Season 18: Episode 11 - This is Where It Ends
Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:30am

From the beaches of Rio to a trailer park in the Florida Keys, sisters Kisha & Jen overcame past demons and tough competition to settle their unfinished business and win The Amazing Race.

Departing the Pit Stop in first place at 7:12am, Harlem Globetrotters Flight Time & Big Easy ripped open their clue instructing them to fly from the snows of Switzerland to the sunny beaches of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. When they landed, they had to board a tram, take a 5-minute ride up a hill and find Escadaria Selaron, a set of world famous steps where they needed to search for a tile resembling a Route Marker to receive their next clue.

With an opportunity to earn a spot in the final three, the remaining four teams, after taking a train in Zurich, ran into the airport looking for the best available flight to Rio de Janeiro. Flight Time & Big Easy and best friends Zev & Justin independently found a British Airways flight that would land in Rio at 7:30am the next morning, the earliest possibility. After the Globetrotters booked that flight, they walked into a travel agency to double check for any better flights and stumbled upon father and daughter Gary & Mallory and sisters Kisha & Jen who were being told the earliest flight landed in Rio at 5:40pm the next day. The Globetrotters couldn't believe their ears and didn't offer up the 7:30am flight they booked when Gary pointedly asked what they had found. Big Easy later said, "We don't wanna lie to anybody, but it's the final four." However, the Globetrotters' guilty looks and quick exit from the travel agency tipped off Kisha & Jen and Gary & Mallory to look for something better. When the two teams finally found the British Airways flight, Kisha said, "I'm glad Big Easy came in there, because Big Easy gave away there was another option."

Landing in Rio de Janeiro, Kisha & Jen, Zev & Justin, and Gary & Mallory all arrived at the tram station with no problems, but Flight Time & Big Easy fell into last place when their taxi driver just couldn't pick up the pace. A frustrated Flight Time said, "He's driving like Grandpa." When the other three teams boarded the tram, the Globetrotters still hadn't arrived at the station and became more restless in the backseat as their driver told them to "be calm."

Just as the Globetrotters ran up the stairs to the station, the tram carrying the other three teams pulled away. Seeing the tram in the very near distance, the Globetrotters begged the attendant to stop the tram so they could get on. Meanwhile, in the tram, the three teams shouted at their driver to keep moving up the hill and leave Flight Time & Big Easy behind. Big Easy pleaded, "You're gonna kill us! We're gonna lose money!" In the end, the tram kept going and the Globetrotters had to wait for the next one, a full thirty-minutes later. Trying to remain positive, Big Easy told his teammate, "We ain't finished yet though baby."

Departing the tram at Escadaria Selaron, the three teams slowly searched the steps covered in a wide array of colorful tiles looking for one resembling a Route Marker, Justin spotted a blue Route Marker tile first, pulled it off the steps, and turned it over to reveal that he and Zev had to make their way to Largo de Sao Francisco da Prainha and find their next clue near Rua Sacadura Cabral. With Gary & Mallory and Kisha & Jen finding their tiles close behind, Flight Time & Big Easy finally boarded the second tram up the hill knowing they needed to make a huge comeback to stay in the race.

Arriving at Rua Sacadura Cabral in first place, best friends Zev & Justin opened their clue to find a Roadblock. In it, one team member had to dress in a wild Carnival costume and learn to dance the samba. Then, they had to lead their personal samba troupe on a parade through the streets. If the judge found their samba in rhythm with the music, she would give them their next clue.

Having to perform the Roadblock to equal Justin's tally of five, Zev emerged from the changing room clad in a skimpy outfit adorned with bright red feathers. Taking to the stage with his samba trainers, Zev found it difficult to pick up the steps of the dance, later saying, "I'm not a good dancer at all. I hate dancing because I have white boy rhythm." Justin joked, "I've seen him dance, but not sober. Luckily we have a lead."

As Zev struggled to learn the dance moves, a festive Mallory excitedly joined the party, later saying, "I've danced for 22 years, ever since I was 3. I love that stage. It's where I belong." Mallory put her skills to excellent use as she quickly learned the steps and then led her samba troupe through the streets without missing a beat to earn the next clue. Opening it, she and Gary discovered they needed to travel to Copacabana and find a nearby salon.

