Since due to my being on the road I was only able to write this recap two days after the TAR 23 finale, it’s fair to assume that most fans know by now which team won this season. And most fans – much like myself – were very sad to say goodbye to the Afghanimals in Japan (at the end of the first hour of this 2 hour finale).
The Afghanimals are the first to arrive in Japan. It’s weird, but the rest of the teams run as a 6-people-pack – more preoccupied with all things about the Afghanimals than with the race itself. Even their taxis run together as a cortege of 3 until finally Marie and Tim break away. The challenges are fun, and the Afghanimals quickly complete their Speed Bump. But! Once again TAR allows two teams work together on the Roadblock – which puts the teams who work alone at a big disadvantage. I don’t know about you, but I have huge issue with TAR allowing Team Roadblocks! If it were not for that, if it were not for Amy almost single handedly finishing Nicole’s Roadblock (again!!!), I am sure the Afghanimals would be one of the three final teams (and I am pretty sure Nicole would still be trying to figure out how to assemble that robot in Japan). Some people might say that Amy was too nice, but I believe she actually was mean – after all, it’s because of her that we were deprived of the Afghanimals!
And without the Afghanimals it was all downhill to the finish line. No lightheartedness, no amusing mischief, not much joy – just dead seriousness and sheer determination to win that million dollar prize. Yes, it’s a lot of money. But divided by two and taxed at 40% plus – is it worth it to sacrifice the joy of the race for?
Anyway…Amy/Jason, Marie/Tim and Nicole/Travis run neck in neck (or rather – fly together) from Japan to Juno, Alaska. We are treated to gorgeous shots of lakes, forests and glaciers. It’s amazing how gorgeous shots always save the race. The first task is the Roadblock that is supposed to simulate a supply drop from a plane. All the ladies are performing this task where they had to throw something (a bag of flour, I believe) from a small plane and hit the target painted on the ground. I doubt there is much skill involved in this task – it’s mostly luck. The luckiest one is Amy – she is the first to hit the target. The second one is Marie, and hapless Nicole is the last. This order stays exactly the same until the Finish Line. I have no idea why Phil called it an unpredictable finish – if this is UNpredictable, what would he call predictable?!
So yes, Amy and Jason won this season of The Amazing Race. Exciting? Not really. Deserving winners? I guess. They were relatively nice, relatively strong, relatively even in their performance. Yet the only somewhat memorable thing about them was Amy’s penchant of doing other team’s Roadblocks. Jason called himself and his girlfriend one of the best teams ever. Get a life, Jason. Six 2nd place finishes might make you one of the strong teams, but “best” is not the same as “strong”. “Best” does not include “bland“, “blah” and “boring” even if it begins with the same letter. Deserving they might be, but interesting and entertaining they definitely were not. Even at the Finish Line, they were promptly forgotten by Phil and the rest of the cast once a more interesting team – Tim and Marie – arrived. And no wonder – Tim and Marie are more fun, their relationship is unorthodox, their chemistry is charmingly quirky – even their pre-race arrangement (to divide all the future winnings 60-40 rather than 50-50) was quite curious! Tim got the warmest round of applause – perhaps as a reward for putting up with Marie. But I actually think these two are pretty happy with each other’s company.
Travis and Nicole were the third team to arrive. You know, there was time when I almost wished that they won the Race – just to see if Amy would regret those Team Roadblocks. But that would be a total fluke. I actually do not know what I find more repulsive – Nicole’s ineptness and constant crumbling under the slightest of pressures or Travis’ terrible treatment of his hapless wife. I almost wanted to feel sorry for Nicole, and I would if it were not for her smugness, hypocrisy and righteousness. I guess those two deserve each other.