The Amazing Race
Premieres Wednesday, May 22 8/7c
Season 25: Episode 1 - Go Big Or Go Home
Posted on Sep 27, 2014 12:00am

Running from where the Race first started twenty-five seasons ago to the Virgin Islands, Jim & Misti won the Save. After three teams collectively took the penalty, realtors Lisa & Michelle were eliminated.

Bethesda Fountain in the heart of New York City’s Central Park was the backdrop as Phil announced that this was where the Amazing Race first started twenty-five seasons ago. The teams arrived in Times Square, exiting taxis while fans and former racers alike thronged the streets. Phil told them they were part of the Race’s silver anniversary, and that the winner of this leg would win the most powerful Amazing Race prize ever: the Save. Until the end of the ninth leg, if a team is facing elimination, they can simply hand over the Save and continue racing. “Good luck.... Travel safe…. Go!” Everyone ran to their bags and the first clue, which told them to travel to where the very first Race ended. Fortunately, Frank from Season One was in the crowd, and everyone rushed him, looking for the answer. He told them it was the Globe at Flushing Meadows Park. The teams sprinted for taxis, and the race was on. Married surfers Adam & Bethany couldn’t believe the Race had actually started, while mother and daughter Shelley & Nici told their driver to “Drive it like you stole it!” Everyone wanted the Save – or as competitive cyclists Kym & Alli referred to it, the “Save my ass pass.”

At the Globe in Flushing Meadows Park, the surfers reached the clue box first, and discovered they must fly to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. They headed to JFK Airport with the knowledge that there were only enough seats for five teams on the first flight, which would land forty minutes ahead of the second. Adam & Bethany arrived at the airport, but got in the wrong line at the American Airlines counter. Soon after, college sweethearts Tim & Te Jay arrived and ran to the correct counter, becoming the first team on the first flight. Dating couple Dennis & Isabelle ran for the correct counter while the surfers began to realize they were in the wrong place. The two couples sprinted for the line, with Dennis & Isabelle just beating out Adam & Bethany, who ended up third on the first flight. Kym & Alli arrived fourth, and a race between married dentists Misti & Jim, and former Survivor castaways Keith & Whitney, resulted in the dentists securing the last seats on the first flight. Disappointed, Keith & Whitney left for the Delta counter and the second flight. As the sun rose, Tim & Te Jay, Dennis & Isabelle, Adam & Bethany, Kym & Alli, and Misti & Jim settled in for the first flight. Dennis and Isabelle remarked on the dentists’ teeth: “They’ve got some pearly whites.” “You can’t miss them.” The dentists gave a sparkling smile, and the five teams were off to the Virgin Islands. The second flight carried Keith & Whitney, Shelley & Nici, candy scientists Amy & Maya, realtor sisters Lisa & Michelle, professional wrestlers Brooke & Robbie, and Boston firefighters Michael & Scott. The realtors figured they wouldn’t get the Save, while Robbie was more confident. “We’ve already sized up all the other five teams and we know that we’re better than them.”

Phil informed us that when the teams land they must travel to Vendor’s Plaza and sign up for a seaplane flight to Lovango Cay. The first flight touched down amidst the green hills and sparkling blue water of the Virgin Islands. The five teams rushed for taxis, Jim & Misti celebrating being at the head of the pack. Everyone arrived at Vendor’s Plaza, but had trouble finding the sign-up board. Jim & Misti ran around in circles while Adam & Bethany and Tim & Te Jay found the board and signed up for the first flight. Just behind them, Kym & Alli were first on the second flight, with the dentists rolling in to claim the second spot behind them. Dennis & Isabelle arrived last, claiming the first spot on the third seaplane. Isabelle wasn’t worried: “There are still six teams behind us.” The first seaplane took off with the “stoked” surfers and Tim & Te Jay. They marveled at the gorgeous scenery as their plane skimmed over the water. Tim said, “You fly at such a low altitude that you see everything. It’s like a private little tour of the islands.” On the second flight, Jim was more concerned with winning the Save than looking out the window, while Kym battled motion sickness. Jim told her, “Don’t be Bopper back there, puking down the back of our necks!” Kym reassured him, “I think it’s just a courtesy not to throw up on other teams.”

Meanwhile, the second flight from New York landed, and the back six teams rushed for taxis. The third seaplane took off, with Isabelle saying, “We’re way ahead of a lot of people. Let’s make sure it stays that way.” At Vendor’s Plaza, Survivors Keith & Whitney claimed the first spot on the fourth flight, with Shelley & Nici just behind them. Scientists Amy & Maya grabbed the first spot on the fifth flight just before things got rowdy. The firefighters, realtors and wrestlers all descended on the sign-up board at once, grappling for the pen. The firefighters started writing their names down for the fifth flight, but the realtors snatched the pen out of their hands and wrote their names down instead. Michael & Scott were ticked. “They played dirty and it bumped them up a flight.” The firefighters feared being eliminated on the first leg, and came to a realization: “We can’t be gentlemen anymore. Sorry, that’s off.” They could only hope karma would prevail.

