Recap: The Amazing Race 2, Episode 11 (Hour 2) – Follow That Plane!
Original Airdate: May 15, 2002
Because of the one-minute credit at the end of the Penultimate Leg, Tara & Wil will depart at the same time as Blake & Paige at 11:13pm. The first clue tells teams to drive to Hana and find Queen Ka’ahumanu’s Birthplace. Teams will have $1 for this Final Leg.
At Hana Bay, teams collect headlamps and make their way in the middle of the night down a flagged path to the Route Marker. The next clue tells teams they will fly to Anchorage, Alaska. Upon arrival in Alaska, teams must find Rust’s Flying Service where they will need to hop on a plane and direct their pilot to take them to Trapper Creek.
As Tara & Wil go to a hotel to try and book flights, Chris & Alex begin the Leg at 12:39am. They go straight to the airport and begin to make calls while Blake & Paige get themselves in line at the closed Hawaiian Airlines counter.
Chris & Alex secure tickets via Honolulu, San Francisco and Seattle. The other two teams, meanwhile work to get on flights that will arrive 15 minutes earlier.
While checking in, Tara & Wil find they have lost the clue. Minutes earlier, they had thrown away all their stack of Maui maps since they wouldn’t need them anymore. Tara says she’ll just ask Chris & Alex, but Wil points out that they are gone. She thinks Blake & Paige will tell them the clue, but Wil knows they will not. They blame each other.
Tara & Wil approach Blake & Paige with their predicament, but Blake asks them to hold on a second while he goes to confirm their tickets. When Tara & Wil walk away, the siblings laugh and say the separated couple shouldn’t have been mean to them all Race.
Tara approaches Alex and says she and Wil are going to quit if they don’t get the clue. Alex asks Chris and they both agree that Wil would never give them the clue if they were in the same situation. Chris & Alex break the bad news to Tara & Wil. The Boston bros believe Tara would give them the clue, but not Wil. Wil tries to say that he would, but they know it’s easy for him to say that now.
Wil says they had helped each other all Race, Tara & Wil contributing much more to the collaboration. Alex scoffs at that idea.
As they walk away, Wil rips Tara for her so-called friends burning her in their time of need. Tara scolds Wil for leaving the guide book behind when it had their clue and their flight confirmation numbers.
Right before they board the flight, Blake explains that Wil told him that he would never help him. So why now would Blake want to give them the clue. Wil decides they will just have to follow the other teams once they arrive in Alaska.
While Tara flirts with Alex on the plane, Wil worries about what he can do for them to continue Racing somehow. He decides he’ll try looking through a guide book. So once teams stopover in San Francisco, Tara and Will flip through Alaska books. Tara feels like “Rust’s Flying Service” sounds familiar, so she calls and sure enough, they are waiting for three teams.
Tara tells Wil not to let the other teams know. But as soon as they meet up with them, Wil brags about he and Tara being back in the Race. Tara says Wil is just a jerk.
Teams arrive in Anchorage. Tara & Wil get to the flying service first and choose a plane, but they don’t know where to direct their pilot. They decide to tell the pilot to just follow Chris & Alex’s plane to Trapper Creek. Blake & Paige are last, arriving in Anchorage ten minutes after the first two teams.
At Trapper Creek, all three teams will spend the night in an igloo and depart in the morning on snowshoes.
By the campfire, Tara tells Wil that he is just a jerk with the personality of a gnat. She says she would rather not win if it means Wil does not get money. She says Wil treats her like dirt. Blake & Paige arrive just as Tara gets up and leaves, telling Wil to remember who helped get him to this point.
In the morning, the teams snowshoe their way to the next cluebox which tells them to hop into a snow cat and drive it across a frozen lake for the next one. Tara, who is driving, falls behind the other two teams. Wil berates her, but apologizes to her later in the car.
The next clue directs teams to choose a vehicle and drive to Homsteader’s Hardware Store in Big Lake to pick up tools and a clue. That clue tells them to drive across Hurricane Gulch to reach the next Route Marker.
At this Route Marker is the Road Block. For this Road Block, teams can use any or all of the tools they retrieved from the hardware store to break open a block of ice to retrieve the clue inside.
Chris gets started and easily smashes the ice open. He and Alex open the next clue revealing their final destination city: San Francisco. Teams must fly into Oakland and cross the Bay Bridge into The City.
Upon arrival in San Francisco, teams will find the next clue at City Landmark #97 at the intersection of Broadway and Jones. Chris & Alex decide to drive to Fairbanks instead of Anchorage to catch a flight.
Wil decides to do the Road Block. But he is frustrated by Tara pointing out where his tools are. He threatens to just sit there for a while until Tara shuts up. While driving to the Road Block, Blake and Paige talk about how both Tara and Wil are equally horrible people.
Blake arrives and starts chipping at the ice block while Wil tries everything but the chisel. Tara says he should try it, but he does not want to. When he sees Blake doing better, Wil decides to use it anyway.
Blake & Paige leave in 2nd with Tara & Wil now in last. But Wil is excited because he was born and raised in San Francisco. Tara’s father grew up there too.
Blake & Paige and Tara & Wil both drive back to Anchorage. But Chris & Alex are now doubting their decision to go to Fairbanks instead.
It is now nighttime when Chris & Alex arrive at the Fairbanks airport. They speak with the ticket counter to see what are the best flights out of Alaska. And they end up flying to Anchorage and getting on the same flight via Portland with the other teams.
Tara kisses Alex when they meet up before boarding the flight. Wil thinks she should be with him since he’s her partner.
