They Don't Call It The Amazing Race For Nothin'!
The Amazing Race Season 17 Episode 1 (09/26/10)
The latest edition of The Amazing Race departed from an iconic mansion in the fishing town of Gloucester, Massachusetts and the eleven teams raced off to their first destination city, London, England. Two flights were available to London; the first would carry three teams and give them a thirty minute lead on the remaining eight teams. The stakes of the first leg were also increased when host Phil Keoghan told the group that the winners would receive a new feature on the race, the Express Pass, which would allow the team to skip any challenge along the race.
Ron and Tony easily beat the other ten teams to Logan Airport in Boston to claim the first spot on the first flight to London. Similarly, Jill and Thomas outpaced everyone but Ron and Tony to claim the second spot. Despite beating Jill and Thomas to the airport, Chad and Stephanie went to the wrong terminal and were forced to back track to the correct counter. The error almost cost them the last spot on the first flight, but they managed to barely beat Katie and Rachel for the third and final spot.
Once in London, teams are given instructions to find Stonehenge for their next clue, but find figuring out directions to the famous stone structures to be very difficult. The half hour advantage given to the first three teams quickly melts away as all eleven teams seem to struggle to make their way. Despite the handicap, Nat and Kat make up the difference and arrive at Stonehenge first. Jill and Thomas are the only pair on the first flight to take advantage of their head start arriving second.
From Stonehenge, teams are given the cryptic clue to find the castle that is the opposite of Northeaster castle. Teams need to find Eastnor castle and the word play and subsequent directions jumbles the running order of the teams. Brooke and Claire are able to decipher the clue quickly and follow directions to arrive at Eastnor castle in first place. Jill and Thomas and Nat and Kat are close on their heels while Chad and Stephanie have made up ground.
After scaling the castle walls while peasants tried to repel them by pouring water on their heads, the teams had to cross a river using an old style “boat” which resembled a round canoe. Attempting to pull themselves across the river using a rope, almost every team struggled keeping their boat above water as balance issues literally sank several teams. Only Gary and Mallory were able to make it across on the first try without getting wet.
Once across the river, the teams encountered their first Roadblock. The selected team member had to use an old medieval weapon called a ballista to fire a watermelon 50 feet and destroy a knight in shining armor. After crossing the water with relative ease Jill and Thomas and Nat and Kat completed the Roadblock and finished first and second for the leg.
Brooke and Claire, however, did not fare as well. On one attempt for Claire the ballista backfired and shot the watermelon back at her, hitting her in the face. Stunned, but relatively unhurt, Claire was shocked to learn from her partner that she needed to continue on. Two fires later, Claire destroyed the knight, but not before losing ground to two teams.
The teams they lost ground to were Connor and Jonathan and Katie and Rachel who also passed Chad and Stephanie at the river as the dating couple continued to struggle. Connor mastered the ballista very quickly to finish in third place, while Claire impressed Katie and Rachel by continuing on after being hit by a watermelon to finish fourth.
Chad and Stephanie finally made it across the river, but their struggles would not end there. After completing the roadblock, the couple got woefully lost en route to the pit stop allowing two more teams to pass them (Gary and Mallory and Michael and Kevin), finishing eighth. Andie and Jenna rebounded from car troubles to finish ninth and Nick and Vicki surprised themselves with a tenth place finish. Despite starting the day in first place and on the first plane, Ron and Tony could not make up for their navigational errors and were eliminated.