Sunday, December 11, 2011

Amazing Race Recap: "Racing To The Finish Line In Atlanta"

I’m still annoyed about last week’s Cab Collusion, as were many of you (43 comments for last week’s recap!), but it’s time to move on and focus on the Season Finale of The Amazing Race. Will Jeremy and Sandy be able to pull out a win? Can Amani and Marcus be victorious in their own personal Super Bowl? Or will anyone (including me) who used the hashtag #AnyoneButCindy on Twitter today be eating crow?

My Random Thoughts:

- From Panama, the three teams (who were only separated by a total of two minutes) discovered that they would have to travel to Atlanta, their final destination, and make their way to Flight Safety International, where they would find their next clue.

- Jeremy and Sandy said that they have to be perfect this last leg, and have a good shot to win it. Ernie and Cindy said that the race is the ultimate “pre-marital counseling,” and that it has been a strong bonding experience, and Marcus and Amani, upon learning that the final destination was their home town of Atlanta, fist-pumped and said that they had “home field advantage.” (Not so fast…remember Tara and Wil in Season 2 in San Francisco?)
- In Atlanta, Cindy tried to jump the cab line, promising to pay the driver “lots of money”, and Sandy made the wise move of telling their cab driver specifically NOT to tell the other cab drivers where they were going. Don’t even get me started…

- When they arrived at Flight Safety International, they found out that they would have to enter a Learjet Flight Simulator, and successfully land the aircraft from 25,000 feet. In short, it was the best video game ever, and somewhere, Ron and Bill cursed that they didn’t make the Final Leg of the Race.

- Captain Jeremy and Co-Pilot Sandy did it on the first try, but both of the other teams had trouble. Cindy told Ernie “let’s get it right the first time”, but then was too concerned barking orders at Ernie to remember her job as co-pilot to maintain an air speed of 135 mph. Instead, she dropped their plane out of the sky and they had to start over. Lesson: Yelling instructions at your teammate might kill you.
Amani and Marcus had a really tough time with it. On the first try, they landed but crashed; on the 2nd try, they tried to taxi while still in the air, and on the third through sixth tries, they kept skidding off the runway after landing. Marcus tried to use the analogy that he was open in the End Zone and dropped the pass, but if I may give a more apt analogy, he was wide open in the End Zone…in the Super Bowl…with nobody near him…and the Quarterback threw 6 passes right at him…and he dropped them all…in his home stadium. That seems about right.

At this point, it was a two-team race. And Marcus should never own a Wii.

- After the flight simulator, teams were instructed to “find the former residence known as ‘The Dump”, which was Margaret Mitchell’s home, where she wrote Gone With The Wind. Neither cab driver knows what “The Dump” is, so they take 2 entirely different strategies.

Ernie and Cindy borrowed their cab driver’s phone and called somewhere, and figured out the location. I’m wondering where they called…is there an ‘All About Atlanta’ hotline or something? Do you just call the operator? Maybe the library?

Jeremy and Sandy, meanwhile, took a completely different approach, instructing their cab driver to “take us to an intersection where we can ask somebody.” Really? This is the strategy you want to implement on the final leg where the million dollars is actually on the line? They find some random guy in a truck, who instructed them to go to “the old Home Depot store.”

- In their respective cabs, both teams talked about how stressful the race has been. Cindy continued her elitist ways, saying that it would be like “losing to the C student when we’re the A+ student”, while Sandy said that “I have to get on Priolsec when I get home.” You know what that means…next season, one of the prizes for winning a leg will a 6-month supply of Prilosec (for all the GERD caused by the Race!)
- Personally, I was shocked that when Jeremy and Sandy got to the furniture store, it was actually called ‘The Dump.' After running around the entire store, they finally asked themselves “are we idiots and in the wrong spot?” They then borrowed a smartphone and figured it out.

- At Margaret Mitchell’s house, the Road Block asked teams “Who gives a damn?”, and required one member to type out their next clue in the very room where Gone With The Wind was written. They would have to do it on an old-school Remington 3 typewriter which was missing the number ‘1’, and teams would have to figure out that they needed to replace it with a lower-case ‘l’. Is it just me, and the fact that I write a lot…or was that pretty easy to figure out? Seems like the actual typing without making a mistake was more difficult.
Cindy was mad that she didn’t choose to do it, because she types “ten times faster” than Ernie. But in essence, speed was a non-issue here. The passage they had to type was only 2 or 3 lines long. But she still kept telling us as many ways as possible that she should have done it. Ernie eventually figured it out after a few incorrect tries.

- Ernie and Cindy completed the Road Block first, and then had to decipher that the numbers on their clue: 44-715-74 were all related to Hank Aaron (uniform number, home run record total, and year he broke the record), which would lead them to Turner Field.

Ernie and Cindy wondered if the numbers were highway exits, and then went to a hotel, where Cindy asked "is there an internet we can use?” as if it were an actual material object she could borrow. The clerk behind the counter then logged them in to the hotel computer, and let them come behind the counter to use it (how many of you were wishing along with me that someone would try to check in at that point at that counter?) He was very helpful, and said that even though they shouldn’t be allowed back there, he would let them “just for this time.” That basically means “you have a TV crew and I’m going to be on TV. You can do whatever you want.”

