The Amazing Race finale recap: 'We're Going to Victory Lane'
The final three teams race for the win in Chicago
Twenty-two strangers landed the chance of a lifetime to travel around the world. Some became fast friends, while others will remember this experience as, “That time I was on The Amazing Race with old What’s-His-Name.” Eleven teams were cut down to three finalists in 12 weeks.
But there can only be one winner.
Had you told me that the dude who is fiercely scared of heights and the girl who whines about everything would be standing on the red carpet of glory beside Phil at the end of this adventure, I would have first rolled my eyes and then followed that up with a devilish grin. It’s true Scott and Brooke are vocally the most annoying of all the teams, but the pendulum swings wide. As many times as I wished for one of the challenges to include zipping Brooke’s mouth permanently shut, I couldn’t help but secretly adore her love/hate relationship with Scott. The unlikely duo turned out to be highly entertaining.
Kudos to Scott for figuring out Brooke’s personality so early in the game. Calm, soothing tones can go a long way. Just don’t encourage her or invite her to hop on your back because SHE WILL CUT YOU.
The game is pretty even when all three teams reach Chicago from South Korea. I guess that’s what happens when everyone is well rested, refreshed, and still buzzing from their morning mimosas, thanks to an isolation pod in premium first class. Everyone scrambles to find taxis and head to the Chicagoland Speedway.
Brooke and Scott gate-check their backpacks so they can travel minimally. This seems to give them an edge, because they arrive at the track considerably before the others. Brooke is trained on how to change a tire in under 40 seconds. Then she proceeds to freak out when she caaaannn’t dooooooooo iiiiiitttttttt.
Scott calmly praises her from his position in the driver’s seat of the race car. He reminds her that she “did the ladle,” and this seems to inspire something deep inside. She succeeds on her third try, and Scott takes off around the track, hoping to make it a full lap in under 48 seconds. He doesn’t.
Meanwhile, Joey is killing his pit time. He manhandles the tire and dominates the challenge. Tara follows Scott on the track and is more than 10 seconds too slow. Brooke and Joey become nervous when Team LoLo arrives, but London has just as much trouble with the tire as Brooke did.
On Scott’s third time around, he finally beats the mark. He and Brooke celebrate on Victory Lane with champagne as I yell at my television for them to “GET BACK IN THE RACE, PEOPLE!”
Tara makes it in her third attempt just as London crushes her tire challenge. Logan takes to the track and defeats the time in two attempts. The underdogs are still in third place, but they are not out of the race.
Everyone heads to Monroe Street Station in downtown Chicago to look for their next clue. Brooke and Scott pass the guy in a construction hat with clearly marked yellow and red stickers. Finally, they figure it out, and he hands them a clue with three riddles, each leading to an iconic city landmark. Players must collect a postcard at each spot.
Brooke and Scott immediately befriend a local who has a smartphone. After a few “Stop yelling at me!” declarations, the stranger helps them figure out the landmarks. They must go to the Chicago Water Tower, Buckingham Fountain, and the Wabash Avenue Bridge. Joey and Tara arrive, immediately find the clue, and then scurry off to strategize while Brooke and Scott stare at a map in the subway.
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Scott figures out a plan while Brooke complains that Mom and Dad are no longer around. I’m sure she would take it all back had she known that her partner was currently helping them get a very big lead over the other players. Scott basically memorized how to get from one location to the other while everyone else had to ask.
Scott and Brooke find their third postcard when Team LoLo finds the subway worker. Tara and Joey hit the wrong tower, and the lead between first place and second just got a lot bigger.
Once you piece all the postcards together, teams can see their next clue, which points them to the City Hall rooftop garden. Michael the city beekeeper (this is a thing?) gladly hands over another piece of route information to a giddy Scott and overtired Brooke. Even though Scott claims, “I CrossFit with a hundred pounds on my back,” Brooke refuses to be treated like an invalid. Then Scott teaches her the correct definition of invalid.
Next up? Wrigleyville Dogs! Scott and Brooke are still in first, the parents are making their way to Michael, and Team LoLo is on a subway for some reason.
Brooke and Scott collect 10 hot dogs from the cart, head to Wrigley Field, and hand their snacks to a bunch of Cubs fans. One guy gives them tickets to Wrigley Field, and the pair head down to the old-fashioned hand-operated scoreboard. Here’s where things get really tricky.
All of the countries the teams have visited are listed on the board. One team member must sit across the field, look through binoculars, and instruct the other team member through a one-way radio on where to put a number which corresponds with how they placed in that particular leg of the race.
Scott is nervous that Brooke is going to lose her mind. Fortunately, she does not. She immediately notices that the countries are in alphabetical order — not the order in which they traveled. She goes down each row, carefully explaining to Scott what she sees on her side, since he can’t see anything from his. That way, if she is wrong, Scott can use hand gestures to let her know that he hears her, but he’s confused by her direction.
It works flawlessly. By the time Scott and Brooke are finished, Tara and Joey arrive at the stadium to deliver their hot dogs. Poor Team LoLo is still trying to find a cab that will take them to the hot dog stand.
An umpire meets Scott and Brooke at home plate. They must solve an equation, using their leg order again, to figure out the aisle number in the stadium that holds their next clue. Section 504 is pretty big, but Brooke finds the card somewhat quickly and nearly faints when she reads that the finish line is their next stop. It’s officially theirs to lose.
While the parents work the board, Team LoLo finds the Cubs fans, and for the second time in one episode, we are treated to the question, “Who wants a wiener?” I laughed. Both times. Minutes later, Tara and Joey finish their board, find their clue in section 534, and head off to Milton Lee Olive Park. Poor London is still trying to figure out the microphone and the binoculars. Bless her heart.
The park isn’t that far away, so there’s no chance Tara and Joey will catch Brooke and Scott. All of the season 29 rejects paint on smiles and haphazardly clap as the winners run into the open arms of Phil. Scott and Brooke, you are one million dollars richer!
Mom and Dad arrive in second place. Tara is very proud of their accomplishment. Team LoLo is third, and Logan is happy that he has a “special relationship with London that will continue into the future.”
They are totally dating.
What did you think about season 29? Were you surprised by the winners? Would you have rather seen the underdogs pull it out at the end? I’m sure that a million dollars would have helped London and Logan plan a stellar wedding.