"There's so much more that we could have done and seen," said Staella after her team's The Amazing Race 12 ouster. "This just sucks."
The Amazing Race 12's first episode began with the 11 teams traveling in classic convertible's to the course's start line at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles, CA. Once there, they were met by host Phil Keoghan, who explained the course would stretch approximately 30,000 miles over 21 days, with the last team standing receiving the show's $1 million grand prize.
The 11 teams received their first clue atop their luggage, and it instructed them to go to LAX and book flights for the first leg of the race, which would take them to Shannon, Ireland. "Grandfather/Grandson" team Donald Jerousek and Nicolas Fulks were the first to leave the mansion after a slight delay to count their money -- much to the chagrin of the 10 teams waiting behind them in a single-vehicle line in the mansion's narrow driveway.
"We're not from California," said Nicolas as he pulled out of the driveway with his grandfather, a noteworthy point considering 15 of the season's 22 racers are either from or currently reside in California.
Nicholas and Donald's unfamiliarity with California was evident right from the start, as they took a right turn out of the driveway instead of a left, which would have put them on the freeway and taken them to the airport. Ari and Staella; "Newly Dating Couple" Rachel Rosales and TK Erwin; "Dating Goths" Kynt Cothron and Vyxsin Fiala; and "Sisters" Marianna and Julia Ruiz also made the wrong turn.
"Brother/Sister" Azaria and Hendekea Azene were briefly in first but saw several of the other teams make the wrong turn and they questioned their own decision, which made them need to turn around. It allowed "Dating Couple" Lorena Segura and Jason Widener to be the first team to arrive at LAX.
Azaria and Hendekea and "Father/Daughter" Ronald and Christina Hsu quickly formed a connection and helped each other look for flights online and also arranged for taxis to be waiting for them at the Shannon airport once they arrived.
"They have a family bond and we have a family bond," commented Christina. "We share the same spirit of the game."
Azaria and Hendekea; Ronald and Christina; Nicholas and Donald; TK and Rachel; Ari and Staella; and Kynt and Vyxsin all booked flights on an Aer Lingus flight to Shannon, which connected through Dublin and was scheduled to land 45 minutes behind the first flight to Ireland.
However "heavy traffic on the tarmac" in London caused the British Airways flight to be delayed, and the Aer Lingus flight was the first to touch down in Shannon at 12:42PM. In all the confusion exiting the airport, Ari and Staella decided to grab the taxi that Ronald and Christina had called for, allowing them to grab an early lead on their way to the ferry port in the town of Rossaveal.
The British Airways flight touched down at 12:49PM, and all 11 teams eventually made it to the ferry port and signed-up for a 4:45PM ferry heading to the island of Inis Mor. While the teams waited, Donald and Christina confronted Ari and Staella about stealing their taxi.
"We didn't know it was your taxi," lied Ari, defusing the situation by playing coy.
Since all 11 teams were on the same ferry to Inis Mor, once it docked is when The Amazing Race 12 really began, with everyone hectically inquiring about directions to Teampall Bheanain, where the teams would have to sign up for one of three ferries departing the following morning back to the mainland.
Some of the teams received some bad directions -- including Ronald and Christina, Julia and Marianna, and Nicholas and Donald -- and went in the total opposite direction of where they needed to be.
Lorena and Jason were the first to arrive at Teampall Bheanain, and they signed-up for the next morning's 8AM ferry with TK and Rachel and Kynt and Vyxsin. Nathan and Jennifer got into a heated verbal argument when he complained she wasn't running as fast as some of the other girls. Jennifer explained she's "not good at long-distance sprinting" and lashed out at Nathan for comparing her to other women.
"I was disappointed in him that he didn't keep his cool and watch his mouth," commented Jennifer. "Do I want to spend the rest of my life with someone who's going to treat me like that?"
All was forgiven between the two as they booked seats on the 8:30AM ferry, along with Ari and Staella and Azaria and Hendekea. Shana and Jennifer, Kate and Pat, Marianna and Julia, Nicholas and Don, and Ronald and Christina all booked seats on the third and final ferry, which would depart at 9:30AM, 90 minutes after the first ferry.
"We're on the last ferry," opined Ronald. "So this is the wake-up call that we need to do something better."