The first seaplane landed, sending Adam & Bethany and Tim & TJ sprinting for the clue box. Phil stood on the rocky cay to announce that the teams would now take on their first challenge, and he was greeted by the racers (“Hi, Mr. Phil!”) as they ran past. They ripped their clue and learned they were to climb to the top of Carvel Rock, a stony outcropping in the middle of the water, and then make a two-story jump back into the ocean. There they would find their next clue floating in a bottle. Tim & Te Jay celebrated making the first boat to Carvel Rock. Followed closely by the surfers, they jumped off the boat into the water, swam a short distance to the rock, and climbed a rope ladder onto it. Bethany proved that having only one arm was no hindrance as she easily made the climb. Adam was impressed, saying, “Bethany continually blows my mind. When we’re surfing she’ll pull these amazing moves that I can’t even do with two arms, and she’s doing it with one arm.” The second seaplane touched down, sending Jim & Misti and Kym & Alli off to the rock. Jim was utterly confident. “The other teams just need to stay out of our way. They’re going to be chasing us all the way to the finish line.” Tim & Te Jay tentatively made their way across the rock as the cyclists began the climb up. Tim made the jump first and swam for the clue, followed by Te Jay and the surfers. In the bottle they found a picture of a pirate ship, and were told to travel to an actual ship, Blackbeard’s Revenge. They sped off in their boats.

The fourth seaplane took off with Shelley & Nici and Keith & Whitney. The firefighters waited on the dock, Michael saying, “Essentially it’s like a card game, and you got to deal with the cards you’re dealt.” Aboard Blackbeard’s Revenge, Blackbeard, in full pirate regalia, handed teams their next clue. Using ropes strung up between the ship and the beach, they were to pull themselves ashore in small wooden boats. Blackbeard then told them to “Get off me ship!” and fired a cannon, which made Tim and Te Jay shriek. They jumped in a boat and began pulling themselves to shore. With the surfers still on their heels, Tim and Te Jay ripped the next clue on the beach – a Roadblock. People believe that Blackbeard’s treasure is still buried somewhere, and now teams were supposed to dig for it. They had to navigate their way around the beach using a liquid compass, in which the direction closest to the user is the direction they’re facing. Starting at a designated landmark, they needed to use the compass, a one-yard marker, and a unique set of coordinates to locate a buried treasure chest. Tim and Adam took the Roadblock, and Tim started digging right at the start point. “I don’t know what I’m digging for, but it says it should be right here.” Adam began measuring with the marker and coordinates, wanting to get it right the first time and win the Save. While Kim & Alli and Misti & Jim jumped off Carvel Rock for their clues, the fifth seaplane flight with Amy & Maya and Lisa & Michelle boarded. The realtors were unrepentant about their actions at the sign-up board, throwing the firefighters an “Adios, suckers!” The wrestlers, stuck behind with the firefighters, lamented that no one wants to be eliminated first.

Back at the beach, Tim finally realized he had to follow his given coordinates, but he still used the compass backwards. Adam likewise had trouble with the compass. Alli chose the Roadblock for her team, and although her designated start point was an anchor, she started at a bell, saying there’s no anchor on the beach. (She didn’t see the anchor.) Jim and Misti showed up, and Jim took the task. “With the Save being on the line, we just decided that I was going to do it.” Misti said that Jim is the smartest person she’s ever met, so she knew he’d get it done fast. While Tim and Adam struggled, Jim lined up the compass correctly, and when Adam asked him for help, Jim explained how the compass worked. Adam ran back to start over. “Oh my gosh, I was doing the opposite the whole time!” At Carvel Rock, Dennis & Isabelle jumped for their clue. Isabelle hit the water in a seated position, and then complained that her butt hurt. Meanwhile, the last seaplane carrying the firefighters and the wrestlers took off. Scott wasn’t daunted by the sign-up debacle, crying, “The unstoppable juggernaut that is plane six is coming your way!”

Everyone (except Jim) continued to struggle at the Roadblock. Tim asked Jim for help, and he obliged. “Teams that were ahead of us are coming to me for help. And we’re perfect, and we’re going to beat them anyway.” True to his word, Jim unearthed his treasure chest first. “Whoo, let’s go get that Save! First place, baby!” He and Misti ripped the clue for the Pit Stop, the over three-hundred-year-old Fort Christian, and took off. “Save, here we come!” Keith & Whitney jumped into the water at Carvel Rock. Although she was afraid to jump, Whitney knew she had to, revealing that they changed the date of their wedding in order to compete on the Race because it’s the opportunity of a lifetime. Meanwhile, the wrestlers and the firefighters zoomed to the rock in their boats. Brooke said her only fear was losing her false eyelashes. “You know momma’s got to look good!”

