While many have complained about this Family Edition of The Amazing Race, you can’t deny that any finale of The Amazing Race is exciting and heartfelt whether the teams are made of two or four. This finale doesn’t disappoint. Right up until the end it was a nailbiter.
Before the three remaining teams leave Absarokee, Montana they are observed eating and having a hula hoop competition. At 3:04 in the morning, the Bransens are the first to leave. They are given airline tickets to Montreal, Canada and are allowed to find another faster flight, if they desire. Once in Montreal, they need to find the Square Victoria Metra Train Station, and make their way through a series of tunnels called he Underground City to find their next clue. The Bransens say they are excited to leave in first place and that no words can describe being in The Amazing Race with their family. Upon being told that French is spoken in Canada, one of the Bransen daughters says “Crap.”
The Linz family leaves just a few moments later at 3:08 with Meghan wearing a shirt that says, “Who Dey?”. They are in this to win. They know the other two families are as well, but the Linzes have a feeling they want it more. The Weavers leave nearly an hour later at 4:02. They don’t understand how they made it this far, but feel it has something to do with being underestimated. They want to say, “Ha ha ha. We’re in it!” Linda calls son Rolly the man of their team with the way she feels he has stepped up.
Once at the airport the Bransens find that while their tickets give them a connection in Minneapolis and still another connection after that, they can take a direct flight out of Minneapolis that will get them to Montreal ten minutes earlier. They take it. While Linda Weaver is on her way through the airport, she bitches that they’ll arrive in Canada in cut-offs.
After everyone lands in Minneapolis, the Bransens try to hide that they’re leaving the pack to get their earlier flight tickets. The Linzes call and find that there’s another flight that lands a whole hour earlier and take that. The Weavers stop at a ticket counter and find another flight being told there is nothing earlier. While both the Weavers and Linzes run to the same ticket counter to pick up their tickets, Rolly and one of the Linz brothers trip over each other. The Linz brother says Rolly is lucky he didn’t break his arm. There’s not just a little animosity between these two teams, is there?
After all this the Linzes and Weavers end up on the same flight and get there much earlier than the Bransens. Getting into a taxi, Rolly tries out his version of French, “El Fasto.” I’m thinking if the Weavers win they should enroll him in some language classes, being that he said, “El Speedo” to the taxi driver while in Panama. Asking the driver his name, he says, “They call me Ted.” As the Linzes get into their cab and ask their driver to hurry, he says, “You got big money for me?”
The Bransens are still flying, and are told by the pilot that they are arriving twenty-five minutes past schedule. They realize they have not only lost their lead, but are most likely now behind. Linda tells Ted at the train station to wait, then makes him look her in the eyes so she can be sure he’s not lying when he says he will. They run through the maze of tunnels to look for the CDP and find the clue right away.
The found clue is for a Detour – Slide it or Roll it. In “Slide It” the teams go to an ice arena and participate in a game of curling. Each person on the team has to get a stone into “the house.” In “Roll It” the teams travel to an arboretum and roll four logs over a lumberjack course. The Weavers decide to do the curling. Once at the Arena, the Weavers find it locked, and find that Ted took them to the wrong place. Ted calls to get the right address, then explains the game of curling to them while he drives.
The Linzes reach the train station, and running through the tunnels, they run right past the clue box, forcing them to double back and see where they went wrong. Once they find the clue box, they decide to do the curling, and their driver takes them to the same wrong place as Ted took the Weavers. They ask for directions and pass them on to their driver.
The Bransens arrive at the train station and pass up the clue box in the exact same way the Linzes did. They double back and find it, the exact same way the Linzes did. They differ, though, in the fact they know none of them are good on ice, so decide to do the log rolling. I’m left trying to figure out why they think they are so much better at rolling logs than being on the ice.
The Weavers try their hand at curling. They struggle a little, but eventually each person gets a stone in. They receive a clue with a little bit of history about the World Expo being in Montreal in 1967. Rolly misreads it as “Montrel”. They need to look for a structure which is what’s left behind of the American Pavilion that was built for the World Expo, and climb a staircase to the fifth floor to get their clue.
