The Amazing Race Premiere Recap: Which Team Was Thrown for a Loop in Mexico?

Thirteen teams start the adventure of a lifetime in the Season 36 premiere of The Amazing Race, but one of those duos is about to have their dreams shattered. Such is life on the Race!

It all kicks off in Mexico, where these new travel-hungry pairs must retrieve a clue from a group of high-flying birdmen (aka voladores) in downtown Puerto Vallarta. While the teams partake in their first self-drive, we meet bickering lovebirds Derek and Shelisa, mother and son Danny and Angie, cousins Kishori and Karishma and more (get a refresher of the entire cast here), before dating couple Ricky and Cesar learn all about the race’s very first…

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DETOUR | The racers can choose between “Pick ‘Em Up,” where they must transport heavy rocking horses to children, or “Pin ‘Em Down,” a memory challenge featuring Mexican wrestlers called luchadores. While Maya and Rohan get very, very lost, Ricky and Cesar, and Rod and Leticia try their luck at the lucha libre match.

By the time Chris and Mary arrive to the “Pick ‘Em Up” task, all of the rocking horses are taken (only seven teams could partake in either detour), forcing them to waste precious time and change detours to the wrestlers. Mary makes the questionable decision to fill in Juan and Shane about said lack of horses, and being at the bottom of the pack, that could come back to haunt her.

Or maybe not, seeing as Maya and Rohan have somehow gotten their car stuck sideways down a street not made for driving. It’s a real Austin Powers-style situation going on here and from the looks of it, Phil might have to meet them there to bail them out and eliminate them from the race. (JK, they eventually get out, though Maya calls it “one of the most stressful moments of my life.” Do I feel bad for laughing at her misfortune? Nah!)

Ricky and Cesar are the first to clear the detour, heading out to find Lienzo Charro Miguel “Prieto” Ibarria, but Rod and Leticia are proving to be competitors and are hot on their trail.

ROADBLOCK | “Who’s feeling loopy?” In the season’s first roadblock, players must complete a charro challenge, leaping through spinning lasso loops without knocking off their wide-brimmed hats. Rod, an extremely tall pro athlete, signs up for this one and the dude’s height quickly becomes an issue. But with a bit of persistence, he gets the job done, and he and his wife head out for the season’s first Pit Stop.

Meanwhile, Karishma takes 18 attempts (!) to complete the roadblock, only to then realize that she wasn’t wearing the required handkerchief! (Thirty-six seasons in and people still aren’t reading their clues — shame!)

PIT STOP | Rod and Leticia maintain their steady lead and learn that they’re team No. 1! But… they’re still racing! Coming in second are Ricky and Cesar, while Derek and Shelisa arrive in third. Unfortunately for Maya and Rohan, their lack of navigation skills causes them to come in last, and since there are no non-elimination legs anymore, they are eliminated from the race.

So who are your early favorites? Grade the premiere below, then light up the comments!

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