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When last we checked in with the exhausted, bedraggled teams of The Amazing Race, they were rappelling face first down a stadium in Helsinki, hoping dearly to encounter Phil Keoghan and a Pit Stop reprieve. Unfortunately for them, they had only completed the first half of a super-sized leg, which meant that no one was going home, and specifically, no one was showering either. Only one thing left to do: get crabby!This week’s episode started off exactly where the last left off. Tyler and James completed the rappelling challenge (also known as an Angel Dive — because apparently angels like to rappel face-forward down massive structures), and now it was time for the next clue, which started off sounding very promising. Phil suddenly talked to us about Chernobyl, and for a moment, I was excited that these teams might be exposed to radioactive waste, but alas, after our little history lesson (it’s where a nuclear reactor melted down in 1985, in case you forgot), we learned that the teams merely had to fly to the capitol of the country in which Chernobyl was located. That would be Kiev, Ukraine, fyi.
Well, immediately, the models were nervous about this next destination. What if the radioactivity caused them to grow into mutants? Or, even worse, UGLY mutants! “I don’t want to get a third eye,” James said, clearly fretting over that most common of radioactive bi-products: the dreaded multiple eyeball syndrome. If I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it a thousand times. Rimshot! That wasn’t even supposed to be a pun! One might say I didn’t see it coming! Okay, I’ll stop now.
As the models headed off to the airport, the beauty queens scaled down the building, and the four-pack wandered around the stadium, looking for this crazy rappelling challenge. Here’s a hint: see that big tower off to the side? The one with the ropes hanging down? Yeah, that’s probably it. Luckily, Lyn/Lyn figured this out, and by the time they and the Chos reached the top, Kimberob were already heading down the wall, and the Miss Americas were halfway to the airport — in search of Chernobyl, or as they called it, the place “where the atomic bomb went off.” Or something like that. I’m shocked they didn’t then add, “I wonder if we’ll see Skeet Ulrich!”
Nevertheless, over at the rappelling challenge, Godwin decided to go first, but the fear was entirely too intense for him. He had to step down, or back, as it were, and let his older brother take care of bidness. Never mind that it’s Erwin who has the debilitating fear of heights. I’m sure he really appreciated his muscle-head brother whimpering away from the challenge with knees knocking. Nothing instills confidence like that… Amusingly, as Erwin struggled to tackle this task, Godwin supportively chirped, “The first step is the hardest!” Yes, Godwin, YOU WOULD KNOW.
Meanwhile, ‘Bama made quick work of the challenge, despite some trepidation from Lyn. Once the two hit the ground, they headed off to the airport, not waiting for the Cho brothers. It was kind of obnoxious, considering how friendly the brothers had been to them, but at the same time, this was a race, and it really wasn’t in their best interest to just hang out while Win/Win awkwardly descended. Of course, it wasn’t a huge deal since the brothers finished up soon after (with Erwin awkwardly rappelling down with his head). Anyway, over at the airport, the models were searching for a flight, and much to their amazement, and ours too, it was still super sunny out at 9:17 PM. Okay, I know it’s not like earth shattering news to hear that Helsinki remains really bright at night in the summer, but dammit if that still blows my mind. Scandinavia — what a wacky place!
Well, the big task for Tyler and James was to find out where the hell they had to go next. First they asked some poor ticketing agent if they could get a flight to Chernobyl, but unfortunately, daily service to the city had been suspended… for about twenty years. That reminds me. I wonder if I can still book my vacation package to Three Mile Island….
Anyway, the models soon discovered they had to fly to Kiev; although, thanks to the ticketing agent’s accent, they thought she had said “Keev,” which is what they and many others then referred to the city as for the next ten of fifteen minutes of airtime. It kind of made sense though. I mean, who hasn’t enjoyed a tasty dish of Chicken Keeeeev from time to time? Keev-tastic!
Well, the good news for the models was that they were in first place. The bad news was that the flight wouldn’t leave until 8:25 AM the next morning, which meant that everyone would more or less by equalized. This caused Tyler to get all pissy and whiny, and I couldn’t help but wonder how awful he must have been during his detox withdrawal period. Shut up, CRAB.
“Bust our ass all day and get nothing out of it?” he complained, as if such equalizers were completely unheard of. Methinks Ty-Ty’s still usin’ and abusin’ — a drug called ENTITLEMENT. Ha, got him good.
Later on, the beauty queens showed up at the airport and so did our favorite bumbling idiots, Kimberob. Almost as if on cue, Rob presented us with his weekly moment of educational embarrassment as he claimed, “I don’t know right now if Chernobyl is in Moscow or Ukraine.” He then added, “Maybe it’s in the country of New York City? Or Orlando!”
