LAST MAN STANDING
Departing first from the last Pit Stop at 3:57am, dating couple Jill & Thomas ripped open their clue instructing them to fly to their final destination of Los Angeles, California. When they landed, they had to travel to the Port of Long Beach and find Pier J for their next clue. On racing against two all-female teams intent on making history, Thomas said, "We're gonna keep that streak of no all-female teams winning. I could care less about any type of history."
Arrving at Incheon International Airport, Jill & Thomas camped out in front of the Korean Air counter waiting for it to open in the morning. When home shopping hosts Brook & Claire and doctors Nat & Kat completed the trio of teams racing for the million dollar prize, Jill joked to Thomas, "You are the last man standing." The doctors said, "He's gonna have to race his butt off to not be beat by girls." When the ticket counter opened, all three teams booked seats on same flight to Los Angeles and boarded the plane that would take them back to American soil.
FACING HER FEARS
Landing in Los Angeles, doctors Nat & Kat took the lead out of the airport followed closely by Jill & Thomas with Brook & Claire in last place. Cruising down the freeway, Nat told their driver, "I'm glad you're a fast driver. We really needed a good taxi driver today." Maintaining their lead, the doctors arrived at the Port of Long Beach where Nat anxiously noted the cranes and "platforms high up in the air." She later added, "Heights are not my thing. It's my biggest fear." Opening their clue, the doctors learned they had to ride a tiny elevator to the top of a massive gantry crane, get strapped into a bungee swing, and plummet 150-feet towards the water. Once they got back to the pier and climbed to dry land, they could open their next clue.
As the doctor's geared up for a terrifying plunge, a visibly nervous Nat told her partner, "Let's just go fast. I don't want to have time to think about it." Taking the long ride up in the small elevator, Nat asked the guide helping her and Kat, "For what portion can I have my eyes closed?" Walking along the gangplank towards the bungee swing, Kat offered words of encouragement to Nat as she was about to face her greatest fear. Nat told herself, "Mind over matter." Standing behind the doctors, Jill shrewdly noted that if Nat couldn't find the courage to jump, she and Thomas could bypass them and take the leap first. However, Jill's plan didn't happen because the doctors got strapped into the bungee swing as Nat gripped the rope for dear life quietly crying. After a word of warning, the bungee swing released from the bridge and the doctors began to fall and then swing high above the Pacific Ocean. Both doctors screamed with excitement and exhilaration and Nat even had a smile on her face as she shouted, "Thank God I'm still alive!" After returning to solid ground, Nat & Kat ripped open their clue instructing them to take a helicopter ride to a surprise destination.
COMING UP ROSES
With Jill & Thomas and Brook & Claire both taking the plunge off the gantry swing, doctors Nat & Kat kept their lead as they jumped into a helicopter and admired the incredible view of Los Angeles from the sky. Nat joked, "This is totally the way to travel in L.A." In his helicopter behind Nat & Kat, Thomas marveled, "This is so cool." Brook summed it up best, saying, "This is what the race is about. This is so much fun." The mystery destination became incredibly clear for all the teams when the famous Rose Bowl stadium came into sight. A thrilled Brook told Claire, "I love college football."
Landing in the parking lot outside of the Rose Bowl, doctors Nat & Kat opened their clue to find the last Roadblock of the race. In it, one team member had to work on a float that would normally take 10,000 man-hours to complete by painstakingly decorate three sections of the official float of the Tournament of Roses Organization. If they could finish the work to the satisfaction of the floral director, the 2009 Rose Queen would give them their next clue.
Nat ran over to the large and imposing float, inspected the first section, and decided she needed to use white mums to decorate it. After applying glue to the area, Nat ripped off the tops of the mum flowers at the stem and affixed them onto the float, saying, "I like interior decorating, but I'm not an artist by any means. I'm definitely a left-brained kind of girl." With her first section fully adorned in white mums, Nat began the second section, made out of yellow and white Styrofoam, by putting yellow and white roses into plastic holders and then putting the roses in its matching colored area.
NOT SO CRAFTY
As Nat started placing her yellow and white flowers, Jill & Thomas landed and realized their plan of saving the last Roadblock for Thomas wasn't the greatest idea. Starting to glue white mums, Thomas admitted, "This is the first time I've ever decorated. I'm not very crafty. This is probably a better thing for Jill to do." Only able to watch her boyfriend, Jill laughed, "I think we were hoping something with some upper body strength. This was definitely not what we were expecting." For all his misgivings about decoration, Thomas quickly advanced to the second section and took more careful note than Nat did by realizing the plastic holders for the yellow and white roses needed to be filled with water.
With Brook & Claire now landing and Brook starting to decorate, Nat moved onto her third and final section, a giant pink cardboard rose. Nat picked up a brush and applied glue to the petals before adding finely ground straw that clung on each petal to give a beautiful finish. Asking to have her work checked, Nat received passing grades for her white mums and straw flower, but the floral director told Nat she didn't prep her roses correctly. Going back to the example, Nat now noticed that each plastic holder had water inside, so she now had to take out each rose she placed in the Styrofoam, remove it from its holder, add water, and then place it back on the float. As Nat slowly corrected her mistake, Thomas inched closer to overtaking the doctor, but she still managed to finish the task first and earn the next clue.
