Abbie and Ryan arrived at the challenge refreshed and ready to move on from their harrowing last leg. "The taste of victory now is getting closer to being in our mouth," Ryan said in what was possibly the most bizarrely and grossly worded sentence of the night. But Ryan's confidence soon dissipated as he attempted round after round of quiz and got only nyets. Listen, I'm horribly dumb at anything math-related so I'm not really one to talk, but if you found you were getting an extremely simple math problem wrong over and over, like twenty-something times in a row, might you stop to reconsider things? Like, maybe it's not as straightforward as it seems? I know, I know, the stress of the race. And Ryan even said it: his brain had folded in on itself and he just couldn't extricate from the loop. Frankly, I loved watching his tailspin. The more frustrated he got, the more my weirdly latent Ryan-attraction intensified; the more he melted down, the more irresistible I found him. Especially when he said things like how he "thought there was a glitch in the matrix," and "the file is corrupt." Exasperation + anxious cockiness + eventual self-deprecating-ness, which is not a word but who cares = a good look for Ryan. "I'm so stupid!" he moaned over and over when he finally saw the error of his ways - and I liked the way the professor's amused expression suddenly snapped back into a surly grimace so he could bellow "NYEXT ROUND!"
The professor's "I'M RYEALLY SORRY.... BUT YOU WIN" to Ryan was particularly gratifying. And that great hug! I thought Ryan was going to smash that prof into smithereens.
Meanwhile, the Beekmans had finished their penalty and got to racing and, as it turns out, Dr. Brent is in the zone, that's whom! I loved his front-row sitting, teachers pet ways - as well as the way he beamed and shook hands with the professor afterward, proudly declaring "I've always been a straight-A student."
By the way, is the deal with penalties that teams must sit at the Pit Stop and wait it out while doing literally nothing? As if they're kids enduring a time out? Thirty minutes is one thing, but four hours seems like a terribly long time to sit outside next to your pack while just staring glumly straight ahead. I'm curious whether they're allowed to use the down time to have a snack or read or even just put their feet up for a few?
Next came the detour and the options were "Movers" or "Shakers." Movers would require teams to learn a Russian soldier dance. Shakers would challenge teams to identify seven Russian historic leaders -- or impersonators thereof -- who'd be milling around an elegant cocktail party scene as part of a scary/wonderful alternate universe, and man, I'm so happy a team chose this challenge.
But first: we've got some little dancers on our hands! This crop of teams is particularly dance-savvy. One team's got a cheerleader. Another, a dance instructor. Another, two Chippendales performers. Not to mention a Jiu-Jitsu practitioner and a football player. This is a physically adept group, and it showed at this challenge. I loved every minute of this dance break, especially for the way the incredible Russian dancers sometimes continued their routines even when our Racers were performing, making the whole room look like a scene from a Broadway show.
NEXT: The Beekmans impress, fraternize with dead people