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Freelance entertainment writer, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.

The Amazing Race, Feb. 17 – Looking for a Vodka-7 But Finding a Clue

Phil addresses the teams saying they’ll be headed to a tropical paradise in a few minutes that the Race has never been to before. They will take part in a thrilling challenge that will literally take their breath away. If they win this first leg, they’ll win the Express Pass as well as another Express Pass to give to another team. They’re shaking it up this season! They have until the fourth leg to decide who to give it to. What happens if they’re eliminated before they give it to someone?

The first clue is inside a brand new Ford Fusion. They’ll pick a car and drive themselves to the airport. “Travel safe. Go!”

The teams scramble to grab their bags and run to the Ford Fusions. They find out through the onboard video that they’re heading to Bora Bora. There are two flights and only room for five teams on the first flight, landing an hour before the other.

Chuck and Wynona park and board a shuttle, as The Twins and Pam and Winnie board another. The girls confirm the guys are twins but don’t believe them when they say they are a deliveryman and a Kindergarten teacher. Apparently they don’t look like the King of Queens. Winnie says they just look too smart, so they shouldn’t embarrass themselves. They then admit to being OB/GYNs.

Bates/Anthony and Caroline/Jennifer board another shuttle. Bates thinks the girls are great and good-looking, so he and Anthony will obviously have their eyes on them.

Chuck and Wynona hit the ticket counter first and get tickets on the first flight. Pamela/Winnie and the The OB/GYNS are the next to arrive. The other teams are running in, yet the fourth team to get the first flight are Dave and Connor, with the last team being Jessica and John. Caroline and Jennifer are upset to be the sixth in line and just miss it.

The twins, Pam/Winnie, and Dave/Connor discuss what this first challenge might be, figuring it must be heights but also giving consideration to it being a water challenge. Dave is afraid of heights. Pam and Winnie are making friends all over hoping to get the second Express Pass.

Max/Katie, Bates/Anthony, Matt/Daniel (already nicknamed the firefighters by the others), Caroline and Jennifer (already nicknamed the country singers by the others) Joey and Meghan (Team YouTube), and Mona and Beth (Roller Derby) will be on the second flight. Katie says in their everyday life they don’t have friends, but they know they have to play the social game to win the Race. They start making friends with Team YouTube.

The teams connect in Tahiti, and the teams on the first flight gather around to discuss the second Express Pass options. The doctors speak up and say they figure one of the teams on their flight will win the leg, so they are thinking to keep it fair that they should all agree that the team that comes in second on Phil’s mat will get the second Express Pass. Dave thinks this is a good idea, as do Jessica and John. They form a big major alliance and agree not to tell the others. John compares this to Fight Club.

The first flight lands in Bora Bora and the teams reach the first cluebox holding the first Roadblock. Teams must first sign up for one of six helicopter flights, with each one carrying a maximum of two teams, then one person from each team will jump out of the helicopter and freefall in a tandem skydive as their partner takes a water taxi to the landing zone. They’ll reconnect and get the next clue.

Winnie, Jamil (I think), John, Connor, and Chuck decide they’ll be jumping from the helicopter. Better them than me. John and Jamil (I was right!) will be in the first trip, followed by Connor and Winnie, and Chuck. John says he was born for this, while Jamil says this is what the show is all about,. Connor is excited about this being his first time, and Winnie mentions that she has to do the heights and eating challenges, so she got “the crap end of the deal.”

John jumps first, saying he had a 360 degree view of the landscape, with crystal clear emerald-blue water. Jamil sits on the edge and waits to jump and has to remind himself this is for a million dollars. Jennifer runs up to meet up with John, and they get a clue telling them to take a water taxi to Eden Beach. Jamil and Idries meet up (Idries is wearing a bandana … I hope he continues throughout the Race to make it easier) as well.

Connor jumps, saying, “I love you Mom,” as his dad watches from the water taxi, saying they thought they were going to lose him when he had cancer, but he’s a tough kid who never gave up and came back stronger than he was before, and here he is now having an incredible experience. Winnie jumps with her tandem person giving a thumbs up, and Chuck calls this the “awesomest” feeling he’s ever had.”

John and Jessica reach Eden Beach and find another Road Block. In this one, one person from each team needs to find the next clue buried underneath a sand castle. It will be in scorching temperatures that can reach 100 degrees. If they don’t find it, they have to rebuild the castle before they try another one. Jessica compares it to opening a Christmas present and having to wrap it back up. Idries jumps in and does this challenge for his team.

The second flight arrives and the teams run to the cluebox. Anthony, Caroline (again, hard to tell which is which), Mona, Max, Matt, and Meghan sign up for the jump. Apparently if your name starts with M, you’re jumping.

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