Recap: The Amazing Race 1, Episode 11 – “Use your hands, don’t be stupid.”

Recap: The Amazing Race 1, Episode 11 – Fight to the Last Minute
Original Airdate: Wednesday, November 28, 2001

The Amazing Race 1 Episode 11 The Amazing Race 1 Episode 11

Phil says this 11th Leg of the Race will be the last to have an elimination. And it will decide which teams will get a chance to reach the Finish Line.

Rob & Brennan start the Leg at 6:03am and open the first clue telling them to check out Top Pavilion in Jingshan Park in Beijing, China. Frank & Margarita depart at 6:15am.

Doing their research during the Pit Stop, the teams decide the best thing to do is to head to the Phuket Airport. Despite being so far behind the top two teams, Joe & Bill think the airport will be the great equalizer that will allow them to catch up. They thought wrong.

Rob & Brennan and Frank & Margarita just miss an 8:20am flight to Bangkok which would have allowed them to catch a flight that has them arriving in Beijing at 4:30pm.

The Amazing Race 1 Episode 11 The Amazing Race 1 Episode 11

For now, both teams fly to Bangkok with hopes of finding the best flight to Beijing. During their long wait in Bangkok, Frank & Margarita decide to lighten their load. They head to a nearby shopping mall to buy smaller backpacks and decide on which of their personal belongings to keep or to toss.

Back at Pai Plong Beach, Kevin & Drew start the Leg at 11:35pm. They head to a hotel to call Thai Airways to reserve tickets on an 8am flight before heading to the airport.

Joe & Bill depart at 1:30am and go directly to the Phuket Airport where Kevin & Drew are already checking in.

The Amazing Race 1 Episode 11 The Amazing Race 1 Episode 11

Meanwhile, Rob & Brennan and Frank & Margarita get on a direct flight to Beijing that arrives at 7am.

At Top Pavilion, the clue reveals the Detour: Volley or Rally. In Volley, teams will head to a nearby community center and play ping pong against a local champion until they score five points. In Rally, teams will take part in a local transportation rally by taking a bus, motorcycle taxi and pedicab.

The Amazing Race 1 Episode 11 The Amazing Race 1 Episode 11

Both teams choose ping pong, though Frank starts to worry about Chinese ping pong players being really good. But Frank does a good job against the young champion and they get the next clue. A few moments later, Rob & Brennan arrive and Brennan chooses to face off against the champion.

After the Detour, teams will be given a shopping list in Chinese and they must then search the sprawling Hongqiao Market for what they need to purchase: five beetle larvae, one squid and two chicken feet. Teams will then take their purchased food to a specific stall at an outside market.

Frank & Margarita get help from a local who guides them around the market as do Rob & Brennan.

The Amazing Race 1 Episode 11 The Amazing Race 1 Episode 11

Frank & Margarita arrives at the market stall and open the next clue which reveals the Road Block. Getting an inclination about what the Road Block might be, Margarita asks Frank if his stomach is okay. Otherwise, she will do this task. Frank refuses, but upon Margarita’s insistence, he lets her do it. And she immediately regrets it.

For this Road Block, teams will have the beetles, squid and chicken feet cooked before they will eat all of it.

Frank calls Margarita “stupid” and a “moron” for forcing him to let her do the Road Block. But that upsets Margarita who says she was only trying to help Frank who has not been feeling well. She doesn’t appreciate being called a “moron” for it.

The Amazing Race 1 Episode 11 The Amazing Race 1 Episode 11

While waiting for the food to cook, Frank apologizes and they kiss.

Rob & Brennan arrive and Brennan decides to do the Road Block.

Both teams get through the Road Block and can now make their way to the Pit Stop at the South Gate in Tiantan Park. Frank & Margarita are Team #1 and Rob & Brennan are Team #2.

Rob & Brennan and Frank & Margarita say the third team that Races with them in the final three could be either Kevin & Drew or Joe & Bill, they both have an equal chance.

Those two trailing teams arrive in Beijing at 4:45pm and get started. Kevin & Drew move temporarily into third and decide on Rally. Joe & Bill also choose Rally.

The Amazing Race 1 Episode 11 The Amazing Race 1 Episode 11

The two teams end up neck and neck at the pedicabs. But the market where they will have to purchase the food opens at 6:30am.

