Sunday, November 7, 2010 – Seven teams remain in The Amazing Race, since Episode 6 ended as a non-elimination leg. Jill and Thomas, who arrived at the pit stop first last week, leave St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia, first, and head to Avtovo Circus for their next clue. Brooke and Claire are excited to be “joining the circus” and all the teams are glad to close the gap, as the circus is closed when they arrive. They watch through the gate and applaud clowns and performers as they practice and goof off. Once through, the clue turns out to be a Detour, where the teams must choose between Circus Bands or Circus Clowns. As the teams submit to large, red noses being affixed to their faces, they seriously debate the merits of each choice.
Brooke and Claire, Michael and Kevin, Chad and Stephanie, and Nick and Vicki choose Circus Clowns and step in to a lively ring full of activity. Each team must get ten plates spinning simultaneously to receive their next clue. T’aint easy, and Chad begins berating Stephanie almost immediately. Kevin groans that they get up to nine plates going and then it falls apart. Nick relates having to sleep in a “clown room” at his Grandma’s house, rendering him afraid of clowns ever since, but he manfully begins spinning plates anyway, and he and Vicki are able to complete the task.
Nat and Kat choose Circus Bands and discover they must learn a complicated, three-part Russian folk song on an accordion and play it correctly. Although the red nose was too big and kept falling off, Kat says their “nerd sides” came out anyway, and they figured out a code that they wrote on their fingers, just like “painting by numbers with accordions,” enabling them to learn the song correctly. Mallory helped Gary learn it because she is musical and was able to get the tune fixed in her head quickly.
Meanwhile, back in the tent, with clowns mocking and “bears” running around, Brooke insists that if they just focus they will be fine. She and Brooke are the first to successfully spin their plates, so I guess she had a point. As they hugged clowns, Claire said they spun plates in their spare time. Yes, Brooke laughed, it’s second nature to us. Chad decided he wasn’t “gentle” enough to spin plates, and besides, “it’s stupid,” so they switch to accordions. They figure out a system and manage to play correctly. Everyone solemnly playing accordions with their big, red noses on was really amusing to watch.
Thomas decides he and Jill are never going to be able to spin the plates, and insists they switch to accordion. But after a while, he decides they are never going to be able to play accordion and insists they switch back to plate spinning. They are the last team there, which somehow motivates them and they are finally able to spin the plates.
The next clue directs the teams to find a canal guarded by four creatures, saying they are going to have to solve a Russian mystery. Most of the taxi drivers know that this is Bank Bridge, guarded by four golden statues, but the next clue continues the mystery. They must make their way on foot to a building marked 1 Vladimirsky Prospect, climb by twos to the tower and find where they are to go next.
When they arrive, each immediately notice the binoculars and each pair, consisting of a team member from two different teams, look intently at the St. Petersburg skyline, trying to find clues on buildings. Finally one of them notices the small figurine of a church sitting on a ledge, feels stupid, finds the large Church on Spilled Blood that it represents and climbs down to collect their other team members and run off to find it. When Nick comes down, he tells Kevin hokey information, and Kevin is sure Nick would never lie to them, “because he’s awesome!” Kevin does end up finding the correct clue, but seems flustered by Nick’s subterfuge, and misses important information on the clue card. He and his dad take a cab to the church.
Brooke and Claire make the same mistake, but on the ride over, they catch it, have the cab driver turn around, and then walk, saving themselves a penalty later. On the walk, Brooke kisses a delighted Russian man on the street who gave them some information on their clue. Chad lets Stephanie go up to the tower, saying he’s trying to let her do things without second guessing her. Unfortunately, she can’t find the clue and comes down, making him go up and find it. When he does, he gloats a bit, to her dismay.
The next clue on the Amazing Race directs them to find Peter the Great’s tomb, which they eventually discover is at Peter and Paul’s Fortress. Once there the teams find a Roadblock, which only one can do. That member must play a Russian version of bowling, called Gorodoki. There are three configurations of rods that must be knocked completely off a mat by throwing a bat at them. Kat did splendidly, allowing the doctors to enter the fort and find the bastion with Phil on it, indicating the pit stop. Nat and Kat arrived first, each winning $5,000.
Brooke does well, and so does Nick, so Brooke and Claire come in second place, and Nick and Vicki arrive at the pit stop in third, not having had to complete a Speed Bump for coming in last the week before. Gary and Mallory come in fourth after Gary has no trouble winning Gorodoki. Stephanie is trying, and at first Chad is encouraging, but soon reverts to his old self.
Jill and Thomas have an altercation with the taxi driver when they go to get their bags, because they don’t have enough Russian money to pay him. Finally Thomas throws him $60 American, and run off to check in at the pit stop in position five. Michael has a terrible time at first with the game, but then does the second and third round quickly, but he and Kevin likewise have trouble with the taxi driver. After giving him all they can scrape up, they hurry off to the pit stop, but Chad and Stephanie beat them there.
However, Chad and Stephanie didn’t pay their cab driver and get their bags, so they have to do that before they can check in, and while they run off to do that, Michael and Kevin arrive. Kevin was sure they’ve done poorly because his dad did so badly at Gorodoki. But as it turns out, they have two thirty-minute penalties – one for allowing a taxi to lead them to Vladimirsky Prospect, and the other for riding in a taxi against the clue directions. As they sit down to wait it out, Michael ever so gently reminds Kevin that it is because he, Kevin, did not read the clue that they will be last.
Finally, Chad and Stephanie come back, only to find that they themselves, who also took a taxi, have a thirty minute penalty. However, since Michael and Kevin’s will end later then theirs, Chad and Stephanie are team number six and Michael and Kevin are officially the last team to arrive.
Stephanie thinks Chad was so much more supportive this time, bless her heart. Michael and Kevin are eliminated from the Amazing Race, and the father and son reflect on the Amazing Race they’ve been on. Kevin says his father, Michael, has always been his role model. Michael says he’d gotten to know his son a lot better on the Amazing Race and that it has pulled them together again after they’d drifted apart.
Tune in next week when the Amazing Race teams go to Oman!
The Amazing Race on CBS
Strangelove, Russian Gorodki