Well, unfortunately for Kimberob, they couldn’t join their fellow pretty-people teams on the 8:25 AM flight to Kiev via Vienna. Instead, they had to suffer for the considerably less cool Warsaw-to-Kiev route, which coincidentally was scheduled to arrive at the same time (but EWW! They had to be stuck with those nerdy Four-Pack teams! Gross!).
The next day, everyone left for Kiev, but of course, the Warsaw flights were delayed half an hour. I was really hoping that Kimberly and Rob would say something unintentionally offensive like “Warsaw is such a ghetto!” but alas, they probably didn’t even know what Warsaw was. I wouldn’t have been surprised if they thought it was a place where people could see wars.
Anyway, over in the Ukraine, the models and the beauty queens arrived and found their crappy Russian-made cars where the next clue awaited them: drive to the Oster Tank School 58 miles away. Of course, since this was in the Ukraine, the location was written in the cyrillic, which made everything harder for the teams. I couldn’t wait for Rob’s reaction to this crazy alphabet. I figured he’d probably have some dumb response like “Well, it’s so cold here in the winter; so they can’t write the normal alphabet, on account of their brains, which are smaller, freezing over.”
Well, the models and the blondies hired a cabbie to take them to the tank school, and later on, when they arrived, Kimberob did the same. However, the Cho brothers, in their infinite, Harvard-educated wisdom decided to instead procure a map and guide themselves to the school (never mind that they couldn’t read Cyrillic and that even with a map, it would be like staring at a blank page). Even worse, the ‘Bama girls decided to follow these two, on account of their alleged Four-Pack alliance. Don’t be too shocked when I tell you that both teams wound up totally lost. Eventually, they decided that maybe they should hire a cab after all to guide them, but alas! No cabbies knew where to go! An Amazing Race disaster!
Luckily, a commercial came along and saved everything. As is usually the case, when we returned to the action, the Cho brothers managed to miraculously find a cab and get back on track. But how much time had been lost? Well, while we pondered that, we then went to the front of the pack where the first two teams had arrived at the tank school. There they found this week’s Roadblock, which had one person driving a tank through a 1.2 mile obstacle course. It seemed pretty cool, but then again, this was one of those challenges that’s not particularly challenging. We wouldn’t be seeing the game changing drastically over the course of it. Nevertheless, as James and Dustin climbed into their tanks, we then headed over to Rob, who was having his own vehicular challenges out on the open road. For whatever reason, he couldn’t control his car, and after a spate of general whining, he then announced his plan to deal with the car: “I’m just getting quiet.” Ah, well, of course. Because cars generally perform better when discussion is kept to a minimum.
Later on, Kimberly kvetched about wanting to catch up to the models, but Rob quickly silenced her, saying he wanted to just concentrate on the car not breaking down, and therefore it was imperative that he cease talking. How wonderful would it have been if they had been driving decrepit cars every step of the race?
Over at the Roadblock, Dustin and James maneuvered their tanks through a giant, tank-sized puddle, and while Dustin emerged from this just fine, James somehow managed to get completely inundated with mud. Good thing Tyler wasn’t at the helm. The bitching would have been endless.
Nevertheless, once both teams finished, they learned they had to drive back to Kiev, find an apartment building, and receive a clue from some quaint old lady, who looked like every Ukrainian stereotype I ever had. Of course, this clue raised a very important question from the Beauty Queens: “Guys, how are we gonna get back to Keev??” Okay, somebody please tell me how it’s possible to be in Kiev and still not know how to pronounce it.
Well, the teams headed back out onto the highway where the typically haughty Tyler mocked his Four-Pack rivals, saying, “The so-called genius Cho Brothers still haven’t made it out here, which just goes to show you that book smarts don’t get you where you think it will in this race.” Yes, so true. If only this race were as important as, you know, REAL LIFE.
Proving why a lack of book-smarts might be a bad thing were Rob and Kimberly, who once again managed to embarrass themselves with their idiocy. As she hopped into a tank (a very cold tank, if you know what I’m saying), Rob told us, “I think Kimberly is finding out that she is a super human… creature… from… outer space.” Yes, she’s just like normal people, except she can obliterate humans with the power of her Super Whine.
Anyway, Win/Win and Lyn/Lyn finally showed up at the Roadblock, with Godwin and Lyn stepping up for the challenge. Nothing too noteworthy happened, but Godwin was doused with a deluge of mud, and Lyn recoiled multiple times as if she actually were in a real battle. Nevertheless, the Cho brothers finished first, and you guessed it, they waited around for ‘Bama. Dumbasses. “Who knows why they wait for us. I wouldn’t expect them to,” Karlyn said. It was fairly ungracious, but at the same time, she did have a point.
