First off, my kid was stunned that Bethany Hamilton was in the show. She loved the movie and sees Bethany as a great role model. So I know what team she's cheering for. I think this is the first time the US race has had a contestant that's had an amputated limb. Amazing Race Canada did it in Season 1 with former soldier Jody Mitic and Amazing Race Australia did it with Geoff "Sticky" Stick. Some tasks are going to be tough for her but she looks tough and determined.
Teams leave Time Square in NYC, in front of a live audience no less. Phil talks about the Save, a new development in the race that eliminates the Salvage Pass. The Save goes to the winner of the first leg and it allows them to "Save" themselves if they are the last time and about to be eliminated. Seeing how they made a big deal about The Save, I believe it will be used sometime in the race. Shame to make a big deal about it and then not see it used.
After Times Square, teams zip to Queens and they are told to head to the US Virgin Islands where they must sign up for a seaplane trip, a series of five or six (can't recall exact number and I'm not going to look it up). Oh yeah, there are two flights, one arriving about 40 minutes or so before the other. And only five teams get on that flight. Five teams do, can't remember them all but the fun begins when they get to the US Virgin Islands. But not for the first teams. The first bunch of teams sign up easily, jump aboard the seaplane and fly out to some bay then take a boat out to Carval Rock (weird the things you remember). Then they have to clamber over the rock, jump off of it (it's about 2 storeys high to get their next clue.)
So the first teams fly out on the seaplanes. But when the rest of the teams arrive, they race to the sign up sheet. It's a madhouse, some teams get there first and sign pretty quickly but when the Firefighters (two dudes from Boston) start signing up for the second to last flight, one of the Realtors (two blondes from Florida), grabs the pen out of his hand and writes their name on the spot. Whoa, that's intense. The guy was in the middle of writing his and his teammate's name, and you can see his writing right on the line, when she pulls this stunt. Surely there's got to be some kind of penalty for that, for intentionally impeding another team's profess. I mean this isn't like the Twinnies and the Texans finding another team's money on the ground and keeping it for themselves (Still a bad move but not officially a penalty). This is physically pulling the pen out of the guy's hand while he's writing. Not something Gord and I would do. We'd U-Turn you, maybe not give you directions but we wouldn't steal from you. Let's see what happens next.
Well, the Firefighters are all indignant, as well as the Wrestlers (those guys seem fun) because now they are on the last flight. Meanwhile, the rest of the teams, including the Final 2 on the final plane, climb over the rock and jump in. Some do it better than others. Then it's over to a pirate ship to get their next clue. And this part is totally a time waster. Nothing really happens save for the "pirate captain" giving them a clue and telling them to get off his ship.
Once off his ship, they have to use a rope to pull a small boat across to the beach. And at the beach it's a Roadblock. Using a compass that shows your head when it faces you (a bit opposite of normal compasses), a yard long shovel and a starting point, you must find a treasure chest buried in the sand. Pretty self-explanatory, but then many teams break the first rule of Amazing Race: Read the Clue. And the second which is also: Read the Clue. Also, don't jump to hard into that tiny boat, especially if you're a big wrestler, cause you'll sink it. And still have to pull it ashore.
So teams are flaying around, dazed and confused, a good number of them unable to use a compass. And despite the hope of The Dentists to become the tough, no-nonsense, almost villains of the race, the male half of the couple helps a number of teams on how to read the compass. And later, so does one of the Flight Attendants. But the chaos is obvious as teams search in vain for their treasure, and soon, almost everyone's on the beach digging in the sand. Some complain about the heat or being scratched or the bugs but you know, you don't have to wear a bikini while lying in the sand.
Anyway, the Dentists get done first. And they have to head into town, find Phil and the mat in some fort. No problem and the Dentists are first. They get The Save. No other prize; just the Save. And like I said, it will probably be used. Or at least I'll hope it will be used.
Moving on, a bunch of teams get done and find Phil. And soon we're left with three teams on the beach: the Firefighters, the Realtors and Team Nashville, an engaged couple. It's dark and the Realtors have had enough. They approach Team Nashville and propose that they quit this task and take their chances racing each other to the Pitstop. Nashville says yes but they need to ask the Firefighters. Those boys also say yes. Personally, I think it's a big mistake for these teams to quit. Or for one team to join the pact. A penalty for quitting is four hours and chances are, you could find that treasure in that four hours. Based on what was shown on the show, teams were very close to their treasures.
Still, the Realtors think they can outrace at least the Firefighters. So they quit and the boat takes them into town. And it's a race to the taxis. Nashville gets the first, the Firefighters are partly in the second, well, one dude is sitting in the seat while the other is climbing in. But one of the realtors tries to push herself in, thinking she can use her charm or whatever to convince the cabbie to toss out the Firefighters. But one of the Firefighters gives the realtor a little shove and she bumps against the door. Maybe not gentlemanly behaviour but if you're going to try to push yourself in, you have to expect that someone may push back. Especially since you've shown you're willing to play dirty.
In the end, there is a race to the mat and the Realtors arrive last. They are eliminated. They aren't happy to lose but so it goes.
Next week teams head to the UK. Stuff happens, teams worry about elimination, more stuff happens. Maybe I'll see you here next week if I find another break in the week.