Ah, here we are at last: the finale, the episode with perhaps the most accurate title quote of the season.
Will this season, like so many others, be determined by last-leg taxi karma? Click through to find out!
After the requisite season recap from Phil, we begin with Nick & Starr. They rip their first clue, which tells them to fly all the way from Moscow to their final destination city: Portland, Oregon. To make a long story short, all three teams are excited to get going on the last leg, and all three teams get on the same flight through Frankfurt. The second leg of that particular flight sounds... long.
In Portland, teams attempt to head to adventure camp Tilikum, but are thwarted to varying degrees by their cabbies. Ken & Tina arrive first, but Nick & Starr make up the small gap by rocketing through the Detour, of which I am only going to explain one option, because everyone does it.
Detour: High & Dry or... bust, I guess.
Teams choose between two activities that loggers use to improve their balance. High & Dry requires you to climb 30 feet up a tree, balance across a 40-foot log way up in the air, and then leap a few feet onto a trapeze, attached to which is two halves of a clue. Each team member must retrieve one half of the clue. (The other option is called Low & Wet and involves walking a great deal further across a horizontal log to retrieve a clue, but this one is in water, not up in the treetops.)
The Rats reach Tilikum significantly later than the other two teams, but at least it's still daylight, so... they're doing better than I expected, so far.
Nick & Starr finish first, just ahead of Ken & Tina, and they rip their next clue, which sends them to the Bridge of the Gods to ride a zipline 2,000 feet to an island in the middle of the Columbia River, where they'll find their next clue. I MUST TRY THIS ZIPLINE. It's only like a six-hour drive away. And it looks ridiculously awesome. However, I am unable to determine from the interwebs whether the zipline is a permanent sort of thing that touristy people such as myself might try for a small price, or if the show set it up for this specific purpose. Either way: I find I'm jealous.
Nick & Starr and Ken & Tina head there at the same time, passing each other repeatedly on the way and again having varying degrees of luck with their cabbies. (Meanwhile, the Rats are just hitting the Detour.) Ken & Tina get to the bridge first and zip their line.
Nick & Starr arrive immediately behind them and also zip across. This is when Starr yells the episode title to Nick, and she could not possibly be more spot-on. Nick should look into playing Peter Pan at some point, since he is an actor and all.
The clue Ken & Tina get at the bottom of the zip line presents Ye Olde Last-Leg Memory Game to them. This is the part that always seems the most intimidating to me. As a viewer, I can barely remember what happened in the last episode, let alone ten legs back. Of course, I didn't live through it, and the time frame over which the show airs is stretched out a great deal. But still. I would hope I would have kept a travel journal or written some key points down on McDonald's napkins along the way.
This game is a little complicated, but when it boils down to it, it really is like Memory, or Concentration, as you (and Tina, evidently) may have known it. There is a game board for each team with ten numbered game pieces. Underneath each of these is the symbol for either a Roadblock, a Detour, Route Info, or a Pit Stop that corresponds with the number of the leg on the game piece. Then, there are 150 clue boxes, each with a photograph of a piece of a leg inside, placed out in a field behind the game boards, and teams have to search through these until they find a photo that matches with the piece of the leg they're looking for. They get a green light when they put it in the little slot if it's the right one, and a red light if it's wrong.
You still with me? Now, because I care so much about keeping you, the reader, informed, here is a summary of the various pieces:
Leg 1, Route Info: Vending cart at o Rei do Pernil
Leg 2, Detour: Beach It option (rolling ships on logs)
Leg 3, Roadblock: Fighting Cholitas (you will recall this one, I'm sure)
Leg 4, Pit Stop: Summerhill (with Phil's dad!)
Leg 5, I don't know because they completely skip showing it (too much time in the episode taken up with replaying--over and over, ad nauseam--Tina's whining about her fear of heights, I reckon)
Leg 6, Route Info: Ambassador Hotel in Delhi
Leg 7, also skipped. Thanks for nothing, show.
Leg 8, Pit Stop: Old Square in Almaty (which Nick & Starr have some trouble with when they mistake the leg for a Russian one instead of the Kazakh one)
Leg 9, Route Info: Krutitsy Monastery
Leg 10, Roadblock: the Lenin and Stalin statues in VDNKh Park
Ken & Tina start the game first and get a couple of pieces along before Nick & Starr show up, but the siblings use their well-developed brain and running skillz to catch up in no time, and actually manage to finish one game piece ahead of Ken & Tina. (The Rats, meanwhile, are having trouble with their cabbie and haven't found the bridge yet.)
