On the finale of The Amazing Race last night, the long shot came home to win, but luck certainly had nothing to do with Dan and Jordan being victorious.
Even though they were the second favorite on my pre-race predictions behind Jet and Cord, I downgraded them to being half as likely to win the race with just three teams left. My rationale was based more on the strength of their competition – Jet and Cord and Brent and Caite – than anything negative about Dan and Jordan.
Perhaps I was a little too influenced by the melt down that Dan had in the cab last week while trailing Louie and Michael. In my defense, it was an all-time classic melt down, but really that was the only poor reaction or bad decision the brothers had made in quite some time. Beyond that, they’ve been nothing but a strong team for many weeks now and certainly deserved to win.
What was most impressive about their performance this week was that they took advantage of one smart move and ran the rest of the leg mistake free, even with the cowboys breathing down their neck the entire time. Despite their earlier, almost race-long dominance, the same cannot be said for the cowboys, specifically Cord. How he did not figure out that Jet spinning with the words would help him read it after Jordan’s spinning stalled them a few minutes earlier we’ll never know.
As disappointing as Cord’s struggles with the virtual reality clue was Jet’s decision not to walk through or shove aside Jordan when he was spinning to allow Dan to read the clue. I have no problem with teams playing the game with integrity and not stepping over people to win one million dollars, but as the saying goes: once bitten, twice shy.
Maybe it just died in Jet, not Cord. The fair-haired cowboy was absolutely hilarious when he first got to Lucasfilm studios and was messing with Dan by giving fake instructions as loud as he could to distract Dan. A move like that is certainly taking the gloves off and it really flustered Dan for a few minutes until he figured out what was going on. Far more importantly, it was wildly entertaining for the viewers.
That last sentence – wildly entertaining for the viewers – sums up this latest season of The Amazing Race perfectly. It was the first season in a long time where I didn’t really care who won (at least until last night aired and Brent and Caite turned into ugly Americans again). The two teams that were in contention for the victory were both fun all season and easy to root for.
Beyond just the final teams, however, the entire season was a blast. The only team that I recall truly disliking were Brandi and Carol and they certainly earned it despite being picked on by the other teams. The places that the teams visited were unique, scenic and fun vs. some seasons when they spend ¾ of the race in Europe. Nothing against Europe, but this supposed to be a race around the world, not Europe. Lastly, the challenges were creative, different and dynamic allowing for movement amongst the teams.
The last qualification for challenges – allowing for movement amongst the teams – is one of my biggest criteria for a fun season. When teams choke away a lead or rally from behind, that’s what makes the episodes the most interesting in my opinion.
Unfortunately, the finale had none of this whatsoever, in stark contrast to last season’s finale which was the best ever. It’s a testament to Dan and Jordan for seizing a lead right from the beginning of the race and never letting go, but it made for less interesting television. The leg would have been more interesting if Jet and Cord were able to pass Dan and Jordan at Lucasfilms only to have the brothers retake the lead at the Great American Music Hall because of Jordan writing down the order of the race.
Alas, such complains are just picking nits and not worth dwelling on. This season was one of the more entertaining in recent memory and Dan and Jordan's victory was well deserved.