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The Million-Dollar Mistake – The Amazing Race, Season Finale

[i]by atarus[/i]

We start off the episode back in the Coconut Palace in Manila. Colin is annoyed, he says it was stupid of them to work with Chip and Kim, because they aren’t trustworthy. Colin and Christie are able to scrounge for money very easily. The first clue tells them to head to Luneta Park, where they have to find a statue of a Phillipine hero named Jose Rezel. Chip states that “Chip time is over, no more fun fun and la-la-la, it’s Kim time, time to go for the jugular.” The moms are off next, and then Brandon and Nicole. Nicole is annoyed that Brandon “is just happy to be here”, and she wants to be in first. CC are off last, and they say that “the team that they helped the most, hurt them the most.” Chip and Kim are the first team to get to the statue, and they find that they have to charter a flight to El Nido, but there are two charter flights, one is 45 minutes ahead of the other. On El Nido, they have to find a harbor where a boat will take them to a buoy with the next clue.

Chip and Kim hope that CC end up on the second flight, because they need the advantage, and Colin is just “too doggone physical.” Chip and Kim and Brandon and Nicole end up getting on the first flight, while the moms and CC are on the second. Once the flight leaves, Linda and Karen are anxious that they’re with CC. Nicole, once on El Nido, says that the scenery is beautiful, and it’s surrounded by mountains and she loves it. Brandon and Nic pull ahead of Chip and Kim, first in the Jeepneys, then later in the boats. When the moms and CC arrive, it becomes a drag race between the Jeepneys, but CC pull ahead of the moms.

The two teams arrive at the buoys at the same time. They have to use the binoculars to spot the Phillipinian flag out of three different islands. If they make a mistake, the islands are 20 minutes away from each other, so more than one mistake could be killer. Brandon and Nicole decide to follow Chip and Kim’s lead to the first island. Brandon and Nicole don’t get out, and Chip and Kim tell them it’s the wrong one. Then Chip and Kim devise a plan to try and trick them into thinking the next one is the wrong one if it’s actually the right one. It IS the right one, and Chip pulls off the acting and lying rather well. Nicole falls hook, line, and sinker, but Brandon is more wary. After asking himself and Nicole “should we trust them?” Brandon decides to jump in and gets the clue. Now Brandon and Nicole are upset that Chip lied to their face. Chip comments that Colin hates them, why not got for a pair, then three of a kind?

The clue that Brandon and Nic and Chip and Kim got tells them they have to look for a flag along a beach, then use snorkel gear to find one of four giant clams on the bottom of the ocean, and each clam has a clue. Meanwhile, back in second charter flight land, Linda and Karen are deciding to follow CC much like Brandon and Nicole followed Chip and Kim. Back to the snorkeling, Kim doesn’t know how to swim, so Chip goes out to look for the clams. Nicole and Brandon are out looking too, and Nicole finds the clam first. But unfortunately, she begins to flounder and nearly drown, so Chip swims up to make sure she’s alright. Nicole immediately assumes that Chip is going to take the clam out from under her, and yells for help from Brandon. Brandon shows up and tells Chip to “get lost” and Chip swims off, mumbling he was just trying to help. Brandon and Nicole grab the clue and head to shore. They open it up to find a roadblock. The teams have to boat to a cliff, then use an ascender to go up 150 feet, get a clue, and rappel back down the cliffside. Brandon registers another great quote, saying “Vertigo? What’s that?” I recommend for Brandon to go watch an Alfred Hitchcock movie and find out.

CC and the moms get to the first flag, and it’s not the right one. CC head out to the next island, and the moms first decide to follow, and then take a gamble and head towards the opposite island. Colin congratulates them, saying that it’s a better move to take a gamble, because if the moms followed them then they would most likely stay behind them. This way, they have a 50/50 chance to get ahead. It’s a tense dramatic editing moment, and BAM! The moms have the clue and CC don’t. Colin curses to himself and the moms gain a lead on CC. They get to the right flag, and Colin grabs the right clue. He says that it’s their own fault, usually they have a guide book for the area they are in, and this time they didn’t get one, and that he’s an ignorant American.

