The Amazing Race: Walk this way! (No seriously, walk)

What a crazy episode! By the end, I wasn’t sure who would be getting a penalty and who would be in the clear. But I do have one major, major gripe about the whole thing:
I’ve made it no secret that I’m not a huge fan of the tattooed wonders. I mean, Vicki seems fine. All the hairdressers seem fine. It’s their D-bag boyfriends I can’t stand, and Nick played the part well this week, constantly getting frustrated and calling his girlfriend a “dumbass”. Nick and Vicki were saved from elimination last week, which should have meant a Speed Bump this week. Remember when Michael and Kevin had to sit on those ice chairs earlier in the season? Yeah, that was a Speed Bump. So where was Nick and Vicki’s? Way to drop the ball, Bertram van Munster!
OK, I’ll end the rant here. But for reals, I’m upset about this. If I can’t trust the hard and fast rules of reality television shows, what can I trust?
All eyes on me in the center of the ring, just like a circus
The leg kicked off in Russia and teams had to choose between “Circus Band” and “Circus Clown” for the Detour. Originally only Nat and Kat and Gary and Mallory went for “Band”, which required teams to learn and perform a song on the accordion. Sound hard? Well, so did the alternative. Everyone else went for “Clown”, where they had to manage to spin ten plates at once.
Brook and Claire miraculously finished the plate spinning and left first, followed closely by Nat and Kat who killed at the accordion playing. Girl power! Next were Nick and Vicki, and then Gary and Mallory.
Meanwhile, Thomas and Jill abandoned the plate spinning for the accordion, which didn’t suit them any better. Thomas had trouble remembering three different tunes, which was very surprising – I mean, didn’t he go to college?! Chad and Stephanie also jumped ship, but Michael and Kevin finished the plate challenge and headed off to the next clue. Then, Team Quitter (aka Thomas and Jill) switched tasks again, back to the plate spinning. That gave Chad and Stephanie a chance to complete their accordion performance, leaving the other dating couple in the dust.
Eagle Eye
This is where things got complicated. The next clue instructed teams to head to a tower by foot. They couldn’t even pay a cab to lead them there, let alone actually take one. At the tower one team member could go up and search for their next destination. And one of my favorite teams, good old Michael and Kevin, screwed up and took a cab! I was shocked. I knew these guys wouldn’t win, but I didn’t expect them to make such a huge mental blunder.
At the top of the tower a lot of people scanned the cityscape for a red and yellow flag, but the key was to spot a tiny replica of the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, the incredibly gorgeous and iconic Russian building, sitting on a ledge. That building, which could be seen in the distance, was their next destination.
Nick and Kat went up first, and in a shocking twist Nick was actually the one to figure out the clue. He then tried to mislead the other teams by telling them they’d assumed a piece of graffiti saying “DS13″ was the clue. Poor Kevin, who is not only naive but a bad judge of character, said ” I don’t think Nick would lie to us, cause he’s awesome.”
Bowling with Sticks
It became unclear when teams could and couldn’t take a cab, but after having an actual discussion about it in the tower, both Brook and Claire and Michael and Kevin hopped in them. Halfway to their next destination Brook and Claire realized their error and backtracked to save themselves from a penalty, and they made up the time very well at the next challenge.
How weird was that next challenge? And am I the only one who’s kind of tempted to set up Russian bowling in her driveway? Yeah? No? For the Roadblock one team member had to complete three sets of Russian bowling – essentially throwing a large stick at a pile of smaller sticks and clearing them away in two shots. It was harder than it sounds.
Kat absolutely killed the bowling, landing her and Nat on the pit stop in first place again. These girls are a force to be reckoned with! Brook powered through the bowling too – and in typical Brook fashion, did it with a lot of squealing and dancing – and she and Claire ended up in second place. Seriously, girl power!
Payments and Penalties
Poor Michael and Kevin, though. The task didn’t look very hard, so they decided it would be a good one for Michael to do. And he threw stick after stick and that first set-up without even touching it. Teams just flew by him. Nick blew through it, landing him and Vicki in third place – though, if they’d actually done a Speed Bump who knows where they would have landed. Gary seemed to only throw three sticks before he’d completed the challenge, and he and Mallory scooted into fourth place, just ahead of Jill and Thomas who grabbed fifth. Jill and Thomas could have maybe had fourth, but they had trouble playing their cab driver. (He didn’t seem too pleased about that. I get that they had to pay up, but did he have to grab Jill?!)
So it came down to Chad and Stephanie and Michael and Kevin. Chad and Stephanie had a tough leg and seemed to be behind all along. I’ve got to say, I really can’t stand Chad and I don’t know how Stephanie takes it. When she couldn’t find the clue from atop the tower, and then he found it, he didn’t only rub it in at the time – he giggled about it like a little schoolgirl in the cab as well. Then he totally lost his cool (as if he even has “cool”) when Stephanie struggled with the bowling.
After spending ages on the first set of sticks, Michael got the second and third sets easily. He and Kevin left ahead of Stephanie and Chad, but they were delayed when they had trouble playing their cab and Steph and Chad beat them to the pit stop. There was a catch, though – they’d chosen to abandon their backpacks in order to beat Michael and Kevin, but that meant not paying up. And Phil was having none of that. They’d have to go back and pay their tab. (So many taxi problems this leg!)
Michael and Kevin arrived at the pit stop, but they’d taken two cabs when they had been told to walk – that was an hour long penalty. Even though Chad and Stephanie were penalized half an hour for one cab mistake when they arrived, it wasn’t enough. Michael and Kevin were eliminated.
What did you think of the episode? Could you keep track of who was supposed to be in a cab and who wasn’t? Were you as enraged as I was that Nick and Vicki didn’t perform a Speed Bump? Who are you rooting for now? (I’m still all for Gary and Mallory, but the “Hail Mary” she does in a cab next week has me a little worried.)

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