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The Amazing Race: Throwback–Season 12 Finale, Air Date 1/20/08

June 28th, 2017 · No Comments

by Lyn Jensen

(Waiting for Season 30! Boy, I need to fix some errors! DONE!–11/7/17)

Now that we’ve seen the finale of Season 29 of The Amazing Race, let’s flashback to the finale of Season 12, which started when the season’s final three teams opened and read their clues in Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China, and found they had to book flights to Anchorage, Alaska, about 4500 miles across the Pacific Ocean.

The remaining three teams are:  young California couple TK (Thomas Kyle) and Rachel, Chinese-American father-daughter team Ron/Chris (or Ronald/Christina), and grandfather-grandson team Don/Nick (or Donald/Nicolas).

When Ron/Chris buy their airline tickets, they ask for a free upgrade to the airline lounge so they can use the Internet. When the other teams arrive and don’t know where Ron/Chris are, they get nervous. They think everyone’s booked on the same flight but they’re not sure. Ron/Chris arrive in the waiting area just before the plane boards, so everyone is on the same flight.

Once on the ground in Anchorage, everyone grabs taxis, and everyone puts their backpacks in their taxis. (Season 29 winner Scott bragged that the winners usually check their bags at the airport–not this season, Scott!) Ron/Chris are 1st out of the airport, followed by TK/Rachel, then Don/Nick.

Everyone’s going to Sixth Avenue Outfitters, a sporting goods store. Father-daughter team Ronald/Christina get there first. They get the next clue envelope, and there’s also a bagful of sporting gear waiting for them to pick up. They open the envelope and the clue tells them to go to Ship Creek Launch.

At the boat launch is the last detour of Season 12:  cut cod or grab crab. Ron/Chris choose to cut cod. There are several 50-lb. cod, packed in ice, waiting on tables. “These are monsters!” exclaims Ron. Teams may use the knife and gloves in their bag from Sixth Avenue Outfitters to filet the cod. The next clue is hidden in a capsule in one of the cod.

Ron bickers with Chris about the task, but they find a capsule in the first cod they work on. It directs them to take a taxi to Twenty-mile River about sixty miles (one hour or more) away, where speedboats are waiting to take teams to Twenty-mile Glacier. What teams don’t know is that the next clue box is at the top of the glacier, and they’ll have to climb the glacier to get to it.

TK/Rachel are the 2nd team to get to Sixth Avenue Outfitters, but they’re delayed when their taxi doesn’t take them directly to Ship Creek Launch. They have to ask directions. Nick/Don pick up their clue from Sixth Avenue Outfitters but neglect to pick up their bag.

Don/Nick and TK/Rachel get to the boat launch at about the same time. The grandfather-grandson team actually reach the clue box first but then they read about using “gloves” and realize they didn’t get a bag of gear at the sporting goods store. They have to go back, and Don gives Nick grief about it.

Rachel/TK decide to grab crabs, since filleting the large cod may take a while. They have to hop into the tanks in the hold of a crabbing vessel that’s docked at the boat launch. In the hold are hundreds of live crabs, and the team has to find a crab banded with race colors. Rachel thinks it may be easier than the cod, since the marking is right on the crab.

They get into the hold in their clothes and shoes. The water’s brackish, so it’s hard to see the crabs, and the crabs are crawling and pinching. At one point Rachel complains that one tried to take her shoe off. Eventually she decides to move to a second tank while TK keeps searching the first one. They talk about switching. Before they do, though, TK finds a banded crab. A man on the boat hands over the next clue envelope.

As TK/Rachel are leaving the detour, Nick/Don get back, with their bag of gear this time. Don starts cutting the cod and tells Nick to look through what’s been cut. “With my hands?” says Nick. (That’s what the gloves are for.)

TK estimates that Ron/Chris are about 20 min. ahead, and the grandfather-grandson team are close behind, because it won’t take Don long to cut the cod.

It looks like Don found the clue in his 2nd cod, so Nick/Don are probably only about 3-4 min. behind TK/Rachel on the way to the river and the glacier.

Ron/Chris are in a speedboat and on their way to the glacier. When TK and Rachel get to the boats, he asks her which one she wants and she says the green one. That means Don/Nick, in 3rd place, get the orange one.