Once teams touch down in Oakland, they rush for taxis to take them across the bay. Blake & Paige get to the correct taxi line while Tara & Wil are rejected from taking a taxi who hasn’t gotten to the proper queue. Tara & Wil berate the taxi dispatcher who stands his ground against their rudeness.
Chris & Alex hop in a taxi next with Tara & Wil now in last. But Wil believes his hometown advantage will help them.
The teams direct their drivers with directions. Blake & Paige arrive at the Cable Car Museum, but it is not the correct location. Chris & Alex arrive at the cluebox first and it tells teams to abandon their taxis and make their way on foot to Municipal Pier. Tara & Wil and Blake & Paige arrive at the cluebox at the same time.
All three teams begin running down to the waterfront. Tara & Wil arrive at the pier first and open the next clue. That clue tells teams to head to East Fort Baker, the Finish Line.
Chris & Alex are close behind, but it is difficult for teams to find taxis in San Francisco. Chris & Alex and Tara & Wil try to bribe passengers to take their taxis, but they are unsuccessful.
Chris & Alex end up convincing an old man to let them take the taxi and Tara & Wil are able to score one at the same time. The two cabs are now following each other. Tara and Wil begin arguing with each other as Tara believes they cannot beat Chris & Alex in a footrace.
Blake & Paige are in last, but still have hope they can catch up.
Chris & Alex and Tara & Wil’s taxi cab turns off before crossing Golden Gate Bridge. Wil has an idea. They will drive towards Fort Point and pretend like this is the Finish Line. But when Chris & Alex run out ahead of them, Tara & Wil will get back in their cab and drive off.
Unfortunately, the plan does not work as Chris & Alex realize this is not the correct location even before getting out of their cab. They quickly turn around after asking some locals who tell them Fort Baker is across the Bridge.
Wil begins running up the hill, but Tara screams at him to come back. She calls him an idiot and stupid. He tells her to leave him alone as he is trying his best.
Blake & Paige, meanwhile, are accepting of their last place position and grateful for the opportunity.
Tara & Wil move back into the front as they drive down to East Fort Baker with Chris & Alex right behind them. Tara & Wil get out of their taxi and run for the Finish Line.
Chris & Alex arrive just a minute after, but they hustle and try to catch up. Tara is unable to keep up with Wil and that allows Chris & Alex to pass her and eventually pass Wil too.
Chris & Alex step on the Mat first and Phil officially declares them the winners of The Amazing Race. The Boston Bros celebrate while Tara & Wil stand to the side, frustrated at the close finish. They step on the Mat and Phil declares them Team #2. Blake & Paige come running in to claim 3rd.
Paige says she is not disappointed in their Race since they got to travel the world and did everything the winners did as well. Blake says she’s a great sister.
After calming down a bit, Wil looks at Tara celebrating with Chris & Alex and says he wishes he did one thing differently. He accepts his relationship with Tara has now changed and it is for the better that they remain friends. Tara says she feels bad about some of things she said about Wil, but she is not upset about how she ran the Race.
Chris & Alex say any of the teams could’ve won. They were just a good team with some extra luck.
So, I’ll be honest, I’ve been kind of underwhelmed by this season during this rewatch. Like, it’s all good and fun. But my memories of it made me expect something really, truly amazing.
Unfortunately, it really wasn’t. BUT! Once teams left Municipal Pier, the adrenaline came shooting back up. All leading up to what is still the most exciting, edge of your seat finish ever. The iconic footrace to the Mat has still not been matched 31 seasons later. Nothing even close.
What an insane finish. And I think it really is that iconic that it carries the entire season. First of all, to think that this kind of finish happened on the SECOND season. And not only that, but no other finish has ever come close to this in the next 31 season!
The 12 and a half Legs before this Final helped to build up the tension, drama, anticipation for that footrace to the Finish. You couldn’t have scripted a finish any better.
It’s actually a great story development to have these teams as the final 3. They all have stories with each other from all Race-long. The rivalry between Wil and Blake. The romance between Tara and Alex. And then to have Tara & Wil lose their clue and have to grovel to the other teams. All of it just perfectly led up to this final Race to the Finish Line.
Now of course, splitting the Final Leg between two locations like Alaska and California is still annoying from a 2022 perspective. They could’ve had the Final Leg in Alaska. Or since they were in Hawaii, why not go directly to San Francisco instead.
This got me thinking about how results from these early seasons might have been different if we did the now-normal Final Leg format of only Racing in one area and not have a plane ride in the middle. I think we’d have a few different winners.
Tara & Wil were so lucky that the clue in Alaska was easy to remember and figure out. And even more just by ending up following the other teams.
What was funny was that none of this drama even mattered since the teams were equalized by the igloo sleepover anyway. lol
It’s also funny that the Race flew in to Oakland, likely to save money. But then wasted so much money flying to Alaska for only one task which was the ice breaking Road Block. A solid task. But for all that time and expense? TAR really had a huge budget back then lol
Once in San Francisco, having teams running all over the hilly streets is a good task. And I would even argue that they should’ve just had the Finish Line at Fort Point or somewhere in the Presidio with the Golden Gate Bridge still in view. It would have eliminated the taxi Race which ended up deciding the end anyway.
I’ll have final team rankings in the Season Wrap-Up. But…
Aha! Tara’s screamed “You’re an idiot!” is from this finale! Not from Australia with the miner line. lol Weird how memories work, yeah?
Overall, not a very good Leg. But the iconic finish redeems all.
Wil: “They’re not your friends, they just dicked you!”
Tara: “No, they dicked you, Wil. They dicked you.”
Tara: “Stop yelling, you’re in a public place.”
Tara: “We’re in a race for a million dollars.”
Cab Dispatcher: “I don’t care. I’m not getting it.”
Tara: “You’re stupid though, you really are!”