Season 28: Episode 12 - The Only First That Matters
Posted on May 13, 2016 08:50pm

The final three teams raced through Downtown Los Angeles, and the harbor and grape vineyards of Santa Barbara.  Dana & Matt got out to an early lead at the first Roadblock, and although the other teams struggled to catch up, the dancers remained in first place to the Finish Line.
In Shenzhen, China, Tyler & Korey, Dana & Matt, and Sheri & Cole stood on the mat.  Phil informed them that they’d be racing to Los Angeles, California, and that they’d be upgraded to Premium Class on the flight.  He added that when they landed, they’d make their way downtown to Angelus Plaza, and search for their next clue.  At the airport, all three teams boarded the same flight, and settled into their roomy seats.  Tyler said he knew everyone was bringing their A-game, but he and Korey were going to win.  Matt said that he and Dana have been discussing their communication, and they’ve been getting stronger as the legs have progressed.  Sheri said she has a family of eight, with two kids in college, so they could use the money.  Tyler & Korey then clinked glasses while wearing wild, curly wigs they’d been carrying with them the entire Race.  Korey joked, “Models living the high life.”
In Los Angeles, everyone exited the airport and ran for taxis.  Amid the towering skyscrapers of Downtown, Tyler & Korey’s driver promised to get them the million dollars.  They arrived at Angelus Plaza first, but the boys bypassed the clue box, which sat in a courtyard just off the street.  They began running up the steps looking for it.  Meanwhile, Dana & Matt arrived and ripped the clue in first place.  It was a Roadblock: “Who’s ready to take a leap of faith?”  Teams had to jump for their clue, which was suspended in midair off the side of a skyscraper, 170 feet above the ground.  If they didn’t catch it the first time, they’d have to rappel to the ground, return to the roof, and try again.  Matt opted for the task, and headed off with an instructor.  A few stories up, Tyler & Korey still hadn’t found the clue box, and wondered if they had to go all the way to the roof. 
Sheri & Cole then ripped the clue. Since Sheri’s fear of heights wasn’t as bad as Cole’s, they’d agreed she would do the jumping challenges.  Tyler & Korey finally headed back down to street level, and found the clue box in last place.  Tyler opted for the task, and walked off with the remaining instructor – who just happened to be a looker.  Tyler said, “Why did the other teams not pick this guy, because he was tall and handsome….  He was everything.”  Atop the building, Matt looked out at the clue.  It dangled in midair perhaps ten feet from the end of a narrow platform, from which he’d have to jump.  “As long as I can still dance after this.”  Sheri waited as well, saying she’d try not to look down.  She added, “Every bit of your being is saying, ‘Don’t do it.’”  Matt stood on the platform, waiting for the wind to subside.  He then took a few steps and jumped… and snatched the clue.  After returning to the ground, he and Dana ripped it, and it said to take a helicopter ride ninety miles up the coast to Santa Barbara.  When they landed, they’d find their next clue on a boat called the Theresa Ann, which sat amongst a maze of others in the harbor.
As the dancers headed off, Tyler prepared to jump.  Korey knew he’d be nervous about both his jumping ability and his depth perception.  But, Korey added, he had a cute jump instructor.  “His future husband is going to help him jump off the building.”  On a nearby rooftop, the dancers boarded a helicopter.  From there, they could see Sheri on her platform.  She was close to tears, saying the clue was so far away.  On the ground, Cole said he couldn’t even look, he was so nervous.  Sheri finally jumped, but once in the air, she simply clung to her safety strap rather than reaching for the clue.  As the dancers prepared to take off, Matt noted that Sheri didn’t jump very far.  “Honestly, it’s a lot of a head game.”  On the ground, Cole tried to boost his mom’s confidence, saying she just jumped off a building.  Despite quivering and crying, she swore she could do it.
It was then Tyler’s turn.  Korey said, “Throughout the Race, we’ve been a two-try kind of team.  Today would be a good day for us to be a one-try kind of team.”  Tyler then jumped – but missed the clue.  As he was lowered to the ground, Korey quipped, “I told you we were a two-try kind of team.”  The boys tried to keep their spirits up, getting the handsome instructor’s name (Brandon) and joking that he’d catch Tyler if he fell.  Meanwhile, the dancers took off in their helicopter, and began flying over Los Angeles towards the coast.  But they were determined to stay ahead, Matt saying that even a thirty-minute lead could disappear.  “So we’re going to keep pushing as if we’re in last.”  Back on the rooftop, Sheri geared up for her second try, explaining that with each failed attempt the clue was moved a little closer.  Cole was confident that she’d get it, adding that there was a lot of leg left to run.  Sheri jumped… and grabbed the clue.  She and Cole headed off in second place, heartened by the knowledge that Tyler & Korey hadn’t finished yet.
