A Dose of Reality: The Amazing Race: All Stars - Episode 12
by Rachel Jaffe
Published: May 7, 2007
And now, it's the final round. Here are the departure times for the three teams that will be racing for the finish line:
Beauty Queens: Dustin and Kandice left at 11:53 a.m.
Dysfunctional Duo: Eric and Danielle left at 12:55 p.m.
Schmirna: Charla and Mirna left at 1:29 p.m.
Teams were instructed to fly from Guam to the Hawaiian island Oahu. Once there, they'd have to go to the Kamaka air hangar, where they'd sign up for one of three helicopter rides to the island of Lanai.
The best flight seemed to be an 3:50 p.m. Northwest flight through Tokyo that arrived in Hawaii at 7:40 a.m., which the Beauty Queens boarded. The Dysfunctional Duo and Schmirna took a 4:20 p.m. flight, with the same connection in Tokyo. However, at the connecting airport Mirna put her ace airline sleuthing skills into effect and found a United flight that would get them in at 7:00 a.m. It took some wrangling, but Schmirna made it on the United flight. Almost as big an advantage as the extra 40 minutes was throwing the other teams into a tizzy as they tried to figure out what happened to Charla and Mirna.
Of course, with their better flight, Charla and Mirna snagged the first helicopter ride out at 9 a.m. Eric and Danielle took the second slot, at 9:10 a.m., and Dustin and Kandice had the third slot at 9:20 a.m. At the end of the helicopter ride, the teams had to choose a jeep and drive three miles to Kamalapau harbor for their next clue.
Detour - "Under" or "Over"
The next clue was a Detour, with the teams forced to choose between "Under" and "Over." In "Under," the teams had to take a boat to an underwater cave, where they'd find their clue by swimming under the rocks. In "Over," the team members would have to each stand and paddle themselves on a paddle board to get to their clue. Schmirna opted for paddling. Mirna had difficulty, but Charla got through it like a pro. "Low to the ground, that's my technique," chortled Charla. Eric and Danielle started with "Over," but decided after seeing Mirna's problems that they should swim in the "Under" option instead. The Beauty Queens also decided on "Under." Both the latter teams had difficulty getting into the cave, particularly with the intense waves that bounced off the cave opening.
The next stop was Shipwreck Beach, named for the World War II Liberty class cargo ship beached nearby. That ship played a big role in this stage, because the clue told the teams to kayak to the buoy near the shipwreck for the next clue. This proved to be extremely challenging for the Beauty Queens and Charla and Mirna. Inexplicably, the Beauty Queens tried walking the boat instead paddling, and Charla and Mirna did not have the upper body strength to maneuver the boat well. Eric and Danielle were the first to get t he clue, and had quite a lead over second-place Beauty Queens and the trailing Schmirna.
As we've seen before, though, the airlines equalize things, and in this case all three teams ended up on the same flight to the final destination city of San Francisco -- an 11:55 p.m. flight arriving in Oakland at 6:57 a.m. (Even Mirna couldn't come up with something better.)
In San Francisco, the teams had to find the Old Mint, where they were confronted with a Roadblock.
Roadblock: Comparing Answers
Typically, a Roadblock is a task that can only be performed by one teammate; however, in this Roadblock, both team members would be involved. One team member would enter the room designated for their team. There, they would answer four questions: Which team is least trustworthy? Which team has the best sense of humor? Which team is the most overrated? Which team would you choose to stay in touch with after the race? The choice for answers was a list of other teams. Using the answers, the team mate would come up with a four-digit combination code, which would be programmed into a safe containing the code. Then, the other team member would enter the room and try to figure what the original answers -- and the code -- had been. If the team member comes up with the correct code, they could get the clue from the safe. If not, the clue would be provided after ten minutes.
Dustin was first into the room, with Eric close behind her. Mirna was the first to enter for her team. There were surprises in the answers. Eric said that Charla and Mirna had the best sense of humor. Dustin said that Joe and Bill were th e least trustworthy. The only person to actually complete the task and get the four-digit code was Danielle, giving their team an advantage of approximately two and a half minutes.
The Finish Line
The final clue sent the teams to the Botanical Gardens, which had the finish line.
Despite editing showing the Dysfunctional Duo hitting traffic and the Beauty Queens (second to leave the Old Mint) hitting green lights, the order had already been set. Eric and Danielle were the winners of the race, with the Dustin and Kandice coming in second and Charla and Mirna coming in third.
Well, for me this was a disappointing ending. Of all the teams, I least wanted the Dysfunctional Duo to win.
How did they do it? Part of it was luck of the draw. They had come in last previously, and had been saved by a non-elimination leg. This was, in fact, the first time they'd ever completed a leg first. But I have to admit, it's ironic that a team I dubbed the Dysfunctional Duo got crucial minutes to their advantage because Danielle was able to figure out what Eric had answered -- something other, more functional teams had not been able to do.
The All-Stars was a great example of how unpredictable the race is. In my preview article, I picked a Top Three, based on athleticism, toughness and teamwork. Of those, one (John Vito and Jill) was the first team eliminated, one (Uchenna and Joyce) left towards the middle of the pack, and one (Dustin and Kandice) made it to the final three -- but didn't win.
One thing that is absolutely predictable about the race is that I will always be moved by the final race to the finish line. No matter how I feel about the winners, I am always thrilled and sentimental when I see all the previous teams cheering on the top three -- winners and also-rans -- as they reach the end. Who else understands the journey? I like that they keep that little party private -- but I'm so glad they let us peek in on it, as well.
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