(CBS News) Making it to the final four teams on "The Amazing Race" is no easy feat. Neither is making it to the finish line.
But to make it to the finish line first, be sent away to complete a missed challenge and still make it back before another team checks in? That's something else altogether - and it happened during Sunday night's two-hour finale. (SPOILERS)
The first hour of the finale narrowed the teams from four - Army couple Rachel and Dave, border patrol agents Art and J.J., dating divorcees Vanessa and Ralph and "Big Brother" contestants Brendon and Rachel - down to three.
Teams traveled from Cochin, India, to Japan, where they had to wait until sunrise at Hiroshima's Itsukushima Shrine to receive their next clue. That sent them to a somber moment at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, where they talked about the 1945 atomic bombings.
Then, teams had to travel to Osaka, where they took part in a Japanese game show called "Bring That Chicken Home" for the Roadblock. One member of each team had to run on a moving conveyor belt, grab three rubber chickens suspended above them and jump onto the mat on the other side to get the next clue.
Vanessa and her sprained ankle had a lot of trouble with this task, and she and Ralph lost precious time as she struggled to finish. He told her to quit and they'd take a penalty, but she pushed through and got it done.
Teams then moved on to the Detour - sushi or sumo. They either had to play a game of "Sushi Bingo" (teams had to indentify the correct types of fish with a letter flag stuck in them, and place them in the right spots on their bingo card until they had a row of five), or get 10 groups of three locals each to pose for pictures with a cutout of sumo wrestlers.
Everyone decided to play bingo except for Team Army, who selected the snapshots. The sushi game, while allowing the potential for a mid-Race snack, was harder than it looked because the sushi names were in Japanese.
Army couple Dave and Rachel, despite bickering through the entire challenge, were the first to make it to the pit stop at Osaka Castle. That win gave them seven first-place finishes, tying the "Amazing Race" record.
Everyone else appeared to have trouble finding host Phil Keoghan at the pit stop location, and Vanessa and Ralph were able to make quick work of sushi bingo and caught up. But it was Art and J.J. who found the mat next, securing their spot in the finale, and the "Big Brother" duo just beat out Vanessa and Ralph for third place. That meant Team Divorcees was eliminated.
In the second hour, Team Army, Team Border Patrol and Team "Big Brother" traveled from Japan to Hawaii. All three groups ended up on the same flight, evening out any advantage the first and second place teams had.
Once they arrived, teams needed to figure out from their clue that they needed to find Honolulu's Twin Towers - two buildings known as Mauka and Makai. Team Army found a cab driver who knew where to go and were able to lose Art and J.J., who had just been following behind.
The task was to rappel up one of the 45-story buildings, scan the city below for the next clue and then rappel back down the building face first. Team Army and Team "Big Brother" had both finished the task before Team Border Patrol, thwarted by a clueless cab driver and some bad information, arrived to start.
The Race flag sent them to a nearby park, where a Roadblock involved making shave ice, a Japanese treat popular in Hawaii. One team member had to use a samurai sword to shave enough ice to fill a bucket to a designated line. Once complete, "Hawaii Five-0" actor Taylor Wily gave them their next clue, which directed them to a nearby field where helicopters were waiting.
Team "Big Brother" made a major mistake by not reading the clue completely - it told teams to make their way to the field on foot. Already in a cab, they had to turn around and go back, with Rachel bickering, screeching and crying all the way through.
Helicopters took the teams to a beach, where they took part in a simulated ocean rescue. Team Army finished the task first, but lost time when their cab driver got lost on the way to the next location, Coral Kingdom Gate.
Things got worse when Rachel and Dave inadvertently skipped the next challenge - participating in traditional Hawaiian games. The first task was to ride a wooden sled called a papa holua down a grassy hill without falling off. Teams then had to roll a painted lava rock into a target on a field.
When the couple made it to the finish line, surrounded by cheering past competitors, it looked like they had won - except, they were promptly informed by Phil Keoghan that they did not complete the Roadblock and had to go back. Whoops. The couple had to run back and finish.
Back at the Hawaiian games, Art was having a lot of trouble with the sled. After 16 tries, he still hadn't made it down the hill without toppling over. So it had to hurt when Rachel of Team Army sailed through after just two tries. And he still hadn't mastered the sled by the time she finished the rock-rolling task either.
With that, Rachel and Dave went back to the finish line and officially won "The Amazing Race" and the $1 million prize. That left the remaining two teams competing for second place.
The other Rachel (of "Big Brother") also made an easy task of the sled, but lost her momentum while trying to roll the rock into the target. That's when Team Border Patrol was able to pull ahead, securing second place. Brendon and Rachel came in third.
What did you think of this "Amazing Race" season? Did the right team win? Share your thoughts on the finale in the comments.