Tyler then prepped for his second attempt, Korey saying, “He’ll get it this time – he doesn’t want to disappoint Brandon….  His new boyfriend, Brandon.”  Brandon countered that, saying, “Come on!”  Tyler stood on his platform, waiting as the clue danced in the wind.  He finally jumped, but although his hands brushed the clue, he couldn’t get a grip on it.  Korey said, “Okay, so maybe we’re a three-try kind of team.”  As Sheri & Cole took off in their helicopter, Tyler made his next attempt – and finally got the clue.  Heading to the ground, he apologized to Korey, who joked, “I think you were just missing the clue so you could hang out with Brandon.”  The boys boarded their helicopter, Tyler saying, “I’m embarrassed that it took me that many tries.”  Korey said they should have fun, adding, “You know how many times I’ve said ‘Let’s have fun’ and we got first?  Five.”  Tyler replied, “Then let’s have fun.”
In the upscale beach community of Santa Barbara, Dana & Matt landed in their helicopter and jumped in a taxi to the harbor.  On the way, they looked up the Theresa Ann, and learned it was a 1926 Monterey fishing boat.  Dana said they hadn’t seen any other teams, but were certain they were close behind.  Meanwhile, Sheri & Cole flew towards the city, confident that they could catch up.  Behind them, Korey said that “Theresa Ann” sounded like a Real Housewife.  Tyler agreed: “I think that is a Housewife name.”  Approaching the harbor, Dana said they saw the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum in the pictures of the Theresa Ann, and figured the boat was docked near it.  They arrived at the harbor and found a marked dinghy, which they had to pilot themselves.  They started the motor and were ready to go – but realized they were still tied to the dock.  Dana said simply, “We don’t boat.”  Matt freed them, and they headed out.
While Sheri & Cole grabbed a taxi to the harbor, Dana & Matt spotted the Maritime Museum.  And moments later, they found the Theresa Ann.  After an awkward stop in which they nearly collided with the boat, they got the next clue from a fisherman onboard.  It told them to make their way to Gibraltar Rock and search for their next clue.  En route to the harbor, Sheri & Cole looked up the Theresa Ann, but thought it was the actual maritime museum.  Meanwhile, Dana & Matt were having trouble finding a taxi.  They asked at a hotel if they could call for one, but the woman said there was no taxi area nearby.  Sheri & Cole then arrived at the harbor and got into a dinghy.  “Now we’ve got to look for the Theresa Ann, which we know is a museum.”  As Tyler & Korey passed overhead in their helicopter, they spotted Sheri & Cole in the water below.  The mother and son had made no progress in finding a Theresa Ann museum – but they did jet right past the Theresa Ann boat.
Dana & Matt got a man on the street to call a taxi for them, but they’d have to wait ten minutes for it to arrive.  Dana said, “Ten minutes – that’s a twenty minute mistake right there, kids.”  Tyler & Korey then landed, and grabbed a taxi to the harbor.  Korey said, “Let’s pass one team on the dinghy, and then we’ll catch the next team at the next thing.”  Dana & Matt stressed out while waiting for their taxi to show up, but it finally did, and they headed for Gibraltar Rock.  Meanwhile, Sheri & Cole finally started believing that the Theresa Ann was a boat rather than a museum.  Tyler & Korey arrived at the harbor, asked their taxi to wait, and ran for the dinghies.  Sheri & Cole were now looking at the boats… but again sailed right past the Theresa Ann.
Tyler & Korey got off to a rocky start in their dinghy, drifting sideways into the dock.  Sheri & Cole then, finally, found the Theresa Ann.  Sheri said, “Damn, we passed this twice.”  They got the clue in second place, and after hitting a dead end on their way out, spotted Tyler & Korey.  Cole said, “Make it obvious that you have the clue, so they’ll think it’s down here!”  But they missed their chance as the boys sailed by.  Sheri & Cole reached the dock and found Tyler & Korey’s taxi waiting.  But the driver didn’t know how to get to Gibraltar Rock, so the mother and son headed out to the road.  Tyler & Korey then found the Theresa Ann, and after nearly crashing into the boat, got the clue in last place.
