This season opens at Melody Ranch an old west movie ranch outside LA (not Leduc, Alberta) with the teams entering in stagecoaches. This is where they used to shoot Gunsmoke and more recently Django. It's a little corny but I gotta admit I always enjoy those backstage tours so I'm sure everyone had a blast. Funny thing is I was doing the same thing just this afternoon.
This is where we get the usual introduction to the teams and everyone watching decides who they like or don't like right from the start. I'll make it brief as I give you the quickie breakdown of who's who this season.
Ally (22) & Ashley (25), LA Kings Ice Crew Girls who aren't looking for love but wait a second, Ally has a boyfriend, that should go over well;
Brandon (34) & Adam (34), childhood friends and beard lovers (watch for the task requiring them to shave it off);
Chester (33) & Ephraim (36), former NFL Teammates;
Hoskote (60) & Naina (27), controlling father and not so easily controlled daughter;
Jason (33) & Amy (29), currently dating;
Leo (26) & Jamal (26), the Afganimal cousins (their name, not mine);
Nicky (27) & Kim (32), pro baseball wives and friends;
Rowan (56) & Shane (47), best friends and theatre performing business partners;
Tim (26) & Danny (25), best friends from Oklahoma;
Tim (32) & Marie (29), the angry exes who for some unknown reason keep hanging out together;
Travis (43) & Nicole (39), married ER doctors (that never ends well).
So there you have it, 11 teams that all think they have what it takes to read the clues, complete the task, get the next clue, lather, rinse, repeat. Everybody is told before they start that the winner of the first leg of the race will win an Express Pass, as well as a second Express Pass that they must give to another team before the fifth leg. This worked so well in Amazing Race Canada, just ask the hippies.
All teams are now racing for their bags and then they all run to the new Ford C-Max (I think that's the same as Wayne's new car but I'm not sure as he never allows me in it) and using the in-car phone system they need to place a call to South America for their instructions, fly to Chile for their next clue. They're told during the call that there's only so many spots on the first flight. No surprise there. If they were all going to be on the same flight there'd be no tension.
Of course first they need to find LAX and this is where we find that the boys from Oklahoma may be as directionally challenged as a couple of sisters we watched recently. Let's hope they're as tenacious. Once at the airport the teams get a chance to meet and greet each other and get a feel for who they're up against. I don't recall anyone actually forming an alliance here, but this is where those start so keep watching.
There are 7 teams on on the first flight: Travis & Nicole, Chester & Ephrain, Ally & Ashley, Leo & Jamal, Nicky & Kim, Rowan & Shane, and Tim & Marie. The remaining 4 teams are on the second flight, 3 hours behind: Brandon & Adam, Hoskote & Naina, Jason & Amy, Tim & Danny. That's never a good place to be but teams have won from further behind in the past.
As the first flight arrives in Iquique, Chile (via Santiago) the teams race out in search of their destination, Alto Hospicio in search of Zona de Parapentes. Travis & Nicole manage to take the lead and are the first to arrive at this episode's Roadblock. It appears to be a relatively simple task, strap yourself to a professional paraglider and jump from the cliffs then soar through the air to a beach somewhere below.
After rereading the clue the teams realize that the real Roadblock is for the teammate who needs to find where their partner is going to land and to meet them there to receive their next clue. This is still easy enough as long as one you isn't afraid of heights and the other speaks Spanish, which Nicole does quite fluently. That's a language that will help them a lot during the race and one I think Wayne should learn really quickly in case the second season of Amazing Race Canada has us leaving the country.
With Travis, Chester, Rowan, Ally, Leo, Kim, and Tim in the air it was up to their teammates to be lucky enough to find a cab driver who wasn't directionally challenged that could get them to the beach on time. Not so much of a Roadblock as a leisurely tour through town where you have no control other than your selection of cab driver. Of course it's at this point that Jamal realizes the second rule of Amazing Race "Keep Your Cab."
He finds someone to call for two cabs, one for himself and another for Ashley (the beginning of an alliance that started at LAX perhaps) but when the cabs arrive Ashley takes one and Marie jumps in the other one leaving Jamal once again without a ride. This makes for a very upset Afganimal who has now learned rule number three "Move Your Ass".
Travis lands first just as Nicole arrives at the beach which is unusually great timing for both of them but her cab driver stopped quite a ways from the landing point and she had to haul both bags over to get their next clue. Apparently that's where the cabs stop because Ephrain's cab also stopped there. That said, Shane's cab stopped a lot closer and he and Rowan were the first to receive the clue to make their way to Muelle Prat for the next clue.
The rest of the first seven teams also make their way to Muelle Prat to find that the next clue leads to another Roadblock. It's a little unusual to have two Roadblocks in an episode but it does allow for some interesting interaction. It also allows for the second flight to finally arrive in Iquique with the last four teams and they pretty much know that one of them is going to be going home.
Back at the theatre Rowan & Shane are Team Number Three, Chester & Ephrain are Team Number Four, and Nicky & Kim are Team Number Five.
Further down the beach Hoskote is not happy with Naina's delay with the cab. Aside from the fact that her cab driver seemed to take the long way around to the beach I'm pretty sure her Spanish is a little rusty. Dad needs to chill out. There are some things you cannot control besides your daughter dude.
Ally & Ashley are on the mat and Team Number Six, followed by Leo & Jamal as Team Number Seven.
The last four teams arrive for the fish task and it's really a race not to be the last team. Jason & Amy manage to get their fish pretty quickly and are Team Number Eight. Brandon can't find any fish at the first boat and starts rowing for the next one, while Hoskote & Naina read the clue and decide that Naina has to do the task. Umm, no. Where did the casting director find these people? Did any of them actually pass an English course or are the clues written in Spanish? This episode has an unusual amount of teams not able to read the damn clue. How hard can that be?
Next week the teams crack up and strip down in what looks like a detour in a stone quarry. It's always good to get a bikini shot in just as the weather starts turning cold here at home. See you all next week.