The Amazing Race returns home and crowns a winner

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The final three teams of The Amazing Race Season 28 got some great news on the Pit Stop mat in Shenzhen, China … they were all flying home to Los Angeles to complete the final leg of the race. And as a special reward, for the first time ever the teams would be traveling in premium class, being pampered all the way home. Now that’s a great way to start a leg!

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But when they got to L.A., the teams faced some of their hardest challenges of the race, particularly if your name was Cole. The first clue was a Road Block that directed teams to one of the tallest skyscrapers in the city. One member had to leap off the top of the building and grab the next clue that was dangling in mid-air. If you missed the clue, you were lowered to the ground and then you had to go all the way back up to the top and do it again.

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Tyler & Korey arrived at the location first, and then promptly ran past the clue box, while Dana & Matt and Sheri & Cole caught up and passed them. The boys lost their crucial lead, which allowed Matt to do the Road Block first, and he got it done on the first try, putting he and Dana in first place. Sheri was second to attempt the leap, but she had an emotional breakdown and grabbed her tether rope when she jumped so she had to go again, which gave Tyler a chance to grab second. Except he missed too.

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Sheri pulled herself together (and it looked like the clue had been moved a bit closer for the second jump, probably so they wouldn’t be there all day) and got the clue on her second try, and Tyler missed again, forcing him to go for it for a third time. At least Korey was making the best of the situation by teasing that Tyler just wanted to spend more time with his cute jump instructor Brandon. But the misses put the former first place team at the back of the pack.

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After the teams got their clues, they had to helicopter to Santa Barbara to find a boat named the Theresa Ann in a marina full of hundreds of other boats. In the cab, all of the teams were smart enough to ask the driver to use their smart phones to find out what and where the Theresa Ann was. Learning that it was part of the maritime museum, it shouldn’t have been that hard to figure out its location.

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Matt & Dana boarded their marked dinghy and headed straight for the museum, got the clue and took off. Sheri & Cole knew the same information, but somehow ended up boating past the Theresa Ann once before turning around and seeing it. On their way out, they passes Tyler & Korey and Cole wanted to try to throw them off the trail but Sheri was not understanding his plan. No matter though because the boys were still in third place, but a little closer to second at this point.

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Teams then had to cab their way to Gibralter Rock … except Matt & Dana didn’t have their cab waiting so they were stuck in an area that did not have regular cab service and not even a local motel could call for one. They finally did find one, but lost a crucial amount of time in the process (although we still have no idea just how far ahead of the other teams they are as the editing always tries to make them look much closer).

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When Sheri & Cole got their clue, they also did not have a cab, and tried to take the one waiting for Tyler & Korey. They probably would have succeeded but the cabbie had no idea where Gibralter Rock was, which spelled trouble for the boys when they returned. Sheri & Cole did get a cab driver who could take them to the location, but Tyler & Korey soon realized they were in serious trouble.

Now, this is one of the most annoying things about The Amazing Race that always puts teams at an unfair advantage in the final leg. There is always one team at the mercy of a terrible cab driver, and this time it was Tyler & Korey. Why can teams have better luck with cabbies in foreign countries but then have so much trouble in the US? And are there no cab drivers in the US who actually speak English?! And why can teams actually drive themselves places in foreign nations, but when they get home it has to be cabs? I really wish they’d let teams drive themselves around once they get back on home soil. End of rant.

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At Gibralter Rock, teams had to work together on a Tyrolean Traverse. One member had to pull themselves on a rope across a canyon to get the clue. Except it was only half a clue. While they’re going across, they would also be lowering the other team member down the rock face to get the other half of the clue. Matt wisely went across as that would require more strength to pull Dana back up the rock face. It was tough work, but they did it.

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Unfortunately for Cole, he could not escape this height-based challenge, and he also had to go across the canyon because Sheri would not have been able to pull his weight back up the side of the rock. As they completed the challenge, Tyler & Korey arrived and got through the task as quickly as they could.

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Clues directed teams to the Grassini Family Vineyards where they would find the next clue. This time the clues were stuck in bales of hay at the entrance to the vineyard, and Matt & Dana missed them and told the driver to keep going. They still managed to turn around and get the clue before anyone else arrived.

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The final Road Block required one team member to use a series of hashtags from the clues given during the race to correctly spell out the names of each city visited during the race using lettered barrel bottoms. Dana took on the task and flew through the challenge, completing it before Sheri & Cole arrived. Dana got each city right (in order and spelling), and then they had to find the lake where Phil and the eliminated teams would be waiting. Except they had no idea where the lake was.

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Meanwhile, Cole was whizzing through the final Road Block when Tyler & Korey arrived, but it was all over at that point as Matt & Dana were so far ahead that, even with the difficulty in finding the lake, they finally arrived and were crowned the winners of The Amazing Race 28. Sheri & Cole finished second, their best finish of the race, with Tyler & Korey, the presumptive winners, a distant third.

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Congratulation to Matt & Dana on their win. I have to say that when this season was first announced as being comprised of internet “celebrities,” the only ones I had ever heard of were Tyler and Zach. There was a lot of condemnation in the media that the season would focus more on the personalities of the team members, putting the actual game as an afterthought while they all mugged for the cameras. I worried that would be the case, but after the teams began the race, it quickly became clear that their “celebrity” quickly became the afterthought. But, I think that familiarity of being in front of cameras actually helped too because, aside from Dana, we never saw anyone have a major meltdown with their partner, and none of the teams had any nasty rivalries. It was a refreshing season where everyone seemed to get along very well.

It was also a season where teams actually employed the U-Turn intelligently to take out a threat. The season had some great locations (the Alps!) and first time visits to places like Georgia that made the show even more watchable by exposing viewers to places we’d probably never see otherwise. That’s one of the main reasons I return to The Amazing Race year after year. I do love the game and I like to root for my favorite teams, but I love seeing places that I will probably never get to in my lifetime. Overall, season 28 was one of the best seasons in quite some time, and I’m looking forward to many more. We hope to see you back here in the fall when The Amazing Race season 29 gets underway.

What did you think of the finale? Did your favorite team win? Tell us in the comments below!

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