'The Amazing Race' Leg 8: Russia, Part два
Still in Moscow, one team can't make up its calamitous finish to last week's leg
By Diane Vadino Nov 18, 2012 10:42PM
Previously: Three of the remaining six teams limped their way toward—not over—the finish line.
We pick up where we left off last week: With James and Abba majorly impeded by their lack of documents, and Josh and Brent still learning to swim. We begin with the rockers, who face Phil without Abba's passport—lost to the worst cabbie in Russia. "You need to produce the passports," Phil says at the mat. "But you're not the last team to arrive." Abba tries to stay upbeat: "We got a shot," he says. "Somehow, the hand of God...." Presumably, they're forbidden from making emergency requests to the embassy when they're supposed to be at the Pitstop Hotel, so off they limp.
Photos: Meet the teams
We next travel to the swimming pool of doom. It's dark outside, and the pool is closing. Last week's happily sadistic judge is back, and she warns Josh and Brent that they have one more chance—or it's do svidanya for good. They get in the water, Brent does that weird half-jump thing he does when he's supposed to dive, and the whistle blows—they're out, again. "I'm sorry, no," the judge says. "Each time we did slightly better," Brent says, in the sense that if you start in Moscow and put one foot in front of the other long enough, you'll eventually end up in China. They're assessed a four-hour penalty. You get the sense that if they'd had any idea that was available from the beginning, they would have jumped at the chance. Abbie and Ryan have the benefit of having been good people (by waiting for them) and good racers (by getting a four-hour lead over them). "There's no reason for them not to work with us; they're safe no matter what," Brent says. They head to the lock challenge from last week, which Josh figures out more or less immediately. Abbie, who seemed on the verge of tears just from lack of sleep, is ready to give up when Josh gives her a hug and shows her how to do it. There's a lot of good-natured racing in this episode, and this is just the first instance of it. The two teams check in together, and they're both completely freaked out to discover that they're both still in the game. "There is still a team out there struggling on the course," Phil says, to the two couples' extreme amazement.
Speaking of, James and Abba limp into the Pitstop. They're still a passport short. They're the last team to arrive, Phil tells them, but it's a non-elimination leg—and they're in the race until they need to present their passports. James: "You're telling us we still have another shot." Each of the three trailing teams in this leg looks like it can barely understand English at this point. "I'm telling you your race is not over ’til it's over," Phil says. "Until you need a passport to produce."
The next morning, Trey and Lexie, looking totally rested, are the first team to head to the challenge, at the Moscow Agricultural Academy. Right behind them are Jaymes and James, who ultimately pass the Texans thanks to better luck with their taxi driver. Doors at the school don't open until 8, so Lexie and Jaymes walk in to it together: With a map illustrating the various time zones across the width of Russia, they have to figure out what time it is in five different cities, knowing only the current time in Moscow. Moscow's time is designated as +4 UTC—information that's only relevant in relation to the other time zones, which are listed as, for example, +6 UTC. Thus, they need to add two to get the correct time for that zone to the given time in Moscow, not six—a simple error that's even simpler to make when you're zonked. They make that mistake, over and over, each test punctuated by a "teacher" yelling "Pencils down!" They hear a lot of "Pencils down," until Lexie figures it out and shares the key with Jaymes. "I'm really sorry ... but you win!" the teacher says. This guy has to be a Russian reality TV host.
As Natalie and Nadiya head for the time zone Detour, the two leading teams go for the Roadblock: Movers or Shakers. For Movers, teams have to mimic the dance-floor routines of a Russian soldier; for Shakers, teams have to identify seven figures from Russian history, including Catherine the Great. We're guessing they had some sort of key, because we're thinking the percentage of Americans who can identify Leonid Brezhnev by sight is low, even for "straight-A student" Brent. In any case, the leaders both opt for Movers, a task that is only complicated by James's injured ankle. He's a trooper, though: Even when he's covered in so much sweat that he looks like he just stepped out of a Russian bath, he holds it together long enough to kick and coffee-grinder his way to the Pitstop. The Chippendales even stop on the way to their first-place finish to be sure that Lexie and Trey had a cab arranged as well. The longer they're on the show, the more adorable the Dales get. For the record, Jaymes looks incredibly hot as a Russian soldier.
At the back of the pack, Brent and Josh wait out their penalty while James and Abba scour the ground for their missing passport, making an entreaty to the American embassy that doesn't seem to go anywhere and then traveling to the "Moscow police station." "Our goal today is to get a passport," Abba says.
Meanwhile, the twins use their Express Pass to skip the time-zone test, and only encounter one small problem on the way to the Pitstop: ripping a pair of Russian army pants while dancing. They're third. Fourth was always going to go to Abbie and Ryan, but their trip is complicated by Ryan's total brain freeze on the time-zone test. "I feel like he's overthinking it," Abbie says charitably—she clearly knows what he's doing wrong but is prevented by the rules from clueing him in. Ryan, for his part, is convinced that he's not the problem—the map is. "It got so frustrating that i thought there was a glitch in the matrix," he says. He stomps up to the map, gesticulating angrily. "Try to relax—I'm on your side," the teacher says. Then he gets it: "Oooh," he says. "Oooh. Oooh." Then he says "I'm so stupid" three times. On test #26, he passes. Four hours behind them, Brent gets it on the first crack. "You're a very smart man," the teacher says. Abbie and Ryan go for Movers, the Beekman boys go for Shakers, and they're teams four and five at the Pitstop.
It would have taken a miracle for James and Abba to handle the tasks, their last-place finish, the Speed Bump, and their passport problem—and miracles are in too-short supply today. The Speed Bump seems to involve them riding in the back of a limo with a priest—maybe something they remember from their rock 'n' roll days. "The fates had a different plan for us," says James. Technically, it's their last-place finish, not the passport, that takes them out, but they've been dead men walking ever since that horrible cab driver drove away with their stuff. They ran an excellent race throughout, and it's sad to see them go for one careless error.
"Unfinished Business 2," anyone?
"The Amazing Race" airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.