‘Amazing Race’ Season 29 Episode 1: Spoilers, Recaps, And Commentary

The Amazing Race Season 29 Episode 1 aired on Thursday night, and if you missed it, or if you just enjoy reading spoilers, recaps, and commentary, the Inquisitr has you covered.

Warning: The remainder of this article contains spoilers.

If you’ve been keeping up with Amazing Race news this spring, you already knew that this season brings a twist: Bucking the tradition of having teams with existing relationships (siblings, spouses, parents and children, for example) compete, this season instead brings 22 strangers together. Before the season, host Phil Keoghan announced that the competing teams would meet each other for the first time at the starting line.

Here now, courtesy of Entertainment Weekly, is how the first episode went down.

At Grand Hope Park in Los Angeles, the contestants gathered at the starting line. After Phil introduced the new season and explained the twist to the contestants, the teams began a contest to determine the order in which players would get to pick teammates. On Phil’s “Go,” they were given directions to a nearby luggage store to find luggage marked with a Panamanian flag. As the contestants scrambled about L.A., brief video segments introduced the competitors.

After the luggage competition, the team-picking began. The then, as the teams were selected, viewers were shown team names and a hashtag to accompany them on social media. Here are the teams.

  • Seth (police officer) and Olive (firefighter) #TeamAmerica
  • Matt (professional snowboarder) and Redmond (motivational speaker) #TheBoys
  • Shamir (banker) and Sara (real estate agent) #TheSandSExpress
  • Scott (recruiting manager) and Brooke (attorney) #TeamBrookeAndScott
  • Becca (rock climbing instructor and Floyd (college student) #TeamFun
  • Vanck (investment researcher) and Ashton (real estate agent) #TeamVanckAndAshton
  • Tara (army officer) and Joey (police officer) #TeamMomAndDad
  • London (artist) and Logan (surgical consultant) #TeamLoLo
  • Jenn (model) and Kevin (occupational therapist) #LongHairDontCare
  • Michael (butcher) and Liz (auctioneer) #TeamLizAndMike
  • Jessie (police officer) and Francesca (Army drill sergeant) #SwoleSisters

Once the teams were assembled, Phil announced that one of the bags contained this season’s one and only Express Pass (Becca and Floy’ds bag). Then Phil announced the first leg of the race: The teams were to make their way to LAX and then catch one of two flights to Panama City, Panama. Since Jessie and Francesca became a team by default — that is, no one picked either of them — Phil gave them a valuable consolation prize: a free trip to the airport.

In Panama City, teams were sent to the Miraflores Locks along the Panama Canal, a task that was easier said than done. As the teams struggled through congested traffic and got lost, viewers began to see some team dynamics emerging. Some teams, such as Becca and Floyd and Seth and Olive, clicked right away. Others, such as Mike and Liz and Brooke and Scott, started bickering.

The clue at the locks sent the teams to the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center, where they found a clue that sent them to the Detour: Scoot or Shoot.

In Scoot, teams could race canoes along a short course against a local professional team. If they lost, they’d be given a head start on the next try, then a bigger head start on the next try, and so on. In Shoot, teams could stand in the canoe and shoot at targets using a traditional bow and arrow used by a local tribe.

Seth and Olive finished Scoot on their second attempt and were given a clue that sent them to the first Pit Stop, meeting Phil under a flag along a busy highway. At the river, some teams struggled with the Detour, and with each other, while other teams, late to arrive, struggled to finish before darkness. Unfortunately for Kevin and Jenn, darkness fell and the Detour was closed before they could finish.

Seth and Olive were the first to arrive at the Pit Stop. As the other teams straggled in, Phil talked to them about their choices of teammates. Despite the bickering, all of the players insisted that made the right choices in their teams. Kevin and Jenn arrived at the Pit Stop in 10th place but were given a two-hour penalty for not completing the Detour. Last-place arrivals Liz and Mike arrived to find that they were last, but because of Kevin and Jenn’s penalty, they were actually 10th place and would continue to compete. Kevin and Jenn were the first team eliminated.

Some Analysis

Right now, the smart money seems to be on Seth and Olive. The cop and the firefighter both get along, and each competitor’s strengths makes up for the other’s weaknesses. Similarly, Becca and Floyd have become instant BFFs. Meanwhile, bickering teams Mike and Liz and Brooke and Scott will provide producers with plenty of drama to show the cameras, but how they handle further stops on the race remains to be seen.

The Amazing Race airs on Thursdays at 10 p.m. Eastern Time on CBS.

[Featured Image by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]