After being rejected by the judge for his rhythmically impaired dancing, Zev returned to the training stage to relearn the steps just as Kisha walked out ready to start dancing. A worried Justin tried to help his struggling friend, saying, "You gotta feel the beat a little bit. You gotta be smooth. Loosen up a little." Even with the instructions and help, Zev continued to flail around, unable to keep the rhythm of the beat. After Kisha successfully completed the dance and Zev once again was rejected, Justin said, "It's gonna be tough. He's doing the best he can and I don't know if it's ever going to be good enough."

With the arrival of last place Flight Time & Big Easy to the Roadblock, Justin tried to get Zev focused and feeling the rhythm of the dance. When Big Easy emerged in his tiny festive costume, Zev felt ready to try the performance again with Justin cheering him on. This time around, Zev got into the groove, felt the rhythm, and danced his heart out to finally earn the clue from the judge. Jumping into a taxi, the best friends still had a small cushion of a lead because Big Easy had to perform the samba a second time before receiving his clue. Justin assured his glum teammate, "You have nothing to be sorry about."

Arriving at the salon in Copacabana in first place, father and daughter Gary & Mallory ripped open their clue and discovered they had to both endure a 15-minute Brazilian body waxing session. After stripping down and hopping on tables, Gary & Mallory grimaced in dread as hot wax was applied to their arms, chest, and legs. Mallory joked, "Beauty knows no pain." Gary winced when the strips were ripped off his chest and then said, "Oh no, here comes the legs."

When their 15-minute session was completed, Gary & Mallory ripped open their next clue to find a Detour having the choice of On the Rocks or On the Beach. In On the Rocks, teams had to travel to a local bar where they had to learn to make the most popular drink in Brazil, the caipirinha. Teams had to mix up the sticky concoction of lime juice, sugar, and a liquor made from sugar cane to produce 100 acceptable caipirinhas. In On the Beach, teams had to travel to Copacabana beach and pick out an umbrella decked out with bikini tops and a portable changing room. Then, teams had to convince each customer to model their new bikini and sell enough bikini tops to earn 100 Brazilian Reals, about 60 US Dollars.

Deciding to become Brazilian bartenders, Gary & Mallory watched how to prepare a caipirinha, but they had great difficulty in replicating the process correctly. The pair sometimes missed key ingredients and other times put them in the shaker in the wrong order. Eventually, the father and daughter figured a system out and began producing the refreshing drinks just as Kisha & Jen and Flight Time & Big Easy, who all endured painful waxing sessions of their own arrived at the bar.

With their taxi getting lost on the way to the salon, Zev & Justin fell into last place. When the best friends finally did arrive there, the hirsute Justin joked, "These challenges were not made for us today."  Climbing onto the tables with a feeling of dread, Zev & Justin had the hot wax applied to their incredibly hairy chests and legs. When the women began tearing off the wax strips, Zev & Justin cried out in ear splitting pain. At one point, Justin said of his merciless waxer, "I swear to God I'm going to punch her in the face. This is so painful." With completely bare legs and hairless chests, Zev & Justin opened their Detour clue and decided to try selling bikinis on the beach, hoping that task would be faster.

As the other three teams continued to make progress mixing caipirinhas, Zev & Justin ran onto the Copacabana beach and grabbed a giant umbrella that held the bikini tops they needed to convince women to not only purchase, but also try on. Walking from one sunbather to another, the best friends struck out in their attempts to get women to even consider buying a bikini top. When they came close to making one sale, the woman refused to try it on ending any chance of closing the deal. Justin joked, "We need somebody who's drunk." One potential patron summed it up best when she told Zev & Justin, "We are in bikinis already. We don't need anymore." Eventually, the pair decided to throw in the towel on selling and go make caipirinhas instead.

