I now have yet another addition to my list of Why I Would Totally Suck at The Amazing Race. Not only could I not bungee jump off anything higher than five feet, I couldn’t eat two pounds of boiled sheep behind and I most definitely could not prance about in below-freezing weather in my underwear. I start squawking when it gets into the 40s. Really. (All you Northerners and Canadians, feel free to take this opportunity to point and laugh. I won’t hold it against you.) Props to this season’s Racers for enduring the craziness, but I’ll stick with my 100 degree plus summers, thankyouverymuch.
Still in the bleakness that is Siberia for a supersized leg, we first get a recap of dear departed Amanda and Kris *sniff* and how they just couldn’t believe that someone had the audacity to U-Turn them after they were so nice to everyone. Nice won’t get you far in this game, for sure. To prove this point, we then get a quickie preview of Victor pissing his co-Racers off. Not a surprise. I think he's quite the expert at this in regular life.
Christie and Jodi are the first to depart in the falling snow, ripping open their clue to discover that they will be traveling by Trans-Siberian Railway to the city of Novosibirsk, one of many words this episode that will have my spell check screaming at me. Jodi tells us that the Race is very hard work, but she and Christie are used to working together and they do it well. Ouch, that bit of foreshadowing just hit me on the head. Why not just say you’re going to win this thing, you’re guaranteed to come in last.
They head off to find the train station as sisters Kisha and Jen tail them. Kisha isn’t so hot on this idea, thinking that the blondes may not know where they’re going. “I don’t want to walk around Russia!” she snips. Jen asks why not, since it’s so beautiful. “Beautiful my ass,” snarks Kisha. Hardly a ringing endorsement for Siberia’s tourism industry. If there is such a thing. Come to Siberia, we have...vodka. And, umm...lots of snow!
Take Me On Out of This Town
No ticket drama this week, folks, as the train leaves nine hours from the time the first team gets there. Bunch time! Margie gets a kick out of the sleeper cars on the train while Kisha gripes that her feet hang over the edge. The next morning, Mike complains to Margie and Luke that he slept like crap and Luke jokingly made like he had a tear running down his face. Mike smirked and said Luke was going to “create a whole new archetype - the sinister deaf kid.” Hey, that’s way better than Arguing Dating Couple. Or Mactors Without Personalities.
The train arrives at Novosibirsk and they race to grab taxis. Jamie and Cara spy buds Luke and Margie hopping into a cab behind them, and holler for them to follow. Mark and Michael dart about in the street, barely missing getting plowed over by passing cars. No worries, they later say: they’re used to getting hit by cars. Still, I don’t think I’d make a habit of it, guys. I’d hate to see you end the Race as a Siberian hood ornament. Jaime and Cara gripe about their chain smoking cabbie as Kisha and Jen run off in the opposite direction that the others took. Yeah, I don’t know what they’re doing, either. But there they go.
And here at the Punkt Tehnicheskogo Osmotra, teams find the Detour: Russian Bride or Russian Snowplow. They can either drive a snowplow through a training course, or find a Russian bride somewhere in a huge apartment complex, take her across town to a church where her groom awaits, and get a picture snapped with them. Yeah, show me the snowplows.
Get it in Gear
Mark and Michael, Jaime and Cara, Margie and Luke, and Tammy and Victor agree with me and drive off to find the snowplows, spinning tires on the ice and grinding the gears in their stick shift cars. They all agree to ride in a pack til they get there, and everyone stops at a gas station to get directions. Except, Victor quickly gets a local to tell him the way and he speeds off, leaving the others in his wake. Jaime fumes, probably saying many bad things about Victor that had to be edited out.
A bit down the road, Margie and Luke catch up to Tammy and Vic again, pulled over for more directions. Margie stops, too, and as a local points the way to her, Victor watches in his mirror and takes off once again in the direction that Margie’s helper pointed. She lays on the horn to get Victor to wait, but he’s outta there. “Sorry,” he lamely says as he waves his hand out the window. Margie spits that she “can’t trust Victor.” Guys, it’s a Race. You’re one taco short of a combo plate if you think you can trust anyone but your partner. Sheesh.
