With Nathan & Jennifer’s inability to work with each other in The Amazing Race 10 Episode 10, the final three teams were revealed: dating couple TK Erwin & Rachel Rosales, father and daughter Ronald Hsu & Christina Hsu, and grandfather and grandson Nicolas Fulks & Donald Jerousek.
They’ve worked hard at trying to convince us that all three of these teams belong in the final three, and there are no doubt those who would argue there’s some truth to that. Despite that, I can’t help but feel things are a bit lacking here.
TK & Rachel have performed the best of the three, and for that matter, the best of anyone this season other than Azaria & Hendekea. Their laid back attitude has gotten them criticized by some (namely their bitter opponent Jennifer) for not working hard, but it’s this carefreeness that has gotten them this far. As a team that’s unlikely to bicker, they work together quite well.
Unfortunately, the other two teams have been a bit of a disaster. Ronald & Christina have gotten the dysfunctional father/daughter that have grown closer thanks to the show (we saw that edit with Dick & Danielle in Big Brother 8, and it was a lie there) edit. (Looks like I struck a raw nerve with the BB8 comment. I welcome and encourage feedback on this or any other subject… within the bounds of calm, rational discussion.) While he arguably has been more patient with her the last couple episodes when they were in the lead, he’s been quick to freak out at her and pretty much everybody else on the race with little provocation, a situation that’s been uncomfortable to watch at best. If we leave him aside, I have been impressed with Christina, though.
Then there’s Nicolas & Donald. Donald’s effort for his age is certainly commendable. However, it just hasn’t been enough to hang with the other teams. This team is the #6 team of the season in terms of finishing rankings and has relied primarily on major mistakes by another team and second to last place finishes to limp along and not be eliminated.
With all that said, history has taught us it’s still anybody’s game. Whether it’s a flat tire, someone having an EZPass, or the producers forcing a plane to turn around to let a second team board, you never can tell who’s going to be the winner of this race.
For about the third time this season, the show’s actually starting on time.
Teams depart in the order in which they arrived.
First: Ronald & Christina (9:47am)
Second: TK & Rachel (10:30am)
Third: Nicolas & Donald (10:37am)
The final destination city is Anchorage, Alaska, where they’ll first head to 6th Avenue Outfitters to get equipment for the detour. That means just one plane or one set of planes before the final city, which normally magnifies even the smallest of mistakes.
All three teams get on the same flight, a nonstop flight to Anchorage. With the lead they have, Ronald & Christina are using their time to surf the web and get some extra information on the only thing they know they’ll need: where 6th Avenue Outfitters is. Doesn’t much matter since they take a cab there anyway. The first two teams get their gear. Nicolas & Donald, however, grab the clue and forget their gear.
From there, they will head to Ship Creek Boat Launch.
The detour is a choice between cut the cod and grab the crab. In cut the cod, teams must cut through 50 pound fish and search for a clue inside one of the fish. In grab the crab, teams must jump into a boat swarming with over 500 crabs to find one marked with race colors. So it’s a choice between disgusting or risking being clawed.
Donald blames and gets upset with Nicolas (who’s carried him the whole time) for the mistake. They must return to the store and get their gear.
Cut the cod: Ronald & Christina, Nicolas & Donald
Grab the crab: TK & Rachel
Ronald & Christina seem to make easy work of the cod. TK & Rachel get dropped off in the wrong location, putting them in last by about a minute. But since Nicolas & Donald don’t have their bag, those two can’t actually do the task yet.
TK & Rachel struggle quite a bit with the crabs, to the point where they’re still hanging around when Nicolas & Donald get back. It’s apparent that this detour was nowhere near equal, as Nicolas & Donald finish in a few minutes with theirs like Ronald & Christina did. Still, all teams are within probably less than half an hour of each other.
The bad luck doesn’t stop there for TK & Rachel. They’re finding it easier to communicate with taxi drivers in India than in Alaska, placing both of the last two teams within about a minute of each other.
They’ll travel 60 miles to a boat launch, take a high speed ride to 20-Mile River, and climb a glacier to get their next clue. Ronald’s immediately afraid of the glacier, but it’s Christina who struggles. He’s made it to the top, but the she’s still there when the other two teams arrive. It’ll be interesting to see who this task actually favors, as there’s no team that appears so overly dominant in this type of physical task.
Christina manages to keep the lead for her team, but they have lost some of their lead. TK makes short work of the glacier, but Rachel’s no slouch either. Donald gets up quickest of the two members of his team, while it’s Nicolas who struggles for them.
Teams must take a helicopter to Merrill Field, and from there they’ll travel by taxi to Goose Lake Park.
The road block is a field of objects they’ve encountered along the race, 15 total. They must choose one from each leg of the race, with a certain number of items they’ve carried to the pitstop, a certain number of animals, etc. The tricky part is that multiple items can fulfill the requirements. It’s a puzzle, with only one right answer. This is potentially a very confusing and stressful task.
Road block (in order of arrival): Christina, Rachel, Nicolas
All three teams are doing the road block at the same time, so the race now is coming down to who finishes the road block first.
Christina gets 9 out of 10 right on her first try. She rearranges them and goes down to 6 out of 10. Then she starts praying. Her third guess is correct.
Rachel gets 7 out of 10. She realizes it’s crucial to stay calm, something the other two don’t seem to get. Her next guess is correct.
Rachel is the first to finish the road block. Christina is next. I don’t think Nicolas has even registered a guess yet.
The next clue is at the statue of Captain James Cook. They’re told to find the salmon hooker (another statue). It’s a footrace, which favors TK & Rachel.
The final pitstop for this race is Girdwood Airport.
And The Amazing Race 12 winners are… TK & Rachel. It’s a good ending for a change. They say their relationship has only gotten stronger as a result of the race, and they believe they’ve proved nice guys can finish first.
Ronald & Christina finish in second place. I do think they have gotten closer during this. Even though it would take a lot more than this to make him change his spots and become a more patient person, it was a good bonding experience for them nonetheless.
Nicolas & Donald arrive at the pitstop in third. Donald’s the oldest person to have ever made it to the final leg of The Amazing Race.
Because of the delayed start to this season (hopefully this has been a lesson to them to not do that again), we unfortunately won’t be seeing The Amazing Race 13 any time soon. However, CBS has confirmed that it’s picked up The Amazing Race 13, presumably for the fall lineup, if not as a summer show. This season’s ratings have been up sharply, a good sign for things to come.