The Amazing Race 17 episode six ranking

Sixth episode

“Babushka Blind Dates and Production Follies”



Previously on TAR: Eight teams raced across the border from Sweden to Norway. A breath-taking gondola ride was Nat’s worst nightmare. But when the doctors tried for the Fast Forward, it was Kat’s turn to face her fears.

Claire struggled at the Roadblock, but found the strength to persevere. In the end, Nat & Kat won their second leg in a row.

And volleyball partners Katie & Rachel came in last.

st petersburg katie rachel

“That really sucks.”

st petersburg katie connor jonathan

And as an additional punishment, they must spend the next two weeks living at the same resort as Connor & Jonathan. *shudder*

Seven teams remain; who will be humiliated in this blog. . .next?



– Intro time.

– Phil introduces us to Narvik–it’s on the western coast of Norway. A quiet seaside town that was settled during the Stone Age. The Ankenas Marina was a port where the Norwegian military helped the British defeat the German navy during World War II.

nordic military

Classic black-and-white war footage that TAR likes to bust out of the archives every once in a while.

nordic military 2

Nordic military got skills.

GERMANY: Dammit. We lost.
ENGLAND: Ha! We defeated the Germans! All through some hard work and endurance.
NORWAY: And I helped.

– Nat & Kat, who were the first to arrive at an unspecified time, will depart at 8:26pm.

st petersburg nat kat

It is still light out? Considering Nat & Kat departed at 6:00am during the previous round when it was cloudy, it makes you think how long it takes for it to get dark in the Arctic.

– Nat reads in her best Vanna White voice that they are heading to St. Petersburg First, teams must drive by car to the train station. Then they will take a train to the airport. After that they will fly 1, 200 miles to St. Petersburg, Russia.

marshall airport

Yes. This is the city Marshall & Lance described as being home to “the most miserable people on the planet”. Russian literature definitely reflects the attitudes of Russian culture, evidently.

When they land, they must make their way to Vasilievsky Island and find the Rostral Columns to receive their next clue. It is a monument to the largest rivers in Russia.

freddy fail

“I’m glad we’re leaving Norway. I think what the locals do there for the past one thousand years is one gigantic waste of time.”

st petersburg plane

Teams will be using SAS Airlines. Does that mean only Brook & Claire will be allowed on the flight?

st petersburg rostral columns

Why are there a bunch of cow udders coming out of the columns?

st petersburg rostral columns 2

At least no one has to fear that the rivers will suffer from Osteoporosis.

– Nat comments how late it is yet it is still light outside.

NAT: It’s amazing!

st petersburg nat kat 2

I think TAR 23 will shatter this record. Heck, the summer solstice means it is light out until ten o’ clock at night in most places. I am not impressed by Narvik’s extensive daylight yet.

adam sunglasses

At least it is light enough for Rebecca to help Adam find his sunglasses in the middle of Norway before he throws himself onto the train tracks.

Yes, ten years later and Adam -still- wants his sunglasses in the boat. It is all Rebecca’s fault.

– Nat discusses how her and Kat work in the male-dominated environment of the operating room.

NAT: We’re used to playing with boys, and we’re used to beating them.

st petersburg nat kat 3

Am I the only one concerned that two anaesthesiologists view emergency procedures as a competition with their co-workers? A patient’s life ain’t no game, Nat & Kat.

NAT: We think our MoJo is going to lead us to being the first female-female team to win this race.

Their MoJo?

mojo 1

You’re telling me that Joseph & Monica, Team MoJo, from Amazing Race 9 are crammed into their backpacks as we speak as they help Nat & Kat win the race in a Kazooie-like manner?

– Nat & Kat are at the train station.

st petersburg sign

And it’s closed until six o’ clock. This is the equalizer Katie & Rachel were begging for in the previous round.

– Nat & Kat knock on the door, and surprisingly someone answers.

st petersburg conehead

Hey, it’s a real life conehead! Awesome.

– Mr. Conehead shows Nat & Kat the train schedule. The next train will not depart until 10:26am.

st petersburg nat kat 4

Nat holding onto her Finnish toque with pride. I wonder how smelly it must be after three rounds?

– Kat concludes that all teams will be on the same train. Unless somebody pulls a Sunaina & Dimple and drive ten hours in the wrong direction, of course.

– TAR does not bother with showing the other teams departing, and we skip ahead.
st petersburg train


al pacino insomnia

No wonder the movie Insomnia was set in the Arctic.

– Surprisingly, this is the first train of the season. Mallory states she has never been on a train before.

st petersburg mallory ervin

Is that because the state of Kentucky still uses horse and buggy?

And what’s with the purple bandana? Wasn’t their official racing outfit supposed to be yellow bandanas with red jackets?

– Teams are on a train to Stockholm. Vicki is confused which train they are supposed to be on.

NICK: It’s this one right here.

st petersburg nick vicki

I like how Vicki is disoriented to the point that she is looking -away- from the trains to see where they need to be, and ignores that there is a big blue card in the window that says “STOCKHOLM”.

You know you are not observant when Nick figures where the train is before you do.

– Jill & Thomas are on the train.

JILL: Have you ever slept on one of these?
THOMAS: Yeah. Of course.

st petersburg jill thomas

“C’mon now? Which upper class citizen hasn’t had the privilege of riding on a train? Didn’t they teach you that at college, Jill? Iron Horsing Around 203. Get with the program, Jill.”

– Michael makes an observation without much context.

st petersburg michael wu

How long is the train ride? Twenty minutes? An hour? Two hours? Ten hours? One of those Thai trains in TAR 1 or 2 that are 24-36 hours? We have very little information if this is a fact that is supposed to shock us.

Because Michael is the oldest contestant remaining in the race, the edit is supposed to supply us with the implied information that this is a lengthy overnight train ride.

– KevJumba points out the train will not be so bad because they have beds.

st petersburg kevjumba michael wu

Too bad Nick & Vicki will never notice them. They will be sitting upright the whole time.

– Slow adventure music plays as the train ride begins.

st petersburg conductor

If you pan to the right, you will see Kareem Abdul-Jabaar as the Co-Conductor for this train.

st petersburg train 2

This is what it looks like going through Alberta on a train during late August.

– Mallory earns the confessional to talk about how awesome it is to spend this time with her dad.

MALLORY: It’s one of the most beautiful train rides in the world.

st petersburg gary mallory ervin

How the F–K can you say that?! It’s the first f–king train you have been on in your life!

Therefore, it is also the least beautiful train ride in the world.

– Mallory loves to take a look around whenever the race slows down. Of course, this meaningful bonding experience occurs less and less on TAR due to the filming schedule shrinking from 39 days down to 20 days.

– The train enters a tunnel.

st petersburg train 3

It’s like somebody hung dozens of blinds in between the wooden poles along the sides.

– We cut to Nat & Kat and Brook & Claire having some fun.

st petersburg brook nat

Brook and Nat throw a sock from the top bunk down to Claire.

st petersburg claire champlin


st petersburg claire champlin 2

st petersburg claire champlin 3

Like an unwanted Boston Red Sox home run at Yankee Stadium, Claire throws the sock back to where it came from.

st petersburg kat chang

Kat is amused that she is left out of the sock drama. If it were Russell Hantz, that sock would be burned by now.

st petersburg kat chang 2

Ha ha! Just when you least expect it, the smelly sock reigns down upon you!

– Claire is embarrassed. She doesn’t want to know how bad her shoes stink.

– Now we get an odd segment where the four of them take turns smelling each other’s socks.

st petersburg nat strand

st petersburg brook roberts

What the hell is this? This is the worst feminine slumber party I have ever witnessed in my life.

What happened to pillow fights, talking about which boys are way cutest, playing the card game Dirty Minds, or comparing each other’s bodies to see whose butt is bigger? (Okay, I only saw that in an episode of Veronica Mars. Whether that is actually a thing in the real world remains a mystery.)

