'Amazing Race': The Finale -- A New Level of Lame

Thank goodness Alaska is really pretty because, really, what else was there to watch on this final episode? No two-hour special, no two-leg finish between the final three.

The first clue sent the teams packing to the final destination city: Anchorage. Anyone else pining for Season 1, when they went to Alaska and mushed dogs and mucked along in snowshoes and THEN had to make their way to NYC and the finish line? C'mon, even another detour to Hawaii en route to the final in one of the 48 states would have been better than this.

T.K. and Rachel won, if anyone missed, and although they were probably my favorite, that statement must be qualified. They started the leg second and decided that the best way to Anchorage was to ask for the same tickets Ron and Christina had gotten, without doing much homework, only at least this time it worked out on their account. (T.K. even said, out loud, how stunned he was to be on a flight with another team.) All three teams landed in Alaska on equal footing and plowed through tasks that involved fish guts and crabs and helicopters and speed boats -- sorry, but it actually sounds better than it was -- and one of those final Roadblocks that require "Race"-related memory. Rachel's ability to decipher the task (best part of the show, btw) was The Winning Moment. Up until then, Ron and Christina were always a few minutes ahead and looked pretty golden.

Christina started to crumple after Rachel outwitted her at that point (poor Nick was sadly lost while Grandpa Don watched and waited), but her Daddy-O decided to actually be nice. Instead of berating her for clearly having just lost them the million bucks, he kept telling her what a good job she'd done and then, at the finish line, he talked about what a changed person he had become. Then he said something truly bizarre about how now, for the first time, when he says "I love you," he really means it. (Full disclosure: I'm out of my personal TiVo zone this weekend, at the mercy of family with no DVR, and am dying to go back and replay that particular comment to make sure it wasn't some delusion that took place as I realized I'd missed many valuable minutes of the Packers-Giants game for this.)

T.K. capped off the whole pudding-ness of the episode (vanilla, maybe tapioca, definitely not dutch chocolate) by talking about how this proves nice guys can finish first, blah, blah, blah. And, yes, we are sooooo happy that this whole mess didn't end with Nate & Jen in first, but, well, let's hope the casting goes a little better next time around.

-- JENNIFER FREY

Michael Cavna  |  January 21, 2008; 8:06 AM ET Amazing Race
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Comments

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No, you didn't have a delusion. We were stunned as well. WTG Dad - for the *first* time you really mean it? I'm glad the final teams were all good people - no Nate/Jen or Lorena, or Shana/Jennifer.

Posted by: HP | January 21, 2008 10:24 AM

Agreed. This season finale was less exciting than any of the previous episodes from the season (maybe because they were all nice guys?..just postulating).

Posted by: mediajunky | January 21, 2008 10:45 AM

I thought the final episode was refreshing and just what I had hoped it would be. I think it may have seemed lackluster to those who constantly clamor for the ultimate battle style finales, but for those of us who wanted to see a competition end with all participants winning in their own way, it was a great success. I was happy for Rachel and TK winning, but also for their winning as loving partners. I was ecstatic for Ron and Chris because the race changed their lives. I was overjoyed for the grandson and grandpa, what a marvelous relationship and an incredible accomplishment. This was, in my opinion, the best final yet. Perhaps it will change our ideas of what competition and winning can mean.

Posted by: LB | January 21, 2008 10:54 AM

I have to disagree thoroughly regarding the casting. My favorite team was the Goths. We actually had two effective teams with older players. The best thing about this race was that there were obvious favorites. Everyone knew that Chip and Reiken would win. There wasn't a team that just turned on the gas and blew the rest away.

I was disappointed in there being only a one hour finale (though as a bonus, I got to see quite a bit of the Packers-Giants game). It wound up being just another episode rather than something that stood out.

I agree. Ron's comment was odd. I attribute it to exhaustion and bad phrasing. He probably meant to say something along of the lines that he loves her without reservations or critism, not that he didn't love her before.

BB

Posted by: Fairlington Blade | January 21, 2008 11:14 AM

I agree with other posters that it was still a great finale. One where we actually rooted for all 3 teams because any one of them would have been deserving to have made it there for the million.

The Goths were great, and truly did appreciate the cultures they visited UNLIKE Nate & Jen and the stupid blondes.

The puzzle at the end was great - don't know if I could have done it from my sofa :-)

Posted by: ARFan | January 21, 2008 11:46 AM

It may have been a bit of a let down, but there is a point when the contestants are tired and will not do as much as we might want to see. But this review is just as lame and shows me a person who has seen too much TV. Lay off a while and you will enjoy it when you come back. Good point wat tha Ron's daughter could come in second and still keep his approval.

Posted by: Gary E. Masters | January 21, 2008 12:40 PM

I'm really happy that TK and Rachel won, but I would have been happy with a win from any of the final 3.

I think when Ron said that it was the first time he said "I love you", he mis spoke or it did not come out exactly like he wanted it to. He was clearly overwhelmed.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 21, 2008 5:21 PM

Unlike the reviewer -- I thoroughly enjoyed the finale. Additionally this season's casting was great with fairly evenly matched teams (male/female, old/young) it made for a thrilling race. Favorite part was the choice of the roadblock with the memory test. Congratulations to another great season of Amazing Race. Me and all my friends eagerly await the next season.

Posted by: shaun | January 21, 2008 6:12 PM

For a more universal overview of the final chapter of AR, check out Matt Roush's piece in TV Guide.

http://community.tvguide.com/blog-entry/TVGuide-Editors-Blog/Roush-Dispatch/Amazing-Races-Grand/800031444

I have no idea what show this chick was watching.

Posted by: filmex | January 21, 2008 11:21 PM

good television doesn't always involve nasty, selfish people. the final 3 teams consisted of fun, decent and honorable people, some who learned much by the journey as opposed to the destination of $1,000,000.00. to criticize the show as bland is a simplistic comment. the finale was great. we would have been happy no matter who won and we were. i agree w/other writers that ron's unfortunate comment was the result of poor wording and exhaustion.

Posted by: janisr | January 25, 2008 10:15 AM

Yeah, I would've been happy with any of the final three teams - they were all good people, and I liked them all for different reasons. I thought TK and Rachel winning particularly reinforced the idea that it's ok to be nice, dangit!!

Posted by: h3 | February 1, 2008 11:55 AM

Very good article! Thank you, master!

Posted by: debt | August 16, 2008 5:34 AM

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