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Tim Willson

The Amazing Race 9

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I don't mind seeing the hippies win. They certainly were enthusiastic and seemed to appreciate the opportunity to be in the race.

This was a very enjoyable episode overall. The Japan vistas, both of downtown Tokyo and of the countryside, were striking. And the snowy Alaskan landscape had a chilling beauty.

I thought the final roadblock was pretty clever, causing the teams to rely on brains instead of brawn. It was pretty tense at the end with the Hippies and Eric/Jeremy going head to head for the million dollars. I thought it was funny to find out that the Frat Boys weren't frat boys after all; they're college dropouts. Which does explain some of their behavior and comments during the race.

Too bad for Ray and Yolanda though. The race kept giving them chances to keep up through all the bunching, but they kept falling behind.

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A great final episode - best of this race, and happy to see the hippies win! Part way through I realized just how much they added to the show this time around -- yes, way too campy at times, but I don't ever recall another team that has worked as hard at soaking in the local cultures. If I recall correctly, in every country they visited I heard them thank the locals in the local language. A small thing, to learn a simple phrase in another language, but it says a lot.

I believe this is the second time that TAR organizers have used flags as the final roadblock (plus the time they had a map puzzle) -- and again I think it shows that the hippies honored the countries they visited with attentiveness and appreciation. Good on them.

I had to shake my head at Ray and Yolanda -- a cocky bit of bravado to start the final leg ("we are the best"), followed by the most hapless saunter to the finish line I've ever seen. The shot of him crawling around his car looking for the toll slip said it all. Yes, the frat boys were very, very strong through the race, and I disliked them less as the race went on... but I was still happy for BJ and Tyler.

Biggest surprise? There is a daily flight from Tapei to Anchorage! What is that all about??!

(Best bit of luck? The Edmonton Oilers advanced in the Stanley Cup finals with a 2-0 win that ended a few minutes before the finale began -- no need to keep switching channels to keep an eye on both!)

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Biggest surprise? There is a daily flight from Tapei to Anchorage! What is that all about??!

I thought it was a flight to Seattle, and then to Anchorage.

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No, I'm sure the CGI map showed the various flights to Tapei, then a single flight to Anchorage. The connection through Seattle was the NWA flight that the hippies found online but didn't end up using.

Just checked on Expedia, and while there aren't daily flights, there is a direct Taipei - Anchorage flight on Wednesdays.

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It was an enjoyable last leg, and even though the team I liked least won it, they did so in a challenge that played to their strengths, and was a fun one to watch. I was satisfied.

Ray and Yolanda couldn't find their rear ends with both hands, apparently, last night. Sigh. But they were fun.

A good end to a good Race.

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