Phil's got more news. The Express Pass is still in the mix, even though it completely fizzled last season. As before, it allows the team who wins it to skip any one task in the race. "Trust me, you want the Express Pass," he says lamely. After all it could end up being one team's only chance to come in fifth rather than sixth out of nine or something. And, as always, the first team to cross the finish line after twelve legs will win a million dollars. Phil also tells them that if they think they know how everything will go, "Think again," because this race will be "very different." Yes, they'll be racing by astral projection! No, seriously -- for starters, the bags don't have any clues on them. The first clue is on Phil's person. To get it, they have to subdue him and wrestle him to the ground. Okay, actually, he tells them to "go into the desert" (as though they're not already there) and find something for Phil. He points them to their "search field," which is that armada of staked-down paper airplanes across the road. The first eight teams to bring back what Phil wants will be on the first flight, but the last three will be on the second flight, scheduled to land at their destination about ninety minutes later. Of course, there's never a guarantee that things will actually work out like that, and that's going to be even more the case this time, but I'm getting ahead of myself. And if that's not enough (which, as I just implied, it isn't), Phil says that whoever comes in last on this search will get an automatic U-Turn, meaning they'll have to do both sides of the first Detour. "As you all know, second chances don't come free." For a second there I was worried that someone's "second chance" was going to end right here, like that poor yoga hippie couple who never got out of the L.A. River at the beginning of TAR15. Now there's a team that I'm sure would have loved a second chance, but I can't feel too bad for them because I hated them on sight.
Phil tells them to "bring me what I want," and then get in one of the Ford Foci waiting nearby and drive it, where else, to LAX. Before saying go, he gives them a clue as to what he's looking for: "Queensland And Northern Territories Aerial Services." Before we even have time to think about what the initials of that phrase are, we get a close-up look at one of those paper airplanes. They all have phrases Sharpied on the sides of them, but this one is marked QANTAS, which happens to be the name of an Australian airline made famous in Rain Man. Speaking of acronymic airline names, I once had a London tour guide who told us that "Alitalia" stands for "Always Late In Takeoff, Always Late In Landing," which may or may not be the case. Phil just gets 22 blank looks before he goes into his speech: "The world is waiting for you. Good luck, travel safe, GO!" And so it begins. Chills again, but I think part of that is because I'm watching with the wife and kid this season. Why haven't I done that before? Oh, yeah, because half the time the show gets pushed back so late it ends two hours past his bedtime.