Thought I would bring this back after the TAR24 finale.
Despite the horrid (but very deserving) winners, it's evident that the leg was designed to keep teams close together since in recent seasons, teams drift apart from the beginning and the winner is determined early on. I think this finale was designed to rule out any chance of big gaps between teams (which is what we wanted), and it seems as though not many of us were fans of TAR24's Las Vegas ending? I admire that the producers have taken our advice, but thinking of it now, is it really worth the linear challenges to have a tight finish? Keep in mind when these legs are designed, the outcome is not designed as well, it's all luck and chance.
I think the David Copperfield challenge was a nice touch (and probably required a lot of organising) but it wasn't all that challenging, I think it was more for the entertainment factor but fair enough because the show needs as many viewers as possible! I thought the Neon Boneyard was a SUPER cool location and wish they had a challenge there! I thought the light bulb challenge was great - it looked easy on TV, but being that high up in the air, doing a challenge that hasn't really been done before and having to count along the way? Sounds meh, but considering challenges we've had in recent finales, I thought it was stellar. Of course the skydiving wasn't the best way to end a race, since no one had a significant fear of heights, but you've got to cut the producers some slack for trying something new?!
Overall, it wasn't the best finale, but applaud the producers for trying something different/taking our advice.
As great as it is having an EXCITING, TENSE finale, I believe that difficult challenges truly determine who deserves to win the race. TAR12, TAR13 and TAR14 were the first seasons to go to a final city without stopping over somewhere before, and these were probably the best finales I've ever seen. Having a Detour in the final leg is worth it. The finals in recent seasons are all so linear, and don't really ask teams to make any game-changing decisions.
TAR12 - Detour was awesome (not easy, but not extremely difficult), the glacier tasks were linear (I think every finale needs a touch of adventure of adrenalin rush), but I thought that was good because it kept momentum flowing without splitting the teams up too far apart. The final Roadblock (which I believe should always be a memory challenge) was an actual ROADBLOCK. Even though it determined who went on to win, it was an actual challenge (best memory challenge ever) and the best team was rewarded. From the final challenge onwards, I don't care who wins the race.
TAR13 - started with a Detour, the zip line was a good 'adventure' touch, then the difficult memory challenge (would've preferred it at the end) and Nick & Starr stayed at the top and went on to win, fair enough. But the 'treasure hunt' style clues in Portland were a cool addition to a final leg, just not positioned in the best possible spot. Still a good finale regardless!
TAR14 - Detour (unaired, but we saw one side of it, the linear jet-ski challenge (a little bit of luck and some good adventure shots) and then a difficult Roadblock and the best team came out on top, yet again.
These 3 finales were so well constructed and the format of having a Detour, a miscellaneous then a difficult Roadblock worked REALLY well. As long as 1 challenge is a bit of an adrenalin rush, 1 challenge requires memory and a few cryptic (but not 'The Dump' cryptic) clues are added in, you've got the recipe for a great ending! Who cares if there isn't a footrace to the finish?!
My favourite finale though would have to be TAR21
. NYC is obviously a great location (although I'm not too fussed about finale locations). The Coney Island clue was a good starter, then the Houdini Roadblock was that adrenalin rush challenge that we needed (wooo). The pizza delivery required some skill although it was linear, it was a good way to keep the finale moving. Then FINALLY a difficult MEMORY Roadblock which determined an outcome!
TAR24 was probably the weakest season overall, not just the final leg. I am hoping (but not expecting) big things from TAR25