And here's our first shot of the previously Philiminated racers, standing and applauding in anticipation along one side of the path to the giant finish line mat, where Phil is waiting patiently. There's Flight Time and Big Easy, and Zev and Justin. Aw, Zev and Justin. A minivan taxi pulls into a driveway, and it's not Meghan and Cheyne's. But when two people run into view on foot, it is in fact Meghan and Cheyne. Surprise! Not. [Mika and Canaan, Lance and Keri. Gary and Matt. Flight Time and Big Easy again]. They sprint all the way to the mat, dropping into single file so they can both high-five everyone as they run past, and nearly tackling Phil in a hug [Maria and Tiffany]. Phil gives his standard welcome speech: "Eight countries, twenty-one days, more than twenty-five thousand miles racing around the world. Meghan and Cheyne, you are the official winners of The Amazing Race!" They hug happily [Marcy and Ron, Canaan again], and Cheyne actually asks, "For real, bro?" Yes, they won the million dollars. For real. "Oh, my god, it's not real!" Meghan cries, because she's just not listening. As the chaos dies down a bit, Phil asks her to "talk about where you've come from." She says it's been a learning experience, and calls it "so neat." "I don't know what to say, I can't feel my body," she finishes. Don't worry, where I'm watching this, other people will be lining up to do just that later in the evening. Cheyne says, "She was one of the strongest competitors in the race, even compared to the guys. She raced with the best of them." Can't argue with that, other than the mildly sexist part. He interviews how proud he is of her. "She really gave it her all. She's an amazingly strong and intelligent woman and I'm so happy she's mine."
Here come Sam and Dan, high-fiving everyone and hugging Meghan and Cheyne on the mat. Phil tells them they're the second team. "Congratulations, well deserved." That could mean one of two things, actually. He adds that it was very close. "I'm never going to a casino again! Ever, ever!" Dan announces. Everyone laughs. He says they did what they came to do, and Phil comments on their "good screaming matches." Sam cops to it, but says, "we're still brothers, we still love each other, we still want to hang out the next day." Tiffany's in tears watching, because she lurves them. Sam adds, "You know you have a great family whenever you look up to your younger brother." Well, as mentioned earlier, Dan is taller.
Finally, up come Brian and Ericka, whether they got to meet Mr. Las Vegas or not (I have since read that they did). They reach the mat, and Phil tells them they're the third team to arrive. "What?!" Brian asks in mock-shock, looking at the other two teams standing on the mat with him. Good one. They're just happy to be there at this point. Phil asks Ericka what her family will think of Brian now. She starts to talk, but seeing that Brian's getting emotional, pauses to tell him, "Oh God, don't! Not right now." But it's too late; she saw it. She gets choked up herself as she says they'll see sides of Brian they haven't seen before, and hopes they'll accept him for who he is. She speechifies, "I think it's really important that people just step back and evaluate the character of a person as opposed to what's face value. What's on the exterior. It means nothing in comparison to who that person really is." Way to call your mom a shallow racist on TV, Ericka. She says she's grateful to have had him to do it with, and in her life to learn from. He kisses her on the head, as he does. They weren't perfect, by any means, but I'm glad they made it.