & Amparna check in as Team #7, Kaylynn & Hayley are 8th. Kellie & LaVonne are Team #9 followed by Gary & DeAngelo in 10th.
That means Nathan & Cody are last and unfortunately eliminated.
It’s been a little over a year since The Amazing Race 31 finished airing. But the wait for TAR32 has been much longer than that. As someone who moderately follows spoilers during filming, it’s been almost two years since this season wrapped production. So it’s definitely been a long wait.
And I must say, it was well-worth the wait. Maybe the wait has something to do with it, but this was a very strong premiere. Usually, premieres can get bogged down by contrived team introductions and a barebones Leg. But this one was actually pretty good. Well above-average as far as premieres are concerned.
First up, the Hollywood Bowl is a great Starting Line. Too bad we didn’t really get to see much of it though. But it was definitely refreshing to have all teams just hurrying out of the United States with the separation (though only 30 minutes) happening in the first destination instead.
And it was fine. Perhaps it kind of justifies TARAu’s out of the country Starting Line? It’s something to consider. Especially if we want to save some money somehow.
The Carnival task was a good little task to start the Leg and get teams separated onto the two flights. Having another task, especially a night task, in Trinidad would’ve been nice before flying to Tobago.
The needle fish in a water haystack task was also a simple, straightforward task to mix it up in the middle of the Leg. It was really all about luck with this one.
The Road Block was pretty good as it was a mix of memorization and skill. You can memorize the numbers, but you still needed to have some rhythm. And it’s a fun task as well. (Though did the teams have the numbers/notes in front of them while on their attempts?)
The last little task with the goat racing was good too. I thought they had to guide goats from a distance or something at first. But the goat racing is definitely something new. At least they didn’t turn it into a Head to Head. Lol They easily could have.
I also thought it was amusing how it appeared the show did not know there might be a risk of teams getting dragged by their goats once they accelerated fast enough. Lol Phil had to tell them to let go of the reins by the end. But it’s alright. Everyone was fine in the end. Hehe.
Now, I have expressed how much I hate Keep on Racing Legs (not to be confused with Zero-Hour Pit Stops) because they are essentially Non-Elimination legs with no penalty. And that’s not fair at all, I believe. But I definitely like Zero-Hour Pit Stops where a team still gets elimination OR the last place team still gets a Non-Elim penalty.
At the same time, I would’ve liked to have another Leg in Trinidad & Tobago at least. The stay felt so quick and I’m sure there’s a lot more to do. But I guess there’s some logistics at play as well as being a nice twist.
Overall, it was a pretty good first episode and it certainly raises my expectations for the season.
My Subjective Team Rankings
I’m not a TAR historian, just a fan. But is this really the most diverse cast ever? Like, we have more than one Asian-American team too. This is very new. But it’s great to see. And this was cast back in 2018 as well.
It’s always hard to judge teams after the first episode since it’s always hectic of course.
Michelle & Victoria are definitely my favorite team. They had a great Leg. But Michelle is hilarious! I love her personality. And I feel like Victoria is so familiar, but I can’t place her. Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing what these Asian Cajuns bring to the Race. They did so well this Leg and that’s definitely great to see. Especially when they’re such a fun team.
Hung & Chee had an excellent first Leg. It’s always fun to see parents running the Race and doing very well like they did. It’s a great start for them and they too have very endearing personalities. It would be awesome to see them go far.
These next two teams will involve some super bias on my part. First is Eswar & Aparna. They were featured in a San Francisco Chronicle story yesterday, which was a pleasant surprise. But even more when I found out they were from the Bay Area! So I definitely have to support! I like then though and they remind me of so many great teams from various TARs of the past. We could always use a great sibling team. And it’s awesome that they are TAR fans.
I definitely have to root for Will & James. Especially after James tweeted that TAR8 is actually one of his favorite seasons and that it is underrated. He’s got some great taste! So I’m looking forward to see what they bring to the Race as well.
Kellie & LaVonne had some hurdles to overcome this Leg. (No pun or joke intended!) So it was very awesome to see them overcome those difficulties and remain strong. They can definitely recover in the coming Legs.
DeAngelo & Gary remind me a lot of TAR Canada’s Dylan & Kwame and Sarah & Sam. They’re all athletes and obviously fit. But they don’t come across as some dominant Racebots. Seeing them struggle a little bit here is almost endearing. So you can’t help but root for them too.
For the rest of the teams, they didn’t make as big an impression on me this first episode. Though I certainly don’t dislike any team so far.
Riley & Maddison look to be a fine team. They’re a team you expect to do very well on the Race. It’s always great to have a good parent/child team, so Jerry & Frank definitely fit the bill. They have a great dynamic that is fun to watch. Leo & Alana are interesting. We saw a little bit of them in the beginning. They can be the fun underdog that surprises everyone on the Race. Nathan & Cody seemed like nice guys. It would’ve been nice to see them traveling the world and experiencing more countries. And Kaylynn & Haley were alright so far. I got a little bit of a competitive vibe from them. So I’d love to see them really shake things up if they can.
Overall, a really great cast on first impressions. And that’s not a common feeling for TAR after the first episode, to be very honest.
Michelle: “How’s my hair and makeup? I was just in the water. Hi!”
Michelle: “Oh my gosh. Look another Asian. If he gets it before me, I’m gonna die. I’m so gonna die.”
Michelle: “He’s Asian, he probably played piano.”
Michelle: “Maybe Chinese are better at piano than Vietnamese are.”
Michelle: “The goat is powerful”
Just my luck, my PC crashes while finishing up my TAR32 Season Premiere recap. And I’ve spent hours trying to figure out what’s wrong and unfortunately still haven’t fixed it. Grrr…
Anyway, for now, here’s my team rankings for the premiere. And in short, I enjoyed the episode and the Leg. It was an above-average premiere. Yay for Zero-Hour Pit Stops with an elimination. Beautiful Trinidad & Tobago. And woohoo to have TAR32 finally airing after two years.
I’ll update this post with the full recap and Episode Thoughts when (if?!) I get my computer up and running. Wish me luck!