The Amazing Race 2020 Recap
Episode 1: One Million Miles
By Phil Keoghan
October 21, 2020
Greetings from the other side of the apocalypse!
I won’t bother asking you how you’re doing since I know the answer. Think of it this way. As long as you haven’t eaten people meat, things aren’t so bad.
Anyway, somehow, The Amazing Race has returned with a new season. Apparently, they filmed this one before the pandemic (Remember 2018? Doesn’t that seem like forever ago?), as opposed to the season they had to shut down when God hit the pause button on society.
So, we will pretend like it’s perfectly normal for people to huddle together, unmasked, and cough germs on one another. We’ll act like airports are a real thing and not some fever dream. We’ll even go so far as to pretend like other countries will allow Americans to enter.
Admittedly, you’ll have to stretch the limits of your imagination here. Then again, it’s not like you’re doing anything else. Besides, one of the contestants this season is both a former All-Pro running back AND someone who headlined a wrestling pay-per-view. Due to the plague, he can’t do any of that now, though.
The “newest” season starts at the Hollywood Bowl, and immediately the team of DeAngelo Williams and Gary Barnidge gets noticed by a couple of bearded dudes. This duo played together for the Carolina Panthers.
They’re not the only professional athletes, though. Other players this season include a pair of Olympic hurdlers, a volleyball player, and a former NBA player (from the Atlanta Hawks). So, DeAngelo may be the most recognizable, but there are some formidable competitors.
When Phil yells, “GO!” the teams run to grab their first clue, which directs them to go to Trinidad & Tobago. Upon arrival, the teams must go to a 24-hour fruit stand for their first clue. There, they must pick up some steel pans that they will roll to a street festival. A creepy masked dude from Carnivale known as the Midnight Robber will then hand them a “ticket” to their next flight.
Software engineers Eswar & Aparna are in the back of the pack, but they figure the people in the front will mess each other up. It’s a strategy, we suppose.
Will & James obtain the last spot on the first flight, while the aforementioned Eswar & Aparna find themselves demoralized in last place.
Upon arrival in Tobago, they’ll proceed to Swallows Beach. It might seem like an advantage, but there’s only a 30-minute difference between flights. It’s nothing like the four to six hours we’ve seen in some previous seasons. We’re only on the first leg, after all!
Teams board a speed boat with instructions to find a lock that matches the number and color combination on a fish they carry with them. Some teams had no idea that they needed the combination or the colors, so they must wade back to their boat for additional information. Obviously, this gives the second wave of teams time to catch up.
Hung & Chee have no idea what their color combo is, so their strategy is to try every fish until they get it right. Meanwhile, sisters Michelle & Victoria complete their task followed quickly by Riley & Maddison, a pair of volleyball player brothers.
At fish #55, Hung & Chee finally get it right.
Hey! It’s time for a Road Block! For this challenge, one member of each team must play a portion of Day-O (The Banana Boat Song), popularized by Harry Belafonte, on the steel drum. For our part, David figures it’s math, while Kim can read music so even if it’s in number form, this seems like a simple challenge.
By the way, the steel drum is the only acoustic instrument to be invented in the 20th century!
Kellie & LaVonne, Olympic sprinters, feel disappointment over their performance in the fish challenge, as they hate being in last place.
On her first attempt, super-intense Michelle botches the second section, causing disapproval from the judge. This gives an opening to Hung, who gets it perfectly on the first try.
The next clue directs the teams to… the Pit Stop? Already?
Anyway, they apparently must cross the finish line at a goat racing facility… Hung & Chee have the first attempt – and it’s not so easy. The goats are strong, and they pull Chee right down to the ground, landing flat on her back on the Pit Stop mat.
They now must go to Bogata, Colombia.
Sisters Michelle & Victoria cross second, with Phil learning from Chee’s spill. He tells them to drop the goat rope right before they arrive.
Third place is the volleyball brothers, followed by James & Will. Father/son pair Jerry & Frank also cruise on through.
The friends from Dayton, Tennessee (close to our neck of the woods) struggle hard as Cody can’t quite get it.
DeAngelo laments the fact that he didn’t take this challenge. He’s certain he had music in his lineage, versus Gary… who almost certainly did not.
Leo & Alanna hit the Pit Stop, followed by Aparna & Eswar and then Kaylynn & Haley.
Gary gets his Day-O on his 11th try, which means DeAngelo will not have to face his fear of finishing last. Olympic sprinter Kellie gets it next.
A bit of false editing might have us think that Nathan & Cody have a chance. They do not. Gary & DeAngelo mention their boat only has one engine, which does allow Kellie & LaVonne to get ahead of them.
Amusingly, Gary’s goat looks tired, and they barely head to the mat at a light jog. Or perhaps the goat is just intimidated by the dude’s hugeness.
That leaves Cody & Nathan on the outside looking in, and they are in fact the first team eliminated.
First impressions? Some of these players are… a lot. But who cares? The Amazing Race is back. See you next time as the teams head to Colombia!