FIREFIGHTERS EXTINGUISHED IN BORA BORA
For the first time ever, The Amazing Race traveled to the tropical paradise of Bora Bora, where two Express Passes were handed out to Jessica & John and three teams quit a Roadblock, taking the penalty to setup a climactic finish that ended in Matt & Daniel's elimination.
EXPRESS PASS X 2 Eleven new teams gathered at the starting line in front of the famed Griffith Observatory in Hollywood, California, where host Phil Keoghan hinted about their first stop, "a spectacular tropical paradise we've never been to before" and a challenge that would "literally take your breath away." Then, Phil dropped an even bigger surprise. The winners of the first leg would not only receive an Express Pass for themselves, but they'd also win a second Express Pass to give to another team of their choice before the end of the fourth leg. Phil reminded teams that, as always, the pair who crossed the finish line first in the final leg would win The Amazing Race and the one million dollar prize.RACE TO THE AIRPORT After declaring, "The world is waiting for you", Phil signaled the start of the Race as the eleven teams sprinted to their cars and discovered their destination – Bora Bora, French Polynesia. The first five teams to LAX would get seats on an Air Tahiti Nui flight that would land one hour before the second flight carrying the remaining six teams. Without any prior experience driving in L.A., Alabama married couple Chuck & Wynona shocked even themselves after reaching the Air Tahiti Nui ticket counter first. Best friends Pam & Winnie took the second set of tickets followed by twin doctors Idries & Jamil, who unsuccessfully tried to lie about their profession to Pam & Winnie calling themselves "delivery men." Arriving at the terminal, father and son Dave & Connor, and dating couple Jessica & John, edged out hockey brothers Bates & Anthony, and country singers Caroline & Jennifer, for the last two sets of tickets on the earlier flight. A disappointed Caroline said, "Shoot! We barely missed it." The country singers and hockey brothers joined newlyweds Max & Katie, Youtube hosts Joey & Meghan, roller derby moms Mona & Beth, and firefighters Matt & Daniel on the second flight landing an hour later. While waiting for their planes to depart, teams on their respective flights began to socialize and get to know one another. With two Express Passes up for grabs, Pam & Winnie speculated with Idries & Jamil and Dave & Connor about what task would take their breath away in Bora Bora. Dave hoped it wouldn't involve heights while Jamil feared an underwater task. At the Air France gate, newlyweds Max & Katie faced their own dreaded task – making friends. After calling Katie's likability factor low, Max and his bride put their fake smiles on, citing the importance of playing a strong social game. Katie later commented, "I had so many horrible conversations. Brutal."
AN ALLIANCE FORMED
Landing in the connecting city of Papeete, Tahiti, twin doctors Idries & Jamil waited with the other four teams on the first flight and took the opportunity to propose an alliance. They suggested that if anyone from their flight won the two Express Passes, then that team would give the second Express Pass to the racers who came next, adding, "That way we don't have to worry about any hurt feelings. Plus it's fair." After a moment of hesitation, the other four teams signed onto the deal as John noted, "It does take the stress out of allocating [the Express Pass]." Chuck added, "But it stays within our group." John later joked, "If you're in the alliance, you can't tell anybody...that it even exists. It's exactly like Fight Club."
THE SIGN UP
Running off the plane in Bora Bora, the five teams on the first flight sprinted to a clue box on the beach just outside of the airport to find a Roadblock. First, teams had to sign up for one of six helicopter flights, each carrying a maximum of two teams. Then, in an Amazing Race first, they had to jump from a helicopter as it hovered at 10,000-feet. They would free fall at speeds over 120mph in a tandem skydive as their partner took a taxi to the landing zone. Once on safe ground, they would reunite with their partner to receive their next clue. In a mad dash to sign up for a helicopter, the five teams crowded around the board in a frenzy of arms and elbows all reaching for the pen. When the dust settled, John and Jamil wrote their names on the first flight, Connor and Winnie on the second flight, and Chuck alone on the third flight as a disappointed Wynona said, "We're last."
