The Amazing Race 26 Recap: Episode 12
Monster Truck Heroes
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
May 28, 2015

We bet these two never take selfies again.

Previously on The Amazing Race, we spent a pointless 60 minutes watching our final four teams do a bunch of activities that eventually led us to see… that the race was not over and all four teams would continue on. It wasn’t a non-elimination leg, but it might as well have been. Anyway, as with all of the other legs where a last place team was allowed to continue on, our fourth place duo has some pretty significant ground to make up. Phil told Mike & Rochelle that one team would be eliminated during the final leg, almost as though he’s forecasting who that eventual loser will be.

Then again, Mike & Rochelle have had a habit of hanging around due either to their own luck or someone else’s misfortune.

Anyway, our final leg will feature Hayley & Blair, Jenny & Jelani, Tyler & Laura and the aforementioned Mike & Rochelle. Yes, that means that only one previously dating team remains and that 75% of the final four is made up of blind date couples. We don’t really think this is a function of the teams who knew each other less having an advantage so much as that the three blind dating duos are all pretty solid teams.

Read on to find out who wins the million dollars.

After seven minutes of recap and commercials, we have 53 minutes left of show. We presume this will not be an action-packed show. We look forward to the next season of The Amazing Race, which should be titled “Phoning It In.”

Our teams are located in Trujillo, Peru, but it should be about time to head back to the United States. And indeed, Phil confirms that teams must now fly to Dallas, Texas. Once there, they will search for their next clue at AT&T Stadium. All of the teams are on the same flight, so even though Mike & Rochelle had a lot of distance to make up, everyone will be starting this final leg from the same position.

“No mistakes. You’re gonna listen, right?” says Hayley to Blair. Ugh.

Mike & Rochelle manage to be first to the clue box, and the question asked is “Who wants to score?” Obviously it’s Mike, who is joined by Tyler, Jelani and Blair. They’ll need to pick up their playbook from the top of the stadium to receive the next instructions.

The guys are all being suited up in football uniforms. A drum and flag corps leads them out onto the field where they will have to “Play Like a Pro.” They’ll be lifted up 300 feet high to retrieve that playbook, and then they must catch a touchdown pass and kick an extra point.

Jelani mentioned on the cab ride over that he used to play football, so he probably has a slight advantage here. Or maybe not so much, as Tyler apparently played as a freshman in high school.

Retrieving the playbook is the easy part. Now the guys have to catch their passes and kick extra points. Mike misses the first pass, and the second one goes right through his arms. Tyler catches his easily. Naturally, he spikes the ball.

Just as Blair walks up to start working on the passing portion of the task, Mike catches his pass. Tyler puts his extra point right through the goalpost and high fives the ref. He and Laura are off to P2 Ranch, where their next clue/task will be awaiting them.

Let’s just say that Mike is not cut out for kicking, as he kicks like Scott Norwood in a Super Bowl (laces out!). He rightfully notes that he’s built more for playing defense. As for Blair, he actually has a wide receiver’s build, and catches his ball with absolutely no trouble.

Mike misses another kick, and his pants fall down, too. Fortunately, he’s not alone in his kicking crappiness, as Blair’s is almost as bad.

Looking like a natural, Jelani easily catches his pass.

Blair puts his kick through the uprights, so he and Hayley aren’t too far behind Tyler & Laura. As for Jelani, he apparently didn’t kick in his previous football life, because he muffs it badly.

Out at the cabs, Tyler & Laura’s driver has no idea where the ranch is, so they ask Hayley & Blair’s driver if he knows the location. He does, so they say they’ll just wait and follow their cab. Of course, Hayley presumes that the two of them are trying to steal their cab and calls them “shady.” She and Blair tell their driver, “Don’t let them follow us,” which is sort of valid, but worrying that much about what another team is doing can be deadly at this point in the race. Just go win and quit whining.

We’re still at the extra point portion of the task for Mike and Jelani. They both miss another round, but at least Jelani gets his ball up in the air.

Somehow, Mike makes his kick. Jelani misses one more before finally getting it done.

As predicted, Hayley & Blair (well, Hayley) are freaking out so much about Tyler & Laura following them that they’ve now wasted enough time to allow the other two teams to catch up. Honestly, Laura & Tyler should have just gone ahead and left and asked for directions at the first available place. Now we’ve just got bunching again, and Hayley & Blair have done themselves absolutely no favors.

Eventually, Tyler & Laura decide that they should follow Jenny & Jelani’s cab driver instead of Hayley & Blair’s, because something seems off about the direction they’re headed.

Mike & Rochelle’s cab left while they were in the stadium, so they’re stuck and looking for a replacement.

Despite the belief that Hayley & Blair were headed the wrong way, they do arrive at P2 Ranch first, where they’ll join a cattle drive to corral some longhorns. Once the task is complete, teams will receive their next clue. Blair has never ridden a horse, but he seems more natural at it than Hayley, who has no idea how to stop hers.

Jelani and Tyler are playfully racing to the cattle drive area (“I thought you were supposed to be fast,” shouts Tyler.) It’s bad news for Mike & Rochelle, though, as their cab driver is out of gas. They’re going to have to turn around and go fill up.

Even though Hayley is extremely uncomfortable on her horse, she and Blair finish the corralling task. They’re instructed to go to Reunion Tower, which is the location where Kim (your faithful recapper) saw Prince’s Purple Rain tour way way way back in 1984.

