Previously on "The Amazing Race," there were 11 teams. Some of them were really awesome, and some were not. Phil Keoghan eliminated a lot of them, and now the lucky remaining few are in Spain. It all ends tonight, you know, so I hope you have some comfort food around.
You can't blame them for coasting when you cleared away their obstacles
At the start of the leg, all the teams give pep talks about why they deserve to be in the top three. The Twins single out the Goat Farmers, accusing them of coasting through, taking the spot of a more deserving team.
The Twins say a lot of crap, but that's right up there with the most non-sensical. They blame the Beekmans for still being on the Race after plotting to eliminate the team in front of them? I'm tired of the Twins.
It's like high school, but on a train
All the teams fly to Barcelona and then take a train into France. Texi, the Twins, and the Chipps have an alliance, mainly because they've been alone at the top for several legs. They have a little meeting on the train about getting rid of the Beekmans, only to realize that the Beekmans are right there! Behind the small, not-at-all-soundproof seat divider! Awkward silence follows, and the Chipps invite the Beekmans to join the group. Josh and Brent are not feeling real good about their odds right about now.
The part of The Amazing Race that is amazing but not a race
In France, the teams have to drive themselves to a castle with a huge ornamental garden. First they meet the product placement car, and James says that he would love to win the leg and maybe win a car for his mom, who doesn't have one. Motivation? Foreshadowing?
The Alliance huddles around a map and then makes a caravan with Texi in the lead. What do the outsider Goat Farmers do? They wait and follow the group. It's a safe strategy, but it's also cool, because the Twins are freaking out in their car, yelling at the forward cars to lose the Beekmans. But they're on slow streets, and it's not like three cars can play Follow the Leader and yet somehow lose a fourth car. I think the Twin Panic Level is Heightened.
Guess who speaks French?
They arrive as a pack and run around looking for a statue of a dog. Three teams corner a gardener and woof at him, hoping to bridge the language barrier. Then Josh comes up and asks, "La chien?" Oh, the expressions on the faces as the other teams realize that the Goat Farmers have an advantage.
They run through the grounds, then, mock insulting each other. Jaymes says, "I thought Josh was hurt, apparently he got a bionic ankle now," since Josh is in no way limping.
Speaking French doesn't help the Beekmans navigate, unfortunately. The Twins are held back at the castle by a Speed Bump, so the Goat Farmers step in to take their place (Twins: "Lose them!"). Now Josh is leading the caravan, but he gets lost, and at a gas station Texi takes over the lead position as they head to the Detour.
No one says "My ox is broken!"
At this point in the Race, some teams are usually on their last nerve, stressing and screaming and making stupid mistakes. Maybe it's the longstanding alliance, maybe it's just good people, but none of these teams have that problem.
One Detour option is to work with a horse and an old plow and till four furrows in a muddy field. If you saw large animals and muddy fields and immediately thought of Colin in Season 5, maybe, well then we should be friends. Colin was a hothead, and he had to steer an ox through a rice paddy, and his ox wasn't obeying all the yelling. Colin screamed to his partner, "My ox is broken!" and it was the best moment of the whole season.
Anyway, these are horses, and Trey and Lexi know horses. Trey has a little trouble keeping the plow straight, but Lexi just coos to the horse and smiles and they finish with no problems.
The Chippendales have some parking problems so they get to Plow in second, but they don't have any problems, either. Which was a relief, because I do not need a Ja(y)mes to lose it over a horse.
Arguing with knives
The other Detour option is Chow. You know how in France they go hunting with packs of dogs? And by "they" I mean "a few rich traditionalists because it costs a lot of money to keep a pack of dogs." This challenge is to chop up a lot of meat to serve to those dogs. The Beekmans choose this option because only two teams can do Plow at a time, and they were in third.
Look, the Twins are done with their corset-lacing Speed Bump and are arriving at Chow, too! They've made dog food before with their grandfather, which is the Previously Useless but Now Applicable Life Skill of the Week.
