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The Amazing Race: Season 29 Finale in Chicago, 6/1/17

June 4th, 2017 · No Comments

by Lyn Jensen

Instead of starting with teams opening their first clue envelopes for the next leg, the finale of The Amazing Race Season 29 picks up where the last leg ended, with the top three teams still gathered on the mat in Seoul. Host Phil Keoghan tells them they’ll be flown premium class (business class, first class) to Chicago for the finale.

The final three teams consist of one favorite and two longshots:

  • The favorites are army major Tara and police sergeant Joey, known as Mom and Dad, who’ve taken 1st place in three legs already.
  • One longshot is blonde crochet artist London and muscular “orthopedic device representative” Logan, known as LoLo, who’ve never won a leg.
  • The other longshot is redheaded university recruiter Scott and hot-headed lawyer Brooke, known as Team Will & Grace, who’ve bickered, schemed and complained their way through the season with only one 1st-place finish to show for it.

When the teams’ plane lands, they have get to a pit stop–at the Chicagoland Speedway. Teams catch taxis from the airport to the racetrack. Scott/Brooke checked their bags at the airport, and Scott says TAR super-fans know that teams commonly check their bags at the airport for the final leg and the other teams didn’t figure that out. (That’s one of his more—endearing–statements. I guess I’ll have to spend time ’til Season 30 looking back at previous finales to see who’s got their backpacks and who doesn’t.)

For the pit stop at the racetrack, there are three NASCAR stock cars, all with Amazing Race decals. One teammate has to change a tire during a pit stop in less than 40 sec. The other teammate suits up, straps in and drives the stock car around the track in less than 48 sec. Brooke/Scott are 1st to arrive and she needs four tries to change the tire, whining and complaining all the while about how she can’t do it. Scott’s used to her by now, and he just keeps telling her she can. (She probably would’ve been a worse driver than tire-changer, though.)

Tara/Joey arrive in 2nd place, and she tells him he has to change the tire. He needs two tries. London/Logan arrive, and she needs four tries to change their car’s tire.

Only one car can make a lap at a time. Scott needs three tries but so does Tara, so Scott/Brooke maintain their lead. They run the car into Victory Lane, get showered with champagne and confetti, and get the next clue. It calls for them to take a taxi back into the heart of downtown Chicago.

Chicago’s public rail system is called the L train, L for elevated, but some stations are subways. One is the Monroe Street Station, and that’s where the teams are directed to. A subway worker’s hanging around the platform, and he’s got clue envelopes ready. Brooke/Scott are first to get their next clue, Joey/Tara are 2nd. This clue is three-in-one, because it gives clues about three downtown Chicago landmarks. Teams are to go to those widely scattered landmarks and pick up a postcard from someone at each place.

Brooke/Scott and Tara/Joey latch onto people with iPhones, asking them to find the three landmarks. One is a 154-foot Gothic spire called the water tower or the waterworks. One’s the Birmingham fountain. One’s a bridge, where teams will have to pick up the postcard from the bridge operator.

Logan needed two tries to beat the clock with his race car, but he and London show up on the subway platform before the first two teams are gone. This turns out to be the last time the teams are all together before the finish line. Team LoLo buys a map of city landmarks instead of chasing down an iPhone user.

All the teams are proceeding on foot through the many blocks between the landmarks. Scott’s pushing Brooke mercilessly. He keeps “motivating” her with, “Million dollars!  Million dollars!” I doubt that does much for her tired feet or her shortness of breath. At one point he tries to tell her to get on his back because he can crossfit 100 lbs. This after he bragged about checking his pack at the airport.

Brooke/Scott go to the Gothic spire first, then the bridge, and finally the fountain. When they put the three postcards together, they spell out, “City Hall rooftop.” They run for it.

LoLo go to the bridge first, the fountain second, and the Gothic spire third. That puts them in second. However, they take public transportation to City Hall.

Joey/Tara get to the fountain, then the bridge, but they run to the wrong Gothic spire. That puts them in last place.

Chicago City Hall has a rooftop garden with bee boxes and a beekeeper. (The City must be in the honey business.) Brooke/Scott arrive and the beekeeper gives them a clue envelope that tells them to take a taxi to Wrigleyville Dogs. It’s a hot dog stand near Wrigley Field, which could create confusion–but nobody’s cabbie takes them to the wrong place.

When teams reach Wrigleyville Dogs, they have to pack and deliver ten Chicago-style hot dogs to one of the rooftop bleachers that overlook historical Wrigley Stadium. At the rooftop bleachers about 30 people are waiting for their hot dogs, along with Season 19 TAR winners Cindy/Ernie (who have a kid now). In exchange for the hot dog delivery, Ernie gives the teams two tickets to Wrigley. Scott/Brooke deliver their hot dogs and get their tickets.

As for the other two teams, Joey/Tara find the correct Gothic spire and are the 2nd team to get to City Hall. They got there on foot faster than LoLo via the subway/L-train. That makes LoLo the last team to get to City Hall. Then they’re delayed again, trying to find a cabbie who knows where Wrigleyville Dogs is.

At Wrigley, Brooke/Scott have to work together to tally up their finishes on each of this season’s legs. One team member must work the scoreboard, where the locations of the season’s pit stops are posted in alphabetical order. The other team member sits in the press box and, with the aid of binoculars and a one-way radio, tells the other person what number to put up. When the team has all of its finishes listed, one of the stadium’s ushers verifies the information. If the team posted the correct numbers, they get to visit the home-plate umpire down on the field.

While Scott’s working the scoreboard and Brooke’s telling him what numbers to post, Joey/Tara pick up their hot dogs, deliver them to Cub fans Cindy/Ernie, and get their tickets to Wrigley.  (Boston Joey yells, “Go Red Sox!” and gets boo’ed.) About this time LoLo finds the hot dog stand.

Brooke/Scott meet the umpire at home plate, and he gives them a clue that involves tallying up their finishes in such a way as to calculate what aisle of the Wrigley seats to search. When teams do the math as they’re instructed, they get a number that corresponds to an aisle number and somewhere along that aisle will be a clue envelope. Scott/Brooke make the calculation and search, first for the aisle, then the envelope. They’re both on the verge of hysteria.

Tara/Joey arrive, and he works the scoreboard while she tells him what numbers to post. Brooke/Scott find a clue envelope:  to Olive Park on the Chicago waterfront. They catch a taxi. Now the only hope the other teams have is that Brooke/Scott will have bad taxi luck.

Joey/Tara get their scoreboard tally approved and run to the umpire. Joey can’t resist touching home plate as he runs by. The team gets the instructions about how to calculate what aisle to search.

London/Logan deliver their hot dogs, get their tickets, go to Wrigley. He works the scoreboard while she tells him what numbers to post.

Brooke/Scott do not have bad taxi luck. They find Olive Park. The eight teams that were eliminated this season cheer them on as they cross the finish line. Phil tells them they’ve won $1 million. I’ll say this–they’re the biggest complainers to win since Season 3’s Flo, and she had a placid partner.

Everyone cheers as they see Tara/Joey, “Mom and Dad,” arrive. They’ll have to be content with the cash they won on two earlier legs, in Greece and Africa.

The third-place team is treated as an afterthought. We don’t see LoLo finish their scoreboard tally or catch a taxi. When they cross the finish line, Phil asks them about their race together. They won nothing over the entire distance. They’ll have to be content with becoming “the opposite of strangers,” as London tells Phil. I don’t know about their personal lives but they were the one team this season that resembled a pleasant blind date.

So now we’ll have to wait a long time for Season 30. Time to watch and recap old episodes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: Amazing Race