Linda and Karen are at the clambake, and they get their clue in rapid fashion, saying they need to keep ahead of CC, and the dastardly duo arrive as the moms leave. Brandon and Nicole are the first to arrive at the cliff, and Brandon says he’s afraid of heights, but he has to just get to the top of the mountain, because it’s a million dollars on the line. Chip and Kim arrive soon after, and the two of them are suited up to go up. Brandon gets the hang of the ascender rather quickly, and starts flying up the rope. Chip, on the other hand, has trouble getting off the ground. Soon though he starts heading up and up and up. Nicole, watching from below, first says “I feel bad not doing anything, but I won’t feel as bad when I have the million-dollar check.” She then sees Chip struggling on the rope, and says that’s what he gets for lying.

Colin and Christie kick it into gear, Colin finds an empty clam first, but then gets the clue. We return to the ropes, where Brandon gets the clue first, while Chip is still struggling because he’s tired. Brandon zips down, and as he passes Chip, Chip says “Hi B-Dog” and Brandon says “Keep going Chipper.” Awwwww. At the bottom, Brandon and Nic open the clue, and find they have to take a two-person kayak to an island for the Pit Stop. As Brandon and Nic leave, I realize that now either Chip and Kim or the moms are eliminated, because if you paid close attention to the preview, you saw both Brandon and Nic and CC in the snow area, with Nic crying and Colin throwing his skis saying “DAMMIT!” So now I’m tense, because Chip and Kim may be eliminated, since Chip is really struggling with the rope. Linda and Karen arrive, and Karen is the one to take on the task. Karen starts pulling herself up the rope, and Chip is trying his hardest to get up the cliff as well. Kim watches the horizon, chanting “No Colin and Christie, no Colin and Christie.” Kim and Linda yell encouragement from the bottom, Linda saying “I couldn’t do this, Karen has to be Superwoman.” As Chip gets near the clue, Kim spots the boat of CC on the horizon. Hurrying up, Chip grabs the clue and gets back to the bottom just as CC arrive at the dock. Linda states that Karen has a great lead, she just needs to capitalize on it.

Chip and Kim are off in their kayak as Colin starts up the rope. And he goes up the rope like a madman. Watching Colin fly up the rope made me realize just how much this team deserved to win. Colin has kicked butt the entire race, dominated at everything (can’t really say the same for Christie…she ate caviar…woohoo.) and here was no exception. Colin catches and passes Karen on the rope, grabs the clue, and zips back down. As Karen gets close to the clue, Colin and Christie get in their boat….and promptly tip the kayak over. Which is funny. But they upright themselves and head on out.

The teams arrive as Brandon and Nic in first, Chip and Kim in second, CC in third, the moms finish up last. And it sucks to see the moms eliminated, because I was really starting to like them. They were always so happy, so cheery, and just plain friendly and awesome. So it was sad to see them in fourth, but they did a great job.

It’s time for the final leg! Brandon and Nicole get their clue, and they have to get to Calgary in Canada, and head to Lookout Mountain where at the top they will find their next clue. Brandon and Nic are trusting in the will of God. Chip and Kim and CC both get to the charter flight and hang out with Brandon and Nic. Both Brandon and Nic and Colin and Christie hate Chip and Kim at this point, so it must be reaaaal uncomfortable just sitting there.

Everyone gets on the same flight to Calgary, and CC and Brandon and Nic are straight out the block and get taxis and get out fast. Chip and Kim are last and lagging behind. CC arrive at Lookout Mountain first, followed closely by Brandon and Nic. Chip and Kim, meanwhile, weren’t expecting the cold climate and have to get dressed in the car. They have really cool Canda hats though. Mad props to them.

CC and Brandon and Nic get to the point where they have to use the skis and poles to climb the mountain. The atmosphere is thin and it’s hard to breathe, so Christie and Nicole both start having problems. Christie whines to Colin to wait up, and Colin gets frustrated. Nicole whines to Brandon to wait up, and Brandon gets frustrated. At some point, one of the guys says “Baby, you’re not even like dying!” I couldn’t tell which one though, because Colin and Brandon were both decked in winter gear and had a whiny brunette tailing them. CC, as usual, get up the mountain first. They discover they have to go to Canada Olympic Park, and find the clue next to the Olympic Cauldron. CC go by Chip and Kim as they are starting the trek up, and Colin is happy and joyous and does somersaults. Kim feels like “Colin was spitting in our face.”

