From Taipei, Taiwan, teams learn their next stop is the final destination city, Anchorage, Alaska. Once there, they must travel to 6th Avenue Outfitters to pick up a bag of supplies for the leg and their next clue.
With $392, the final three teams head out on their final leg for the million dollars. They all take a China Airlines flight and touchdown on American soil, but not before Ronald & Christina gain access to the China Air lounge where they use the internet to find out more information about where they need to go in Anchorage.
Clever TAR editing (as if there is any other kind) has Ron & Chris going into the lounge and the doors closing just as the other two teams roll on past them on the people movers wondering and starting to worry about where the father and daughter are.
Anyway, in Alaska, Ron & Chris leave the airport first, followed by TK & Rachel and then Nicolas & Donald. While the other two teams grab their clue and supplies at the shop, Nick & Don leave their bag at the counter.
Their clue tells them to travel to Ship Creek Boat Launch along the waterfront. Ron & Chris maintain 1st and find the Detour.
In this Detour, teams have to choose between two common tasks by the fishermen in Alaska, Cut the Cod and Grab the Grab. In Cut the Cod, teams have to use their supplies to cut through several 50 pound lean cod to find a miniature canister containing their next clue inside the fish. In Grab the Crab, teams must jump into the hull of a boat filled with 500 live crabs, where they must search through them for one crab marked with race colors.
Ron & Chris choose Cut the Cod and Christina finds their clue in their first fish. Meanwhile, TK & Rachel are dropped off 5 minutes away from where they’re supposed to be, with Nick & Don right behind.
The next clue tells the teams to make their way 60 miles by taxi to a marked boat landing where they must take a high speed boat ride upriver to 20-Mile Glacier. The teams don’t know, however, that once there, they must climb the face of the glacier to obtain their clue at the top.
As Ron & Chris leave, they pass Nick & Don and then TK & Rachel on the road.
Once they get their clue, Nick & Don realize what they’ve forgotten and go back to the shop to get their gear. TK & Rachel choose the crabs and are practically pinched alive by them, prompting Rachel to want to switch Detours. But TK eventually finds one.
Nick & Don return to finish the cod Detour and try to catch up.
At the boat launch, Ron & Chris speed off to the glacier and while Ron speeds up the glacier, Chris has trouble. Coming up fast are both TK & Rachel and Nick & Don.
Once at the top, Ron & Chris get their next clue which tells them that they must take a breathtaking scenic helicopter ride to the Merrill Field and from there, a taxi to Goose Lake Park for their next clue.
At the park, Ron & Chris open the Road Block… possibly the most complex Road Block ever in 12 seasons of The Amazing Race.
In this Road Block, one team member is given 15 recognizable items from each leg of the Race. They must place 10 specific items on a stage that match 2 different requirements; First, they must have one item from each leg of the Race. Second, of the 10 items, they must have: -3 animals or animal by-products -1 U-turn -2 objects either at or brought to a Pit Stop -2 items of transportation with wheels, 1 of which was used at a Detour -1 item of transportation resembling the shape of a stick Phil warns: “If it sounds easy, think again.” He says there are many possible ways to fulfill each requirement, but only one combination of 10 items that can fulfill both. Once they place the correct 10 items on stage, they must say “Done” and the clue box will open for them to get their next clue. Also, the teams are not allowed to use pencil and pen for the Road Block.
As Christina gets started, we are shown a spectacularly edited and scored sequence of Ron & Chris along the racecourse with the correct answers: tandem bike from Ireland, a bike from the Netherlands, a coconut bowl of camel milk from Bingo, Burkina Faso, a chicken from Ouagadougou, the stilts from Lithuania, the traditional Croatian gun, the Blackberry from Italy, the Indian U-turn, a cleaning guy from Japan, and the tea cups and saucers from Taiwan.
The other two teams arrive as Rachel and Nicolas do the Road Block.
Chris gets all her 10 items on stage, and all but one is correct. She has the Irish donkey instead of the tandem bike.
Meanwhile, Rachel has three wrong items when she says “Done.” Nick has four incorrect items as he is doing his.