Keeping their focus as a small band played around them, Gary & Mallory reached the goal of 100 caipirinhas and were the first team to earn the next clue instructing them to make their way across the city to Rio's new eye-catching Museum of Contemporary Art and find the Pit Stop on the beach below it. With no other teams even close to finishing their caipirinhas, Gary & Mallory cruised into first place and won a trip for two from Travelocity along the magical Mediterranean.

When Zev & Justin arrived at the beach bar overlooking the Copacabana beach, Kisha & Jen just finished their last drink en route to a second place finish and Flight Time & Big Easy completed their 76th drink. Feeling comfortable with their huge lead over Zev & Justin, the Globetrotters started singing and dancing with the band until they also reached 100 drinks to finish the day in third place.

After making their last caipirinha and an extra one to share on the taxi ride to the Pit Stop, best friends Zev & Justin knew their fate even before they stepped on the mat where Phil eliminated them from the race. Zev summed up his and Justin's experience best, saying, "He was the race and I was the amazing. I think we fit that combo pretty well. In the end, what we saw out in the world, there's a much bigger picture than to try and win a million dollars."

Departing the Pit Stop in first place at 8:54am, father and daughter Gary & Mallory ripped open their clue instructing them to fly over 4,000 miles to their final destination of Miami, Florida. When they landed, they had to make their way to the Rickenbacker Marina to find their next clue.

With all three teams on the same flight to Miami, the focus now turned to the tantalizing close one million dollar prize. Flight Time commented, "I definitely think we're the best team. Now the only thing left is to actually win." Kisha said, "The only time that it matters winning first is this last leg and that's what we plan on doing." Mallory remarked, "We're up against two professional athlete teams. You want to compete with strong competition at the end…We just gotta have faith in it now and just finish it out."

Landing in Miami, Kisha & Jen raced neck and neck with Flight Time & Big Easy all the way to Rickenbacker Marina while last place Gary & Mallory soon realized their taxi driver didn't know where to take them. Arriving at the marina within moments of each other, the lead two teams opened their clue to find a Roadblock. In it, one team member had to climb onto a heavy load forklift and master a complex series of hand levers that move the lifting apparatus. Then, they had to carefully transport a boat to the storage rack in a dry dock and avoid catastrophe of dropping the expensive cargo.

As a frantic Gary & Mallory continued to circle around Miami in search of the marina, Kisha and Flight Time both ran to their respective forklifts and began to learn the complicated driving and maneuvering system. After receiving instructions of how to operate the massive and heavy machinery, both racers slowly made their way in the forklift to their respective boats still only seconds apart. Kisha started to slowly lift her precariously balanced boat just ahead of Flight Time and with so many levers and positions to remember, she later called the experience "intense." Still keeping her lead over Flight Time, Kisha began to drive the forklift with her boat still balanced in front of her taking it to its final storage location. However, when Kisha tried to lower the boat, she needed some extra time to properly position it in its place allowing Flight Time to pass her and finish the task in first place. Running back to Big Easy, Flight Time opened the next clue instructing them to race to Key Largo and find Jules' Undersea Lodge. After Kisha successfully dry docked her boat only moments behind, Jen told their taxi driver, "We gotta catch them!"

As Gary took control of a forklift at the marina all alone in last place, Flight Time & Big Easy and Kisha & Jen arrived at the Jules' Undersea Lodge virtually tied for first place. The two teams were surprised to see a second Roadblock when they opened their clue, meaning the person who didn't dry dock the boat would have to perform this task. In it, one team member had to take charge of a submersible known as a BOBdive and travel through a school of mermaids performing in an underwater show as they searched through dozens of floating treasure chests for one that contained their next clue.

While Big Easy had no qualms about putting on a wetsuit and going underwater, Jen had plenty of fears and concerns considering the problems she had swimming in her previous time running the race. In preparation for this race, Jen later said, "I took some lessons specifically for Race knowing that anything can happen and somebody's gonna go swimming."

Descending into a bizarre underwater world of mermaids and even a band complete with a saxophonist and keyboardist, Big Easy and Jen both began searching the floating treasure chests for one containing a clue. Although Big Easy claimed he was distracting by the pretty mermaids swimmin