Amazing Race

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Sent to Siberia

From Bucharest, it's a veritable blossom of Amazing Red, Blue, Purple and -- there it is! -- Yellow Lines, which scatter across Europe from Frankfurt to Istanbul and then reconverge on Moscow. From there, the Amazing Yellow Line makes its triumphant return, carrying the ball all the way to Krasnoyarsk at 5:40 a.m. It looks tanned and rested.

The first three teams get cabs at the airport: Mark|Michael, Kisha|Jen, and the Flight Attendants. "Everybody else actually got stuck back at the other airport," Mark says, which doesn't really explain anything. But we catch up with the other five teams, who are still in Moscow as a result of having failed to make the connection to Krasnoyarsk and are now waiting for the next flight. In other words, only the Lufthansa flight through Frankfurt and the Flight Attendants' connection through Istanbul arrived in Moscow on time, so clearly the Flight Attendants knew what they were doing. The Stuntmen arrive at the dam first, an impressive structure lighting up the predawn darkness. But when they get to the front door, they find that it doesn't open until 8:30. "We didn't have to really be in such a big hurry," Michael laments. The Flight Attendants arrive next, and look pissed, and the eastern sky is lightening as Kisha and Jen arrive in third place.

After the sun rises the next morning, the Flight Attendants gaze at the gigantic portrait of Lenin on the side of the building and speculate on who he might be. "Is he the one that built it?" Christie asks. "He's a bad, like, a dictator guy," Jodi "corrects." Is ignorance of Russia, like, a requirement to be on this show?

When the doors open, the guard will only let them in two by two. The Stuntmen, in the lead for once, read their Route Info clue, which is sending them to the Church of Saint Innokenty for their next clue. So I think the whole point of the dam was to create an operating-hours bunch (which didn't really work), and then to give us a chance to watch the teams struggling to pronounce the name of the church and the village that is its home. ["And for teams to show their lack of knowledge of Russian rulers." -- Angel] They do not disappoint in that regard. The Stuntmen are still in the lead when they find the clue box outside the church, and open it to find a Detour.

And here's Phil, in a black parka as he says this is about "two things the locals use to protect themselves from the bitter Siberian winters." But they've already bought plane tickets this leg? Oh, never mind. In "Stack," teams have to go to the riverbank and stack firewood. But this is no ordinary stack: they have to basically erect a rectangular log wall six feet high and twelve feet long, with nothing to use as "bookends" except the very logs that they're stacking. Then a "local expert" will give them their next clue. The other option is "Construct," in which teams walk to a work shed, where they'll find the pieces needed to assemble a set of wood shutters. Really, Siberia? Really?Wooden shutters are what get you through the winter? Because I'm telling you, here in Minnesota we swear by that plastic shrink-wrap stuff you stick to the inside of the windows, and not just because it's made here. You should look into that. Anyway, once the shutters (pshh) have been completed, the teams must then carry them to a house that has a sign on the fence in front that reads "REPAIRS NEEDED," in both English and Russian. And there's also a little Amazing Flag next to the sign, just to make it harder to miss. They'll get their next clue when they finish installing the new shutters on the front of the house. Suckers. They should hold out for weather-stripping, at least.

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Amazing Race

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