Chris is getting messed up with the “3 animals…” requirement as she keeps the donkey on and questions whether or not the human cleaning guy is considered an “animal.” As she tries to find out what’s wrong, she now has three incorrect items when she calls “Done” next.
Nick thinks the Croatian gun is useless while Rachel thinks the same of the pole she used at a Road Block.
As the three struggle to figure out the Road Block, their three teammates are standing waiting for one of them to finish.
Finally, someone finishes, and that person is Rachel. Their next clue tells them to find “Cook’s eye-view of the Sleeping Lady” which is a statue of Captain Cook at Resolution Park in Anchorage.
As TK & Rachel make their way to the statue, Christina, near tears, finishes and Ron says to not give up.
At the statue, TK & Rachel find the next clue telling them to find the Salmon Hooker for their next clue. Ron & Chris are close behind.
The next, and final clue, tells the teams to take a taxi to Girdwood Airport and run to the Finish Line. It’s the final face-off between TK & Rachel and Ronald & Christina as their taxis make their way to the waiting teams and Phil at the Finish Line.
A taxi arrives and…
…it’s TK & Rachel arriving first to claim their million dollars. Ronald & Christina finish 2nd and Nicolas & Donald come running for 3rd.
The Teams Well, I’ll get it out of the way. TK & Rachel. Quoting from my week 2 assessment of them, they “were kind of nonexistent again.” And they basically stayed that way the entire Race. Definitely not happy or okay with them winning. After running a barely competent Race while being uninterested and judgmental, I seriously can’t do anything but lump them in with Eric & Danielle and Freddy & Kendra at the bottom of TAR’s list of winners. It really pains me when I can find more redeeming qualities in E&D, F&K, and even BJ & Tyler than in TK & Rachel.
On the other hand, I have nothing but admiration for Nicolas & Donald and Ronald & Christina in overcoming so many hurdles that could have kept them out of the final 3.
As our first grandparent/child team, it was expected that they wouldn’t last long. Nicolas & Donald were either going to sadly say bye early like David & Margaretta or Don & Mary Jean or they were going to surprise everyone and at least come close to going all the way like Meredith & Gretchen. I am happy to applaud them for surpassing even the wildest expectations. A great mix of what makes a good Amazing Race team; wit, humor, a little drama, knowing when to step up, teamwork, and determination.
And Ronald & Christina, having to overcome hurdles within (Ronald’s attitude) and out of (his hernia) their control. They handled all of that pressure well and defied anyone’s expectations to not only make final 3, but do very well when they stepped it up and tried to solve their relationship problems. Once their teamwork got going and Ronald calmed down, they excelled, proven especially by their three 1st place finishes, including the two consecutive ones going into this final leg. Like Nick & Don, they too had a great balance of good TAR team qualities, and not only that, they also were able to strengthen their relationship and probably “win” more than what a million dollars could buy.
Episode Overall Overall, this was probably the best TAR finale ever…
…until the last five or so minutes.
TAR really stepped it up with the final Road Block/task and was probably the best final task ever, even though I’ll probably resent it for a while. The Detour was great, and how awesome was it to have them in their final destination city for the entire leg.
My full Amazing Race 12 wrap-up later today J
QUOTES FROM EPISODE 12-11 Phil: “…teams without fast hands might find themselves in a pinch.”
Ronald: “How do you fillet these things? This is no easy task for a city slicker.”
Nicolas: “So you know where this is? Ship Creek Boat Launch.” Taxi driver: “I’m a cab driver. I know stuff like that.”
Ronald: “Man, this is a lot of nasty guts. People don’t eat guts here do they?”
Donald: “He’s got a good memory. There’d be no sense in me doing this, I would… I’d be there for a —- year.”
Taxi Driver: *imitating Ian* “You got numbah one taxi drivah.”
Ronald: “You’re number one in my eye.”
Ronald: “I feel real grateful that even though I didn’t come up with the first place, but I come out with the first place in my daughter’s heart. And the fact that I’ve changed for the better.”