Amazing Race

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That Is Studly

Inside the monastery, several monks are singing a hymn in beautiful harmony. Outside, by contrast, the first two teams (Toni|Dallas and Nick|Starr) are arriving in a rush. The ladies are required to cover their hair with provided babushkas before entering, so Starr does so as she and Nick enter in the lead, with Toni|Dallas close behind them. As they quietly and carefully light the long matches that they'll need to ignite the candles, Toni VOs about how this is a church, and "there's a certain reverence and respect that you need to pay to that...You offer it the respect it deserves." And with that said and their candles lit, a dignified and silent priest in full vestments hands each team a big yellow envelope. Sometimes the jokes just write themselves.

Now, as Phil says, they're off to Kolosok Camp, a decommissioned military base. Which doesn't explain why the introductory shots of the place show it teeming with uniformed soldiers marching around. Maybe those guys are decommissioned too. Anyway, the next clue is waiting there for them. Nick and Starr pile into a cab driven by a dude who looks like a member of the Russian mafia -- wire-rimmed glasses, balding head, cigarette, and a natty double-breasted camel hair suit jacket. Toni|Dallas are not far behind, but their driver isn't nearly as overdressed.

The Frat Boys and Ken|Tina are both happy to see their drivers return to their respective cabs, seemingly confident that now they know where they're going. And Toni|Dallas are complaining about the taxi fares here -- a hundred dollars from the airport to the monastery, apparently, and another hundred dollars for their current trip. And Nick and Starr are having further language troubles with a driver who can't seem to even understand where they want to go. "This is so frustrating," Starr says. And, she's just getting started.

The Frat Boys arrive at the monastery next, and hymn practice seems to be over as they light their candles and receive their clue. While leaving, they pass Ken and Tina on their way in. With both teams duly clued, they get back in their cabs and head for the base.

Dallas and Toni arrive at the military base first and quickly spot the clue box standing out in a field, in front of a big army truck for added contrast. The envelope contains a Detour. Cut to Phil, with soldiers in fatigues scurrying past him in the background as he says the two choices will "entrench them in Russia's strong military tradition." The choice is "Boots" or "Borscht." For both of them -- both of them, mind you -- the teams have to change into Russian uniforms, including the cloth foot wraps that they apparently have to wear instead of socks. Then, for "Boots," they need to join a drill team to march a lap of the parade grounds, using a formal march that requires exaggerated, straight-legged steps. In "Borscht," they serve -- you guessed it -- borscht to 75 Russian soldiers, who are waiting patiently in front of empty bowls at a long table. Both of these seem easy enough, right? For most of the teams, it will be.

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Amazing Race

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