The idea of a "second chance" season had been one that consistently floated around the fanbase since the early years of The Amazing Race
(with some fans even preferring a "No-Stars" season to "All-Stars"), since even early out teams managed to garner plenty of fans, and many teams with potential fell by the wayside after only one bad leg. The producers of the Race thus responded with Unfinished Business
, a season featuring returning contestants from Seasons 12-17 that had never won beforenote
. Though there were complaints, ranging from the lack of Season 13 representation, to the over-representation of Season 14, to skepticism of the premise that pitted early outs against Final 3 finishers, the teams, save for Amanda & Kris
, were the names people generally expected to see back regardless of what they thought of them personally (with the only really big snubs being Brook & Claire
, who got invited back but were unable to compete because Claire was pregnant, and Toni & Dallas
The results were surprising, with the mostly even skill-sets of the teams causing them to consistently be bunched together and shoot up and down the standings from leg to leg. The former Final 3 finishers faltered, coming in at 6th through 9th places and only winning 2 legs, while the teams who won the most legs originally finished 6th and 9th (combining for zero wins in their previous seasons), with the eventual winners being a team who few would have bet on even while the season was running. Though the season had its flaws, most glaringly the domination of answer-sharing alliances that rendered many of the puzzle tasks almost moot, the experiment was generally considered a success, as the positives (such as the increased level of difficulty that was missing from All-Stars, and one of the best finales in the series) far outnumbered the negatives. It left fans anticipating a similar season in the future.
Because of the nature of the season, all teams are examples of My Greatest Failure
(which is listed in their character bios) and My Greatest Second Chance
LaKisha "Kisha" Hoffman & Jennifer "Jen" Hoffman (Season 14, 4th Place)
Kisha: This time around, no bathroom breaks.
Jen: I will pee my pants to make the Final 3.
Previously eliminated for (among other things
) Jen's infamous Potty Emergency
, the athletic sisters were back, this time with Jen prepared to pee in her pants if necessary. They returned as a more efficient and prepared team, having worked out their Sibling Rivalry
and Jen's fear of water, the problems that held them back previously. Despite being one of five Season 14 teams cast, they were the only ones to make it to the second half of the season, surpassing Margie & Luke and Jaime & Cara, two teams who had outperformed them during their last race. They stayed under the radar for most of the season, always running near the top but never winning a leg until they rushed to claim the big prize in the final leg. Fittingly, as the finale aired on Mother's Day, they planned to use the money to help their single mother start a business.
Herbert "Flight Time" Lang & Nathaniel "Big Easy" Lofton (The Globetrotters) (Season 15, 4th Place)
Originally eliminated after Big Easy was unable to unscramble the word "Franz," they returned to trot the globe again
. Already notorious information leeches during Season 15, they took it up to eleven
this time, as they, out off all the teams, benefited the most from the alliance-dominated season. They used their charisma to get answers from other teams (mostly Zev & Justin), and stay with the pack, despite rarely completing a mental task on their own. They reached the Final 3, creating much apprehension among some fans who were worried that, despite their two leg wins, they were about to see another All-Star season end with a controversial winner. They took a brief lead in the final leg following the first Roadblock, but Kisha & Jen passed them by when their cab went to get more gas, and they were unable to catch up during any of the remaining tasks. So, much like the Washington Generals, they finished 2nd, but would get another shot at the million on the second All-Stars.
- Bad Liar: In the penultimate leg, Flight Time & Big Easy and Zev & Justin had a flight that would put them in Brazil ten hours in front of Kisha & Jen and Gary & Mallory, but when Mallory asked the Globetrotters if they had found a better flight, their horrible lies (Big Easy's absolutely terrible "no" and Flight Time spreading his arms as if trying to stop celebrating getting an earlier flight) all but gave away that they had, and all four teams got on the same flight.
- Bald of Awesome
- The Big Guy: Big Easy. He was the Gentle Giant variety at first, but (just like on Season 15) it was later subverted when you realized how many teams were upset with the Globetrotters upon their elimination due to either their Trash Talking, gloating, or their cutthroat competitiveness, such as Zev & Justin, Kent & Vyxsin, Jet & Cord, and Jaime & Cara. Him exploding at Vyxsin in leg 10 didn't help either.
- Borrowed Catchphrase: When the long trailing Kent & Vyxsin showed up at the train station in China, Big Easy exclaimed, "Oh, my gravy."
- Busman's Vocabulary: Late in the season, they started comparing the last three legs to the fourth quarter of a basketball game. The basketball metaphors came frequently after that.
- Call Back:
- When told to fly to Japan, Flight Time quoted his Title Quote from the Season 15 episode where they went to Japan, "They Thought Godzilla Was Walking Down the Street."