RIDDLE ME THIS
Opening the clue, Nat & Kat faced a series of three questions whose answers would lead them to their next destination. First, "I am Sancho Panza's master." Second, "I am the place to hear The Symphony in the Glen." Third, "Monroe's Year of the Itch." Not knowing how to immediately solve these riddles, the doctors thought to ask taxi drivers they approached if the driver had an iPhone for information. Not finding a driver who knew any of the answers or had a smart phone, Nat & Kat wasted enough time deciding on what taxi to take that Thomas finished his float decoration. Finally agreeing to just use a driver's cell phone instead, the doctors jumped into a taxi ahead of second place Jill & Thomas. Using the phone, the doctors got the information they needed that Sancho Panza was a character in Don Quixote. From this, they pieced together they needed to travel to Quixote Studios and used their call to information even further by getting the answer to the second riddle, Griffith Park, the location of Quixote Studios. The doctors didn't need help with the third riddle, Marilyn Monroe's famous movie, The Seven Year Itch, directing them to Stage 7 at the Studio.
As the doctors pieced together exactly where they needed to go, Jill & Thomas discovered a language barrier with their taxi driver resulting in a massive communication breakdown. The impatient dating couple continuously asked the befuddled driver for internet access, but he only offered up his GPS. Asking to use the driver's phone to speak to dispatch, Thomas didn't accomplish anything when the person hung up. Growing increasingly frustrated, Thomas point blanked asked, "Do you know what Internet is?" When they driver said no, an exasperated Thomas told Jill, "This is crazy." When the driver kept offering his GPS for them to use, Jill snapped, "That's not a computer sir!"
With Brook & Claire stopping at a hotel to correctly solve the three riddles, doctors Nat & Kat arrived at Quixote Studios in first place. Game shows have been filmed in Hollywood soundstages since the beginning of television. Now, after twelve exhausting legs of the race, teams would find out if they've really been paying attention to everything around them. Flashing high above the teams were pictures of 48 different people wearing hats. 11 of those people were greeters who welcomed them into the Pit Stops. Using the control pad in front of them, teams had to select the 11 greeters and put them on their own television screens in the correct order. When they did, legendary game show host Bob Eubanks would hand them their next clue.
Being led onto the giant game show set by Bob Eubanks, Nat & Kat took their place at a podium and began to study the giant board in front of them flashing faces of greeters from past and present races. The doctors quickly identified the knight from Eastnor Castle in Leg 1, but their problems began trying to remember the two greeters in Ghana. To help them recall, the doctors took out their book of notes they meticulously wrote during their journey and slowly pieced together each of the 11 greeters until one remained, the second greeter in St. Petersburg. With Brook & Claire closing in on Quixote Studios, Nat noticed the officer from Peter and Paul Fortress in the bottom corner of the board to complete their correct list of greeters. Running over to Bob Eubanks, Nat & Kat ripped open their clue instructing them to travel by taxi through Los Angeles' congested streets to the Finish Line at Greystone Mansion.
As Brook & Claire began to rifle through and quickly identify greeters, Nat & Kat stressed out in their taxi as they faced typical afternoon rush hour traffic. Nat worried, "We're on surface streets. I don't know if that's a good thing or not." When they barely moved an inch, Nat added, "It's so hard to sit here in gridlock traffic." Unaware that Brook & Claire identified all the greeters and now barreled towards Greystone Mansion on the faster freeway, Nat worried, "They could definitely pass us." With history at stake, both teams anxiously endured the longest taxi rides of their lives, hoping that they would win the big prize and become the first winning all-female team.
As the eight eliminated teams clapped for the historic moment at Greystone Mansion, doctors Nat & Kat ran from their taxi and approached the mat where Phil stood waiting. After 4 continents, 30 cities, and 32,000 miles, Phil officially declared doctors Nat & Kat winners of The Amazing Race along with the one million dollar prize. Speaking about Nat living and running the race with diabetes, Kat said, "Of course I knew she had a lot of strength, but the degree has just boggled my mind. It hasn't been easy, but she's never once complained. I just couldn't be more proud of her."
When home shopping hosts Brook & Claire officially claimed second place, Brook said, "Claire just shocked me, when she's hit the watermelon in the face, scaling down canyons. The ideal of being a strong woman either means that you're grumpy boots or that you're this really masculine, gnarly chick. You can be feminine and tap into that femininity while still being a very strong woman. I think The Amazing Race was full of flair. Brook & Claire flair."
After a long afternoon with their taxi driver, a disappointed Jill & Thomas arrived at Greystone Mansion in third place. Overcome with tears, Jill said, "I don't even know why I'm crying." Thomas continued for Jill, adding, "It's a really special experience I think is what she's trying to say. We just feel really fortunate that we were able to do this together. I certainly wouldn't have done it with anybody else than her. I'm very proud of her."
Co-winner Nat summed it up for her team, finishing, "It's about time a girl-girl team won The Amazing Race. We're both just really proud and honored to be that team. It's been one of the best experiences of our entire lives."