The Linzes eventually reach the right arena and move through the curling easily, with comments like, “Dud, I could play this all day!” and “I love this game; I’m moving to Canada.” They also decide they want to build a curling rink in Cincinnati.
Arriving at the Arboretum, the Bransens watch lumberjacks move the logs effortlessly, and trying it themselves, find it to not be so easy. They struggle a few times with the logs falling off the course, and needing to pick them up with these tools that look like huge ice tongs, but they get it done nonetheless.
Ted tells the Weavers that first of all he wants to thank God. This, of course, delights Linda, to find a kindred spirit. They find the American Pavilion structure, but walk completely around it trying to find the stairs. Eventually finding them, as they reach the fifth floor, they get a clue sending them to an Industrial Park to find “La Porte J” or the J door. The Linzes find the American Pavilion shortly after and call it a giant sphere. I’m looking at it thinking it looks like the geodesic dome at Epcot Center.
At La Porte J, the Weavers find a Roadblock. One person will need to take a turn on the Flying Trapeze and be caught be a professional. Rolly offers to do it, while Linda asks her daughters to pray for him. He does it easily. The next clue sends them to Parc Olympique where they will need to board golf carts and search for the one entrance into the stadium. They will then get their next clue around centerfield.
Arriving at La Porte J, Alex Linz decides he’ll do the flying trapeze. His siblings question this decision, calling him a fatty. He tries it and isn’t caught, with his brothers noting Alex is twice as big as the guy that is trying to catch him. The Bransens arrive to wait their turn. The third time is the charm for Alex as he is finally caught. One of the Bransen daughters climbs onto the trapeze and is caught her very first time, crediting her earlier gymnastics training. Knowing the Weavers are in the lead, one of the sisters says that if the Weavers win, she’s going to be pissed.
Ted takes the Weavers to Parc Olympique, and they ask him to wait for them. They find the golf carts and yell out Bon Jour. Maybe they aren’t so bad at this French language after all. They ride around, but can’t find the entrance to the stadium. The Linzes arrive and start riding their golf cart around. Just after, the Weavers finally find the entrance. The clue inside tells them they need to search the seating around the entire stadium to find one of three departure flight times for the next morning.
The Bransens have caught up and they and the Linzes enter the stadium at the same time on their golf carts. The Bransens suggest they search like the ushers do at church. For some reason as all three teams search the stadium, Linda calls this all unfair, but we’re left wondering what she is referring to exactly. Once they realize this isn’t going to be easily found, the Weavers decide to go back out of the stadium, pay Ted and let him leave, as they are paying him $40 and hour. The Bransens and Linzes follow their lead.
While the Linzes are still going back out to pay their driver and the Weavers are coming back in, they pass each other on a tight sidewalk and exchange comments like “thunder thighs” and “I want to punch her in the face.” Back inside Wally bitches because his daughters are mad that he is not searching alongside them.One of the sisters decides she’s going to have “a smokin’ ass after doing this all night along.”
The Weavers tire of searching and sit down to watch the others. The Linzes find a 5:50 AM departure time and decide to keep it instead of continuing to look for others. Shortly after the Bransens find a 5:45 departure. There are several cots set up on the field of the stadium, and it appears these are meant for the teams to sleep in while they wait their departure time. Linda lays down and sleeps, despite not finding their time yet. Eventually they give it one more go and Rolly is the hero again, finding a 5:55 time. While the others continue to sleep, the Weavers head to the airport to wait.
As all three teams leave the next morning, all seem to have their eye on the prize, knowing this is the last day of their race. They have no idea where their small jets are taking them, but most realize as they touch down that it looks like they are in Toronto, which they are. Finding their marked vehicles, they need to find the CN Tower and take elevators up to the top where they will use binoculars to find where their next clue is hidden.
As the Weavers struggle to find the CN Tower, one of the Weaver sisters asks how to say “where is” in this language, only to be told they speak English in Toronto. Looking at a map in a small store, and noticing it is ripped, Linda mentions they don’t have any cash, and ask if they can have the map for free since it is ripped anyway. She is given the map.
