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'The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business' Season Premiere Recap

by Jackie Schnoop, posted Feb 21st 2011 1:00PM
Phil Keoghan hosts 'The Amazing Race'['The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business' - 'Head Down and Hold On (Australia)']

Going into an "all stars" season of any reality competition show, we expect some familiarity with the contestants. So, we can hope some have matured (Luke) or others don't make really foolish mistakes again (bathroom break, Jen?).

What we don't expect are teams who have previously run 'The Amazing Race' to be worse at it the second time than the first. Heck, they're supposed to be wiser and tougher, right?

I'm usually a bit down on previous contestants returning to reality shows. However, the teams coming back to the show this season are generally ones I really enjoyed watching. Even so, I had some hopes for improvement and for the season overall:

- I hoped that Margie wouldn't baby Luke and that he'd be way less frustrated
- I hoped that the show didn't feature horses, thus allowing teams to have a chance at beating the alpha-male Cowboys
- I hoped Mallory's voice didn't get more high-pitched and scary

Well, after the season premiere, the first hope is still out to jury and Mallory is still shrill. But our Cowboys sans horses could up being a really sad sight.

Thankfully, the show didn't eliminate a team before the race even started, as they have done in the past. But they did add in a new twist -- teams had to find a QANTAS flag/paper airplane doohickey in a sea of doohickeys after being told the words "Queensland and Northern Territories." Once they found it, they had to bring it to Phil. The first eight teams got on the first flight, the other three caught a plane 90 minutes later. The last team would face a U-Turn while the winner of the leg itself would get an Express Pass.

Although it didn't turn out quite as planned -- something which often happens on the race -- it was a neat little twist that spiced things up. It ended up that the final three teams were in the lead due to a medical emergency on the first flight. Unexpected moments like that keep hope alive for lagging teams.

In an almost cruel twist of fate, Kris and Amanda, eliminated in their season after a U-Turn, were the last team to hand their clue to Phil -- so once again, they would have to complete both Detours.

It was off to Australia and thankfully, no team made the ultimate "didn't read the clue" mistake that has tripped up contestants in past seasons. Even Zev and Justin still had their passports.

There are things teams can do to prepare for 'The Amazing Race' -- learning to drive a stick shift and learning to swim come to mind. Real phobias like a fear of heights might be more problematic. But did the teams take the time to learn what they needed to? Well, it sounded like Jen and Kisha still weren't comfortable with water and the Cowboys avoid it entirely.

The Roadblock had teams swimming with fishes, tortoises, sharks and a stingray the size of a queen bed to find compasses hidden in an aquarium. I pictured normal sized compasses. Nope, these were the size of dinner plates!.

At this point, the three teams on the last flight -- Gary and Mallory, Jen and Kisha, Amanda and Kris -- were in the lead due to the earlier flight's delay, and Gary and Mallory won the Express Pass. Amanda and Kris tried their best to get the win, but came in second. Too bad, so sad -- I'm already tired of hearing him call her "Babe." Detour ahead in the next leg!

The real kicker was that so many teams couldn't figure out the common saying in the puzzle after the aquarium! You'd think once they got "devil and deep blue sea," they'd know they were in between it. Nope. A lot of the teams thought they were the devil.

Without horses, Jet and Cord couldn't figure out the puzzle and were sunk ... at least this time around. Luckily, the race isn't over for them. Most likely, the show wanted to keep all the teams for two weeks, which works for me. I didn't particularly want any of the teams out tonight anyway.

What do you think? Is it a good bunch of teams? Are there non-winning teams you'd like to see back instead of these folks? Are the Cowboys toast? Let us know in comments!

'The Amazing Race' airs Sundays, 8PM ET on CBS.

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Phil said the first team to the pit stop would win the express pass. He never said the last team would be eliminated at that pit stop. He repeated to everyone that the race was continuing. The cowboys are still in it, just lagging behind the others. Phil was giving each team new clues. The cowboys will get their clue when they arrive too. Sheesh, people! Pay attention.

February 25 2011 at 12:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I hope the Cowboys stay in it as well. Seems like half the teams are either Harlem Globetrotters, or Globetrotters fans. And although I do like Mallory, that whole thankthejesus bit is gettin' on me nerves...:>)

February 22 2011 at 11:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I sure hope the cowboys aren't toast! They are the main reason I'm watching this season. Thanks for the recap!

February 22 2011 at 9:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Are they racing Westward for the first time? The three previous seasons I've watched (5, 12, 16) they always went eastward (or south-east).

February 22 2011 at 3:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Phil said the race was continuing and I took that to mean the leg wasn't over. Cowboys are still in it but definitely have some catching up to do. Mallory is getting on my nerves with all her praying to God and saints for help. Why would she think she deserves more" help" than any of the rest of the teams. God has better things to do than giving them a helping hand to win a million bucks. I'm no fan of Margie and Luke either. Expect more whining and excuses.

February 21 2011 at 9:42 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Great review! I missed what was said to Gary and Mallory after they were told it wasn't over and they had something else to do. Did Phil say what that something else was?

No way could I do the swimming around looking for the compass thing. The sailing thing looked like fun and it was great to see everyone enjoy what they were doing and what they were seeing. That might be the biggest difference with these teams. They may soak in some of the joy of being in all these different places!

February 21 2011 at 7:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I missed part of the show and was glad to see your recap. It looks like they're doing two episodes in Australia--that's such a vast, diverse country. Hope the cowboys live to race another week--their attitudes are so positive and I look forward to their folksy sayings. "Oh my gravy."

February 21 2011 at 6:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
General Kenobi

I'm not actually sure the Cowboys do have an entire leg to catch up. It is still a pit stop, Phil did check teams in... it's how Mallory and Gary won the express pass. In the preview Phil also said something about the Cowboys doing (A) while the other 10 teams continue to race for the million... I'm pretty sure when they hit that mat they're gone, but we'll see.

Great to have you back again, Jackie!

February 21 2011 at 5:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
The Viewing Party

I'm watching this season for the Cowboys so if they're eliminated right away I'll be pretty bummed. At least they have the rest of the leg to try and come back from it.

I also like Zev/Justin, Gary/Mallory and Mike/Mel, I can't stand Margie and Luke, everyone else I'm pretty neutral on. But I can't say I'll still watch if the Cowboys aren't in it.

- S

February 21 2011 at 5:31 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

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