The next clue, which is actually a real clue and not just directions (but which prompts Nick to call Starr "Rock Starr"; I'm undecided on the cute vs. squick factor of that), tells teams to take their cabs to downtown Portland and find the Portland Building. Straightforward enough so far, but they also have to find a green dinosaur somewhere in the vicinity, and we get a brief soundbite of Nick reading a part of the clue that describes it as being "standard issue." The green dinosaur in question is actually quite small (not much bigger than human-sized) and multi-coloured, and is in a second-story window of a building across the street called The Standard (I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE). The clue box is also hidden behind a post in the window frame, so it's not immediately visible from street level.
The Rats are just starting the memory game, and... (SPOILER!) that's the last we'll see of them until the finish line. So long, fellas. It's been fun or something.
Nick spots The Standard as they drive up, so they find the clue almost immediately, while Ken & Tina have to search much harder for it. Their next destination -- to which they must travel by foot--is the Alder Street Cart Pod, a collection of food vendors on, you guessed it, Alder Street. There, they have to find the food cart that corresponds to the country of their last Pit Stop, Russia. The two teams run through the streets and harass locals for directions, and Nick & Starr remain a smidge ahead of Ken & Tina the whole way.
The clue they get from the Russian food cart lady directs them to find "the place where the magic is in the hole." Turns out that's the slogan of a nearby donut shop called Voodoo Donuts. Starr starts just kind of screaming the clue out on a street corner, hoping someone will recognize the phrase, and luckily, they hit on a guy pretty quickly.
(In a rather adorable subplot, one of the first ladies they ask, who is unable to help them, overhears the guy tell them where it is, and sure enough, a few minutes later, she tells Ken & Tina where to find Voodoo Donuts, but one-ups the other guy's directions and says Nick & Starr took the long way. Hmm, curious.)
First to Voodoo Donuts is, of course, Nick & Starr, who pull their last clue sending them to the finish line by taxi, complete with the traditional "This is it! Go, go, go!" command. Both teams have a heck of a time finding free taxis, with Ken even trying to bribe paying customers to give up their cab for $50. Hey, I'd do it. The editing suggests they both find taxis at about their same time and throw large-ish sums of money at their cabbies. Nick & Starr (well, mostly Starr) freak out in their cab, while Ken & Tina pray calmly in theirs.
Then we're at the finish line with Phil and all the Philiminated contestants (minus Dallas & Toni, who are presumably running a decoy leg behind these guys somewhere)...
And here... coming around the corner in a taxi... and running to the finish line... it's Nick & Starr!
They are declared the official winners, and not too much later, Ken & Tina run up, sweaty and in second place. Phil asks them about the status of their relationship, and it seems things are looking up, because Ken pulls out a small pouch and draws from it his and Tina's wedding rings, which he says they haven't been wearing for awhile. He asks Tina if she'd like to start this thing over again, and she tearfully says yes. They put their rings back on and they cry and it's lovely and I wish nothing but the best for them. I hope they continue to work hard at understanding and giving and being married.
Oh yeah, and the Rats manage to cross the finish line in third.
All in all, 'twas a reasonably satisfying season, though as a note to the casting people, I'd appreciate some better eye candy next season. Thanks. And thanks to you for reading along with me this season!
I totally forgot about Dallas's passport mishap in Russia, so... I bet that's where they are. Stuck in Russia. Great.
Also, my friend Alison shared with me the following information:
I heard an interview with Dallas. Apparently the way the edited him 'losing' his passport was a little creative, but he actually had taken 3 cabs before even getting to his Mom. After the first cab, the camera people had to change the battery in his mic, which is under his shirt and strapped around his chest. Because of this, he had to remove the pack carrying his passport (also strapped around his chest) and then was hurried off else where, leaving his things behind.
However, the next day they popped over to the US Embassy ("for a little Road Block of their own," Toni said) where someone had dropped off his passport. But by that point, the teams were already in Oregon so naturally they couldn't make it to the finish.
Oh, and Dallas and Starr have been dating long distance since May, if anyone cares..
This season wasn't as exciting as others, but enjoyable, none the less. It was nice to see Nick and Starr win, as they did play a good game. It would have been okay for Tina and Ken to win too, although they have other things to work out- the money would have just got in the way. Glad the Rats didn't win....
Well, the best team won for sure. I agree, Nick and Starr played a very good game. It felt like this season was over really fast, didn't it? I can't believe those rats made it into the final three though, what a waste!