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Season 17
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Bonds will be forged, tested, and strained, as eleven teams of two, joined by family or relationship, follow a path of twists and turns in a frenetic race around the world for $1 million.

Who will be the first to cross the finish line?


Recaps by Chico Alexander & Chris Wolvie, GSNN

 
Host Phil Keoghan
Creator Bertram van Munster
Elise Doganieri
EP Jerry Bruckheimer
Bertram van Munster
Jonathan Littman
Elise Doganieri
Mark Vertullo
Packager Jerry Bruckheimer TV
Worldrace Productions
Amazing Race Productions
CBS Television Studios
ABC Studios
Web www.cbs.com/amazingrace
Airs 8p Sun, CBS
Available
ONLINE
 
 

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Hi. I'm Sorry. I'm In A Race
December 12

The Racers went from Hong Kong to the heart of Seoul, South Korea. They invaded the DMZ and checked out some tae kwon do, they ice-skated around a short-track...and, in the end, the three teams heading back to the U.S. of A. and a possible million bucks are Jill & Thomas (Team No I'M Right), Brook & Claire (Team HSN) and Nat & Kat (The Rhyming Docs). Nick & Vicki (Team Ick), who had to deal with a SPEED BUMP and a six-hour penalty, just could not make up the lost time and were sent home before anyone else. This means there is a 67% chance of the first-ever all-female team to win The Amazing Race!

PIT STOP
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA
TEMPLE OF HEAVEN
0357 LOCAL TIME

At the monument to Korea's only emperor, the final Leg begins. Jill & Thomas are the first to crack open their first clue...after a little kiss, that is:

ROUTE INFO

FLY TO YOUR FINAL DESTINATION CITY: LOS ANGELES!

Fly over 6000 miles to Los Angeles, California, USA. Upon arriving, head for the Port of Long Beach and find Pier J. Search there for your next clue.

You have $400 for this Leg of the Race.

The other teams' depart times (local time) are:

Brook & Claire: 0423
Nat & Kat: 0427

All six remaining Racers take taxis to the airport...but only the Docs use the cabbie's cell phone to call a travel agency and look into flights.

INCHEON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA

Despite the call, all three teams end up at the Korean Air ticketing booth, awaiting its opening. And, when it opens at 6:30am, they all end up on the same flight. So the Great Equalizer strikes on last time and it'll be neck-and-neck-and-neck upon arrival at....

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, USA

(And I dunno how much CBS paid for use of Katy Perry's "California Gurls" to set up this Leg...but I think it was a bit much. But I digress...)

Upon arrival at the famed "LAX", the Racers act like most people coming home from a long trip; pushing and shoving and yelling into the terminal just wanting the trip to be over with! Nat & Kat are the first to find a cab and head out, with Jill & Thomas a close second and Brook & Claire (cheetah pants and all) bringing up the rear. It's the usual "Cannonball Run"-esque driving sequence for the 100 miles from airport to seaport but, shocking, very little traffic keeps the pecking order the same

PORT OF LONG BEACH
LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA, USA

At the second busiest container seaport in the US (one in Newark, NJ is the busiest), Team Rhyming Docs arrive at Pier J...and Nat freaks at the high cranes, hoping they're not part of the next task. The clue box awaits them and the clue within says:

ROUTE INFO

WELCOME TO THE DROP ZONE!

Go to the top of the Crane #22 (via a tiny elevator). Get your next clue from the Foreman (at the end of the arm). Then, there's only one way down: a bungee swing 150 feet to the water below. Once you're lowered to safety and climb back to the pier, you may open your next clue.