Up ahead on the roads to Kiev, the beauty queens ran a red light in an effort to lose the models (who were trailing them), but the boys stayed on their tail, running the red light too with all the determination of two junkies chasing a high. Meanwhile, Kimberob’s worst nightmares came true: their car broke down. Looks like Rob must’ve been talking too much. Cars HATE that!
After the break, while Kimberob stewed at the side of the road, Lyn/Lyn learned first hand why it’s not always so great to follow the Cho Brothers. Apparently Win/Win were not only stopping for directions every five minutes, but they were driving crazy slow too. I know, it’s shocking: a slow Asian driver. Yay reaffirming stereotypes! Anyway, ‘Bama was growing frustrated the boys, and while I totally felt their pain, I didn’t know why they complained about the guys waiting for them and then passively followed them all the way. Not a lot of logic.
Well, Kimberob soon received its new vehicle, and almost immediately, Rob began whining. This time, he complained that the clutch was broken — even though it seemed to be working fine enough. You’d think he learn his lesson by now: silence in the Russian car!
Over at the front of the pack, the models and beauty queens arrived at the apartment and received their next clue: a Detour. “Make The Music” or “Find The Music.” I’m just going to say this: I had very, very high expectations for this Detour. It could have been one of the best ever. One option involved a frustrating search, the other involved general humiliation. How could you go wrong?
The outcome, however, while entertaining, wasn’t as great as I thought it would be, but I’m getting too far ahead of myself. In “Make The Music,” teams had to travel to a hip-hop club (yes, you heard me correctly) where they’d have to write and perform a rap song that incorporated all the countries the teams had been to. Once it was approved by Kiev’s top hip-hop artist (who looked stunningly like the forty-year old guy behind the deli counter at my supermarket), they would receive their next clue.
In “Find the Music,” teams had to travel to the Music Academy of Ukraine, find a specific piece of sheet music amongst thousands, and then search the building for a pianist who would then perform it. Seemed like a challenge that would certainly drive the teams nuts.
Well, Kandice and Dustin decided to do the hip-hop option, and I’m pretty sure they asked Sara Gilbert for directions to the club. Anyway, once they got there, they had to change into ridiculous hip-hop garb that probably would have been cool three years ago (hey, it’s Ukraine, not Compton). Meanwhile, the models opted for Find the Music, which meant they had to don coat & tails as they searched for Tchaikovsky’s Concert Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra. Needless to say, it was quite the improvement over the Ukranian hip-hop duds the beauty queens were forced into.
Meanwhile, Kimberob managed to get to the old lady in the apartment building sans incident, and in a development that surely thrilled all viewers, they decided to flex their flowetry with the “Make The Music” option. Kimberly and Rob performing an original rap song? EXCELLENT. I imagined it would go something like “My name is Rob, and I’m here to say / [... silence... silence...] BABE!!! It’s your line!!! YES IT IS!!! YES IT IS!!! BABE!!!!“
Out on the open road, the Cho brothers were leading the ‘Bama girls back to Kiev, but not without stopping EVERY TWO MINUTES FOR DIRECTIONS. Finally, pushed to the limits of patience, the women decided it was time to do their own thang, and lo and behold, they drove off without waiting for the brothers! OMG! Someone didn’t wait for someone else!!! Drama!!! And with that, Win/Win officially declared the six pack DEAD. Again, in a real world situation, Karlyn and Lyn’s actions would have been obnoxious, but I’m really not sure I could totally blame them in this situation. If I had been in an alliance where one team was slowing everything down, I probably would have cut and run too. Then again, the best way to probably resolve it would have been for the moms to announce that they were going to lead the alliance instead. Either way, it’s not worth getting into a tizzy about — at least not here in the recap. Point is, the Chos suddenly found themselves on their own…
…At least until after the commercial break when the brothers quickly caught up to ‘Bama and trailed them all the way to Kiev. This irrationally irked the women, who suddenly began complaining about Win/Win’s inability to run their own race. Um, was it me, or had the girls been following the boys the entire past leg, let alone nearly the entire race? I was trying to chalk this all up to tricky editing, but man, was it hard. Still, even though the women were being ungrateful and downright bitchy, I still like them somewhat. I don’t love them, but I feel like their snippiness doesn’t come from a bad, shallow, or idiotic place (unlike Kimberob and the models). They just seem like two women who are exhausted and cranky and would rather be sitting on a couch eating a meal and watching Everybody Hates Chris. Moms just get cranky sometimes!
