THE AMAZING RACE Debriefing: “Go Big or Go Home”

The TAR25 cast, at the starting line in Times Square (May 31). Courtesy of CBS

The Amazing Race started its 25th (!) season tonight back where it all started thirteen years ago: New York City. How weird is it to be watching the show on a Friday evening? When it’s assured to start on time? Wow.

The starting line? The intersection known as the “Crossroads of the World”… Times Square! For the first time ever, fans were invited to join Phil and the teams at the starting line on May 31, at 3am.

As always, the world is waiting for you… Good luck… Travel safe… GO!

But first, let’s introduce the cast:

  • Adam and Bethany: Married Surfers from Princeville, HI. (#soulsurfers)
  • Amy and Maya: Food Scientists from Madison, WI. (#sweetscientists)
  • Kym and Alli: Urban Bike Races from NYC (#thecyclists)
  • Tim and Te Jay: Dating Couple from Pasadena, CA (#collegesweethearts)
  • Lisa and Michelle: Realtor Sisters, from Miami, FL (#miamirealtors)
  • Michael and Scott: Firefighters from Boston, MA (#thefirefighters)
  • Dennis and Isabelle: Dating Accountant and Model from Tustin, CA (#thedatingcouple)
  • Brooke and Robbie: Dating Pro-Wrestlers, from Houston, TX and Woodbridge, NJ. (#thewrestlers)
  • Keith and Whitney: Engaged from Nashville, TN (#teamnashville)
  • Misti and Jim: Married Dentists from Columbia, SC (#thedentists)
  • Shelley and Nici: Mother/Daughter Flight Attendants from Detroit, MI (#momdaughter)
TAR25's new contestants. Courtesy: CBS

TAR25’s new contestants. Courtesy: CBS


Phil starts by talking about how it’s the show’s silver anniversary, how there are former racers in there and how history will be made. He also mentions the Save, which will one of the most powerful prizes ever on the show.

The first clue is to go to the finish line of the Race‘s first season. After asking the fans and former racers around, the teams take taxis to Flushing Meadows. There, their next clue states for them to fly to St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands – five teams will get to travel in the first flight via American and the other six will travel via Delta. (The difference between flights seems to be only 40 minutes.)

So, who got on the first flight? Tim and TeJay, Dennis and Isabelle, Adam and Bethany (who got there first, but stood in line for the wrong counter), Kym and Alli, Misti and Jim.

The next clue tells them to get to Vendor’s Plaza and sign up for a seaplane. The task, after they take it? “Look Before You Leap”: teams must climb up a rocky cliff and leap two stories to the Caribbean, where they must swim and get their next clue from inside a bottle.

The bottle contains a map that tells them to go to “Blackbeard’s Revenge,” a ship. The pirate gives them their next clue, another task: “Don’t Rock the Boat:” they have to go on a small boat and move it by following the yellow rope to the shore.

And that’s where we get our first roadblock of the season! “Worth Its Weight In Gold”: teams must use a traditional compass (that works differently to ours) and their shovel, from one of the ‘landmarks’ on the beach, to go to their specific set of coordinates (a treasure chest), where they’ll find their next clue.

Teams struggle quite a lot – they seem to be doing in the opposite direction – and I’m oddly reminded of the sandcastles roadblock in Bora Bora, from the first leg in TAR22. Jim is the only one who had any idea, and those performing the roadblock asked him for help.

In the end, he’s the first one to locate his treasure chest. The next clue tells them to go to the pit stop in Fort Christian. With no other teams being close to finishing, Misti and Jim are the first to arrive and thus win the powerful Save.

Order in the pit stop:

  1. Misti and Jim
  2. Tim and Te Jay
  3. Kym and Alli
  4. Brooke and Robbie
  5. Adam and Bethany
  6. Amy and Maya
  7. Dennis and Isabelle
  8. Shelley and Nici

The other three teams are still at the beach, unable to finish it. They’ve been there forever and are so close to the actual location – but digging in the wrong place. As a result, the teams decide to take the three-hour penalty together and run to take a cab that will take them to the pit stop…

Chaos ensues. Keith and Whitney get a cab. Michael and Scott do too, but push the sisters out when they try to get it (they’re done being gentlemen… but I’d add one of them was already in the cab, anyways). Lisa and Michelle get another one, and the cabs are racing it out.

At the mat, Lisa and Michelle get there when Team Survivor (sorry, TAR, it’s more fitting) and the Firefighters are already there. As such, they’re eliminated from the race and lament not having been as ruthless as they are in their jobs.


