Things get tense early on, beginning with the line for tickets to the final destination of San Francisco. Dan and Jordan jump ahead of the Cowboys, and then manage to get upgraded to First Class in midair. They hold onto their lead as Dan climbs the Coit Tower, but Brent and Caite are losing it as a result of still dealing with a language barrier even back in the States. After the ascent, it's off to Industrial Light and Magic, where partners have to guide each other through a virtual Star Wars world. The technology holds up, but the teams find it challenging, and the brothers are still in first place all the way to the Tonga tiki bar, where they have to pick up a steamer trunk to deliver to the Great American Music Hall. Brent and Caite narrow their lag, but it widens again when they forget their Amazing Purse. The Great American Music Hall proves to be the venue for the final memory challenge. Dan and Jordan nail that, then quickly figure out that the finish line is Candlestick Park. And they end up winning it all, believe it or not. The Cowboys come in a close second, and Brent and Caite arrive in third, which is not too late for her to get in a pissing match with Brandy on the Giant Mat. Classy finish, there.
I'm considering launching a feud against Andy Rooney. You guys got my back, right?
Once again, we start out in Shanghai, which according to Phil has more than eighteen million people and is "the largest commercial and financial hub in mainland China." The eleventh Pit Stop, of course, was the Riverside Promenade, which apparently is "newly minted." That's surprising; it looks more like it would taste of concrete. We get to hear a replay of Caite shrieking over their win at the end of the last leg, deafening every river porpoise in the Yangtze (even though they're standing next to the Huangpu), as a reminder that they arrived first, and so will be leaving first, at 2:37 AM. Seriously? That's just mean. The good news is they're heading back to the United States. I mean that's good news for them, not for the United States. Their final destination city is "San Francisco, California." One hears "San Francisco" by itself so often that hearing "California" after it sounds weird. After flying six thousand miles, they'll have to get to "Battery Godfrey." This is not to be confused with "Battery Gottfried," a little-known legal term referring to the act of beating up Gilbert Gottfried, which is not actually a crime. Instead, it's a "former military outpost overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. Here, their next clue awaits." Way to change up the phraseology in the final hour there, Phil. The models interview about how "freaking incredible" it is to be in the final three, and Brent concludes, "Somebody's gotta lose, somebody's gotta win, and we wanna freakin' win." Caite agrees with this, which will be one of the few times this episode that they agree on anything. In the cab, Brent says it's been a blast, but they're looking forward to getting back to the U.S.
Jet and Cord are leaving at 3:11 AM, which means they weren't nearly as close behind the models as we were led to believe last week. I guess we were supposed to think one team went upstream and the other went down at almost the same time, and somehow they arrived 34 minutes apart, even with a seven-foot-nine human whose name means "The Mast" guiding them in. Cord's hoping this might be the first championship they can say they won together, with his brother and his best friend. Aw. I'm sure he's not the only one.
Brent and Caite get to the airport, and find the United counter closed -- until 10:45 the next morning. See? Mean! They agree that they want to be first in line, and when the Cowboys arrive, Brent jokingly says the correct window is way down at the other end. The terminal almost looks big enough that they wouldn't get back until after 11:00 if they believed him.
Dan and Jordan are leaving the Pit Stop at 6:00 AM, three and a half hours behind the leaders. They might as well quit now, right? No hope of catching up at this point. I remember when the Pit Stops were always multiples of twelve hours, not just an interval arbitrarily chosen to guarantee maximum bunching. Piling their stuff into the trunk of a cab, Jordan says, "San Francisco's a very gay-friendly place. Good for me." Because he's really had to keep his rainbow under a bushel these last eleven legs. But I bet Jet and Cord's cowboy hats will go over big. Like the other teams, they're thrilled to be headed home. Dan interviews that this is the "Super Bowl of the Amazing Race," like yes, we get it, you're a sports fan and not at all gay. Sorry you're off on the race during the height of the football season and thus having to miss so much quality time watching large men run around in tight pants. He says they have the athletic talent and brain power they'll need to win. "Wait, is California in the United States?" Jordan asks jokingly.
It's light outside by the time they meet up with the other two teams at the airport, camped out next to the still-closed United window. Jordan puts his backpack down between where Cord is sacked out on the floor and where Caite and Brent are marking the front of the line. We see him and Jordan being interviewed in a football stadium after the race as Jordan explains, "So I felt like we were second in line," which is bullshit. If you're going to cut in line, accept and own that it's a dick move. Don't cut and then try to justify it with some obscure point of schoolyard law that nobody but you has ever heard of and the only reason you have is because you just made it up. So when the counter opens at 10:45, and Caite and Brent are ordering their tickets, Jet and Cord look at the brothers standing in front of then in line, and say, "Y'all are trying to cut, I can see it." "Oh, yeah, I'm standing right behind them," Jordan says, like, is there something wrong with your eyes? Without raising his voice, Jet points out that the brothers got there six hours later than he and Cord, so how did they get ahead of them in line? Jordan maintains that his backpack ergo post hoc case is valid. So then the Cowboys do this thing where they pretend to be talking to each other when in fact their words are intended for Jordan. "I don't think you can actually grab his backpack and tow him backwards in the airport," Cord says to Jet. "You'd get in trouble for that." Jet adds that he'd get in trouble for kicking his teeth in. "If they wanna drop the gloves, I can drop the gloves." Brent and Caite get their tickets, and Jordan steps right up to the counter like it's legitimately his turn. There's an Amazing Camera behind the counter now, and with Cord standing right behind him, Jordan tells it, "This is a race. It's a game, and there's a million bucks at the other end, so I'm going for it. You can hate the game all you want, just don't hate the player." You know what I hate? Clichés. Clichés and bullshit. He has the nerve to tell the Cowboys, "Don't hate" as he brushes past them. Jet growls at him to get out of the way. If that's their version of Hulking out, this is going to be a long leg.
As we see all the teams board the plane, Jet gives rather a self-righteous interview about how "these people don't care about people, they just care about money." Oh, Jet, just call it the dick move it is and be done with it. Let's not make it about "character." That just makes you look like the ass. Dan says that he and Jordan haven't done anything dirty the whole race, and I have to admit that I can't think of one myself. "It's final three. This is it. No one's going to help anyone right now. Those days are gone." As are the days when they agreed not to throw elbows, apparently. But as classless as all this is, it's not the moment that determines the outcome of the race. I'll let you know when that comes.