Yikes, thinks Nat the acrophobic; not even the gondola trip in Scandinavia has changed her mind about heights. But Kat keeps her calm...relatively, anyway. As Nat sweats and she and Kat start the ride up, the two other teams arrive one behind the other. Kat is ready to go,...but Nat is shaking in her boots as Team No I'M Right get suited up. Nat SLOWLY gets in position...and Kat holds her hold hand as they drop. It was the scariest thing Nat's ever done...and she swears NEVER to do it again! The team gets lowered to an AquaGlide plastic raft and brought to the pier. As Jill & Thomas drop, the Docs arrive back on Concreta Firma and open their next clue:

ROUTE INFO

BEAT THE HIGHWAY TRAFFIC; GIT TO ZE CHOPPA!

Tell your cab driver to head for the nearby helipad. From there, you will take a helicopter to a SURPRISE DESTINATION! You'll receive your next clue upon arrival.

As they head off and the only male-female couple get ferried to the pier, Team HSN drop...and Brook doesn't like free-falling one bit...and screams to high heaven! Jill & Thomas take off...Brook nearly drops in her pants as they hit the raft...and she and Claire are third to depart.

Each team get their own whirlybird at the helipad (which Nat can't POSSIBLY be thrilled with) and, about five minutes apart from each other, the choppers take off to (surprise, surprise)...

ROSE BOWL
PASADENA
, CALIFORNIA, USA

(And the faux "Ride of the Valkyries" for the copter ride is MUCH better, CBS! I'm sure the Racers LOVE the smell of a million bucks in the morning. Smells like...victory!)

At the home of the "Granddaddy of All College Bowls" (and the UCLA Bruins), the chopper carrying Nat & Kat arrives first at the empty parking lot. They find not just the clue box but stickers with "A", "B" and "C" on it. They rip off the "A" before delving into the clue box and finding their final....

ROADBLOCK

WHO'S BRIGHT ENOUGH TO FLOAT?

The Tournament of Roses Parade has been a New Year's Day tradition in Pasadena for over 100 years. One of you will take a small part in the tradition. Head over to the parade float (the OFFICIAL float of the Tournament of Roses Organization to be paraded in the 2011 parade) and go to the three sections of the float marked by the letter you've picked, which you will then decorate. Follow the instructions of the Floral Director in charge of each section and, when the section has been deemed satisfactory by said Director, Courtney Chou Lee - the 2009 Queen of the Tournament of Roses - will hand you your next clue.

It's Nat's turn to do this ROADBLOCK. She sees that the first "A" section is being covered with mums by the director so she grabs the mums bucket marked "A" and starts doing the same to her first section. As she nears completion, Team No I'M Right land and head to the box. They choose "B" and Thomas for the task. As Nat finishes the mums, the next section has her assembling roses and inserting them in the appropriate section. And Jill...is starting to have second thoughts about Thomas doing this ROADBLOCK since, by his OWN admission, he's not very "crafty". Still, he sticks to it in hopes it's easy enough.

Brook & Claire are happy to see the Rose Bowl (they're LA natives, after all) and they see the float and teams working on it. As Thomas finish the first section and Nat neared the end of the second, Team HSN landed and chose Brook to do the task...and she couldn't be happier. As she starts, Nat starts part three: decorating a large pink rose for the front of the float with daisy petals.

The flower arranging continues until Nat asks the director for a look-see of approval. The director looks at the sections carefully...and tells Nat that the yellow and white roses are NOT done correctly. Ut-oh...she forgot to fill the rose container with water (which, mind you, Thomas got off the bat). As she goes to correct, Thomas is nearly finished with that section and Brook finishes the first part. All three war at the roses (ugh...lousy pun), but...Nat fills the containers first and gets the nod by the Director. The Docs are STILL in the lead as the Rose Queen of two years prior hands them...this rather omnious clue:

ROUTE INFO

COMPLETE THE WORD PUZZLE BELOW!

1. I am Sancho Panza's master.

2. I am the place to hear The Symphony in the Glen.

3. Monroe's Year of the Itch.

These clues, once worked out, will lead you to your next location and your next clue.

