The Amazing Race 17 – Back To The States, Season Finale

There was a lot of hype leading up to the finale of The Amazing Race 17 last night, most of it was whether or not an all-female team would finally win.    I know 16 seasons is a lot when you consider there are only three different team types that can race, but The Amazing Race hasn’t exactly been super female-friendly over the years.   Looking back at some recent seasons:

Season 16 – Three female teams out of eleven (27%), and one was super weak, so it’s more like 18%
Season 15 – One female team out of twelve (8%), and they were beat by a physical detour on both sides
Season 14 – Three female teams out of eleven (27%)
Season 13 – Two female teams out of eleven (18%)
Season 12 – Three female teams out of eleven (27%); not counting Kynt and Vyxsin.  Probably shouldn’t count the 50+ year old couple either, so more like 18%

So in five seasons prior to the current season, at best 27% of the teams were all-female, and in two of those seasons, there was at least one super weak team. It’s not like the show was doing all they can to help an all-female team win, until this season.  Right off the bat, you had four female teams (36%), and even when you eliminated the token super weak team, that was still three really strong female teams left in the race.  Then when you factor in Jonathan and Connor, and Michael and Kevin as pretty weak (yet smart) all-male teams combined with generally easy challenges, this season was screaming for a female team to win.

Don’t get me wrong, by no means did the show just hand the crown to one of the remaining female teams.  Nat and Kat, and Brook and Claire still busted their ass to get where they were including one of them surviving being U-Turned, and all teams dealing with three non-elimination legs including one that really shouldn’t have happened late in the season.   It’s also to note, none of the female teams took advantage of the non-elimination legs, both female finalist teams earned their spot, and they had to finish against arguably the strongest overall team in the race, Jill and Thomas.

Nat scared at challenge

It was time to head back to the United States, where the race began, and see who would cross the finish line first.   This is the one time in the race where I really don’t mind all teams allowed to start fresh with an airport break, which of course happened.   All teams finished the last leg relatively close, so they deserved to be on equal footing stepping off the plane in Los Angeles.  The Doctors got off to a quick lead which brought them to a massive shipping yard, where Jill, Brook and especially Nat had to face one of their biggest fears, falling from heights.   Teams had to bungee from a crane and slowly get lowered into the water where they then get taken from helicopter to their next challenge, and all three girls managed to face their fears pretty well and completed it in order of Nat and Kat, Jill and Thomas, and finally Brook and Claire.

This allowed Nat and Kat to get a nice lead over the other teams during the Road Block, where a player from each team will easily decorate a small segment of a Rose Bowl float.  The challenge was definitely made to sound harder than it looked, because it looked extremely easy even for Thomas who claimed to be no good at that type of stuff.   Not surprisingly, teams kept the same order, but the hardest challenge in the race was simply finding the next place to go.   They were given three clues:

  1. I am Sancho Panza’s master
  2. I am the place to hear the Symphony in the Glen
  3. Monroe’s Year of the Itch

Brook excited again

And that would lead them to a studio where it was time for the traditional memory test that seems to happen on every season finale.   Nat and Kat were able to get on the phone with someone who was in the middle of working, but still helped them and searched the Internet for the answers to these questions.  Brook and Claire decided to skip dealing with people and asked the cab driver to take them to the nearest hotel with Internet access.  Jill and Thomas however, they got the absolute shaft here.   They had cab drivers in foreign countries who appeared to understand English better than their driver who wouldn’t let them use the phone and drove around aimlessly with two frantic people in the back trying to tell him the GPS is not the computer they were looking for.

Nat and Kat were first to arrive at the memory challenge where they had to put the people who were standing next to Phil at the end of each challenge in order of appearance, which appeared to be no problem for the Doctors who took detailed notes on every leg of the race (It’s like they saw this show before!).   They were off before Brook and Claire arrived, and despite those  girls also cruising through the challenge, it was clear who the winner was going to be despite the editing to make it seem much closer than it likely was.

And the winners of The Amazing Race 17:

Winners of The Amazing Race 17

Nat and Kat!  (aka The Doctors)

Well done ladies!   They ran a really strong race from start to finish and only had like one hiccup the entire time where they were almost eliminated.  They beat out a super tough team where Claire took a watermelon to the face and kept going, and a really smart team in Jill and Thomas.   They won the most legs and helped prove Brook correct when she told Thomas he chose the wrong team to U-Turn.   He’s probably kicking himself now, but then again he is possibly still cruising around LA with that cab driver who can’t understand him.

Final Rankings:

  1. Nat and Kat
  2. Brook and Claire
  3. Jill and Thomas
  4. Nick and Vicki
  5. Chad and Stephanie
  6. Gary and Mallory
  7. Michael and Kevin
  8. The Volleyball Girls
  9. Jonathan and Connor
  10. Andie and Jenna
  11. Ron and Tony

See you all for The Amazing Race 18!  I’ll be posting about that in the upcoming weeks, as it airs around Feb 20th I believe.

Gallery below:

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