Brandon and Nic are right on the tails of CC. Both teams are in their cars and on the way to the park as Chip struggles up the mountain. Finally, Chip and Kim get the clue and are on their way, tagging behind CC and BN. They are getting famous forgotten-about third place editing, and I am starting to get anxious. Chip and Kim have to win! They have to!!

CC get to the clue first, and it’s a Detour! It’s time for Slide or Ride. In Slide, they have to go down a luge and beat 34 seconds, an average amateur time. In Ride, they have to mountain bike down a slalom course in under 3 minutes. Chalk the luge up as something I want to desperately do if I was on TAR, along with the zorb. CC do the Slide, most definitely. Brandon and Nic are indecisive, they first head towards Slide, but then decide Ride might be better and head that way. Nicole is freaked out by the course for the bikes, while Colin and Christie simply kick on the luge, churning out a great time on their first try and grabbing the clue. They discover they have to grab a flight to Dallas, Texas, their home area, and get to Ft. Worth Stock Yards. Brandon and Nic finish the first slalom with several complaints from Nic about her feet not touching the ground, but they got over 4 minutes and have to try again.

On the second try, Nicole breaks down entirely and starts crying. Brandon tries to comfort her and get her to keep going, but Nic stubbornly drops the bike and sits down on the hill, crying. She says “I can’t do this” over and over, and Brandon says that he felt like Nicole just gave up entirely. Finally, Brandon piggybacks Nicole down the hill, and they head to the luge. Of course, they do the luge on the first try, and a previously hysterical Nicole cries “This is so cool!” during the luge run. They are a bit peeved they didn’t do the luge in the first place. Meanwhile, CC have reached the airport and are trying to get on the earliest flight to Dallas. We then travel back to the park, where Chpi and Kim are trying the luge. They crash once. They crash twice. And I’m begging and pleading that Brandon and Nic and CC don’t get an extremely early flight and leave Chip and Kim in the dust. Finally, once Chip figures out how to guide the luge, they score a time of 32.99 and get their clue. Back at the airport, Colin says that “the only thing that matters right now is who gets to the finish line first.” He says that they need a fast taxi driver, and call up an agency in Dallas to make sure that they’ll have a taxi waiting for them when they arrive, with a good, fast driver. Brandon and Nicole get on the same flight as Colin and Christie, and decide to pack up their stuff and have it be shipped to Dallas.

Chip and Kim, arriving later than the other teams, find out that the earliest flight has been delayed. Rut-roh! Chip and Kim, ever the sneaky-like people, find a flight that gets into Dallas two hours ahead of CC and the models. Chip says that nice Chip is gone, they need to play with their cards close to their chest. (As an update, at this point I’m giddily jumping up and down in my chair, clapping and smiling a big dumb goofy smile, Chip and Kim have the advantage now.)

Early in the morning, Chip and Kim get up before the others to get their flight. They don’t want to be standing by their United flight when the other teams arrive, but look! Brandon and Nic show up with their boxes. They wonder at first what Chip and Kim are doing at United instead of American, but then find out their flight is delayed. And a biiiiig light bulb the size of Canada appears over Brandon’s head. And there’s no room on Chip and Kim’s flight, they are overbooked. CC arrive and see Brandon and Nic chatting it up with United, and they wonder the same thing. And the saaaame light bulb appears over Colin’s head as he discovers the delayed flight. The two teams are frustrated and are afraid that they just lost the million dollars because Chip and Kim outsmarted them. Chip and Kim are happy and grinning, because they’ve hoodwinked the other teams. Chip says that the old Colin would have had four flights ready in case of emergency, but this is the chink in the armor that they were waiting for. (Right now I’m biting my nails and eagerly jumping up and down even more. GO CHIP!)

We then discover that the two other teams have gotten a flight from Denver to Dallas that arrives 18 minutes after Chip and Kim’s flight, but they have nothing from Calgary to Denver. After much frustration and agonizing, BN and CC finally get on the same flight as Chip and Kim to Denver. All three teams are on the flight, and Colin says it’ll be a footrace between him and Brandon to get to the stand-by line. Both of the teams try to work their way onto the same flight as Chip and Kim, but neither can get on since it’s overbooked to begin with, PLUS they can’t allow people on that have their luggage booked with another airline (their stuff was with American instead of United) so CC and BN hightail it to their American flight, and Chip and Kim have a slight 18 minute advantage, less than the two hour advantage they had hoped for instead.

