Amazing Race
Back in the Saddle

Episode Report Card
M. Giant: B | 81 USERS: B
YOU GRADE IT
Mulligan Stew

Okay, is that enough crying for the beginning of the race? Normally that happens at the end. Phil echoes a lot of people's sentiments when he finally says, "Okay, let's race." He tells them that they're going to the "most populated country on earth: China." I think everyone already knew which country that was before he said its name. As has been the case for the last few seasons, the winner of this first leg will receive an Express Pass. John waggles a rueful finger in the air while everyone laughs at him, as they should. Phil goes on to say that the winning team will also get a second Express Pass that they will have to give to another team before the end of the fifth leg. "But I can promise you that most of you will be eliminated…again!" In many cases, I can't wait. He says they're going to Guangzhou (though the name of the city was clearly looped in later), and the Chinese symbol for that city is currently showing on the hats of the marching band's two drum majors. That's an absolutely astonishing coincidence. Unless that's why they picked the Bruins marching band in the first place. What the racers will have to do first is find members of the band who also have that symbol somewhere on their person. Phil says it's "hidden" on them as though the racers might have to do a cavity search, but it's right there on their hats just like with the drum majors. The racers will need to bring the band members in question over to Phil to get their next clue. Also at stake are seats on the first flight to China. Then they'll leave here in product-placed hybrid cars with electrical ports on the sides, so the racers will have to plug them in when they park them at LAX. That sounds suuuper convenient. Where can I get one of those cars? Oh, right -- fuck that. Phil asks if everyone's ready, and they certainly seem to be. "The world is waiting for you…again!" Phil quips…again. He raises that iconic finger and that even more iconic eyebrow. "Good luck…travel safe…GO!"

As the band strikes up again, this time with the UCLA fight song, the racers all sprint away from Phil onto the field, racing to a spot in front of the drum major. They gather below the podium to take a look at the Chinese character on the drum major's hat, which is a relatively simple one. Then they start spreading chaotically (and noisily) through the band, which has again started marching around in formation just to make things that little bit trickier. UCLA alum Brendon joins in on the fight song as he and Rachel search, and yes, it enrages me that I even know Brendon went to UCLA. The Afghanimals and the cowboys seem to be the first teams to locate a band member to drag over to Phil, but Leo & Jamal reach him first, and are thus the first team to make it on the first flight to China, with Jet & Cord close behind. Phil hands them both their first clues. Dave & Connor start hauling a trombonist over to Phil, while the two lead teams are already outside the stadium to collect their backpacks and get into the waiting cars. As they drive out of the parking lot, Leo high-fives Jamal over his shoulder and Cord grins, "Everybody's always excited to see us. I don't know why." Me either. Dave & Connor secure their places on the third flight, and Natalie & Nadiya are the last team to do so, just ahead of John & Jessica. And they're pretty loud about it, too.

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Amazing Race

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