On side by side tables, the Twins and the Beekmans chop meat. Wouldn't you know it, the Beekmans develop a strategy of meat chopping and pull ahead. They also try to confuse the Twins with a lot of talking. The teams jokingly call each other evil, although the Beekmans have only recently become evil, while the Twins admit to being evil this whole time.
If they weren't all smiling while they did this, it would sound pretty mean.
The meat-chopping strategy wins, and the Beekmans clear out of there about 10 minutes before the Twins.
Mushrooms. Why did it have to be mushrooms?
The Roadblock is in a limestone cave. All the castles in the area were built with limestone, and the quarrying left a lot of caves, which turned out to be the perfect environment to grow mushrooms. Who knew, right?
So in the Roadblock, a team member examines three types of mushrooms in the gift shop, then has to run down into the cave maze and harvest ten of each of those mushrooms. As a bonus thrill, sometimes the lights turn off, because mushrooms just don't need that much light.
Texi gets to the cave first. On Twitter, Phil said that he left the cave just as Lexi ran in. I wonder if they high-fived? The Chippendales are next, and Jaymes collects his mushrooms before Lexi does, but he gets them wrong. Lexi gets it right and they leave a few minutes ahead.
In the second group, the Twins find the cave first because the Beekmans are not having a strong navigational leg. But they run into the cave instead of the gift shop, so the Beekmans find the clue and begin the task first. Brent begins strolling through the cave, but then a Twin rushes in so he gets frantic and starts looking under rocks and in corners.
The Twin finishes first while Brent appears lost in a cave. There's a shot of a cat! And then Brent finishes.
Pit Stop of Decision
Although Texi left the Roadblock first, they get sent to the wrong castle for the Pit Stop. The Chippendales find Phil first, and James wins a car for his mom! Yay! Texi comes in second.
The Beekmans are driving, and they hit a road detour, and Josh doesn't follow the detour signs and they get stuck. Meanwhile, the Twins, who had a head start, somehow drive in the opposite direction.
You guys, the Beekmans make it! Holy crap! I hope you saw Josh's face just light up.
The Twins are eliminated at last, which is cool for me. They giggle in a post-interview that they completely blew it, and they need to harness their potential into a more positive reaction "instead of only crazy." Good goal, girls!
Final destination city
For the first time since Season One, the final destination is New York. Do you remember Season One? The bickering, estranged couple versus the lawyer guy friends? I think the couple were locals and no one wanted them to win and it turned into a cab race and the lawyers won, and the internet was all, "Take that, home field advantage!"
Josh and Brent have the home field advantage here. As they fly into New York, Josh says he sees their apartment, and if things don't work out they can just go home.
Invisible in plain sight
The clue the teams have is a postcard with a picture of Coney Island. The Chipps and Texi get there first, and they find a place on the boardwalk that has the same view as the postcard. Then they look for red and yellow and walk around and look some more.
The clue is a giant poster on a fence, it features the Amazing Houdini, and has some smaller black and white rectangles saying to race to the Naval yard. So it's tricky, right? But it's also obvious. Those two teams run into the park and analyze everything while the Beekmans arrive.
Everyone wanders and stares for a while, but then suddenly Lexi, brilliant Lexi, sees the clue. She nudges Trey to the side and tells him not to write it down, but he does anyway. The Beekmans may or may not have seen him writing it down, but they see Texi take off, and then they notice the clue.
The Chippendales, sadly, are down on the beach. Maybe they're chatting with tourists for a bit. They see the Beekmans bolt, so they head back to the boardwalk and stare some more, until finally they see it. They say they're about 15 minutes behind. Eek!
I can do that upside down with two hands tied behind my back.
The Naval yard is a Roadblock dedicated to Houdini, an escape artist who performed a lot in New York. The person gets to wear a straightjacket and then be suspended, by their ankles, 15 stories above a dry dock. Once they break free they do a bungee freefall. So, basically, scary freaky stuff, right?
