From Shanghai, the racers finally head back home to the States. Their last stop: San Francisco. Teams must go to Battery Godfrey, a former military outpost overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. The teams start on equal footing, since they all meet up at the airport while waiting for the ticket counter to open.
And right out of the gate, the dirty tactics begin. The cute bros come six hours after the cowboys, but because Jordan slips his backpack behind the South Carolinas, he calls dibs for second in line. The usually friendly cowboys get angry but coolly ponder how to handle the sitch. "I don't think you can actually grab his backpack and throw him backwards in the airport, you get in trouble for that," Cord says. "I think I'd get in trouble for kicking his teeth in," Jet says. "If they wanna drop the gloves, I can drop the gloves."
"This is a race, it's a game," Jordan responds. "And there's a million bucks at the other end so I'm going after it. You can hate the game all you want but don't hate the player." After getting his ticket, he pats Cord on the back and says, "Don't hate." Oh Jordan, the cowboys are gonna drown you in haterade. "It was a wake-up call for me that these people don't care about people, they care about money," Jet says.
On the plane, the cute bros successfully get the flight attendant to bump them to first class, which gets them out of the plane first and at the clue first. The clue is a riddle: "I was built in 1933. I'm 210 feet tall. My insides are lined with murals painted by 26 different artists...." The cute bros and their cabbie are at a loss, but they decide to ask a bicyclist and the savvy local send them to the right place, Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill. "People who ride bicycles are smart; it's a general rule," Jordan says.
In the meantime, the SC's cab driver doesn't know where he's going, which gives the cowboys time to pass them. And when the cowboys get the clue, they whip out a travel guide they bought in Shanghai and answer the riddle themselves. Talk about coming prepared. Things get tense in the SC's taxi, as the driver obviously has no idea where he's going. "Now we're gonna lose because of this dumb ass," says the not-so-poised beauty queen. Plus, she tells her love that she wants to punch him in the face—twice.
At Coit Tower, the teams hit a roadblock. One player must use a mechanical ascender to do a 120-foot vertical climb up to the tower's archway, where they'll get their next clue. Dan gets there first and finishes the task, with Cowboy Cord nipping at his heels.
MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU
The next clue sends them to the Yoda Fountain at Lucasfilm, where stormtroopers lead them to an empty sound stage, where one team member dons a motion-capture suit and the other mans a computer station and guides him through a path to reach a goal to complete a level. It's a lot harder than it sounds, since the suited person can't see any of the obstacles and any slight movement can bump the person offscreen. Dan struggles to get his bro on the right path, and when Cord arrives and hears Dan, he starts shouting out bizarre directions like, "Ballet move!" even though the cowboy hasn't even gotten his headset yet. Dan is annoyed.
Nevertheless, the bros complete the two levels. Thing is, at the end of the video-game-like task, the teams have to decipher a hard-to-see message that is only able to be read when the suited-up person spins. As Jordan starts to turn, he gets in Jet's way, which almost causes a fight in the direction room between Cord and Dan.
The cute bros finish and leave, and the SC's catch up with the cowboys. The message on the screen stumps Cord, which gives the SC's time to become neck-in-neck with the cowboys...until the Ms. realizes they left their money in Lucasfilm while they are in the cab to the next destination.
HAVE TRUNK, WILL TRAVEL
Next up is the Tonga Room, one of the country's first tiki bars. There, teams have to pick up a trunk and lug it with them to the Great American Music Hall. The cute bros find it cumbersome to walk the 10 blocks carrying the huge trunk, but the cowboys find a way to make it work.
At the hall, they find that inside the trunks are 11 psychedelic posters, each one representing a team eliminated during a leg or a non-elimination leg. Teams must put the posters in chronological order. Jordan did his homework beforehand, noticing that in the prior 15 seasons, there was always a memory challenge, so he wrote down the order of all the eliminations. The cute bros quickly do the task and uncover the riddle. Dan, the sports fanatic, gets the right answer: Candlestick Park. Though they have the lead, they can't find a cab. The cowboys finish the task and luckily find an available cab right quick. Both scramble to the finish line.
FINISH LINE DRAMA
After 23 days, five continents and 40,000 miles, the winners are the cute bros. "I made my little brother's dream come true," Dan says. "No matter what happens for the rest of our lives, we will always have this."
But the show doesn't stop there. Drama just begins to unfold. The cowboys snag second but can't resist one last, albeit subtle jab to the cute bros. "There are things more important than money, the experience of being able to travel all over the world with my best friend and my brother, and in the end having our character and our integrity intact, we can walk out of here with our heads held high and look peeple straight in the face," Jet says.
The SCs finish third, but the Ms. is the only lady left standing. "I mainly just wanted to prove that I am an intelligent person," she says. "Obviously I was able to travel the whole entire world and finish the Amazing Race, and be in third place and I'm very proud of myself." Phil points out that a couple of eliminated contestants at the finish line aren't so happy for her—namely, the divas, who are still sore from when the Ms. U-turned them and got them eliminated. The Ms. begins to apologize to the divas, but Brandy cuts her off. "I don't want to hear sorry from you, you purposely whacked us."
Brandy tells the Ms. that if she would have been a smarter player, she would have U-turned the cowboys, a bigger threat. "Maybe y'all should have treated people nicer," the Ms. says. Brandy replies that if she couldn't handle it, she shouldn't have been in the race. Unlike her Miss Teen USA Q&A, our fair beauty queen didn't stumble on her words with this answer. "I am handling it," she says. "I am the one standing here, not you." The Ms. may have just won her redemption.
Despite the drama, the winners take time to reflect on the experience. Dan's happy to have helped Jordan not only make his dream to compete on the show a reality, but to win the whole shebang. Jordan says, "You know, bro, when we are on the same team, we are unbeatable."