December 11, 2012

Amazing Race 21, "Take Down That Million"

What truly makes a strong team on The Amazing Race? The obvious answer is athleticism, but plenty of powerful young pairs have left early. Scanning through the winners, most are capable at physical challenges but don’t always stand out as the team to beat. Two weeks ago, Abbie and Ryan were eliminated purposely by the others due to their status as a threat. This felt like the right move because Josh and Brent have struggled at many tasks. Even so, their ease at handling mental challenges made them a deceptive choice to keep afloat. All it takes is a mix of luck and the right final challenge to reward a surprise winner. After barely surviving the penultimate leg, a confident Josh and Brent get the right opportunity and actually win the million dollars. Not since Eric and Danielle in the all-star season has a more random team won the race. While it’s a strange conclusion, there’s a certain poetic justice towards the other teams, who keep forgetting the high stakes of this competition. For more details, check out my review of the finale for Sound on Sight.

Here are some other interesting points that I didn't address in my review:

  • The sniping back and forth between the twins and the Beekmans during the first hour is surprising because we've seen so few examples of team conflict. It makes me wonder if the editing pushed that back to promote the feel-good story that's been shown this season. I don't doubt that the final four teams are nice people, but there had to be more drama left on the cutting room floor.
  • Last season, my pick to win of Nary and Jamie was not a good one. They finished sixth and never reached higher than fourth in any leg. This time, I chose Abbie and Ryan, who only ended up one slot higher but did win two legs. I wasn't rooting for them due to his arrogance, so I was okay being wrong once again.
  • It's easy to criticize the way the producers repeatedly bunched the teams. Josh and Brent were way behind several times but always got a chance to catch up. While it's frustrating to see this happen, it's a necessity to keep the competition alive. This has happened since the first season, when several teams were so spaced out that they were competing on different courses. Until next season!

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