I wanted to X those twins so hard. Curse you, NEL!
Previously, on The Amazing Race: Three gay guys (plus 19 other people) set off on a racearoundtheworld for One! Million! Dollars! Ten legs, eight countries and around 20,000 miles later, after eating fish fallopian tubes, riding adongadongs, dancing in lion masks, hauling bamboo, bathing like Turks, swimming in synch, being robbed blind, playing with street organs, battling devils and charging matadors, all three members of Team Gay made it to the finals. Along with Brent & Josh and Jaymes & James, the thieving twins Natalie & Nadiya and the thieving Texans Trey & Lexi comprise the Final Four.
Trey & Lexi are the first to rip their clue at 9:32 AM. They are instructed to fly to Barcelona and from there take a train to the Loire Valley in France. Wait, there’s an airport on Mallorca? That ferry ride last Leg was complete bullshit. Team Chippendale is next to rip it at 9:46 and they remind us that they’re racing so Jaymes can help out his cancer-stricken father and James can make things easier for his mom. They’re followed by the Beekmans at 10:27 (Josh speaks French so we’ll see if that’s an advantage) and finally the thieving twins at 11:14. Everyone makes it to France without issue, although the Beekmans are momentarily demoralized when they learn that everyone’s allied against them before deciding to use it as motivation.
From the train depot teams receive clues to drive themselves in a product-placed car that I refuse to name. I get it, TAR, races around the world are expensive but having Racers actually take time in the middle of a Leg to demonstrate options packages? Not acceptable.
Teams load some baskets into their product-placed cars and drive themselves in a caravan to the Chateau de Villandry. They search the grounds for a stone dog. The non-Francophones reduce themselves to making woof-woof noises at the groundskeeper.
Woof woof! I mean, le woof woof!
Josh immediately blows any advantage by asking for the dog in French in front of all the other teams.
Natalie & Nadiya receive their Speed Bump at the dog. Everyone else gets a clue directing them to the final resting place of Leonardo da Vinci, Chateau d’Amboise. As they head off, the twins futilely try to persuade the rest of the Alliance either to wait for them or ditch the Beekmans, accusing the evil gays of faking Josh’s ankle injury in a last-ditch effort to screwjob them. The other teams politely refrain from laughing in their faces as they leave them in the dust and Brent twists the knife on the way out, wishing them a good time with their Speed Bump.
For said Speed Bump they have to lace a woman into an 18th Century corset. On the one hand I’m mad that they got such a total lightweight task but on the other I’m happy for the French lady that her time suffering at the hands and vocal chords of the twins is so brief. It’s riveting television.
At Leonardo’s resting place teams receive the clue for the Detour. The choices are “Chow” or “Plow”. For “Chow” teams must make the daily meal for the chateau’s hounds. They must process a quantity of raw meat and lay it out in a pattern, then surround it with 20 kilograms of dry pellets. For “Plow” teams select a horse and traditional plow and till four furrows. Chippendales take “Plow”. The twins take “Chow”, interviewing that they’ve made dog food before with their grandfather. Beekmans and Longhorn take “Chow” but when they arrive at the Detour the Texans switch to “Plow”.
The Beekmans and the thieving twins make it to “Chow”. The twins start throwing shade and profess that the “evil gays are going down.” No dears, going down is what good gays do. The boys throw shade right back and you do not play the dozens with two gays and expect to win, hunties!
Team Longhorn finishes plowing first, followed shortly by Jaymes & James. Team Beekman beat the twins through “Chow” and are third on the way to La Cave des Roches in Bourré.
There teams find a Roadblock: “Who’s a ’fun-guy’?” The clue specifies that Lexi, Jaymes and Brent have to take it. Neither twin is specified, either because they skipped a Roadblock by taking the Fast Forward or because even the Amazing Producers have given up trying to tell them apart.
The Racer has to gather ten each of three varieties of mushroom from the extensive underground complex. They have to do it from memory, with the added fun twist that the the lights click off more or less at random, plunging them into darkness. When they correctly gather the mushrooms, the hot mushroom wrangler will present them with their next clue.
Lexi gets all three varieties on her first try. Jaymes biffs one of his shrooms on his first run through but gets it right on his second.
You can harvest my mushroom any time
Each team is directed to the Pit Stop, the castle Chenonceau, “the castle of the ladies”. The two teams seem to arrive at the Pit Stop at roughly the same time but Team Chippendale makes it to the Amazing Mat first, securing a spot in the final three and winning a product-placed car each. Congratulations, James’s mom! Team Longhorn arrives shortly thereafter as team number two.
Josh & Brent make it to the Roadblock third and Brent perforce takes it. The thieving twins, having made up time because of the Beekman’s terrible navigating, arrive not too much later and I think Nadiya takes it. She gathers her mushrooms first and heads out. Brent gets lost in the caves but gets his mushrooms right the first time as well. They leave, according to Josh, about ten minutes back. The twins get lost and the Beekmans hit construction. After some back-and-forth editing between the teams and a POV run up to the Amazing Mat, the camera reveals Team Beekman as team number three!
The thieving twins arrive at the Amazing Mat last and are finally Philiminated. We get a montage of some of their shriekiest moments as they give their final interview, of which I can’t hear a word because I’m too busy clapping and cheering.
