First, the beginning. I really the way they started the season. Having the teams in their own homes while Phil stood in Mexico City, remotely starting the race, was kind of neat. Most of us are tired of teams starting somewhere near LA and racing the LAX to catch the first flight. Having the teams race from their homes to Mexico City added a cool dimension to the start.
One of the best parts was seeing some teams bidding goodbye to their families. That kind of drama always makes for good TV cause it touches the heart when family members say goodbye. I know if Gord and I ever got on the race (I shouldn't say if, Gord says but when), the goodbyes to our families will be filled with tears. At least from my end. That would be the hardest part of getting on the race for me: being away from my family for so long. I've gone on writer's retreats and book tours for a week or so, but I'm still able to phone my family every night. On the race, you're not allowed any contact with your family at all. So every season we apply for TAR Canada, my kid tells me she would have mixed feelings if I got on. She'd be really happy for me to fulfill my dream of being on the race (and it would cool for her dad to be one the race) but she'd also missed me to pieces. I always tell her it's the same for me. I'd missed her (and my wife) crazily if I'd got on the race.
So yeah, goodbye tears always hit me in the feels cause I know how I would react if I had to leave my family for such a long time. And it shows an emotional side of some teams before they even get the first clue. Another interesting part of the remote start is that some teams got a chance to meet each other prior to meeting all the other teams. For me, that would be a great moment to build alliances and come to agreements about Express Passes, U-Turns and all that without worrying if any of the other teams were watching you. I'm surprised some teams didn't take advantage of that moment. Or maybe they did and we didn't see.
I really hope the US version uses this kind of start for upcoming seasons and maybe the Canadian one can figure out how they can use it. It's got potential for some great TV. As for the teams, I think I only knew of one before I saw the race. The guy that does those magic type vines? I knew of him. He does some pretty creative stuff. But that's about it. My kid knew a couple of the other teams, the dancers (cause she dances) and someone else. I'm not sure if this kind of stunt casting will work out. History shows that it hasn't. And so far, none of the teams made any big impression on me, or had any real emotional impact. Even the ones that cried as they said goodbye. Also, is it just me or is there a big lack of diversity in this season's cast.
As for the tasks, they were decent. The US version continued in its design of detours in which one was much easier than the other. The Roadblock was more interesting because it involved puzzle making in a dark cave with enough steps in the clue to confuse various teams. I'm not sure what the clue said but I think if one read it clearly, one would quickly figure how the Roadblock operated. But as per usual, teams messed up. Interesting to see the lawyer cum doctor who wasn't really convinced about his daughter's modelling career to have trouble following directions.
And in the end, I didn't mind the first leg non-elim. If you're a diehard TAR watcher like me, you already know that while this is the first time the US version has done it, it's nothing new in the TAR world. TAR Asia used it for their three of their four seasons (first, second and fourth), and Australia had in their first season. TAR Aus then used the Salvage Pass in the first episode of Season 2, allowing the final team to be saved by the first place team. I'm surprised it took so long for the US version to bring this into play. And it's nice to get one non-elim out of the way so early.
That's it. A short review of the episode. As noted, none of the teams have really struck a chord with me but again, it's only Episode 1. It takes a strong team to stand out from the crowd so early. If I continue to enjoy the season and also find time, I'll continue with my blogging.