A scary situation develops when Jenny falls off her horse, but she says that when you fall down, you just jump right back on. She smiles as they come to the final portion of the task. Laura & Tyler are right behind them.

Doomed by various taxi issues, Mike & Rochelle don’t even get to play cowboy. Phil is waiting for them (with what looks like a gang of outlaws), and tells them that they have in fact been eliminated from the race. They’re not surprised, and they’re proud that they came this close. They’re a really nice couple, and we wish them luck in the future. Rochelle is ready to introduce Mike to her son, too!

That means our final three teams are all Blind Daters. When they arrive at Reunion Tower, they have to go up to the sphere and look for their next clue as they rappel down from the top of it. Hayley is doing the task for her team, but struggles to find the clue from her lofty vantage point. She believes it’s up on top of a parking garage.

She and Blair are leaving as the other two teams are arriving, and Tyler can’t stand that Hayley is beating him.

Then again, Hayley doesn’t really know where she’s going. She screams at Blair to help her, but of course he has no idea what she saw and can only guess the appropriate location.

And we soon realize that Hayley has it completely wrong anyway. Laura and Jenny are rappelling down the tower side by side, and Laura points out some flags near some train tracks. They are definitely sporting the colors of The Amazing Race, so she looks to be correct.

Now that they’ve finally climbed to the top of the parking garage, Hayley & Blair understand that they’re boned.

We should note here that if Hayley hadn’t been so adamant about not allowing Tyler & Laura to follow them earlier, she could have been rappelling down the building with Laura. I think we’ll chalk this one up to karma. Now they’re in the position of having to follow Laura & Tyler and Jenny & Jelani – or climb back up to the top of the tower.

Hayley yells at Blair because obviously this is his fault.

Back to our other two teams, they split at a T in the road, and it appears that Jenny & Jelani are going the wrong way (their specialty). Thus, Tyler & Laura arrive at the clue box first. They’ll drive a monster truck to the end of a bog pit, where their final challenge awaits. First, they have to look at a sign on a shed door. The sign contains names of places they visited throughout the race. They’ll need to know the number of the leg and then place it in order to determine the combination of the lock that opens the door. They’ll have more memory puzzles once they get the door open.

Jenny & Jelani have now driven their monster truck through the mud and will be arriving at the final challenge.

Up on Reunion Tower, Hayley finally sees the flags. Blair says that they’ve learned that you’re never out of the race until Phil tells you that you are, but we know better. Hayley blew this one. There’s no real polite way to say it. Considering how much she has berated Blair for his lack of attention to detail during the course of the season, it’s probably pretty devastating to her that she failed so spectacularly in this challenge.

She apologizes profusely to Blair, and he tells her it’s not necessary. As he has been throughout this race, he’s a good sport and somehow knows how to deal with her craziness.

Tyler & Laura are struggling with the order on their locker, but Jenny & Jelani get theirs pretty much right away. They open the door to discover a bunch of selfies. The challenge here is to place the selfies on the world map.

Jenny & Jelani have gotten out to a bit of a lead when Tyler & Laura open their locker. Laura reads the clue aloud, which says, “The selfies must be placed on the map in chronological order from right to left.” Oh… Jenny & Jelani’s selfies are haphazard, so they appear to have missed this critical detail. They’re both really smart, but the small stuff seems to evade them.

…Or perhaps they were just placing them all on the map so they could organize them better. Well, we’re about to find out whether their tactic is better or if Tyler & Laura’s plan to have Laura sort them while Tyler places them on the map is more effective.

Although Tyler & Laura finish first, their answers are incorrect. Hayley & Blair are at the monster truck, so you might sort of think they could still have a chance, but if you look at the time (only 10 minutes of show left), there’s no way.

Soon, Tyler & Laura realize that they only have one of them wrong, and they are now driving their monster truck back to get their next clue. At this point, they realize that Hayley & Blair have only just arrived, which means that they’re riding this monster truck to sweet, sweet victory.

The finish line isn’t right at their location, though. They have to make their way to Continental Avenue Bridge. Since Jenny & Jelani are now done with the task, it will be a true race to the finish.

Oh, who are we kidding? Jenny & Jelani will get lost.

Then again, Tyler & Laura’s driver doesn’t know where anything in Dallas is. They ask him to take them to the bridge, and he mutters that he’s never heard of it. The two of them ask for help from one of the other drivers, and he tells them that it’s “the new bridge.” This is apparently the information their driver needs, because he recognizes it immediately.

And in fact, Tyler & Laura are your winners of The Amazing Race. One of the nicest teams ever has won.

Phil tries to push the “blind date” theme by asking them “what kind of love did you find?” Tyler answers him that they’ve found “a love of the world and a lasting friendship.” They take a selfie with Phil.

Jenny & Jelani are all smiles even with the defeat, although Jenny makes sure to point out that Jelani will make some other girl very happy someday. Hayley rides on Blair’s shoulders to the finish. Disappointed that none of the blind daters have found love, he says, “I guess I’m not going to be officiating at any wedding.” Ashley points out that he can officiate her wedding to Matt, and Phil says, “I guess I will, yeah.”

Hayley says that if she were to choose a partner for the race, she'd want it to be Blair. He says he'd team with her again if she wouldn't yell at him. "Well, will you listen?" she asks. And so the cycle begins anew.

And that’s a wrap. This season was a lot of fun with likable teams. We’ll hope to see some of these people back for a future all-stars edition for sure (hint hint Jonathan & Harley).