Lexi makes Trey do it, which must be strategy for later in the game because he is afraid of heights and doesn't like confinement. Twice the fear, Trey!
Brent takes it for the Beekmans, saying he's not afraid of heights. Jaymes takes it, too, and he was thrilled about it because who doesn't like to escape from a straightjacket while upside down 15 stories up? Nobody, right?
I wonder what will happen if someone passes out, but no one does. Is it just that easy? Trey escapes, losing his Andre Agassi headband in the process but not freaking out at all. Brent escapes, then Jaymes escapes. It's getting close!
Final Leg pizza, no!!!
In another past Season, the final destination city was Chicago, and one task required teams to eat pizza. That's it. It wasn't even a giant family-sized pizza, it could have even been a single slice. It wasn't covered with insects or rotten eggs, either. Just, here, have some pizza. Least suspenseful final task ever.
After the Roadblock, teams are sent to the first pizzeria in America, and I panic. But no worries, no pizza will be eaten! Not even if they ask nicely.
The teams have to deliver ten pizzas to three locations on foot, and they have to memorize the orders and addresses. Texi gets there first and finishes with no problems, because they have magical pixie dust.
The Beekmans arrive second and deliver incorrectly. Josh was in charge of the orders, Brent was in charge of the addresses, and Josh messed up. Brent is not happy. He's feeling the pressure, he can taste victory, and he brings it up a few too many times. They redeliver while the Chippendales arrive and deliver correctly. Ack!
Best final Roadblock ever!
Finally, the teams are sent to U.N. Headquarters. Throughout the Race, the greeters have said hello and goodbye in their native language. The teams paid attention to their clothing (past final challenges have been about hats), the scenery, maybe even the weather, but they didn't pay attention to the greeting.
Unfortunately, now they have to identify hello and goodbye from nine countries, joining the correct hello and goodbye flags with the correct country flag. And I think there are excess greeting flags, so it's not entirely a process of elimination.
This is so great. Lexi takes it, and she gets France and Spain first. The Chippendales get there, and James takes it. The Beekmans arrive, they're two flags behind, but Josh takes it and soon everyone has France and Spain. Then ... it's all just guessing.
They have to raise the flag each time they guess, so it's physical as well as mental. Lexi somehow drops a flag onto her head, which sets her off crying because it's hard and stressful.
Josh once again finds a strategy, he turns it into a math problem and just tries every possible combination. Suddenly he's pulling ahead.
Two and a half hours later, with the sun setting, Josh only has one flag to go. So does James! Josh finishes first, but James is close behind (he's not just a pretty face)! At this point Lexi freezes up and cries some more and possibly gives up, I don't know.
They're cab racing to the finish, which is inside Gotham Hall. Look, there's all the teams that Phil eliminated, including Rock On, who are no longer stranded in Russia! And the winning team is ...
Josh and Brent, the Goat Farmers, the Beekman Boys! Holy cow! I mean goat! And you know who's most excited? Abbie and her Boyfriend Ryan. They are literally jumping for joy at the sight of them.
It's pretty darn cool. Now they can pay off their mortgage on the farm and Josh won't have to work in the city anymore, so they can live together on the farm happily ever after! They say that it goes to show that, no matter how down you are, you should never give up, and nice guys do finish first sometimes. Seriously.
Team Chippendale finishes second. I don't know how much money they get, but at least James's mom got a car. They say that now maybe the world will have a different view of Chippendales ... for better or for worse.
Texi shows up, too, and Lexi is still weepy. But they're in love. They talk about being ready for "the next step" in their relationship, but Trey does not drop to his knee and propose. Maybe if they'd won he would have.
And that's it, you guys! This was really a fun season, good job everyone. One final note, if you were wondering -- Phil's necklace is a maori fishhook made from bone, so you can get one if you're in New Zealand. Maybe.
The next season starts on February 17, 2013, so mark your calendars!Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun