The final three have to hop a flight from Incheon International Airport in Seoul to Los Angeles, where they must go to the Port of Long Beach. The home shopping hosts turn up in the airport wearing matching cheetah spandex shorts, part of the "Brook and Claire flair." In girl solidarity, the home shopping hosts strategize that they have to oust the sole male left. "We need to beat Thomas," Brook says. The docs also are feeling the girl power. "I am just so happy there are two female teams," Nat says, "He'll have to race his butt off...." Kat finishes, "...to not beat by the girls."
Out of the airport first, the docs hail a cab and steal the lead, with hairy and the hairdresser on their tail. At the port, teams must ride a tiny elevator to the top of a crane, where they'll receive a clue, then strap into a bungee swing and plummet 150 feet to the water.
It freaks out heights-phobic Nat, who hesitates to do the jump. When she finally gets strapped in, she starts crying, grasping Kat's hand as they are dropped and they start swaying back and forth like a swing. "I didn’t even pee my pants!" Nat exclaims afterward. Brook isn't too happy about the challenge, as she's unsure of how it'll go down. Then she sees the other teams jump. "That’s when I just lost my bananas," she says.
Next, the racers have to board a helicopter, which brings them to a surprise destination—the Rose Bowl in Pasadena—where they hit a roadblock.
Teams must decorate a Tournament of Roses float. It sounds like a piece of cake, but the floats usually take 10,000 man hours to complete. Luckily, these pretend florists only have to do three sections. "I think we were hoping for something with upper body strength or something," hairdresser says as she watches her uncrafty boyfriend attempt to glue blooms onto the float and make it look pretty.
Nat finishes first, but finds she didn’t prep her roses correctly; she forgot to add water to each individual flower tube. She has to pluck out each bud and fill the small tube with water. Meanwhile, Brook is having fun with the crafts project, since she does stuff like that in her spare time.
Afterward, teams get a clue in which they have to decode a riddle to find out the next destination (1. I am Sancho Panza's master; 2. I am the place to hear The Symphony in the Glen; 3. Monroe's Year of the Itch.). The docs use their cabbie's phone to get some help, and find out they have to head to Quixote Studios. Hairy and the hairdresser's cab driver doesn't understand English, and they can't communicate to him that they need a place with Internet. The cabbie keeps saying, "I have GPS!" They decide to ditch their cabbie and ask local businesses to borrow their Internet, but no one helps them out. The home shopping hosts smartly go to a hotel to get computer access.
As is TAR tradition, every finale includes a memory challenge. This go-round teams must identify 11 hat-wearing pit stop greeters out of 48 people on a flashing screen and put them in chronological order. Veteran game show host Bob Eubanks is there to oversee the game.
The docs refer to their notes, which must have been meticulous, because although it takes them awhile, they nailed it on their first try. The home shopping hosts also get it relatively quickly.
From the studio, the teams have to conquer what might be the most impossible feat during this leg: travel through L.A.'s congested streets via cab to the pit stop, Greystone Mansion. The docs are in first place, but get stuck in heavy traffic, but the home shopping hosts score a cabbie who says he knows a short cut and the ladies are sailing on some backroads.
It's between the two female teams, but the docs get the lead and win. Not only did the docs travel 30 cities and 32,000 miles, they are the first all-ladies team to win in the show's history.
"It's about time a girl-girl team won The Amazing Race," Nat says. They also come in second; the home shopping hosts just fall short of winning the million, but the perky gals don't hate. "The idea that you're a strong woman either means that you're a grumpy boots or that you’re this really masculine gnarly chick," Brook says. "No, you can be feminine and tap into that femininity and still be a strong woman."
Nat also had the added accomplishment of running the race well despite being diabetic. "It means the world to me to show people with diabetes that you can be as active as you want," she says. Kat gets all sentimental with her teammate. "You really are my sister, and I know that this is something we'll share for the rest of our lives.
We got a sneak peek at next season, an all-star show called Amazing Race: Unfinished Business. It'll feature fan favorites, like this season's home shopping hosts, the YouTubers, Ms. Kentucky and her dad, and the Gleeks. The lineup will also include Harlem Globetrotters Flight Time and Big Easy, goths Kynt and Vyxin, cowboys Cord and Jet, and poker players Maria and Tiffany. Of course, we'll keep you updated when season 18 kicks off on February 20.