I’m…I’m so happy.
The final Leg opens with Team Chippendale examining their product-placed prizes and I refuse to speak of it. They leave Chenonceau at 1:33 AM with instructions to fly to their final destination city, New York. They also have a post card of an amusement park marked “Wish you were here!” and they quickly surmise that they have to go to Coney Island.
Trey & Lexi rip their clue at 1:44 AM and Josh & Brent rip it at 3:06 AM. Josh risks invoking the hometown jinx by noting that he and Brent have lived in NYC for 20 years. No team has ever won when the final Leg is in their hometown.
The Chippendales ditch their packs, with Jaymes noting some lucky someone will find themselves a lot of “sweaty Chippendale clothes”.
We’ll take a percentage on eBay, bitches
Teams fly together to New York and catch cabs to Coney Island. They wander up and down the boardwalk, examining every ride and stand for anything with TAR red and yellow on it. Every team walks past the clue, a sideshow sign adverting “The Amazing Houdini” and directing teams to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, several times. Team Longhorn spots it first and as they’re heading back to their cab the Beekmans spot it. Jaymes & James finally discover it and head out.
The Brooklyn Navy Yard finds the teams facing another Roadblock: “Who’s up for an Amazing Escape?” A Racer is strapped into a straitjacket and suspended 15 stories above a drydock. They must escape from the jacket and, once out, they will be dropped for a surprise bungee drop. Because it’s Race Law that there must be at least one bungee jump or skydive. Trey, who is afraid of heights and being confined, takes it for his team. Because it’s also Race Law that the person who’s afraid of heights takes the bungee jump or skydive.
Brent takes it for the Beekmans and Jaymes does it for the Chippendales. They finish in the same order they arrive and are directed to the oldest pizzeria in New York. The Chippendales get delayed when their taxi bails on them but they call a replacement.
At Lombardi’s Pizzeria teams are tasked to memorize three pizza orders and deliver them to three addresses on foot. Trey & Lexi arrive first and make their deliveries correctly. Brent & Josh use their home field advantage to snag the closest deliveries but mix up two of the orders and have to correct them. They leave for their second run at around the same time the Chippendales depart on their first.
Team Longhorn receives a small banner bearing the insignia of the United Nations. They don’t know what it is; You would think a couple from Texas would have been taught to resist the New World Order starting in grade school. A passer-by points them in the right direction.
Josh & Brent make corrected deliveries and receive their UN clue in second place. Jaymes & James finish theirs and get the UN clue. They don’t recognize it either but get the 411 from someone outside.
Team Longhorn arrives at the UN and rip a clue for yet another Roadblock: “Who Has a Way With Words?” The Racer who didn’t do the Houdini Roadblock must take this one. The Racer has to affix banners bearing the words for “hello” and “goodbye” for each of the nine UN member countries that they visited to standards in front of those countries’ flags. When they have all nine correct and raised they can hoist the UN flag to receive their next clue. This is a great final task.
The Beekmans and the Chippendales arrive while Lexi is working. Each team gets the easy ones out of the way (Spain and France) but they all struggle with the remaining seven. Lexi thinks seriously about trying random combinations of banners, which is a terrible strategy. It’s hard to tell but I think if they get an individual set right they’re notified.
The teams raise and lower banners for hours until Josh is the first to finish. They rip their clue for the Finish Line, Gotham Hall. While they search for a cab Jaymes finishes up and they hop a cab. Some back-and-forth editing ensues and we switch to a POV run to the Finish Line. The Philiminated teams cheer and applaud as we see…
Team Beekman! Josh & Brent hit the mat and Phil announces that they are officially the winners of The Amazing Race and have won the One! Million! Dollars! They kiss sweetly and Brent admits he never thought he’d hear Phil say those words.
Josh says that they hope that their example will encourage others who are struggling to keep trying and that if they keep going they will eventually win. They interview about how they have lived apart for so long that winning the Race will allow them to move forward physically together.
Jaymes & James arrive next for a second place finish. They’re disappointed that they won’t be able to do everything for their families that they wanted, but they’re happy with the experiences they’ve had and that they were able to get a car for James’s mom. Trey & Lexi finish third and in an interview Lexi presses hard for that ring, saying it’s up to Trey to make the next move. Lexi, honey, it’s 2012. Girls are allowed to propose too.
Amidst general celebrating Rob the monster trucker interviews that racing with the Beekmans has changed his life. He’s learned that it’s not his place to judge people based on their “lifestyle” or who they are or “what they do”. So that’s something. Now if we could only send everyone like him on a racearoundtheworld with a couple of gay guys. Josh & Brent close out with more words about being underdogs coming from behind and that sometimes nice guys do finish first.
This has been one of the best Races ever. A wide variety of people, some really good people to root for, a classic villain team to boo and hiss, a decent percentage of interesting tasks, Team Gay surviving intact all the way to the end, a gay team who isn’t Reichen & Chip winning, and lots and lots of hot shirtless dudes. I give these Legs, and the Race itself, a resounding Five Phlying Phils!
Our own Jim Halterman had the chance to sit down with Jaymes & James and Josh & Brent. Look for his interviews to be posted here in the next day or two.