So that's everyone. The boats dock and the teams run up the steps as Phil asks rhetorically, "Who has what it takes to win The Amazing Race?" I guess it's going to have to be at least two of them, no matter what.
Once they're all assembled on the lawn in front of him, Phil gives his usual speech, which, as in recent seasons, includes the warning that this will be one of the most grueling races ever. Like he would ever say, "We're taking it easy on you guys, so you can pretty much slack off." But Phil does have some actual news for them: the first team to make it to the Pit Stop during this first leg "will receive the most important prize that we have ever given away." More important than a million dollars? It's the Express Pass, and whoever wins it will be able to use it before or during any challenge to skip the task, get the next clue, and move on. Wow, that could be huge. It'll be interesting to see how that plays out. Or, I should say, it had better be interesting to see how that plays out. "And if I was you [sic], I'd race like crazy to get it," Phil adds.
And to ratchet up the competition even further, Phil tells them that there are two flights waiting for them at Logan Airport in Boston, but the first flight has room for only three teams, and is scheduled to arrive thirty minutes earlier. Anyone who's ever been on a plane or at an airport or knows someone who has knows that "scheduled to arrive" are key words, but why get into that at this early stage? Phil tells them their first clue is waiting on the baggage they brought, and after reading them, they'll need to jump into the waiting Smart cars (I looked up how to capitalize that, but the company website insists on calling them "smart fortwo," no caps, and I want no part of it) and head out. Phil reminds them that whoever wins at the end of twelve legs will win one million dollars. Big cheer, even though a million dollars isn't what it was when this show premiered nine years ago.
Phil's finally ready to start the race. Raising his hand, he slowly recites, "Good luck...travel safe...go!" I don't get the chills any more, but I can't help smiling. And I tried. The teams flow past Phil in an undifferentiated mass, around the manor house, and to the backpacks with the clues. Amid crazy-fast editing, they learn that they're flying to London, England, and from there they'll be driving themselves to Stonehenge. "AAAH!" Mallory screams. At some point this season, those three words will comprise most of a recap, but that point is not yet here. Their allowance for the first leg is a hundred dollars. Everyone runs for the Smart cars and jumps in, to the extent that such is possible with a Smart car. Brook & Claire are out in front. "We're on the Amazing Race!" Brook crows. "These cars are, like, my size," Mallory observes. This is all being recorded on Taxicab Confessions equipment, because there's no room for camera or sound crews in those soup cans. And if there were, they'd probably kill themselves anyway when biker Nick pronounces, "Gonna win us the blingin' buckarooskis!" I have a blingin' headache.