Nat & Kat depart as Thomas finishes the second step and Brook nears that step's completion. The Docs look for cabbies with phones with Web access to figure out the clues and also ask the cabbies themselves...to no avail. As they keep trying, Thomas asks for approval...and gets it! he and Jill depart second and, as they head out, Nat & Kat decide to just take the cab and call information to work out the clue. Brook is left behind, of course, but still smiling. Neither cabbed teams can get ANY information...and Nat's 411 operator is ready to hang up on them. Brook finishes and gets the thumbs up from the director, leaving the ROADBLOCK in last with Claire.

The Docs find out that Sancho Panza's master was Don Quixote...while Team No I'M Right get into a verbal argument with their cabbie about finding someone with internet access. As Team HSN work on the clue, Nat & Kat find out that the clue means "Quixote Studios" (the primary filming location for the CBS drama "Criminal Minds"...how conVENient) and heads off. Team HSN asks the cabbie to find a hotel with net access...and Thomas can't get SQUAT out of his cabbie, not even a cell phone.

QUIXOTE STUDIOS
LOS ANGELES
, CALIFORNIA, USA

Once at the studios, Nat & Kat figure out that they would listen to a symphony on a sound stage and that the third clue is about MARILYN Monroe's film "The SEVEN Year Itch"...so, they head to the Studios' Sound Stage 7 and, lo and behold, they find the clue box:

ROUTE INFO

THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT!

It's time for the game show within the reality show: WHO'S IN THE HAT?! Inside the studio is a large screen made up of 48 monitors. All 48 have people wearing hats on them, but only 11 of them have pictures of official Leg-ending greeters during this Race. Using a touchpad in front of a small monitor, you must find the numbers of the greeters and put them in the order in which you meet them on the Race. Once you do that, head for legendary game show host Bob Eubanks (of CBS' version of "Card Sharks" in the 80s and the syndicated "Newlywed Game" in the 70s and 80s), who will hand you the prize chosen just for you: the next clue.

The girls enter the stage and are greeted by Mr. Eubanks, who directs them to their station. The monitors flicker the people in the hats and shuffle them every so often. Fortunately, the numbers for each person stays the same. The ladies take it Leg by Leg. They remember the first stop was Eastnor, England (the greeter had a knight's helmet on) and starts looking for the greeter. They think it's #27 and set it up. The other greeters they're looking for:

Leg 2: Accra, Ghana market (woman balancing fish in bucket); #6
Leg 3: Accra, Ghana house (woman with scarf wrap); #31
Leg 4: Sweden/Norway border (woman in tall cap); #29
Leg 5: Narvik, Norway (man in sailor cap); #45
Leg 6: St. Petersburg, Russia cathedral (man in tri-cornered hat); #10
Leg 7: St. Petersburg, Russia fortress (man in Russian army hat); #8
Leg 8: Muscat, Oman (man in turban); #43
Leg 9: Dhaka, Bangladesh (man with tall turban); #34
Leg 10: Hong Kong, China (woman in traditional Chinese headdress); #13

Leg 11: Seoul, South Korea (man in "Asian sombrero"); #38

It takes some time to get to the second one, but they chose #31...but then they remember about the market and that #31 welcomed them at a house. So they move #1 to Leg 3 and pick #29 for Leg 2 (which is wrong).

Meanwhile, Team HSN have figured it out and hops a cab to the Studios. As for Jill & Thomas...well, their plans of foiling history are apparently foiled because they leave their cabbie and look for a place to access the internet.

Back at WHO'S IN THE HAT?, team Rhyming Docs have the notebook out, telling them everything about the places they've been during the Race. This helps them find a few others...including fixing the Leg 2 one to the correct one. They get hung up on Leg 6 but remain calm. As Brooke & Claire continue to the studios and Jill & Thomas start to freak, Nat & Kat put in their Leg 8 pick...and get the confirmation that they are RIGHT!

Like a game show contestant with a million-dollar parting gift, the Docs run into Mr. Eubanks' arms and scream in joy as he gives them their next clue.