The father-daughter team find they both have to climb to the top of the glacier, using ice hooks and crampons. Ron’s afraid of heights, but he makes it up fairly easily. Christina gets hung up on a ridge. She eventually summons the strength to pull herself up and over the face. (It’s interesting how often people who have trouble with the physical tasks of TAR eventually work it out. The people who honestly can’t physically manage a task and give up are rare.)

Three helicopters are waiting at the top of the glacier to fly the teams to Merrill Field. Once on the ground, they’re to take taxis to Goose Lake Park.  TK/Rachel arrive at the base of the glacier before Ronald/Chris are in their helicopter. TK, a former UCSB athlete, climbs the glacier quickly. Rachel needs more time, but she doesn’t have the degree of difficulty Chris did.

The teams are so tightly bunched now that Don/Nick arrive at the glacier while TK/Rachel are getting in their helicopter. It’s the grandfather who climbs the glacier quickly and the grandson who’s slow.

Ron/Chris land, get a taxi, and get to the park, where they find a roadblock that requires racers to remember what happened on the first ten legs of the race. There are three stages with clue boxes that are rigged someway so that they can recognize when specific representatives from each leg are on the stage. The clue instructs racers that the proper combination must include:  one U-turn, three animals or animal products, two types of sticks that can be used as transportation, wheeled transportation, and two items relating to a pit stop.

The correct answer is:  bike–Ireland, pole for pole vaulting–Holland, milk and a chicken–two legs in Africa, stilts–Lithuania, blunderbuss–Croatia, Blackberry device–Italy, U-turn sign–India, janitor (a human is an animal)–Japan, and a tea cup for Taiwan.

Chris starts working on solving the memory challenge, using one stage. (Paper and pen/pencil are not allowed, racers must work strictly from memory.) Soon TK/Rachel arrive, and she starts sorting through possible combinations, on a second stage. When Nick/Don arrive, Nick starts the task on the third stage.

Christina thinks she’s done but she’s not. Her clue box doesn’t open. She has to sort through combinations again, and again. Rachel and Nick restart several times, too. TK, Don, and Ron watch their teammates work and agree it’s anybody’s challenge at this point.

Rachel’s main hang-up is the pole vault but she’s first to solve the memory puzzle. (It’s possible TK would have done it even quicker, because he probably would’ve recognized the pole vault right away.) Her clue box pops open but the clue isn’t for the finish line. There’s a twist, and another possibility for a team to be delayed. Teams have to find “Cook’s eye view.” TK and Rachel’s cabbie recognizes the reference is to a statue of Capt. Cook that overlooks the Sleeping Lady landmark.

Chris soon gets her puzzle together, too. Her and Ron’s cabbie also recognizes the clue as referring to Capt. Cook’s statue. Nick’s the last one left doing the RB. We don’t see him and Don again until the finish line.

TK/Rachel are the first team to reach the Cook statue, where there’s another clue box. This time it directs them to find “the salmon hooker” (another sculpture, of a fish with hooks) on foot. They ask directions. Ron/Chris are close behind, and they ask directions, too.

Rachel/TK find the fish sculpture, and finally here’s a clue that says, “Take a taxi to Gridwood Airport and run to the finish line.” The couple grab a taxi.

The airport looks more like a little rural airfield (it’s the third airport/airfield on the Anchorage portion of the Season 12 route), a few strips of asphalt in the Alaskan wilderness. TK/Rachel leap out of their taxi. He carries both their backpacks and they run across the finish line, cheered on by the eight teams that didn’t make it to the finale. Host Phil Keoghan tells them they’re the official winners of TAR and they’ve won $1 million. (I’ve read that Rachel bought a flower shop with her winnings.) TK says his partner’s petite but tough.

I’d like to see TAR go to a format of showing teams’ times across the finish line, so we know just how close (or not) the finish was. Ron/Chris show up, likely soon after TK/Rachel. Phil tells them they’re second.

Some time passes–the shadows are longer and the sky’s not so bright–when Nick/Don arrive. I’d like more coverage of the third-place team, just how long they were stalled at the RB, for example. Phil says, “You’re team number three,” and then to Donald, “and I can tell you you’re officially the oldest person ever to have made it this far.” (Ronald wasn’t all that much younger.) Phil asks Don if he expected to be here. Don says he expected to be here, but not in third place. Everybody applauds and greets everybody else, and Season 12 of TAR is in the books.





Tags: Amazing Race