The Bransens get to the CN Tower first, with the Linzes right behind. The Weavers still haven’t reached the tower and Linda is afraid they might lose their lead. This is after their plane was the last to depart Montreal. I think she should have slept on those cots a little longer. She clearly needs a little more rest. Linda starts to get even more frustrated and starts praying. Her daughters tell her not to start on that again, saying it’s just a luck thing just as they find it.
The other two teams find the clue box together and hide the location from the Weavers. Once at the clue box, they find a Detour – Ship or Shoe. In Ship the teams need to board a sailboat and take it to the “Kajama” boat, climb up a tall ladder and retrieve a flag. In Shoe the teams need to travel to the Bata Shoe Museum, select a shoe and search through 100 women to find the one that will fit the shoe. The Linzes decide to play capture the flag and the Bransens decide to play Cinderella. Arriving later, the Weavers decide to do Ship as well.
The Linzes reach the Kajama first and are up the ladder easily to get the flag. They receive a clue sending them to Queenston on the Canadian side of the Niagara. They will need to ride a boat through some of the Niagara and grab the next clue off the buoy. The Bransens approach many barefoot women wandering around the show museum before they finally find the right one. Once again, Rolly is the one that climbs the ladder on the Kajama, only to drop the flag and need to retrieve it.
As everyone is driving to Queenston, the Bransens again hope the Weavers don’t win, saying, “That mom’s a whacko.” Sure enough while driving, Linda forgets where she is going. The Linzes and Bransens arrive and ride Whirlpool Jet Boats that seat twenty or so people through the Niagara with huge waves of water crashing over them.
The Linzes reach the clue first with the Bransens just behind. Their clue sends them to their final destination – the United States side of the Niagara – Lewiston, New York, where they will need to complete a giant map puzzle of Central and North America. That’s not good news for the Weavers just arriving at the Boats, as geography isn’t their strongest thing.
One of the Linz brothers and Wally Bransen work on the puzzles. They both take turns being in the lead as they struggle to finish quickly, knowing it’s the only thing standing between them and a million dollars. It’s very nerve-racking for all. The Linzes finish just before the Bransens, and everyone knows running isn’t Wally’s strongest thing, but he runs holding hands with all his daughters.
The Linzes reach the mat first, becoming the winners of the The Amazing Race 8, The Family Edition. As with other Races, all the other teams are there waiting for them. Little Carissa Gaghan jumps up and down, excited to see the Linzes win.
Phil pronounces the Linzes, after twenty-five days, fifty cities and over six hundred consecutive hours together, the winners. The Bransens run in and all hug the Linzes. Phil remembers the Linzes saying from the beginning that they would win. For their part, the siblings say they did it for Mom and Dad and everyone back home. It gives them an opportunity to pay back … the Linz brother apologizes and says he’s speechless. Meghan is proud of herself for keeping up, but says she is done running.
As everyone celebrates the Bransens, Carissa Gaghan yells out, “Yea Wally!” The Linz brothers say Wally is smart and his daughters are pretty good-looking. Wally cries and says he is very proud of these great ladies that are his daughters. DJ Paolo is seen crying watching all of this. The sisters say they knew they would be okay as Dad was with them all the time. In particular Lindsay says it meant a lot to her as she is going to school and moving out soon. She then collapses into her family’s arms. Wally calls the Linz siblings a testament to their parents.
The Weavers then run in to cheers, and it’s unclear whether they did the puzzle as well, or knowing they were already in third no matter what, just skipped it. Linda says this wasn’t done on her strength, but on the strength of her kids. As much grief as they have given and taken, one of the daughters puts it in perspective saying their dad was their leader. This meant a lot to them, as they now know they can get through anything in life without him.
Returning to the Linzes, they chant, “Who dey? Who dey? Who dey think they’ll beat them Linzes. Nobody. We just won a million dollars.”
Thisseason of The Amazing Race has taken a lot of hits from people saying it just wasn’t the same. Regardless, it was still exciting, perhaps not as much as the usual series, but enough so. There were still people to hate and people to love, and new things to see. Nevertheless, I have to admit getting excited watching previews for the next season starting in February, with Phil promising eleven teams of two.
Are you happy with who won the million? Email me at LauraBelle@realityshack.com