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Sunday, December 10, 2006
The Amazing Race Finale: The Alamo in the Village?

Teams start out in Barcelona. Find the church that's been under construction for 129 years. Of course, this is the Sagrada Familia.

There, the teams get a clue in the form of a photograph: the Eiffel Tower. At first things look good for Rob & Kimberley as they get the only seats on the first flight out. Meanwhile Team Gump is talking about an Iberia flight. As it works out they get on three different flights, with the Gumps leaving last. However, what the other teams don't know is that the Gumps are flying into Orly Airport which is closer to Paris than Charles De Gaulle. They arrive first at the cluebox to the astonishment of the other teams.

Take the train to Caen and then to the airport. My ears prick up at this. Caen was a major objective for the Allies during the Normandy invasion, and is one of the two towns in that area that come up in crossword puzzles constantly (the other is St. Lo). At the airport, they learn the roadblock is to skydive onto Omaha Beach.

Well, by this time I'd be in 7th heaven--D-Day is an obsession with me, so I'd go crazy if I didn't get to do the skydive, which of course is exactly what happens to Rob when Kimberley volunteers. Get over it!

The teams come out of this with Team Rehab in the lead, Team Gump in second and Rob & Kimberley last, but not far behind. Back to Paris and the Place de la Concorde. It's a search and the Gumps fall behind while R&K take the lead. Detour: Art or Fashion. In Art, teams must deliver a painting to an artist through the streets of Paris. In Fashion, they must assemble a jacket on a mannequin. Surprisingly (perhaps) all three teams choose the latter task, which seems reasonably hard. But Team Rehab is made up of male models who've been fitted for clothes many times.

The woman checking the work is pretty hard but Team Rehab makes it out the door just ahead of Bama, while Rob & Kim, who arrived first, leave last. Head to final destination: New York!

Team Gump hope that their knowing about Orly Airport will help get a lead. One problem: No flights from Orly to the Big Apple. They have to schlepp over to De Gaulle. Meanwhile it appears there's an 8:30 AM flight to New York but it's full. Somehow Rob & Kimberley beg their way on the plane by telling the guy it's worth a million dollars to get on the flight. Team Recovery and Team Gump are wait-listed.

Now, of course, there wouldn't be much drama if Rob & Kim were the only ones on that plane, so of course the male models get the last seats, while Lyn & Carlyn's hopes go up in smoke.

In New York, teams must make their way to the Daily News Building. Team Recovery's cabbie knows the way, while Rob & Kim's doesn't, so they follow the boys. Realizing this, they try to shake the other cab, unsuccessfully until a toll booth. Team Recovery's cabbie's got EZ Pass while Rob & Kim's does not and they are left behind.

At the Daily News Building, the teams are told to run down to the East Village and find a statue named (improbably) the Alamo. It's a big cube. The filming emphasizes that Rob & Kim are running while the Team Recovery walk, but the boys still end up getting the clue from a gal in yellow first. Drive to Garrison, New York, in Putnam County, where they must locate St. Basil's Academy.

And at the Academy, there is.... Phil and the mat. I mean, where's the puzzle? I know that prior season endings have been two hours long, but to just end it at the mat like that with nothing else was an anti-climax. Team Recovery, who are probably the guys that anybody would have picked back in the first episode, get the congratulations and the million dollars, while Rob & Kimberley and Lyn and Carlyn get the pat on the back and the assurance that they were winners for making it this far.

As always, be sure to check out the terrific job by Viking Pundit.
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