Chip and Kim get in their taxi and they’re off to Ft. Worth. CC and BN arrive shortly after, and we are treated to a random comical shot of Christie tripping over herself in the airport. Nicole and Brandon have trouble finding a fast taxi, but CC have their rent-a-psycho-driver right there waiting for them, and they’re off with Brandon and Nicole wondering how they did that. They eventually find a taxi, but they are now behind. They try to urge their driver onward, but he says “This is a racetrack, not a highway.” And suddenly you know it’s a race between CC and Chip and Kim for the million.

Chip and Kim reach the Stock Yards first. They have to make their way through a wooden maze with a key, unlock a first box with a picture, make their way out of the maze, post the picture, take a second key, go into the maze and open a second box to get a third key which will open the box with the clue under their picture outside the maze. Sound complicated? Yeah, it hurt my head too. (Random note: The signs at the dead ends amused me, like the random “Cow Xing” sign in the maze.)

Chip and Kim are struggling with the maze, they find the second box before the first, but eventually get the first, then the second. The clue states they have to go to Trammell Crow Park to get to the Finish Line. Chip and Kim leave as CC arrive at the Stock Yards. Colin is smart, he uses an algorithm type solution to go through the maze, always going to the left first, then backtracking and heading to the right, etc. etc. They find their first clue and run into Brandon and Nic entering the maze as they are exiting the maze for the first time. CC get the second key fast too, and then they are off to the Finish Line as well.

We are then treated to a race between CC and Chip and Kim. CC have a maniac taxi driver that drives on the shoulder, while Chip and Kim are stuck abiding the traffic laws in traffic. My nerves are completely shot at this point, my hands are going numb, I’m bouncing up and down praying that Chip and Kim make it first. (And I’m not even in the race, I can’t imagine how many stomach flipflops Chip and Kim and CC were doing.) After about two minutes of fast-paced editing…we finally see Phil grinning at the finish line….they show the road…and….

….CHIP AND KIM’S WHITE VAN SHOWS UP FIRST! And I shout with glee! Chip and Kim jog up to the Finish Line with all the other teams cheering, and Phil congratulates Chip and Kim as the winners of the Amazing Race!!!!! CC arrive shortly thereafter in second place, and Brandon and Nicole get third.

Chip gives a heartfelt speech, saying they can tell their kids that they can do anything now. Colin congratulates Chip and Kim, saying they were hard competitors and definitely deserve the win. Phil, however, tells CC that they were definitely the most competitive team ever.

Final thoughts: This was the first season I watched TAR from start to finish. And this has probably been my favorite reality TV season ever. (Except for maybe Survivor: Africa.) I pegged Chip and Kim as my favorites from the very first episode, while many others that I knew favored Charla and Mirna, Colin and Christie, or Jim and Marsha. Seeing them go from the underdogs to the eventual winners made me happy to no end. This is the most satisfied I’ve ever been with a reality show winner. My favorites from day one made it to the end. Chip and Kim are good people, and they deserve all the money they got.

If Chip and Kim hadn’t won, I would have been disappointed to see any other team win besides Colin and Christie. Winning 6 legs of the entire race, they completely dominated the season. As much as I poked fun at them the entire season, they made for excellent TV…almost all of my column titles came from their antics. Even though they came in second, they put up a great show of effort, and they have won enough trips to travel the world a second time, so I think they have been very well rewarded from the experience. Good job to them.

Finally, to Brandon and Nicole, well, God be with those two. They did an amazing job in this race. I changed my opinion to having the moms win it all (this didn’t come true, tricky editing…) but I remember at around the time of Marshall and Lance being eliminated, I stated somewhere that I had a gut feeling that Chip and Kim, CC, and Brandon and Nicole would be the final 3 teams. And I was right.

All in all, this was a great season of TAR, and I’m hooked. I cannot wait for next season to start. My only regret is that I won’t be doing the columns for next season, but I’ll definitely be an avid fan! And hey, maybe in the future, once I’m old enough, you may be able to catch me competing in this Emmy-winning round-the-world trip. That is, if I can find a partner…*grumble grumble*

My e-mail is atarus33@yahoo.com. Send me a chat up if you enjoyed seeing Chip and Kim win, seeing CC kick ass, or just enjoyed the TAR season in general. If you love my column writing, you can always check Survivor: Vanuatu out. Peace, love, and bunnies! Atarus out.

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