The Amazing Race recap: Russian Around

A cliffhanger episode leaves unfinished business and questions
Ep. 07 | Aired Nov 11, 2012

DARK HORSE? No one seems too threatened by Team Texas, but maybe they should be.

Cliff Lipson/CBS

I also enjoyed Abbie's "crazy eyes" non-acknowledgement of Team Texas; it was a great middle school moment. But I have to say I think Abbie and Ryan are playing it wrong here. They're wary of the Twins' alliance with Team Texas because they suspect it'll lead to them being bit in the ass later, and they're right to brace for that. So instead of snubbing Texas, I think Abbie-Ryan should try to woo them. Sure, A-n-R have big ole targets on their backs that won't go away no matter how they play things, but it definitely doesn't help matters to alienate Lexi and Trey further. Get on Texas' good side as much as possible, I say. Buy Lexi some red beans and rice or something. Whatever it takes. I've been watching a ton of Homeland recently so spy tactics and manipulation is where my head's at.

Tonight there were no specific instructions for booking airline tickets, so teams were left to their own devices and everyone thought they were geniuses for booking the flights they booked. Here's how it went:

The Chips and Rockers, who flew via Amsterdam, arrived in Moscow first. Teams Twins and Texas (Twinnies got the private double date they wanted!) flew through Munich and arrived a couple hours later. All four of these teams ended up equalizing at the sculpture museum in Moscow, the site of the first clue and the site of MORE SCARY CLOWNS.

The Beekmans and Abbie-Ryan, however, missed their connection in Frankfurt due to a delay on their first flight and arrived at an eerily empty airport where the only sign of life seemed to be a lone janitor on the night shift. Though this development had been previewed last week, it was still shocking to see it unfold since it could turn out to be a game-changer, and, like many a game-changer on TAR, it wouldn't be because of any Racer error. Well, kind of. An hour layover is risky. There wasn't much for these two teams to do the rest of the leg but sit and digest this bummer of fate and wait for their new flights.

Meanwhile, in Moscow, teams breezed through a few easy clue pick-ups, then got to the Detour where their choices were Synchronize or Alphabetize. In "Synchronize," teams would have to (get to?) wear flowered bathing caps and perform a routine in the pool with a bunch of Russian superstar synchronized swimmers. To music. Can a person even hear music under water? Were our Racers wearing TAR-issued swimsuits? This challenge clearly brought up several distracting, burning questions for me. And the whole thing was just a fantastic and a delicious spectacle. My mom used to teach me synchronized swimming moves and it's deceptively hard and crazy-making.

"Alphabetize" seemed like an equally hard challenge, but ten times more boring -- and twenty times more boring to watch on TV. I thought it was a great challenge, just not as fun to watch. Teams would have to visit the Russian State Library, choose four books from a list (typed using the Cyrillic alphabet, obvi), find the corresponding cards amongst the ancient, dusty-looking catalog drawers, and then finally locate the books themselves in the stacks. My eyelids are getting heavy just writing about it. Thank goodness we only had to watch one team shuffle through this dreary piece of television.

NEXT: "English is very hard... without English."

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