The Final Leg of the Race begins with teams being given $1 and needing to drive themselves to the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park. Here, they will join in a traditional ceremony where tribesmen will give them their next clue.
With HOURS OF OPERATION set for 6am, all teams enjoy the ceremony together before continuing the Race. The first clue tells teams to drive to the Cairns Airport and find the General Aviation Terminal for the next clue.
Things get heated on the drive when Jon and Chip drive aggressively on the slick roads, resulting in Chip swerving into a ditch.
Nonetheless, all teams arrive at the terminal and open the next clue revealing the Detour: Wing It or Wander It. In Wing It, teams will tandem skydive 10,000 feet. In Wander It, teams will drive to a mangrove forest and use a boat to navigate out of it to the skydive landing site.
All teams choose the skydiving of course. David & Jeff take the lead followed by Kelly & Jon and Reichen & Chip.
Teams must now fly to the Island of Hawaii. David & Jeff and Kelly & Jon go directly to Qantas International while Reichen & Chip go to Qantas Domestic.
David & Jeff believe their best bet is to fly to Sydney as it is a hub for Qantas, thus they should have more options. However, Kelly & Jon learn that there are no flights out of Sydney that would get them to Hawaii until tomorrow. Both Kelly & Jon and Reichen & Chip secure tickets via Tokyo to Honolulu that will get them in at 6:55am.
David & Jeff hop on the first flight to Sydney, but quickly learn there are no earlier flights to Hawaii than the one they’ve booked. While there are flights out of other cities, there are no more flights out of Sydney to enable them to connect through those cities.
At Tokyo Narita, it is a mad dash for the two teams to make the tight connection to Honolulu. Kelly & Jon take the wrong tram and end up at a different terminal. A nice ticketing agent runs in high heels with them and helps them get on the right bus that takes them to the right terminal.
Reichen & Chip have already arrived at the gate and manage to board just seconds before they close the doors. Kelly & Jon, with the help of the nice Japanese lady, attempt to persuade the gate manager to let them on. But regulations prevent them from making it.
Reichen & Chip make the flight and are even mistakenly placed in Business Class even though they paid for economy seats. Kelly & Jon must now settle for a flight that gets them in at 8:05am.
Upon arrival in Kona, Hawaii, teams must drive themselves to Kaulana Bay, the southernmost point of the United States.
Reichen & Chip arrive and find the next clue revealing the Road Block: Who’s a strong swimmer and good with a hammer? For this Road Block, teams must swim out to a floating tiki head, dive to grab a rock below and take it back to the beach where they will smash it open to retrieve the clue inside.
Chip decides to do the Road Block and retrieves the clue directing them to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park where they will follow a path over hardened lava to the cluebox.
They leave before Kelly & Jon arrive. Jon decides to do the Road Block. And not wanting to get his underwear wet, decides to go naked to perform the Road Block.
Both teams get the next clue revealing the Final Destination City is Phoenix, Arizona. Upon arrival in Phoenix, teams must find the USS Arizona memorial for the next clue.
Teams have the decision to fly out of Hilo or Kona. Reichen & Chip choose Hilo as it’s closer. But Kelly & Jon go to Kona which has more flights.
Reichen & Chip get on a flight that should get them into Phoenix via Honolulu at 8:15am tomorrow. Kelly & Jon fly to Honolulu and get on the same flight. Both teams ensure they are sitting as close to the front of the plane as possible. And while waiting, both teams try to get more information about where the USS Arizona anchor is located in Phoenix.
Reichen & Chip get in the first taxi out of the airport with Kelly & Jon right behind them. But armed with the exact address of the anchor, Reichen & Chip arrive first and open the next clue pointing teams to the southeast entrance of Sun Devil Stadium.
The clue waiting for teams there asks them to solve the riddle: “Happy Valentine’s Day + White + White.” Teams must figure out that they must use the date (214) and the numbers of two players named White who are on the stadium’s wall (33 – Wilford White, 11 Danny White). The numbers refer to Section 214, Row 33, Seat 11 where the next clue awaits.
