12/11 TAR 19 Recap FINALE: Number l
The three final teams, Jeremy and Sandy, Ernie and Cindy, Amani and Marcus, leave Panama City for Atlanta, GA and the final destination leg of the Race. The clue they take from Phil in Panama directs them to a Flight Simulation facility once they land in Atlanta.
Amani and Marcus are excited to be playing on their home turf and the other two teams recognize that this could be a problem. However, knowing your way around Atlanta will not necessarily get you through the tasks, so in that respect the playing field is equal.
Jeremy and Sandy, winners of the last leg are first to find Flight Safety International and the next clue which is a task both members of the team must perform. In the simulator, they take instructions from a certified flight instructor then must land the plane from 2500 feet. Once they have successfully landed their plane, the instructor gives them the next clue.
All the men of the final three couples take on the pilot seat, while the women sit in the co-pilot seat. This doesnít mean the women sit passive as they must keep the airspeed and the checklist. Jeremy and Sandy are the first to take instruction with Amani and Marcus right behind them. Jeremy and Sandy prove to be quick studies and have a steady hand and receive the next clue in first place.
While Jeremy is stoked to be captain of the plane, Marcus is wary as he really, really doesnít like to fly. Ernie and Cindy arenít far behind Amani and Marcus. Sandy and Amani who both showed us in the teacup challenge that they are prone to motion sickness, threatened to have the same problem in the simulator, but both survive without resorting to a barf bag. While Jeremy and Sandy nail the landing on the first try, Cindy is so concentrated on Ernie doing well, that she misses her part in keeping up the airspeed and they complete the task on their second try.
Marcus, after eleven tries and eleven head banging tense cussing, finally learns on the twelfth try to relax, come out of macho football win at all cost mode, and concentrate on the task at hand rather than racing ahead in his mind. Because they were so long at the first task, we only glimpse them at the second task, which Amani gives to Marcus probably so he can redeem himself. We donít get to see them at the last challenge, possibly because the winner had been announced while they were at the second challenge and they were taken from there directly to the Finish Mat.
The clue received from the flight instructor directs them to The Dump, which is at the residence formerly occupied by Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone with the Wind. Jeremy and Sandy ask someone in a red truck for directions, and are told it was once a Home Depot and sends them off to the store. Meanwhile, Cindy, in super-hyper mode, asks to borrow the cabbieís phone and calls an information number for directions. Ernie and Cindy get the correct information and arrive at the historic home ahead of Jeremy and Sandy who are running around The Dump, which turns out to be a used furniture store in what used to be a Home Depot.
At the historic home site, Ernie and Cindy find a Road Block: Who Gives A Damn. Working with an old Remington three manual, one team member must type out the clue to their next destination realizing that the number one is missing from the keys and must figure out that the lower case l is the substitute.
Outside when they decide Ernie will do the road block, they donít realize typing will be involved and Cindy goes into melt down mode as she is the faster typist of the two. Unflappable Ernie, meanwhile, after a few false starts, gets the hang of it and when it comes to discovering the number 1 checks out the exposed type face and notices the lower case l is the most likely key to use. He completes the challenge with a huge grin on his face and they take the typed out clue to the taxi to try and figure out what the numbers, 44 -715-74 mean. Their taxi driver doesnít know so they ask to go to a hotel so they can use the internet. A reservations clerk allows them, this one time, to go behind the counter to use his computer. They google and discover the numbers belong to Hank Aaron and then the clerk informs them that they are part of the wall at Turner Field.
There the clue directs them to connect the places on a mega map of the world which stands as a large flat board fifty feet above the ground. One team member, under the watchful eye of a safety person, must pull themselves across the wall while in a harness, grab a red rope from the far right side then thread it through climbing clips in the order of the countries they visited. The other team member may call out instructions from the ground.
While Cindy gets in her harness, Jeremy and Sandy find Margaret Mitchellís home and Sandy takes on the typing challenge. She struggles a bit, but finds the small l fairly quickly. When they receive the clue, Sandy thinks they look like route coordinates and they need to google it.
Cindy is up on the map and pulling the red cord through the clips at a fast pace. She gets the countries correct on her first try and she and a supportive Ernie who did not have to shout instructions, read the route info clue for the Finish Line at the Swan House. However, the Taxi driverís GPS is bogus and always recalculating the route. At one point Ernie says they should go right at a split in the road (he was right) but the driver stuck to his recalculating coordinates.
Jeremy and Sandy arrive after Ernie and Cindy are in their taxi race to the finish and Jeremy takes on connecting the dots while Sandy yells out locations. They miss Indonesia on the first try, but find it quickly and he swings the rope into place. They take off for the Finish Line with a driver who knows the way.
After driving in circles, Ernie and Cindy find the correct road from which to make their entrance into the grounds of Swan House and sprint to the Amazing Race rug. To the clapping and cheers of their fellow racers, they are named the official winners by Phil. He then prompts them to tell everyone what they want to do with the million dollars and Cindy says that they want to start an organization to multiply the million and help those they met around the world. They want to give them that little extra that will help them and inspire them to be contributors to the global economy.
Jeremy and Sandy receive their own warm welcome when they hit the rug in second place as do Amani and Marcus in third place.
Ernie and Cindy: The pre-marital counseling worked and Ernie is so proud of Cindy. Cindy is proud of Ernie for being so emotionally supportive of her. Both think they have found the perfect life partner.
Jeremy and Sandy: The race took them through an emotional and communication growth together that could have taken decades otherwise. They are happy to continue dating.
Amani and Marcus: Even though they came in third the point was to show their children that you donít quit; that you can be winners through trying.
Bon Mots or Not
Sandy: We have to be perfect this last leg and continue to work together as a team.
Cindy: I think the race is so much about pre-marital counseling. Weíve learned so much about each other.
Marcus: Now itís on to the Super Bowl and to win is a life dream.
Sandy (in the cab racing to the Flight Safety to her taxi driver who is on the phone to find directions): Donít tell the other Taxi Drivers.
Amani to Marcus: Get your pilot on.
Ernie (on the way to Margaret Mitchell historic site): Man, if we donít win the million dollars today, it will be such a disappointment. Losing to the boys is one thing, but losing to Amani and Marcus and Jeremy and Sandy is like losing to your brothers, or something like that.
Cindy (standing on the very small platform ready to begin mapping the world): This is NUTS.
Cindy (as she descends from the platform): Nice. This is the coolest map ever.
At the finish line when asked how their parents would be feeling, Ernie says his would be passed out, and Cindy says that hers would expect her to win.
Phil: Marcus, promise me one thing, you will never become a pilot.
Final word to Cindy: The things that weíve experience and seen, you canít put a price tag on that. Itís been incredible.
Cindy Ė I would say, AMAZING, as we wrap up season 19 to swelling music and a cheering full complement of racers on the Final Rug. So long until season 20 which isnít that long a wait.