Amazing Race Finale

I am surprised when I see that the finale tonight is only one hour long. The Amazing Race finale is usually a two-hour event. This is going to go fast.

Ron & Christina are leaving the Taipei Pit Stop first and their clue tells them to fly to their final destination city — Anchorage, Alaska. They get to the airport and quickly book the first flight with China Airlines. Ron asks if they can use the airline’s lounge to do some internet research. TK & Rachel and Nicolas & Don both get on the same China Airlines flight. They all get nervous when they don’t see Ron & Christina, thinking they have gotten a better flight. But when they finally appear, TK is very relieved.

In Anchorage, Ron & Christina take the lead again, leaving the airport first. TK & Rachel are next with Nicolas & Don trailing in third. They must find a store called 6th Avenue Outfitters where they will pick up their clue along with some gear needed for their tasks. That clue takes them to the Ship Creek Boatlaunch. The teams arrive and leave in the same order they left the airport. But wait, Nicolas & Don are leaving and they left their bag of gear at the store! Go back, Don! Oh, no. It looks like my favorite team may have made a mistake that will cost them any chance they had to win.

The Detour is “Cut the Cod” or “Grab the Crab.” “Cut the Cod” involves cutting open a cod and looking through the guts for a clue. And these are some big cod. “Grab the Crab” requires jumping into a tank with 500 live crabs and searching through them to find the marked crab. Ron & Christina decide to cut open the cod which definitely sounds like the quicker choice. Ron starts cutting and we get a nice close-up view of fish guts. Can I just say — GROSS!! But they are lucky and find the clue right away.

TK & Rachel have a taxi driver that drops them off at the wrong place, so Nicolas & Don get ahead of them and arrive at the Detour first. But they can’t do either challenge without their gear, and when they realize their mistake they have to backtrack to the store. TK & Rachel choose the crab Detour which sounds like it might take forever, so maybe Nicolas & Don can catch up.

TK & Rachel jump in the crab tank and immediately start getting pinched — so, less gross then the cod, but more painful. They are about to change tasks as Nicolas & Don arrive and start slicing cod, but as he’s getting out of the tank, TK finds a marked crab. Nicolas & Don are still in last place but Don quickly cuts up the cod while Nicolas seems repulsed that he has to search through the guts with his hands. I can’t blame him for that! But they find the clue and are not far behind.

Ron & Christina arrive at the next location and get a scenic speedboat ride out to the glacier. But then they have to climb up the glacier wall to their next clue. Ron is nervous due to his fear of heights. But Christina cheers him on and he slowly gets up the glacier. Christina is having a more difficult time, she can’t seem to get a foothold to get up the first vertical part of the ice. She eventually makes it and the others haven’t even arrived yet. Now they get an exciting helicopter ride off the glacier and must get to Goose Lake Park for their next clue.

TK & Rachel both get up the glacier, but Don is worried that he won’t be able to do it. Don does a great job as Nicolas cheers him on and then remarks that he’d better be able to do it now that his Grandpa made the climb. Nicolas struggles much more than Grandpa Don but eventually joins him at the top.

And this is where it gets good. Ron & Christina have arrived at the Road Block and like many Amazing Race finales before, it involves using your brain. This is a complex puzzle that involves picking out 10 objects from a whole pile of objects and placing them in the right combination on a scale. One object must be from each leg of the race and there are several other rules: three must be animals or animal products, one must be a U-Turn, two must be items brought to or at a Pit Stop, two must be transportation with wheels (one that was used for a Detour) and one a mode of transportation resembling a stick. I’m confused!! And so is Christina, who has decided to take on this task because she has the better memory.

TK & Rachel arrive and Rachel is going to do the puzzle. And then Nicolas & Don are there and it’s anybody’s race! Christina, Rachel and Nicolas are struggling to figure out which items to add to their pile and they can’t write anything down. This one is all about staying calm and being able to remember details. There’s a huge pile of crap there and some of the items are barely recognizable. There’s a gun that was shot off at the Pit Stop in Croatia and Nicolas has no clue what it is. Ron, TK and Don can only watch nervously from the sidelines and hope that their partner can figure it out. This really is a suspenseful challenge and it was very fun to watch. Christina tries a couple of different combinations and gets it wrong. Rachel has managed to keep her cool, and after one failed attempt she waits to see if the objects on her scale are correct. And Rachel has solved the puzzle first!

TK & Rachel open their clue — they must get to “the Cook’s eye view of the sleeping lady.” They jump in a cab while Christina has finished the puzzle and is close behind. She feels bad and apologizes to her dad, but Ron is very nice about it. Yeah, he knows he would have never figured that thing out.

TK & Rachel get their clue at the statue and must find the Salmon Hooker on foot. Yes, the Salmon Hooker. It is a little statue of a salmon wearing a dress, jewelry and heavy makeup. They find it easily as all of the locals seem to know it. There they find their last clue telling them to go take a cab to Girdwood Airport. At this point, Ron & Christina seem close behind, so it’s possible that they still have a chance if TK & Rachel get a bad taxi driver. Nicolas & Don are not shown, they appear to be left in the other teams’ dust back at the puzzle.

It’s not a surprise that we see TK & Rachel running up to the stage where Phil is waiting while all of the eliminated teams cheer them on. Awww, I missed you, Goths! The always mellow team of TK & Rachel have won the million dollars — they have been likable all along, so it’s a happy ending. Ron & Christina are next and they accept defeat gracefully, but did you catch Ron’s comment? He said that for the first time when he said “I love you” to Christina he meant it. Is he saying that before the race he didn’t really mean it when he said he loved his daughter? I’m hoping that just came out wrong. Nicolas & Don arrive third and at least it isn’t dark out yet, so Nicolas must have finally figured out the puzzle. They are very gracious too and had fun running the race together.

And so the 12th season of Amazing Race is over. There weren’t as many death-defying stunts as in the past, but the array of characters made it interesting. Let’s hope the 13th season inspires better team nicknames!