The Amazing Race Season 27 - Season Finale Recap
We Got a Chance, Baby
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
December 11, 2015

Kelsey even smiles like a robot.

Previously on The Amazing Race, Justin & Diana finally had a terrible leg. After taking a cab when they could have walked to their next destination, their driver got them lost and delayed. Then, taking the Kowloon ferry instead of the Hong Kong ferry got them sacked with a 55-minute penalty. It unfortunately brought out Bad Justin, who doesn’t handle losing well.

Despite their misfortunes, one team fared much worse. Krista & Tiffany got hung up at the Roadblock, as Krista required five tries during a very long challenge to find the goldfish she needed so that they could proceed to the Pit Stop. In the end, #TheCheerleaders were eliminated, leaving us with a final three of Justin & Diana, Kelsey & Joey and Logan & Chris.

We shared our thoughts on these team’s abilities in our Power Rankings, but it really comes down to a race between #TheGreenTeam and #TheReporters. Even though they actually came up with a win in last week’s leg, we give #ThePaparazzi absolutely no chance of winning the million dollars. They’re just too toxic together.

So, with all that said, will Justin & Diana tie the record for most legs won by taking the final, most important one? Or will Kelsey & Joey finally break free of their long streak of second place wins to take the one that counts? We can’t wait to find out.

When the teams rip into their first clue of the leg, they’re instructed to fly to Long Island, New York. Justin is from the Bronx and claims hyper-familiarity with the area, so #TheGreenTeam feels like they have an advantage here. Since teams are traveling from Hong Kong to the United States, we probably don’t even have to tell you that they will all be on the same flight, so everyone is starting on even ground once they land.

The first destination upon arrival is the FDNY Fire Academy. Justin tries to negotiate with his cab driver to hang around, offering him $100 to wait for him. Instead, the cabbie asks for an additional $100 on top of that. Since that’s unreasonable highway robbery, Justin declines and says they’ll just try to get another cab when they’re done. He also doesn’t tip the guy.

The other two teams take the alternate approach. Both of them have their cabs remain to wait for them, though to be fair, their drivers weren’t trying to gouge them, either.

With the cab drama over(?), the next clue indicates that one member from each team will take on “the mother of all drills” with the New York Fire Department. The team members must climb up a ladder into a burning building, then go into a burning room to rescue a dummy. Once the dummy is delivered to safety, they’ll have to complete their first “memory challenge.” Justin, Chris and Joey take the challenge for their teams.

Justin gets through the challenge pretty easily, while Chris struggles a bit with some exhaustion and difficulty breathing. Joey isn’t far behind them in the rear.

Now that he’s completed the drill, Justin has started the memory challenge. It requires him to put the capital cities of the countries they’ve visited in order. There are a couple of extra names in there just to throw people off. Obviously, Justin has been preparing for this already, and he has absolutely no problem breezing through. Chris, on the other hand, requires multiple attempts. Joey isn’t far behind him.

Remember how Justin sent their cab away? Well, he tries to get one of the cabbies waiting for #TheReporters and #ThePaparazzi to take them to their next location (Belmont Park, home of the Belmont Stakes), but neither of them is taking the bait. The drivers claim they don’t know where Belmont Park is, and one of the guys (Logan & Chris’s driver) even drives away in frustration. With no one to drive them, Justin & Diana walk away, hoping they can find another cab.

What happens next, after Joey & Chris finish the challenge, is weird. Logan & Chris are running around panicking because their taxi is gone. When they see one pull up, they hail it. Chris asks, “Is that our taxi?” “No,” Logan says. Nonetheless, they jump in the car.

At this point, Kelsey runs up to the cab, saying, “No, no, no! This is our cab! We still owe him, guys.” #TheReporters stop the driver, and Joey tells them to “get the hell out.” Logan & Chris run off in another direction, lost without a cab. With both #TheGreenTeam and #ThePaparazzi wandering without taxis, a door may have just opened for Kelsey & Joey, who are now on their way to Belmont Park.

Logan yells at Chris about giving up the cab, but he points out that “the guy wasn’t taking us.” He’s right. The guy was similarly vague with Justin & Diana, but it seemed pretty clear that he was waiting for his real fare. He knew it wasn’t #ThePaparazzi, and he stopped the instant he realized he had the wrong people in his cab. He wasn’t taking them anywhere.

Eventually, both #TheGreenTeam and #ThePaparazzi board a bus so that they can get to a better location for a cab. We fast forward through Logan & Chris fighting about it so that we can get to some non-cab seeking action.

