Monique and Shawne, in matching pink t-shirts that read --- well, we'll come back to that -- are best friends and attorneys. Shawne, the one with the longer hair, says, "We're mom-preneurs. We're moms who make it happen." They made those mom-preneurs shirts happen, I admit, but they're not going to make the word happen. Not if I have anything to say about it. Monique adds that they have the skills and the emotional stability to win, although they nearly crack up in the middle of the speech.
Joe and Heidi, in red, do a flying hip-check as Phil tells us they're married parents from El Segundo, CA. In an interview, Joe pronounces himself in charge. Heidi says he's confrontational, and they both know it'll get them in trouble. Oh, good, that team. I was wondering when they'd show up.
Finally, Carol and Brandy, in charcoal, are "dating, from Los Angeles." I think they might be this season's token older couple. They look to be in their forties, which, as we get to know them, will probably turn out to mean they're in their fifties. Carol, the one with the short, bleached-blonde hair, says they'll be in good shape if a clue sends them to the nearest Louis Vuitton. "Go team," says Brandy, the one with the short, black hair. They seem pretty determined to have fun.
Finally, all eleven teams are lined up in front of Phil in a park. Phil warns them that this will be "one of the most difficult and demanding races ever." It certainly will, if this episode is any indication. At least for this bunch. Their first clue, as usual, is sitting on their bags just within sprinting distance behind Phil. But once they read it, they'll have to figure out how to get themselves to the airport using only public transportation. Mean! "And here in Los Angeles, that can be a major challenge," Phil adds unnecessarily. I do like how he basically just told their perennial host city, "You suck." Maybe next season they'll start out in a different city after all, because they'll have to. He says there are two flights waiting for them at LAX, but only the first three teams will make it on the first flight, with everyone else consigned to a flight a whole hour later. "As always, the first team to cross the finish line after twelve legs will win one million dollars!" He raises his arm and everyone drops into a starting crouch. The camera sweeps back and forth, and literally in from a helicopter over the city, before Phil finally says, "Go!"
The clue-reading occurs without incident, and everyone learns at about the same time that they're flying to Santiago, Chile. Then everyone scatters in different directions at a jog. "Who takes the bus in L.A.?" Brandy complains as she runs along the sidewalk. Carol says their version of public transport is not using the valet parking. Okay, so they're fancy. Other teams are scrambling in all directions. Cowboy Cord interviews, "The county that I live in has one light, and it's flashing yellow." I really hope he means one traffic light, or else that is one grim county at night. She-Jordan spots a bus pulling up to a stop, and she and Jeff ask the driver the quickest way to the airport as Dana and Adrian, the high-school sweethearts, arrive right behind them. The driver directs them east to Union Station, where they can catch the FlyAway. Both teams head east.
Shawne and Monique, who are African-American, have also found a source: "Oh, black person, go," one of them says as they run up to a stopped car. They get the same directions, as do Carol and Brandy from a different motorist. Team Undercover and Team Grandma are walking together, and they learn each other's names before they learn where they're going. "Can you tell that we're grandmother and granddaughter?" Jody asks, blatantly fishing. Enthusiastically taking the bait, Louie says he thought she was Shannon's mother. "You get a home-cooked meal for that," Jody says. Oh, is that what the kids are calling it now?
Brent and Caite wait at a bus stop, but at least they're in the shade. Dan and Jordan run past across the street, the latter calling, "I love you, Miss Teen South Carolina!" She returns the sentiment, and she and Brent decide to follow the brothers. In an interview, he-Jordan says, "When I saw her, I almost pooped myself." And then he does her whole speech, verbatim, from memory. Wow.
"Nana's kicking your butt!" Michael exhorts Louie, who makes an excuse about the size of their respective backpacks.
Joe|Heidi and Steve|Allie get on the subway, which I thought nobody in L.A. ever uses because the only time you ever see it is in barely-foiled terror attacks on 24. Joe seems very confident that they'll reach the airport first. Dan|Jordan and Miss Team USA also make it onto the same train before it pulls away. Team Undercover and Team Nana arrive on the empty platform a minute later, to learn that the train only comes every twenty minutes. That's going to be hard to make up at the airport.
Jordan|Jeff lead the pack into Union Station. "I think we're going to Guatemala?" Jeff says. I know they read the clue in a hurry, so that mistake is understandable if you mentally divide the countries of the world into very general regions. Jordan thinks they're going to China, which is understandable if you mentally keep the countries of the world alphabetized. On the FlyAway bus, with Monique|Shawne, Dana|Adrian, and Carol|Brandy also riding, she admits, "I've never even heard of these places." By which she means Santiago and the city that follows, rather than Chile itself. Of course she's heard of Chile. Although it's possible she has it confused with chili. Jeff asks her if she ever watched Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?, which is probably a spiritual predecessor of this show in a lot of ways. Everyone on the bus who has actually heard of Chile is excited to go there. And so is everyone on the train. So that's everyone, right?
The four teams on the first train think it's going to be a race between them for the three slots on the first flight, which is so cute. Brent is the one on this train who recognized Jeff and Jordan. "She won Big Brother," he reports. "That's how they met." The same conversation about four teams racing for three spots is going on aboard the FlyAway bus. "We might have to break somebody's leg getting off the bus," Carol says. The bus pulls up and the doors open, and first off are Monique and Shawne, followed by Adrian and Dana, then Jordan and Jeff, and Brandy and Carol bringing up the rear. Inside the ticketing terminal, Adrian is the first to spot the Amazing Flag, and leads the sprint to that counter. But Monique and Shawne somehow get there first. "We need tickets to China," Jordan duhs to the agent. I think you know which Jordan. You know, she's also from South Carolina, and with her and Caite both on the race, I think their absence from the state has temporarily raised its median I.Q. by ten points. The three lead teams successfully book themselves on the earlier flight through Dallas, while Carol and Brandy are the only team in that group to get stuck on the second flight through Miami (for now). "Please tell me it's raining in Dallas," Carol says.
The first Metro Rail train gets there, and the four teams on that have a longer jog to the terminal. Joe and Heidi are the first of that group to get to the counter, and are stunned to learn the first flight is full. Something tells me that Joe is used to being stunned to learn he's wrong.