Amid multiple flashbacks to the ends of the remaining four teams' previous races, everyone has to get themselves to Rio de Janeiro. The Globetrotters get themselves on the earliest flight, and Zev and Justin will have what they're having. The other two teams were stuck on a much later flight, but everyone ends up in the same plane because Big Easy's poker face sucks. In Rio, the Globetrotters' lackadaisical cabdriver makes them miss everyone else's trolley to a famous staircase, where a clue directs them to join and lead a samba parade, complete with costumes. Zev begins the Road Block first, with Mallory close behind but quickly passing him, while Jen and Kisha get lost and the Globetrotters scramble to catch up. Indeed, by the time Zev and his self-described "white-boy rhythm" finish the Road Block, the Globetrotters aren't far behind at all any more.
After that, everyone has to endure a 15-minute body waxing, which will at least make them more aerodynamic for the last leg and a half. Then it's to the beach, to either mix a hundred drinks to exacting standards or sell sixty bucks' worth of bikini tops to people who then have to model them on the spot. Only Zev and Justin even attempt the latter. So, as if being in last place and the hairiest people left in the race weren't enough of a downer for them, they have to start mixing drinks with a major time deficit. Gary and Mallory hold onto their lead all the way to the Pit Stop on the beach below a spaceship-shaped museum, while Kisha and Jen manage to steer clear of the Porta-Potties and become team number two. And even Flight Time and Big Easy's late-task clowning can't keep Zev and Justin from going home with only a bunch of trips and cars to their names.
In the second hour, the final three head to Miami, where Gary and Mallory lose the race for a decent cab to the marina. While the Globetrotters and the sisters are trying to forklift boats into dry dock, Gary and Mallory are stuck in the taxi of a driver who has no idea where he's going. The Globetrotters narrowly beat Kisha and Jen to a Road Block where they have to use motorized diving suits to search through treasure chests floating in the middle of a mermaid show. They also win that, only to find their cab gone -- but only because they sent it to get gas while Big Easy did the task. After that, it's a race to a certain mile marker and a walk across ocean shallows to Horseshoe Island to find its tallest tree, then a drenching speedboat ride to another marina and a walk to a "motor home court." At the trailer park, they have to battle high winds to set up their trailer yard to the approval of a tiny but large-haired woman. For the first time this leg, all three teams are working on the same task, but Kisha and Jen are the first to complete the task and earn the clue to the Finish Line at Seven Mile Bridge. The Globetrotters are right behind the sisters, riding adult-sized tricycles across the span into a fierce headwind, but Kisha and Jen finally win a leg -- the one that counts -- making them the second all-female team in a row to win The Amazing Race, and scoring a great Mother's Day gift for the single mom who raised them. The Globetrotters take second, and Gary and Mallory have an emotional third-place finish. Full recap to come, as soon as I can do a rundown of a two-hour finale from an Orlando hotel room with no DVR.
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As usual, at the opening of tonight's finale we get the kind of epic end-of-season previouslies that make you wonder if you really needed to watch the whole season at all. In fact, they not only cover this season, with high-speed eliminations of Amanda and Kris, Mel and Mike, Jaime and Cara, Margie and Luke, Ron and Christina, Jet and Cord, and Kent and Vyxsin; but previous seasons, with reminders of how the final four got eliminated their first times around. That means Zev and Justin's vanishing passports, Jen's ill-timed pit stop before the Pit Stop, Gary and Mallory's wandering in the desert in Oman (they never mention that they still came close to catching that season's eventual winners that leg), and the Globetrotters' quitting in Prague. Now one of those teams is about to win an historic do-over. Not that those were Phil's exact words.
Uncharacteristically melancholy music accompanies sweeping shots of the frozen Swiss Alps -- that is, until the Matterhorn comes into view yet again and the music kicks into high gear. So does Phil's narration, welcoming us back to the town of Zermatt, the tenth Pit Stop. Remember how Flight Time and Big Easy won the previous leg? We win the chance to watch them looking at their trip online. Good deal for them, raw deal for us. Flight Time gets a little jealous of the gnome sitting in Big Easy's lap, telling the little painted lump of plaster that Flight Time, not the gnome, is going on the trip. I'm sure there will be plenty of other gnomes on the Travelocity-provided trip they'll be taking anyway.
So then they get to start the leg first as well, at 7:12 AM. The clue tells them to get to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I hope the part of the episode set in Rio is better than the movie I recently saw with that name. Phil says that once they get to Rio, they'll board a tram that will take them on a five-minute ride up a hill to Escadaria Selaron, a famous staircase decorated with thousands of ceramic tiles. Among these are several Amazing Blue Route Info tiles, with the next clue pasted on the back. Walking away from the Pit Stop, the Globetrotters speculate that they'll fly through Zurich, because they are globetrotters, after all, with all the geographical knowledge that implies. Big Easy admits that in their first race, this very leg was their undoing. "The race was in my hands and I fumbled the ball," he says with his usual gift for mixed sports metaphors. Flashback to the Kafkaesque Road Block that so flummoxed Big Easy that he took a four-hour penalty rather than continue it, and he says, "until we get over the eleventh leg, we haven't done anything yet." That's a pretty high standard there, especially considering that nobody who's been eliminated yet had a higher overall ranking than they did the first time around. Obviously that'll change tonight, no matter what happens. At the train station's ticket window, they learn about the 7:39 to Zurich just as it pulls in. Already a strong lead!