The Amazing Race Season 31
This One Is for One Million Dollars
By Kim Hollis & David Mumpower
June 29, 2019
Previously on The Amazing Race, 11 teams from reality shows – CBS REALITY SHOWS – all competed for a million dollars. Four of these teams remain, and in a less than stunning coincidence, three of them are previous participants on The Amazing Race. This fight is fixed, y’all.
Out of the ones who remain, the pecking order is Tyler & Korey, Christie & Colin, and then a pretty sizable gap to the next two. The Afghanimals have the edge on Big Brother purely for the number of records they’ve set for legs, challenges, and so forth.
On a personal level, we’ll be heartbroken if Tyler & Korey don’t win, although we like at least six of the remaining six contestants. We’re still on the fence about Nicole and also about Colin, who stubbornly refuses to lose his mind but has shown signs of cracking all season.
Christie & Colin are first to depart, but let’s be honest. It won’t matter, because we’ll have bunching. The teams will travel to London and the Gatwick Aviation Museum. Christie & Colin and Tyler & Korey want to be a final three with the Afghanimals. The Amazing Race teams have a lot of pride.
For their part, Nicole & Victor can’t even look at Leo & Jamal. The Afghanimals U-turned the Big Brother duo in the previous leg, and they are seriously maintaining a grudge.
In their previous two races, the Afghanimals were eliminated in the 11th leg. Coincidentally, that’s the same leg as the one we’re seeing today! They’re determined to redeem themselves, but Nic & Vic have other plans for them.
Upon arrival in London, the teams are supposed to call for taxis. Leo & Jamal figure it out first, and then direct Tyler & Korey to the booth as well. Tyler yells for Christie & Colin to join them. Leo & Jamal make a point of befriending their cabbie.
Once the teams arrive at the Aviation Museum, their clue instructs them to take a helicopter ride that will have them explore the countryside of England, including the Seven Sisters, the White Cliffs of Dover, and Dover Castle.
At Dover Castle, the Roadblock asks, “Who can’t keep a secret?” Like the codebreakers from World War II, one member of each team will have to decipher a clue that will send them to their next task by typing it on a vintage typewriter. The correct answer will say:
the dunkirk evacuation has begun
we will never surrender
Leo joins a soldier and walks “all the way” to Dover Castle. Along the march, he asks the soldier if he knows what the clue will reveal, and the soldier replies that he’s afraid he can’t answer that question.
At the Roadblock, the Racers are given a sheet of paper that requires them to get the 15th, the 30th and the fourth word from Winston Churchill’s speech. Leo takes the time to listen over and over and over again. Since he was there first, he has a bit of an advantage.
The three words are faith, prevail, and evil. From there, he numbers the letters from those words in alphabetical order going from left to right. The other three teams arrive, with Christie, Victor, and Korey taking the task for their teams.
Before the other three teams can even start the task, Leo has figured it out. Impressive. He delivers it to a soldier, who gives him his next clue.
Meanwhile, Christie & Korey are working together to figure it out. The trick is that they have to collaborate without Victor hearing what they’re saying. Obviously, Victor thinks this is a little shady, but what are you going to do?
Regardless, he beats them to the finish, which means that Korey and Christie are now fighting for last place. He kind of can’t tell her exactly what to do, but she wants his help. He gives her the best instructions he can without giving her the answers.
She has no idea what to do, though. The soldier she reports to tells her that her answer is utter jibberish and she needs to do it again!
On her own, Christie totally gets in her own head. Even with Korey giving her the code, she doesn’t understand how to interpret it.
Leo & Jamal continue in first place, with a clue that tells them to travel on speedboat on the River Thames to Piccadilly Circus. They pass under a bridge, which they’re told is the Tower Bridge.
Once at this newest destination, they receive a new clue from a golden queen that has to do with taxi drivers. The Detour gives them the option of “Know” or “Row.”
As Phil tells us, London taxi drivers “know” every location in the city. To get a license, they must memorize 320 routes and 100,000 landmarks that span 25,000 streets, lined roads, and alleyways. Teams have to memorize a cab route one turn at a time.
For the “Row” portion of the Detour, teams will emulate the prolific Olympic medal winning teams that have rowed in the competition over the years. A couple of such Olympic medal winners will teach them how to do the task, which they must finish in less than a minute.
Christie has finally decoded her historic message and cries while she and Colin helicopter over to their next spot.
