Gary and Mallory are a father-daughter team from "Kentucky." Phil doesn't say what city, but then I went to Kentucky this year and it turns out? Not all of it is in a city. Mallory is Miss Kentucky 2009, because we haven't had a beauty queen on this show for a while, have we? As we see them having all sorts of outdoorsy adventures together, Gary describes Mallory as the boy he wanted to have first, so he taught her how to hunt and fish. Apparently they fly their own plane, too, which seems like it would be an unfair advantage in this competition. Phil will be like, "All teams are now flying to Sometown, Someland, except Gary and Mallory, who are already there because they looked at the sixteen-hour wait we tried to force them to endure in the airport and they said, 'fuck that.'"
Andie and Jenna are a biological mother and daughter who Phil describes as "recently reunited." I know some people are uncomfortable with this. As you may or may not know, my son M. Edium, who is almost six, was adopted at birth, and -- hey, who took my soapbox? Okay, I'm going to get on with the recap for now, but I'm going to keep an eye out for it. Let me know if it turns up, okay? Andie explains that she had an unplanned pregnancy when she was 21, and decided to "choose an adoptive family" for Jenna. That's a good way of putting it. You spend any time around people involved in adoption and you quickly learn that the expression "giving up for adoption" isn't always well-received (no, that wasn't my soapbox, that was just a 12-pack of Dial from Costco. I'm still looking). Andie goes on to say that they just recently met. Jenna says they've always wanted to get together, "so hopefully after the race we'll really feel fulfilled." Wow, really? I'm not judging, but that's kind of a lot to put on a game show.
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.