So the placement in this leg of the race:

  1. Misti and Jim (Winners of the Save)
  2. Tim and Te Jay
  3. Kym and Alli
  4. Brooke and Robbie
  5. Adam and Bethany
  6. Amy and Maya
  7. Dennis and Isabelle
  8. Shelley and Nici
  9. Keith and Whitney (3-hr penalty)
  10. Michael and Scott (3-hr penalty)
  11. Lisa and Michelle (3-hr penalty) [ELIMINATED]


Odds and Ends

  • This episode’s title was a quote by Shelley, right before the full intro.
  • However, my favorite quote (out of many, many funny lines) might have been Tim’s “I think my compass is broken. Medic?” Hilarious.
  • There was some drama while signing up for the seaplanes between the Realtor Sisters and the Firefighters, who held the grudge all the way until the end of the episode.
  • Every time a team got to the shore, a bang would be heard. Everyone who had been there for awhile got anxious.
  • It was awesome to see Phil and the teams interacting before the pit stop! Tim and Te Jay ran past him while he was introducing the task.
  • The pit stop at Fort Christian was definitely colorful and fun. I really liked Phil commented on Misti and Jim’s teeth.
  • Is it me, but wasn’t this a short leg? It had its fair share of drama, and the roadblock definitely shook up the orders but wow.
  • I always change my mind as the Race progresses, but so far I’m rooting for Adam and Bethany, and Amy and Maya.
  • CBS, those hashtags… No. I get their existence but I’m not too fond of them. Also, Keith and Whitney are Team Survivor, not Nashville, and we both know it.
  • Overall, a very fun first episode. I don’t dislike any of the teams too much! There is some great potential! I’m excited.
  • Next week on the Amazing Race: LONDON! (And since we saw punting… Cambridge and/or Oxford?) I’m so excited.

Please comment below with what you thought of the episode! Did I get any details wrong? What team are you rooting for this season?


… is a young graduate student that has been way too passionate about television ever since she was little. While she insists she doesn’t have a specific type of show, they all usually have strong but flawed lady characters, some derivation of the stubborn friends-in-love/friends-to-lovers trope, and they all make her yell at her tv a lot. She just wishes she had more hours in the day so she could actually write about this.
You can usually find her on Twitter, Tumblr, and at cassidy at

2 Responses to THE AMAZING RACE Debriefing: “Go Big or Go Home”

  1. Lucie Lucie says:

    Oh those hashtags! I get why they’re there (I guess) but I am not a fan. I miss the classic TAR that just had their relationship listed (married, newly dating, best friends, etc). It’s probably because I just finished watching TAR Canada but after watching this episode and the promos for next week, the stereotype is true: Canadians are just nice. The drama signing up for seaplanes and the shoving match, coupled with the promo that showed two teams freaking out about being eliminated? Too much drama and far too early for it.

    Having said all that, I agree – it was a very short leg! When Misti and Jim arrived at the mat, we still had half an hour to go. But that roadblock was tough! I’m hoping for more tasks like that throughout the season.

    Maybe it’s because of that gorgeous beach or that I was watching in HD, or the make up of the teams, but when they showed the girls fawning over Adam and jokingly asking him to take off his lifejacket, it felt more like one of those cheesy dating reality shows than TAR. I hope that stops.

    Too early to predict a winner or favourite teams, but I liked the energy and enthusiasm of Shelley and Nici. Hope the promos next week are a fake out.

    • Cassidy says:

      I miss the classic thing too. I liked that some were cheeky (like the ‘sweet scientists’ one — I saw it on their clothing) but overall… nope.
      I agree there was its fair amount of drama, but I also think it was necessary in a way: I am okay with the seaplane drama (don’t expect nice!) but they apparently said some “Adiós, suckers” at them. And honestly, the firefighters were in the taxi… how can they be angry about that? (They lost time going after that one.)
      What I’m trying to say, I dislike the drama in general, but this one was so silly it amused me.

      (I really wanna watch TARCAN. I’ve heard good things about it.)

      I also noticed that. I figured teams were going to take their sweet time at the beach, but wow. I am also hoping for more of these types of tasks… last season’s were a tad underwhelming at times.

      Oh my god, I could see that set up happening for some MTV show. It might have been done already, lol.

      I liked Shelley and Nici as well! The promo definitely scared me a bit — also hoping for a fake-out. But the pancake and the punting looked fun! London!!

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