This week on The Amazing Race, the teams head to Russia where they have the choice between two aggravatingly difficult Detours and then get down to some manual labor complete with lots of poop at the Roadblock. Oh, and this happened:
Making America proud, one tattooed guy in drag at a time.
Hot Docs Nat and Kat are off first, learning that they’re going to St. Petersburg, Russia. Only problem is that they have to travel first to Stockholm, Sweden, by train — which doesn’t leave for 14 hours. Equalizer! The next morning, the teams board the sleeper train, with Jill marveling at how strange it all is and Notre Douche telling her that “of course” he’s ridden one of these before. Prove it, asshole. According to him, he’s done EVERYTHING. Because he went to COLLEGE. I think that’s just his knee jerk boastful reaction to any such question. I guarantee that if she asked him if he’s ever killed a man, he’d answer affirmatively as well. And maybe not just as a knee jerk reaction…
As Mallory momentarily calms the eff down to give us a sweet speech about how it means a lot to her to spend this time with her dad, the Hot Docs and Team HSN share a compartment and ask Claire to stop trying to eat their gym shoes for a moment to give them all a sniff test and declare who’s got the smelliest feet. Anyone else not at all surprised to learn it’s Brook? That girl’s so over the top in other ways I just kinda figured her sweat glands were out of control too. After all, screaming “CLAIRE! CLAIRE! CLAIRE!” constantly requires a lot of exertion.
The teams all arrive in Stockholm and try to find cabs to the airport, with Mad Chad going Incredible Hulk on Stephanie, blaming her for taking too long to get off the train and causing them not to find a cab. Stephanie finally stands up for herself, yelling that he’s full of crap when he claims that she took longer to get off the train than Jill. Given that Jill was probably taking forever to find her last shred of self worth under the train seat, I’m sure that Stephanie’s correct in saying that she beat Jill off the train. MC/Steph finally get a cab, Stephanie fuming and MC mocking her word choice when she calls his behavior “shady”, but they’re probably no more than about 10 minutes behind the other teams.
“Shady? I’M shady? YOU’RE the shady one, you shady shadester shade person! Yeah! BURN!”
The flight to Russia is another equalizer, so the teams arrive at the airport, hop cabs, and marvel at the beautiful city around them. Well most of them do. When Michael tries to give his son a sense of the city’s history, Kevin makes a face like his dad just asked him to finish his brussell sprouts if he wants any dessert. Michale immediately backs off, used to his son’s disrespect directed at him, so he thinks nothing of Kevin’s disrespect for the history of St. Petersburg. As Nick shocks me by displaying a bit of trivia knowledge when he refers to St. Petersburg as the Venice of the North (immediately neutralized by Vicky’s perplexing comment about how they blow things up in Vegas), and the Hot Docs reveal to us their Russian stripper aliases, Team HSN arrives first at the clue box, and learn it’s a Detour. The choice is Classical Music or Classic Cinema. In Music, the teams listen to three classical pieces played on gramophones, then enter a gigantic hall filled with piano players. The teams must identify the three pianists playing the three songs from the gramophones. This sounds hard as HELL. Movie is also a huge pain in the ass, as the teams have to enter a soundstage and search through piles of heaped up film negatives to find a strip that matches the scene played on the screen in front of them. I’m tone deaf, so I’d do Movie, but I don’t think that either of these is a clear better choice.
Everyone arrives at the clue box within minutes of another, so here’s the breakdown:
Doing Movie: HSN, YouTube, Jill/Notre Douche
Doing Music: Mad Chad/Stephanie, Team Kentucky, Team Tats, Hot Docs
The teams take off from the clue box, all freaking out over the difficulty of the tasks once arriving at their destinations. Team HSN gets a bad cabbie who doesn’t know where he’s going, and the editors try to convince us that this is a huge catastrophe. Seeing as though these detours are going to take FOREVER, I’m sure this delay won’t really hurt them. At Music, it appears that the teams are trying to listen to all three gramophones in a row, and then entering the hall to find the pianists. Well that ain’t resonating with me (har har). I would definitely do them one at a time, because those three gramophones would confuse the shit out of me. Over at Movie, Notre Douche — I hate myself for admitting this — does something really smart when he notes that the scene they’re looking for contains multiple shots of a black screen with a huge white lettered Russian word, which will be a lot easier to spot on the strips. Sure enough, he spies a strip containing a shot of a white word, and it’s a winner. He receives the next clue, which is a picture of Palace Square, their next destination.