But no. Not for these four. Their idea of a fun slumber party is to smell each other’s socks after prolonged physical activity in a less-than-hygienic environment?

sarah hanlon 3

Why, Sarah’s socks from Big Brother Canada 3 smell better than theirs.

– Nat says it was her favourite day on the race thus far because she loves hanging out with people as positive as Brook & Claire.

st petersburg nat kat 5

“You sure about that, Nat? We spent twenty-four hours smelling each other’s socks.”

– Brook asks if anyone has smelled Kat’s shoes.

st petersburg nat strand 2

I have.

– Claire is assigned the task to sniff Kat’s shoes.

KAT: Mine are pretty bad. Not gonna lie.

st petersburg kat chang 3

“I am not responsible if Claire faints and is medically evacuated from the race.”

– Claire smells the first shoe.

st petersburg claire champlin 4

CLAIRE: These aren’t that bad.

– Now for the second shoe.

st petersburg claire champlin 5

The verdict. . .

st petersburg claire champlin 6

And with that. . .Nat & Kat are the last all-female team left in the race!

– Claire has the strongest “Awwwww!” grunt I have heard, and develops a terrible hacking cough.

st petersburg kat chang 4

KAT: Who’s the winner!

Nat & Kat may not end up being the first all-female team to win The Amazing Race, but they will be the first all-female team to win The Smelliest Shoes on a season of The Amazing Race.

– The scene finally concludes with one last joke.

CLAIRE: Brook, you have to sleep in the boys room.
BROOK: Noooooo.
(Camera cuts to a snoring Thomas. It sounds like a herd of cattle.)

st petersburg thomas wolfard

He dreams of apple fields and Express Passes, I bet.


You would think at the very least that Nat & Kat and Brook & Claire would fit in the time to play Dream Phone during the 24 hour train ride. I mean, did they voluntarily choose to sniff socks and shoes for the duration of the ride?

dreamphone 2

Just don’t play the game with Bad Luck Bootsy. It can get a bit heated.

Here you can watch three adults playing Dream Phone.

And the song produced for it.


– So the train arrives in Stockholm. The classic showdown soundtrack commences, and we all know this shall be a scramble for taxis.

– Nat & Kat are first into a cab. Kat informs the driver that they are racing against the other teams. Suddenly we hear the tires screech.

st petersburg nat kat 6

Hmmm. . .

st petersburg taxi

The driver loves Furious 7 just a bit too much!

– Nick & Vicki are second into a cab.

st petersburg nick vicki 2

No need for the “Currently in 2nd place” subtitle at the bottom of the screen.

st petersburg nick vicki 3

Nick Decarlo: Ready to poke them bastard’s eyes out of the competition.

– Chad & Stephanie try to hire a cab, but it is the one Nick & Vicki are already in. Jill & Thomas third into a cab. Brook & Claire fourth. The Jumbas in fifth. Chad & Stephanie are pissed. Stephanie suggests they walk to the intersection (no, not the failed TAR 10-11-16 twist).

CHAD: That’s why we need to get out earlier Stephanie. The last ones to get in a cab.
STEPHANIE: I was ready to go.
CHAD: No you weren’t.
CHAD: Every girl was ready before you.
CHAD: She didn’t even–
STEPHANIE: YES I MOST CERTAINLY WAS! You’re right. It’s all my fault. Everything’s always my fault.

If Chad was crafty, he would record Stephanie’s last sentence and replay it for her in every single argument in the future.

st petersburg chad waltrip

One opportunity wasted.

st petersburg chad stephanie

Gotta love newly dating couples.

st petersburg gary mallory ervin 2

Oh. By the way, Gary & Mallory are not in a taxi either. So Chad & Stephanie are not in last like they assumed they were. Not like it MATTORs to them at the moment.

– Gary & Mallory and Chad & Stephanie attempt to hail the same taxi. The father-daughter team make it in, and are currently sixth.

st petersburg chad waltrip 2

Those eyebrows. It’s like he is ready to scratch the next racer he sees with his claws.

– Chad & Stephanie eventually pile into a taxi. I have not heard Chad be this miserable yet.

CHAD (mumbling and grumpy): Here we are. Last again.
STEPHANIE: Don’t be pissed because we got the last taxi and you’re going to blame it on me.

st petersburg chad stephanie 2

Chad looks like he is reacting to Stephanie packing him leftovers for his school lunch.

“Cold spaghetti pasta noodles? You made this three days ago, Stephanie!”

– Stephanie continues to rant about Chad’s assignment of blame.

STEPHANIE: I think that’s just real shady, you know.
CHAD (as if correcting her): Shady.
(STEPHANIE scoffs.)

st petersburg chad stephanie 3

Is saying ‘shady’ their way of bypassing the FCC censors when they truly mean ‘sh–ty’?

st petersburg chad stephanie 4

Judging by the way Stephanie chuckles, I think so.

– Nat & Kat purchase tickets for the flight to St. Petersburg. Brook says everyone is on the same flight.

BROOK: All of the teams are on this flight. I don’t think anyone else got on any earlier flights because there were none.

st petersburg brook claire

Sound logic. Well, presuming Brook is omniscient when it comes to available flights within Stockholm’s international airport.

BROOK: So we’re all even steven again. Game on.

even steven

Good ol’ Shia LeBeouf.

– Chad & Stephanie are shown standing awkwardly in the airport. Silent. Chad elaborates upon the tension between them. He admits he was frustrated being in last again.

st petersburg chad stephanie 5

Love is in the air.

STEPHANIE: Chad. Whenever he’s frustrated it’s always Steph’s fault. If he feels like that, we have a really long road ahead of us.

st petersburg chad stephanie 5

I don’t think Stephanie has unfolded her arms since they exited the cab.

jane krakowski

If they get divorced after marriage, Chad better be prepared to give up one million dollars for each year that they are married!

– The plane takes off and suddenly we land in St. Petersburg. The music is surprisingly upbeat.

st petersburg horse

Ah! A TAR 5 route marker! If you travel two miles east, you will see where Marshall injured his knee.

– Teams scramble out of the airport, and we see our first truly Russian sign.

st petersburg sign 2

Yeah. English and Russian do not mix. Zero correlation.

st petersburg nick decarlo

I don’t know why, but Nick fixing his bandana during a sprint for taxis is amusing to me.

– Brook & Claire are first into a cab. Brook uses this as an excuse to sing. Probably because she feels it is necessary to fill Connor & Jonathan’s absence.

BROOK: We’re in Rrrrussia! We’re rushing through traffic!

st petersburg brook claire 2

Claire prefers to plug her ears during moments like these.

– Jumbas are also in a taxi. Michael gives Kevin a lecture on St. Petersburg.

st petersburg kevjumba michael wu 2

st petersburg kevjumba michael wu 3

st petersburg kevjumba michael wu 4

I love how Michael barely gets five seconds into his lesson of Russian history before he acknowledges the fact that Kev is not paying attention.

KEVJUMBA: All I’m worried about is the next clue box.

Solid plan.

– Chad comments on the buildings.

st petersburg building

Chad may adopt a building from St. Petersburg rather than a child from Ghana after this trip. Baby Hermitage.

GARY: Look at that! Like a postcard!

st petersburg gary mallory ervin 3

Gary is wise beyond his years, but Mallory being taught that the USSR is the source of evil prevents her from enjoying the sights.

How outdated are the textbooks in North America? Has funding really been cut that much in US and Canada? The Cold War ended nearly twenty years before this season was filmed! They’re not even called the USSR anymore.

st petersburg jill thomas 2

THOMAS: They call this the Venice of the North (isn’t Venice already north?).

Even Jill’s limited education is not enough to prevent her from appreciating the artistic beauty of what the city has to offer.

Now we get to Nick & Vicki observing the landscape. You know this is going to be good, right?

st petersburg nick vicki 4

Okay Nick. Go ahead and tell us what you think.

st petersburg nick vicki 5

Such a romantic description. Close it out for us, Vicki.

st petersburg nick vicki 6

brenchel 3

“Buildings aren’t the only thing that get blown in Vegas!”

– Nat & Kat create alter egos for this leg of the race.

