As always, TAR gives us a cast of characters. Of course, there are the requisite BFFs: Brook and Claire, home shopping hosts; Katie and Rachel, beach volleyball players; Nat and Kat are docs; Ron and Tony, LA show biz pals. Repping the dorks are Connor and Jonathan, Ivy League a cappella singers whom everyone is calling team Glee. "I think we’ll sing a lot during the race," the Harry Potter doppelganger says. "We’ll sing to make the other teams like us, and I think we'd sing to say thank you to our cab drivers." Call us old-fashioned, but I think it's customary to tip your driver to say thanks, not do a ditty.
Three teams are parent-child pairs: Gary and Mallory, who's the reigning Miss Kentucky; Michael and Kevin, YouTube sensations; and Andie and Jenna. The latter aren't your typical mom-daughter pair; The two are recently reunited, and the race opener only marks the third time they've seen each other.
As far as the couples go, everyone is dating: There's Jill, a hairdresser who needs to fix her b-friend Thomas' locks; Nick and Vicki, tatted-up rebels; and Chad and Stephanie, dubbed Peter Pan and Tinkerbell because of the latter's pixie 'do, dating. Chad revealed he will pop the question sometime during the race, though the couple are the fighters in the group.
The 11 teams start off in Gloucester, Massachusetts and have to head to Logan International Airport to fly to England, to visit Stonehenge. But before the racers can figure out how to get to Boston, Phil makes a game-changing announcement: The team to win the first leg gets an express pass, which allows the group to skip any challenge it doesn't want to complete.
Only three of the teams can get onto the first flight, which leaves 30 minutes earlier. It ended up being boy BFFs Ron and Tony; hairdresser Jill and hairy Thomas; and Peter Pan Chad and Tinkerbell Stephanie. The boy BFFs credit their excellent sense of direction for grabbing an early lead. "This is going to be one of our strongest suits," Ron says. That's not a strong suit for Team Glee, who have trouble finding the airport in Boston.
The lead time doesn't seem to give an advantage to any team, since some groups struggled with driving stick and others had problems navigating England's pesky roundabouts and roads. But one contestant is beyond excited about the challenge. "I think I’m gonna pee in my pants," Claire says. Hope she's wearing some Depends.
The docs make it to Stonehenge first—and they did that despite taking a few minutes to give diabetic Nat a chance to test her blood-sugar level—and there they're directed to Eastnor Castle.
After the Stonehenge, Miss Kentucky and her dad unite with Team Glee, but then the pageant folks got a flat tire and the singers didn't stick around to wait for 'em. But even worse off were the boy BFFs who fell into last place because they kept getting lost.
Once at Eastnor, teams have to storm the castle by climbing the ladder while having toothless villagers throw buckets of dirty water on them. Hairdresser and hairy, the docs and the home shopping hosts are the first ones to arrive. After climbing up the ladder and grabbing a flag, the teams have to sit in tortoise shell-like boats and use their balance to pull a rope to the other side. It's harder than it looks, as many of the racers keep sinking and have to start over again. Pan and Tinkerbell log about 13 tries before they finally get it.
When they cross the moat, the racers have to find the knight who matches their flag and hitch a ride to the next task, a roadblock.
For this roadblock, called Defeat the Warrior, teams have to use a medieval ballista, basically a huge slingshot, to catapult a watermelon to knock down a suit of armor. The home shopping hosts have a hard time hitting the knight target and somehow one of Claire's shots ends up backfiring and cracking a watermelon right in the kisser that looked liked it hurt a hella lot. "I can't feel my face," she says, but her co-host encourages her to finish. "They don’t call it the Amazing Race for nothin'," Brook says. But Claire becomes her co-host's knight in shining armor when she picks herself up and hits the target on her second try. "I made it my bitch," she says.
Team Glee, which was lagging in the back of the pack, came out of nowhere and quickly made it across the water and hit their suit of armor. The YouTubers struggle to the balance correct on the tortoise boat. But the son sweetly keeps telling his pops how proud he was, and that seems to do the trick. Meanwhile, mom and daughter, the tatted two and the boy BFFs are all trying to figure out how to get to the castle.
The tatted two finally make it to Eastnor and climb the ladder, but think they misread the clue's directions to get a flag from the "battlements" as "battlemen" instead and overlook the flag sitting right there. "I promise we aren't that dumb," tatty says. When they get to the boat portion, again they don't realize those shell-looking thingies are boats and waste time scratching their heads.
Tinkerbell and Pan finally cross the water but for some reason they think Phil is in the castle, so they are running all over the place looking for the pit stop. They lose their lead and watch as the volleyballers and Team Glee pass them.
Hairdresser and hairy get first place and win the coveted express pass. The docs come in second and Team Glee third.
At the pit stop, Phil asks the tatted two, "What country are we in?" "We’re in London,right?" replies tatty girl. "Yes, we are in the country of London," Phil says in disbelief. That alone should have put them in last, but the last ones to arrive are the boy BFFs. Their supposed great navigational skills did them in.
The racers head to Ghana and it looks like Miss Kentucky's cab dies. Let's see if this beauty queen throws down her crown and gets dirty.