The Amazing Race All-Stars: Episode 12 Recap (The Finale!)

Lo, it is with mixed emotions that I report on the final episode of The Amazing Race All-Stars. On the one hand, I’m excited to see which team will win (Will it be a team I’ve been rooting for all along?). On the other hand, once the season is over, what’ll I do on Sunday nights?

Anyway, if you haven’t yet seen the season finale, stop reading now! We’re going to reveal the winner. But for those of you who saw it, or want the juicy details, continue reading. Let’s go!Last week, the teams left off in Guam’s Fort Soledad. When the racers began the final leg, they were told to fly Honolulu. Dustin and Kandice, who were the first team to leave, raced to the airport with Eric and Danielle right behind them. Charla and Mirna, bringing up the rear, also sped to the airport. With no direct flights to Honolulu from Guam, D&K managed to get the last two seats on a flight to Oahu, with a transfer in Tokyo. E&D and C&M both managed to get on a flight leaving Guam slightly later but which would meet the second flight in time to catch it. D&K, thinking they were solidly in the lead, were pretty pleased with themselves.

In Tokyo, D&K see E&D… but no one can spot C&M. Where are they? Razor-eyed C&M have seen that there’s another flight leaving for Honolulu 40 minutes earlier and went to ask if they could slip onto it. Amazingly, after a lot of bleating and wailing, the ticket agents gave them two seats on this earlier flight. While I can’t stand C&M’s near-constant whining for people to help them, I was impressed they managed to score this earlier flight. As a result, they managed to get to Hawaii first.

Once in Honolulu, the teams had to get themselves to Kamaka Air Hangar. From there, three helicopters shuttled the teams one by one (first C&M; then E&D; finally D&K) to the island of Lanai. Once on the island, the teams had to drive themselves to Kaumalapau Harbor, and find a man in ceremonial dress. C&M found him first. They also found a Detour: “Over or Under.”

In Under, teams needed to take a boat to an underwater cave and swim under the rocks where their next clue would be waiting for them. In Over, teams had to take a boat to an inlet where both team members needed to stand and paddle themselves on a paddleboard to a buoy to retrieve their next clue.

E&D, who were the second team to arrive, and D&K, who were third, chose Under, which looked easy until you saw the waves crashing against the rugged coastline. In fact, the teams were required to wear helmets to swim under the rocks to retrieve the clue. While it was pretty under there, the crushing waves would’ve made the experience fairly frightening. Meanwhile, C&M chose Over. Charla aced the paddleboard (no jokes about her low center of gravity, folks; show some respect!), while Charla’s wobbliness slowed down the team a little. Nevertheless, the cousins remained in first place.

Now, the teams had to get themselves to nearby Shipwreck Beach. Scurrying along the rocks, C&M couldn’t move very quickly and lost their lead to both E&D and D&K. Teams were now required to kayak to the beautiful but crumbling tanker offshore to retrieve their next clue. The waves were brutal — Fodor’s claims “The water is unsafe for swimming”! — but E&D made it with little effort. D&K capsized at least once and argued about whether it would be better to push the kayak through the shallows than paddle it. (Though they tried, they decided paddling was better. No offense, girls, but duh!) C&M plunged forward, characteristically shrieking at each other (Mirna to Charla: “Are you deaf?!”)

Later, in the car, Kandice would tell Dustin that she was a “bad teammate.” Tearfully, the two girls discussed their strategies and quickly made up. I think this was their only breakdown the entire season.

But who has time for breakdowns when you’re in a race for a million dollars?! Now, the racers had to get to the airport and fly to San Francisco. At this point, about 40 minutes into the episode, it occurred to me that either (a) my TiVo hadn’t recorded the entire finale, or (b) the finale was only one hour long. Gulp. I hoped it was the latter.

In San Francisco, the teams had to get to The Old Mint, where one team member had to answer 4 questions…

  • Which team is the least trustworthy?
  • Which team has the best sense of humor?
  • Which team is the most overrated?
  • Which team would you most want to stay in contact with after the race?

…and make a code from their responses. The other team member then had to guess the answers to the questions, piece together the code, and enter it into a safe containing their FINAL CLUE. Though D&K were the first team to begin this task, E&D were the first to complete it. With clue in hand, E&D scurried to the San Francisco Botanical Gardens, the final pit stop in this race around the world.

All the teams were speeding their way to the finish line, but with E&D ahead of the pack, it was a clear victory. The winners of The Amazing Race All-Stars, Eric and Danielle, strolled into the Gardens, surrounded by the eliminated teams. A million bucks richer, the pair was excited but not ecstatic. I was kind of surprised. However, Eric had been relatively understated the entire race, so I guess I sort of expected it. D&K arrived shortly thereafter, and C&M came in third.

While I had been rooting for D&K since the season began, I was pretty much just happy that C&M had NOT won. Of course, while it would be unfair to say that E&D did not deserve to win — after all, they crossed the finish line first — I was surprised they won, since they had not placed first in any previous leg of the race. Am I alone in thinking this?

I can’t wait for Season 12. I wish I were going to be competing in it.