KAT: Natasha and. . .Katya!

You know what’s odd? I have a friend named Natasha who was nicknamed Nat.

It’s like that friend of hers missed out on the memo that Nat is supposed to be short for Natalie.

Meanwhile all other Natashas including my sister have the nickname Tasha/Tash.

st petersburg nat kat 7

I do think Katya is a pretty sweet nickname. In fact, I would lie to people and say Kat is short for Katya. It’s not like they will be demanding for your birth certificate or anything.

Just like how nobody asks for my birth certificate when I say my middle name is Supacoowacky. I mean, they do have doubts, but with enough convincing they will genuinely believe it.

– We get additional close-ups of various Russian monuments.

st petersburg statue

This is not the guy I expected to be hired to defend the Utter Columns. He has time to work on his six pack abs and his pecs, but yet not enough time to trim that beard. Get a haircut you hippie!!!!

– Brook & Claire are first to the Detour. Classical Music or Classical Cinema?

st petersburg brook claire 3

But first, Brook completes in Russia’s 110 metre hurdles!

– Phil says many of Russia’s greatest composers and filmmakers made their home in St. Petersburg. Honouring this great heritage, teams must choose between two things synonymous with this city.

st petersburg piano

Look how much she is into playing the piano! Has she been playing In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida this whole time?


Somebody give her fingers a rest!

st petersburg film

I like how the old school projectors have giant binoculars mounted on top.

– In Classical Music, teams make their way to a historic palace and find the maestro with three gramophones, and listen to three compositions being played.

st petersburg detour

I bet you during his days at the conservatory school that the bullies would pick him up and use a gramophone to do swirlies. I am surprised more people do not attempt to shove their head into gramophone, personally.

– Once they have listened to the three compositions, they must enter the ballrooms and match the three pianists to the three compositions being played.

st petersburg piano 2

I really wish some of these pianists would be playing such classics as Warren G’s Regulate.


– Let’s check out the first song.

st petersburg gramophone

Well, it ain’t no Miley, but hey, what else would you expect from the pianist who looks like famous actor Zeljko Ivanek?

Our second club banger?

st petersburg gramophone 2

A song called Rimsky? Is that a classical basketball anthem?

Love the mushroom haircut. So 90s. Very interesting hairstyle.
logan meme

Although I of all people probably shouldn’t be commenting on somebody else’s hair. What was I thinking?

st petersburg gramophone 3

BO-RING! All three tracks are terrible.

There’s also a fourth composition cut out of the episode. Care to see it?

st petersburg peanuts

How did they leave this out?! It’s the best one by far.

– When they think they have matched the composition, they must take the sheet music and put it into the provided folder, and assign it to the correct numbered slot.

st petersburg music

I would find it easier to read Russian than to read sheet music, personally.

st petersburg music 2

Don’t lose that folder, Nieman.

– If teams match all three compositions correctly, the maestro will give them their next clue.

st petersburg maestro

And you MUST call him maestro if you want to have any chance of receiving your next clue.

– In Classical Cinema, teams make their way to this legendary film studio. It was the very first place a movie was screened in Russia.

It was Caddyshack, of course. Fun fact.

st petersburg phil keoghan

Is Phil disrupting his explanation to take a selfie?

– They must search through hundreds of film clips and find any that matches the film being played on screen.

st petersburg footage

The rest is all discarded footage from the first season of The Amazing Race.

– When teams find a film clip from Sergey Eisenstein’s classic film October, they will receive their next clue.

st petersburg cinema

Classic Russian film or classical Russian music–the perfect prescription to replace your zopiclone therapy. This is where Al Pacino should be if he wants some sleep.

And why are they stuck with October, anyway? October is a film that comes up in your first year of film studies or Russian history class (as it did with me), but why not go with Leviathan?

leviathan 2

A movie so good that the Minister of Culture said “I don’t agree with its political stance. . .but it’s well-made.”

In fact, this was supposed to be the film featured in this episode. We filed an official appeal.


Sadly that appeal was denied. :/

st petersburg film 2

The filmmaker treats the clip as if it were ants in your anti-social cousin’s backyard on a sunny day.


“What did the ants ever do to you Sid? And who gave you that magnifying glass? Did they really think you could use that magnifying glass responsibly?!”

– Once approved, the director will give them their next clue.

st petersburg film clip 3

Love this split screen.

st petersburg film 4

Whatever happened to traditional clue envelopes?

– Brook wants to do the Movie option. The Jumbas are running quickly to the clue box. I think the culture has rejuvenated Michael because I have never seen him run this fast all season long.

– Brook & Claire re-enter the cab.

BROOK: That classical music sounds so gnarly.

st petersburg brook claire 4

Claire agrees. It definitely is too gnarly of an option.

adam bethany

And since when did Brook start using words from Bethany Hamilton’s vocabulary? Is she going to describe the small waves on the river as being ’radical’ by sunset?

– Which one is the YouTube sensation going to choose?

st petersburg kevjumba michael wu 5

Yeah. Like you’re going to talk the guy who makes videos into avoiding a video related task.

Granted they are choosing to do the lamest part when it comes to video editing–sifting through all of the raw footage.

– Chad & Stephanie choose Cinema. You know what was their mode of transportation to get to the clue?

st petersburg taxi 2

The Hobo Taxi. I repeat. . .the hobo taxi. Knowing how expensive it is to get by in western Russian cities, the fare for each ride would have to be slashed by 97%.

So when you’re in St. Petersburg make sure you take the hobo taxi. Just to say that you did it.

– Gary & Mallory are fourth and head to Music.

– Thomas leads the trailing group to the clue box. Jill thinks cinema is easier.

st petersburg thomas wolfard 2

Bandana Man is right there with him!

st petersburg cinema 2

I like how producers hide the fact that teams will be watching October in their clue. Nobody would go see it voluntarily, evidently.

– Nick wants to do the Music task. Nat & Kat are last, and go along with it as well.

– Brook & Claire try communicating with their driver. What they get is a whole lot of silence from him.

st petersburg taxi 3

He looks more like a poker player than he does a taxi driver.

st petersburg brook claire 5

Not a comfortable situation.

– The Jumbas jumb ahead and are dropped off at the Lenfilm Studios.

st petersburg lenfilm

Lenfilm, eh?

len steal my sunshine

They made great films such as Steal My Sunshine.
How Canadian am I? I’m freakin’ talking about Len in 2015.

len steal my sunshine 2

And hey, they beat 24 and The Amazing Race to their love of split screens. That’s right. Len introduced it first in ’99!

len steal my sunshine 3

Although one precedent Len did not set was the Funky Kong sunglasses move. Donkey Kong Country came out four years earlier.

Okay. I’m way off track. Let’s get back to The Amazing Race.

– Jumbas are shocked to see the pile of clips. I love how cheesy the dark and evil music is at the moment. It is like Mickey Mouse is about to be kidnapped by the Mad Doctor.

st petersburg kevjumba

That room is in need of a Swifter sweep!

– Kevin admits he has never studied that kind of film. Michael instructs Kev how to look at a film negative. Jill & Thomas join them. Jill is the only one paying attention to the film.

st petersburg kevjumba michael wu 6

Oh, the horror!

– Brook & Claire are stuck in the cab as their driver steps out to call out for help with directions.

st petersburg brook claire 6

That pose is all too familiar for Claire since the watermelon incident. She would be wise to invest in an icepack. Even if money is ridiculously tight on The Amazing Race.

– Chad & Stephanie enter the music palace. They listen to the hot beats.

st petersburg chad stephanie 7

I like how even if you are in your late 20s or early 30s, you have to listen to classical music posing like you are a seventy year old man.

The chiropractor can only do so much once you reach a certain age!

st petersburg stephanie smith

It is a great excuse to plug your ear and not have to listen to Chad’s voice for a minute.


– Stephanie says it is confusing because you can hear all of the gramophones playing at the same time. They enter the piano hall. This is where it gets good. Chad & Stephanie explain how it is “ridiculous” because you can hear the pianos simultaneously. And the sheer number of them is overwhelming.

