Episode 1201: ARI & STAELLA FEEL KARMA’S WRATH
The twelfth edition of THE AMAZING RACE kicked off in spectacular fashion as Teams flew to the lush, green hills of Shannon, Ireland, and rode bicycles across a ravine suspended over the North Atlantic. Siblings Azaria & Hendekea claimed victory, while karma stung best friends Ari & Staella, who stole another Team’s taxi and ended up eliminated when they couldn’t coax their donkey to move.
READY, SET, SLOW!
Eleven Teams of two with preexisting relationships, ranging from friends to family to couples, converged at the famous Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles for the start of the 12th edition of THE AMAZING RACE. After host Phil Keoghan informed the excited Teams that the winner after 11 legs of racing would take home the one million dollar prize, he raised his arm, wished them safe travel and sent the Teams running to their bags.
Armed with only the knowledge that they must fly to Shannon, Ireland, Teams raced to the vehicles lined single-file in the narrow driveway of the Playboy Mansion. The nervous anticipation of the incredible adventure ahead made Teams anxious to speed away, all except for grandfather and grandson Nicolas & Donald, who snagged the lead vehicle and slowly prepared for their journey. Even with honking horns from impatient drivers behind them, Nick said, “Take your time, Don. We’re number one.” Even Phil seemed somewhat confused at the hold up as Don counted their money before finally driving away.
LEFT OR RIGHT?
The intersection at the end of the long Playboy Mansion driveway forced Teams to make their first decision of the race: turn left, the correct direction to the freeway and airport, or turn right. Nicolas & Donald, best friends Ari & Staella, newly dating couple TK & Rachel, dating Goths Kynt & Vxysin, and sisters Marianna & Julia all made the wrong turn. Siblings Azaria & Hendekea initially made the correct turn, but second-guessed their decision and turned around, allowing dating couple Jason & Lorena to take the lead to the airport.
At the airport Jason & Lorena continued to set the pace as they booked the earlier British Airways flight to Shannon, Ireland, along with friends Shana & Jennifer, married ministers Kate & Pat and dating couple Nathan & Jennifer. Sisters Marianna & Julia showed some speed running from the shuttle to snag the last pair of tickets on the British Airways flight, beating out siblings Azaria & Hendekea who settled for tickets on an Aer Lingus flight 45 minutes behind. Nick & Don, newly dating TK & Rachel, best friends Ari & Staella, dating Goths Kynt & Vyxsyn and father and daughter Ron & Christina were also on the Aer Lingus flight.
Instead of bemoaning their fate on the second flight, siblings Azaria & Hendekea decided to turn lemons into lemonade by teaming up with father and daughter Team, Ron & Christina, to research information on Shannon, as well as call a service to have taxis waiting for them when they landed. On this budding alliance, Christina remarked, “They have a family bond and we have a family bond. We share the same spirit of the game.”
THE STOLEN TAXI
When a delay in London caused the British Airways flight to land late, Teams on the Aer Lingus flight suddenly took the lead. With taxis already waiting for them, the siblings and father and daughter should have together been in first place, but best friends Ari & Staella stole Ron & Christina’s taxi. With giggles and a high five, the best friends led the way to the ferry port in the town of Rossaveal with the siblings close behind. However, Ron & Christina exacted their revenge by passing the devious best friends before reaching the ferry docks and then confronted the pair who played dumb about what they had done.
THE LONG ROAD
While Teams on the British Airways flight panicked when they ran out of the airport, all 11 Teams made it onto the same ferry heading to the island of Inis Mor. When the ferry docked on the island on a very wet, cloudy afternoon, the first mad dash of the race began as everyone frantically asked for directions to Teampall Bheanain, considered to be the world’s smallest church. Once there, Teams had to sign up for one of three ferries departing the following morning back to the mainland. Sisters Julia & Marianna, grandfather and grandson Nicolas & Don, and father and daughter Ron & Christina all got bad directions putting them behind and ultimately landing them on the 9:30am ferry. Solid teamwork in the rough conditions propelled dating couples Lorena & Jason, TK & Rachel, and Kynt & Vyxsin to the front, securing the 8am ferry. Unlike these couples, Nathan & Jennifer showed glimpses of a troubled relationship. Frustrated by Jennifer’s slow walking, Nate pointed out that the other female Racers ran faster, prompting Jennifer to scream, “I don’t care! Don’t compare me to other girls!” Later, Jen added, “Do I want to spend my life with someone who’s going to treat me like that?” The bickering couple kissed and made up high atop the Irish countryside at Teampall Bheanain, as they snagged an 8:30am ferry with best friends Ari & Staella and siblings Azaria & Hendekea. Friends Shana & Jennifer and married ministers Kate & Pat joined the family Teams of Nick & Don, Ron & Christina and Julia & Marianna on the 9:30am ferry. Ron astutely commented, “This is the wakeup call that we need to do something better.”
THE WRONG TURN
When the first ferry returned to the Irish mainland, Lorena & Jason, TK & Rachel, and Kynt & Vyxsin ripped open their clues waiting on the windshield of their vehicles and discovered they needed to drive 42 miles to Cleggan Farm and ride a tandem bicycle to the next clue.