Leo & Jamal have chosen “Row,” and their coach helps them to lower the boat into the water. Leo is pretty darned uneasy about this task from the outset. The craft is unwieldy, and they can’t imagine getting it done. They decide to switch tasks.
Nicole & Victor choose “Row,” as do Tyler & Korey. Over at “Know,” the Afghanimals have to memorize 15 streets and seven points of interest. Also, they have to get the names EXACTLY right, down to whether it’s Court, Street, or other. Jamal crashes out and falls asleep.
Leo says, “We’re going to have to do this again.” They get two pieces of info right, but that’s a long way from completion. They try to have a sense of humor about it, but the cabbie judge isn’t having it.
Nicole & Victor realize that “Row” isn’t as easy as they had guessed it would be, and in fact, they capsize their craft. Tyler & Korey are slightly more stable for about 15 seconds, but they tip as well.
On their second attempt, Leo & Jamal miss again. Although Nicole & Victor don’t capsize on their second effort, they come NOWHERE near the 60 seconds. This challenge requires coordination and collaboration. Like Nicole & Victor, Tyler & Korey fail hard.
At this point, Tyler & Korey swap tasks, which seems like the right call. Honestly, when the boat tipped on their first try, they should have done it then. Like the others, Christie & Colin fail on their first attempt as well. Nic & Vic do the same.
Christie & Colin are determined to finish out “Row,” even though they capsize. Tyler & Korey feel a lot better about “Know,” but the Afghanimals are still trying to finish after five attempts. That fifth time is a charm, though. The guys are headed to the Pit Stop, where Phil is waiting for them with Winston Churchill, apparently not portrayed by Gary Oldman.
Another attempt, another failure for Christie & Colin, though they’re getting themselves into a pretty good cadence. Tyler & Korey get through “Know” on their second try.
At Camden Market, teams must pick up a few items around the location before Phil will check them in. What a meanie.
When Leo & Jamal ask a kindly gentleman for directions to a place that might sell carpets, he happily assists. They ask the name of the shop, and he says, “Rug Shop.” He also smiles naughtily.
Christie & Colin become the only team to complete the “Row” challenge – with ONE minute to spare. Victor is super great at memorizing things (he’s the glue for their team) and they are on their way to Camden Market as well.
After they find their penultimate object (a pair of big purple platform boots), Leo & Jamal do a little dance. Apparently, the nice guy with Rug Shop directions was lying, because the guys get help from someone else to go to the final spot.
Tyler & Korey mention that they love shopping as they search for purple boots. Leo & Jamal get their carpet and land in first place at the Pit Stop. Winston Churchill tells them, “Never never never never give in!” The guys do pushups.
Having finished their shopping, Tyler & Korey direct Christie & Colin to the purple platform boots. Phil whispers to them that they are team number two.
Thanks to the boot assistance, Christie & Colin finish in third, which puts Nic & Vic in last place. Christie cries with happiness, because she had a pretty terrible leg, frankly. Nicole cries, too, but she and Victor are very obviously deeply connected.
We have now reached the FINAL leg. Teams must go to Detroit and locate a famous landmark called Spirit of Detroit.
Leo & Jamal mention that they now have the most Detours, most Roadblocks, most legs completed. Rachel’s triumphs were short-lived! (Ha ha.)
For their part, Tyler & Korey are thrilled to be going to Detroit, because they’re from Michigan and have visited the city many, many times. Colin notes that during their first run of the race, they had youth on their side, but now they have wisdom.
“May the highest vibing team win,” says Christie. Note that autocorrect doesn’t recognize “vibing” as a word.
At the Detroit airport, all teams find taxis at about the same time, though the Afghanimals are first to the statue. “Who is good with numbers?” asks the Roadblock. The Guardian Building is a landmark skyscraper. One member of each team must rappel down the side, gathering numbers from windows as they do. At the bottom, they have to use those numbers to crack open a safe (following very specific instructions).
Leo, Tyler and Colin take the task for their teams.
Posted without comment: “We’re coming from the rear. We seem to do pretty good when we’re in that position.” Are we still doing phrasing, Christie?
Colin is afraid of heights, but performs admirably here. Tyler stumbles and struggles, but he keeps his composure.
Although he has the right numbers, Leo doesn’t properly read the instructions for the combination lock. He can’t open the safe. Colin notices the detail of the instructions and makes sure to follow them. Thus, he opens his safe first, and is directed to go play Fowling, a combination of bowling and football. Teams will have to knock down all the pins on one side of the “lane” to proceed.
