Recap: The Amazing Race 21, Episode 11 (and 12) – “We didn’t even know what ‘customs’ was.”

Recap: The Amazing Race 21, Episode 11 (and 12) – Season Finale – Take Down That Million

The 11th Leg

The penultimate leg begins as teams fly first to Barcelona to catch a train to the Loire Valley in France. On the train ride, the “Dream Team” solidify their alliance while Josh & Brent take the hint that they are on the outside.

After the overnight ride, teams arrive in France and open the next clue on the windshields of shiny new Ford Escapes.  Teams must collect crates from a nearby café and load them into their Escapes using the fancy kick open feature, the handsfree liftgate. Then, they must drive themselves to the Chateau de Villandry where they must find the Stone Dog.

Josh & Brent decide to just follow the Dream Team who’ve gotten directions.  Along the way, the Twinnies yell to the teams in front that they must lose the Beekmans along the way.

They get to the first castle and find the stone dog and the next clue. Teams must find Da Vinci’s final resting place, the Chateau d’Amboise. Meanwhile, Natalie & Nadiya find the Speed Bump.

For their Speed Bump, they must head into the castle and help a woman tie up her corset.  

While the other three teams leave, the Twinnies tell the other Dream Team members to lose the Beekmans, saying they’re using them and faking injuries. Josh & Brent respond by calling them “bitches” and telling them to have fun with the Speed Bump.

Natalie & Nadiya quickly finish the Speed Bump while Jaymes & James and Trey & Lexi put their trust in Josh & Brent’s navigating skills and knowledge of French.

The three teams get to Amboise and find the Detour.

For both Detours, teams must drive to Château de Cheverny.
In Chow, teams must prepare a meal for hunting dogs by cleaning and cutting up pieces of meat, weighing out the correct amount and laying it out on the ground to receive their next clue.
In Plow, teams must use a horse and plow to till four rows of a designated field

The Beekmans want to work with Trey & Lexi and they both choose Chow, but Texas decides to go ahead and switch to Plow.  Jaymes & James and Josh & Brent get lost, allowing Natalie & Nadiya to actually arrive at the castle 2nd.  

The Chippies head over to Plow while Twinnies and Beekmans head over to Chow where they exchange playful jabs.

Trey & Lexi and Jaymes & James finish their side of the Detour and head to the next Route Marker at Caves de Roches where they find the Road Block.

For this Road Block, teams will have to memorize three different types of mushrooms they must collect in an underground farm.  Once they’ve collected 10 each, they’ll find their way out of the caves and if correct, will receive the next clue.

Lexi heads into the caves first with Jaymes right behind.

Meanwhile, The Beekmans finish feeding the dogs and leave The Twinnies behind. But Josh & Brent are unsure of where to go.

At the Road Block, Jaymes emerges from the caves first, but has the wrong mushrooms.  On the other hand, Lexi’s mushrooms are correct and they get the next clue telling them to go to the Castle of the Ladies or the Chateau de Chenonceau and the Pit Stop.

Trey & Lexi leave first, but are pointed to the wrong castle.  That lets Jaymes & James, who get the correct info, arrive at the Pit Stop first to claim their win and a pair of brand new Ford Escapes.  Trey & Lexi settle for 2nd.

At the Road Block, Natalie & Nadiya arrive just before Josh & Brent and Natalie manages to get the clue first.  The Beekmans are still right behind. The Twinnies ask a woman where “Castle of the Ladies” is and she tells them the absolute wrong answer causing them to go the wrong direction.

That’s what Josh & Brent need as they get the correct directions and arrive at the Mat in 3rd, leaving Natalie & Nadiya last and eliminated.

The Final Leg

The final leg begins as teams hop on a plane to their final destination, New York.  They are given a post card with the message “Wish you were here” and teams must figure out that they are being pointed to Coney Island.

Jaymes & James and Trey & Lexi are first at the boardwalk of Coney Island but cannot see the hidden clue on a Houdini poster right in the spot that’s drawn on their postcard.  The Beekmans soon join them wandering around.

But it’s Lexi that sees the poster first telling teams to “Race to the Brooklyn Navy Yard.” She and Trey want to write it down, but Josh & Brent have seen them and then spot the clue as well.  They both run off, leaving Jaymes & James behind.

At the shipyard, they find the Road Block.

For this Road Block, teams must escape Houdini-style.  Getting tied up in a straightjacket and hung upside down from a crane, they must untie themselves and remove the jacket before doing a surprise freefall to receive their next clue.

Trey goes up first and quickly manages to escape his straightjacket before Brent and Jaymes can even get hoisted up. They open up the next clue telling them to find America’s first pizzeria which is Lombardi’s.

Trey & Lexi maintain their lead and get the next clue.  Teams must deliver 10 pizzas to three different addresses by memorizing all the information and then returning to the pizzeria to get the next clue.

Josh & Brent are right behind them.  But while Trey & Lexi deliver their pizzas to the correct customers, Josh & Brent mix up two.  They must redeliver pizzas as Jaymes & James finally arrive.

Trey & Lexi are on their way to the next Route Marker, the United Nations, which they had to figure out from just the UN emblem.  Josh & Brent correctly deliver their pizzas on the 2nd attempt with Jaymes & James right behind.

Trey & Lexi arrive at the United Nations where they find the final Road Block.

For this Road Block, teams must take the local greetings for “Hello” and “Goodbye” said by each Pit Stop greeter and match them with the flags from each of the countries they visited on the Race.

