"In Control" - Vol. XII, No. 10
Last season we had a spoiler. OK, it was better than just an average spoiler; it was an actual boot list. From start to finish, we knew who would be leaving the race next. Our spoiler was SO good, that we even had to use "spoiler tags" in the column where we made our picks for the winners.
This season, we had another spoiler. It was just a spoiler, though - no boot list. We knew who was going to finish first, second, and third. Of course, that still would have necessitated us using "spoiler tags" again this season - until our list finished sixth, fifth, and fourth. So, we get to make actual picks. Unspoiled. You just KNOW how good those are going to be.
In the order that they finished this leg, here are a few comments about each of the teams:
Dave: Boy, these two seem to have all the luck. They managed to get the last set of tickets for the earlier flight, and they were the only team to catch the first train. These types of things happened all season long, not just on the last episode. Still, I'm not a big fan of these two. Perhaps, if I truly believed that Ron was changing permanently, I'd like them a bit more. Throughout the race, he continuously reverted to his a**hole personality when he got stressed. I'm thinking that the old Ron will return after he's been home a while, although I hope that I'm wrong. Still, if their luck holds for one more leg, these two could coast home.
Steve: OK, my spoilers sucked this season. And I revel in the fact that they sucked, because I was told that Nate and Jen walked away with the top prize. While Dave and I always keep an open mind about how teams are portrayed with clever snips and cuts, the fact of the matter is that Jen's comments and behavior could not be misconstrued. Now, this does not mean that she is not a lovely person in real life, just like a few other contrary personalities that come to mind, (Jonathon, Ian, Mama Paulo, and Flo - I'm thinking of you) it just means that, as a viewer, I didn't want Jen anywhere near a million dollars.
So, back to the United States for the final leg, where English is the spoken language (except for California), and Ronald and Christina's advantage is left in the Far East. I'm hoping for a puzzle challenge to end the race vs. a cab/running war. This tends to even out the chances for the less physically adept amongst the teams to make a run for first.
I also think that the producers are ready and willing to have a "regular" (and by "regular", I mean a non-model/actor/never watched the show until a casting agent approached me in a bar/ type folks) team win it all. While there have been physical tasks this season, they have not been too difficult for the older gentlemen to attempt. This massaging of the race by the producers, in my mind, was intentional - not unlike the spoon-fed tasks for Charla in All-Stars.
TAR fans watch the race (and run it vicariously through these regular teams) because it reinforces the fact that "I can do it, just like they can." Just go back in time and look at who the fan favorites were - "regular" folks. Now, many of you are asking how I can explain the popularity of actors Chip, Kim, and the Hippies. Well, I can't, so drop it.
Steve: These two are the Kris and Jon of season 12. Good racers, with rather lackluster editing. I really like how they never give up, and how they have an easy-going nature, but I think that it may be medicinally fueled. You see, Dave and I visited Amsterdam during one of our legs, too - so we know how to spend the "extra" leg money.
Dave: I rather enjoyed watching these two make Jen's head explode in the penultimate leg. They've pretty much run this race at a relaxed pace, never stressing about much. That's a very good thing. They haven't fought a lot, if at all (based on their edit) - and that's another very good thing. They're young, and that could go a long way in the final leg. Lastly, I'm pretty sure that Steve and I are the only team to ever spend their "extra" leg money on Doritos - regardless of the city they were located in, so I sincerely doubt that TK & Rachel are experiencing any of the medicinal benefits of Doritos. (For those of you who never learned italics, I was making a joke. Just nod your head and chuckle, and all of those around you will consider you to have a well-developed sense of humor.)
The strange thing is that, this season gives every appearance of being one in which the producers want to have an older team do well, or so it seems to me. That could be a very bad thing for TK & Rachel's chances.
Dave: Steve and I finished next-to-last in two consecutive legs during our race, just as Nick and Don have done. Of course, we managed to avoid 10th and 9th place when we did it. These two averted 4th and non-elimination. I really want these two to do well, based on the fact that Don is from Chicago (and that Nick is his bitch), but I'm not holding my breath.
Steve: Robbie Fulk's son and his father-in-law are my favorites racing for the giant check. Not only did the kid get his pilot's license at the first airport I worked at (Champaign, Illinois), but also, he's a local boy who will probably buy us lunch if we meet up with him. Although, his rich Dad will probably give him the money to do so, since he makes diddley-squat as a commuter pilot.
And now, the moment you've been waiting for - our picks!