For the past few seasons, all the finales of The Amazing Race have begun with a sense of destiny about one team. On tonight’s finale (Dec. 7), that team was Nick & Starr, they were also my personal choice to win.
Everyone started off in the middle of the night, and even though first place Nick & Starr began their leg four hours before second place DAndrew, and five hours before Ken & Tina, everything evened out at the airport. All the teams were on the same Lufthansa flight to Portland. I know that bottleneck happens every leg and every season — and I understand the reasons for it — but it’s definitely annoying. It meant that when Nick & Starr’s cabbie got lost leaving the airport in Portland they quickly found themselves in second, behind Ken & Tina when they had begun the leg with a massive lead.
The first stop in Portland was the Detour and all the teams opted to do a little tree climbing and to walk on logs suspended in mid-air instead walking on logs sitting on some water. Unbelievably, Tina allowed Nick & Starr to pass her and Ken. Tina apparently has a fear of heights and only really balked when she and Ken were already at the task, and not when they were choosing to go to it. She then hemmed and hawed about actually climbing the tree and then again about walking out on the log and one more time before jumping for her clue. Truly an amazing woman.
I’m not afraid to tell you that if I were Ken I would have looked up at Tina and told her right then and there that I didn’t want to try to reconcile with her. I don’t know how long she stood there not jumping to get her clue, but it seemed like an awful long time. A simple missed turn by Nick & Starr’s cab though on the way to the next stop did put Ken & Tina back in the lead, so I guess it couldn’t have been too much hemming and hawing.
As for poor DAndrew, their cabbie got lost on the way to the Detour and they found themselves way behind. Those poor guys. They got through the Detour quickly, but by that point they were so far behind they were never again in the race. Plus, they had to get back in the car after the task with the same horrific cabbie which only set them further behind.
The other two teams took a pretty, but pointless, zip line ride and found themselves at a memory game. Those always seem to trip up multiple teams on the race, and this one was particularly difficult. It required teams to navigate a field of 150 clue boxes looking for pictures from each of the previous 10 legs. A field of 150 clue boxes — that’s what nightmares are made of. Imagine getting stuck, failing miserably on that task, and losing the million dollars because of it. You’d see that field of clue boxes every night for the rest of your life.
Ken & Tina, as per usual, bitched and moaned and bickered their way through the 150 clue boxes, and finished at virtually the same time as Nick & Starr. The cabs however took slightly different routes to the next stop, and that, my friends made all the difference.
The next stop had the teams search for a green dinosaur somewhere near the Portland Building — but, very importantly, not in the building. Nick & Starr’s cab miraculously, wondrously, fantastically, dropped them off so they had a beautiful shot of the dinosaur as they got out of the cab.
I can’t tell you how happy that made me, Ken & Tina weren’t too far behind, but the notion of those two winning made me sick. Absolutely sick. Their bickering and complaining and whining has disgusted me all season long.
Believing that the world is just and fair, I honestly thought Nick & Starr would win. Their stop after the green dinosaur was a Russian food cart which gave them a cryptic clue about going to a place where "the magic is in the hole." The answer — Voodoo Doughnut, of course. It was one of those clues that can’t be solved without local help, and Ken & Tina got a little more local help than Nick & Starr. Nick & Starr got the answer, but a lady eating at one of the carts overhead the answer and not only told it to Ken & Tina as soon as they showed, but gave them a faster route than the one Nick & Starr had taken.
Why couldn’t the final leg have been in the Northeast instead of the Northwest? In a city like Boston or New York, an innocent bystander overhearing the right answer wouldn’t have given it to a second team. That’s not the way we operate, at least not until we get a percentage of the winnings.
Happily for me, innocent bystander or no, Nick & Starr still beat Ken & Tina to the Pit Stop.
Take that obnoxious, ought to be divorced, couple! Next time how about you moan and snap a little less and run and hustle a little more. Ken, I can’t fathom why you threw a ring on Tina’s finger when you reached the mat. I hope for nothing but the best for the two of you, but I just don’t see it working (maybe I’m wrong, maybe it’s just the way the show was edited, but I saw very little effort on either Ken or Tina’s part to help the other in rough spots).
Outside of that sentiment, I really find myself with only three big final thoughts/questions this season:
- Apparently The Amazing Race can’t pull strings with the U.S. Consulate — Toni & Dallas weren’t at final Pit Stop which means they didn’t get new passports in time. I’m not terribly surprised by that, but I did think it weird that the show didn’t make a point of their absence. Don’t you?
- I find myself terribly curious about how DAndrew did at the memory game. However badly they may have performed, it didn’t cost them the race, but I would love to watch them run through the 150 clue boxes.
- I’m ever-so-thrilled Nick & Starr won (okay, I said that above, but it bears repeating).
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