Eleven legs ago, eleven All-Star teams set off from UCLA in Los Angeles, California, on a race around the world for a second (or, in some cases, third) chance for one-million dollars. Each team, save for one, had appeared with their old partners. And they faced many Detours, Roadblocks, regular tasks, Speed Bumps, U-Turns, and Pit Stops along the way. And as the race went on, eight teams fell by the wayside and were eliminated -- Natalie and Nadiya, Mark and Mallory, Joey and Meghan, Margie and Luke, Jessica and John, Flight Time and Big Easy, Jet and Cord, and Leo and Jamal. This left the final three teams who'd be racing for the million dollars -- newlyweds Brendon and Rachel, country singers Caroline and Jennifer, and father and son Dave and Connor. All would be competing on the twelfth and final leg of the race.
The season finale of The Amazing Race was very exciting and very thrilling. It began with the final three teams, fresh off Leo and Jamal's long-awaited elimination, continuing on with the race, now starting from Wales, and setting off for their final destination city, Las Vegas, Nevada! It was the final leg, and all three teams were ready for it! Dave and Connor were hoping to redeem themselves after Dave had ruptured his Achilles' tendon. But at the same time, they really wanted Caroline and Jennifer to win, too, if they didn't. Caroline and Jennifer wanted to win the final leg after not winning any prior ones. And Brendon and Rachel felt like they'd have an advantage since Rachel lived in Vegas, and they were glad to be the first full team to make the final three twice (after Eric Sanchez from seasons nine and eleven became the first individual racer to make the final three twice). All three teams caught the same flight to Vegas.
The teams' first task was getting a ride in a Ford Explorer. Then, they were taken out to the desert at night (the show's first nighttime finale!), where they were told to start digging for something, anything. Brendon and Rachel purposely threw the dirt they dug at Dave and Connor and Caroline and Jennifer during the dig. It turned out that each team had to dig up a box telling them to deliver it to David Copperfield. They also had to find a way to open their boxes before arriving back in Vegas. The box contained a ring of keys.
The teams then headed to the MGM Hotel, where they met with Copperfield. They were tasked with a Roadblock, which saw one member of each team being locked in a wooden crate. They'd have to find one key out of several that'd help them break out of the crate and reunite with their partners. Connor, Jennifer, and Rachel all took the task for their teams. Dave, Caroline, and Brendon were all taken blindfolded over to watch. The three Roadblockers had to unlock all four legs binding them, then pick locks by hand. Connor blew through it, but Caroline and Rachel struggled a bit. Still, all three were okay. Their teammates were thought to have been burnt up in crates, but were actually in firefighter costumes.
The teams' next stop was to the Neon Boneyard Park, where several neon signs were taken when they'd fallen to having very limited use. From there, they'd have to take a light bulb from a large question mark sign and take it to the Mirage Hotel. Caroline and Jennifer were the last team to get to the Neon Boneyard Park, but due to bad navigation from Dave and Connor's cab driver and plain slowness and incompetence from Brendon and Rachel's cab driver, they reached it first. There, the teams were tasked with boarding a window wiper scaffold and riding it up to the neon lights of the Mirage Hotel. From there, they'd screw in as many light bulbs as possible and count them as they did so. The correct number was 241, and Dave and Connor missed it, only saying 240 the first time before getting it right the second. Caroline and Jennifer and Brendon and Rachel, on the other hand, got it right the first time. But Brendon and Rachel were greatly slowed down by misreading their clue and searching the entire lobby of the hotel before realizing they just needed to find their clue at the entrance.
The next stop was a taxi ride to a heliport in Henderson, Nevada. There, the teams were tasked with the final Roadblock of the race. This tasked one member of each team with going up in a helicopter, flying around Vegas, and looking for a flashing marquee detailing the location of the finish line, Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Then, if they got it right, they'd skydive down to rejoin their teammates, who'd already been taken to the finish line. Because their respective partners had done the first Roadblock of the final leg, Dave, Caroline, and Brendon all took the task for their teams.