After Sandy completed the typing Roadblock—commenting that the Remington sure wasn’t a Mac—they looked at the numbers and said “we need to Google it.” Yep, no more depending on random guys in trucks to help you.

- At Turner Field, the teams were greeted with a massive mental map challenge, that they would have to complete with no notes. On the giant map of the world, they would have to climb up via rope, and successfully map out the entire race, passing a red rope through carabiners that were situated on certain countries. (For the record, the correct order was: Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Malawi, Denmark, Belgium, Panama, USA.)

- Cindy looked at the giant contraption and exclaimed “Holy bananas”, which is so much better than last week’s “Holy balls.” Then, she and Ernie got it on the first try, which didn’t surprise me at all, because I’m sure they studied world geography before the Race…or at least bought an Atlas. They were done before Jeremy and Sandy had even arrived.
I know some people will say that this was a relatively easy final task compared to some of the extensive memory challenges from past seasons, but I didn’t have a problem with it. The only suggestion I would have made would have been that if you made a mistake, you had to start again. When Jeremy and Sandy missed Indonesia, it was just a quick clip into the carabiner to correct it. I think you should have had to re-thread the whole thing. Not that it was an issue…

- After leaving Turner Field, they had to travel by Taxi to the Swan House and the Finish Line. Ernie and Cindy’s cab kept having to recalaculate the GPS, and even though it was edited to make us believe that Jeremy and Sandy were close, it was certain that Ernie and Cindy would win.
- And win they did, with one last “Oh My Gaaaaad!” as they opened the gate and saw the Finish Line, Cindy and Ernie took home the one million dollar prize, which they then exclaimed vaguely that they were going to use to “multiply the million and help those in need.”

Ernie said that his parents are probably “passed out in disbelief”, while Cindy said that her parents would have expected her to win. “My parents definitely have an expectation for me to be perfect,” she told us, before also adding that the Race is worth more than a million dollars. Easy to say now that you’ve won. The whole Race, she specified that it was about the prize, not the experience.

- Jeremy and Sandy finished 2nd, and talked about how they learned how to communicate better with each other, and how they will now have a stronger relationship because of the Race. Amani and Marcus finished 3rd, and Marcus promised to never become a pilot, while Amani essentially told her kids that she really loves them, but they should never slam doors in the house. One final NFL analogy from Marcus tells us that he thinks Amani is smarter than any Quarterback, and tougher than any Linebacker. (Awww)

- Look, I gave Ernie and Cindy a really hard time over the course of this Race…well, mostly Cindy…but I give them a lot of credit. They ran the best Race overall, and deserved to win. Just because I didn’t like them or want them to win, doesn’t change my opinion on that. I respect what they did and congratulate them on the win.

I still think that they should have been penalized for not having tickets on that train ride back in Brussels, but who knows if that even would have eliminated them on that leg? I still maintain that it was theft, and opens a tricky door for TAR to deal with in future seasons, but no one can say if that would have had an overall effect on the Race as a whole.

- Speaking of future seasons, one final note: Season 20 of the Amazing Race is currently filming right now. I generally don’t put spoilers on here, but I’ll put something in the Comments section regarding a location and a team, for those of you who are interested.

That's going to do it for another season of the Amazing Race, but I hope you'll bookmark the site or add your name as a Follower on the sidebar to the left for when it returns next season. If you're a fan of Survivor, make sure to check for my Finale recap next Sunday, December 18th. I hope to see you back here, even when The Amazing Race is not on.

Remember that you can also add me on Facebook or Twitter, where I post all of my recaps (and other Random Thoughts) as soon as they go up. Don’t forget to mouse over the pictures for captions, and please leave a Comment in the Comments section if you’re so inclined.

Thanks for reading this season.

(Photo Credits: Reality Fan Forum, CBS)


Peter Chan said...

Well, at least no one got eliminated this season finale due to a bad cab driver like MANY seasons past (Gary & Mallory in 18, Jill & Thomas in 17, Brent and Caite in 16...).

As soon as Jeremy and Sandy went to that "old Home Depot" and looked around for what looked like HOURS, I knew Ernie & Cindy got this in the bag since Cindy will no doubt breeze through a memory challenge.

Congrats to them. I enjoyed rooting for them (and Bill & Cathi) all season even when others poured on some Haterade. Here's to an awesome Season 20!

Sean said...

Spoiler for Season 20:

One location is Vancouver, B.C.

One team is Big Brother's Brendan and Rachel.

You heard it here first.

Anonymous said...

Brendan and Rachel? WOO!!!

Anonymous said...

Brachel?!!! Oh my. I'll be watching that train wreck!

Anonymous said...

