Eleven Amazing Race
favorites re-convene in Palm Springs, California"to settle some Unfinished Business." Phil looks like he's lost weight, doesn't he? Enough about Phil, cowboys Jet and Cord are back! So are Margie and Luke, Amanda and Kris, Flight Time and Big Easy (the Harlem Globetrotters), Mel and Mike, Kent and Vyxsin, Gary and Mallory, Kisha and Jen, Ron and Christina, Jamie and Cara, and Zev and Justin. Zev and Justin promise us they remembered their passports this time.
Guess what else is back! The Express Pass! Phil explains this just before he drops the bomb that their first challenge starts before they even get their first clue. Oh yes, this season will be all kinds of different! The teams will have to search through a field of paper airplanes for a clue and a spot on one of two flights. The last team to complete this challenge will get a U-Turn. Phil tells the teams to look for Queensland And Northern Territories Aerial Services. QANTAS, which seems really obvious to us at home because we got to see the clue.
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This first challenge has some teams dashing for QANTAS and leaving for the first flight, including Zev and Justin, and Jet and Cord. Ron and Christina, Flight Time and Big Easy, Margie and Luke, Jaime and Cara, and Kent and Vyxsin are next to depart on that first flight. Kisha and Jen are next on the second flight, leaving Amanda and Kris and Gary and Mallory wandering through the field of paper airplanes.
"Are we just trying random ones?" Kris asks. Yes, yes you are. But soon both remaining teams figure out "QANTAS" and get their directions and seats on the second flight. Amanda and Kris incur that first U-Turn and it's not looking good for the engaged couple, who declares it "the stupidest day already."
The first flight is feeling good, 90 minutes ahead of the second flight. Jet and Cord say, "anything can happen," without any idea how right they are. The first flight makes an emergency landing in Honolulu because a passenger had a heart attack. They lose their lead, and I'm just glad that Big Easy said, "the most important thing is that the person is okay."
Once they land, teams will proceed to Oceanworld for their next clue. The second flight is overjoyed that that guy had a heart attack. Well, they didn't know that. Not much later, the second flight lands and the remaining teams head to Oceanworld. Ron and Christina, Mel and Mike, and Jet and Cord miss the first train, putting them in the back of the pack.
For the first Road Block (woohoo!) one team member must search for a compass hidden in a giant shark tank, then decipher a sentence in coded flags. This is awesome! And also really, really scary. All the teams are happy to be in Sydney, where the weather is gorgeous and everyone speaks English.
Mallory gets the first compass, followed by Amanda, as Ron and Christina and Mike and Mel get on the next Manly Ferry, leaving Jet and Cord behind. Kris insists that Amanda is good at word puzzles, just as Amanda tells Mallory, "this doesn't make any sense." The delightful editing has begun!
Gary and Mallory are the first to the sailing club to tell that guy, "I am betwee the devil and the deep blue sea." They get to sail a skiff along a water course to get their next clue from a buoy. It looks so fun! Meanwhile, Kisha and Amanda help each other out, and Margie and Luke decide to work with Jaime and Cara. Vyxsin panics a little, and has trouble getting out of the shark tank. But she was able to get out because of the memory of Kent's dad or something. It made sense to her, and that's all that matters.
Gary and Mallory race Amanda and Kris to Phil and the Pit Stop for that Express Pass. Gary and Mallory arrive first and receive the Express Pass, but Phil has news for them: the race is still going! No rest. Mallory can't get over it and can't stop talking. It was cute.
Amanda and Kris are second to arrive and will still need to deal with their U-Turn at the next obstacle. Kisha and Jen arrive third. Over at the Manly Skiff Sailing Club, working together works against Margie and Luke and the cheerleaders. Haste makes waste, you guys! Zev and Justin offer to help the Globetrotters, in hopes of getting a favor in return some day. The Globetrotters whisper the clue, so that no one else gets the extra help.
Hilariously, the Globetrotters almost sink their skiff. Soon enough they get the hang of sailing, right behind Zev and Justin. Ron and Christina leave Kent and Vyxsin and Jet and Cord to de-coding, as Mel and Mike and Ron and Christina gather up Margie and Luke and Jaime and Cara to give the correct phrase for the clue. My favorite moment of all was Vyxsin's summation of their decoding efforts, "Okay, we've solved part of the puzzle! Let's run away!"
Fortunately for the punk rockers, Margie and Luke helped them along, as the former NFL Cheerleaders sink their skiff. So everyone's on one of those little boats except Jet and Cord.
Zev and Justin arrive at the Fake Pit Stop fourth and receive their next clue, followed by the Globetrotters, Jaime and Cara, Margie and Luke, Ron and Christina, Mel and Mike, then Kent and Vyxsin. Jet and Cord are still having trouble solving their puzzle, and are nowhere near between the devil and the deep blue sea. They are close, however, to ripping all the flags down so they don't have to run anymore.
TO BE CONTINUED?! Phil, how could you do that to us? Such trickery! So different from Amazing Races past! (image courtesy of CBS)