TAR All-Stars: Finale

The Amazing Race: All-Stars came to an end this week. It’s only too bad the members of the winning team were the pair who least deserved to be called All-Stars in the first place.

Teams made their way from Guam to Honolulu, Hawaii via Tokyo, Japan. Charla & Mirna made the most of their brief layover in Tokyo and found a connection that got them to Honolulu 40 minutes ahead of the other teams.

What could’ve been a commanding lead on the final leg of the race was seriously reduced once they found their next destination. Charla & Mirna were the first team to sign up for a helicopter flight to the island of Lanai, but they were forced to wait almost one hour for their flight to leave.

Since the charter flights left every ten minutes (9:00, 9:10, 9:20), Eric & Danielle and Dustin & Kandice were right behind them.

After landing, Charla & Mirna drove themselves to the season’s final Detour: Under or Over. In Under, teams swam into an underwater cave to retrieve a clue. In Over, each team member stood on a surfboard and paddled toward a buoy to retrieve a clue.

The cousins elected to do Over, and Charla’s low center of gravity proved to be a real asset. She stayed dry, while Mirna toppled into the water. After retrieving their clue, Mirna jokingly asked Charla, "Have you done this before?"

Eric & Danielle arrived shortly after the cousins, and they chose to do Under. Eventually, they figured out how to time their entrance to the cave to avoid the surge pushing in the opposite direction. They got their clue and headed out just as Dustin & Kandice — who did Under as well — arrived.

Charla & Mirna finally lost their meager lead as they ran along Shipwreck Beach to the next clue box. Both of the other teams passed them and started the next task: paddling a kayak to a buoy anchored near a beached World War II-era cargo ship to retrieve a clue.

This was the episode’s one task in which man-power was a real plus. The waves were so choppy that only Eric & Danielle were able to paddle through them without being flipped or getting out of the kayak and walking with it.

Dustin’s insistence that she and Kandice walk (and not paddle) their kayak through the shallows — coupled with the frustrating nature of the task — put Kandice over the edge. When they got back to shore and into the car, she criticized Dustin for being a bad teammate.

The spat was ugly, especially since the Beauty Queens rarely fight, but it was short-lived. Once Dustin said, "The fun in this race for me, Kandice, is doing it with you," the girls apologized, acknowledged that the race can be tough on friendships, and put the tiff behind them.

After kayaking, teams headed back to Honolulu to find the earliest possible flight to Oakland, California. There was only one flight that night, and all of the teams arrived at their destination at the same time, early the next morning.

Teams hopped into taxis and rode into San Francisco to find the Old Mint. Dustin & Kandice and Eric & Danielle arrived at the same time to find an unusual final task.

One team member entered a room and answered four questions about the All-Star teams, while the other member waited outside. The questions were:

  • Which other team is the least trustworthy?
  • Which other team has the best sense of humor?
  • Which other team is the most overrated?
  • Which other team is the one you most want to stay in touch with?

The names of the teams were listed with a corresponding number. The four numerical answers to the questions formed the combination to a lock on a safe.

When the combination had been entered and the safe was locked, the waiting team member had to guess the answers given by her partner in order to unlock the safe. If the safe did not open, there was nothing to indicate which number was wrong. This second part of the task was given a ten minute time limit.

As Eric and Dustin entered their respective rooms, Kandice turned to Danielle and asked, "Is this crazy or what?"

"What the hell is going on?" replied Danielle.

Charla & Mirna arrived a couple of minutes later, and Mirna went into her team’s room to answer the questions.

According to the teams’ answers, Rob & Amber were universally regarded as the most overrated team, while everyone wanted to stay in touch with Uchenna & Joyce. That makes the most sense, since Joyce might have been able to nab some cool Star Trek memorabilia during her days as Ensign Gates on the Starship Enterprise.

The first members of the teams emerged from the rooms, and the waiting members went in to try to crack the code. After several minutes, Danielle was able to match her answers to Eric’s and open the safe.

Their final clue instructed them to head to the Pit Stop, which was at the San Francisco Botanical Gardens.

When Dustin had originally answered the questions, she second-guessed herself and picked Joe & Bill (the Guidos) as the least trustworthy team. Had she gone with her first instinct and chosen Rob & Amber, Kandice would’ve been able to open their safe at about the same time as Danielle opened hers.

But Kandice never got the code right, and she used the entire ten minute time period. Charla had just as little luck figuring our Mirna’s answers.

The several minute lead was all that Eric & Danielle needed to reach the Pit Stop in first place and claim their million dollar prize.

While they make a good team and definitely ran the best leg this week, there was still something unsatisfying about giving the prize to a team that was only formed for this season — and wasn’t a pre-existing team, as all of the other All-Star teams were. On their original teams, neither Eric nor Danielle would ever have been cast on this season at all.

That said, I enjoyed being able to see some of my favorite teams again (Oswald & Danny and Dustin & Kandice), and it was nice to have my opinion changed regarding a couple of teams I didn’t think highly of during their original seasons (Teri & Ian and Charla & Mirna). But if they ever decide to do a second edition of TAR: All-Stars, it had better include Ken & Gerard.

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