THE BIG JUMP
After harnessing up, John and Jamil boarded their helicopter as Jessica and Idries jumped into water taxis bound for the landing zone. An excited John said, "I was born to jump out of helicopters and planes." Jamil added, "This is what The Amazing Race is all about right here." As the helicopter soared into the clear, blue sky and reached 10,000-feet, John shouted, "It's game time baby." Stepping onto the ledge of the chopper with his tandem partner behind, John took the big leap, emitting a huge scream as he plunged towards the crystal blue water and lush tropical islands below. Reflecting on the dive, John later remarked, "You had a 360 degree view of the absolutely gorgeous landscape...mystical magical jungle...crystal clear emerald blue water. It was an awesome experience." Returning to solid ground at the landing zone, John reunited with girlfriend Jessica and ripped open their next clue instructing them to travel by water taxi to Eden Beach. Before jumping from the second helicopter, Connor shouted, "I love you, mom!" While Connor screamed throughout his plunge, his father Dave watched from a water taxi speeding towards the landing zone. Dave commented, "When Connor was diagnosed with cancer we thought really that we were going to lose him, but Connor is a tough kid. Never complained, never gave up. And here he is having an incredible experience."
Reaching the shores of Motu Piti A'au, dating couple Jessica & John ran along the white sand of Eden Beach to discover a second Roadblock. In it, the person who didn't perform the first Roadblock had to search among 400 sandcastles, digging beneath each for a clue in scorching temperatures. However, whatever castles they destroyed, they had to rebuild until they found what they were looking for. Running to the very first sandcastle in the near corner, Jessica kneeled down and smashed it apart to find nothing. Now having to rebuild it before moving on next, Jessica described the experience as "opening a Christmas present that was empty and then having to wrap it back up." When Idries joined Jessica in the hot sun, he noted, "Right now we are numbers one and two. Hopefully we stay there. I want the Express Pass."
When teams on the second flight landed in Bora Bora, the race to the signup board for the skydive Roadblock determined what two teams would be fighting for last place. Caroline and Anthony took the two available spots on the fourth flight while Matt took one on the fifth. After Matt signed his name, Mona grabbed the pen and mistakenly wrote her name on the line for the sixth plane instead of directly below Matt's to add herself to the fifth. Katie noticed that Mona skipped a line on the signup sheet and told Max to sign his name above hers to take the second spot on the fifth plane. By the time Mona realized her mistake it was too late. Now she would be on the last chopper jumping with Meghan. Upset with herself, Mona told Beth, "I didn't realize it was a two-person thing!" However, the tough roller derby mom didn't lose hope, adding, "We are not quitters. You have to play out every last second of every game."
As the six teams from the second flight took their turns plunging from helicopters, the five lead teams all reunited at the sandcastle Roadblock where John reminded everyone of the agreement they made that the winner of the leg would give the second Express Pass to whichever team from the group came in second place. After arriving in second, Idries' optimism turned to frustration because he couldn't find the proper technique to rebuild the castles. His twin Jamil noted, "He's spending of the time [rebuilding]. This is how you lose a lead like that." Winnie and Dave didn't fare any better in the rebuilding process while Wynona joked, "This is back breaking. Where are my kids when I need them?" Finally, as the five racers continued smashing and rebuilding with no success, Jessica reached into the sand and pulled out a clue. Ripping it open with John, the dating couple discovered they had to attach a float to an outrigger canoe called a va'a. Once their canoe was ship shape, they had to use strength and balance to keep it upright while paddling over a mile to the Pit Stop at Motu Cafe.
EXPRESS PASS WINNERS
Running down the beach, Jessica & John chose a va'a and began using the provided rope to attach their float to the outrigger canoe. After securing the float, the dating couple hauled their va'a into the clear blue water, noticing a stingray swimming past them. Jumping into the canoe, Jessica & John assumed their vessel was completely stable as they began to paddle. However, the couple quickly learned that any movement leaning to one side flipped their va'a over entirely. The dating couple jumped back into their canoe and carefully paddled all the way to the Pit Stop to win the leg and the two Express Passes. Thinking about their agreement with the other four teams, John commented, "Although we want to stay true to our word, we want to play the game smart. We don't want to just hand over advantages to other teams. We'll see how things play out."