The next morning, the first ferry docked at the mainland at 8:55AM and the three teams discovered their next clue waiting on the windshield of their vehicles. It told them they needed to drive 42 miles to Cleggan Farm and ride a tandem bicycle to their next clue.
Lorena and Jason had been in first, but he decided not to wait for TK and Rachel and Kynt and Vyxsin -- who apparently had the directions -- which caused Lorena to complain. Lorena and Jason eventually stopped for directions and learned they took an unnecessary loop around the bay.
"As far as my emotions, they're very uncontrollable. That's my weakness. Being able to get past that is going to be really hard for me, " commented Lorena, whom Jason explained as "intense." Once they were on the right course, Jason explained Lorena did nothing to help and only stressed him out.
"I feel like we're not communicating well, which is our problem in real life," Lorena told Jason, who quickly agreed and put the problem to rest.
Just as the second ferry was docking at 9:20AM, TK and Rachel had reached Cleggan Farm with Kynt and Vyxsin hot on their heels. However the chain on the Goths' tandem bike broke, allowing TK and Rachel to easily be the first team to reach The Amazing Race 12's first Roadblock. One team member would have to ride a high-wire bicycle across a windy ravine while suspended almost 200-feet above the North Atlantic -- while their partner, sitting eight feet below -- was taken for the ride.
TK and Rachel easily completed the Roadblock and opened their next clue, which instructed them to choose a donkey and fill each of its baskets with 15 pieces of peat. Then they had to walk the donkey back to the entrance of the farm to receive their next clue. Kynt and Vyxsin and Nathan and Jennifer finished the Roadblock just as TK and Rachel finished collecting their peat.
The third ferry arrived at the mainland at 10:15AM. Azaria and Hendekea, Ari and Staella and Lorena and Jason then completed the Roadblock and began to deal with their donkeys, a commonly stubborn creature that was already giving problems to Nathan and Jennifer as they tried to make their way back to the farm's entrance.
"We have the most stubborn donkey in the world!" commented a visibly frustrated Nathan.
Ari and Staella were also having problems with their donkey, and Ari eventually resorted to violence.
"You make me lose this, I'm going to cut you up and eat you!" he warned.
TK and Rachel were able to easily guide their donkey to the hitching post at the Cleggan Farm entrance, where they received their next clue. The team learned they had to drive 13 miles to the Connemara Heritage Center, a tribute to Ireland's agricultural past and the location of The Amazing Race 12's first Pit Stop.
Azaria and Hendekea and Kynt and Vyxsin also easily led their donkeys to the farm's entrance and set-out for the Pit Stop. However they noticed TK and Rachel took a wrong turn and were able to grab the top two spots. Azaria and Hendekea were the first team to the Pit Stop, followed closely by Kynt and Vyxsin and TK and Rachel.
Nathan and Jennifer continued to have all sorts of problems with mobilizing their donkey, and they were eventually passed by Lorena and Jason, who were the fourth team to reach the Pit Stop.
"This is going to cost us the race right now," commented Nathan.
That probably would have been the case if it wasn't for Ari and Staella, who were farther behind than Nathan and Jennifer and also couldn't get their donkey to move. Nicholas and Donald eventually passed Ari and Staella, followed closely by Ronald and Christina.
"I was really surprised how Ari and Staella were treating their donkey," commented Christina. "Donkeys have souls, too."
Eventually all the other teams passed Ari and Staella and Nathan and Jennifer. Nicholas and Donald finished fifth; Shana and Jennifer came in sixth; Christina and Ronald finished seventh; Kate and Pat came in eighth; and Marianna and Julia finished ninth.
Both Nathan and Jennifer and Ari and Staella resorted to physically pushing and pulling their donkeys, who begrudgingly moved and guided them back to the farm's entrance. Nathan and Jennifer were the tenth team to reach the Pit Stop, eliminating Ari and Staella.
"Karma came back and bit us in the ass," said Ari, a reference to their cab theft earlier in the leg.
"Ari was great the whole time on this race. He was my rock," said Staella. "He pushed me to just try my hardest. It was a good feeling, because I know he was really in it to win it. I think it brought us even closer if that's possible."
The Amazing Race 12's next episode will air Sunday, November 11 at 8PM ET/PT on CBS.