So much for Stephanie thinking she “got it”.

CHAD: Holy cow.

– Gary & Mallory, Nick & Vicki, and Nat & Kat are also in the piano hall.

MALLORY: This is impossible.

st petersburg mallory ervin 2

That face says it all.

st petersburg mallory ervin 3

Now would be a great time for some vodka.

NICK: There’s so many of them. . .they’re so long.

Yes, Nick. That’s the challenge.

st petersburg nick vicki 7

This is still easier than if Nick or Vicki had to do the Russian time zone challenge from TAR 21. Now -that- would have been something.

– Oh yeah. And Brook & Claire are still lost.

st petersburg brook roberts 2

“Did I slice my eye just to be in last on the next round?”

– Commercial. We resume with a sad trumpet horn playing. So over-the-top. The cab driver re-enters the vehicle, and knows where he is going. At least the guy asked for directions.

st petersburg driver

I have seen that shirt somewhere. . .

monopoly jail

Ah. It’s good ol’ Russian Pennybags!

– Brook knows they need to make up for lost time. What do they feel their chances of doing so are under the guidance of Russian Pennybags?

st petersburg brook claire 7

Not very high.

– We return to the piano hall.

st petersburg architecture

But first, look at that amazing architecture. I love how the building is designed like attached tetris blocks.

– My ears are hurting from all of the pianos. Chad thinks he has the first one. At least someone is making progress. Stephanie has a feeling on the second song. She asks Chad to check what she thinks is the third song along with her.

st petersburg chad waltrip 3

This is what Chad probably looked like during his History 12 class in his final semester of high school.

The teacher was wise enough to skip asking Chad to answer a question during a lesson. Let the boy, rest. He just wants to pass with a 51.

– Do you know what happened when Russia broadcasted this episode? Well it had a very different outcome.

stalin 2

Yes. He was a team of one, and checked into the pit stop first. You didn’t see that one coming, did you? The propaganda is really overstepping its boundaries I must say.

Now to see who checked in last according to their broadcast.


Thankfully it was a Non-Elimination. However, the next leg in Mexico will have a Speed Bump. My gut tells me it will be far more difficult than other Speed Bumps we have seen in the past.

– Chad & Stephanie are rejected like a basketball when a short player tries to it over a much taller opponent defending the rim. They must try again. Back to the drawing board–er, gramophones.

st petersburg chad stephanie 9

Divide and conquer.

VICKI: I think it’s number three.
NICK:  This is definitely not it. Nowhere near it!

st petersburg nick vicki 8

Don’t judge a book by its cover. Nick relaxes in his basement suite after riding his Harley all day by listening to classical music.

– Gary is the oldest racer in the room. This is his era. He is going to snag it up in no time, yes?

st petersburg gary ervin

I guess he never listened to his dad’s record player that contained a vinyl record called “Kentucky Klassics”.

– Gary & Mallory discuss how tough the task was. Gary admits to recognizing a Beethoven track.

st petersburg gary mallory ervin 4

Gary says matching up the tiny pieces of each song when they all sound so similar was difficult.

Oddly enough, the size of those tiny pieces also resembles the size of his testicles after the unfortunate incident in last round’s Roadblock task.

norway gary ervin 5

Why was casting so freakin’ great for TAR 17?

– Mallory does not verbalize anything, but merely communicates her thoughts on the challenge through her actions.

st petersburg gary mallory ervin 5

st petersburg gary mallory ervin 7

She may have not said a word, but I think I know what Mallory was trying to communicate. She was trying to tell us what she would like to do to the pianists. And I think it is something like this. . .

emperor palpatine

Am I the only one who cannot stop giggling over the thought of Mallory playing Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars?

Goooood. Let the joy of bunny rabbits and rainbows flow through you!

Sorry. Sorry. Let’s move on.

st petersburg gary mallory ervin 6

Yeah. She don’t like this task much.

– Circus music starts playing as we cut back to the cinema. Kev does not return the correct piece of film.

st petersburg kevjumba 2

This could be you one day, Kevin. This could be you.

– You know what would happen to me if I brought the wrong film clip after twenty attempts?

st petersburg film 5

I would seriously consider strangling the director with it. . .or find a film clip that implicates him in a robbery and BLACKMAIL him for my next clue! Muahahahaha!

st petersburg man

“Who is that with my wife? That man is not I! Why, she is having an affair!”

– Jill is rejected. Thomas tells her to look for a “war type” film clip with a few Russian words. He claims those pop out the easiest.

st petersburg jill haney

Searching through Russian film in a dusty room make Jill go something something.

– You really have to squint to scan the film clip. Thomas thinks he has it.

st petersburg film clip

Fran & Barry would have ZERO chance to succeed at this task. If they can barely see a clue box, how the heck can they see the tiny film clip?

– Thomas is approved. They receive the clue.

JILL: Shut up!

I think Jill’s statement could be interpreted literally after six rounds of racing together.

st petersburg kevjumba michael wu 7

st petersburg thomas wolfard 3

Oh c’mon Thomas! Have some respect for the Jumbas. They have been searching for the clip longer than you.

– Teams will now race to the location shown on their film cam or record–Palace Square. Once there they will receive their next clue.

st petersburg palace square

This is how Palace Square looks like to a dog.

st petersburg palace square 2

This looks like an ideal place for a large group of people to march in a structured formation.

Fun fact: When my eldest brother was in Red Square when he visited Russia, he was chased out of the square with an AK-47 by the police. Apparently you are not allowed to try sleeping in squares overnight. Just a heads up if you do not want a frightening interruption to your dreams.

– Brook & Claire pass by an outgoing Jill & Thomas. Whether Brook & Claire are that far behind or the task was quick remains unanswered.

st petersburg jill thomas 4

Now that she is in the lead, Jill can gently shove Thomas out of the cab without having to worry about falling far behind.

– The Jumbas and Brook & Claire continue their cinematic journey.

st petersburg michael wu 2

austin powers cross eyed

Oh no, Michael’s gone cross eyed!

– Stephanie, Mallory, and Nat & Kat all believe they have the first track. I love how Mallory sings along to the beat aloud, but the sounds that come out of her mouth when following the beat is like somebody being told to open their mouth at a dentist’s office (ahh-ahh-ah-ah).

st petersburg mallory ervin 4

The hyperactive piano lady is becoming a quick favourite of mine.

– Nick vetoes a song based upon it sounding like a “marching one”. Vicki tries to communicate to the viewer how tough it is to focus on the task. It is mentally exhausting. Personally I am getting a headache just listening to these songs too.

st petersburg vicki casciola

On a scale of 1 to a watermelon to the face, the severity of the headache may be so extreme that it feels like TWO watermelons to the face.

– Nat & Kat think they have the second track. Chad & Stephanie and Gary & Mallory are both turned away by Maestro.


I personally wish we had this Maestro instead considering my fandom of Canadian hip hop (what up SonReal!), but sadly nobody has love for Canadian hip hop outside of freakin’ Drake these days. Oh well.

Instead we’re stuck with a task involving classical music. Thank TAR for supplying you with the headaches rather than the flow.

Maestro, please.

– Chad & Stephanie, Nat & Kat, Nick & Vicki, and Gary & Mallory all receive several ‘niets’. We see a fade-in and fade-out to demonstrate a lot of time has passed.

KAT: The songs after a while started to sound more and more similar. The longer we were there the more confusing it was getting.

st petersburg nat kat 8

You probably lose a lot of your hearing as well.

st petersburg room

st petersburg room 2

This would be the perfect opportunity for the Gutsy Grannies to sneak up and head into the lead on The Amazing Race. If only they were cast for TAR 17!

– Chad asks Stephanie if she wants to move to the Cinema task.

st petersburg switchin

Does everybody in Florida drop the ‘G’ at the end of a word?

wheel of fortune

seven swans a swimmin

Whatever you do Chad, don’t go on Wheel of Fortune.

st petersburg chad stephanie 10

Ha. Steph shoots down Chad’s suggestion. Back to the room of annoying piano music you go, Chad!