- When Flight Time was struggling with the tea tasting Roadblock, only him and Luke remaining, he brought up the similar situation of Big Easy taking the penalty when he couldn't figure out "Franz," and about how they swore not to take a penalty this time.
- The penultimate leg began with them saying this had been the leg they had been eliminated in last time.
- Call It Karma: Big Easy said karma would hit Vyxsin for stealing Flight Time's mold at the chocolate gnome Roadblock (even though she did not do it).
- Clothes Make the Legend: Zev & Justin even wore Globetrotter shirts in tribute.
- Death by Genre Savviness: Knowing that teams had lost valuable time when their cabs stopped for gas during the final leg, they sent their cab driver to refuel while Big Easy did the diving Roadblock. Unfortunately, it took him longer to gas up than it did for Big Easy to complete the Roadblock, and they dropped behind Kisha & Jen for good while waiting for their taxi to return.
- Elimination Montage
- Failed a Spot Check: They grabbed two of the wrong bags during the luggage cart Detour in Switzerland, which forced them to go to an extra hotel, and then Flight Time misplaced two of their tags, forcing them to visit a seventh hotel to make up for it, which put them in danger of being passed by the trailing Cowboys.
- Failure Montage: When Flight Time did not know his Chinese zodiac animal, the show ran a montage of several teams passing them while Flight Time tried all of the animals in order.
- Genre Savvy: They were the only team to completely ditch their bags in the final leg, though they probably would have been better served leaving them in the overhead compartments instead of checking their bags before getting on the flight.
- The Glomp: Big Easy did this to Kisha & Jen when running into the Finish Line.
- Griefer: They were one of the first teams to hit the operating hours equalizer in Kolkata, and when the second group of teams showed up, Big Easy started yelling at them to run and sign up, sending Gary & Mallory, Margie & Luke, and Jet & Cord scrambling down the street, looking for a clue box or sign up sheet that wasn't there.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Big Easy went berserk when Flight Time's chocolate mold "disappeared," aggressively attacking Vyxsen for taking it, not even stopping to consider whose it actually was. This persisted even after one of the task judges confirmed that the molds were both Vyxsin's. He later mocked Kent calling the gnome "pretty." Overall it was an ugly scene that, on top of their status as information leeches and their U-Turning of Jet & Cord the previous leg, put a huge dent in their fan favorite status heading into the finale.
- Hammer Space: They produced a Globetrotters-style basketball in China to play a game with Kisha & Jen and Jet & Cord.
- Hometown Nickname: Big Easy, who is from New Orleans.
- I Was Beaten by a Girl: While congratulating Kisha & Jen on their victory, Flight Time admitted this, but said it was okay because they raced well.
- In-Series Nickname: The Globetrotters.
- Large Ham: They are Globetrotters, being over the top is part of the job description.
- Leitmotif: Sweet Georgia Brown returned with them.
- The Load: They rarely completed a puzzle on their own, mainly getting the answers from others (especially their original season-mates Zev & Justin). They got their first leg win after following Zev & Justin through most of the Varanasi leg, then bolting by them on the way to the Pit Stop, and when Big Easy screwed up the Lichtenstein-measuring Roadblock, they lost no time due to the answer-sharing.
- Fittingly, they did not complete the final trailer setting task by copying the brochure as they were supposed to. Instead, they discovered the table settings they were missing by looking at Kisha & Jen's completed trailer.note
- Lovable Jock
- Meditating Under a Waterfall: Featured in their part of the opening credits.
- Moral Myopia: They complained and made a huge deal out of Jaime & Cara U-Turning them, not even seeming to notice or care that the cheerleaders were doing it because they were U-Turned themselves. Later on, however, they did not hesitate to U-Turn Jet & Cord to save their own butts.
- Never Live It Down: Flight Time wouldn't let Big Easy forget about not being able to unscramble "Franz."
- No Sense of Direction: They cost themselves the leg win in Austria when Flight Time told Big Easy to keep going past the Pit Stop when Big Easy asked if he should turn there. In the next leg, Flight Time got lost during the Lichtenstein measuring Roadblock, but it didn't end up costing him as Justin gave him the correct answer.
- Obi-Wan Moment: They slowed down to enjoy the scenery on their bike ride across Seven Mile Bridge when they realized Kisha & Jen were too far ahead for them to catch.
- Only Known by Their Nickname
- Potty Emergency: After picking up their Detour clue in Vienna, Flight Time needed to relieve himself, and proceeded to do so on the side of the national library as Kent & Vyxsin were arriving.
- Reality Show Genre Blindness: They shared a cab with Zev & Justin in China.