Misti and Jim caught a taxi to the Pit Stop, happy to be in first place. Dennis and Isabelle towed themselves to the beach while Tim, Adam and Alli continued treasure hunting. Alli finally found her start point – “An anchor that looks like an anchor.” Dennis, Keith and Shelley chose the Roadblock for their teams. At Carvel Rock, the firefighters and wrestlers made the climb. Michael said that he and Scott have been in countless situations where they had to perform under pressure. The wrestlers jumped first with no problem, Robbie saying, “Nothing. Bring it on. Instead of water, just put a table down there.” They celebrated not being in last place anymore, although the firefighters were still close behind. Lively Caribbean music, and dancers on six-foot stilts and in peacock-like Carnival costumes greeted Jim & Misti at the Pit Stop. Phil complimented them on their winning smiles and told them they were team number one. Then he presented them the Save, with which Jim said he felt “virtually unstoppable. As long as we have this, every leg is a non-elimination leg for us. It’s priceless.”

Despite Jim’s assistance, no one was making much progress at the beach. Amy & Maya and Lisa & Michelle towed themselves to shore, with Amy and Lisa taking the Roadblock. Amy immediately began thinking rationally. “Being a scientist, I know that very small differences in angles make a huge difference when you’re fifteen yards out.” Michael & Scott and Brooke & Robbie began towing themselves to the beach, but the wrestlers’ boat began to sink and the firefighters blew past them. Floating in the water, Brooke moaned, “We’re done. We sunk.” They recovered enough to keep hold of their boat and swim to shore. Scott and Robbie choose the Roadblock. Tim lamented, “Why is everyone here? I love the beach, and this is making the beach… suck.” Shelley showed Robbie how to work the compass, but Lisa was utterly confused, saying her dig point would put her in the ocean. She also thought the sun rose in the west, earning incredulous looks from Adam and Amy. Tim finally managed to find his treasure chest. “I’m so happy, I don’t even care that we’re not first.”

Rather than using his given marker, Scott started measuring his paces by striding across the sand, while Keith continued to be befuddled by his compass. Robbie found his chest, leading Shelley to complain, “Seriously? I tell you how to solve it, and you find the treasure?” The wrestlers were happy to prove they’re not as dumb as people might’ve thought. Then Alli found her treasure, and the cyclists took off with Brooke & Robbie. Shortly thereafter, Adam was successful. Nici called to her mom, “You need to put it into overdrive. We’re up to six teams, let’s go!” Tim and Te Jay checked into the Pit Stop in second place. Meanwhile, Dennis finally realized he was working incorrectly. Amy found her treasure, and the scientists took off in sixth place. They were followed by Dennis & Isabelle, and Shelley & Nici. The remaining three – Keith, Lisa, and Scott – continued to struggle. Kym & Alli and Brooke & Robbie checked into the Pit Stop in third and fourth place, Brooke celebrating moving up from last. Adam & Bethany arrived (with treasure chest and shovel in tow!) to take fifth place, while Amy & Maya checked in sixth.

At the beach, the teams were getting more discouraged. The sun had set, making it even harder to work. Lisa said, “I can’t even use my shovel anymore, my hands are so raw,” while Keith kneeled on the sand, exhausted. Whitney was less than supportive, saying, “Just standing here looking at it is not working.” Keith countered with, “You need to help me positively! I can’t go any harder, or else I’ll faint.” Dennis & Isabelle and Shelley & Nici checked into the Pit Stop in seventh and eighth place. Back on the beach, Michael said, “If you’re in the wrong place, you could be here for eternity.” Working with flashlights and headlamps, the remaining three racers continued to struggle. Nearly four hours had elapsed, and it was shown that all three were digging mere feet away from where their treasure chests actually were. Keith considered quitting and taking the four-hour penalty. Whitney said that if he physically couldn’t dig anymore, then they should. They took the penalty, then decided to try to convince the other two teams to do the same, remembering a similar situation on the beach in Bora Bora in Season 22. They approached Lisa & Michelle, who liked the idea because they were confident they could beat the firefighters if they all did it. Michael & Scott joined the club.

Then came the race to the Pit Stop. The three teams sprinted for taxis, but this time the firefighters weren’t going to let the realtors get ahead of them. After a pushing match getting into a taxi, Lisa & Michelle were shut out. They left to find another one, snapping, “Well, aren’t they friendly?” Michael said, “I was a gentleman earlier, and it wasn’t going to happen twice.” The realtors found a cab, Lisa complaining that Michael had pushed her and scraped her arm. The race was on, and ultimately Keith & Whitney and Michael & Scott arrived to take ninth and tenth place. The realtors walked up in last, clearly unhappy. Lisa accused Michael of pushing her, then said, “You have to be ruthless, and that’s what we do in business and we should’ve done it here.” They called their loss “an embarrassment,” saying they never would’ve agreed to the penalty if they thought they might lose.

Roadblock: A Roadblock is a task that only one team member may perform. In this Roadblock, teams had to dig for Blackbeard’s treasure using a liquid compass and a unique set of coordinates.

Performed Roadblock: Tim, Adam, Alli, Jim, Dennis, Keith, Shelley, Amy, Lisa, Scott, Robbie

Order of Finish: 1. Jim & Misti 2. Tim & Te Jay 3. Kym & Alli 4. Brooke & Robbie 5. Adam & Bethany 6. Amy & Maya 7. Dennis & Isabelle 8. Shelley & Nici 9. Keith & Whitney 10. Michael & Scott 11. Lisa & Michelle