Today is Nick's Birthday, but it's Dallas who has the better day, beginning by snuggling with Starr in the airport and getting better from there. Andrew and Dan weren't able to retrieve their shoes after the Detour last week, and are padding around the Kazakhstan airport in paper hotel slippers, until they blow most of their cash on new shoes at a store in the terminal. In Moscow, they might just have to bring back the days of begging for cab fare. From a hard-to-find monastery, the teams head to an old Russian military base for a Detour that's a choice between marching with a troop of soldiers and serving borscht. Everyone goes with the marching, except that Dan and Andrew can't manage the foot-wrapping preparation, and they switch over. Except they changed out of their uniforms when they switched, and then have to change back. And then Dan turns out to be completely marching-impaired, stomping around like a palsied Muppet, until they switch back again.
Meanwhile, the three remaining teams hurry ahead to a Road Block where they have to schlep fifty giant bags of flour for a demanding bakery owner. Dallas and Toni hold onto their early lead all the way to the Pit Stop, and win their first leg of the race. Nick and Starr have recurring cab problems that might actually put them behind Dan and Andrew. But the destitute Frat Boys' negotiations with the cab driver they can't pay take long enough to put them in last place. Yet once again, they live to lose another day, as this is another non-elimination leg. What's it going to take to get rid of these two already? Maybe we'll find out next week.
We're back in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and as usual we learn something about the Pit Stop city just as we're about to leave it: it was founded in ancient times and destroyed by the Mongols in the 13th century. No wonder the Mongol warriors weren't actually allowed in the city last week. But now the city has recovered and has a population of over a million. Or 999,998, since Terence and Sarah are gone now and we're down to four remaining teams. From Old Square, Pit Stop number eight, Phil wonders if Dallas and Starr's romance (showmance? Racemance? R
oma nce?) would distract them from the race, and whether Andrew and Dan will "continue to make crucial mistakes." I'm pretty sure about the answer to that second question.
Nick and Starr take off from the Pit Stop at 9:21 p.m., and learn they're going to Moscow, Russia, where they'll have to taxi to a monastery. I'd tell you the monastery's name, but it doesn't appear onscreen and my closed captioning isn't about to touch it. There, they'll simply light a candle to get their next clue. Nick's wearing a blue t-shirt that Starr "made" him, a blue one that reads "Today is my birthday" in black lettering. I assume that "made" means she applied the lettering, not that she busted out a sewing machine and some fabric in an airport gate somewhere. In an interview, Nick says this is the most time he and Starr have spent together in years, and admits that they might "be a little more at each other's throats" if the race weren't going so well for them lately. Perhaps we'll get to see that theory tested tonight. They arrive at the Almaty airport and learn that the earliest flight is leaving at 6:05 the next morning on Air Astana. Unless the Frat Boys arrived at the Pit Stop even later than I thought, it sounds like another full bunch coming up, which must always be so frustrating for the team that won the previous Fast Forward like Nick and Starr did.
Toni and Dallas are leaving the Pit Stop in second place at 10:47, and mention that the cash allowance for this leg is $175. He lowballs a 2,000-tenge fare (about $16.50) for a taxi to the airport, in which he worries about how much harder it's going to be to communicate with people in Moscow. Because there are fewer English-speakers there than in Kazakhstan? Dallas interviews that he wants a number-one finish for his mom, the number-one person in his life. "I'll do anything it takes to win this race for her." Yes, winning a leg or two might actually help with that.