The Amazing Race 23

Episode 2: Power Rankings

By Daron Aldridge

October 6, 2013

Penalty shmenalty.

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Last week, Phil said “GO!” and "GO" they did. I declare that the one hour season premiere is always preferred over the dragging it out exercise of bad TV editing when they make it two hours. Unless there is something truly extraordinary going on, keep it to an hour.

As expected, it was a brisk and fun hour that gave enough of a glimpse at each team, but no one seemed to get too much screen time. Still, a couple of teams (which I have a tie in the rankings) didn't do much on the good or bad side to stand out.

Overall, it was a "business as usual" start to the season and that's okay by me. Sharpen your pitchforks and round up the villagers to storm my castle because here are my rankings:

1. Travis & Nicole: Married ER doctors. All right…I admit that they may just be the team with the earliest assigned time penalty in Amazing Race history and I pray for the sake of their trauma patients a similar misreading doesn’t happen on their watch. But given how close the teams were bunched together from the first flight, we can see how quickly Mr. & Mrs. Dr. completed the tasks. The 30-minute penalty only resulted in one team getting in front of them. Plus, despite the slip-up (and subsequent admonishment from Phil), they kept their heads about them and didn’t play the blame game. I still believe they are the team to beat.


2. Jason & Amy: New England dating couple. The misfortune of just missing out on the first flight to Chile put them immediately in the back of the pack. But like Travis & Nicole, they stayed positive and worked well together. Add in the fact that they completely smoked the other three teams on their flight in the tasks; these daters are too strong to ignore. It also helps that Amy’s Spanish fluency will be quite handy as long as they stick around South America. I am keeping them ranked high (whether foolishly or not).

3. Tim & Marie: Exes from New Jersey. Oh sweet annoyance from Amazing Race teams, how I didn’t miss you. Whether I’m right about who wins the season or not, I can take pride in that I pegged this team as the one that I will dislike the most (at least for now). Ex-Tim, which is what I shall call him from now on to distinguish from the other Tim…OK-Tim, doesn’t seem to be too bad but Marie has quickly shown why they are likely exes. She’s just abrasive, loud and frequently in his face. While I optimistically picked them to flounder more, the fact that they performed well and earned an Express Pass, thanks to Travis & Nicole, means they will likely be hanging around a while. Oh well, I guess we have to have someone to root against. Right?

4. Rowan & Shane: Business partners/actors. This is the team that I clearly underestimated if their third place first leg is any indication. They had a very smooth leg and didn’t seem to be in as "over-their-head" as I thought. I thought the silliness they conveyed in their intro interview would be a hindrance, but they performed nicely as a team and didn’t get overwhelmed by the competition. Will that carry on through the next legs? Who knows, but I am willing to give them credit for defying my expectations and bump them from the bottom to just outside of the top three ranking.

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