The final three teams raced from Panama City to Atlanta, Ga., but only one couple took home the $1 million

By Lanford Beard
Updated January 14, 2020 at 08:06 PM EST
Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS

Well, my friends, that’s it. The final Amazing Race until #20. In Duggar terms, this was TAR‘s baby Josie Brooklyn. Stick a flower headband on her, she’s done! To quote my favorite ’90s crooners Boyz II Men, “Although we’ve come to the end of the road, still I can’t let go. It’s unnatural…” But who did the $1 million belong to once all was said and done? Read on…

We returned to Panama City, where Team Divorcees (Jeremy and Sandy) were first to learn they were bound back Stateside, specifically Atlanta, Ga. Both they and Team OCD (Cindy and Ernie) were concerned that Team NFL (Marcus and Amani) would have a huge advantage since they live in Hotlanta. All three teams took the same flight to Atlanta, where they were directed to FlightSafety’s International Atlanta Learning Center. Alas, it was not the Centers for Disease Control- or Walking Dead-related challenge that’s Amazing Race live chat participants hoped! Instead, they had to land a high-tech Learjet flight simulator from 2,500 feet. Jeremy, Marcus, and Ernie took on the pilot role, navigating the “air craft,” while the ladies all served as co-pilots, their primary task to maintain a consistent air speed of 135 knots.

OCD were first to fail because Cindy dropped the air speed low enough that, if it were a real plane, they would have fallen out of the sky. The Divorcees succeeded on the first attempt while Marcus ran off the runway on the first attempt, then screwed up the order of commands on the second attempt. He hoped, “Third time’s a charm!” — but it was not… Nor was the fourth try, nor the fifth… nor the 12th, apparently. Long story short, he struggled mightily, at one point slamming his fists against the top of the flight simulator. Note to Marcus: Do not break the flight simulator. Cost of the flight simulator will be taken out of your winnings if you ever get out.

Elsewhere, the Divorcees, with OCD 15-20 minutes behind them, were handed one of many cryptic clues on this final leg. They were told to find a former residence known as “The Dump.” Unfortunately for the Divorcees, they asked some random guy in a pick-up truck, who directed them to a furniture store known as The Dump. While they played Ring Around the Sectionals, OCD correctly determined that “The Dump” referred to the home where Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone With the Wind. On their way to the house, Cindy has all sorts of obnoxious things to say about the other teams in the final three. It all began because Ernie admitted he couldn’t imagine to losing to anyone besides the Olympians (Andy and Tommy). That was a completely fair statement considering the Olympians won six of 12 total legs. Then Cindy took it a step further, saying, “It’d be like losing to the C students when we’re the A+ students.” Some pretty tough words considering she just screwed up the flight simulator challenge not 10 minutes before. Also, considering how middle-of-the-road they’ve been this whole Race… really Cindy? Amusingly, Ernie was all, “Well, you’re the A+ student. I’m more of a B+ student… well… maybe a C+ student.” Bless him and the long road of mitigating his wife’s crazy that he has ahead…

NEXT: What’s your type?

So OCD arrived at “The Dump,” where they were asked, “Who doesn’t give a damn?” In this Road Block, one teammate was tasked with typing out the next clue on an old-fashioned Remington typewriter. The only catch was that there was no #1 key, so (s)he would have to figure out that (s)he could instead use the lowercase ‘L’ key. After learning all this, Ernie was frustrated that he he had volunteered. Apparently Cindy is a much faster typist… and, if you ask her, just better at everything in life. Clearly. No matter because the Divorcees were still running around the furniture store, and Marcus was still killing himself, Amani, and the instructor a million times over in the flight simulator.

Despite being frustrated by his imprecise hunt-and-peck typing skills and asking on at least one occasion for Wite-Out, Ernie finished the Road Block before the Divorcees arrived at the right location. His trick: To look at the typeface keys on the typewriter and see which of them most closely resembled a “1.” It’s beautiful in its simplicity, so much so that I doubt Cindy would have arrived at it as quickly as he did.

They left with the numbers 44 – 715 – 74 on a piece of paper and very little more. They were meant to figure out that Hank Aaron (#44) scored his record-breaking 715th home run in (19)74. All of which is commemorated on a wall of Atlanta’s Turner Field, home of the Braves baseball team. As Sandy took on the typing task, OCD made their way to a hotel and figured out the clue quite quickly. And, in case you had forgotten about NFL, this was the moment at which Marcus finally finished the flight simulator. He was understandably angry with himself for choking so close to the end — in his own hometown.

At Turner Field, Cindy and Ernie were met with a giant (unmarked) map of the world plastered on a billboard far off the ground. Led by the direction of their teammate, one teammate had to suit up in climbing gear, scale the wall, and map out the Race locations in correct order by stringing a red rope through carabiners tacked on to the wall. Cindy put on the gear and climbed the wall, single-handedly completed the challenge on her first try. I’ll give it to her that that was A+ work, but she’s still working at around a B- average overall by my calculations. Just saying…

NEXT: Can the Divorcees catch up?

OCD excitedly began to make their way to the Finish Line, historic Swan House, as the Divorcees arrived at Turner Field. This is where things got sticky — or at least that’s what the editors wanted us to think. OCD’s cab driver missed a turn on the way to the house, giving the Divorcees time to catch up. Other than the fact that Sandy (who was directing Jeremy as he climbed) briefly forgot they’d been to Indonesia, they finished the challenge really quickly and appeared to have no problems with their cab driver. It became a two-team Race as Marcus and Amani were never even shown finishing the typing or belaying tasks.

In the end, after 30 days, four continents, and nearly 40,000 miles, OCD cinched the win. They said some vagaries about using the $1 million to create a foundation. Cindy called TAR “the ultimate pre-marital counseling” and then kind of trash-talked her parents. I think the sentiment she intended was that they have always wanted her to aim high and do her best, but this is Cindy, so she totally put her foot in her mouth and told Phil that they always expected her to be perfect. But they won, so now she can go on believing she is perfect.

The other two teams filed in at indeterminate times behind them. Sandy thinks the Race taught Jeremy and her communication skills that most couples take years to learn. Marcus seemed to have calmed down significantly in between the flight simulator and the final mat. Phil met him with these words: “Marcus, promise me one thing: You will never become a pilot.” Of her husband’s earlier outburst, Amani said she won’t be putting up with any of that mess from her kids, which was awesome. She totally keeps him in check, which he confirmed when he called her “tougher than any linebacker” he’s ever played with (and “smarter than any quarterback”). And that was it. Cindy realized her goal of perfection. Ernie remained adorable but utterly docile. The Divorcees are probably going to break up in six months, and Marcus has never met a football metaphor he doesn’t like.

What did you think of how this season ended, Race cases? Were you happy at OCD’s victory, or would you rather anyone else (even the Divorcees) had won? Were you sad for Marcus that he totally lost it for his team, or happy that he has won in life by marrying Amani? Which of this season’s teams would you like to see back for the next Amazing Race All-Stars?

Episode Recaps

The Amazing Race

Phil Keoghan hosts the globe-trotting adventure series.

  • TV Show
  • 29
  • In Season
  • CBS
stream service