The Nine Best Episodes Ever
The episode opened with some snowshoeing and sled-dogging in Alaska, followed by an icy polar-bear dip, and then it was time for the long trek back to New York. Margarita ecstatically explained that she would be on her home turf in Queens, where the clue was sending the teams. Frank and Margarita quite understandably assumed that knowing the city would give them a big advantage, and Rob and Brennan did as well. At Newark Airport, the basically clueless Rob and Brennan jumped into a yellow cab and begged their cabbie to get them to the address as soon as possible. Frank and Margarita, meanwhile, negotiated with a gypsy cab, then bailed on that for a yellow cab, also taking the time to dictate the route to avoid surface streets. Rob and Brennan's driver, on the other hand, took them right through the city. Whether because of the time lost switching cabs or because surface streets don't treat you so badly at 6:00-ish on a Sunday morning when the race was ending, Rob and Brennan made it to the train station with a couple of minutes on Frank and Margarita. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your outlook, those couple of minutes straddled the arrival of the train that Rob and Brennan made and Frank and Margarita didn't.
Of course, Frank and Margarita didn't realize that the know-nothing L.A. boys had beaten them going through the city, so when they didn't see their disliked rivals at the train station, they figured they were well ahead. Margarita, in particular, was sure it was in the bag, and all the way from 52nd Street to Shea Stadium, she marveled at the fact that they had actually won -- and, no doubt, fantasized about how much easier that million dollars was going to make everything for them and their daughter. Meanwhile, the triumphant music followed Rob and Brennan off the train, up the path, and to the finish line, where the rest of the teams were waiting to greet them -- not a surprise now, but a surprise then. This wasn't a nail-biter of a finale; there was no footrace, because Frank and Margarita were an entire train behind, and suffered quite a blow when they realized they hadn't won after all. But it was somehow satisfying, not because a couple of hunky dudes sharing a Hollywood apartment were going to win anybody's version of Queen For A Day (oh, quiet), but because they'd outrun everybody and outplayed everybody, and they deserved it.