Amazing Race

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Eisenstein, Tchaikovsky, and Babushkas

Michael and Kevin find the Palace Square clue in third place, and Nat/Kat and Nick/Vicki have just found the film studio. "I thought this one would be the faster one than the music," Kat observes idly, as though watching at home.

Speaking of the music task, Chad and Stephanie now appear to be reduced to a trial and error approach. There's a shot of a wall clock showing 4:30, which makes no damn sense, and they get another nyet. Frustrated, Chad refers to their team as a chicken with its head cut off, but that really only applies to him. She insists she's trying to stay positive. "I'm doing what you would do, I'm trying to be on your team." Well, the first thing isn't true, and the second thing is a tragic mistake on her part.

Jill and Thomas pull up and get out at what might be either a "neighborhood store" or a "palatial museum," except for the fact it's clearly the latter. Thomas finds a guy to try to ask directions from: "We need a marked sign, showing us where to drive to," he slowly says/mimes. At least he doesn't yell. I can't believe it took this long to get to a country where most people don't speak English (it's even the official language in Ghana, for the love of Kwame Nkrumah), but even if this local did, what are the chances he will have noticed a new Amazing Arrow on a random light pole somewhere in town? Brook and Claire, meanwhile, have found the marked road. "This is in the sticks," Brook observes, even though it looks like it's only about fifteen miles outside of town (I'm estimating; apparently Google Maps doesn't do driving directions in Russia, even if it will get you from Japan to China if you're prepared for step 43). But they soon find Alexandrovskaya's world-famous Neighborhood Store, outside of which is stationed a pair of older Russian women in headscarves and shapeless dresses, with a table full of both laid out in front of them. When they open the clue, the Road Block question reads, "Who's ready for a Russian Drag Race?" Clearly that question should not be taken literally.

Phil educates us, "In the Russian country side, many Russian women -- known as babushkas -- do much of the farm work." I always thought that term referred to the headscarves they wore, but I guess my only source for that is being in Fiddler on the Roof in high school, back when there was still such a thing as a Soviet Union. Phil lies that the racers "will have to do a proper day's work in the fields. But first, they must become babushkas." So yes, they'll have to put on the babushka outfits, then plant a row of fifty potatoes, fertilizing them with a wheelbarrow full of cow manure. Which is a proper hour's work in the fields, max. Brook's doing this, and she dances into a babushka dress, singing "Babushka!" She adds, "I think it really accentuates my curves," which is being generous to both, and goes off to find her sack of potatoes. As per the directions in the clue, she finds 14th Path 4/1 (thanks to a sign with some Roman lettering on it), where there's a burlap sack of spuds with an attached tag reading, "Take me to the wheelbarrows on Duck's End." Brook goes wandering off in search of either Duck's End or wheelbarrows, and after running away from a barking dog (that's behind a fence, honestly) she soon finds both. The wheelbarrows have tags reading, "Fill me with manure [which coincidentally is also the first line of the Word templates I type these recaps in]. Take me and your potatoes to the marked field down the 14th path." Brook wheels right over to the giant pile with the shovels sticking out of it and starts shoveling it into her wheelbarrow. She says, among other things, "Claire's not going to like the smell of me." You know, Brook, if you breathe through your mouth the smell isn't as bad, but then you'd have to stop talking.

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Amazing Race

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