Along with reading, adding 2 + 2, and listening to Notre Douche, we can now add “looking at film strips” to the list of things that make Jill go cross-eyed.
As Jill/ND leave, Team HSN arrives to start Movie. Back at Music, four different teams decide that four different pianists are playing the first piece, showing that no one really has any idea what the hell is going on over there. As they all stumble around with what I can only assume are major headaches and a more passionate hatred for classical music than they already might have had, Brook keys in on the same white-lettering beacon that Notre Douche saw and presents the correct film strip to the Sherlock Holmes-turned-low rent-Russian-film buff. Moments later, Kevin makes the same realization, and all three Movie teams are off before any of the Music teams.
The three Movie teams all arrive at Palace Square with no difficulties and receive their next clue, directing them to a store at a nearby town. Back at Music, Mallory’s eternal perkiness slips a notch as she snaps at her darling father that she needs him to help and that she “wanted him to have a decent ear!” Yes, because this is clearly all his fault. They’re the first team to switch to Movie, followed quickly by Teams Tats and Hot Docs. As for Mad Chad and Stephanie, he seems ready to give up, but she insists on staying and completing what they started. Just like she did with the sleddin– oh wait. Nevermind.
As MC/Stephanie begin blowing up at each other again, Jill/ND miss the marked road are realize they’re lost. They get out of the cab to speak to locals, and ND puts his college degree to good use by condescendingly miming a sign and driving a car to some poor Russian man. Team HSN finds the marked road and the next clue, which is the Roadblock. In this Roadblock, the team member has to dress up like a babushka (HAHA, can’t wait to see Kevin in drag) and plant a row of 50 potatoes, fertilizing the crops with fresh cow manure. Brook takes the task for HSN, babbling to herself the entire time, as we’ve come to love/loathe, depending on your Brook stance. For those of you on the loathe side of things, I think you can count the wolf dog that wanted to make a meal out of her as a member of your team.
“Now I just gotta get these babies in the ground faster than Claire can dig them back up to eat them! No way this manure is going to stop her!”
Team YouTube arrives and Kevin takes the task as I expected/hoped. The babushka outfit doesn’t look too bad on him, which I’m not sure is a compliment or an insult. Tripping over his dress, Kevin arrives first at the field when Brook gets a bit lost with her wheelbarrow (or perhaps is beating Clarie away from the sack of potatoes off camera). As he begins planting, we see that Teams Kentucky, Tats and Hot Docs are still at Movie and Mad Chad and Stephanie are getting even more frustrated back at Music. She continues to insist that they stay, but mixes that with passive aggressive demands for MC to tell her what he wants to do. It’s pretty clear that he wants to leave, but isn’t willing to really put his foot down and demand they go. More bickering follows, with MC telling us that he’s not used to stepping back and letting someone else take charge, “especially his girlfriend.” I’m sure ND understands exactly what he means. And I’m sure all of you understand what I mean when I say MC’s a gigantic prick.
They FINALLY finish Music, most likely through process of elimination than any skill. As they kiss and profess their love (ugh!), Nat of Hot Docs finds the right strip and her team heads off as well. Back at the Roadblock, Kevin finishes the task with the help of his new babushka girlfriend’s cheerleading, and Brook screams her head off after she arrives at the field and steps in manure. I would react the same way. Not a big fan of poop, especially smushy warm poop. Give me a hard nugget over that any day. Meanwhile, Mallory finally finds the correct film strip at Movie and Team Kentucky takes off, while Team Tats decides to switch BACK to Music. Okay, they’re totally done. Although I do appreciate their effort and refusal to give up.
“It was time for us to face the Music.”
“Ugh, Vicky, that pun was so bad.”
“Pun? What are you talking about? “
Brook finishes the Roadblock, leaving behind a struggling Jill, aka “the skinny girl” the real babushkas are enjoying standing around talking about. They seem less impressed with Jill than they did with Kevin, although I would say their strength is probably about equal. Kevin’s arms make a 7 year old look ripped. Jill finishes quickly thereafter, and her team takes off before any of the former-Music teams arrive. Brook and Jill are soon replaced at the Roadblock by Nat and Stephanie, the latter of whom can’t find the manure pile and is completely oblivious when Nat walks right behind her — pushing a wheelbarrow of manure! Nat’s face as she passes is hilarious. God for the Hot Docs for not being blandly helpful and nice at all times.
