The Amazing Race season finale recap: Race to the Finish

The final three teams hoof it to New York City, where one wins cars and another wins the million
Ep. 11 | Aired Dec 9, 2012

THE FABULOUS RACE Josh and Brent returned to NYC for the ultimate homecoming: a whole lotta love and $1 million.

Cliff Lipson/CBS

Next, teams were on to Bourré to La Cave Des Roches. The Roadblock asked "Who's a fun guy?" (Jaymes is!) and required Racers to search a subterranean farm for mushrooms and collect samples of three distinct types. The clue card said that Lexi, Brent and Jaymes had to do the challenge; they must have been behind on the Roadblock tally. The twins had no such instructive. So down everyone went into a cave that was cold, vast and fungusy - and totally ripe for a major claustrophobia meltdown if you are me or at all like me. Especially when the lights went out. I thought this was a really good challenge for a lot of reasons, one of them being that you could get a little glimpse of what these guys would be like if they became crazypeople. Down in cave universe, everyone grew a little frantic and loopy and started muttering to themselves. "What YOU got goin' on?" I'm pretty sure Jaymes asked some mushrooms.

Chips and Texas finished first and made it to the Pit Stop at Château de Chenonceau in first and second place, respectively. The Chips' embrace was fantastic. James went limp in Jaymes' arms and looked like a baby koala clinging on to its parent. Ford Escapes for each Chippendale! Mama James gets some wheels! When Natalie finished the mushroom challenge ahead of Brent, I assumed it was all over for the Beeks right there. But the Twins had navigation issues en route to the Pit Stop, and the Beekmans finished third, ensuring their spot in the finale. Josh's stunned disbelief was so delightful. I mean, his face! Come on! As Phil would say, he seemed to be "litrally" in shock.

I wasn't sorry to see the Twins go, but it was still sobering to see them eliminated. Love 'em or hate 'em but Natalie and Nadiya are such strong personalities -- so vibrant and energetic and confident -- that their goodbye seemed poignant. It was strange to see these loud, brassy girls quieted and stopped dead in their tracks like that; it was like seeing a cat all off balance with its whiskers cut off. But they weren't serious for too long; in typical Twinny fashion they were quickly back to laughing at themselves. I liked that montage of Twinnies Fun.They should rent themselves out for parties.

"Alliance doesn't matter when you're knee deep in hamburger patties." - Josh Kilmer Purcell

Leg 12 -- the finale! And we're off to NYC!

Question for you, TAR experts: Are the teams kept separate at the Pit Stops? I always thought they were free to do whatever - and mingle if they wanted. But on last week's episode, it wasn't until Barcelona that the top three teams knew that the Beekmans, not Abbie and Ryan, were the fourth team. Likewise, tonight, Texas and Chips didn't know whether the third team would be the Beekmans or the Twins until they all arrived at the airport. Do they not see each other at the hotel or whatever in between legs? (She said "in between legs!")

NEXT: All tied up

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