As Sheri & Cole searched the streets for a taxi, Tyler & Korey jumped back into theirs at the harbor.  But they had to look up Gibraltar Rock for the driver before heading out.  Sheri & Cole then found a taxi, figuring they were ahead of Tyler & Korey, whose driver had seemed clueless.  Meanwhile, the vloggers handed their driver step-by-step directions, Tyler saying, “There’s not much more I can do for her.”  In the craggy, brown mountains outside of Santa Barbara sat Gibraltar Rock, which rose a thousand feet above Rattlesnake Canyon.  Dana & Matt arrived and ripped the clue.  One team member would have to perform a 300-foot Tyrolean reverse (pulling themselves backwards along a horizontal zipline) to retrieve half the clue.  That would simultaneously lower their partner down Gibraltar’s vertical rock face, where they’d retrieve the second half.
Dana & Matt split up, Dana saying, “If I can’t move, you can’t move – good lesson!”  Matt got into position for the Tyrolean reverse, while Dana was poised atop the rock face.  She said that while she wasn’t really afraid of heights, rocks freaked her out a little.  She added, “I feel like a less-cool version of Lara Croft.”  They began, Matt pulling himself across the line while Dana descended the side of the rock.  Matt explained that he was controlling how fast Dana went, so he took it out slowly.  Dana interrupted in interview: “You took it out slowly?  I flew down the side of that thing.”  Matt continued towards his half of the clue, but in the process lowered Dana beyond her half.  She screeched at him to stop, but he grabbed his half of the clue before starting to pull her back up.
Meanwhile, Tyler & Korey’s taxi driver pulled over on the side of the road to call for directions.  They pointed out again the directions they’d given her, and she finally seemed to understand.  Back at the rock, Dana got her half of the clue, and she and Matt began the arduous task of returning to the starting point.  Matt had to simultaneously move himself along the line, and pull Dana up the side of the mountain.  After lots of hauling and straining, they finally made it.  As Sheri & Cole approached through the rocky terrain, Cole grumbled, “It’s definitely going to be something with heights.  I’m so done with heights!”  They arrived and ripped the clue just as Dana & Matt got the next clue, which told them to travel to Grassini Family Vineyards.
The dancers headed off, Dana commenting, “Cole is not going to like that one.”  Getting rigged up, Cole said, “I’m not going to lie – I’m pretty terrified.”  Perched on the side of the rock face, Sheri said to her instructor, “This is crazy.  I just jumped off a building!”  Cole added, “If you’re afraid of heights, people, don’t make it to the finale of the Amazing Race.”  They started off, Cole pulling himself backwards while Sheri descended the cliff.  Cole said, “I did not enjoy a single second of being out in that gorge.  That was one of the most terrifying things in my life.”  He stopped in time for Sheri to grab her half of the clue, and then kept moving to get his half.  Tyler & Korey then arrived and ripped the clue.  Tyler said, “We didn’t even think about it.  We knew we were in third at that moment….  There was no discussion – it was just run.”
Meanwhile, Cole struggled to pull himself along the line, and Sheri was making little progress up the rock face.  She shouted at him, “I need you to pull!”  He finally got her to the top of the rock, where Tyler was waiting to start down.  Tyler asked if they’d seen the dancers, and Sheri said they’d already finished.  Korey then began pulling himself out across the line, sending Tyler a little too quickly down the cliff.  Tyler shouted out, “Slower!” as he struggled to keep up.  But they kept going, trying to make up time.  As Sheri & Cole jumped in a taxi to the vineyards (Sheri saying, “I could use some wine!”) Tyler & Korey grabbed their two halves of the clue and started back.  They soon returned to the starting point, Korey saying, “I feel like we just did that in five minutes.”
