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Itís the finale! And once again, a piddling one hour finale, at that. What gives, CBS? Other less worthy shows get two hour finales. Pff. Whatís a TAR fan to do? Wait til next season, I suppose. For now, we get the obligatory five minute recap of the whole season: remember the guy who fell from the high-wire challenge? (I donít, either) The simulated WWI fighting? Champagne glass towers? The U-Turning of Carol and Brandy? Good times, good times.
First Class With No Class
Back to the present. In this final leg, teams must fly 6000 miles from Shanghai to San Francisco. All are happy to be jetting back to the states. And of course, the ticket counter isnít open yet. So Brent and Caite take up residence at the beginning of the line, while Jet and Cord settle in behind them on the floor to take a nap. Six hours later, Dan and Jordan arrive. And promptly plop their backpacks in FRONT of Jet and Cord, taking second spot in line. The cowboys are all ďWTF?Ē but Jordan thinks heís entitles to cutsies and they refuse to budge.
Seriously, there should be a rule against this. I know Iím biased, being on Team Cowboy, but damn. Youíre six hours behind for a reason - and really, if Louie and Michael hadnít helped them last leg, Dan and Jordan would probably still be looking aimlessly for the Garden Bridge. You two should be gone, honestly.
Anyway. Jet gives his best eat-crap-and-die look to the brothers while Cord somewhat jokingly expounds on the various ways they should open a can of Whoop Ass on Dan and Jordan, who do their best to ignore the fuming cowboys. Alas, my boys arenít allowed to toss the line cutters and are stuck in third place. Might not have mattered much, but it was just so unnecessary. Once boarded, Dan shmoozes an attendant into giving them first class seats, enabling them to depart the plane well ahead of the other two teams. So, yay them, I suppose.
The first clue is a description of local landmark Coit Tower - Dan and Jordan ask a passing bicyclist if he knows what the clue is about, and he sure does. ďPeople who ride bikes are smart,Ē declares Jordan. Even smarter are people who buy books, like Jet and Cord did earlier: a history of San Francisco. Not so smart? People who rudely scream at cab drivers, like Brent and Caite are. Well, mainly Caite. Driver guy doesnít speak English well, which she thinks is nonsense, so screaming at him is supposed to make things better? Brent tells her to knock it off and they trade shut-ups and other heart-felt sentiments, ending with Caite saying that she wants to punch Brent in the head. Charming.
Fear is the Path to the Dark Side
Once at the Coit Tower Roadblock, one team member has to climb the 120 foot tower using a mechanical device. Itís purely a vertical climb, and tiring, as Dan starts to peter out near the top. Just as he zips down and finishes, Jet and Cord arrive. Cord does his thing, and off they go to the next challenge.
Which is a pretty cool one, actually. After hunting down the Yoda Fountain at the Industrial Light and Magic complex, teams get to play in a virtual reality world: one donning a motion-capture suit while the other directs them through a virtual reality spaceship which is unseen to the suit-wearer. And - a Stormtrooper escort! Iím a sci-fi nerd, so Iím loving this.
Dan and Jordan arrive first, with Jet and Cord hot on their heels. While Dan gives Jordan his orders from the ďdirectorísĒ room, Cord has a little fun. As Jet is getting his suit on, Cord barks out silly directions right next to Dan: hop! Skip! Ballet! Jordan can hear this and gets confused - Dan is livid and snaps at a grinning Cord. Aw, whatís the matter, Danny Boy? Canít take a little payback?
Brent is just now climbing the tower - Iím surprised that cabbie didnít throw them both out on their asses for being so rude - so theyíre a bit behind. Not a lot of airtime for the models tonight.
On their virtual pathway, Jordan ends up right smack in Jetís way. Would it have been against the rules to bump him out of the way? Probably, but I'd be sorely tempted. Unfortunately, Jet gets stuck there waiting on Jordan, who has to spin around for Dan to read the clue at the end. Jordan complains that he feels like vomiting, as do I, having to watch Jet waste all that time. Brent and Caite catch up, arriving just as Dan and Jordan leave.
I Left My Money and Stuff in San Francisco
Next: find the Tonga tiki bar, one of the countryís first, where teams have to grab a steamer trunk and tote it to the Great American Music Hall. Dan and Jordan are on their way while Jet and Cord struggle to figure out the last spinning clue part - Jet, you just saw Jordan spinning around. Think, man. They finish just ahead of Brent and Caite, who might have had a slight chance of winning this thing until they realized that they left their ďmoney and stuffĒ back at the last task. Cue more bitching and finger pointing as they backtrack.
Really, Iíve been pretty ambivalent about the models (Dan and Jordan, too) until these last few episodes. Threatening to hit a cab driver? Each other? The general nastiness has turned me against these two teams. Stress does not have to equal ugliness. See: Jet and Cord.
Jet, Cord, Dan and Jordan run up and down the hilly streets of San Fran, hunting for the Music Hall. Some fakey editing makes me believe that Jet and Cord might have a shot at catching up, but Iím losing hope. Once there, they find the dreaded Memory Challenge! But, itís not so dreaded this time: both teams have made notes along the way, taking all the drama out of the task. So not fun for us, the viewers. Both teams hang the psychedelic posters in order, nailing it the first time. Sigh.
The final clue: Jack Be Nimble, Jack Be Quick, Jack Jump Over the _______. Well, duh. Candlestick Park. They need to make these things harder. Itís a cab race to the end - Jet and Cordís driver asks if thereís a rodeo at Candlestick (ha!), while Dan and Jordan supposedly struggle to hail a cab. Who will make it to the waiting Phil first? Well, it wasnít the team I wanted to win. Oh my gravy.
Dan and Jordan bound into the Park first, to the cheers of the other departed Racers. Meh. Hugs, happiness, and thankfully no tears as the brothers collect their million. Jet and Cord come in second, sharing some more brotherly love and thankful for the experience. Last comes Brent and Caite - with Brandy noticeably not clapping for the third-placers. Caite beams that she IS an intelligent woman, having proved such by coming in third (huh?), and begins to offer a half-assed apology to Carol and Brandy for that U-Turn thing - Brandy cuts her off, ranting and raving like the no-class person that she is. Way to leave on a high note, woman.
After a few last words from the detectives and Jeff, who is swearing off reality TV (oh no!), this season is done. Canít say that I was thrilled with the winners, but I can hold onto the hopes of seeing my boys in a future All-Stars, perhaps. So...what did you think, FORTers? Happy with the winners? Did you enjoy this season, or did you think it stunk?