Over on the flip side, Mel and Mike have decided that they’d rather “party with virgin brides” than snowplows (umm, what?) and head off to the gigantic, ugly apartments. Kisha and Jen and Christie and Jodi join them, grabbing little bouquets of flowers and finding the waiting brides inside. Mel and Mike find the pretty little church, drop off the bride and get their picture taken. Jen, on the other hand, decides that she’d rather tear the bejeezus out of the transmission trying to get it into gear while her passenger bride gives a worried look like she’s been abducted by crazy people.
The blondes go them one better, getting lost and stopping for directions. Instead, they find a roving band of drunken young men who are more interested in groping Christie’s butt and finding out her name than in helping the girls out. Jodi is disgusted, saying that they reeked of vodka and had rotten teeth. Once again, not a ringing endorsement of Siberia. Or its dentists.
Going to the (Wrong) Chapel
Of course, the blondes go to the wrong church, led astray by bad directions. Over at snowplow land, Tammy is nervous over the thought of driving the big, hulking machines so Victor does it. A Mercedes Benz is the biggest thing she’s ever driven, she giggles. Well, tee hee. Jaime and Cara and Margie and Luke get all kinds of confused over exactly which snowplows they’re supposed to be driving (Hint: the ones sitting on the very obvious training course, maybe?). Victor makes short work of it - man, he’s all hyper and happy tonight - while Margie parks her butt in the wrong plow and sits there, waiting for something magical to happen, I suppose. Mark and Michael arrive to save the day, telling the others hey, they’re over here. A-duh.
They all manage to run the course without toppling any buildings and head off to the Roadblock for this leg, located at the Gosudarstvennaya Publichnaya Nauchnaya Tekhnicheskaya Biblioteka, which I shall call The Library because there is no way I’m typing that again. I can’t even guarantee it’s spelled correctly. But anyway.
And even though I say this several times a season, this is the Best. Roadblock. Ever. Not because of the task, but simply because Phil had the cajones to show up sans clothing, clad only in black boxer briefs. Oh, and shoes. I think there were shoes there.
Luke is lucky number one, stripping down to his drawers and running the 1.4 miles to the Pit Stop. He didn’t have to suffer alone, however, as a couple of local runners accompanied each Racer to the end. Of course, they wore clothes, like normal people would. Shrinkage jokes aside, Luke does well enough ignoring the bystanders and Tammy, Cara, Jen, Mike, Christie and Mark all do the preliminary warm-ups before they hit the streets in their skivvies.
Well, Jen had to borrow some undies since she goes commando. Mike makes a fashion mis-statement with his underwear and big, clunky black boots. Little Mark runs like the wind, forcing his co-runners to work to keep up. And Christie made the poor choice of donning a thong that morning, giving every drooling lech in the streets of Novosibirsk the chance to see her American behind bouncing down the road. She gets more than her share of beeps and catcalls, as does Tammy in her more modest bikini and Cara, who takes to walking part of the way.
After running/walking for what probably seemed like forever, the snow runners and all their numb bits meet back up with their other halves at the Pit Stop, the Novosibirsk Ballet and Opera Theater, where Phil awaits. And, phooey. He’s went and gotten dressed again.
1st - Margie and Luke, nabbing a trip to St. Lucia along with lots of cool excursions.
2nd - Tammy and Victor. He really really wanted to run in his underwear, the weirdo.
3rd - Jaime and Cara
4th - Mel and Mike
5th - Mark and Michael, who walked right by the waiting Phil.
6th - Kisha and Commando Jen
Last - Christie and Jodi
Annnd the blondes are NOT eliminated, as this is a non-elimination leg. Which means they get stuck with a special Speedbump task just for them next leg. It’s usually something quick and silly, so it shouldn’t be too bad. If they can quit getting lost for a change. Christie is just glad she didn’t run half-naked for nothing, and they solemnly vow to do better next time. Don’t they all.
Next week: Luke cries after viewing the poverty in India. Yes, we’re back in India. Again. Also - camels! And elephants with makeup. Don’t ask me, I don’t come up with these tasks.