December 09, 2012 08:58 PM by Stephanie Gustafson
The Amazing Race finale has arrived and the final four teams are both nervous and excited for the last leg of the race. The lucky finalists? The Beekmans (Josh and Brent), the twinnies (Natalie and Nadiya), Trexi (Trey and Lexi) and the Chippendales (Jaymes and James). It’s hard to say which team will be crowned champions, as all four have proven themselves both talented and spectacularly incompetent at various times.
Suddenly, the twins seem to think the Beekman boys are a risk. And an annoyance, as the Beekmans have decided to stick to their twinny friends like glue. Not that I have any sympathy for Natalie and Nadiya. Although I kinda liked them near the beginning of the race, their constant bickering and mean-spirited tactics have been grating. As such, I’m glad to see the supposed alliance between the twins, Trexi and the Chips break up, with the twins heading off for a corset-tying detour and the other three teams attempting to locate Leonardo Da Vinci’s tomb. Or, according to the ever-intellectual Chips, the resting place of Leonardo Dicaprio.
Navigation proves an issue once again, but the members of the brand new alliance arrive. They are given the detour options of Plow or Chow. The plow option is pretty self-explanatory, with its participants taking on traditional farming. For Chow, the participants must cut up meat for a group of noisy dogs.
The alliance continues to break up, with Trexi being the next team to play the “how fast can we lose the Beekman Boys” game Midway through their drive, Trexi decide to shake off the Beekmans by switching to the Plow detour. Serenaded by accordian, they work together to guide an old-fashioned plow in a straight line. Lexi has spent plenty of time with horses, so this detour is a cinch for her.
Amazingly, the twins are able to overtake the Chips and arrive at the Chow channel right on the tail of the Beekman boys. While the two groups cut up meat together, they engage in some amusing but ultimately meaningless banter. The twins think that the sprained ankle is a complete fake on the part of the Beekmans, and the Beekmans think the twins are evil. There’s a good chance that both teams are right.
Trexi complete their detour in record time and head off to La Caves de Roches. The Chips are also quite speedy, arriving at the cave shortly after Trexi. They are required to gather an assortment of mushrooms before moving on to the pit stop. Navigating the cave is no easy feat, but things get worse when the two teams are doused in complete darkness.
In the ultimate example of product placement, Jaymes and James arrive at the end first and win a pair of Ford Escapes. Nice consolation prize, in case they aren’t able to come away with the victory. Trexi are close behind, and despite their relief at not being eliminated, they are bummed to have come in second place. Hey, it’s no big deal — it’s your placement during the next leg that really matters!
The Beekmans and the twinnies are neck and neck, and ultimately, everything comes down to navigation, something that is not exactly a strength for either trailing team. Once again surprising us all, the Beekman Boys edge out the twins for third place, meaning that my prediction for champion was completely wrong! And I couldn’t be happier to be wrong — I’ve had enough of Natalie and Nadiya.
Yes, a team has been eliminated, but no, the episode is not over. Part two begins with a flight to New York City. The teams receive postcards featuring Coney Island, with the caption “Wish you were here.” The Chips amazingly figure out the Coney Island clue pretty quickly. Beekmans have no trouble either, as they are from New York. Lexi acknowledges Beekman’s homefield advantage, but she doesn’t think it will make a difference. I don’t know — I thought that once too, but as the twins mentioned in their parting words, “Those Beekmans have tricks up their sleeves.”
I’m not a fan of heights, so I find the next challenge particularly nervewracking — and I’m just watching it on TV! Basically, the remaining three teams are taking on Houdini. They must remove themselves from straitjackets while hanging upside down….and super high in the air!
Despite a crippling fear of heights, Trey is able to get out of the straitjacket quickly, propelling Trexi to first place. They head over to Lombardi’s, the oldest pizzaria in New York. The next challenge involves delivering massive pizzas to various locations in New York. And of course, getting the actual deliveries correct. You’d think that Josh and Brent would have the advantage here, but they manage to mix up all their deliveries. Instead, Team Trexi is once again victorious.
The next clue: the symbol for the UN. Predictably, Trey and Lexi have no idea what the picture represents, but a kind stranger helps them out. Strangers also prove useful for the Chips, but come on, who could refuse Ja(y)mes squared?
Once they arrive at the UN, Trexi learns that, the greetings when they arrived at pit stops were not just the words of cordial strangers; they were hints for the final challenge! Each team needs to match the words for hello and goodbye with the flag from each country they’ve visited on the race. Trexi’s lead is quickly eliminated, as Beekman and the Chips both arrive while Lexi is complaining about her misfortune. All three teams employe the tried-and-true method of guess and check, quickly pairing hola and adios with the Spanish flag, plus bonjour and au revoir with the French flag. After that, it’s a complete crap shoot.
Josh realizes that the easiest way to complete this challenge is to turn it from a language problem into a math problem. He takes the flags one by one, trying every possible combination until he gets it right. Meanwhile, Jaymes is finding surprising success with such an intellectual challenge. And Lexi is having a complete meltdown.
Josh and Jaymes manage to complete the challenge, but it’s pretty clear that Trexi is finished. And so, we are left with the Beekmans and the Chips, both teams that I have enjoyed watching. But only one team can win….
Brent and Josh manage to edge out the Chippendales for the championship! I’m actually a little bummed, because, in light of Jaymes’ dad’s cancer diagnosis, I would have liked to see a Chippendale victory. That being said, it’s awesome to see the underdogs emerge victorious! Way to go Brent and Josh — enjoy your million dollars!
Photo Credit: CBS