The Amazing Race Season 17, Episode 12

By Daron Aldridge

December 13, 2010

Smart is hot.

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Well, after 12 weeks of viewing, you will be rewarded with finding out who are the winners that will, in turn, be rewarded with a million dollars. Thankfully, quitter Nick and his saintly girlfriend Vicki were eliminated last week, so the race to the finish consists of teams that have actually run a solid (Brook & Claire) or stellar race (Nat & Kat and Jill & Thomas, who each have won four legs). They are all deserving, which is painful for me to admit, given that Brook’s mugging of the camera and Thomas’ frequent arrogant swipes grate on my nerves.

Where did we leave off? Oh yes, on the southern part of the Korean peninsula. Let’s get to our final leg of the season. I will refrain from trying to force in a “Thomas is the sole man left in Seoul, man” pun but only because I can’t make it work to my liking.

It’s 3:57 a.m. and Jill & Thomas rip into the clue and find out that their final destination city is Los Angeles. The teams are directed to the Port of Long Beach for their first of the final clues. And for the second time in three seasons, the producers use a Katy Perry song as background music when discussing the final destination city. They must like her as much as the webmaster for BOP’s sister site, HowWellDoYouKnow.

(By the way, if you feel so inclined, jump on over and take the quiz I created about this season - after reading the recap, of course.)


Ever the gentleman, Thomas proudly declares that he has no interest in letting the other two teams make history as the first female teams to win the race. Since he has a vested interest in that not happening, it isn’t entirely a sexist statement but with him, it still sounds jerky.

Next, Team HSN Brook & Claire leave the mat at 4:23 a.m. and the doctors Nat & Kat are hot on their heels only four minutes back. It’s time to see all the teams patiently waiting for the Korean Air ticket counter to open and both teams of ladies once again pointing out that they need to beat Thomas. I fear they will be more focused on beating one team specifically instead of focusing on beating both teams. That may just prevent either of them from winning it all.

All three are on the same flight and “California Gurls” is queued up again. The song awkwardly plays under Phil’s voiceover and the teams’ voices upon landing. It’s like they were obligated to play exactly 20 seconds of the song to get their money’s worth.

The teams land and are each in a cab within minutes of one another heading to the port. As they approach, Nat, who is petrified of heights, immediately views it as a worst-case scenario with the giant cargo container cranes staring at her. Upon opening the clue, it turns out that it really is the worst-case scenario. The teams have to drop 150 feet on a bungee swing to get their next clue. You may remember she barely survived the death-defying gondola ride that many children wouldn’t be bothered by. I have no idea how she will do this one.

Think you're an Amazing Race know-it-all? Test your knowledge of TAR 17 in our season recap quiz!

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