I have to say, even though the fact that this season is cast from post-first All Stars meant that my personal favorites (Danny and Oswald!) would not be there, it’s actually a pretty likeable cast. There’s only one team I wholly dislike, and a couple that I am eh on; but most of the rest I actively like to varying degrees (and my personal favorites are in the thumbnail!).
So right away Phil informs them the last team to complete the start-up would get an automatic U-turn for the first Detour, which rather meant one of two things: they were as good as gone (baring an insane stroke of luck such as, I don’t know, the lead teams’ plane getting delayed due to an unforeseen stop in Hawaii…), or, much more likely, the first leg would be non-elimination.
An uver-long “Keep racing” leg is effectively the same as a non-elimination leg, so there you go.
I get it, I mean, casting has assembled a crop of team that are generally liked by fans, so it’s understandable that they’d want to keep them all at least 2 weeks. That was still laughably easy to predict, though.
My other general comment is about the mass sharing of the solution to the Roadblock puzzle. First, to the bunch of back-of-the-pack teams that just shared left and right, wow, what an spectacularly boneheaded move! You people are racing for last, you know it, and you’re helping people out? What? I mean, I get that there’s pre-existing relationships that account for maybe playing nicer than if it was all strangers, but that’s an excuse for cooperation between teams like Zev/Justin and the Globetrotters (or the redheads and Margie and Luke, but I don’t like the later), but not for giving a free pass to teams you know nothing about when, I repeat, you know you’re racing for last.
The other thing that frankly took me by surprise was how shameless some of these teams were about wanting a free pass on the puzzle. I mean, it’s one thing to ask for help with directions and whatnot, but to just want the answer flat out? Not very cool. But here there’s varying degrees that make it more excusable (the goths, who were desperate, and who I personally like, and I never claimed to be unbiased) or less (the Globetrotters, who didn’t even bother, or Margie and Luke, who were their usual entitled selves about the whole thing).
That said! Comments on the teams themselves:
Amanda & Kris – Eh. That is to say, as Generic Het Dating Couples go, these two are pretty unobjectionable. After digging around my memory, I seem to remember they’re athletic, competent, and not a Bickering Couple. They’re also pretty forgettable. Anyway, they got lucky with that whole insane stroke of luck thing making their automatic U-Turn a moot point, since they arrived in.. was it second or third? I forget already.
Gary & Mallory – Were pretty funny and likable last season, so fine by me! I loved how she got all overexcited and Phil had to tell her to stop talking and go. And then she kind of ran off like a chicken with her head cut off. But hey, she’s allowed, they got first place.
Flight Time & Big Easy – These two are pretty entertaining and crafty… if not necessarily the most, um, informed *cough*Franz Kafka*cough*. I have to say they seemed a tad smug… maybe that’s a result of their attitude during the Roadblock (Screw this! We’re just going to ask someone for the answer!). Beyond the fact that I just don’t like to see a team not even attempt a task, it also reminded me that they have a tendency to cut corners. And cutting corners? Not very good racing.
Jaime & Cara – I think Cara was the nice one and Jaime the rude and bitchy one? I’m eh on this team because Jaime was pretty insufferable. And as all female teams go, there’s better choices out there, Brooke and Claire from last season, for instance. (Personally I think no all female team is more deserving of being on an unfinished business season than the BQs, Dustin and Kandice, but yeah, same situation as the Chachas.)
Jet & Cord – I really enjoyed them their first time, they were my favorites, but after watching them this episode I’m wondering if they were always this dumbassy. And then I remember their early currency mishaps and their late, nearly catastrophic lack of clue reading and realize that my perception of their competence may have been skewed by the fact that they were the in The Amazing Race: Dumbass Edition. Which is to say, they weren’t really that dumb, but when you put them in a season with some reasonably savvy, competent racers… well. We’ll see how they do.
Kent & Vyxsyn – ♥♥♥ I didn’t realize how much I liked these two till I saw them back. Well, okay, to fair, Kent is an okay guy, but Vyxsyn is awesome and a badass, and my love for this team is due largely to her. I really hope they can climb out of second-to-last place next week (and I’m trying not to read anything into their somewhat subdued matter in post leg interviews). Also, regarding the whole getting the answer to the puzzle issue, these two get a pass from me, first because I like them (I never claim to not be biased), but also because they were pretty desperate, being in second-to-last, and most importantly, because they kind of fished for help in passing, with absolutely no hint of entitlement, more in a sort of “what the hell, we need all the help we can get” way.
Kisha & Jen – Are pretty funny. Rock on, ladies. No potty breaks this time!
Margie & Luke – …Ugh. This is the one team I actively dislike going in. Luke was pretty whiny and impatient, and his mother is a total enabler and they’ve both got a pretty big case of entitlement going on. They way they (along with Cara and Jaime) asked Zev and Justin for the answer really showed that entitlement, it seemed like the expected the help just for being who they are (and good on Zev and Justin for not giving it to them), and then hanging around to eavesdrop on the Globetrotters when they gave their answer had me rolling my eyes. Also, regarding Margie’s statement that she helped Kent and vyxsin because they’ll be easy to beat at the end, newsflash, wrong team to underestimate.
Mel & Mike – Are adorable and funny and were so kind and appreciative of the experience last time, and I love them, but sadly, I really don’t think they’re long for this race.
Ron & Christina – Well, okay. Ron can be a real pill; but Christina is a pretty cool chick. She’s smart and capable and her language skills were a great asset in the race, and I don’t mind putting up with Ron too much because of her.
Zev & Justin – ♥♥♥ I’m so glad these two are back! Out of all these teams, theirs was the most heartbreaking elimination, due to a moment of carelessness and badluck, and I think they’re the team most deserving of coming back to try again, because they were doing really well when they were eliminated. And they were in fine form this first episode, what with Zev’s snark about how he was here to win last time. They were also racing smart… sure, they helped the Globetrotters, but 1. they weren’t in the front of the second group of teams, so they could afford to, 2. they didn’t actually hand out the answer to any team that asked, they only helped the Globetrotters because they’re friendly. In fact, I loved how they said they didn’t help Margie and Luke because “we don’t know them from a hole in the wall” ← A++, boys! Keep it up!
So anyway, yay, TAR is back!