The first leg of tonight's two-leg finale begins with the four remaining teams blowing Mallorca for Barcelona and taking a train to France's Loire Valley, where they'll be facing a volley of châteaus. On board the train, Josh & Brent overhear the other three teams talking about their alliance -- and specifically, the twins talking smack about how the Beekmans have been "coasting" -- and realize the group dynamic isn't quite what they thought. And that's what the eleventh leg ends up being about, rather than the actual tasks.
But I'll go over them anyway. In France, the teams discover this leg will be a commercial for the all-new Ford Escape, which they drive to the first château. This is the location of Natalie and Nadiya's Speed Bump, in which they have to lace a lady into a corset. But first there's some pretty ugly and open sniping between them and the goat farmers (okay, between them and Brent). The other three teams, following Josh & Brent's lead, proceed to the next château, which happens to be the final resting place of Leonardo da Vinci. From there, they head to an estate four a Detour where they have to either till a small field with a horse-drawn plow or cut up raw meat to feed to a giant pack of hunting dogs. The Chippendales opt for the former and Trey & Lexi decide to go with that one as well after a bit of vacillating, which leaves the twins and the goat farmers working side by side at the dog-feeding Detour and all the tedious arguing that results from that. Josh & Brent turn that to their advantage though, and beat the twins out of there by a fair margin. Though they're still not as quick as the teams who did the plowing Detour.
From there, they go to an underground mushroom farm that occupies the tunnels left by the excavation of the limestone used to build all the châteaus that are all over the place. This is the site of a Roadblock where Lexi and Jaymes -- and then Brent and Natalie -- have to search the subterranean maze to collect certain, very specific types of mushrooms. Jaymes doesn't get it right on the first try, but Lexi does, so she and Trey are the first team to leave for the Pit Stop. But they go to the wrong place at first, which means the Chippendales win the leg, as well as an all-new Ford Escape each. Trey & Lexi come in second, leaving the twins and the Beekmans to battle for the last spot in the final three. The twins are the next to finish the Roadblock, but they also get more lost, so Josh & Brent will be joining Jaymes & James and Trey & Lexi in the twelfth and final leg. Much good may it do them.
The last leg takes the teams to New York City, where a well-hidden clue on a Houdini poster at the Coney Island Boardwalk ends up putting Jaymes & James in last place, while the other two teams proceed to a Navy Yard for another Roadblock. In the tradition of Houdini -- and also of tonight's theme of Escape -- Trey (and then Brent and Jaymes) are dangled fifteen stories in the air while wearing a straitjacket that they have to free themselves from before enduring a surprise bungee drop -- although it's really only a surprise for Trey. Jaymes narrows the gap by doing this quickly, but cab troubles mean he and James are far behind by the time the other teams get to the next destination: Lombardi's Pizza in Little Italy, where each team has to memorize a different order of pizzas for three different addresses and deliver them on foot. Trey & Lexi pull that off well, but Josh & Brent mess it up, for which Brent totally blames Josh, so they have to redo two of the deliveries allowing the Chippendales to narrow the gap again.
The next destination is the United Nations building, where a double Roadblock reveals why we've been getting language lessons from the greeters at every Pit Stop: they have to use flags to match all the different hellos and goodbyes they heard with the countries they visited. Lexi, Josh and James take this on, of course, and after the French and Spanish ones are taken care of it becomes a matter of trial and error. And, in Lexi's case, accidentally braining herself with one of the flag holders. This final challenge ends up taking literally hours, but Josh finishes first, by one flag. Now they have to find Gotham Hall and Jaymes & James aren't far behind. It's a two-taxi race to the Finish Line and holy crap… before you know it Josh & Brent have won the Amazing Race. Jaymes & James come in second, to Jaymes's visible disappointment, and Lexi manages to overcome her frustration to bring Team Austin in third, so now she can focus on pressuring Trey into proposing. So the final message is to never quit no matter what and that sometimes nice guys finish first. And so did Brent.
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Extra-long, end-of-season previouslies, reintroducing us to the final four teams. Which I never get, because nobody who doesn't know what's happened already is going to care what happens in tonight's two-hour finale. There may even be those who do know but don't care.
Phil's onscreen this evening to welcome us back to the giant circular castle that overlooks Palma, the capital city of the Spanish island of Mallorca. He's even got his Twitter handle up there under his face; it's @PhilKeoghan, oddly enough. So here we are at the start of the eleventh leg. Trey & Lexi won the previous leg, their third, so they get to leave first, at 9:32 AM. Believe it or not, it's a sunny morning in Mallorca. As they open and read their clue, Phil explains that they'll have to fly back to Barcelona, Spain, then take a train to France's Loire Valley. I guess they couldn't travel the whole way back by rail from the island, which is kind of a shame. Their next clue will be waiting for them in France, stuck under the windshield wiper of "an all-new Ford Escape," of which there is a small fleet parked telegenically outside the train station. Trey reminds us that they have an "alliance" with Jaymes & James and Natalie & Nadiya (in other words, two of the other three remaining teams), but this is for a million dollars. "So we're gonna do whatever it takes to get to that final three." At some later point, I assume he means. For now, they get into a taxi minivan and head to the airport. And Lexi seems somewhat pleased to be finally going to France, even if it's two legs later than she thought, and not Paris, and she's actually pretty exhausted by now.
Jaymes & James begin their leg at 9:46 AM, and are happy to learn they're getting $525 for this leg of the race. Well, international train tickets aren't cheap. Or maybe they are, I actually have no idea. In their pre-leg interview, they talk about how they struggled a bit early on, but Jaymes reminds us of his powerful motivation to win the money, viz., his father who's both fighting cancer and working more than full time. And let's not continue to forget James; he wants to be able to take care of his mom, who has spent her life caring for special needs kids. So you're either rooting for the Chippendales or you're rooting for childhood illness and cancer. I don't know how you can live with yourself.
Even though we all remember how last week's episode ended, it's still a bit jarring to see Josh & Brent starting a leg this early in the episode, namely in third place at 10:27 AM. They're glad to be headed to France, not least because Josh speaks French. In their pre-leg interview, Josh admits that making it to the final three would blow their minds as much as everybody else's. Well, except Brent's, maybe. He seems to be under an illusion Josh doesn't share, namely that they have a chance in hell of winning this thing.