Recap: The Amazing Race 2, Episode 1 – The World is Waiting: Go!
Original Airdate: March 11, 2002
Phil is standing in the middle of the desert near Pahrump, Nevada. Eleven new teams are being transported here by helicopter. The teams include ‘All-American” siblings Blake & Paige, married parents Hope & Norm, best friends Oswald & Danny, separated married couple Tara & Wil, cautious mother and free-spirited daughter Deidre & Hillary, childhood Boston friends Chris & Alex, married pastors Cyndi & Russell, “Gutsy Grannies” Peggy & Claire, former roommates and “best enemies” Gary & Dave, sisters Mary & Peach, and psychology degreed twins Shola & Doyin.
After laying out the Race for the teams, Phil flags them off and the teams run over to their backpacks. The first clue tells teams to hop into a Ford Explorer and drive themselves to McCarran Airport in Las Vegas. And from there, they will fly to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
There are three flights available, first come, first served. Teams speed off, trying to find the red and yellow flag which will guide them out of the desert.
As teams arrive at the airport, a police officer stops them from running crazily in. Securing seats on the first flight are Tara & Wil, Blake & Paige, Hope & Norm, Cyndi & Russell, Chris & Alex, Mary & Peach and Shola & Doyin. Gary & Dave, Peggy & Claire, Oswald & Danny and Deidre & Hillary are on the second flight, departing two and a half hours later.
Upon arrival in Rio, teams must make their way to Cristo Redentor, the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue to find their next clue. Mary & motion-sickness afflicted Peach arrive at the cluebox first. That clue directs teams to kiss “Fat Maria,” a lucky tree on Paqueta Island.
Cyndi & Russell head to the Northern Dock to catch a ferry to the island. But they wonder why there’s no boat and no other teams. The other six teams are actually at the Southern Dock and quickly get on a ferry. But it turns out the ferry Cyndi & Russell manage to get on is the speedy express ferry that ends up getting them to Paqueta Island first.
The married pastors kiss the tree and open the next clue telling teams to head to Lido Hotel to sign-up for morning ferry departure times. Boats depart every 45 minutes, but the first one can only carry three teams.
Cyndi & Russell get on the first boat. Tara & Wil get to the counter, but leave without signing up. That allows Blake & Paige and Shola & Doyin to swoop in for the remaining slots on the 8am boat. Wil tries to insist that they have the right to the first boat, but the other teams don’t allow it.
As the trailing four teams arrive on the island, teams decide where to sleep for the night. Mary and Peach argue over whether to spend their money on a room or on food. Wil and Blake, meanwhile, resume a tense conversation about the sign-ups earlier, solidifying a new rivalry.
Next morning, teams must take the ferry boat back to Rio and then find the next clue on Sugarloaf Mountain. On the 8am boat are Cyndi & Russell, Blake & Paige and Shola & Doyin. On the 8:45am boat are Tara & Wil and Hope & Norm. 45 minutes later on the third boat are Chris & Alex, Mary & Peach and Oswald & Danny. And on the last boat, departing over two hours after the first, are Gary & Dave, Deidre & Hillary and Peggy & Claire.
The clue at Sugarloaf Mountain reveals the first Detour of the Race: Mountain or Beach. In Mountain, teams must rappel down the mountain. In Beach, teams must head to Ipanema Beach and find the woman who inspired “The Girl from Ipanema” using only a photo.
All three teams choose the rappel as do second boaters Tara & Wil and Hope & Norm.
After the Detour, teams can make their way to the Pit Stop on Tocorime Yacht. To get there, teams must hire a local boat. Tara & Wil get on a boat first and step on the Mat as Team #1. They win a Hawaiian vacation from American Airlines. Cyndi & Russell and Shola & Doyin share a boat and check-in as Teams 2 and 3. Blake & Paige and Hope & Norm also share a boat and agree to check-in both as Teams #4.
Back at the Detour, all the other teams except Peggy & Claire rappel. Peggy & Claire are able to find the Girl from Ipanema before Deidre & Hillary finish the rappel.
Chris & Alex are 6th followed by Mary & Peach in 7th and Oswald & Danny in 8th. Gary & Dave are 9th and Peggy & Claire are 10th. That means Deidre & Hillary and last and eliminated.
So continuing the 20th anniversary party for The Amazing Race, I’ve decided to embark on my first rewatch of season 2, I think, ever! I may have watched episodes here and there. But I’ve never rewatched the season in full. I think. And after doing that with season 1 last Fall, I decided to continue with this season as well.
Season two will always be an important season as this was really the beginning of the Race as we know it today. In terms of format and editing, TAR2 set the standard moving forward. It was very different from the first season. And of course, this was also the first season filmed after 9/11 as well.
And that fascinating fact was seen immediately when the police officer stopped teams from running around in the airport in Las Vegas.
Other immediate changes include of course the now-iconic yellow and red Route Marker flags too. And something we don’t see much these days is that TAR was still able to visit iconic landmarks like Christ the Redeemer in the early seasons.
This Leg was about 2/3 teams running around and signing up for staggered starts and stops. That’s definitely an interesting Leg design here. Probably because of the time of day the teams arrived in Rio. But what’s interesting was how the lack of actual tasks actually allowed us to get to know the teams very quickly. And also how quickly teams got to know each other enough to already start beef. Lol
The personalities definitely came alive in this first Leg and helped to make the episode. Because the Detour definitely didn’t do much to add to the excitement. At least, from a 2022 lens.
The Leg was basically decided after kissing the tree. So that took away from the competitive aspect. But what I do appreciate was seeing every single one of the 11 teams really make their first impressions loud and clear. Very interesting considering we don’t get that these days.
So I am looking forward to revisiting this season for the first time in a loooong time.
My Subjective Team Rankings
Like I’ve mentioned during my rewatches of seasons 1, 3 and 4, it’s hard to judge teams from a 2021/2022 perspective. It’s hard to put myself back in 2002. So my feelings about both the teams and season will be with a mix of my memories and trying to pretend I’m watching for the first time.
That said, all the teams were fun to watch. Not sure I have a favorite yet.
I definitely remember the Gutsy Grannies, Peggy & Claire. It was great to see “older” teams on the Race. Even though you assumed they wouldn’t make it far in the Race, it helped make TAR all about real, regular Americans running around the world. And it was nice to root for them.
I remember Mary & Peach were a fun team. And they definitely reminded me how much in this first episode.
Oswald & Danny are obviously All-Stars, literally, and it’s so interesting to see them a bit under the radar here. Especially knowing how big their personalities are.
Chris & Alex are a team you already know will do well. The alpha males, the Boston bros. But of course, that wouldn’t be their only storyline this season.
We all know about TOMS now. So seeing Blake & Paige back when they were just “All-American” siblings is very much a throwback. Who could’ve known back then how successful they, especially Blake, would become post-season.
Tara & Wil, they would serve the bickering couple template that teams would try to emulate for two decades. I am definitely excited to relive their epic moments this season.
Shola & Doyin definitely seemed like they’d also be an alpha male team. Just smart and fit brothers who would do well. We’ll see!
It’s too bad Deidre & Hillary fell so far behind. I think they could’ve delivered a lot more if they survived a few Legs. But seeing them here makes me realize TAR likes their estranged parent-child teams, huh?
I definitely forgot a bit about Gary & Dave‘s dynamic. But they immediately reminded me in their Starting Line introduction. “Best enemies.” They will definitely become of the season’s big characters as well.
Cyndi & Russell and Hope & Norm were probably the least impactful teams. But they still were very distinct characters. Especially as both the married parents teams.
Claire: “Must be 7,000 steps to Christ up there.”