- Satchel Switcheroo: After completing the Prayer of Purity Detour, Flight Time grabbed Ron & Christina's fanny pack by mistake and carried it back to the changing rooms. This resulted in them receiving a 30-minute penalty for delaying another team when they did not return the fanny pack to where they found it.
- Trash Talk: It comes naturally with them being Globetrotters. Though it clearly failed against Kisha & Jen in the finale, what with them being former college athletes and all.
- Unskilled, but Strong: More pronounced this time around with the smarter competition, but they were able to conceal it by getting most of their answers from the other teams.
- Flight Time had a particularly bad moment where he didn't know why Sigmund Freud would be associated with couches, and it became clear neither of them knew who he was beyond "Freudian slips."
Gary Ervin & Mallory Ervin (Season 17, 6th Place)
Originally eliminated for getting lost for 8 hours in Oman, the Kentucky father/daughter duo returned to spread sunshine once again. They came into the season as one of the more questionable casting choices, as they had previously been overshadowed, both character-wise and gameplay-wise, by the duos of Brook & Claire and Nat & Kat. However, without the massive presence of Brook to overshadow her, Mallory was able to shine, and they quickly became fan favorites. Gary continued to rock the Race, as they won three legs on their way to the Final 3. After Zev & Justin were gone, they were the favorites to win until a bad cab driver completely put them out of contention in the final leg, and they finished 3rd. Mallory would return as Mark Jackson's
replacement partner on the second All-Stars.
Zev Glassenberg & Justin Kanew (Season 15, 9th Place)
Previously disqualified due to Zev's lost passport, the wisecracking duo came back, this time remembering to keep their passports with them at all times. Despite coming in with the lowest previous finish of any returning team, they won the most legs: 4 of them, including one in which they beat a flight delay that put them an hour behind the other teams. However, they were a very "all or nothing" team. Save for one leg in India, they were either leading the pack or scraping along at the back, barely avoiding elimination. They were also the worst perpetrators of the answer-sharing that plagued the season, as they unabashedly gave Flight Time & Big Easy answers to tasks and other info, all but dragging the Globetrotters into the top 4. Their luck finally ran out in Brazil, where the entire penultimate leg served as a Humiliation Conga
for them, and they settled for 4th place.
Kent Kaliber & Jennifer "Vyxsin" Fiala (The Goths) (Season 12, 5th Place)
Eliminated when Kent's stick-shift issues
caused them to break down, both figuratively and literally, in Italy (though the direct cause of their elimination was U-Turning a team ahead of them in the next leg, followed by Kent screwing up the Roadblock), the best-dressed team were back in pink and black. Unfortunately, it seemed like they never recovered from the Italy incident, as most of their racing talent seemed to evaporate (they were overjoyed to come in 3rd, a far cry from their Always Second Best
days), and they degenerated into just another fighting couple. Despite leaving the chocolate gnome Roadblock first, they were eliminated in 5th place when they got a thirty minute penalty for taking a cab instead of walking to the Pit Stop.
- All of the Other Reindeer: When Flight Time & Big Easy falsely blamed Vyxsin for taking Flight Time's mold at the chocolate gnome Roadblock, all the other teams automatically took the Globetrotters' side, with Kisha egging Big Easy on and Mallory asking why he just couldn't take it back, despite the task judge having confirmed that both of Vyxsin's molds were hers. She ended up breaking down in tears over the whole incident.
- Anime Hair: Vyxsin sported a pair of pink and purple braids.
- Call Back:
- Their main reason for U-Turning Jaime & Cara was that they didn't want to U-Turn a team in front of them like in their last leg of Season 12, and the cheerleaders were standing right behind them.
- Vyxsin compared their inability to find the Narita airport to their meltdown in Italy which eventually led to their elimination from Season 12.
- In India, they mentioned it was where they had previously been eliminated.
- The Ditz: Despite running a rather strong race the first time, they turned into a bumbling mess this season. Margie even told Vyxsin the answer to the nautical flags Roadblock because she thought they would be an easy team to beat further down the line.
- Driving Stick: They cited this as the biggest thing they worked on before coming back for Unfinished Business, having been undone by it in Season 12.
- Failed a Spot Check: They misplaced their passports twice in leg 4. The first time because Vyxsin left her passport sitting on an airline counter, and the second because Kent left their fanny pack in the gondola at Jade Dragon Mountain.
- Failing a Taxi: At the beginning of their final leg, which just started their bickering early in the leg.
- Fingerless Gloves: They both wore pairs of these at times.
