Know what we’re missing this season? A villain. Steve, while obnoxious at times, just wasn’t good enough to qualify as one. Victor is more of a stubborn goof than a villain. And that leaves us with...well, nobody. For the most part, the remaining racers are all so nice. Barring random bouts of stupidity, there’s noone who makes me want to throw things at the tv. It’s weird, I tell you. But maybe I’m still pouting over Brad and Victoria’s boot last week. I’ll just have to find a jerk on some other reality show to take it out on. Hmm. There is this guy named Coach over on Survivor...
New stuff! In addition to the new editing and updated intro this season, they’ve changed up the old U-Turn to make it a Blind U-Turn. Meaning you don’t have to put your picture up on the board when you U-Turn another team. Dirty! I’m not sure this is a good thing. How will we have one team vowing sweet revenge if nobody knows whodunnit? We’ll have to see. For now, Mel and Mike are the first to skip town and head off to Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, via Moscow. There they will hunt down the structure pictured on the back of the 10 ruble note - a hydroelectric dam.
I think I heard one person pronounce Krasnoyarsk even remotely close to the correct way - break it down, people! - the rest sounded like they had a mouthful of crackers. Stuntguys Mark and Michael couldn’t even pronounce Siberia. Sheesh. Taxicab confessionals on the way: Kisha (or was it Jen?) shares that her ass hurts while running, but doesn’t explain why. Kisha also says that she knows Siberian tigers come from....er, Siberia. Mike tells us that his dad is “part Woody Allen, part Billy Graham, with a splash of Judy Garland.” And Kris thinks that they’re doing so well, they might just win this thing. Wave goodbye, guys. If that wasn’t foreshadowing, I don’t know what is.
On the way to the airport, Mark and Michael decide to call ahead to book tickets. They borrow their cabbie’s phone which the cabbie has already dialed for them - and they get Cara and Jaime’s cabbie! He hands the phone off to the girls, who realize what’s going on. And they play along, pretending to be airline employees and telling Michael that the tickets he wants are unavailable. The redheads finally hang up when they get a case of the giggles. Pranked! I love it.
The teams end up on four different flights connecting through Moscow. Basically, three teams caught the earlier flight from Moscow to Krasnoyarsk and five got a later flight. No biggie, the dam opens at 8:30. Plastered on the dam is a huge picture of Lenin, leading Christie to ask if he’s the guy who built it. No, he’s like, a mean old dictator guy, corrects Jodi. Never mind that sound, it’s just me banging my head on the keyboard. Our education system is the pits.
And what’s up with the comments from the redheads? “This dam was built by some pretty powerful beavers. They must have been female!” Later on, they’re proud of themselves for finishing the Detour “without any help from boys.” I’m all for girl power and everything, but I sort of left the girls rule, boys drool silliness back in the third grade. Any more comments about not needing help from stinky boys and these two are off my like list. They’re starting to sound like the divorcees from last season.
From the dam everyone is sent to a little wooden church with another name that nobody can pronounce, and from there, a Detour: Stack or Construct. They can either travel to a riverbank and stack a mess of firewood in a particular fashion or travel on foot to a woodshed, build some shutters and take them to a marked house where they will install said shutters.
Everyone chooses to Stack, and heads off to the riverbank. Except Mark and Michael, who have decided to proudly carry the “I can’t find my ass with two hands and a map” badge this week, last worn by Victor. The stuntguys wander off somewhere that the wood isn’t, losing valuable time. The others get to stacking, providing amusement for the pre-gathered locals who are having a Siberian cookout complete with bonfires, accordian music, and snacks. And vodka. Lots and lots of vodka (hey, it’s freaking cold out there!). Do they sell tickets for these things? Hey, come on down and watch the Americans screw things up. Only 20 rubles! Bring your own vodka.
The blondes and Kisha and Jen stack their firewood, and finally Mark and Michael decide to join them. One look at that pile would have me running for shutter duty, seriously. This isn’t the little six by four pile in my backyard, it’s a monster. Mark and Michael’s pile o’ wood not only falls, but it crashes into the one behind it that they were supposed to copy. Oops. Instead of redoing both, they disgustedly go off to build shutters. Guess what? They get lost looking for the shutter house, too. A dog spooks them in the street, coming up behind them and barking loudly. He’s probably laughing at them in dog-speak.
