SPOILER ALERT: This recap contains spoilers for the season finale of "The Amazing Race."
After roughing it through 11 legs, 4 continents, 9 countries, and more than 35,000 miles, Team Boston rose above their signature second-place spot (they finished second a record six times over the course of the competition!), proved just how strong of a partnership they really had, and won the $1 million prize on “The Amazing Race” 23.
“This is definitely the beginning of my happily ever after,” Amy choked out after getting over the initial shock and disbelief of arriving first to Phil’s final mat in Juneau, Alaska — undoubtedly alluding to her plan to spend the money on a ring and a wedding. “We’ve experienced so many highs and lows that I feel like we can pretty much take on anything.” Jason added, “It was about coming out here and working as a team, determined to finish every goal and push through every leg.”
The exes came in a close second, after taking the top spot in the penultimate leg in Japan and putting aside their differences. Pinkie came the closest to admitting she cared about Tim (“We love each other in some weird friend way”) and almost simultaneously insulted him by saying he only became her partner because he happened to be standing next to her on the show’s application deadline day.
She also said the robot greeter would make a better partner and revealed that she’d made Tim sign a contract that they’d split all winnings 60-40, with her getting the lion’s share. Still can’t believe how functional this dysfunctional duo was.
The doctors brought up the rear, and Travis, who had been wearing disappointment on his face for two rounds straight, obviously blamed Nicole. It was heartbreaking to watch her apologize profusely and take all the blame for losing and not being “the perfect woman.” Especially when his frustrations and constant belittling of her performance frazzled her and played a part in the third-place finish.
They reiterated how they hoped their brood would learn from their performance that there would be good and bad days in life and that you should never give up. Here’s hoping they didn’t pick up any tips on how to provide spousal support in tough times. We’re confident Travis loves his wife, but man, he had a weird way of showing it sometimes.
For the better part of the two-hour finale, it really was anyone’s game. Teams took turns making smart moves. The Afghanimals, who knew they’d face a Speed Bump for coming in last place during the last leg, bought themselves a 10-minute lead by researching faster plane itineraries up until just before boarding the flight from Indonesia to Tokyo.
Once there, they made quick work finding the ceramic cat temple, human bowling, rhino wrangling, and robot construction. They even refolded their costumes from the Japanese game show in an attempt to trick those who followed them into a false sense of security. (It fooled Pinkie.) Their downfall came when Leo placed one robot part backwards and didn’t catch it before the others completed their builds.
It looked like the robots were going to put an end to a different team for a while. Continuing their almost game-long alliance, the doctors and Boston worked as a team on that Road Block, but two heads did not work better than one. When Amy finally realized what they’d done wrong, she once again stayed after getting the clue, much to Jason’s chagrin, to instruct Nicole.
They also ignored Pinkie’s plea for help finding the example bot, despite earlier pledging to stick together as six to oust the Afghanimals and knowing full well that Pinkie digs in and is driven by a good ol' backstabbing. They essentially motivated her right to the pit stop and to a free trip to Aruba. From the sidelines, Jason and Travis mocked, berated, and chastised their significant others. A sample of the complaints: “Nicole kills us. She’s just weak.” Tim, on the other hand, was incredibly complimentary of Pinkie’s effort, and he had the least to gain from a butter-up.
All alliances were off once the trio rolled into Alaska, and that was immediately evident by the dog-eat-dog fight for a taxi at the Juneau airport. They were neck-and-neck as they hopped on speedboats to Grizzly Bar.
Travis noted the need for “more separation” between teams. Unfortunately for him, it was Amy who earned her team breathing room during the supply airdrop-simulating Road Block when she nailed the target with a bag of flour from a plane 150 feet above ground on the second pass. It took Pinkie 12 attempts and Nicole 21, which of course left Travis practically stroking out.
It turned out to be the moment that determined the final rankings as the doctors and the exes could never catch up. The Boston couple made quick work of the guided glacier hike. They were already at the ice tunnel when Tim was preparing to “throw [himself] into this glacier hole.” (You know, the thing that is commonly referred to as a crevice.)
The docs arrived as Marie was pick-axing herself up the far side, and despite Nicole’s valiant effort to drag herself out with one ax after she dropped the other one, they had already sealed their fate. Boston didn’t take any breaks during a strenuous tandem kayak and smartly hid their equipment once they arrived on the marked island.
Boston was first to arrive at the final test, which required teams to build a wall of totem poles that spelled out the foreign currencies of the countries they visited in order. Amy fretted: “I’ve written down everything but this.”
Thanks to some tricky editing and Pinkie’s confident declaration that they knew all but one, it was hard to tell how far along Boston was when the exes and the docs arrived. Viewers were led to believe it was a tighter race than it probably was, but eventually the hope was replaced with visions of Tim’s finger being smashed and more complaining from Travis. “You gotta help me. I’m doing it by myself essentially,” he whined. Jason and Amy stayed focused, probably knew more than they let on initially, and managed to do what Pinkie knew they needed to do to win all along — “crawl out from Travis and Nicole’s butts.”
"The Amazing Race" airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on CBS.