- The Fashionista
- Freaky Fashion, Mild Mind
- Game-Breaking Injury: After the season ended, it came out that Kent cracked his rib and sprained his ankle while falling off a ladder, and landing on top of it, during the dinosaur building Roadblock, yet hid the injury from the production staff for fear that they would get eliminated due to the injury. He ran the rest of the Race before getting medical treatment, which caused him to suffer greatly on any tasks that required physical exertion.
- Hidden Depths: Kent was the only racer to immediately recognize the periodic symbols as Mercury and Bismuth. Not that it helped them, as every other team just followed them to the intersection. Also, it was never shown on air, but one of the reasons Margie & Luke were so willing to team up with Kent & Vyxsin was that Vyxsin was able to converse with Luke in sign language.
- History Repeats: They got tragically lost, got into a fight, and ended up issued with a penalty in a non-elimination leg (though the second time was due to them missing the pre-arranged flight instead of a Speed Bump).
- They also were eliminated in fifth place in both their seasons, again with penalties in their final leg (failing to perform the Roadblock correctly in their original race, and a penalty for taking illegal transportation in Unfinished Business).
- Large Ham
- The Load: A weird combination. For the first four legs, Vyxsin panicked and fell apart constantly, and always seemed to be on the verge of tears, especially during her two Roadblocks (the Australian nautical flags and the Chinese charms). However, when Kent injured himself in leg 5, this switched as he ended up becoming as wussy as Adam, screaming in horror at a closed door and having to be carried by Vyxsin in a cart.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Even more prominent this time with the way she dragged him through the second half of the season.
- My Nayme Is: Vyxsin continued this, but Kynt changed his name back to Kent in respect for his recently deceased father. However, the other teams still called him "Kynt."
- Nice Hat: At the beginning of leg 3, Kent broke out his cowboy hat, saying that the Cowboys were not that only ones who could rock cowboy hats on the Race.
- No Sense of Direction: They drove for hours in the wrong direction in Japan. Unlike their previous season, they didn't even have the excuse of it being a particularly difficult drive, as it was to a production-arranged flight they were given all night to get to.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Vyxsin again.
- Perky Goth
- Read the Freaking Clue:
- In the second leg, they actually completed the mosaic Detour first, but dropped several places because Kent insisted on grabbing children to dance around their mosaic instead of dancing on top of it like the clue said.
- They made one of the most rookie mistakes a team can make, and took a cab instead of walking to the Pit Stop.
- Real Men Wear Pink
- Rose-Haired Sweetie: Vyxsin.
- Rubber-Band A.I. : Leg 4 saw them run one of the worst legs in show history. First by getting so lost that they missed the production arranged flight they were required to take (which ultimately got them a further 30-minute penalty for taking illegal transportation), then also managed to misplace their passports twice. They only survived thanks to a double leg non-elimination, followed by a train station equalizer.
- Same Character, but Different: They were a very popular team in Season 12, due to their wardrobe, their relationship, and their general quirk of being a pair of Perky Goths, but during the second half of the season they turned from "quirky and loveable pair of goths" to "just another fighting couple" (which was exacerbated Kent's injury in leg 5), and grated on the nerves of many viewers, who were happy to see them fall short of making the Final 4.
- The Scapegoat: Both Flight Time & Big Easy loudly and aggressively accused Vyxsin of taking Flight Time's mold at the chocolate gnome Roadblock, even though it was clear from the footage that Vyxsin couldn't have done it, as she had not started putting her molds into the freezer until right before the incident, and had not taken one back out yet.
- Self-Deprecation: At the Rescue Detour on the Matterhorn:
Kent: Just think, you're stuck down in a crevice, then low and behold, Kent & Vyxsin show up on the scene, comin' down in the hole to get ya.
Vyxsin: I'll just wait for the next rescue team, thank you very much.
- Tempting Fate: At the beginning of episode 4, they declared that they were going to have a PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) throughout the leg. The sheer volume of mistakes and meltdowns that followed had to be seen to be believed.
- That Came Out Wrong: Jaime & Cara laughed at Kent running around, yelling at Vyxsin to "bring him children" at the mosaic Detour.
- Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Though they were actually the same height, and shared clothes because of this.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: After Kent's injury. He became whiny and snippy, which caused Vyxsin to snipe right back at him. Kent was also nasty to other teams and even locals, made more jarring by how polite and courteous he was with locals in his original season.
- Unwitting Pawn: Margie's plan was to use them as this, as she thought they would be an easy team to beat down the line. She might have been right, if not for Luke's own issues doing Roadblocks.