In the end, it all came down to the two teams from season twenty-two, Dave and Connor and Caroline and Jennifer. And surprisingly, they were separated by only minutes. (Or so it looked by the editing, at least.) It came down to who'd land first between Dave and Caroline. In the end . . . Dave landed first! So he and Connor ran up to the finish line and jumped onto it! So after nine countries, twenty-two cities, and over 23,000 miles, Dave and Connor were the official winner of The Amazing Race and had won the one-million-dollar prize! And even better, Dave was the oldest winner of the race at age sixty! And best of all, they were finally, after twenty-four seasons, the first parent/child team to win, after Ronald and Christina, Margie and Luke, and Gary and Mallory had all come so close in the twelfth, fourteenth, and eighteenth seasons, respectively! Both were really proud of themselves and truly did think that they'd gained their redemption after having to self-eliminate in season twenty-two. They thought it was an amazing accomplishment for both of them. Caroline landed minutes after Dave, and she and Jennifer ran to the finish line to finish second, bummed to have lost, but happy that Dave and Connor had won if they couldn't. They were glad to have shown everyone who didn't think they should've returned that they did in fact deserve to race with the elites. Brendon and Rachel, due to their incompetent cab driver and slip-up at the Mirage, were left to finish third . . . again, after finishing there in season twenty, as well. So with that, the race was over.
I'll start with the third-place-finishers. I hated Brendon and Rachel from Big Brother. And I'm not surprised that that hate continued into both of their Amazing Race appearances. They were annoying, whiny, and entitled. Especially Rachel, though Brendon was no prize himself. And all of their talk about getting a baby if they won had me especially rooting for their lost. And I'm glad that that happened. And it was their own fault, too! Even better! So long, Brendon and Rachel! Glad you both lost, and I hope you two never come back again!
Now for the second-place-finishers. I loved Caroline and Jennifer back in season twenty-two, and I love them now. They really had an uphill battle to get all the way to the end of the race after just missing it last time. While they were great at the physical aspect of the race and just okay with the mental aspect, they really excelled at the social aspect. And it did them well to get one of the Express Passes early on and get other teams falling over themselves to help them out, especially Dave and Connor and Leo and Jamal. I think if they'd figured out how to open up their keys a bit faster and hadn't slowed down at screwing in their lights, and maybe Caroline had seen the sign from the air sooner, they probably would've won and become the third winning women's team in the show's history. Still, good show, Caroline and Jennifer! Good that you made it to the end, good that you became the ninth women's team to reach the final leg (following Mona and Beth from season twenty-two, your first season, Kisha and Jen from season eighteen, both Brook and Claire and Nat and Kat from season seventeen, Jaime and Cara from season fourteen, both Charla and Mirna and Dustin and Kandice from season eleven, and Lyn and Karlyn from season ten), and good luck in your country singing career!
And now for the winners. I loved Dave and Connor in their first season and was very sad when they had to drop out. So I was happy to see them get a second chance to show how far they could've made it if not for Dave's accident. And sure enough, they did! They made the final three, were consistent racers in doing so, and just dominated the race! They dropped the hammer and just killed the final leg! Connor obviously did all the heavy lifting, but Dave earned his keep, too. Don't let his age fool you. They were both just on throughout the race! Their history-making win -- becoming the first parent/child team to win and Dave being the oldest winner since Chip McAllister won with his wife, Kim, in season five, at age forty-six -- was well-deserved, and I'm very happy that they accomplished it! Congratulations, Dave and Connor! A well-deserved win!
In other news, I'm glad that, in a season where six teams I loved were the first six teams to fall, four men's teams lasted to the final six (though I loved one of them), and the only three teams I hated all made the final five before two of them finally fell, the top two ended up being the last two teams I truly loved. That was the big saving grace of this season's elimination order. At least for me.
Once more, the teams finished the final leg in the following order:
#1. Dave and Connor (Prize: $1,000,000)
#2. Caroline and Jennifer
#3. Brendon and Rachel
And so, the sun sets on The Amazing Race 24: All-Stars 2. We've had a decent cast, a mediocre route, great tasks, a good final three, and very deserving, history-making winners in Dave and Connor! Will The Amazing Race 25 be just as good when it starts this September? We'll see then!