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'The Amazing Race' Season 17, Episode 12 (Season Finale) Recap

by Jackie Schnoop, posted Dec 13th 2010 12:40AM
The final three teams on 'The Amazing Race' race to the finish line['The Amazing Race' - 'Hi. I'm Sorry. I'm in a Race.']

Usually the season finale of 'The Amazing Race' isn't such a nail-biter. In previous seasons, there's always been one team in the finale that makes you scratch your head and wonder how they made it that far, and another team that could've been named the winner a handful of episodes back.

That wasn't the case this season. The three remaining teams were quite evenly matched in skill, although Brook and Claire didn't have the record for winning legs that Jill/Thomas and Nat/Kat had. But, looking at the final three pairs, all deserved their places in the finale. They'd all performed well. So who won?

Despite different departure times from the last Pit Stop, all the teams caught the same flight to their final destination of Los Angeles, CA. That meant it was anyone's game -- something good to see in the finale. I kept thinking of the first season when one team was days behind. I'd rather the race be competitive!

One could argue that Nat and Kat had a few advantages in this final leg. After all, they both lived in the Los Angeles area for four years while attending UCLA. Plus, they used notes they had taken on their final task. Of course, any team could've taken notes (and they probably should've). Then again, Nat and Kat also faced the challenge of Nat's Type 1 diabetes and her extreme fear of heights.

Brook and Claire have rolled with the punches all season -- willing to do just about anything (usually accompanied by giggles and a sense of humor). Perhaps a bit trying at times with the "Brook and Claire Flair Show," they've been fun to watch as they counted kisses across the countries. The few times they clashed, it was short-lived and not as full of vitriol as some of the other teams.

Then there's Jill and Thomas. They're definitely a strong team and he was the last man standing going into the finale. But I just couldn't get myself to get on board with the way he's treated Jill at times. He's been condescending and outright insulting under pressure. While it wasn't to the level of a Jonathan Baker and Victoria relationship, it was unsettling. With all the hoopla about the possibility of the first all-female winning team, Thomas was ready to push the limits. Things just didn't go his way -- too bad, so sad.

Once in California, the teams had to bungee jump from huge cranes at the port in Long Beach. Thomas hoped Nat would quit due to her fear of heights. Nope, didn't happen -- she did the jump, casting her fear aside. Nat and Kat left the port with the lead, with Brook and Claire behind Jill and Thomas. The Roadblock, decorating a float for the Rose Bowl parade, kept the order in place. It was after they got the clue there that Jill and Thomas fell apart.

It was a bit surprising to me that no one knew the Quixote clue. I mean really, Sancho Panza's master? No one's read 'Don Quixote' (or at least seen 'Man of La Mancha')? Now, I wouldn't have expected Nick and Vicki, eliminated in the previous leg, to know it. But it was a standard reading assignment in school, right?

Where Jill and Thomas went wrong wasn't necessarily that their taxi driver was a doofus. 'Tis Jill and Thomas who were the doofuses (doofi?). Both the other teams researched while Jill and Thomas went in circles with their cabbie. For gosh sakes, they were in Los Angeles! Get out of the taxi, go to a hotel or Internet cafe and get those clues answered!

Nat and Kat were the first to the final task -- picking out all the welcome mat greeters in order from a flashing game board -- and finished before Brook and Claire even arrived. Though, unless it was editing, Brook and Claire seemed to complete the task much faster than Nat and Kat with their notes. Side note: Even though he's aged a lot, Bob Eubanks' voice never changes. The man has the epitome of a game show host voice!

As the top two teams raced to meet Phil Keoghan, we knew the winning team would finally make history -- an all-female team would definitely win the race. But uiltimately, no matter how quick they were, Brook and Claire didn't really have a chance. Nat and Kat dashed across the finish line first, and the TV hosts came in second. After their taxi blunder, Jill and Thomas had no chance whatsoever -- and it doesn't look like they even completed the final task. If they did, it wasn't shown.