- Xtreme Kool Letterz
Jet McCoy & Cord McCoy (The Cowboys) (Season 16, 2nd Place)
Originally "robbed" of their victory due to Dan & Jordan cutting in line at the airport (though the actual cause of their defeat was an inability to figure out one of the clues in the final leg, which never seemed to come up
), the cowboys returned to settle their business. However, the tougher tasks and competition exposed their weakness at the mental aspect of the game, and they found themselves getting by solely on their ability to do the physical tasks faster than everyone else.
They were ultimately done in by a combination of their poor navigation skills and the answer-sharing alliances they were not part of. Jet got lost during the Lichtenstein measuring Roadblock, and even though Flight Time also got lost, only Jet had to re-run the task, as Flight Time was able to get the answer from Justin. This put them so far behind that they could not catch up, even with the Globetrotters making several mistakes during the Detour. A U-Turn at the end of the leg sealed their fate in 6th place, as they were the last remaining previous Final 3 team to go out. They would get another chance to rectify this on the second All-Stars.
- The Ace: How they were portrayed and seen by the other teams. It was their inability to live up to the overwhelming expectations everyone set for them that caused them to fall into Every Year They Fizzle Out.
- Call Back: When they figured out they were going to be the last into Varanasi, they recalled their disastrous leg in Seychelles, which resulted in their non-elimination. Later in the leg, when they caught up, Vyxsen talked about their "efficiency" while the show cut to them winning the next leg despite the Speed Bump.
- Catch Phrase: "Oh my gravy."
- Character Shilling: Their last few legs, when they were making numerous airport mistakes and scrambling to stay alive, were filled with quotes from the other teams about how much of a threat they were.
- Country Mouse: They tended to struggle more when racing in cities, and do better in rural areas.
- Cowboy: The rodeo riding kind.
- Damn You, Muscle Memory: In Japan, Jet started getting into, what was to him, the driver's seat of their car, until Cord reminded him that In Japan, the steering wheel is on the right side of the car.
- Every Year They Fizzle Out: Despite being early favorites to win all three of their seasons, they've lost all three times. It's understandable that they came into this season with all the other teams seeing them as a huge threat, as their Season 16 performance had looked quite impressive, but the fact that they were continually portrayed as huge threats, even after repeated mental and navigation mistakes kept putting them in the back of the pack, is what pushed them towards this trope.
- Famed in Story: They were easily the most feared team coming in, with most of the other teams seeing them as the hugest threat (and even after the race was over, most contestants still did, according to the interviews). However, later subverted as, other than the two legs in China, they really did not perform that well, and lived mostly off their reputation.
- Goshdang It To Heck: Good Southern Christian boys Jet & Cord used swears like "Daggummit!" and "Gosh darnit!"
- Hat Damage: At the Austria Pit Stop, Phil mentions how Cord's hat has gotten dirty.
- History Repeats: The cowboys once again lost to a same gender Sibling Team, featuring one straight and one Twofer Token Minority gay sibling.
- Iconic Item: Their black and white cowboy hats.
- Idiot Ball: They suddenly forgot how to look for flights in the second half of the season. They arrived in Varanasi, India an hour after the other teams simply because the ticket agent told them they were on the first flight, and they took his word for it. In the next leg, they deliberately took a flight 30 minutes later than all the other teams because it had fewer connections.
- In-Series Nickname: The Cowboys.
- Leeroy Jenkins: They did have a tendency to jump into tasks whole hog, which ended up costing Jet huge in Lichtenstein. He got lost on the Lichtenstein measuring Roadblock, but ran into Gary. Instead of working with Gary and possibly getting the answer from him, he bolted as soon as he got Gary's odometer reading. He tried figuring out the true distance using the difference between his and Gary's odometers, but got the math wrong, and was therefore the only person who got sent back to do the task again.
- Leitmotif: Their heroic cowboy theme returned and sent them off during their elimination.
- Less Embarrassing Term: A deleted scene showed that Jet was very insistent on referring to their fanny pack as a "satchel," and he often did wear it over his shoulder instead of around his waist.
- Loners Are Freaks: Due to feeling burned by Dan & Jordan for cutting in line, they became even more isolated from the other teams, and, in this particular season, their strategy suffered for it. In fact, one of their bad flight decisions was partially due to not checking which flight the other teams were on.
- Manipulative Editing: Previews for their last leg made it seem like the other teams were so afraid of them, they were ganging up to get them eliminated. However, other than a comment from Big Easy about not wanting to go head-to-head with them, and a comment from Kent about them getting eliminated once they were already in last, most of the teams did not hold any real animosity towards the Cowboys.note
- Nice Guys Finish Last: Invoked during their intro, where Jet says that nice guys don't always finish last.
- Obi-Wan Moment: They toasted to their race and relaxed to their pot of fondue after being U-Turned by the Globetrotters.
