Amazing Race

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Huger than Huge

"We got this, I wrote them all down," Jordan says happily. He interviews that he's watched the race for fifteen seasons. "And the greater majority have featured some type of memory challenge." He gets out his notes and starts hanging them up while Dan pulls them out. This takes them no time at all, which is good for them since the Cowboys are still running. "We banged that out!" "That's why you fricking take notes," Jordan celebrates. The clue reads. "Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, to find the finish line, jump over to ____. This is it! Go, Go, Go!" That's it? They tear down the posters and throw them in the trunk lest the Cowboys copy their work when they arrive. As they strap on their backpacks, Dan suddenly realizes he knows where they're going: "Fucking Candlestick Park!" Dan's sports fandom has come through, and he knows they're going to the home of the 49ers. I happen to know it mainly as the last live venue ever played by the Beatles, which means this season has kind of come full circle. Now Dan and Jordan just have to find a taxi. Too bad the street outside is dead, without a car in sight.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys have found their way into the auditorium, and get to work. Looks like they also took notes, but aren't as loud or self-congratulatory about it. And outside, the brothers can't seem to find a taxi, at least not one that's active. Frantic cutting back and forth ensues, and the brothers are still hoofing it around as the Cowboys are down to just their non-elimination posters. And then the Cowboys get finished before the brothers have secured a cab. Jet and Cord figure out that the clue is directing them to Candlestick Park even more quickly than the brothers did. But Dan and Jordan are in a cab by now, and the Cowboys dart daringly across traffic to get one of their own. I should point out that at no time since ILM has either team seen the other, so this could all be just some suspenseful editing. "This could be it, Cord," Jet says. You think? Both teams are in a rush. "And we got the best cab driver in the world right now!" Jordan says. The Cowboys' driver asks them if there's a rodeo going on at Candlestick Park. "There will be," Jet says.

After more frantic back-and-forth cutting, we're on the field at Candlestick Park, with all the eliminated teams applauding happily and Phil expectantly watching the entrance behind one of the goal posts. Since that entrance is in the form of a giant, inflatable football helmet, Phil's straight face is admirable. And from that helmet emerge...Dan and Jordan.

You know, there's just no pleasing me. If it had been the Cowboys, I would have complained about an unsurprising finish, but honestly this leaves me feeling a little empty too because I was pretty much rooting for Jet and Cord (at least until some stuff I read online this week). I don't want to get into who "deserves" a win. Yes, Cord and Jet did better over the course of the whole race, but everyone knows going in that one fuck-up in the final leg is one more than you can afford. And the brothers may have dragged ass all the way up to the point when they won the Fast Forward, but even then I didn't take them seriously as a contending team. More fool me, I guess. I have to give them props, because I dismissed them all the way up to the end. And it wasn't the cutting in line that did it, either.

Everyone claps and cheers as they run onto the giant mat. Phil greets them, "23 days, five continents, forty thousand miles, Dan and Jordan, you have won the one million dollars and you are the official winners of The Amazing Race! Congratulations!" Whoops and cheers from all the losers. Phil asks Jordan what he has to say, and he calls it "the most incredible experience. There was no way I could have ever been here without my brother. This is my biggest dream come true and he's the reason." Dan agrees that it was incredible how he got to make Jordan's dream come true: "We did the race, we made the final three, and we won." Yes, but the bad news is that Jordan's life has peaked at age 22.

Cue up the Heroic Cowboy Theme one last time, because here come Jet and Cord, to more cheers and applause. Phil congratulates them on being team number two and asks about running the race together. Jet says they were both always glad to have the other along. Phil asks Cord if Jet's a good man. Cord: "He's my best friend, my big brother, what are you talking about?" Jet waxes philosophical about things that are more important than money, like being able to travel around the word with his best friend and brother. "And in the end, having our character and our integrity intact." Didn't I just say it wasn't the cutting in line that did it?

Finally, here come Caite and Brent, whom we haven't seen since their self-imposed u-turn at ILM. For all we know, they were sent here from somewhere else along the course. Or better yet, never found their Amazing Purse and had to beg bus fare. Most people applaud, although Carol's clap is a slow one and Brandy just stands there with her arms folded like she's Ed Harris at the Oscars. From the mat, Jordan hollers out to his "peach," and Brandy cuts him a nasty-ass look. "She's my little peach," Jordan explains to her, chastened. Whatever, he's a demi-millionaire now, fuck it. As the models reach the mat, the camera keeps cutting back to Brandy and Carol, oddly. Phil congratulates them on being team number three. After a round of applause that we don't see Brandy and Carol participating in, Phil asks Caite if there was anything she wanted to prove. Caite says she just wanted to prove "that I was an intelligent person. Obviously I was able to travel the whole entire world and finish the Amazing Race, and be in third place and I'm very proud of myself." Even though she forgot all their money just when they actually had a shot of getting into second place. More applause, even though we have to take her word for it that she and Brent actually finished, per se. I mean, they're here, but that doesn't necessarily mean they schlepped the trunk or hung any posters or figured out how to get here on their own.

Phil remarks to Caite that she's the only woman to have finished this season, and then turns her attention to "two women over there who feel that..." Caite starts to say to Carol and Brandy, "Guys, I'm--" Brandy cuts her off, saying, "I don't want to hear sorry from you." Caite looks at her like, Seriously? Everyone else looks stunned and uncomfortable as Brandy goes on, "You purposely whacked us. You said you wanted to be the only woman left standing and you are." As Carol, laughing and cringing with embarrassment, hides her face and tries to sneak out of the shot, Brandy continues lecturing Caite, who's too taken aback to interrupt: "Logically you U-Turn teams that are stronger. The Cowboys should have been U-Turned." Jet and Cord are like, We're standing right here. Brandy wraps up, "You can't seem to think logically. I don't want to hear sorry from you." I don't follow the logical progression of those two statements. Caite says to her, "Maybe you all should have treated people a little bit nicer?" Rather than denying anything, or asking for examples, or simply reminding her that "I made a tiara joke!" Brandy says, "Hey, I'm sorry. You can't handle it?" Which is pretty damning. Maybe there was more to it than the tiara crack after all, you know? I mean, "I was never mean to you" or "I'm sorry I was mean to you" would sound way better than "I'm sorry you couldn't handle me being mean to you." Especially considering how it leaves an opening so wide that even Caite can see it: "Obviously I am handling it. I'm the one standing here and not you, so." And that actually shuts Brandy up, which I wouldn't have thought possible. Carol's probably thinking, I'm going to have to remember that. With that, Caite concludes by saying to everyone, "I love you guys, I really do." And as much as she's annoyed me this season, I have to give it up for Caite; right here, right now, she just proved herself to be less of an asshole than Brandy.

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Amazing Race

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