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.
The episode opened with some snowshoeing and sled-dogging in Alaska, followed by an icy polar-bear dip, and then it was time for the long trek back to New York. Margarita ecstatically explained that she would be on her home turf in Queens, where the clue was sending the teams. Frank and Margarita quite understandably assumed that knowing the city would give them a big advantage, and Rob and Brennan did as well. At Newark Airport, the basically clueless Rob and Brennan jumped into a yellow cab and begged their cabbie to get them to the address as soon as possible. Frank and Margarita, meanwhile, negotiated with a gypsy cab, then bailed on that for a yellow cab, also taking the time to dictate the route to avoid surface streets. Rob and Brennan's driver, on the other hand, took them right through the city. Whether because of the time lost switching cabs or because surface streets don't treat you so badly at 6:00-ish on a Sunday morning when the race was ending, Rob and Brennan made it to the train station with a couple of minutes on Frank and Margarita. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your outlook, those couple of minutes straddled the arrival of the train that Rob and Brennan made and Frank and Margarita didn't.