- Nice Hat
- No Sense of Direction: Several times, some more costly than others:
- After their terrible first leg, it took them all night to find the first location in the second leg, and the only reason they were not Mercy Killed was because that second location was a sign up sheet for charter flights leaving in the morning.
- They got so lost looking for the Roadblock in Japan that they fell behind the teams on the second flight (who they had an hour lead on).
- Jet got lost doing the Lichtenstein Roadblock, resulting in their elimination.
- Read the Freaking Clue: The reason they got on the last ferry alone in the premiere is that they got off the train at Sydney Harbour, and immediately started looking for Ocean World. They needed to take the ferry to Manly first.
- Rubber-Band A.I. : Like Kent & Vyxsin, they narrowly averted an embarrassing elimination due to a double leg non-elimination and an equalizer. They were almost done in on the first leg when they missed the first train out of the airportnote , and then were the only team to miss the second boatnote , with Jet then struggling with the nautical flags Roadblock to the point where they were they only team still running the first leg when the episode ended. If you add in their struggles to even stay on their skiff when Jet finally finished the Roadblock, and how long it took them to find the charter flights sign-up sheet at the beginning of the second episode, they fell hours behind the other teams before they caught up on the charter flight.
- Sibling Team
- Sore Loser: Jet was noticeably less than enthusiastic at the Finish Line.
- Unskilled, but Strong: Even more so pronounced in a stronger field. Jet struggling with the nautical flags Roadblock in the first leg nearly got them eliminated first. They would later make many bad flight planning errors, which put them as the only team on the second flight in two consecutive legs. In contrast, they won their one leg win after a mostly strength-based dinosaur-assembling Roadblock.
- Wrong Season Savvy: This was the worst season possible for them to stay separate from the other teams. On any other season, it would not have hurt them quite so badly.
Ronald "Ron" Hsu & Christina Hsu (Season 12, 2nd place)
Originally defeated due to Christina's breakdown at her season's Final Roadblock, the father-daughter pair returned with the real truth flavor. The tougher course and competition highlighted how Ron's immaturity and constant nagging hindered the team, despite Christina continuing to show her adeptness at the Race. Though they were able to use their wits to stay mostly near the top of the pack, they went out in 7th after Ron went off course during the holy men Roadblock.
- Accidental Misnaming: Upon reaching the second Pit Stop:
Ron: Give us good news, Bill.
Phil: Ron, did you just call me Bill?
- Aesop Amnesia: Ron seemed to forget about how he learned to treat his daughter better in Season 12, as he constantly berated Christina and others around him. Phil Keoghan expected that this might happen due to the increased pressure.
- Asian and Nerdy
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Ron's concentration issues seemingly got worse.
- Call Back:
- Discussions about their relationship issues were intercut with shots from Ron's legendary leg 2 meltdown from Season 12.
- Christina's announcement that she was engaged to fellow Season 12 contestant Azaria was accompanied by video of their first meeting.
- At the Finish Line, Ron wore a shirt with the letters "WYD" on it, standing for "Who's Your Daddy?", which was printed on most of his shirts in Season 12.
- Delicious Distraction: Ron picked up this trait once they hit China. Several times he lost his concentration, even mid-task, and tried to get his daughter to stop to get food.
- Delusions of Eloquence: Ron again, as related to his Talkative Loon status.
- Failed a Spot Check: They ran right by the marked shuttle buses on Jade Dragon Mountain and got in a small cart, which led to the scene of Ron chasing a bus down, yelling and throwing things at it.
- Holier Than Thou: Ron lectured about Mallory's supposed faults to the camera after they aligned to finish the kangaroo task.
- Insane Troll Logic:
- Ron took the Roadblock clue, "Who thinks they're living a charmed life?" while standing next to walkways filled with Chinese charms, to mean they were about to do an eating task.
- Ron somehow thought that the holy men being "in their element" meant they had taken their robes off and were at the shores of the Ganges at the outskirts of the city.
- The Load: Ron, even more so than before. Christina constantly having to control his crazy behavior stood out more in a stronger field, and it hindered their performance. When Christina said that she was now engaged to Azaria from Season 12, it had many fans wishing they had come back as a team together (despite the debacle that was Eric & Danielle) so that Christina could have had a better chance without her father dragging her down.
- Loud of War: Ron was distracted by the local musicians playing at the Hindu Art Detour, forcing Christina to yell at him to stop complaining and concentrate.
- Man Child: With the way Ron behaved, Christina had to act as the parent most of the time.
- Motor Mouth: Ron, especially when Christina was trying to think to complete tasks, causing her to tell him to be quiet a lot.