The girls all stack without causing a disaster, and a young local sidles up to the blondes as they read their next clue, putting his arms around them and saying something about cute girls. Blondes DO have more fun. The second wave arrives, with Amanda and Kris, Mel and Mike, and the redheads all knocking their stacks over. Amanda and Kris and Mel and Mike give up and go to build shutters with the aimless stuntguys, but not before the redheads get in a few jabs at Amanda for standing around and watching Kris do all the work. Meow.
The local guy in the shutter workshop? Highly creepy. No wonder the town looks deserted. He scared them all away.
The shutter people have taken to wandering the streets, looking ridiculous as they carry ladders loaded up with the shutter pieces. Mike mutters that they look like a “caravan of idiots” walking around, and I can’t disagree. The marked house is right THERE but nobody spies it. Eventually old man Mel sees the sign and they all collectively kick themselves in the butt, knowing it was that close. They install the brightly colored shutters and head on.
Next clue reveals a Blind U-Turn ahead. Jen and Kisha pass, as do the blondes. They taxi on to a local amusement park, the Bobrovy Log park, where a Roadblock awaits. One team member must ride a track on a bobsled, looking for seven letters posted along the way which will unscramble to reveal the name of a famous Russian playwright. They have four minutes to make the ride, but can (and will) take as long as they need to figure out the name: Chekhov.
Everyone passes on the U-Turn til Margie and Luke get there. They decide to stick Amanda and Kris’ picture up, effectively killing the dating couple’s chance of making it past this leg. They want to give their new best buds Cara and Jamie a chance to catch up. When they see their smiling faces plastered on the U-Turn board, Amanda and Kris think it was Jen and Kisha who did it. Or maybe the blondes. I had to laugh when they said they were sure that Margie and Luke would feel bad that they were U-Turned. If you only knew, guys.
On to the bobsled ride. Kisha takes two turns, having missed the letter V the first time. She gripes that she “don’t know nothing about no Russia,” but manages to get Chekhov’s name right, randomly dropping letters in the slot. Huh?! Er...okay. Christie struggles, too, but finally gets it. “I wanted to look brilliant, but I didn’t,” she giggles. You left brilliant way back at the dam, girl.
I guess Chekhov isn't as famous as I thought. Sigh.
Victor, Luke (who whoaaaas all the way down), Jamie, Michael, Mel, and Kris all take turns on the sled. Vic immediately knew it was Chekhov. Jaime guesses and gets it right the first time, dropping to the ground and squealing in delight. Okay, now. This guessing stuff is looking sort of fishy. Luke is clueless and turns into Frustrated Luke again, and we take turns between shots of his mom looking concerned and Luke looking irritated. Luke. Mom. Luke. Mom. Use the Force, Luke! He magically gets it right after who knows how long, and off we go to the Pit Stop.
But not before Mark and Michael try to stiff their cabbie. The ride was 8000 rubles, but the mini-men only had 5000. They offer up their watches, but get a nyet from the cabbie - he’s already sporting a Rolex. They then try to give him their jackets, but really now, I don’t think they’d fit him. He finally lets them go, vowing never again to pick up strange little Americans with camera crews in tow.
1st - Christie and Jodi, who squeal “No way!” at the news. Yes way, says Phil, and tells them they’ve won motorcycles. Blondes are happy.
2nd - Kisha and Jen - could have had first if only they had found the main entrance.
3rd - Tammy and Victor - not featured much this eppy, which is a good thing.
4th - Margie and Luke, who I’m now mad at for killing one of my fave teams.
5th - Jaime and Cara, with no help from boys.
6th - Mel and Mike, still hanging in there.
7th - Mark and Michael, it’s a miracle they didn’t get lost on the way.
Philiminated - Kris and Amanda.
Grr. There goes favorite team number two. I’m going to experiment and start calling a team I don’t like my favorite, since I seem to jinx whoever I pick. So, yeah. Victor and Tammy are my new favorites! Kris and Amanda take the news well, proclaiming their love for one another and all that happy fuzzy stuff. Enjoy Elimination Station, guys, it was nice to have a dating couple who treated each other well.
Next week: Luke gets a bad rep for using the U-Turn, and teams strip down to their skivvies to run a race in the ice and snow. Talk about shrinkage. Wait a minute - now I lose out on a chance to see Kris run half-naked down the street? Now I’m really unhappy. *shakes fist at Margie and Luke*
Do you know Chekhov? PM me.