– Stephanie has one piece of advice for Chad.

st petersburg chad stephanie 11

That ship has sailed.

– Really harsh classic cinema music plays. Lots of pointed expressions and dramatic head turns.

st petersburg brook roberts 3

st petersburg brook roberts 4

Like this one.

–  Niet. Niet. Niet. Niet. Niet. Wait. Has Brook found something?

st petersburg brook roberts 5

st petersburg brook roberts 6

Nailed it!

– Amazingly enough, the awkward cinema director does not receive a kiss from Brook nor Claire. Immediately afterwards we are shown the Jumbas completing the task. Clearly this was the much faster option.

– Jill & Thomas find the clue box. Thomas comments “there is a ton of them in here”. He reads teams must travel to the town of Alexandrovskaya. Once there they must follow a marked road to a neighbourhood store.

st petersburg alexandrovskaya

I love how the pi symbol is in the Cyrillic alphabet. Also, Alexandrovskaya totally sounds like the name of a male sexy 24 villain.

st petersburg espresso

Heh. That neighbourhood store looks more like a drive-thru espresso station in America.

– Jill & Thomas re-enter their taxi and Thomas does his best to pronounce the route marker location.

– Gary & Mallory have an argument over the Detour. Mallory thought Gary would have a better ear, and she is having a tough time.

st petersburg mallory ervin 5

Yeah, they are definitely switching.  Gary acknowledges it is risky, but they both agree to catch a cab and head to the cinema.

st petersburg nick vicki 9

Other teams may follow sooner rather than later.

– Nat & Kat and Nick & Vicki are all switching. Nat fears two of the songs sound too similar to figure out. Nick thinks them leaving together will freak Chad & Stephanie out into thinking they finished the task.

st petersburg nat strand 3

Nat has never been a big fan of switching Detour tasks, by the way.

– Stephanie insists they stay and finish.

– Brook & Claire are somehow second to the square. They made up a ton of time.

– Gary & Mallory enter the film studio.

MALLORY: These are all of the clips? This is just like a mess. Jesus please help us. Say a prayer, Dad.

st petersburg clip

Turning water into wine is one thing, but sorting all of these clips and cleaning up this pile, well. . .that may be a job left for the intern.


It looks like the aftermath of what would happen if the Tasmanian Devil entered the room and became overly excited due to his love of Soviet cinema.

eric danielle agency 4

No, not the Tanzanian Devil, Danielle.

– Nat & Kat and Nick & Vicki also express their shock upon entering the film studio. It must be nearby the music Detour.

NICK: Is this fo real, Gary?
GARY: Yeah.

Probably the only circumstance where Gary is not going to correct a young’un on proper speech.

– Chad & Stephanie are on a Niet-Niet-Niet carousel with the maestro.

st petersburg chad stephanie 12

In one of the online deleted scenes, you miss the part where Maestro receives a broken nose from Chad.

CHAD: We’re running around like chickens with our heads cut off!
STEPHANIE: You wanna go then? I mean you want me to stay positive. You want me to stay positive the whole time, right Chad? I’m trying to do what you would do. Try to be on your team!

st petersburg chad waltrip 4

So, uh. . .how has your master plan of getting out of the back of the pack treating you, Chad?

– Jill & Thomas are dropped off at the wrong location. It looks like the gates into some sort of outdoor stadium. Thomas asks for help from a local who is standing around.

st petersburg dog

Oh! A dog!

– Anyways, Thomas over-annunciates various words when talking to this man.

THOMAS: We need a MARKED siiign showing us WHERE to drive TO.

st petersburg thomas wolfard 4

st petersburg thomas wolfard 5

I want this guy on my national Charades Olympic squad!

– Brook & Claire are now first to the Roadblock. What’s the hint?

st petersburg drag

Please do not tell me that the use of the word drag in this case does not mean it is one of TAR’s lame “let’s make racers cross-dress because cross-dressing is SOOOO funny and totally not annoying since the Bugs Bunny cartoon” days.

– Phil explains that women in the Russian countryside known as babushkas do a lot of farm work. In this task, teams must put in a proper day’s work in the field. And of course, Phil adds that they must become babushkas.

– I do have one question though.

st petersburg phil keoghan 2

Would Phil hit that?

st petersburg phil keoghan 3

Yes he would.

– Teams must plant a row of fifty potatoes. What they don’t know is that they will also have to fertilize their crop with a very generous helping of cow manure.

st petersburg roadblock

Hey, at least this isn’t TAR 4 or TAR Asia 2 where they had to really get their hands into the manure.

Once they have finished this dirty work, the babushka matron will give them their next clue.

st petersburg babushka

I never thought I would say this, but the babushka matron is really mugging for the camera when she poses with the clue.

– Brook is doing this task. She is ready to dress up as a ‘babuska’.

Yeah. The letter ‘h’ is tricky. It is like the opposite problem that a person with a lisp has.

In all seriousness, I bet having a dry mouth is a big problem when racing endlessly for twenty days. A lot of exhaustion outdoors and barely enough time for water would probably evaporate the moisture from your mouth.

BROOK: I find this outfit really accentuates the curves.

st petersburg brook claire 8

No need for the Ice Princess outfit anymore, evidently.

st petersburg babushka 2

I feel bad for the babushkas. They look so miserable. I wonder if they intend to marry Brook off to one of their many brothers?

– Brook finds the 14th path and sees the bag of potatoes sitting in front of a house.

st petersburg brook roberts 7

You know what would be a great prank? Shovel some cow manure into a paper bag, light it on fire, leave it on the doorstep, ring the doorbell, and run away.

– Brook finds the bag of potatoes.

st petersburg brook roberts 8

It’s dangerous for a farmer to leave a bag of potatoes in front of their house. The babushka community is a cutthroat one.

st petersburg potatoes


– Brook calls out for the wheelbarrow. If the potatoes can write, perhaps then the wheelbarrow can talk. Unfortunately, Brook approaches the wrong side of town.

st petersburg brook roberts 9

– The dog moves closer to the fence and starts barking. Brook starts yelling in fear and takes off in the opposite direction.

st petersburg brook roberts 10

st petersburg dog 2

Brook, the dog’s tail was wagging! It just wanted a belly rub!

– It looks like a storm is approaching. Lots of wind and dark clouds. Brook found the manure.

st petersburg shovel

Geez. Inanimate objects in Russia really step up their game compared to the US.

BROOK: AHHHH! Oooooh doggie! That’s some stinky manure! Claire is not going to like the smell of me.

st petersburg claire champlin 4

Hey, at least you will smell better than Kat’s shoe.

st petersburg brook roberts 11

Granted not by much.

– The Jumbas’ taxi approaches the Roadblock site.

st petersburg duck

That’s not the type of dashboard decoration I was expecting from a Russian cabbie.

– KevJumba is next to volunteer for the Roadblock. He thought it would be a great way for he and his father to get ahead.

KEVJUMBA: Oh man. My dad should have done it.

st petersburg kevjumba michael wu 8

It’s not too late to switch, is it?

– Claire teases KevJumba about the outfit.

st petersburg kevjumba 3

Seriously. Screw you producers. How old are you guys? Two?

– Brook finds a human being to ask for directions.

st petersburg woman

And considering the storm that is brewing, she may be the only person outside at the moment.

st petersburg dog 3

So she is pretty much stuck with asking dogs. Too bad this dog is not friendly.

st petersburg dog 4

What about this one?

st petersburg dog 5


I love the way Brook says ‘no’ in reaction to the dog. It is like she is trying to get it to behave, but knows it is a losing battle.

Seriously. The Amazing 24: Fake All Stars should have been replaced with The Amazing Race 24: Brook Visits Neighbourhoods Around the World Chased Out By Dogs.

– KevJumba has shovelled the manure.

KEVJUMBA: That should be enough poop n potatoes.

Not the most appealing alliteration I have heard in my life.

st petersburg dog 6

This dog is spying on KevJumba. Does everybody in this neighbourhood own a large dog?