All in all, I found this season quite enjoyable with many likable teams to cheer on. No, there wasn't a strong alpha male team -- which definitely made it easier for Nat and Kat to win the $1 million. Is that fair? Not fair? You tell me! Next season, set to air on Feb. 20, will be sort of a "all-time favorites" race called 'Unfinished Business.' It looks like several teams from this season, including Brook/Claire, Kevin/Michael, the singing dudes and Gary/Mallory, will participate, as well as the Cowboys and Luke/Maggie. I'm so there! How about you?

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if you read interviews by Nat and Kat after the race, they said ALL teams keep notes by now - they've all seen past seasons and know there is a memory challenge. Brooke and Claire had a notebook as did Thomas and Jill.

December 22 2010 at 7:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well Thank God that an all female team won. If not, next season we would have seen blind paraplegic males run the race.

December 13 2010 at 1:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

All in all, one of the weaker outings for the series. I'm tired of all the taxis. For years they had a nice mix of walking, public transport, weird transport, self-transport, and taxis... now it's almost always a taxi or walking. It also seems that they've started travelling less. In the first 10 seasons or so you would've never spent more than a single leg in a country. Now, they regularly do, and I don't care for that...

I used to be one of the people that wanted no catch-up points... If a team was ahead, I wanted them to retain it. However, I've come to realize that when they don't have to fly anywhere or wait a number of hours for that equalizer, the race is far more boring... So, particularly when there's a speed bump after a non-elimination leg, I think there should always be an equalizer up front to give people a shot... not for them, but for our entertainment.

Anyway, here's hoping that HD TAR is awesome, that Jackie continues her fantastic reviews, and that she's asked back to the Survivor slot where she's been terribly missed this season. Anyway, thanks as always!

December 13 2010 at 12:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mike's comment
Jackie Schnoop

Thanks for the kind words, Mike. You're spot on about not traveling as much. The show is nowhere near the whirlwind pace some seasons back.

December 13 2010 at 9:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joyce N.

Kat & Nat and Brook & Claire were on the Early Show this am and Claire (now a blond) is married and pregnant. So even though they were asked to appear on the upcoming All-Stars season, they won't be appearing after all. Brook seemed disappointed.

Sourpusses Katie and Rachel (volleyball playing team) who kvetched during their time at Elimination station that they didn't want an all-girl team to win this season must have been cringing with jealousy.

This was a really good season and I'm hoping the next one (in HD) will be a really good one too.

December 13 2010 at 9:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I can be a bit more succinct than skunky.
Damn those girls are hot.

December 13 2010 at 8:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Pitstop Prizes
Belize - Nat & Kat , Chad & Stephanie
Brazil - Nat & Kat , Jill & Thomas
I wonder if they go in the same timeframes ?
"Nat and Kat had a few advantages in this final leg. After all, they both lived in the Los Angeles area"
"there wasn't a strong alpha male team -- which definitely made it easier for Nat and Kat to win the $1 million. Is that fair? Not fair?"
ARE you saying maybe CBS / the producers fixed things along the way in the casting / behind the scenes to ensure a all girl team win ?
When Nat & Kat dashed across the finish line the ousted pair of Katie & Rachel had a look of - man we should have been the first all girl team winners LOL
Couldn't they have called Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains - All*Stars II and couldn't they have called next season's The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business - All*Stars II , that's what it is, anyways it will be nice to see the Cowboys back but I am rooting for Kynt & Vyxsen from the Amazing Race 12 and UGH they are bringing back the whiny temper tantrum throwing deaf boy Luke, though his nemesis team Kisha & Jen are there to so I hope they clash again LOL
It was nice seeing the Greystone Mansion as the backdrop for the final pitstop as it was used in the 1991 version of Dark Shadows on NBC-Tv to be Collinwood as well it was used in other various movies and Tv shows the list is here

December 13 2010 at 4:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to skunkyDan's comment
Jackie Schnoop

Skunky - I'm jus' sayin' ... if there was a true alpha male team, you know ...
But it was worth Nat and Kat winning just to bother Rachel and Katie!

December 13 2010 at 9:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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