At Belmont Park, a jockey gives Kelsey & Joey a clue that tells them to fly to the Hamptons in style to receive their next instructions. They’ll board a helicopter that will take them to their next location, and the duo is shocked to see that they are the first team to arrive at the helicopters.

Logan & Chris get to the helicopters second, at which point Chris takes off his pants and boots from the fireman challenge. Logan yells at him that this is stupid (though she thinks everything he does is stupid). He’ll be racing the remainder of the leg in bare feet.

When their helicopter lands, Kelsey & Joey read the clue that instructs them to ride a SeaDoo to Shinnecock East County Park, where they’ll board a lobster boat and help local fishermen pull up seven lobster pots and replace them with new ones. At this point, they’ll have a second memory challenge, where they’ll arrange the flags of the countries from the various legs of the race in order of visit.

There’s nothing particularly special about the lobster pot portion of the challenge. It’s pretty grueling, and teams are going to finish in order of arrival. It will be the memory part of the challenge that will allow possible shifts in placement.

Kelsey notes that she and Joey had been studying all sorts of possible permutations for the memory portion of the final leg, and flags was actually something they had paid attention to. They get a little hung up by a sneaky flag that is thrown into the mix but doesn’t belong, but eventually they get through it in first place.

Logan & Chris, on the other hand… Well, let’s just show you how it went for them. “I don’t know what Africa’s flag looks like.” Hoo boy. Dear celebrities, if you see these two trying to take your picture, run them over. No one will convict.

“You know we were supposed to study everything. We didn’t study flags. We were stupid,” says Chris. I mean, yes, but only if you were hoping to actually win the Race. Have they never watched a season before?

Of course, Justin & Diana have no trouble with the flags, as they studied these as well. They’re able to pass Logan & Chris but still seem to be a fair distance behind #TheReporters.

With the flags hung, Kelsey & Joey are now returning to shore, where they’ll drive a dune buggy to their next clue. That clue instructs them to build six Adirondack chairs, all of which feature images from the Race. They’ll have to arrange them in chronological order.

Somehow, Joey is an expert on Adirondack chair building because he looked at one once when he was considering buying it to put on his “tiny little porch.” They approach the challenge from a great perspective. Kelsey puts the images together and plans the order of the chairs while Joey builds. It’s good that they have a strategy, because Justin & Diana have arrived, and Diana is great at building stuff.

On their first pass, Kelsey & Joey are told that some of their chairs aren’t aligned properly, so they go back to try to correct their issues. They still have issues with one chair after their second pass. There’s a bit of faux drama as the “judges” look at both #TheReporters’ and #TheGreenTeam’s chairs, but ultimately, Kelsey & Joey have got it right. They receive their next clue, which tells them to…

Run to the nearby Hampton Estate and find Phil. It’s basically right around the corner, and all of the eliminated teams waiting for them are thrilled to see that it’s Kelsey & Joey. There is no love for the team that dominated the Race, but as we’ve mentioned a few times, #TheReporters were careful to never make enemies.

After five continents, 10 countries and 34,000 miles, Kelsey & Joey have finally managed to finish first. And it’s the leg that matters. Phil informs them that they have won the million dollars, which they will use to buy a house together and move in together. Then, Joey wants to pay off his parents’ mortgage. He asks one of the dancing brothers if he can wear his giant heavy chain, and Joey finishes the Race all blinged out.

The applause is significantly more subdued when Justin & Diana arrive, and Justin obviously has some tears. He obviously regrets arguing with the cabbie. It was in fact the thing that set them. They’re great sports, and they hug #TheReporters. Justin tries to look at the bright said, realizing that their wedding is paid for, they have money put aside for a future baby, and they have a vacation or two, but he dreamed of winning The Amazing Race. Still, when Diana says, “But you can’t buy what we have,” he loses it.

Eventually, after arguing about who they hope won The Amazing Race, Logan & Chris finish the final challenge and land on the mat. To our surprise, Phil questions them about why they’re a couple, seeing as how they seem to be utterly incompatible and completely contemptuous of each other. “We need to maybe go to therapy or something,.. Don’t try this at home.” says Logan. Maybe so, Logan. Maybe so.

Anyway, we’re sure that we’ll be seeing Justin & Diana on an All-Stars edition of the Race at some point in the future, and we’ll probably be around to recap it for you! Next season will feature YouTube personalities, so… uh. Yeah. We hope you’ve enjoyed the 27th season of The Amazing Race!