ROUTE INFO

MAKE YOUR WAY TO THE FINISH LINE!!

Travel by taxi to Greystone Mansion, a Tudor-style mansion in Beverly Hills.

The first team to check-in...wins ONE MILLION DOLLARS!!

THIS IS IT! GO! GO! GO!

Nat & Kat depart, confident they'll win. A few minutes later, Team HSN arrive...and it's a major OMFG moment for the girls as they meet their idol, Mr. Eubanks. They're lead to THEIR station and get to work. They're a LITTLE more hectic than the other girls...which is understandable with a million on the line. The Docs get stuck in midtown traffic...and Brook & Claire are down to the last picture. Once they slip #29 in, it's confirmed right and they leave in second (without even a kiss to Bob in thanks).

It appears that Team No I'M RIGHT has FINALLY found their destination and are being cabbed to it...but all the wind seems to be out of their sails. The cabbies in the US created a bigger "language barrier" than all the others in all the countries they had visited. Still, Thomas is determined to see this Race to its end...even if Jill has to be dragged along to do it.

Traffic issues for Nat & Kat...questions about if the cabbie knows where they're going for Brook & Claire. Beverly Hills...that's where we ALL want to be. But even moreso do these four women. Nearly 3000 miles from where they started their circumnavigation of the globe, their quest to be the first all-female team to win the Race is about to end.

FINISH LINE!!
GREYSTONE MANSION
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA, USA

We all know the drill...and there are the eight teams who couldn't cut the mustard during the trip around the globe. Ron & Tony (Team LA Thespians, 11th), Andie & Jenna (Team Biologicals, 10th), Connor & Jonathon (Team Glee, 9th), Katie & Rachel (Jersey Shore Spikers, 8th), Michael & Kevin (WuTubers, 7th), Gary & Mallory (Miss Kentucky and Dad, 6th), Chad & Stephanie (Team Very-Recently-Engaged, 5th) and Nick & Vicki (Team Ick, 4th) stand alongside the garden grass leading to Phil Keoghan on the huge red mat. The teams applaud as two women run past them and stomp on the mat, excited as ever. Then Phil says those beautiful, beautiful words:

"Four continents, thirty cities, 32,000 miles...Nat & Kat, you have made Amazing Race history as the first all-female team to win the Amazing Race!!" And their prize? One MMMMMILLION dollars!!.

Their bond has been strengthened over the last few weeks of hectic Racing. And Nat proved that even a Type I diabetic can be active and Race...and win!

Ah,...and here come the first losers...er, I mean, the second place team. Brook & Claire are officially made Team #2 at the end and hug the winners and then each other. They literally "laughed around the world", brought the world "Brook & Claire Flair" and proved you can be strong and yet feminine.

Dunno if Jill & Thomas had to do the game show or not...but the next pictures we see are of them jogging up to the mat and hugging the other teams before being officially given the bronze medal. They may have goofed this final Leg, but they ran a great Race overall and they were happy to make it to the end.

Everyone joins the three teams to congratulate them, some expounding on how the Race strengthened their connections with their partners. But, now, the typical ending shot. All teams facing front and applauding...final words from Nat & Kat...sneak preview of Race #18, which is another "All-Stars" Race in HD called "Unfinished Business" (which I'll be doing solo starting February 20 and I'm sure Chico is happy to know)...aaaaaand CUT!

ROUTE INFO

AFTER LEG 12: SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA to BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA, USA (FINAL STANDINGS)

GOLD) Nat & Kat (+2) - Belize, Costa Rica, $5000, Rio, MILLION DOLLARS
SILVER) Brook & Claire (EVEN) - Hawai'i
BRONZE) Jill & Thomas (-2) - Express Pass [USED], Brazil, $15K Discover Card, Argentina

To see this episode in its entirety, or to apply to be a contestant on "The Amazing Race", visit the official website at www.cbs.com/amazingrace