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

After a two-leg final episode that included vats of raw meat, straightjackets, headfirst bungee jumping and some completely reckless, off-the-charts use of the word "babe," we have our season 21 winners: The Fabulous Beekman Boys.

Yep! That's not even a typo.

It happened thusly: At the point at which some of the other top teams began to unravel and become panicky, flustered hot messes, the Beekmans more or less just continued on with their underdog ways and slowly but surely made their way to the front of the pack just in time to leap into Phil's waiting arms at the Pit Stop. If that sounds like I'm suggesting the Beekmans lucked into their win, I don't mean it that way. Sure, they got lucky on the Race at various points  -- specifically the non-elimination leg and the Rockers' passport to-do -- but good luck and bad luck both are a rightful part of the game. The Beekmans succeeded because, as they said themselves, they hung on week after week, then gained momentum at just the right moment. It helped some that in these last few legs, the Beeks were able to draw upon their skill-set (familiarity with French, self-driving, farm-y tasks, a finale on home turf). But maybe there's also something to be said for low expectations. Sure, the Beekmans have a competitive spirit. It surfaced now and again and especially at the end, when the Twinnies awakened it. But the Beekmans clearly were not as alarmingly competitive as were Teams Texas or Twins or Abbie/Ryan. Their attitude was always more just kinda like "nowhere to go but up!" They always expected to be in the back of the pack, and this lack of pressure allowed them a certain calm demeanor which helped them greatly towards the end of the race. It just goes to show that sometimes the underdog role is a great place to be. And you know what? Winning the most legs doesn't matter. You only need to win one. And that's just what these guys did. They won one leg the entire season, but it was the one that mattered. Meanwhile, I'd said in previous weeks that these guys wouldn't/couldn't win; now I (happily) eat my words.

First up, Leg 11, and the Loire Valley, France. What a pretty place to claw each others' eyes out!

That train ride from Barcelona was so awkward and uncomfortable. I felt like I was watching a badly-acted stage performance of "High School: The Jerk Years." Enough with the Dream Team Alliance! It's so lame. Fine that they aligned to cooperate on the U-Turn. Strategy-wise, I thought theirs was a brilliant, creative plan, and they succeeded in eliminating their toughest competition in Abbie and Ryan. But now that that's done, move on. Hanging on to the Alliance idea after that just reeks of cliqueishness and insecurity. It actually reminded me of middle school, when girls are incapable of even going to the bathroom to touch up their lip gloss without bringing their friends along, when everyone's always waiting for someone and monitoring where people are and coming from and going to. This is a race, yo! Do your own thing! Focus! (not a plug for #Ford) Plus, the whole notion is somewhat illogical to me in general. If they really think they're the three strongest teams, why are they so desperate to race against one another? Wouldn't it make more sense to try to box out the teams that you think are the strongest, so you can compete against weaker teams?

NEXT: "The gays are coming!"

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