Lexi gets started with Spain and France as Josh & Brent arrive and Jaymes & James bringing up the rear.  All three teams are at the UN with Lexi, Josh and James struggling with the greetings.

Two and a half hours later and darkness is falling, the teams are now using process of elimination to figure out the ones they don’t know. And it’s Josh that finishes first. He raises the United Nations flag to retrieve the final clue telling teams to head to the Finish Line at Gotham Hall.

James gets the green light and he and Jaymes hurry off. Both teams are in their respective taxis, but it’s Josh & Brent who arrive at the Finish Line first and claim the million dollars.

Jaymes & James officially finish 2nd with Trey & Lexi 3rd.

Episode Thoughts
Well that was definitely a packed two-hours.  And definitely one of the more exciting finales TAR has had thanks to the teams in both Legs being neck and neck the entire time.

For the France Leg, I take offense to that horribly watered down version of the classic TAR5 Detour choice also called “Plow” in the Philippines. They could have done a different Detour, especially if Plow is going to be a Switchback for TAR’s return to the Philippines in TAR23, yes? 😉

For this Final Leg, the clue at Coney Island was inspired. The first Road Block was fun and the pizza delivery was alright.

But the Final Task had to be one of the better final memory tasks. Though not as epic as TAR12’s tragic, but genius final Road Block, this Road Block which most fans called from the beginning was a nice new take on the country/flag task. TAR definitely needs to have a memory task in the Final Leg for every Race and not every other (which they seem to do).

I definitely liked that it took more than two and a half hours for them to complete. Which then helped to have the Finish Line after dark for the first time since season 1 I believe. Also different to have had the Finish Line indoors.

But while it was an exciting finale, it reminded me of TAR12. It was also a great finale (and
great season), but had a horrible ending. Definitely not happy with the Josh & Brent win.  

Leg 11

Castell de Bellver


Barcelona, Spain

Gare de Saint-Pierre-des-Corps
Tours, Loire Valley, France

Chateau de Villandry
Villandry, France

Chateau d’Ambroise
Ambroise, France

Château de Cheverny
Chaverny, France

Le Caves de Roches
Bourre, France

Chateau de Chennonceau
Chennonceaux, France


 Castell de Bellver

Trey & Lexi 9:32am
Jaymes & James 9:46am
Josh & Brent 10:27am
Natalie & Nadiya 11:14am



In order of completion
> or < indicates team switched Detours.

Who did the Road Block?
Who’s a “fun-guy”?

In order of completion; Italics indicate who did the Road Block
6 Trey Lexi 6
6 Jaymes James 6
6 Natalie Nadiya 5
6 Josh Brent 6

Chateau de Chenonceau
Chenonceaux, France

1st Jaymes & James +1
2nd Trey & Lexi -1
3rd Josh & Brent  =
Eliminated Natalie & Nadiya =

Leg 12

 Chateau de Chennonceau
Chennonceaux, France

New York, NY, USA

Coney Island

Brooklyn Navy Yard

Lombardi’s Pizza

United Nations Headquarters

Gotham Hall


 Chateau de Chennonceau
Chennonceaux, France

Jaymes & James 1:33am
Trey & Lexi 1:44am
Josh & Brent 3:06am

Who did the Road Block?
Who’s up for an Amazing Escape?

In order of completion; Italics indicate who did the Road Block
7 Trey Lexi 6
6 Josh Brent 7
7 Jaymes James 6

Who has a way with words?

In order of completion; Italics indicate who did the Road Block
7 Josh Brent 7
7 Jaymes James 7
7 Trey Lexi 7

6 Natalie Nadiya 5
4 Abbie Ryan 6
3 James Abba 4
4 Rob Kelley 3
3 Gary Will 2
2 Caitlin Brittany 2
2 Amy Daniel 1
1 Rob Shiela 1

Gotham Hall
New York, NY, USA

Winners Josh & Brent +2
2nd Jaymes & James -1
3rd Trey & Lexi -1

Trey & Alexis Trey & Lexi – They had two very strong Legs.  But it was that Final Road Block that cost them that million. Bad directions from locals also cost them brand new Ford Escapes. But they had an otherwise strong finish and did very well until that stumble at the final task. I like Lexi’s We need to Race for ourselves attitude I France. There is no reason you have to stay with another team if you don’t have to.
Jaymes & James Jaymes & James – Jaymes & James may have stepped it up as the Race went along and in the penultimate Leg, they definitely kept a consistent pace that allowed them to pass Trey & Lexi at the right moment.  But in the Final Leg, they kind of reverted back to their early Race performances. Simple mistakes and lack of energy definitely did not help them in the Final Leg.
Natalie & Nadiya Natalie & Nadiya – It sucks that they had lost a chance at the million because some misinformed local gave them the wrong directions.  They did amazing in the penultimate Leg being able to catch up and even pass some of the other teams, especially Josh & Brent, despite having that Speed Bump.  They definitely had a legitimate shot, but that one wrong direction did it for them.
Josh & Brent Josh & Brent – Like they’ve done all Race, they fell forward into the Final Leg.  And they end up winning not because Josh was more observant with Pit Stop Greeters, but because he was faster with the process of elimination. *sigh* A more in-depth look at why they are horrible winners in my season Wrap-up.
Quotes from Episode 21.11

Lexi: “We didn’t even know what ‘customs’ was.”

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