Tyler has also noticed the detailed instructions on cracking the safe, and he finds his clue next. Leo is still struggling.
Christie & Colin have lost their taxi, which gives Tyler & Korey a chance to jump ever so slightly ahead. Christie gripes that their guy was supposed to stay with the other taxis and yells at him that he cost them 12 minutes. She breaks out her wagging finger and yells at him even more. Colin tells her to stop it and that she’s going to freak him out. “It freaks him out if you’re talking over me,” she replies. Colin tries to smooth things over with the cabbie, but sheesh. Christie has officially lived long enough to become the villain.
At the Fowling alley, Tyler & Korey introduce themselves to a gentleman named Bo-Diggity. No, we’re not kidding. When they mispronounce Fowling as “Fouling,” Bo-Diggity corrects them and tells them it’s pronounced more like “Foaling.”
Even though Christie is terrible at aiming the football for bowling pins, Colin knocks down nine with one shot. At this point, Tyler, Korey, and Colin are all down to one pin each, with Korey getting the win for his team. They’re followed quickly by Christie & Colin.
Next up, teams must go to Jack White’s Third Man Records and produce five perfect two-tone records for their next clue, a task that’s harder than it looks.
Back at the Guardian Building, Jamal notes that he and Leo are now about 30 minutes behind the other two teams. Leo simply can’t figure this one out, and with only 20 minutes or so remaining on the show, they appear to be out of this Race. It’s between Christie & Colin and Tyler & Korey.
At Third Man Records, Tyler & Korey are first to arrive and receive instructions on how to press their records. The colors on the records must be right around 50/50, and if it’s not perfect, you get some bleed (not acceptable). Korey even notices that one is just not quite right, but they don’t stop and do it over. Christie & Colin have also arrived at Third Man Records.
Leo has finally figured out the safe, but the Afghanimals are super demoralized at this point.
Judge Brandon is super tough on Tyler & Korey, so they get two out of five only. They must return and press three more records. On the other hand, Christie & Colin have a super lenient woman looking at their records, and they pass on their first attempt. This puts Tyler & Korey behind, but Brandon passes their records on the second effort.
Next up they go to Hart Plaza to search for their next clue. When the teams arrive, they have to look for it amongst a giant group of musicians, who are all playing the White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army.
Colin tells the musicians, “So much respect for what you guys do; thank you for being here.” Ooookay.
At the music area, teams have to assemble a drum kit following an example set in the middle of the square. It has to be perfect, with not even a washer out of place. The big complication is that the music is LOUD. It’s so loud that the musicians are all wearing headphones, and the Racers can’t hear each other well.
“It added an element of intensity and pressure because you were in this loud cacophony of music,” says Colin. He’s been a force this leg, though.
When they arrive, Korey notes that one of his brothers plays drums, and he’s seen them assemble a kit one hundred times. Colin calls for the judge, but they’re dinged for missing a lever position. Tyler & Korey also miss, with one of their drums being upside down.
Then, Christie & Colin get dinged again, with Tyler & Korey missing just a SINGLE WASHER that is sitting on the ground. Basically, the outcome of the race comes down to this drum kit assembly.
While the washer sits tauntingly on the ground, Korey says that his brother is going to kill him. Christie tells Colin to take a breath, as he’s getting frustrated. Korey miraculously finds the washer, but they’re still told their kit is incorrect.
Suddenly, Colin sees their lever and fixes it. He and Christie are off. For Tyler & Korey, their cymbals are apparently too tight? Seems like B.S. to us, but that’s it. Moments later, they follow behind Christie & Colin. Now, it’s a race to Fort Wayne to find Phil at the finish line. Thus, it’s a taxi race. Soooo… Christie leans in to yell at their taxi driver some more. So much for taking a breath.
There’s a lot of taxi drama editing, but it’s really a foregone conclusion. Christie & Colin arrive first and win The Amazing Race. “I love you guys,” says Colin. He also hugs Phil like a bear and talks about Christie blah blah blah sacred feminine. Maybe we prefer angry Colin.
We’re bummed that Tyler & Korey finish second, but we’re sure you’ll all go watch Tyler’s weekly YouTube show, where Korey is an occasional guest star.
The Afghanimals are an afterthought, but they’ve grown up a lot in the years where they’ve appeared on the race. An uneven team, they were nonetheless a lot of fun this time around.
That’s it for Season 31, folks! We’ll see you in another year, most likely, as CBS now reserves The Amazing Race as an April or May series. Season 32 has already filmed, so stay tuned.