Meanwhile, Dana & Matt arrived at the Grassini Family Vineyards.  Their next clue was wedged in a hay bale on the back of a classic pickup truck – but the dancers failed to see it, and continued down the road.  They eventually exited their taxi and began looking around.  Dana said, “Focus your eyes.  Don’t walk past it.”  They arrived at rows of neatly stacked wine barrels, but didn’t see the clue.  Finally, they figured it was back the way they came, and returned to the pickup truck.  Ripping the clue, they discovered a second Roadblock.  Teams would have to hang lids on the stacked barrels, in the correct order, that were printed with the hashtags from their clues throughout the Race.  They also had to hang lids stamped with letters, and spell out the corresponding city next to each hashtag.
Dana began the task confidently, saying, “I was born for this.”  She went on to explain that when she saw the hashtag in the clue on Leg One, she knew it was for the final challenge.  She hung #MuseoSoumaya, and then began hanging the lids that spelled out “Mexico City” beside it.  She then moved onto #WalledCity for Cartagena.  Out on the road, Sheri & Cole still believed it was anyone’s game as they approached the final challenge.  Behind them, Tyler & Korey knew they’d done the mountaineering challenge faster than Sheri & Cole.  At the vineyards, Dana moved on to Geneva, but admitted, “I’m nervous to have the last Roadblock fall on me, and to have the whole Race basically on my shoulders.”  She finished Chamonix, and moved onto #12thCapital for Yerevan.
Meanwhile, Tyler & Korey were stuck behind a slow SUV.  Korey shouted out the window, “We’re in a hurry, so will you get out of the way?!”  Surprisingly, the car pulled over, and the boys yelled a thank you as they drove past.  Korey said, “All you have to do is yell politely.”  Dana now had three cities left.  She completed Dubai, and moved onto Denpasar.  Then, finally, she completed Shenzhen, and asked to be judged.  She was approved, and the dancers got the clue.  It said to make your way to the Finish Line by running to the lake, where Phil waited with the eight eliminated teams.  The dancers looked around for the lake, but didn’t see it anywhere.  Meanwhile, Sheri & Cole found the clue on the pickup truck, and Cole began the task.  The dancers continued looking for the mat as Tyler & Korey arrived and ripped the clue.  Dana said, “This is a big deal.  We’ve got to figure this out fast.”  She ordered Matt, “Use your gut.  Use everything that brought us to this point.  Don’t say you don’t know.”
Korey began the task as Cole moved onto Geneva.  Sheri asked Tyler if they knew the hashtags, and he said they knew them by heart.  But the dancers then found the lake, and ran onto the mat in first place.  Phil said, “Eighteen cities, ten countries and more than 27,000 miles, Dana & Matt, you are the winners of the Amazing Race and you’ve won one million dollars!”  He added that at one point he thought they’d implode.  Matt admitted that they had a fiery relationship, “But we always said that we’d rather be passionate then boring.”  Dana added, “At the end of the day we have nothing but love and respect for each other.”  She said Matt was an amazing person and competitor.  “I just feel blessed to have him in my life at all.”  As they performed a few dance moves for the crowd, Matt said some of their weaknesses were really tested on the Race, and they fought through a lot.  “So I think it’s definitely brought us closer.”
Back at the wine barrels, Cole finished and got the clue.  He and Sheri ran to the mat in second place, and Phil congratulated them on finishing the entire Race.  Sheri teared up when Phil mentioned their family, and said it was amazing getting to see the world with her son.  “For a mom, it’s just really touching….  And this is our best finish!”  Cole added, “We finally got a second!”  Tyler & Korey then arrived, and Phil said they didn’t stop smiling the entire Race.  Tyler said that Korey knows how to bring out the best in him.  “I feel like I won because I had the trip of a lifetime with my best friend.”  Korey said that even though Tyler is four years younger, “I look up to him so much…. He makes me more confident in myself, and makes me comfortable in my own skin.”  As the other teams joined the final three on the mat, Tyler said his expectations of the Race were exceeded a million fold.  Cole said he was very proud of his mom, while Matt added that he couldn’t even put into words what winning meant to him.  “It was just such an incredible experience.”
Roadblock 1:  Teams had to jump off the side of a skyscraper to grab their next clue, which hung 170 feet above the ground.
Performed Roadblock:  Matt, Sheri, Tyler
Roadblock 2:  Teams had to place in order the hashtags from their clues along the Race, which were printed on wine barrel lids.  They then had to spell out with lettered lids the names of the corresponding cities.
Performed Roadblock:  Dana, Cole, Korey
Order of Finish:Dana & MattSheri & ColeTyler & Korey