- The Nose Knows: During the needle-in-a-haystack tea-tasting task, Ron simply sniffed for the correct flavor, and thus finished the task on his first guess. Both Jet and Malory eventually picked up this tactic, but it took them both a lot longer.
- The Smart Guy: Christina.
- Talkative Loon: Ron still, especially during his outburst while on the wrong bus down Jade Dragon Mountain.
- Wacky Parent, Serious Child: Ron was even more loony and immature this time, which dragged them down despite Christina's frequently strong play.
- Weak, but Skilled: Christina.
Margaret "Margie" Adams & Luke Adams (Season 14, 3rd Place)
Previously losing due to Luke choking away a huge lead at his season's Final Roadblock, the Bionic Woman and Sinister Deaf Kid returned with Luke vowing to not make the same mistake twice. They started out slowly, but had seemingly found their groove with a a pair of strong legs, including a leg win, in China. However, Luke broke down at a Roadblock once again, as he was the last to identify the correct tea at the tea-tasting Roadblock, and they finished in 8th. they would be given a third chance on the second All-Stars.
- Action Mom: Margie
- Big "YES!"/Big "NO!": Luke, first for winning the Lijiang, China leg, then realizing that it was a double-length leg.
- Broken Tears: Both of them when Luke started falling apart at the tea tasting Roadblock, eliciting encouraging applause from the task judges.
- Call Back:
- When Luke was struggling with the tea tasting Roadblock, Margie brought up the frustration issues that had plagued him throughout Season 14.
- Luke wore a "The Sinister Deaf Kid TAR-14" T-Shirt at the Finish Line.
- Cool Old Lady: Margie being an Action Mom and BadassGrandma
- Determinator: Luke drank tea for 4 hours. Not as easy as it looks, especially due to the risk of water intoxication after a certain point.
- Failed a Spot Check: The foot fell off of Margie's kangaroo costume, dropping them out of a tie for 1st with Zev & Justin, and put them back with the pack when they went to go look for it.
- Fatal Flaw: Once again, Luke's lack of patience did them in.
- Hide Your Gays: Luke, again.
- History Repeats: Luke broke down at a Roadblock despite promising he wouldn't this time in the pre-race interview.
- Inspirationally Disadvantaged: With the more competition-based focus of this season, Luke's deafness was rarely directly brought up.
- Never Live It Down: Luke himself had trouble forgiving his choking at the surfboard Roadblock in the Season 14 finale.
- Never Mess with Granny: Margie dedicated the dinosaur building Roadblock to her 4-year-old grandson.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: Despite being a Spotlight-Stealing Squad in their original season, they were overlooked in favor of Zev & Justin, as Zev & Justin performed better, and Zev had a similar Inspirationally Disadvantaged hook. Phil wasn't even shown signing his race positions every leg.
- Twofer Token Minority: Luke, being deaf and gay.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: They ditched Jaime & Cara (after more than a season working together) to work with Mel & Mike while looking for the Roadblock in Japan.
Jaime Faith Edmondson & Cara Rosenthal (The Cheerleaders), (Season 14, 2nd Place)
Originally unable to reach the Finish Line first due to a bad cab driver (though Jaime struggling to find the last surfboard at the Final Roadblock didn't help), the cheerleaders were back in red, this time with Jaime now a Playboy
Playmate. They consistently lagged near the back of the pack, with Cara pointing out how they had never performed that badly during Season 14. They were eliminated in 9th place when Jaime struggled to complete the dinosaur assembly Roadblock.
- Base Breaker: They cited themselves as Base Breakers in their intro, saying that they were a team people loved or hated, there was no middle ground with them.
- Call Back:
- When talking about picking back up their alliance with Margie & Luke, a shot of Jaime and Luke sharing answers at Season 14's Final Roadblock was shown.
- When told to fly to China, Jaime mentions their wandering around Bejing for hours, looking for the U-Turn mat, was one of the worst days of her life.
- When their driver stopped for gas following the U-Turn in China, Jaime said it was like what happened in Hawaii all over again, when their cab driver stopped for gas on the way to the Final Roadblock.
- Fiery Redhead: Jaime was actually very subdued since she did not like her portrayal in her original season.
- Jaw Drop: Jaime at the third Pit Stop. After they had gotten in a car accident and had the other guy call the police, they thought they were dead meat for the entire leg. They walked into the Pit Stop, did Phil's whole spiel for him, and were shocked when Phil told them they were not last.
- Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Cara being the light, Jaime the Dark.
- Ms. Fanservice: Jaime even brought up her Playboy Playmate status while in a kangaroo suit, and Mallory got the locals at the Frog of Luck Detour excited by announcing their eventual arrival in the skimpy outfits.
