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Tonight marked the finale of the sixteenth season of The Amazing Race. While I can’t say I was thrilled with the winning team, they did run a good race in its final leg, despite a few sneakier maneuvers.
Brothers Dan and Jordan took first prize after traveling from China to San Francisco and running (or cabbing) around the city to pick up the various clues. The final challenges included a visit to the Industrial Lights & Magic Studios for a bit of Star Wars fun, a trip up (and down) Coit Tower and a visit to one of the historical concert halls in the area.
Dan and Jordan had the race won not when one of them sneakily cut Jett and Cord in line at the airport in China but when they managed to get moved up to first class on the plane and scored a big head start getting out of the airport. I’m not opposed to sneakiness. In fact, I think the First Class move was pretty genius but the line-cutting thing was just lame and petty and it didn’t even benefit either of them, other than unnecessarily irritating the cowboys.
From then on out, they were in the lead. Brent and Caite fell victim to poor communications with the cab driver. Of course, it didn’t help that with virtually no patience left, Caite started calling the driver names and yelling at him. Jett and Cord weren’t far behind Dan and Jordan. The biggest laugh of the episode came when Dan and Jordan were trying to get through the Star Wars task and Cord, having nothing to do but wait for Jett to get suited up, distracted them by yelling out random instructions. “Crawl forward! Left… ballet move! Ballet move!” That seemed to be sufficient payback for getting cut in line at the airport.
If I had my pick of the final three, I’d say the race belonged to Jett and Cord. If anything, those two deserve the good sportsmanship team of the season award. They came in first a number of times and while they enjoyed their victories, they never appeared to go to their heads. They made keeping a cool head and being polite seem effortless, which was a feat that both of the other teams failed at regularly throughout the race, including tonight. They were fun to watch and the heroes of this season, despite coming in second. I would’ve liked to have enjoyed Dan and Jordan’s victory but to be honest, between the line-cutting and the way they’ve acted in the past few episodes, it was hard to feel all that excited for them.
The episode ended with some final thoughts as Big Brother Jeff joked about once again not succeeding in a reality-TV game. Meanwhile, Caite started to say something nice to Brandy, only to have Brandy cut her off and berate her for using the U-Turn on her. Really classy, Brandy. Maybe it’s less about Caite wanting to be the last team standing and more about the fact that she was pretty vocal on her opinions of Caite from the start. There are two types of teams that get U-Turned in this game. The ones who piss people off and the ones who keep winning. If Brent and Caite were going for the stronger competitors, they could’ve U-Turned one of the teams that had actually taken first place in previous legs of the race. From where I was sitting, Brent and Caite's U-Turn was more personal than strategic and less to do with gender as it was about retribution. Not the greatest strategic move on Brent and Caite's part but a lesson to be learned for future players who think making loud, snide remarks toward another team is a good idea early on in the race. In Carol’s defense, she was literally leaning away from her partner during Brandy’s tirade. While Caite’s repetitiveness with regards to what she felt she had to prove got tiresome, I think she came out on top with the confrontation with Brandy.
All in all it was a good season and I do have to give Dan and Jordan credit for the race they ran. They had their game faces on and made virtually no mistakes during this last leg of the race. Having the list of eliminated teams ready was also a great move as that final task could’ve been their undoing if they couldn’t get the order right. In the end, they deserved the win. I just wished I could’ve enjoyed watching it more.