The Amazing Race recap: Million Dollar Backpack

Second leg in China: Would you rather have a backpack full of clothes or a million bucks?
Ep. 02 | Aired Mar 2, 2014

Robert Voets/CBS

Mark and Mallory have argued themselves right out of The Amazing Race, ostensibly because of his forgotten backpack but really because they could not figure out how to communicate. Yes, Mallory should have made sure both backpacks went in the taxi after Mark finished the toy car challenge. But was her suggestion to continue racing instead of driving back for the backpack out of line? No! She had his passport and his medicine. Other racers would have donated extra clothes. I think this boiled down to Mark basically giving up.

"I guess it wasn't meant for me to travel around the world without Bopper," said the person who no longer wanted to travel around the world without Bopper. He was ready to go.

The other big news in Leg 2: The winners of Leg 1, Jet and Cord, have already given up their Express Pass to Caroline and Jen, the country singers, during a toy car assembly challenge in a huge mall-like toy store called Edaytown. Jen took one look at those not-in-English instructions and was like HELL no. So, of course, were the rest of the designated "mechanics" sweating out their angst over a bunch of car parts as rambunctious Chinese children threatened to stomp over all of their efforts. But those other "mechanics" didn't have a crafty blonde flirt-monster as a partner!

Jet and Cord giving up their extra Express Pass may have been the wrong move, because it could have given them leverage later on with a better team. But we knew from the start that they hated the idea of having it and just wanted to avoid conflict -- so in this way the move makes sense for them. Now they have the only Express Pass in play.

Not everyone was impressed with Caroline's feminine wiles. "The blondes literally can't do anything on their own," complained YouTuber Meghan about the flirtatious country singers. Um, wrong -- they can talk their way into an Express Pass. Where's your Express Pass? I don't see it!

Detour: Feather Ball or China Cup? I'm desperate for a Chinese massage therapy used to stimulate blood flow and reduce toxins right this second, but zero of the 10 teams chose this option. Instead they played Feather Ball, which is an ancient Chinese version of Hacky Sack (read: more difficult -- of course Americans would make it easier). One of the Chinese players kept showboating by covering his face with his t-shirt during a play. I'm pretty sure he just wanted his abs on camera. Typical!

Brendon and Rachel arrived first at the Pit Stop at Shamian Island -- their first Leg Win (what a weird term) ever -- and earned $2,500 each just for being alive.

I gotta give major props to Margie for both her mechanical work and her unfathomable patience with Luke, who kept reminding her, "Mom, pay attention" during the Feather Ball game when she was obviously already paying attention because what else would she be doing?! I would have crumbled years ago if I were Margie. That's my overwhelming thought as I watch this team during any challenge on any season. But anyway: Good for them.

2nd place: Margie and Luke (pictured above)
3rd: Caroline and Jennifer
4th: Dave and Connor
5th: Flight Time and Big Easy
6th: Jet and Cord
7th: Leo and Jamal
8th: John and Jessica
9th: Joey and Meghan

Noteworthy: Meghan and Joey rekindled their old alliance with John and Jessica for a hot second during the car challenge -- but regretted it by the end of the leg when they just barely edged out their friends on The Most Crowded Mat In Amazing Race History. (Seven teams at once! The thing was like an open-air clown car.) Meghan said in a confessional after the leg that she and Joey would be willing to help John and Jessica "when it's to our advantage -- but probably never like today again."

Line of the night: "Every time I come out of a taxi, it's like I'm coming out of a birth canal or something." --Big Easy

LAME line of the night: "Assembling a car is a guy's thing." --Jen

Could Mark and Mallory have overcome their communication issues with another chance at a Leg Win, or was it never going to happen for them? Will Rachel drown next week (as hinted at in the promo)?

Discuss!

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