Reichen & Chip figure out Section 214, but not the “White + White” clue. They walk around the section until Chip spots the clues pasted on top of the bleachers. That final clue directs teams to head to Papago Park where they will bike to the Finish Line.
Kelly & Jon arrive at the stadium and quickly figure out the whole riddle.
But Reichen & Chip are just too far ahead. They reach the Finish Line first and Phil officially declares them the winners of the Race. Kelly & Jon have to settle for 2nd place.
Meanwhile, it is 5:30am at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. David & Jeff open the next clue in the rain telling them that the Race is over.
— DryedMangoez (@dryedmangoez) April 16, 2021
Oh, these early season Final Legs. Right now, in 2021, I wouldn’t want to see a multi-city/multi-country Final Leg. Back then, it might have been very cool and epic. Watching it now in 2021, I don’t like it all. Lol
Having Legs like this just really breaks the momentum. And at worst, completely negates the majority of the Leg. The win here was determined by who got the first taxi out of the airport. You don’t want to see that. It would’ve been much better to have the Leg entirely in Phoenix. Or even better, just have the Finish Line in Hawaii. Having a few Route Markers in Australia then a few in Hawaii and then two more in Phoenix before the Finish Line isn’t really the best way to finish off a competition.
Anyway, this is how early seasons did it. I understand the show wanted to be an epic travelogue. So of course they would throw in as many destinations as possible.
Starting off the Final Leg with the aboriginal ceremony was nice. The calm before the storm, so to speak.
The Detour was a no-brainer though. On the Final Leg, having a first come, first served task is definitely not the move. In the early days, linear Legs weren’t really a consideration. But the Detour itself, you’d have to be crazy to choose Wander It. It’s the Final Leg. You’re going to skydive. I don’t even know why this was a choice! lol
It’s so fascinating to see skydiving though. Today, it might not seem like a big deal anymore. Back in 2003, it was huge. You never saw stuff like that on TV back then. So whenever TAR did tasks like this, it really lived up to the show’s title. These are the kinds of adrenaline-fueled, once-in-a-lifetime, bucket list-type activities that made TAR such a unique show back then. (Not so much anymore today.)
Hawaii and Alaska were always the transit points for the Final Legs in the early days. Also back then, flights and positioning actually mattered. Again, airport drama and flight finagling were a major part of the excitement. On contemporary TAR, for various reasons, that’s all nonexistent.
All the airport drama this episode was fun to watch. Maybe just because I haven’t seen such things on TAR in years. But I think this Leg was the last straw. TAR didn’t want another situation where a team doesn’t even reach the Finish Line. Logistics have really played a big part in Leg design on contemporary TAR. There’s pros and cons to providing flights to the teams. That’s a discussion for a different time though.
The Road Block was alright. Again, it didn’t really matter in the grander scheme of things. But a good task nonetheless. The biggest thing to come out of it (no pun intended) is Jon going naked for it. Definitely a classic moment.
The task would’ve been even better if it were on a Leg with a Hawaii Finish Line though.
The stadium clue was too easy since Reichen & Chip didn’t even figure out the “White + White” portion of the riddle. All teams had to do was walk around Section 214 and see the clues pasted on the bleachers. ON TOP of the bleachers. Should’ve been hidden more so teams actually had to solve the riddle which I think Kelly & Jon actually did.
It didn’t seem like a close finish since Kelly & Jon didn’t seem like they saw Reichen & Chip at the stadium anyway. So they were long gone.
I remember watching the finale when it first aired. I was not happy Reichen & Chip won. (I’m still not, actually.) Back then, TAR was actually mildly popular. And I remember at school the next day, (I was a junior in high school) we actually talked about the finale in class. My history teacher was a big TAR fan. And other kids in the class actually watched it too. Everyone had been rooting for Kelly & Jon.
Fast forward to today, most high school students probably never even heard of TAR. So sad.