The race stays in St. Petersburg, but the racers are joining the circus. In a Detour, they have to either spin ten plates on poles or learn to play a song on the accordion (neither of which end up being as hard as they sound). From there, a tricky Route Info requires them to walk around in search of the Church of Spilled Blood. That's a bit of a scramble, especially in the sense of how a few teams break the rules and use taxis. From there, they have to head to the Fortress of Peter and Paul, the final resting place of Peter the Great. That's the venue for a round of gorodki, a Russian form of bowling using a club instead of a ball, and using Phil instead of pins (at least in the demo). Nat and Kat keep it together and win their third leg, followed by Brook and Claire (who went back to retrace their cab ride on foot), while Michael throws a long succession of gutter… clubs. Some of the teams have trouble paying off their taxis before proceeding to the Pit Stop, especially Chad and Stephanie, who try to check in second-to-last without paying their fare first. While they go back to rectify that, Michael and Kevin arrive at the mat, only to learn they have an hour penalty. Which is longer than Chad and Stephanie's half-hour penalty, which means that this leg ends not with a sprint but the ticking of a clock. As does Michael and Kevin's race.
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Phil welcomes us back to St. Petersburg, "The fourth-largest city in Europe and the home of thousands of renowned and ornate buildings." Because of how they don't blow them up, as noted last week by well-known architectural historian Nick. One of these buildings would be St. Isaac's Cathedral. Phil says it was "forced to become the Museum of Atheism during the Soviet era," but that's all over, and now it's a church again. But even better, it was the sixth Pit Stop of the race. Presumably the racers spent the night sleeping in the pews.
Jill and Thomas are leaving the Pit Stop at 8:30 AM, having won the previous leg. Looks like a chilly morning, going by their winter jackets. "Join the circus," Thomas reads from the clue. Phil says they'll need to cab it from St Isaac's to Avtovo Circus to find their next clue. As Jill and Thomas get started on doing that, there's a pre-race interview in which Thomas describes himself as "extremely competitive, extremely outspoken," which is normally the kind of thing you hear a racer say at the beginning of the season that's shorthand for "I'm an asshole and you will hate me." Jill agrees that Thomas has a tendency to talk at her rather than to her, but Thomas claims they work well together. They certainly are a convincing pair of synchronized mouthbreathers in the cab to the circus.
Brook and Claire are starting the leg at 8:35 AM, and Brook's pretty excited about getting to go to the circus. "That's where I belong!" she chirps. They hop into a taxi, in which Brook says, "I hope I get to wear a leotard." Claire does a double-take and asks her, "Who says that?" "Me," Brook duhs. I'm going to spoil not only the plot but Brook's morning by saying right here that there will be no leotards.
Here go Michael and Kevin, at 8:40, and they seem to be doing well so far; not only is a cab right there, the driver knows were the circus is. An auspicious beginning to the leg for them. What could go wrong now?
Jill and Thomas also know where the circus is, because they're there. They run to the front gate and find a hand-painted sign with the word "CLOSED" and a weeping clown on it. It's hard to say which of those two things is more upsetting. Thomas alerts us, "Other teams are starting to arrive." Here indeed are Team YouTube and Team QVC, and suddenly we're in a cab with Nat and Kat (who are pronouncing circus as "seer-kiss"), and then Chad/Stephanie, and Gary/Mallory. No more departure times for us this week? No, and there'll be more on that in a minute.