The Amazing Race: Well, it’s about time!

Yayaya! Two women have finally won The Amazing Race and I could not be happier. OK, if you’d put a gun to my head, I probably would have said I was rooting for Brook and Claire just a smidge more than Nat and Kat. But really, I was just Team Anyone But Thomas. So seeing the docs totally rock the final leg and make Amazing Race history put a huge smile on my face.
High Time
To make Nat and Kat’s win even sweeter, the first challenge in the leg meant Nat would once again have to overcome her serious fear of heights. All the teams flew to L.A. on the same flight, and then they all had to bungee jump off some large cranes. Brook also had to overcome a fear – apparently she has one, and it’s free falling. Is she also afraid of Tom Petty? Nat cried and Brook shrieked, but everyone got through the task. Nat and Kat finished first, followed closely by Jill and Thomas and then Brook and Claire. I loved it when Brook screamed “I’ve never been so happy to see a dinghy!” when she was lowered into the awaiting boat.
Next up, the teams took a helicopter (probably borrowed from Chris Harrison and TheBachelor) to the Rose Bowl stadium. The Roadblock required one team member to complete different parts of a traditional Rose Bowl float. I have to say, I wish the task had been just a little more…oh, say, challenging? Interesting? Game-changing? Ah, well, what can you do. It’s a minor gripe about an otherwise enjoyable episode. Nat started the challenge and seemed to be killing it. Thomas took the task because he and Jill had expected it to be physical, and he was pretty disappointed to find out it actually involved gluing carnations onto a float. “I’m not really crafty, to be honest with you,” Thomas said. What, they don’t teach float-making at Notre Dame?! I thought Thomas was an expert in everything!
Brook was much more comfortable with the float task, declaring “These are my people!” According to Claire, it’s what Brook does in her spare time. Because Brook is Martha Stewart, only hotter and funnier and not as terrifying.
For a moment it looked like Nat had really screwed up – she didn’t prepare her carnations correctly or something – but she corrected her error right away and she and Kat departed from the Roadblock first. Next Jill and Thomas left, followed again by Brook and Claire.
Trivia Time
The clue, which was a three-part riddle, was a big factor in the teams’ placings. They had to answer the questions to find their next location. None of the teams knew all three answers, so they all needed internet or phone access to proceed. Sure, sitting at home you go “Google!”, but actually getting access to The Internets, even in this age of iPhones and CrackBerries, was harder than it seemed.
Nat and Kat really scored – they borrowed a phone from their cab driver and begged the apparently very busy information line lady to do them a favor and Google the questions. They didn’t even have to get out of the cab to solve the clue. Brook and Claire did what I would have done – they got their cab driver to take them to a hotel where they could Google the questions themselves.
Jill and Thomas really came undone at this point, though. They begged their cab driver to borrow his phone, but got nowhere. The language barrier was brutal, and it wasn’t even made clear where he was actually driving them to. Thomas literally said “I’m begging you to use your phone,” but the guy just kept offering up his GPS. You’ve got to hand it to Jill, who maintained her composure and said “That’s not a computer sir! But thank you for that offer.” They finally got out of the cab, but whatever neighborhood the driver had taken them to was not one with a plethora of hotels or coffee shops. We never saw them even make it to the next location. I’ll give Thomas props too, for giving his girlfriend a kiss on the cheek when he realized they’d lost any hope of winning. The guy is still pompous and arrogant, but at least he doesn’t treat her like crap. (That is a huge compliment considering the other boyfriends on this season.)
Hat Trick
Nat and Kat got to the final challenge first, and like every good TAR team should, they’d taken notes throughout the race. At this point, it should be common sense to record details of the race as you go along. The challenge had them look at dozens of pictures of people wearing hats on a large, overwhelming computer screen, and pick out which chapeau-donning people had been at each particular pit stop.
When Nat and Kat finished the task before Brook and Claire even showed up, I knew they’d won. And while I was a little bummed that I wouldn’t get to see Brook go absolutely nuts at the finish line (I’m sure it would have been her reaction to meeting Bob Eubanks X100), I was just glad that there would be no question that an all-female team would win. And let’s face it – even though Nat and Kat were a tad boring, they totally deserved to win the race. They worked perfectly together. They won tons of legs. They never panicked or freaked out. Kat sacrificed 22 years of vegetarianism to score the Fast Forward. Nat overcame her fear of heights and managed to run the whole race while keeping her diabetes in check. That’s pretty damn impressive.
Brook and Claire had also taken notes and breezed through the final challenge, but there was no way they’d be able to catch up. They were very gracious second place winners (I loved when Phil responded with “I know” when Claire said they’d laughed their way around the world), and it was nice to see four awesome ladies standing up there. Finally, Jill and Thomas came in third. I’m going out on a limb and guessing they never did the last challenge? They were a strong team and had some rotten, rotten luck in the final leg – but them’s the breaks in The Amazing Race.
I’ve definitely seen more suspenseful TAR finales, but I still thought it was a pretty strong episode and I’m happy with who won. And now I can stop obsessing over the all-female teams in future seasons and just root for whichever team I like best. And speaking of future seasons, are you excited for next season’s “Unfinished Business” theme? That’s an interesting twist for an All-Stars season! They showed a lot of teams in the promo, and even though I read a leaked list of teams online, I’m excited to find out who the confirmed teams will be. Globetrotters for the win!

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