The eleven teams racing this season are starting from the Griffith Observatory. As their intro packages roll, I quickly assign them nicknames. Team ‘Bama, Team Brohockey, Team Roller Derby, Team Newlyweds, Team Survivor (cancer), Team Surf City, Team Twin (until I can come up with something cooler/steal MGiant’s), Team BFF (because it’d be racist to call them Team Asian), Team You Tube, Team Inferno, and Team Country Blondes. This year’s twist is the winners of the first leg get a second Express Pass, which they have to give to another team by the end of the fourth leg. They’re off to Bora Bora, which Phil says the Race has not yet been to. There are two flights, but only the first five teams will get the earlier flight, which gives them a one hour advantage. SOP, so far.

The opening credits manage to reiterate the nicknames I’ve chosen, so I don’t have to keep their names straight. I’m really not planning on a total recap.  As they arrive at the airport, teams meet and introduce themselves. Team Brohockey seems interested in alyin’ aligning with Team Country Blondes. Team ‘Bama is first on the Air Tahiti Nui flight. Teams BFF and Twin are two and three, in that order. Team Survivor is fourth, and Team Surf City manages to cut the blondes off for fifh place. Team BFF is cozying up to the other teams in hopes of getting the second Express Pass. At the layover, Team Twin proposes that whoever comes in first give the second express pass to the second place team. The others aren’t too sure, but quickly set down fight club rules: Only the first five teams are eligible, and nobody tells the laggards about the alliance. Once they land in Tahiti proper, the order shuffles a bit as they sign up to skydive from a helicopter.

Speaking of the laggards, the groom is definitely the better half of Team Newlyweds.

After the skydive, they arrive at a beach where 400 sandcastles await, with eleven clues buried somewhere beneath. This is a second roadblock, so the non-skydivers must do it. Only two snags: 1) it can get up to, if not over, 100 degrees and 2) they have to rebuild each sandcastle after they destroy it. Back at the first Roadblock, Team Roller Derby screws up and put themselves in last place.

On the beach, Team ‘Bama is the last to arrive and start digging through some poor old native lady’s coconuts. The other teams just laugh, as well they should. Finally, ‘Bama spots the huge sandcastle with the bright red bucket with the clues sticking plainly out of it just a little farther down the beach.

1/2 of Team Twin comments that this is where the field levels out. “Evidently,” replies the male half of Team Surf City, as his girlfriend finds the clue. They have to run down the beach a ways and assemble an outrigger, which they then have to paddle for a mile to the Pit Stop. He discovers the difference between an outrigger and a catamaran (which is the stable one with two hulls) as they capsize for the first time.

At the sandcastles, Team Brohockey arrives. One of the twins predicts his brother will go ballistic if another team arrives and finds the clue right off. Dude. You just cursed  yourselves. You know that, right? Team Country Blondes arrive next and I’m just going to presume the rest get there too, mmkay?

The curse takes effect as Team Brohockey races off to the outriggers. At the Pit Stop, Team Surf City collects the passes, then interviews that they’re not sure they want to just hand it over as was agreed. I’m not going to rant about either the stupidity of breaking an alliance or of forming it so quickly in the first place. As Team Brohockey officially comes in second, the heat is taking its toll on the sand diggers. Team Survivor Father realizes he hasn’t been digging deeply, and promptly finds the third place clue. Again, I’m going to presume they all finish at some point and only concentrate on the laggards now. Except to note that Team Roller Derby just leapt from last to fourth, and Team Twin is fading fast.

Finally, the last three teams are Team Inferno, Team Newlyweds, and Team Country Blondes. Eventually, the Bride suggests all three take the four hour penalty and get a fresh start for the next challenge. They figure they can beat the other two teams. The blondes are willing, and so are the firefighters, who somehow know that the next stage involves canoeing. I guess people weren’t quiet about reading the clues near them. Since they go canoeing all the time back home, they figure they have an advantage. Since they don’t have to take the penalty right away, I’m guessing whoever loses the canoe/foot race will be eliminated and the other two will incur it in the morning.

Team Inferno discovers that a narrow outrigger with only one float attached is not like their canoes back north, and capsize as soon as they get in, allowing both other teams to pass them. They’re catching up when they capsize again, and realize it’s over. As I suspected, the other two teams will take the penalty in the morning.

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