Overnight, Kevin & Drew had gone out to enjoy some local foods. And that’s where they met their new friend and interpreter Ja who accompanies them in the market. Joe & Bill also try to find a local to help. But both teams stick together as they scramble all the way to the outdoor market.

The Amazing Race 1 Episode 11 The Amazing Race 1 Episode 11

It’s now up to who can eat the fastest and it’s Joe vs Drew. Drew finishes first and he and Kevin run out. But Joe & Bill are right behind them.

It’s a taxi Race to the Pit Stop. Joe & Bill’s taxi is able to get ahead, but doesn’t understand the destination at first.

Kevin & Drew decide to get out of their taxi and run, but the gate in front of them is the East Gate. They have to run a farther distance to get to the right one.

Joe & Bill are able to have their taxi driver drive them to the exact location and officially check-in as Team #3. They are emotional as they quote Winston Churchill.

That means, Kevin & Drew are last and eliminated, as confirmed by Phil. They decide to quote Buddha.

The Amazing Race 1 Episode 11 The Amazing Race 1 Episode 11

Episode Thoughts

How weird that this was such a crazy episode, yet almost nothing really happened. lol

Obviously, it all has to do with the almost 16 hours difference between the two pairs of teams. Watching it 20 years later, again, is just so awkward and weird. Logistics has come a long way for TAR. And it’s so interesting to see how the space between teams could have gotten so wide so easily. Because of that, the competition aspect took a big hit. And that is even with Rob & Brennan and Frank & Margarita being likeable, competitive teams. You still want to see more than just two teams with a legitimate shot at the prize.

Also, with only four teams left, this felt like it should’ve been a Penultimate Leg. But the Leg itself was so barebones that the fact that it was the final four elimination Leg made its shortcomings stand out more.

Anyway, we must give it a pass since this was season one of course. But for enjoyment of the episode, it definitely leaves a lot to be desired. Almost zero suspense except for the final minute.

First up, the Detour is an interesting choice to have. I don’t even know how to compare the two. For a visit to China and having these two tasks represent the culture of more than one billion people is kind of lazy, to be honest. Especially when TAR1 made an effort to really go big with iconic destinations.

That said, ping pong is certainly something worthy on a Chinese visit, but when paired with other, less interesting things, it gets dragged down. Especially when there’s only two teams doing it.

The task itself should’ve been much more difficult. Both team members should’ve needed to score five points. Or when the kid reached a certain number of points, they have to reset the scores again.

I will say though, the evening pedicab Race between Kevin & Drew and Joe & Bill was kind of exciting. Even if it ended in an overnight Hours of Operation lol Completely negated the Leg before that moment lol

With the market shopping (which we will see many times in the future in various countries around the world on TAR), I thought it was interesting Frank & Margarita bought a fresh squid while Rob & Brennan brought dried squid. I don’t think they made a big deal of it though.

Still, Rob & Brennan and Frank & Margarita’s Leg almost didn’t matter. It was all about who between Kevin & Drew and Joe & Bill would survive. And it came down to a taxi. At the same time, at this point, one has to wonder if whoever survived would ever get a chance to catch up. Looks unlikely, even back in 2001.

My Subjective Team Rankings

The Amazing Race 1 The Amazing Race 1 The Amazing Race 1 The Amazing Race 1

I guess one interesting thing for Frank & Margarita was how they talked about the good place their relationship was in and then having that little blowup before the Road Block. They and Rob & Brennan have already sealed their spots as Top 2 at this point. And while you can root for both teams and both are strong, competitive teams, it does get a little boring being so predictable for now two Legs running.

Joe & Bill, even a day behind, do deserve to be in the Final 3 though. Just based on what they brought to the season, they earned that spot even if they have zero chance of winning at this point.

Kevin & Drew probably have two of the most dramatic eliminations in all 32 seasons of TAR. Losing out to the Guidos thanks to a taxi here and then their cringe elimination in All-Stars. Yikes!

Episode Quotes

Drew: “There’s a house of ill repute here.”

Drew: “I think my left testicle is just rolling around the streets of Beijing.”

Kevin: “Use your hands, don’t be stupid.”

Kevin: “Eat you fat bastard!”

Kevin: “When you know, just know.”

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