Great recap! Thanks for the hashtag holla. Obviously I am bummed at the race outcome. Boooo!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great recap. I haven't been a fan of Ernie/Cindy given her attitude and behavior the entire race. But they did race well. I do wish CBS gave fans of this show a little of the extra treatment that Survivor fans get -- I would like to see a return of the Elimination Station, as well as a show with all folks together talking about the experience.

Choirchick22 said...

Oh god. Brachel? Well, now I know not to watch next season too.

Anonymous said...

Well, it was a great season and I can't wait for Season 20. I know you didn't like them Sean, but I'm glad that Ernie and Cindy won. Now to see Brachel on the show next season, that oughta be, well, I don't know...... Awesome recap, as usual

Anonymous said...

Brandon and Rachel? OK, when is there 15 minutes of fame over? But, at least we have another Cindy.

Meghan said...

I wouldn't discredit Brendan & Rachel that quickly. Although they appear to be one mess of a couple on screen, they are extremely competitive and if you've seen them on Big Brother, you know that they're really good at challenges (Rachel!), so I wouldn't be surprised AT ALL if they were doing well. I actually kind of expect it.

Anonymous said...

Sean, the Race spotted in Vancouver was the Australian version.

Kiwi Al said...

Thanks for your finale recap Sean, you have saved me 45 minutes.

R.P. McMurphy said...

Totally agree that Ernie and Cindy ran a very good race.

I meant to post this last week, I wish they did a better job explaining how the tasks are divided by each partner. I have never seen this formally addressed on the show. Is it percentage? Equally? I know they said one partner HAD to do a task last week and I guess it's because the other did too many but there was no explanation, just a directive. I'd be interested in a running tab or screen graphic each week.

The flight instructor couldn't have been too happy with Marcus punching the roof of what I'm sure is an incredibly expensive piece of equipment.

I got the impression that Ernie and Cindy won this one going away and that nobody was anywhere near them.

Never watched Big Brother and don't think I ever will so I have no inkling about "Brendan and Rachel."

Sean, thanks for your efforts with these great recaps.

Kurt Sahr said...

Thanks for the recaps this season, they were always fun to read. I'm impressed with how quickly you get these up after the show.

Ernie & Cindy weren't the most likable team, but they certainly were one of the two best (the snowboarders, of course, being the other). I'll be curious if this starts a trend of players who end up hard core preparing for the race. I'm not sure how much it helped Cindy, but it certainly didn't hurt.

There's a fair amount of luck in the Amazing Race and the snowboarders seemed to get all their bad luck in one fell swoop. I'm sure we'll see them again in an All-Stars season, where they'll stand a very good chance of winning.

I thought it was interesting that they didn't spend any time with Ethan & Jenna at the end of the race, I was expecting some sort of commentary from the pre-established CBS reality stars.

Elizabeth said...

Sean, the Vancouver, BC leg that you posted above is for TAR-Australia, which is also filming.

Vyrastas said...

I thought this was a pretty boring finale episode. The flight simulator was the only interesting challenge, the others were really boring and not exciting.

Having an actual store called The Dump was hilarious. You know the producers were hoping one team would mess up on that.

I was hoping Marcus and Amani would win, but twas not to be. Oh well.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure about the Vancouver leg? TAR-AUS 2 was already spotted in B.C.

Since TAR 20 started going to Argentina first and then Paraguay (a first-time country) and Italy, maybe they will return to the US via Canada, but isn't it dangerous for racers to disclose a future location before they tape the leg?

A Kam said...

So the other day, I was watching episode one again, and the order was Cindy and Ernie first to the pit stop, Jeremy and Sandy second, and last was Justin and Jennifer. So I basically switched Justin and Jennifer with Marcus and Amani, and figured this was how it was going to also be in the final. I am a bit pissed that Cindy won, I am glad that Ernie won though. Cindy seems like this little spoiled brat who must have the best and be the best at everything. I wonder if she ever just lays back and just relax.

Lastly, I think the final leg was complete BS. It was way too easy, and just plain boring. Everything was close by, and there was no real struggling to figure stuff out. I think that next season they should implement some sort of rule to limit internet use. Perhaps you can only use the internet to help you twice throughout the entire game.

Gabe said...

As others have said, I'm pretty sure that the Vancouver leg was from TAR Australia, which is filming in a similar time-frame to TAR 20...

Also, Cindy won <3333

HoH8 said...

Sean, ur the first to post Brenchel in TAR?...i thought i posted it last week but i cant find it....strange....

i was loving the Finale until J&S went to the home depot place and dumb & dumber...i mean Bert & Ernie took over first place then it was a downer for the rest of the show...i kept getting sadder and sadder....what a bummer of a finish....

Sean...ur one of the best bloggers around....thank you so much for ur hard work...☺...

Amish Stories said...

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Alisha said...

I could be wrong, but I could have sworn Colette Lala at the Bitchy blog wrote about it the week before you did... (Brenchel that is). They are such a trainwreck, but very competitive. I think they will do well. I don't know how much of her ugly cry face pouting I can handle though.

I am not unhappy about Cindy and Ernie winning, though it makes us couch potatoes look bad ;]