– KevJumba is first to find the farm.

KEVJUMBA: Hello beautiful ladies. I have your poop and potatoes.

Wait. He has the babushka’s poop? You did this task all wrong, Kevin!

st petersburg woman 2

st petersburg kevjumba 4

That’s one way to troll an American.

– KevJumba is shown how to plant the potato.

st petersburg kevjumba 5

I would hate to know what the punishment is if not done correctly.

st petersburg potatoes 2

She flings the potato into the hole she created. Just one potato at a time?

harvest moon plant

This dude can plant eight potatoes simultaneously. He’s a true master, and the babushkas are bush league material.

– KevJumba’s first potato is good. He continues the process.

– We return to the city as Gary & Mallory keep working on the film clip task.

GARY: I know every person and image on it.

st petersburg gary ervin 2

Well of course you know every image Gary when you watch it with that kind of intensity. You’ll be wearing olive pants in no time!

– Nat finds a particularly interesting one.

st petersburg nat strand 4

NAT: Oooh! Naked lady on that one.

accra connor jonathan 17

You were eliminated two rounds too early, Connor & Jonathan.

– NICK: Hopefully Chad & Stephanie are still struggling with the damn pianos.

– Sure enough, more and more niets from the Maestro. Stephanie confronts Chad and what he wants to do with his gut instinct.

CHAD: I feel like we should’ve left a long time. We’re done. Totally screwed.

Stephanie’s response?

st petersburg chad stephanie 13

st petersburg chad waltrip 5

Why is Stephanie repeatedly asking if Chad wants to leave the task? He has wanted to leave since the beginning. It is as if Steph is asking Chad what to do until he changes his mind to ‘stay’.

– Chad wants to quit the task and switch. Steph interjects with her opinion.

– We go to commercial. We resume with the conversation continuing.

This is hilarious. Chad & Stephanie are not communicating whatsoever.

CHAD: I want to quit this task.
STEPHANIE: What do you want to do?
CHAD: I want to quit this task.
STEPHANIE: Seriously. We’ve been here for hours. What do you want to do?
CHAD: I want to quit this task.
STEPHANIE: Quitting and switching to the other Detour is not an option.

How pointless is that conversation if Chad’s decision was going to be vetoed?

– Chad wants to listen to the guy with the long hair in the back.

st petersburg man 2

Chad is calling him manure? That’s just cruel. I think he is a handsome fellow.

st petersburg chad waltrip 6

Oh, Chad. Please never change.

– They get Niet’d once more. Chad & Stephanie fight it out.

CHAD: I have no clue. I feel like I am so freakin’ confused.
STEPHANIE: Then you want to sit down and let me do the whole thing–

st petersburg chad stephanie 15

“I will not let a woman emasculate me when it comes to a task involving classical music!”

STEPHANIE: Well then let’s work! C’mon! I’m trying!

st petersburg stephanie smith 2

Anyone shocked they are a ‘newly dating’ couple?

CHAD: Well-what-do-you-want-to-do-you’re-trying-to-put-the-decision-on-me!

st petersburg chad stephanie 16

I love how animated they are when angry.

st petersburg stephanie smith 3

This is just getting too much.

STEPHANIE: No, I wanna stay! I’ve wanted to stay the whole time and work it out together because I know we can!

– Chad says completely letting go was one of the top five or ten hardest things he has had to do.

CHAD: I’m not used to letting go and letting someone else take the lead. Especially my girlfriend.
STEPHANIE: God forbid.

st petersburg chad stephanie 17

st petersburg chad stephanie 18

st petersburg chad stephanie 19

st petersburg chad stephanie 20

Wow. That statement could not come out any worse on Chad’s part. He may have to switch to dating men if he keeps this up with his female dates.

st petersburg chad waltrip 7

Hmmmm. Can I rephrase my confessional, please?

– Stephanie makes the switches that she wants. Maestro approves.

st petersburg chad stephanie 21

Thank the Orthodox gods!

st petersburg chad stephanie 22

“Holy s–t! We can get the f–k out of here!”

CHAD: I really did have to take a back seat. I’m going to really try very hard to remember these lessons.

st petersburg chad stephanie 23

st petersburg chad stephanie 24

st petersburg chad stephanie 25

STEPHANIE: Don’t worry! I’ll make sure you do!

Yes. I bet Stephanie slapped Chad’s leg extra hard to make it sink in that much more.

– Chad recognizes the picture on the record, and know exactly where they are going. I am amazed they are currently in fourth after how much airtime they received for screwing up this Detour.

– The cinema search continues. Nat has it. They are currently in fifth.

NICK: I can’t believe that, dude. They got here last and are the first to leave. These girls have the best luck I have ever seen.

st petersburg nick mallory

You’re talking about Maria & Tiffany’s run in TAR 15, yes?

But seriously, Naked Lady Luck was on Nat & Kat’s side during this task. In fact, this task is pretty much all luck. How Nick is surprised by this would have been beyond me if not for Nick’s actions in the previous five rounds.

– Jill & Thomas are third to the Roadblock despite getting lost. Jill volunteers herself.

st petersburg jill haney 2

The babushka really hates Jill.

– Jill has her potatoes. KevJumba is getting drained.

st petersburg kevjumba 6

I bet the babushkas could not even comprehend KevJumba’s hobby at the time.

st petersburg kevjumba 7

They’re really trying to measure Kev’s potential.

st petersburg work

You mean they do not have strong foreign labour? I think we may have some illegitimate practices on these farms. No wonder they live outside of the city.

st petersburg kevjumba 8

The babushka demonstrates to Kev how to properly spit in one’s hands.

st petersburg woman 3

And then rub your hands together like it is nature’s hand sanitizer.

st petersburg kevjumba 9

st petersburg kevjumba 10

Yes. KevJumba gets approved by a judge on TAR for properly spitting into one’s hands. That’s when you know the series is in its tenth year on air.

– KevJumba finds the motivational phrases from the babushka to be amusing. It motivated him. He thinks he fell in love with the babushka a bit.

st petersburg kevjumba michael wu 9

Look at how pumped Kevin is. So -this- is where he went after he stopped making YouTube videos. He converted to being a babushka’s spouse!

st petersburg woman 4

Forget planting potatoes, Kev. How about planting some flowers instead?

st petersburg kevjumba michael wu 10

Oh c’mon, Kev. No need to feel embarrassed.

– Meanwhile. . .


Way to break up the romantic moment, Brook. You could have kept quiet and started planting your potatoes, but no, you disrupt A Shot At Love With Bushy Babushka.

– Brook starts screaming. Lots of screaming. Kev comments on hearing Brook screaming from across the field.

st petersburg brook roberts 12

“Out damn spot!”

st petersburg laugh

st petersburg laugh 2

st petersburg laugh 3

These three people have something in common at the moment. Care to guess what it is?

st petersburg margie adams

Thank you Margie. See you next month!

– Chad & Stephanie are fourth to the square. Nat & Kat are fifth there. To Alexander’s Sky they go.

– Tom & Jerryesque music plays as Gary & Mallory and Nick & Vicki battle it out to find a film clip. More rejections until. . .

st petersburg mallory ervin 6

Pwetty pwease. . .

st petersburg film clip 2

Hmmm. . .

st petersburg film clip 3


st petersburg mallory ervin 7

st petersburg mallory ervin 8

That is extreme even by Mallory standards.

st petersburg gary mallory ervin 8

Prepare to be strangled, Papa Ervin. Last round it was the testicles that got suffocated during the Roadblock. Today it is your neck that suffers.

– Gary & Mallory say “good luck” to Nick & Vicki (sarcasm?) before exiting the studio. Nick & Vicki alone in the studio is as amusing as you thought it would be.

NICK: I don’t know, man. Go back to the piano thing.
VICKI: You wanna go back to the piano thing?
NICK: Yeah. Let’s go.

st petersburg nick vicki 10

Sadly we do not get a close-up of a pouting Nick.

