“The Amazing Race” recap (18.11): “Season Finale”


The finale opens with a montage of the phallic Matterhorn in Switzerland, the tenth pit stop in the race around the world to a million dollars.

The Globetrotters are the first to arrive and the first to head out to the next destination, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Kisha and Jen are second to depart. Remembering the infamous bathroom break that cost the sisters the chance to win in Season 14, Jen remarks, “I will pee in my pants to make the final three.” Gary and Mallory and Zev and Justin depart next. All four teams end up on the same train to the airport.

At the ticket counters, the Globetrotters and Zev and Justin book flights that arrive in Rio at 7:30 in the morning. The sisters and Gary and Mallory initially book flights that arrive at 5:40pm, but Gary and Mallory see the Globetrotters and ask them whether they found an earlier flight. Big Easy and Flight Time shuffle around and look guilty. Gary and Mallory look at them suspiciously and start asking clerks at other ticket counters whether there are earlier flights. Eventually, because of the Globetrotters’ failed attempt at a poker face, all teams end up on the same flight arriving in Rio at 7:30.

In Rio, the Globetrotters’ cabbie decides to drive like he is giving them a leisurely tour of the city rather than helping them win a race, so they miss the first train to the next destination, Escadaleria Selaron. The rest of the teams realize that the Globetrotters are behind and demand that the train conductor just pull away already. As the all aboard bell sounds, Mallory cheers. Flight Time and Big Easy must wait half an hour to take a later train.

Next is a dance challenge: Dress up in a Carnival outfit, learn the samba, and lead a procession through the streets. Unfortunately for Team Justin/Zev, awkward Zev is tapped to do it, because Justin has already done the maximum number of roadblock challenges. “I hate dancing,” remarks Zev. “I have white boy rhythm.” Zev’s lack of rhythm causes his team to lose its lead, as Mallory shimmies her way to first place. The judge smiles at Mallory and flashes the sign “Sim!” Yes! Zev, wobbling around in his costume like an uncoordinated marionette puppet  gets “Não” after “Não.” Kisha breezes through this challenge as well, and after a failed first attempt, Big Easy also gets a “Sim!”

The next challenge is to get a Brazilian wax. Now, in the United States, “Brazilian wax” means one thing, and we all know what that is. In Brazil, though, it appears that it is a full body waxing. Poor Zev and Justin are the hairiest of all the teams, and the pain is palpable as they shriek and howl like torture victims with each yank of the waxing strips. Actually, for them, it is torture. I think they lost about five pounds of fur each during this challenge. Definitely more efficient than the Atkin’s Diet.

Now, the detour. The teams head to the beach and must choose between two challenges: make 100 caipirinhas or sell a bunch of bikinis to ladies on the beach and ask them to model said bikinis. This seems like a no brainer. Selling bikinis on a beach in Rio is like attempting to sell running shoes to people already laced up and lined up to run a marathon. The ladies on the beach are <i>already</i> wearing bikinis; there simply isn’t a market for bikinis on the beach in Rio. Gary and Mallory and Kisha and Jen and the Globetrotters arrive first, second, and third, respectively and wisely opt for the drink making.

Perplexingly, Zev and Justin choose the bikini challenge. After a failure to launch their bikini selling business, they abort the mission and start the caipirinha challenge, but it is too late. Realizing they are about to be eliminated, they do what anyone else would do. There are 100 caipirinhas in front of you. You’ve already lost a chance at a million dollars. The only logical response to the situation is to start drinking. Bottoms up!

Zev and Justin arrive at the pit stop last and are eliminated. “After what we saw in the world, there’s a much bigger picture than to win a million dollars,” says Zev.

Three teams remain. The next destination is Miami, where the teams are told to make their way to a marina where they must operate heavy machinery to move a boat to a dry dock. Kisha and Jen arrive first, the Globetrotters second. Meanwhile, Gary and Mallory are stuck with the most incompetent cabbie ever and are left in the dust. The sisters and the Globetrotters complete the dry dock challenge quickly and forge ahead.

The next challenge is to swim around in a steampunk-looking personal submarine in a tank full of people dressed as mermaids, including an underwater mermaid band, to find a clue in a box. Despite her aversion to water, Jen jumps into the mermaid tank along with Big Easy. Big Easy finds the clue first, but Jen finds it soon afterwards. Due to the bad cabbie luck, poor Gary and Mallory are far behind and nowhere to be seen.

The two frontrunners are asked to walk across a lagoon to an island and find a clue next to the tallest tree on the island then to take boat to a trailer park, where they must construct a mobile home arrangement to match one in a brochure. Kisha and Jen pass the Globetrotters and arrive first. Then strong winds appear out of nowhere, slowing down the teams by blowing the arrangements over repeatedly. The judge, a nice lady with impossibly gravity defying hair by the name of Ms. Rose, says to the teams over and over again, “Despite the wind, it does not look like the brochure.” A few spectators laugh at the teams’ failed attempts. Says one, “When they do something stupid, we think it’s funny!”

Kisha and Jen finish their arrangement first and head to the final leg of the race, a bike ride over a seven mile long bridge to the final pit stop. The Globetrotters are close behind. Again, strong winds appear out of nowhere, forcing the racers to ride into the wind. Kisha is not amused. “I’m strugglin’” she says. “Come on, Kisha!” encourages Jen. The Globetrotters start closing in, but the sisters reach the end of the bridge first and sprint to the finish line, where they are greeted with cheers from teams that were eliminated earlier in the race.

“Kisha and Jen, you are the official winners of The Amazing Race!” shouts Phil, and the sisters embrace and shriek. “And you have won one million dollars!” Shrieks, cheers, tears! The sisters tell Phil that they are going to use part of the money to help their mom start a business, who raised them by herself. Happy Mothers Day Momma Hoffman!

And that concludes this season of The Amazing Race. What did you think of the outcome? Happy to see Kisha and Jen win the prize? Were you rooting for the Globetrotters? Do you have a burning desire to become a mermaid? Comment away.

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