Jaymes & James finished the Roadblock several minutes behind Texas, but they were still able to hit the mat in first place, and both of them won a brand new 2013 Ford Escape, which Jaymes promised to give to his mother. What a great son, I’m so happy they made to the end. Trey & Lexi finished close behind in second.

The race for third place was a close one. The Twins got their ‘shrooms first, but their ten-minute lead was squandered when they got some bad directions. John & Brent came in third place, so the Evil Twins were finally, FINALLY eliminated. I breathe a huge sigh of relief that the prize money would not find its way into the hands of those callous, whiny, thieving, homophobic, mean-spirited hussies. Karma is a bee-yotch, isn’t it?

Starting Line, Final Leg - The Château de Chenonceau. Teams’ first clue told them to fly to New York City and locate the famed Coney Island Boardwalk, where their next clue can be found among the multitude of signage. All of the teams cordially wished each other luck, and also decided that there would be no more sharing of information. Well, it’s about time.

The final leg should be the hardest, and the sign-clue was extremely difficult to find because it wasn’t decked out in red and gold, which is typical of everything to do with the race. The clue was located on a Houdini poster on an outer wall, but both Texas and Magic Mike ran right by it and started scouring the interior of the amusement park. Capricorn and Texas finally located it, which told them to “race to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Clinton Avenue Gate”, but when they left in their cabs Magic Mike was still frantically searching.

At the Navy Yard was the first of two Roadblocks, and it required one team member to be fitted with a straitjacket and suspended, Houdini-style, from a construction crane fifteen stories above the ground. After extricating themselves, they will then bungee-jump down to the drydock below. The fitting took a while, and before you know it, Trey, Brent and James were all attempting to escape. Trey got it done first, and he and Lexi were the first team on the road to their next destination, Lombardi’s pizza, the very first pizzeria established in the U.S. (circa 1905). Capricorn and Magic Mike were only minutes behind.

At the pizza, which had several delicious-looking New York-style pizzas on display, teams got their next task, which was to deliver ten pizzas, on foot, to three different locations scattered around Little Italy, with the twist that they weren’t allowed to write down any of the information. Trey & Lexi made all of their deliveries correctly, and their next clue came in the form of a blue ribbon with the symbol of the United Nations on it, so they jumped into their cab and headed straight for the U.N. Headquarters. Capricorn made two incorrect deliveries, so they had to grab some more pizzas and head out again, just as Magic Mike arrive and grab their pizzas.

With a clear lead, Texas arrives at the U.N. and is faced with another Roadblock, the final challenge of the season. In this challenge, the team member that didn’t do the Houdini escape had to test their language and memory skills. You see, at the end of every leg, the local greeter that usually stands beside Phil greeted every team with the word “Hello” and “Goodbye” in whatever the local language was. The challenge was to match the words, which were hanging from banners, to the U.N. flags representing those countries. And those countries were: China, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Turkey, Russia, The Netherlands, Spain and France.

I love this challenge. The final task usually requires some kind of memory challenge, and this isn’t the first time that the greeter has been directly involved. Lexi starts the task first, but Josh begins only a few minutes later, followed by Jaymes. The race is on, and it’s anybody’s game. Obviously, all of the teams got the easy ones like Spain (“Hola/Adios”) and France (“Bonjour/Au revoir”) out of the way first. After that, unless you’re a polyglot or have an insanely good memory, it gets a little dicey.

Yikes. Over 25,000 miles traveled, and it comes down to this… three worthy teams made up of really good people. At this point, I’m still rooting for Magic Mike, but whoever wins, I won’t be disappointed. Josh is the first to break the three-way tie by getting China (“Ni hao/Zai jian”), and then the Netherlands (“Hallo/Tot ziens”). And with each match you make, there are fewer choices for what’s left, so theoretically, it should go faster from there. And in the final challenge, Team Capricorn slides into first place for the very… first… time.

Jaymes correctly discerns Russia (“Zoravstvujtye/Do svidaniya”), and so does Josh. Soon, the sun begins to set, and Lexi, still stuck on two, starts to panic. The clock now reads two and a half hours since the challenge began. Yikes, it must really take a long time to attach those flags! Josh soon gets Turkey (“Merhaba/Hoscakal”), just as James gets Bangladesh (“Shagotom/Aabar dekha hobe”). Josh then gets Bangladesh too, and he becomes the first to hoist the U.N. flag and receive their final destination: The Greenwich Savings Bank, also known as Gotham Hall.

Josh and Brent sprint out of the U.N. courtyard to find a taxi, and only a minute or two later Jaymes hoists his final flag, and he and James take off in hot pursuit, leaving Lexi with nothing to do but fall sobbing into Trey’s arms, knowing full well that they were resigned to third place. Man, that feelings has to suck.

So then, it’s just a question of which cab driver gets which team there the fastest. This would appear to be the first-ever Amazing Race to crown its winner after sundown, and the Finish Line was, for the first time, located indoors. All of the eliminated teams, including team Rockstar (glad they finally got their passports!), were there to greet the racers as they entered the building, and the first team to hit the mat was…


Wow. What a comeback. I mean, seriously. These two guys, who both look like the proverbial 97-pound weaklings of old advertising posters, who fluctuated between last place and second-to-last place for the entire race, surviving by the skin of their teeth the entire time, puts on the afterburners in the very last leg and walks away with a million dollars. They hug, they kiss, and then Phil gives them the magic words: “Three continents, nine countries, twenty cities, more than 25,000 miles, Josh and Brent, you have won the $1 million prize and are the official winners of The Amazing Race.”

You gotta love underdog stories and I think I picked this team to be out in the first three legs, but dammit, they really proved me wrong. Whether it be dumb luck or the grace of God, these two goat farmers just got enough money to pay off the mortgage on their farm, and I don’t think anyone could say they didn’t earn it. And like they themselves said, nice guys DO finish first sometimes. Way to go, Beekmans.

Magic Mike finishes second, and is gracious to the end. James is sad that he won’t be able to help his cancer-ridden father pay his bills (What? There’s NO consolation prize? Come on, show, this was a great team!), but at least they each got a new car, so there’s that. Trey and Lexi also join the party, and Lexi’s tears have turned from frustration to joy and relief. I mean, you can’t run this race and not be changed somehow. That’s the whole point of it, I think, and it’s why it’s still the best reality-show contest on TV. No judges, no popularity contests, no viewer voting, just balls-out adrenaline with the whole world as your playground. I hope this show never stops.

I, however, do have to stop now. Thanks again to Cinema Blend for allowing a humble wordsmith like me to find an outlet to express my personality. Yes, recaps of reality shows may not be akin to penning the great American novel, but it’s as close as I’m likely to come, and I’ve enjoyed every bit of it. Hope you all have too.

The future, as it is for most of us, is uncertain, and I won’t preclude a return to recapping someday, perhaps even this summer (I mean, America’s Got Talent is just too good a show not to be talked about), but until then, take care.

And… out.

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