Back at Music, Vicky has decided to take my earlier advice and listen to the gramophones one by one instead of confusing herself with all three pieces at once. They remain calm despite being clearly screwed, and Nick tells us that he learned not to be a huge dick like he was when he was screaming and throwing things in Ghana. That’s great, but him sharing how he’s changed and grown as a person is the final nail in their last-place coffin. Boo. By having patience and taking the pieces one at a time, they (are at least edited to) finish quickly and move on to the Roadblock.
Meanwhile, at the front of the pack, Jill/ND and Team YouTube search frantically for the Pit Stop, with Jill/ND finding it first and checking as the first team. They win an awesome trip to Brazil, while Team HSN shows up and passes YouTube to check in as the second team, leaving YouTube in third place after Kevin repeatedly and incorrectly insisted that Phil would be at the cathedral instead of in the park across the street. Way to squander a first place finish at the Roadblock, guys.
“Circle it again! You being right or even at all useful ruins my entire outlook on life!”
Speaking of the Roadblock, Stephanie is still wandering around, snapping at Mallory– whose team has now arrived — that she does NOT want to work together to find the manure pile. Granted, that was dumb suggestion from Mallory when they’re both at the back of the pack, but snapping at Mallory is like spitting in Shirley Temple’s face. Not that I haven’t thought about it. Repeatedly. Stephanie finally finds the poop, groaning as it gets on her hand (looking at Mad Chad, I imagine that hand’s seen worse), as Team Tats gets the clue to the Roadblock. We’re supposed to believe they still have a shot, but you’d have to be Vicky dumb to really think that.
Although Stephanie found the poop, Mallory has not, and she continues to wander around and squeak at locals for help. One burly man finally grabs her and lifts her over a fence into his yard, which is filled with other men. Just as I think we’re about to see someone actually get sold into white slavery and/or the sex trade before our eyes, the man politely asks Mallory to join them in partaking some vodka. HAHA. That is hilarious. And a tough decision. Seriously, this Race just got all Sophie’s Choice up in here. Mmm, booze.
The Hot Docs finish the Roadblock, and Stephanie finishes loading up her wheelbarrow with poop, wisely/cruelly tossing the shovel into the middle of the pile of poop and out of reach for Mallory, whom she knew would be coming by shortly. As Stephanie and Mad Chad take a break from being awful and entertain us with their impressions of what they imagine Mallory’s reaction to the poop would be, the editors splice in Mallory’s actual reaction upon arriving at the poop. And it’s an exact match to MC/Steph’s impressions, to the point that it’s hard to tell which of the whines are theirs and which ones are Mallory’s. It’s amazing. Also amazing — that the poop sucked off Mallory’s shoes when she had to climb on the pile to retrieve the tossed shovel.
“I hadn’t felt that dirty since the last time my daddy tried to crawl in bed with me. When was that? Ghana?”
“Yeah, that’s right.”
Stephanie finishes, providing us all with disturbing mental images when Mad Chad tells her that he wants her to bring the babushka outfit home with them for a little Russian cleaning lady role playing. Mallory finishes shortly thereafter, pledging to us to chew her nails off — trapped manure and all — in exchange for not being eliminated. Thankfully she doesn’t pinky swear to it, or however she makes her pledges unbreakable, as her team will clearly not be the eliminated team this leg thanks to Team Tats not even having arrived at the Roadblock at this point.
As the Hot Docs check in as team four, Team Tats arrives at the Roadblock and Nick volunteers, somehow thinking the clue’s reference to a drag race means that the rural area hosts a mean drag racing track and not a wardrobe of women’s clothing. As a result, Mr. Tattoo winds up in a dress, posing unwillingly with locals as he tries to ask for directions. It’s pretty awesome. Despite the humiliation aspect, he remains good natured and gets to work.
As MC/Stephanie check in as team five and Kentucky checks in as team six, Nick finishes the task and the sun goes down during their cab ride to the Pit Stop, clearly showing that Team Tats was further behind than edited to look. They arrive at the Pit Stop in darkness and in last place — but it’s a non-elimination leg! I usually hate these, but I actually like Team Tats a lot so I’m pretty happy that this is a non-elimination leg. Next week they’ll have to do a speed bump, but I expect it will be as silly and short as they have been in the recent past. So don’t count them out yet!
So what did you think? Are you happy that Team Tats was granted a reprieve with a non-elimination leg, or did you want them gone? Are Jill and Notre Douche making a come back, or will they return to the middle of the pack? After her behavior in this leg, does Stephanie actually deserve Mad Chad after all? And did you enjoy this episode as much as I did? Sorry for the late recap, guys! See you next week!