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Amazing Race 19 Commentary – Finale – Recalculating … Recalculating

Those words are your GPS’ way of saying F U to you as you mess up its properly mapped out directions. We have all been there. I feel like a scolded child whenever Brenda (that’s what we have named our GPS’ voice) condescendingly (yep, I said it) tells me she is recalculating to make up for my dumb ass driving. It’s very frustrating. And that’s just when I can’t find the ice skating rink where my son’s classmate is having her birthday party. Imagine how frustrating that can be when you are on your way to the End Mat of the Amazing Race!

Well, that’s where Control Freak found themselves. In the cab, barreling along the Atlanta streets looking for the Finish Line, when Brenda started to scold their cabbie. Recalculating. I think I would have lost my mind. They had no idea they were about a month ahead of Jeremy 2.0. We knew, but for all they knew that recalculating was costing them the Race. I am surprised we didn’t see Cindy’s head explode right there in the cab. Just like when Marvin’s head blew up (I’d link to the Pulp Fiction reference, but between the blood and the cursing, I don’t want to sift through the angry letters).

But it really didn’t matter in the end. Control Freak may have had the biggest blowout in the final leg of any Amazing Race. When you see the lighting changes between the arrival of Control Freak, Jeremy 2.0 and the Peytons at the Mat, you can see that a decent amount of time passed. Control Freak deserves a lot of credit as they made the right decisions and banged out the challenges rather effectively. Peytons’ struggle with the first challenge in Atlanta basically took them out of the running, while Jeremy 2.0 messing up the next set of directions put them far behind. The only chance that anyone had was Control Freak either messing up a challenge, getting wildly lost, or both.

The recalculating GPS just smelled of editing room enhanced drama to make the final stretch not a Secretariat-like blowout. But that’s all it was – and Control Freak crossed the Finish Line with the win. The Race only has so much control over the action on the ground (or in the air), and cannot always have a close finish. Many Races have been exciting at the end. AR2 with the footrace of Good vs. Wil. AR8’s saving grace – the one minute separating the Linzs and the Bransens. AR6 and the ill-timed train. AR1 and the deflation of poor Margarita. AR11 and the Danielle as gossip challenge.

This one – not so exciting. But at least a fairly deserving team won. Control Freak had been one of the more successful teams all season long. Jeremy 2.0 had a good penultimate leg, but mostly had been shaky throughout. Peytons had the same leg each week – bad start, nice comeback. This time, bad start, no comeback.

Perhaps the Peytons just fell victim to the Home Town Curse. When it was revealed that the final city was going to be their home city of Atlanta, I was surprised that the other two teams didn’t jump for joy. I mean – have they watched the show before? Teams that go home to their city on the final leg just don’t win. Margarita’s deflation came from the fact that they were mega-confident that they could win in New York over the LA lawyers. They were wrong. Wil thought that his home in San Fran was an unbeatable advantage over the Boston guys. He was wrong. Colin and Christie were thrilled to be going to Dallas – they lost. It is the Survivor Car Curse.

As far as challenges are concerned – these at least required some skill and thought. That is something I want to see on each leg, but especially on the final one. The flight simulator task was not complicated – it was just hard. And cool. Who wouldn’t want to do that? And as it was pointed out by Amani, it is supposed to be hard. Pilots should be trained extremely well for flying planes, and landing them. They should not be former NBA players or secret pedophiles.

The next task – finding “The Dump,” which was a reference to the home of author Margaret Mitchell. By this time, the Peytons were all but done as Marcus failed again and again to land the plane. The Race was won by Control Freak at this point, and I’ll give credit to Cindy, because she deserves it. It appeared that Cindy had the wherewithal – perhaps the Control Freak part of her brain – to get on the cabbie’s phone and call for help. Sounded like she was on with Atlanta tourism or something, another wise move. She found out the location. Jeremy 2.0 asked some random extra from the Dukes of Hazard what it was and got sent to a furniture warehouse somewhere in Macon (I don’t know for sure where it was, I just have friends in Macon. Holla!). This time difference was never made up, and in fact, seemingly made worse by Jeremy 2.0’s inability to bail on the warehouse quickly. Or maybe they just needed a new living room set.

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