We cut to a confessional.

VICKI: We’re both not quitters. We always finish what we started. It was frustrating that we couldn’t seem to get anywhere.

Keep that quote in your head for the rest of the season. Please. That is one thing you absolutely need to do for the remainder of TAR 17 in this blog.

st petersburg nick vicki 11

Editors can be cruel with their sense of humour at times. They always finish what they started when it comes to making fun of individuals on reality television.

st petersburg nick vicki 12

Vicki makes one last ditch effort to check a film clip while Nick has left the building.  This is a fantastic shot. Nick has moved on, Vicki. Better run and catch up.

NICK: Can’t deal with this crap anymore.

And we cut to. . .

st petersburg jill haney 3

Crap. Nick or Vicki will have to deal with this crap just hours from now. Excellent.

– The babushka excitedly announces KevJumbas has only one potato left. He plants the final seed, and has completed the task.

st petersburg kevjumba 11

And hopefully he planted no other seeds this round. :/

st petersburg woman 5

Sorry, ladies. KevJumba is not known for YouTube videos based upon his belief in polyamourous relationships. Only one lady can fit into Kev’s world of monogamy.

jay z big pimpin

Unless he be doin’ big pimpin in S-P-G
Plantin’ potato seeds
He’s doin big pimpin on the farms as
Brook runs away from the D-O-Gs.
He’s doin’ big pimpin in S-P-G
It’s just the Michael Man and the Kev J-U-M-B. . .racers.

KEVJUMBA: I love this woman.

st petersburg kevjumba 12

Kevin has just created a Detour of his own with the babushka:

detour now or later

Shag Now or Shag Later.

It also happens to be a YouTube video I hope never surfaces.

– KevJumba cheers on Brook as he exits the area.

KEVJUMBA: Keep it up, Brook. It’s not–
KEVJUMBA: –You’ll get the hang–

Brook, uh, really wants to be first.

– Claire and Michael point out that KevJumba ripped his own dress. Whatever. Kev reads that they must head to the next pit stop–St. Isaac’s Cathedral. It is the largest orthodox cathedral in the city.

st petersburg cathedral

st petersburg cathedral 2

Good B-roll, guys.

– Do you think that just because TAR 14 had a pair of indoor Russian pit stops that this new trend would carry over to the next Russian visit here in TAR 17?

st petersburg field

Well, you are mistaken.

– Jill struggling to open her bag of potatoes. Brook is next to finish the Roadblock.

st petersburg brook roberts 13

To be fair, anybody under the age of 30 and has Brook’s frame is probably viewed as a ‘girl’ in the eyes of babushkas.

st petersburg nail polish

Cow manure on nail polish? Rookie mistake, Brook. Rookie mistake.

– The babushka starts mocking Jill. Quite viciously, might I add.

st petersburg jill haney 4

Wow. Babushakas–experts of sarcasm. Thin females really need quick wit in this environment.

– Brook & Claire re-enter their taxi to head to the pit stop.

st petersburg taxi 4

Claire comments on Brook’s odour, and you can tell the taxi driver is in agreement. Something tells me there is going to be a ten percent additional charge for making the drive back to St. Petersburg an unpleasant experience.

BROOK: I get the first shower, right?
CLAIRE: . . .Yeah. Hell yeah you do.

st petersburg brook claire 9

“Are there showers at the cathedral?”

– Jill is done. She runs off. Thomas comments that Jill completed the task quickly. They re-enter their cab too. Thomas expresses his pride in Jill’s performance.

st petersburg jill thomas 5

They’re laughing. They’re having a good time.

– Brook & Claire appear to have recovered from their taxi incident prior to the Detour.

st petersburg taxi 5

st petersburg brook claire 10


– Chad & Stephanie get directions. Nat & Kat leap ahead and are fourth to the Roadblock. Nat is doing this task.

st petersburg nat strand 5

Everyone truly does look different in a babushka outfit.

wheres wally

It is like Nat is auditioning to be the Russian adaptation of Where’s Waldo?

wheres wally 2

And what the hell is Whitebeard doing with Waldo’s cane? This is a good lesson as to why every 80s and 90s children’s pop culture figure should NOT automatically have its own animated cartoon series. I mean, this clip is just from the pilot alone. Imagine how messed up the Where’s Waldo cartoon gets by episode four or five.

– Chad & Stephanie are fifth to the Roadblock. Stephanie is ready for the drag race. She asks for directions for Duck’s End from a person rather than a dog.

st petersburg stephanie smith 4

Too bad she does not speak English. If only there was somebody nearby who just returned from Duck’s End and could give her the information in English.

st petersburg nat strand 6

Never trust an anaesthesiologist for help.

– Stephanie gives up and runs away as if it were a dog chasing Brook.

st petersburg stephanie smith 6

Poor Steph.

– Gary & Mallory have the clue. Mallory tries to read it.

MALLORY: Head to Alexander. . .man!

– Nick & Vicki are back at the piano task. Vicki focuses on one song at a time. She thinks it makes the task simpler.

st petersburg vicki casciola 2

I am amazed by how calm Vicki is despite knowing they are at least an hour behind at this point.

NICK: I feel like I have kept my composure way better than I ever have. I took a little piece of Ghana and promised to myself and Vicki that I would never blow up like that again.

Which turns out to be an excuse for producers to do a black-and-white flashback to Nick shouting “THIS IS STUPID” during the bicycle rim task a few rounds ago.

st petersburg nick decarlo 2


st petersburg nick vicki 13

Nick is so out of this task that he just starts cranking any lever he can find.

unbreakable kimmy 2

Maybe he learned that from his time in the bunker.

– Nick trusts Vicki’s judgment and lets her take control. We hear her muttering to the beat of the piano. Oddly enough, Vicki’s muttering is less annoying than the music being emitted from the pianos.

– Nick & Vicki return to the Maestro with their next guess.

st petersburg maestro 2

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is an extremely important note. It was confirmed by somebody involved with the race in an article online that the maestro/those responsible for judging this Detour task were extremely inconsistent. Teams who performed the piano task were supposedly rejected when they were correct. I assume this could have happened for a couple reasons:

1) The task was accidentally set up so that there were multiple combinations for the correct answer, but the right hand wasn’t talking to the left, and thus correct combinations were not known to the maestro/judges.

2) The maestro was hungover because he was not used to American alcoholic beverages offered by the production team, and thus had a huge headache when trying to read sheet music.

3) He is secretly an online troll, and thought it would be hilarious to mess with a well-known American reality program.

– And this definitely fits in with Nick & Vicki’s reaction to their next guess.

st petersburg nick vicki 14

st petersburg vicki casciola 3

You know the task has a poor design when a team does not understand why they have the correct answer.

japan maria tiffany 6

Sort of like how ten of the twelve teams had no idea why they received the clue for their license plate at the starting line of TAR 15. Only the last two teams figured it on their own, and suddenly we are saying goodbye to Eric & Lisa who walk five blocks back to where they live in LA.

THE OTHER EDITOR’S NOTE: Please keep this issue in mind for this episode and the next. I will go into greater detail about this round’s implications and how it fudged up production at the end of this episode blog.

las vegas dealer

At least it is not as monumental as the dealer screwing up Brian & Ericka’s chip count just an hour before reaching the finish line in TAR 15.

– Vicki is glad she did not quit.

VICKI: You never know what’s going to happen.

That could not be a more appropriate statement given how production makes up for the maestro’s faults.

– We cut to brighter things as we see the inside of the church near the pit stop.

st petersburg ceiling

This is the “My Neck Is Sore From Staring Straight Up To the Ceiling” Camera angle.

st petersburg taxi 6

Despite seeing pink elephants driving alongside him for the past hour, the taxi driver drops off the Jumbas at the correct destination.

– Jill & Thomas are also at the church. The Jumbas search in front of the church. For some reason there is suspense over who will be first regardless of not seeing both teams in the same camera shot.

st petersburg kevjumba michael wu 12

st petersburg kevjumba michael wu 11
I love the emphasis placed on Kevin’s name when Michael speaks to him.