While all three couples got directions from locals, Jason ditched the other Teams against the warnings of girlfriend Lorena, who told him to wait for them. Lorena continued to protest, insisting they were driving the wrong way, but Jason wouldn’t listen to her. Lorena’s shouting didn’t faze Jason, who responded, “All right, well, I’m not going to let you stress me out.” After finally asking for directions, Lorena & Jason realized they had gone in a complete loop, prompting Jason to snipe, “You weren’t helping me out. You were screaming.” An exasperated Lorena replied, “I feel like we’re not communicating well, which is our problem in real life.”
HIGH WIRE ACT
Arriving at Cleggan Farm, TK & Rachel took a lead over Kynt & Vyxsin, whose tandem bike chain broke while pedaling through the lush green hills of Ireland. Opening their next clue, TK & Rachel encountered the first Roadblock of the race. In this Roadblock, one Team member had to ride a high-wire bicycle across a wind swept ravine suspended almost 200 feet above the North Atlantic, while their partner, sitting eight feet below, was taken for the ride.
The initial whoops and hollers of excitement from TK soon turned to moments of trepidation as he said, “I’m not scared of a lot man, but this is terrifying.” He later added, “When the bike starts swaying, I don’t care who you are, it’s going to make you a little scared.” After arriving safely at the other end, Rachel quipped, “Making this look easy.” Opening their clue still in first place, the dating couple received instructions to choose a donkey and fill each of its baskets with 15 pieces of peat. Then they have to walk the donkey back to the entrance of the farm to receive their next clue.
As TK & Rachel finished loading up their donkey’s basket with peat, Nathan & Jennifer and Kynt & Vyxsin raced across the ravine and selected donkeys of their own. With siblings Azaria & Hendekea, best friends Ari & Staella, and dating couple Lorena & Jason soon joining the donkey walking, it soon became clear that how a Team treated their donkey affected how fast the animal moved. The bickering of Nathan & Jennifer while loading the peat appeared to lead to an immobile donkey. A similar result occurred for Ari & Staella, whose donkey didn’t respond to Ari’s threat, “You make me lose this, I’m going to cut you up and eat you.” As frustration set in, Nate shouted at the donkey and Jen snapped, “You can’t get like that!”
While donkey woes reduced Jennifer to tears and Ari to snits, TK & Rachel’s mellow words guided their donkey to the hitching post at the Cleggan Farm entrance. Opening their clue, the dating couple learned they had to drive 13 miles to the Connemara Heritage Center, a tribute to Ireland’s agricultural past and the Pit Stop.
Following closely behind with their donkeys, siblings Azaria & Hendekea and dating Goths Kynt & Vyxsin overtook TK & Rachel on the way to the Pit Stop after TK took a wrong turn. Stepping onto the mat in first place, Azaria & Hendekea heard the great news from Phil that they had won a trip for two from Travelocity to the Fairmont Banff Resort in Alberta, Canada. On his sister’s determination, Azaria commented, “You look at her small frame and you don’t see the tiger that’s within.”
As Kynt & Vyxsin and TK & Rachel snagged second and third place respectively, Nick & Don passed Ari & Staella, who unsuccessfully tried bribing their donkey with hay and Nathan & Jennifer. As Ron & Christina passed the furious Ari & Staella, Christina commented, “I was really surprised how Ari & Staella were treating their donkey. Donkeys have souls, too.” Soon, every Team from the last ferry passed Ari & Staella, who still remained at the initial hitching post with their stubborn donkey in last place. A teary Staella said, “Yeah, this is great.”
DONKEY’S LAST STAND
With Jason & Lorena finishing the leg in fourth place and Nicolas & Donald in fifth, tears flowed freely for Jennifer with a helpless Nathan looking on. Friends Shana & Jennifer, married ministers Kate & Pat, father and daughter Ron & Christina and sisters Mariana & Julia all passed by them. Eventually, Nathan & Jennifer let their frustration go and tried a new tactic of pushing until the donkey finally started to move. As best friends Ari & Staella continued to push and pull to no avail, Nate & Jen finally reached the hitching post en route to a tenth place finish just behind the sisters.
Stepping onto the mat in last place, best friends Ari & Staella became the first Team eliminated from the race. Referring to his taxi stealing antics the day before, Ari quipped, “Karma came back and bit us in the ass.” Staella added, “Ari was great the whole time on this race. He was my rock. He really pushed me to just try my hardest. It was a good feeling, because I know that he really was in it to win it. I think it brought us even closer if that’s possible.”
In this Roadblock, one Team member had to choose a high-wire bicycle and ride it across a wind swept ravine suspended almost 200 feet above the North Atlantic while their partner, sitting eight feet below, was taken for the ride. TK, Vyxsin, Nathan, Azaria, Staella, Jason, Nicolas, Ron, Kate, Jennifer and Marianna performed Roadblock.
There was no Detour on this leg.
There was no Fast Forward on this leg.
There was no U-Turn on this leg.
There was no Speed Bump on this leg.
There was no Fast Forward on this leg.
There was no Yield on this leg.