Drumroll, please… Season 25 of The Amazing Race is finally here! Phil starts the episode by reminding us that 25 seasons ago, TAR began in New York City. The start of this leg is in Time’s Square, and for the first time in TAR history, there is a live audience cheering on the 11 teams as they begin their race around the world. The first to emerge from their taxi is married couple Adam & Bethany (#SoulSurfers), followed by scientists and best friends Maya & Amy (#SweetScientists), and dating couple Dennis & Isabel (#TheDatingCouple). In my opinion, if your hashtag is simply The Dating Couple, you must be pretty boring. CBS really couldn’t have come up with anything more interesting for Dennis & Isabel to be known as? Moving on, the next to arrive are dating professional wrestlers Brooke & Robbie (#TheWrestlers), and engaged couple Keith & Whitney who met on Survivor (#TeamNashville). The next team is Kym & Alli, who are best friends and personal trainers (#TheCyclists). Lisa & Michelle are sisters who work together in realty (#MiamiRealtors), and then there’s Michael & Scott, firefighters from Boston (#TheFireFighters). Up next are dating couple Tim & Te Jay (#CollegeSweethearts), mother-daughter team Shelley & Nici (#MomDaughter), and married dentists Misti & Jim (#TheDentists). After all the teams are introduced, Phil tells them about the newest twist – the Save. The team that finishes first on this leg of the race will receive the Save, which they can hand in at any pit stop until the 9th leg of the race to save themselves from elimination. Phil tells the teams, “The world is waiting for you: good luck, travel safe, go!”
The teams sprint to their luggage and rip open a clue that tells them to travel to the place where the first race ended. The teams immediately search out a former contestant of season 1 who is in the crowd watching. He tells them to go to The Globe at Flushing Meadows Park. Racers run past screaming fans to claim one of the waiting taxis. On the ride, Shelley says one of my least favorite phrases from past TAR seasons – “Drive it like you stole it!” – and I really hope this doesn’t become her slogan. The first five teams to check in with American Airlines will be on the first flight to St. Tomas, Virgin Islands which arrives 40 minutes ahead of the six remaining teams. Bethany and Adam make it to the airport first, but they stand in the wrong line. This is the 25th season, so you’d think teams would know by now to look for the marked counter to purchase tickets. Tim & Te Jay make it to the correct counter and get the first tickets on the faster flight. Dennis & Isabelle arrive next and head towards the American Airlines desk as Bethany & Adam realize that they aren’t in the right place (duh). The four remaining teams to make it onto the first flight are: Dennis & Isabelle, Bethany & Adam, Kym & Alli, and Misti & Jim. It’s likely that one of the six teams on the last flight will be eliminated, but TAR can be pretty unpredictable. We start to see the personalities of the teams shine through in their confessionals. Dennis listed the teams on the plane with him, and called Bethany and Adam Team SurfRider. Apparently it’s too hard to remember the term SoulSurfer. I mean, it’s not like there was a movie made about Bethany’s life with that title, or anything. Most teams on the second flight admit that they probably won’t win the Save, but Robbie proclaims that he and Brooke will definitely get it. Robbie says that they’ve already sized up the other teams and determined that they are much better than their competition. Despite this bragging, I find Robbie and Brooke pretty likable.
Once teams land in St. Thomas, they will need to go to Vendor’s Plaza and sign up for a sea plane flight to Bolongo Bay. Bethany & Adam and Tim & Te Jay sign up for the first flight, Kym & Alli and Misti & Jim are on the second flight, and Dennis & Isabelle are on the third flight. Keith & Whitney and Shelley & Nici are on the fourth flight, and then chaos ensues as four teams fight to sign up. Amy and Maya sign up for the fifth flight, then the remaining 3 teams physically pushed each other in an attempt to get the last spot on the fifth flight. Lisa & Michelle managed to sign up for the fifth flight, leaving Michael & Scott and Brooke & Robbie in last place. Lisa & Michelle literally ripped the marker away from the firefighters as they were signing up, which to me is deserving of a penalty. As the first two teams arrive at the next clue, Phil explains that they will take a boat out to a rock outcrop, which they will need to climb, and then they’ll have to jump two stories into the water and swim over to their next clue. The first two teams jump out of their boats, swim to a rope ladder and climb it, then hook themselves onto a rope and pull themselves up the rock. Tim & Te Jay make it back to their boat first and reveal the clue, which is a map depicting Blackbeard’s Revenge. After boating over to a pirate ship, Tim & Te Jay get another clue from Blackbeard telling them to pull themselves to shore in a boat attached to a rope. With Bethany & Adam on their heels, Tim & Te Jay arrive at the roadblock. Teams must search for Blackbeard’s treasure by starting at one of the four designated starting points, then using a liquid compass to follow their unique coordinates to find a treasure chest and dig it up with a shovel that is exactly one yard long. Tim is digging by the bell instead of using his compass to find the actual treasure, while Adam can’t seem to figure out how to use the compass. Alli is looking for an anchor, but she decides that a bell is close enough, so she starts her search there. Jim & Misti arrive, and Jim decides to do the roadblock. Adam runs to Jim and asks if he knows how to use a compass, and Jim shows Adam which direction is North since his watch has a compass. As he is climbing the rock, Dennis says that he really wants to throw up but he hasn’t eaten anything so he just keeps gagging. Ok, Dennis, didn’t really need to know that. Tim comes to Jim for help with his compass, and Jim helps him as well. I wasn’t initially a big fan of Jim & Misti, but Jim’s helpful nature is making me change my mind. I’m not sure if I would help someone when we’re this close to winning the Save, but in general, unless you’re towards the back of the pack it doesn’t hurt to help other racers.