When hockey brothers Bates & Anthony and country singers Caroline & Jennifer arrived at Eden Beach, the other four teams from the first flight saw their lead begin to evaporate. According to Bates, seeing all the teams still toiling on the hot sand gave him "a feeling of jubilation." When Bates found a clue under a sandcastle in mere minutes, Dave, Winnie, Wynona, and especially Idries became more frustrated. Watching Idries slowly crack under the pressure, Jamil said, "Mentally, he's kind of fragile." When last place Mona & Beth finally reached Eden Beach, an exhausted Idries muttered, "This is not even close to being fun." His excitement level plummeted further as he watched Dave (who with Connor finished in third place, but second among the group who made the Express Pass agreement), Beth, and Pam all find their clues ahead of him. When an exuberant Joey found his clue next, Idries sniped, "Shut up. I think this is driving me crazy." Finally, Idries stuck his hand under a sandcastle once again, but this time he pulled up a clue. However, the twin doctors' relief was short lived. On the way to the Pit Stop, their va'a capsized sending the doctors, who were afraid of water, into the ocean. The doctors flipped the canoe and began bailing out water as they watched married couple Chuck & Wynona paddle past them. The mullet-wearing Alabaman and his wife ended up in seventh place while Idries & Jamil made it back to dry land and the mat in eighth.
A BOLD MOVE
Now, only Jennifer, Katie, and Daniel remained on Eden Beach still digging over three hours after they started with no success. Katie later commented that her biggest fear was either Jennifer or Daniel kicking over a sandcastle and stumbling onto a clue. To avoid this scenario, Katie hatched a plan trying to convince them both to take a 4-hour penalty with her because she felt she and Max would beat them in a head-to-head race to the Pit Stop. Jennifer and Daniel agreed with Katie to "stop the madness." Daniel also felt confident in his chances with Matt, later commenting, "We canoe all the time. They're the ones messing up." After officially declaring they quit the Roadblock and accepting the 4-hour penalty, Caroline & Jennifer, Matt & Daniel, and Max & Katie ran down the beach, chose a va'a, and began attaching the float to it. Using their practical experience as firefighters, Matt & Daniel completed their va'a first and walked it into the ocean, saying, "I think we made the right decision." However, as soon as Matt & Daniel tried to balance themselves inside their canoe, they instantly flipped it over.
A SICKENING FEELING
As Matt & Daniel struggled to maintain balance, Max & Katie and Caroline & Jennifer hopped into their canoes and paddled right past the firefighters. Max told his new bride to "dig deep" while Caroline order Jennifer, "Do not quit!" Getting back in their va'a, Matt & Daniel started gaining ground on the two teams in front of them, but just as they hit their stride paddling, they capsized once again. Daniel later said, "It was just a sickening feeling." Matt added, "We're done with the leg from hell." Reaching the Pit Stop in ninth and tenth places, respectively, newlyweds Max & Katie and country singers Caroline & Jennifer received the expected news from Phil that a four-hour penalty would be assessed to their start time in the next leg. Katie said, "In regards to taking the penalty, I think it was genius. " Max added, "In our diabolical minds, we had to do what we had to do to survive." Stepping onto the mat in last place, firefighters Matt & Daniel became the first team eliminated from the Race. A glum Matt told Phil, "We both left it all on the table and Bora Bora won." Daniel added, "When we agreed to take the penalty, we never thought for one second that we would be eliminated canoeing. We get beat canoeing by two blonde girls. I'm sure we're never gonna hear the end of this at the firehouse."
2201 ROUTE MARKERS
Roadblock: A roadblock is a task that only one person may perform. In this roadblock that person had to sign up for one of six helicopter flights, each carrying a maximum of two teams. Then, in an Amazing Race first, they had to jump out of a helicopter as it hovered at 10,000-feet. They would free fall at speeds over 120mph in a tandem skydive as their partner took a taxi to the landing zone. Once back on safe ground, they would reunite with their partner to receive their next clue.Performed Roadblock: WINNIE, JAMIL, JOHN, CONNOR, CHUCK, ANTHONY, CAROLINE, MONA, MAX, MATT, MEGHAN
Roadblock: A roadblock is a task that only one person may perform. In this roadblock the person who didn't perform the first Roadblock had to search among 400 sandcastles, digging beneath each for a clue in scorching temperatures. However, whatever castles they destroyed, they had to rebuild until they found what they were looking for.
Performed Roadblock: PAM, IDRIES, JESSICA, DAVE, WYNONA, BATES, JENNIFER, BETH, KATIE, DANIEL, JOEY
Order of Finish: 1. Jessica & John 2. Bates & Anthony 3. Dave & Connor 4. Pam & Winnie 5. Mona & Beth 6. Joey & Meghan 7. Chuck & Wynona 8. Idries & Jamil 9. Max & Katie 10. Caroline & Jennifer 11. Matt & Daniel ...