And another season of The Amazing Race comes to an end, this time in Maui. Tammy and Victor would have had a pretty good lead, if it weren’t for the fact that the airport became the great equalizer for this leg of the race, as each team found out they had to line up at 6 a.m. to get tickets to Maui and not a moment before. Once on the islands, they hit the ground running to get to Beach Access 118, where each team had to prepare a pig for a luau and carry it 200 yards to the luau site, as well as properly prepare it for cooking.
I was really surprised at how difficult teams found it to carry pigs, which typically weigh about 230 lbs before slaughter, and presumably less without entrails. Now, I’m not saying I could do that on my own, but between two people, I imagine it wouldn’t be as hard as it looked like it was for these teams to accomplish. Margie and Luke were the only ones who carried theirs like anyone who has every carried a heavy object before (with the poles over their shoulders, as to better balance the weight on their torsos rather than in the limbs). Jaime, as expected, grew angry with Cara for dropping the pig repeatedly, whereas Victor turned his frustration into encouragement for his sister. Because encouraging people to do stuff usually makes them want to do stuff more than yelling at them.
Once the pigs were delivered to the luau sites and the cooking scenarios properly prepared, teams headed out to McGregor Point, where they swam out to some waiting jetskis and searched a buoy field for submerged clues, which lead them to their Road Block at the surfboard fence along the Hana Highway.
There, one person from each team had to reconstruct the race based on pictures on vintage surfboards. Luke and Margie were the first to get there and Luke was very eager to do something for his mom for once. I wanted him to do well, too, because it was easy to tell that he had a lot to prove. He was also very prepared, as he said before the challenge that he’d regularly reviewed things they saw in each leg of the race when they got to the each pit stop. He did really well, actually, nailing every single leg in order . . . except for the last two in Beijing, which he had so much trouble remembering that it allowed Victor, who got there significantly later, to surpass him. (I appreciated both gentlemen stripped down to their undies to do the challenge, though, as television generally needs more skinny man thigh.) Victor also had a really good strategy of grabbing anything he knew he needed and piling it up before trying to discern the order, which ultimately meant less back and forth from the pile, thus saving a little bit of time and energy.
Once Jaime got there, she immediately freaked out and complained about not recognizing any of the images on the surfboards (which was the point, to throw in irrelevant things to confuse people like Jaime), but she eventually got the hang of it. She, too, had trouble finding one last surfboard and after Victor left and both remaining teams realized they’d lost, she and Luke worked together to solve each other’s missing piece problem. Jaime technically finished first when Luke showed her the St. Christopher surfboard, and Cara had to remind her huffy friend to help Luke, who spent so much time on his own trying to figure out that the Reflexology surfboard should have been in the 10th position only to completely blank on the fact that the last leg of the race involved eating scorpions on a stick.
Luke was visibly upset that he’d failed to remember everything on the race, and I was pretty sad for him as well. I know that he can be very needy and childish sometimes, but that’s what made me root for him in this challenge, because I wanted him to show everyone that he can do things on his own, without his mother’s help. Even Jaime was upset that she’d fucked up, and then she and Cara came in second place on the mat, she put all the blame on herself. Not on the taxi driver who got lost on the Hana Highway. Not Cara, who dropped the pig repeatedly. But on herself. And that’s pretty big of her.
I am very glad that Tammy and Victor won, though, as they learned how to communicate with one another over the course of the race and I think their relationship has only improved through their participation in a 3-week race around the world.
Don’t worry, friends. I’m pretty damn sure that Margie and Luke will be invited back for the next All Stars race. It’d be stupid not to. I would perhaps give them up to see Mike White and his father again, but I have a feeling that a.) Mike’s schedule doesn’t clear out very often, and b.) I don’t know if Mel could go through this again.
But no, do not invite Kisha and Jen. The Amazing Race does a good job of not rewarding assholes, for the most part, and that’d be sending out the wrong message. While Jeff Probst often tries to battle the network and his producers on making Survivor a more honest show, it’s still a competition of lying and backstabbing, so that goes with the territory. But TAR is almost entirely based on the effort and cooperation of two human beings, and that’s what makes it fascinating, exciting and, in the end, very uplifting. I was definitely pulling for Margie and Luke, but am 100% glad that such a positive team made it through to win the big prize. Not only were they great competitors, but they were good people. And that’s why this show works so well.
That, and Phil’s eyebrow.
And yes, keep making the final challenge related to the entire race. They didn’t really start doing this in its complete form until the Family Season (shudder) and is a great symbol to the show’s quest to make Americans less xenophobic. (See? The show is educational, too!)