Quick recap:

Episode One: Yay for Gary and Mallory! Maybe Amanda and Kris will survive this U-Turn. Sort of glad (though surprised) the Cowboys struggled - I have my favourites and these guys are a serious threat. Nervous for Margie and Luke - not such a great start. Vyxsin’s timidness comes as a surprise, I always thought she was the tougher one.

Episode Two: Well done Zev and Justin, if it wasn’t for the passport in S15, I believe these guys would have gone a very long way. Gutted for Amanda and Kris (two all star seasons and both times the first team to go included one of the prettiest girls in race history). I would liked for them to have stayed, but I didn’t want Ron and Chrisstina to go either.

Episode Three: So maybe they didn’t mean it, but once the Globetrotters realised it wasn’t their fanny pack, they should definitely have returned it. Accident or not, they deserved that 30 minute penalty (I was actually surprised when Phil didn’t issue it in the first place. Remember Don and Mary Jean taking Adam and Rebecca’s car in S6?). I seriously thought Jaime and Cara’s catch up was all in the editing, and though I felt bad for Mel and Mike, I’m chuffed the redheads remained. Zev and Justin are really proving themselves, are they ready to beat Rob and Amber’s streak of three consecutive wins in the first 3 legs of S11?

And finally, I come to our most recent episode. Teams go to China.

Vyxsin has really surprised me. I always saw her (and Kent) as strong and optimistic. In short, this leg was a nightmmare, one of the worst ever. First, they missed a mandatory flight that they had roughly ten hours to catch. Secondly, Vyxsin leaves her passport on a counter. Thirdly, the pair not only forget their fanny pack, but they leave it in a gondola. As of yet, their fate is unknown. Her compass and map mishap on the way to the airport was more than a mistake: it was a meltdown. Her voice raised into hysteria at one point as she struggled to know what she should even do with herself, burying her face in massive map. All ofthis in spite of their ”PMA”. Okay, so she did the same thing in S12, but this time she really panicked. I admire Kent’s patience. It just shows his love for Vyxsin and illustrates the patience he has for her. It’s a shame that they worked to catch up and became yet another team to be careless with that darned fanny pack.

Ronald seems to be even more ignorant to how he tries his daughter’s patience than he was in S12. Sure, I really like this team, but Ron is constantly losing focus and I don’t blame Christina’s complaint’s of “Daddy!” all of the time. Apart from his tendency to be distracted by China’s local delicacies, Ron also had a surprissingly aggressive outburts during the wrong bus incident. He has had his rants, (oh by has he ranted) but I don’t recall him blowing up like that before. Flight Time and Big Easy kindly halted their bus to allow the father and daughter onboard. Perhaps they were showing no hard feelings after they moved Ron and Christina’s fanny pack. I hope Ron can calm down and pay attention so that he and Christina can at least get a few more legs in.

Zev and Justin’s winning streak comes to an end with Zev’s confused performance at the Roadblock. This team has shown itself to be highly capable in spite of any false illusions the public may have had about Zev’s Asperger’s. But this leg, Zev started to indicate that he could potentially be a hinderance to Justin. All the same, Zev’s breakdown has been highly similiar to those of many contestants  in the past and is fairly normal for any team under the stresses of the Race. He prevailed to complete the Roadblock ahead of last place Vyxsin who was also flailing about in despair.

Justin made a good point I hadn’t thought about. I usually see time penalties well in advance of the offending team’s arrival at the Pit Stop. But I never thought about the possibility of Kent and Vyxsin being penalized for not taking the mandatory flight out of Japan. What else could they do?

Another thing: is this double leg theme going to continue and just replace the non elimination legs? Most double legs in the past result in no elimination but also don’t award the first place team. In this case, the first place teams at the end of the double legs (go Margie and Luke!) received awards. With two double legs and the standard 3 non elimination legs, this race could be the longest in quite some time. Otherwise, the concept of no punishment for the last place team annoys me. It annoyed me in the beginning of the race (would Chris and Alex still have won if they had to complete two Speed Bumps?) as last place teams got to stay in the race with no extra hurdle to get over. I saw this as unfair on the teams that placed ahead. Also, the confiscation of money and possessions and the Marking for Elimination seemed a bit wishy washy, as if the producers had made them up half way through a season. The speed bump will hopefully remain.

Final point. On “next time”, we see Margie and Luke arrive at the U-Turn. This excited me to a ridiculous point. Not only can nobody U-Turn them, but they have the potential to match one of my all time favourites teams (Dustin and Kandice) by using the power to slow down another team, twice. Luke is highly competitive and I’ll be surpised if he or Margie pass up this chance, regardless of whether or not it is “blind”. As a big fan, I hope their 1st place finish is a sign of things to come.