Jim, who was the fourth person to begin the roadblock, finishes first and he and Misti head off towards the pit stop at Fort Christian. At the cliff jump, Whitney says that she’s really scared, but she and Keith moved the date of their wedding so they could be on the race, so she just has to do it. In the boat traveling towards the rock outcrop, Brooke says she can’t afford to be afraid of anything right now, except for losing her eyelashes, because she has to look good. I love that Brooke can manage to joke even though she’s racing for her life right now. Meanwhile, back at the roadblock, Alli finally finds an anchor – not a bell that she claims is technically an anchor. Brooke & Robbie manage to pass Michael & Scott at the climbing task, then it’s on to the roadblock. The Dentists – who I may have discounted at the beginning of this episode – come in first place and win the Save! Brooke & Robbie are struggling to pull their boat towards the shore, and as they sink, Brooke says that the race is over for them. Robbie encourages Brooke not to give up, and they make it to the shore. All of the teams, with the exception of the dentists, are now stuck on the roadblock. Kym jokingly tells Adam that they’re all voting for him to take his life vest off, and the racers laugh. Lisa says that her clue is in the ocean, and Adam asks her if she knows where the sun sets. Lisa responds that the sun sets in the East and rises in the West, and Adam and Alli just stare at her. Tim finds his treasure chest, then shortly after, Robbie finds one. This annoys Shelley, because she helped Robbie figure out how to use his compass, and he finished before her. Tim and Te Jay come in second place. Alli, Adam, and Maya find their treasure chests; Alli & Kym are the 3rd team to arrive, Brooke & Robbie are team 4, Adam & Bethany are the 5th team, Amy & Maya are the 6th team, Dennis & Isabelle are the 7th team, and Shelley & Nici are the 8th team. The firefighters, the realtors, and Team Nashville are still stuck at the road block.
Will they use a page from Katie’s (TAR season 22) playbook and all take a penalty? Lisa tells Michelle that she doesn’t think the treasure is even there, but the producers put a treasure chest on the screen to show it’s actually about 2 feet away from where Lisa was digging. At one point, Lisa just decided to lay on the ground, then she crawled a bit – interesting technique. Keith & Whitney decide to take the penalty and try to persuade the other two teams to do the same (just like Katie). Keith & Whitney get a cab first, then one of the blondes tries to push a firefighter out of the cab. Shockingly, he didn’t step aside and just let her take it. As the realtors ran away, they remarked that the firefighters weren’t very friendly. Maybe they conveniently forgot the pen incident earlier, which was unnecessary and very unfriendly on the blondes’ behalf. Also, she literally jumped in the car when the firefighters were already in it – what did she think was going to happen? Team Nashville comes in 9th, the firefighters get 10th place, and Michelle & Lisa are eliminated (yay!). I have nothing against teams that race competitively, but if that’s the way you’re going to race, own up to it. Don’t expect other teams to baby you and then question their integrity when they treat you like competition instead of a friend. Also, the realtors said they could beat the firefighters in a footrace, which is either extremely arrogant or very naive of them.
What did you think of the premiere of The Amazing Race season 25? Do you think the Save is a better game twist than the Express Pass? I definitely think it is more helpful, but I’m not sure if I like it as much. The Express Pass was interesting, because teams had to decide when to use it, and there was a possibility that they could still be eliminated even if they used it. With the Save, you don’t have to worry about using it at all, or about coming in last (at least once). What are your thoughts on the 3 teams taking the penalty, and on Lisa & Michelle’s reactions to being eliminated? I know production can edit things however they want, but they didn’t make the girls push the firefighters, or act like that on the mat. Let me know who you think has what it takes to win The Amazing Race in the comments below!