Oh my goth, who's casting this show??
Phil looked fantastic--just as coiffed and trimmed as the rolling lawn of the Playboy Mansion. The herd of racers bolted to their belongings and first clue, which had them headed to Shannon, Ireland, via one of two flights out of LAX. The first challenge was just getting out of the freaking driveway, as Nicolas and Grandpa Don managed to bring the entire race to a halt by doing a complete maintenance and safety check before heading out.
Finally, the teams are unleashed on the streets of LA. Everyone's excited to be going to Ireland, but most of them seem to be driving to San Diego, or somewhere else completely. Eventually, everybody makes it to LAX. Teams are hoping to catch the first flight on British Airways connecting through London. It has a 45 minute advantage over the second flight, which is on Aer Lingus, connecting through Dublin. Unfortunately, the British Airways flight is delayed, and the second half of the pack arrives first, with a slim 7 minutes advantage.
Once in Shannon, the racers must make their way to Rossaveal Ferry Port and take a ferry to Inis Mór in the Aran Islands, off the western coast of Ireland. Once on the island, they must find Teampall Bheanain, where they can sign up for ferries returning the following morning.
Ari is already busy making catty remarks about the Goths, and taxi-jacking a cab meant for Azaria and Hendekea. We like the snarky tone already, and we're not even halfway through the first episode! Kate and Pat offer up a lovely soundbite about The Amazing Race being a love letter to the planet, while Kynt and Vyxsin hike through the rain without a single smudge of their eyeliner. Is that stuff waterproof?
Meanwhile, Nathan is already barking at Jennifer. He tells her that she is the worst person on the race... and this is episode one, folks! We haven't seen this much yelling since Jonathan and Victoria back in season 6. Jennifer asks the camera, "Do I want to spend the rest of my life with someone who's going to treat me like that?" We say... no way!
At Teampall Bheanain, Grandpa Don spikes the sympathy meter with a fall into some brambles, leaving us to wonder if it really was such a good idea to let this old fart on the race. Maybe CBS is courting Buick as a sponsor? Once all the teams have signed up for their return ferries, the racers settle in for an overnight at the Pier House Bed and Breakfast.
Teams make their way back via ferry, and then must drive 42 miles to Cleggan Farm. Racers must ride a tandem bike along a muddy trail to find the next clue. Lorena and Jason (who looks like a Bizarro Colin Farrell) are already sniping at each other in the car about directions. It seems Bizarro Colin won't listen to Lorena, and frankly, we tuned her out, too.
At Cleggan Farm, teams hit their first Roadblock. This challenge is a high wire bike that takes racers off a cliff and over the Atlantic Ocean. It's sort of a zipline, but with a bike on top and a swing hanging underneath for the racer's non-biking teammate. It's not as seriously terrifying as some past challenges, but it's cool, nonetheless.
The final challenge at the farm is to choose a donkey, fill baskets with 15 pieces of peat, walk the donkey and baskets down a country lane and hand it off to the farmhand who will give the next clue. Sounds easy, right? Hello! Donkeys are stubborn, y'all! But as far as we can tell, the biggest burro out there is Nathan. He gets busy screeching at Jennifer, who bursts into tears, and at the donkey, who begins braying nonstop. Also having horrible problems with their donkey are Staella and Ari, whose sassy mouth and tricky ways couldn't get him out of this mess.
Christina, The Donkey Whisperer, kept things moving by using the power of positive reinforcement, and it seemed that the teams that remained positive and encouraging actually managed to get their donkeys to move in the right direction.
THE PIT STOP:
Hendekea and Azaria score the first place finish for this leg, earning a 5 night trip to Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies as the first team to check in at the Connemara Heritage Centre. Kynt and Vyxsin arrive with a strong finish in second place, with TK and Rachel in third. By the time all of the donkey drama has played out, Ari and Staella arrive last and are eliminated.
Father-Daughter duo Ronald and Christina break down, but hug it out. Grandpa Don goes all Tarzan--and hopefully not commando--swinging over a muddy ditch. Will Jason and Lorena ever get on the same page? Will TK's dreads stay locked for the whole race? How fast can Kynt run in those Frankenstein boots? Check back next week, race fans!