- Villain Decay: They didn't even place above 6th this time, and were a far cry from the team that was such a huge threat to Margie & Luke and Tammy & Victor at the end of Season 14. Much of this was because neither had the same motivation they did the first time around. Newly minted Playboy Playmate Jaime was very subdued compared to her appearance on Season 14, where she was seemingly driven by her anger (she didn't even blow up once when dealing with their car accident in Japan), while Cara was distracted by her upcoming bar exam.
Mel White & Mike White (Season 14, 6th Place)
Eliminated previously due to trusting a cab driver who broke them away from the pack and took them to the wrong location, the father-son filmmaker pair returned to savor more of the world. Due to his age, Mel was ill-fit to run the more strenuous course, as Mike constantly worried for his father's health. This would come to a head in Japan, where they had to be treated for hypothermia during the Frog of Luck Detour and were sent directly to the mat for elimination in 10th.
- Determinator: Mel refused to quit at the Frog of Luck Detour even well into the night, leading Mike to claim that sometimes you have to quit for such people.
- Honor Before Reason: Mel found the foot of Margie's kangaroo costume lying in the gutter, and picked it up to return to her instead of leaving it there for her to find herself. Especially dangerous as, if they hadn't run into Margie & Luke, they could have gotten penalized for sabotaging another team.
- Limited Wardrobe: Despite being a new season, Mike did not do much to update his wardrobe. He wore the same "Yes We Can" shirt and "Yeast Lords" hat he had in Season 14.
- The Load: Mel, due to his age, though Mike didn't help with his constant worrying, and insisting on quitting and putting in minimal effort at the Frog of Luck Detour.
- Nobody Over 50 Is Gay: Averted with Mel.
- Non-Gameplay Elimination: Of the Mercy Kill variety. Emphasis on mercy, as the "kill" might have spared Mel's life.
- Sequel Difficulty Spike: Discussed during the second leg, with Mike saying it felt harder this time.
- Tempting Fate: Right before their flight was delayed in the premiere due to a man having a heart attack and the plane being forced to land, Mike said that at least they didn't have the dread of being one of the three teams on the last flight, but that anything could happen.
Amanda Blackledge & Kristopher "Kris" Klicka (Season 14, 8th Place)
Originally victims of the Blind U-Turn, the couple returned, now engaged, to see how much further they could go. They were easily the most surprising team cast, as many fans did not even remember them. As fate would have it, they were the last team to figure out the QANTAS puzzle at the Starting Line Task, and were thus automatically U-Turned again. This would prove to be their undoing, and they became the first out in place of one of the more popular teams.
- Dumb Blonde: Amanda.
Kris: Amanda will be good at that, she’s good at word puzzles and things.
*cut to a confused looking Amanda*
Amanda: What? Great, doesn’t make sense.
- History Repeats: They were eliminated via U-Turn again.
- I Coulda Been a Contender: This was Kris's reaction to their elimination the first time, and he would annoy Amanda during episodes of the show repeatedly saying how easily they could have done certain tasks.
- One Steve Limit: Averted with Season 4 team Amanda & Chris.
- Read the Freaking Clue: Gary & Mallory had to tell them to dance on top of their mosaic at the Detour instead of around it.
- Relationship Upgrade: They had gotten engaged since their last Race.
- Unexpected Character: Many fans did not even remember who they were, and those who did remember them were even more surprised to see them than those who didn't.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Despite running the Race twice, they only ran a total of six legs between Seasons 14 and Unfinished Business. To put that in perspective:
- Joe & Bill, Oswald & Danny, Teri & Ian, Charla & Mirna, Uchenna & Joyce, Eric Sanchez, Dustin & Kandice, Ronald & Christina, Kynt & Vyxsin, Kisha & Jen, Gary & Mallory, Brendon & Rachel, Caroline & Jennifer, and Leo & Jamal all ran at least six legs on both of their seasons. Both Flight Time & Big Easy and Jet & Cord did it all three times they raced, and Margie & Luke did it the first two times, while making it five legs the third time.
- Oswald & Danny, Colin & Christie, Rob & Amber, Eric & Jeremy, Dustin & Kandice, Nick & Starr, Meghan & Cheyne, Jet & Cord, Andy & Tommy, Rachel & Dave, and Dave & Connor all finished 1st at least six times.
- Dustin & Kandice, Eric Sanchez, and Brendon & Rachel ran four times as many legs as Amanda & Kris, while Oswald & Danny, Kisha & Jen, Margie & Luke, and Caroline & Jennifer are one leg short of quadrupling them.
- Flight Time & Big Easy and Jet & Cord ran five times as many legs.