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

"This is gonna be so time consuming, babe!" said Lexi. "Don't get frustrated, babe!" Trey replied.

This challenge was pretty thrilling to watch, because adrenaline (mine included) was pumping, and for a while it seemed like the race could conceivably go in any direction. For Team Texas' part, Lexi was a good match for the job. It's true that she sometimes doesn't know things (like who Houdini was, or that the clue depicted is the symbol for the U.N. and not a "target"), but she's proven herself to be really methodical, systematic and organized as a Racer. For the Beekmans' part, Josh was well-suited to the task, too. He's good at languages - and I thought what he said about turning the challenge into a math puzzle after a certain point was smart. For the the Chippendales, Jaymes would have probably been a better match for this task. All season long he'd been learning basic phrases for each of the countries they visited.

I loved so much about this challenge: it had a "full circle" quality to it, was both mental and physical, and the location was obviously symbolic and significant. And the three teams being out there together on a warm spring night seemed peaceful, somehow, despite the high stakes. But eventually Lexi started to crumble. She's normally unflappable, but here, her frustration at not being in control really set in, and as the Beekmans and Chips calmly chipped away at the challenge, Team Texas slid from default front-runner to no-can-do. Then she got hit in the head by zai jian. My fingherrrrrrrr!!

BTW, who's hungry for a footlong merhaba?

"I love the world!" Josh exclaimed when he finished, and then it was off to the Pit Stop at Gotham Hall. The Chippendales were in hot pursuit and it then we had ourselves a taxi race between these two spectacular, lovable teams.

Inside Gotham Hall it was a scene as good as in any movie. The Beekmans  -- yes, the Beekmans! -- ran in to cheering from all their cast-mates (Remember all these people we never knew?) and accepted their win with the humility and gratefulness that's been their bag all along. I loved seeing Abbie and Ryan nearly jumping out of their skin with excitement. The Twinnies cheered warmly as well. “We were underdogs," Josh said to the group, "and what I hope this proves to people — whether they’re a minority or they’re out of work or they’re losing their house or whatever — if they just keep going and keep working as hard as they can, people will help, and at some point you will win.” I love this movie!

I was surprised at how tickled my heart was at the sight of Big Rob. Now that I don't have to hear him yell at cabbies I have a weird affection for him. I loved what he said about how the Beekmans changed his views. Also, what's wrong with Will?

The Chips arrived soon thereafter. Obviously I rewound three times to confirm it: Ryan did not clap for them. After all, the Chippendales cheated Ryan out of the two million dollars that was rightfully his, remember? You don't? I don't either. Meanwhile, Jaymes looked so utterly, tenderly verklempt. Both Chips seemed really moved, and though they didn't win the one million that Jaymes wanted so much for help with his dad, they did score a couple cars and a trip and a whole new pack of BFFs who can come out and see their shows in Vegas. "Maybe the world will have a different view of Chips now," Jaymes said, as if this had been one of their objectives on the race: to raise awareness about Chippendales discrimination. Aw. I would have loved for them to be able to win that money. But something tells me they're gonna be just fine. Jaymes is a star as charming as they come, and I've no doubt he'll get scooped up by something good. Now: once more for good measure. A goodbye/Hanukkah present, if you will.

As far as I could see, Ryan didn't clap at Team Texas' arrival either. Snap! But Lexi had some lovely, teary words to share. I do have hopes that she'll get her ring soon. I know Trey's all "simmer down" about it, but that's a load, he's totally on it. I predict he'll pop the question on Valentine's Day. Don't you think? Please keep me posted if you hear anything. I will do same.

Thanks for reading these recaps. I really enjoyed doing them - and always appreciated your TAR-savvy comments. Happiest of holidays to all. Oh, and I chatted with Phil to get take on some of memorable moments from the season - do check it out if you like. It's a nice walk down memory lane.

What did you think of tonight?

Hello.

Hello.

Caitlin and Brittany. Remember these two heads of hair?

Caitlin and Brittany. Remember these two heads of hair?

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