Friday, February 25, 2011

The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business - EP01

Before I start off with the episode, let me first introduce my Pebble Ranking for The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business. I’ll start off with this standing based on their previous finish and how I actually like the teams:

Pre-Race Rank Team Members Original Season Previous Finish Personal Favorite Starting Points
1 Jet and Cord 16 2nd (9 pts) 4 13
2 Ron and Christina 12 2nd (9 pts) 3 12
3 Margie and Luke 14 3rd (8 pts) 3 11
3 Jaime and Cara 14 2nd (9 pts) 2 11
5 Gary and Mallory 17 6th (5 pts) 4 9
5 Flight Time and Big Easy 15 4th (7 pts) 2 9
7 Kisha and Jen 14 4th (7 pts) 1 8
8 Mel and Mike 14 6th (5 pts) 2 7
8 Kent and Vyxsin 12 5th (6 pts) 1 7
10 Amanda and Kris 14 8th (3 pts) 2 5
11 Zev and Justin 15 9th (2 pts) 2 4

Just a quick stat: There are 5 teams from Season 14, while there are 3 teams that previously finished in second place.

And so here are my notes while watching the first episode of the The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business:

Starting Line
  • Why are there so many teams from Season 14, and why is Season 13 unrepresented?
  • Can’t really recall who Zev & Justin were, but when I saw the flashback, I had that a-ha moment. So they were the ones who lost their passports (aside from Toni & Dallas, season 13)!
  • Hey, come to think of it, casting Toni & Dallas back would have given Season 13 a representative. They could replace a Season 14 team, or Zev & Justin (we’ll get by with only one team with an issue on passports).
  • Or maybe Toni & Dallas were originally invited for this season but were unable to join for whatever reason, so Zev & Justin took their spot as the team with “lost passport” distinction.
  • The Express Pass, introduced last season, is up for grabs again.
  • A challenge right off the starting line with the last team to finish receiving an automatic U-Turn on the race’s first detour, but at least a U-Turn is a lighter punishment than being eliminated immediately (see Season 15's Eric & Lisa).
  • What's with Zev & Justin also wearing Harlem Globetrotters shirts?! I say it is way better to wear your own team shirts, unless that team on your shirt is not competing anymore (see David & Mary wearing Erwin & Godwin shirts, All Stars). (-1)
  • With the term "Unfinished Business," it seems like the teams will be all tough and more competitive. The season’s subtitle might not be the catchiest phrase to get the viewer’s attention but I say it is appropriate enough.
  • Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services. So that's what QANTAS means! The Amazing Race is very educational. (Phil: +1. Oops, he’s not included!)

The Race Is On
  • If any of the first 8 teams knew that there would be a medical emergency to delay them, I bet my bottom dollar that they would have waited to be the first or second on Flight #2! (I don’t have a bottom dollar. Hehe.)
  • Big Easy expressing his concern over the patient. (+1)
  • Jen, how dare you call Mallory a liar?! (-1)
  • I like Mallory’s response to Jen! She took it cool. (+1)

Swimming with Sharks
  • I don't like to swim with sharks! Err, I don't even know how to swim! (Sharks: -1)
  • Swimming with sharks is already tough, then you still also have to do some decoding. Talk about levelled-up challenges.
  • Jen: "Duck!" It's a sting ray, not a duck! (Hey, I know what you meant, so how about a +1 for that, eh?! For the duck that is.)
  • What's with the passphrase? "I am between the devil and the deep blue sea."
  • Jet: "I don't do water, I don't even take a bath." (-1 for not taking a bath, +2 for admitting it on TV)

Nautical Flags
  • Amanda and Kisha decide to team-up on decoding the flag only after seeing the other teams starting with the task. If they'd work cooperatively, they should have done it sooner. (-1 for both)
  • On the mat: Mallory is still talking when she should be back to race mode! (-1, but being fun to watch while doing so: +2)
  • Margie and Cara work together and they still don't get it! Two heads are supposed to be better than one. (-1 for both)
  • Zev & Justin tells the Globetrotters the passphrase. (-2)
  • Flight Time & Big Easy, so that's why they are called as such: Flight Time - they went to the next destination without even trying to complete the passphrase (-1), Big Easy - they took the easy way out again (-2). Too bad they don’t get to have penalties this time. That’s such a shame!
  • Margie & Luke and Jaime & Cara try to eavesdrop from the Globetrotters' answer. (-1)
  • Margie & Luke and Jaime & Cara unable to eavesdrop successfully. (-1)
  • But Luke is deaf and can’t possibly help in eavesdropping. (+1)
  • Margie & Luke and Jaime & Cara ask for help, instead of going back immediately to the flags area. (-1)
  • Zev & Justin is being selective on who to help. (-1, but I would have given them a -1 too if they did help again, so it’s a deduction either way)
  • Ron & Christina, after being lead to the location of the commodore by Margie & Luke and Jaime & Cara, lets the others hear their answer as a way of paying them back. Some sort of give and take. (Okay, I’ll let that pass.)
  • Margie & Luke helps Kent & Vyxsin. They got help, so they also helped, which is okay. But that’s at the expense of the cowboys being left further behind. (-1 for Margie & Luke)

Skiff Sailing
  • While sailing, there’s another mention of the word "duck." The title of this episode should have "duck" on it. (Score update: Duck: 2, Sting Ray: 0, Sharks: -1)
  • Jaime or Cara saying "Dammit!" but not sounding nearly as good as Jack Bauer or the guys from 24. (-1, yup, this is getting personal. And don’t complain, this is my blog!)
  • Jaime or Cara saying "Dammit!" and making me miss 24 even more. (-1)
  • On the mat: It seemed like Kent and Vyxsin anticipated a penalty when Phil told them that "There is some bad news." But they were glad to hear that the bad news is it ain’t rest time yet.
  • And I just want to give the cowboys a point to cheer them up (as if it would help) and for not giving up! (+1)

Now, I would have appreciated if more teams decided to solve the nautical flags puzzle instead of opting for an easier way to move on. It’s unfair for those who worked hard to solve it (single-handedly or cooperatively). It doesn’t help that this is another “all-star” season where the teams have already seen their opponents play and are more familiar with each other (compared with regular TAR editions). Some have even raced together on the same season and could be “automatically friendly” with each other. It’s unfair to those teams who didn’t have season mates to ally themselves with. (And yup, that translates to “It’s unfair for Jet & Cord!”)

At the end of the episode, the two teams which I have identified as my favorites are at the opposite ends of the standing: Gary & Mallory are currently first, but Jet & Cord are in last place.

Here is the updated Pebble Ranking:

Previous Rank Current Rank Team Members Starting Points Points Awarded Race Standing Current Score
5 1 Gary and Mallory 9 2 1 (11 pts) 22
1 2 Jet and Cord 13 2 11 (1 pt) 16
2 2 Ron and Christina 12 0 8 (4 pts) 16
7 4 Kisha and Jen 8 -2 3 (9 pts) 15
10 5 Amanda and Kris 5 -1 2 (10 pts) 14
5 5 Flight Time and Big Easy 9 -2 5 (7 pts) 14
3 7 Margie and Luke 11 -4 7 (5 pts) 12
3 8 Jaime and Cara 11 -6 6 (6 pts) 11
8 9 Mel and Mike 7 0 9 (3 pts) 10
8 10 Kent and Vyxsin 7 0 10 (2 pts) 9
11 11 Zev and Justin 4 -4 4 (8 pts) 8

And of course, the winning creature for the season premiere is the duck! Till next week!

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