The Nine Best Episodes Ever
But the critical fallout from the car rollover, and what makes this episode the stuff of legend, was that the rollover put Brian and Greg in a dead heat with Ray and Deana -- the typical bickering couple, here in the form of an older, burlier, angrier dude and a younger, quieter, constantly berated woman. The teams took different Detour options within sight of each other, with Ray and Deana melting down while desperately trying to pound corn into meal and Brian and Greg playfully but determinedly cooperating to fill eggshells with water and bury them. It was a dead heat as the teams arrived at the pit stop location and leapt from their cars to run for the mat. As a foot race, though, it was over almost before it started, with Ray and Deana instantly and awesomely demolished as Brian and Greg flew by on the way to the mat. Breathlessly, the boys learned that their camera guy would be all right, and finally, Ray and Deana went home. This was an episode to make you leap up from the couch or collapse on the floor, thrilled and sated.
Season One, Episode Thirteen: "End Of The Line, Part II"
A.K.A. The First Ending
When The Amazing Race started, it seemed fairly likely to get thumped, airing against NBC's well-regarded The West Wing and similar in concept to Lost -- not the Lost you know, but the Lost you've totally forgotten, in which people were plunked down in the middle of nowhere and challenged to find their way home. But by the end of the season, Race had established itself as a ratings-challenged but critically praised "reality show for smart people," and it managed to efficiently whittle the teams down until the truly best three teams -- pretty, unobjectionable, gym-hardened L.A. attorneys Rob and Brennan; bickering semi-estranged couple Frank and Margarita, and wonderfully bitchy "evil" couple Joe and Bill -- cruised into the finale.