Anyway, over at the Detour, we cut back and forth between the models and the beauty queens at their various challenges. First, we saw the girls performing their rap song, which was horrendous and awesome all at once. Unfortunately, rather than let us revel in this spectacle, the producers quickly cut over to the Academy where Tyler and James were listening to a pianist play Tchaikovsky. I never knew it was possible to actually be annoying listeners, but these guys managed to do just that as they pretended to be conductors, waving their arms around like batons and grinning with self-satisfied glee. That’s what I call music appreciation!
Well, both teams eventually completed their tasks, which meant it was time to head over to the Pit Stop at the Great Patriotic War Memorial. Glorious! Meanwhile, Kimberob followed some locals to the hip hop club, and on the way, Kimberly began penning her lyrics, prompting Rob to ask, “Are you gonna make it funny?” Hate to break it to you Rob, but no matter what you guys “spit,” it’s going to be hilarious.
Sure enough, Kimberob turned out to be just as craptastic as we had expected. The two seemed hard pressed to inject any sort of life into their performance, instead opting to stand there like two slabs of meat, reciting the rhymes with about as much enthusiasm as a postal worker at the holidays. On the upside, it was considerably better than Ja Rule. BOO-YA!!!
Meanwhile, Lyn/Lyn and Win/Win received their Detour clue, and while both decided to go to the hip hop club, there was no more waiting around for each other. The girls found a cab to guide them to place, but the guys, in an effort to be independent and stupid, decided to merely get directions from wherever (because that had worked so well before!).
Anyway, Kimberob finished their soporific performance and headed off to the Pit Stop with the help of the same locals, who had wisely opted to hang around outside of the hip-hop club and spare themselves the agony of having to witness the Kimberly and Rob Variety Hour. Meanwhile, over at the front of the pack, Tyler and James showed up at Phil’s mat first where they were greeted by what looked like Liam Neeson sporting a big, fat mustache. The Beauty Queens checked in second place, coming that much closer to being the first all-girl team to win the whole race. “Nothing will stop us,” Dustin said, adding, “Except, you know, if we’re eliminated.”
Meanwhile, over at the Detour, Karlyn congratulated herself for being a natural-born “composer” because she had come up with a rap in five minutes. Again, nothing Ja Rule hasn’t already done. OH SNAP!!! Second Ja Rule slam in this post!! I am en fuego!!!
Well, the Cho brothers were going to do the hip-hop challenge also, but surprise, surprise: they got lost! Instead, they switched to the “Find The Music” option, which meant that yes, the black team was doing hip hop and the Asian team was doing classical music. Stereotype-tastic!
Anyway, Karlyn proved herself to be quite the hype-man, er, woman as she got the crowd going with her ear-piercing emceeing. It was all a prelude to their thought-provoking flow, which even Common and Kanye would be proud of, especially the line, “We had to travel far and foreign talk!” Yes, ladies and gentlemen, they’ve foreign talked. Other things they’ve done: plane flied, snack ate, and car drove in.
Meanwhile, over at the Academy, the Cho brothers eventually found the Concert Fantasy, and unlike Tyler and James, the two guys put their arms over their shoulders and actually listened to the performance, appreciating the moment rather than using it as the basis for a dumb joke.
Well, as you guessed, the race came down to Win/Win vs. Lyn/Lyn for that final spot. It seemed pretty close, at least until Godwin accidentally drove his car into a prohibited area. This drew the ire of the local police, who then demanded to see documents from the brothers and whatnot. Nevertheless, there was no coming back from this setback. Lyn and Karlyn arrived at the Pit Stop fourth, and then finally, after what looked to be thirty or forty minutes, the brothers got back in their car and headed towards Phil. Hey, thanks for costing them a million dollars, JERK COP! (Actually, they kind of looked like they were behind anyway).
Sure enough, this was far from a Wyn/Wyn situation (rimshot!). The Cho brothers came in last and were eliminated, causing Godwin to say, “No regrets,” which was admirable, but I couldn’t help thinking he was probably slapping his forehead watching this entire season back.
Anyway, poor Goddy began to sob, and the two brothers told Phil that they were merely racing in a way that would reflect their character and values. “We wanted to do it the way we thought was right,” Godwin said in between sniffles. It was admirable and moving, even if the way they thought was right wasn’t, you know, effective.
This now leaves us with four teams, two of which are all-women. With fifty-percent odds in their favor, could this be the season that women break the glass ceiling of The Amazing Race? And now that the affable Cho brothers are gone, who are people rooting for? Dustin and Kandice?