It reminds me of the way Jackie Burkhart emphasizes Michael’s name when speaking instructions to him.

jackie kelso

That’s not the way to the pit stop, -Michael-. The church probably did not want to house the pit stop, -Michael-. Don’t you dare look at a babushka like that again, -Michael-. What about me, -Michael-.

– Jill calls Thomas to run up the stairs to the church with her. Then she suggests it could be in a park. KevJumba turns down Michael’s suggestion that it could be across the street in the park.

st petersburg park

I guess Phil is covered up well within the park’s trees.

st petersburg phil keoghan 4

I wonder what kinds of conversations that Phil has with the greeter. He is stuck there for hours with each greeter (except for rounds like the second leg of TAR 4 where it is done within forty minutes).

But seriously, does Phil give them the silent treatment? Do they have a best-of-seven playing 20 Questions? Do they teach each other a few words in their local language?

st petersburg jill thomas 6

The Jumbas screw up finding the pit stop to the point that Jill & Thomas hit the mat first without being spotted by Kevin & Michael. Those trees must hide Phil quite well from Kevin & Michael.

st petersburg pit stop

Phil and the greeter stick their nose at Jill & Thomas. How rude.

st petersburg ron jeremy

Holy crap! Ron Jeremy is the pit stop greeter for this leg of the race, ladies and gentlemen.

I am now very curious what the prize for this leg will be.


st petersburg jill thomas 7

One is eager to hear this news. . .one is not.

– Jill & Thomas celebrate their victory for the episode.

st petersburg jill thomas 8

“Got your hat!”

– Phil informs them that they have won a trip to Sao Paolo, Brazil.

st petersburg jill thomas 9

st petersburg jill thomas 10

I don’t know what Jill is doing, but okay.

– Just like in TAR 9’s premiere, they get a helicopter tour of the city.

– Thomas claims that Jill killed this leg and the knowledge of being to rely on each other during Roadblocks builds their confidence for winning the leg.

st petersburg jill thomas 11

Everything’s coming up Cali!

– Misery music plays as the Jumbas continue their search.

MICHAEL: Let’s go over to the street and come back–
KEVJUMBA: No, it’s at the cathedral!

st petersburg kevjumba michael wu 13

This would be the appropriate time for Michael to put that roll of film to good use and strike Kevin in the head with it. Although Michael may get too exhausted dragging Kevin across the street to the pit stop.

– Brook & Claire arrive at the cathedral. They sprint into the park immediately. The Jumbas head across the street.

BROOK: C’mon Claire. This is the one time I really need you to sprint!

If Brook & Claire make it to the final leg, and Brook asks her to sprint, could Claire reply with “You already used up your ‘one time’ request several rounds ago! So no. I will not sprint. I will let Chris & Alex pass me on the way to the finish line. You only have yourself to blame for this one, Brook.”

KEVJUMBA: Dad. Phil’s not here.
MICHAEL: Yeah. Phil is up at the top.

How many times has KevJumba been pwned this season? The count is getting awfully high.

– Phil sees an incoming team.

st petersburg phil keoghan 5

Or he is staring at the greeter’s wonderful face. One of the two.

st petersburg brook claire 11

BROOK: We always sneak from behind.


In other words, Brook is the ghost from NintendoLand. Brook succeeded at doing this in Ghana as well.


They find the idea of being second downright hilarious.

st petersburg brook claire 12

Two crappy taxi drivers and they still finish second. Did other teams really have that much production troubles, or are Brook & Claire that good?

– KevJumba and Michael approach the mat.

st petersburg kevjumba michael wu 14

KEVJUMBA: Good job, Dad.

Yes. Michael plays the role of Hayley in this situation, and Kevin plays the role of Blair. But because Michael does not have the voice of a high-pitched 20-something-year-old female, the casual viewers refrain from bullying Michael on Twitter.

st petersburg kevjumba michael wu 15

KevJumba’s Mardi Gras pose.


st petersburg kevjumba michael wu 16

“If only Kevin listened to me, we would be first. . .”
“We managed to get third even though my dad is physically weak! Aren’t I awesome?”

Just kidding. They are quite pleased with their finish.

– Back to the babushka’s potato manure farm. Only trailing teams remain.

big daddy kane

“The trailing teams can lick their manure!”

– The babushka and Nat mutter ‘dah’ back and forth with each other. Dogs are barking as Stephanie struggles to find Duck’s End.

st petersburg dog 7

st petersburg dog 8

That’s the same dog that barked at Brook.
st petersburg stephanie smith 5

STEPHANIE: I can’t find a damn wheelbarrow to save my life.

That would be a very unusual circumstance to save yourself from a fatal situation.

– Mallory is doing the Roadblock. She is dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood.

st petersburg mallory ervin 9

Thankfully she is not heading towards the house in the middle of the woods.

– Mallory and Stephanie pass by each other. They agree to find Duck’s End together.

– Mallory approaches a gate and attempts to open it.
st petersburg mallory ervin 10

Yeah. It’s not budging, Mallory.

– Stephanie sees the sign for Duck’s End. So much for working together.

st petersburg sign 3

It looks like somebody wrote that sign with their non-dominant hand. The ‘n’ is backwards!

– Mallory finds a local to ask for directions.

st petersburg mallory ervin 11
A random dude on the farm in camouflage? Mallory has the same facial expression as I would have in that situation.

– Stephanie complains of getting her hand into the manure. Nick & Vicki are last to the clue box in the square.

– Mallory starts running around frantically calling for Duck’s End. She reminds me of the maid from 101 Dalmatians who calls out for the missing puppies in the middle of the night, but no one is answering her pleas for help.

st petersburg mallory ervin 12

This is the time where customer service calls for Gary Ervin over the PA to pick up Mallory from Till 1.

– Mallory even starts whimpering and crying as she runs around in a circle pleading with various locals. Am I evil for thinking this is funny?

st petersburg mallory ervin 13

st petersburg mallory ervin 14

st petersburg mallory ervin 15

Poor Mallory.

– Commercial break. We resume. Mallory is calmer. She finds an older couple who have just returned from a shopping trip.

st petersburg mallory ervin 16

Even they find Mallory funny under high levels of distress.

– The locals do not speak English. Therefore, Mallory resorts to saying Quack Quack and hope Russians use the same sound to describe ducks in an onomatopoeic sense.

MALLORY: I was a complete fool.

st petersburg mallory ervin 17

st petersburg mallory ervin 18

It’s okay, Mallory. We still like ya.

Oddly enough, saying “quack quack” to communicate with a local in a foreign country has happened in TAR 10 as well.

david mary

“Fast fast. Quack quack.”

– Okay. Mallory’s misadventure reaches new levels of ridiculousness.
st petersburg mallory ervin 19
Mallory attempts to trespass on the Lego House in St. Petersburg.

st petersburg mallory ervin 20

st petersburg mallory ervin 21

Something like this could only happen to Mallory.

– And the situation escalates. Mallory thinks she has found Duck’s End, but really she has found a new social group.

st petersburg mallory ervin 23

“Hello, this is my friend Peter.”

st petersburg mallory ervin 22
Do they even serve vodka in Kentucky?

st petersburg mallory ervin 24

This is getting awkward very quickly.

st petersburg man 3

Vodka on my neck,
Vodka on my grillz.

MALLORY: I cannot believe this.

Neither can we, Mallory. Thank you for your contribution to this season.

– Nat completes the task. She runs out and meets an incoming Mallory who begs for directions to Duck’s End. Nat informs her to turn around.

– Nat & Kat enter a taxi. They are currently in fourth.

– Stephanie finishes filling up her wheelbarrow with manure. So where to put the shovel?

st petersburg stephanie smith 7

“You know what?”

st petersburg stephanie smith 8

“F–k it.”

st petersburg shovel 2

Mallory’s day got a whole lot more sh–ty.

STEPHANIE: I threw the shovel because I knew somebody was going to have to struggle to get a shovel. That being Mallory. Poor Mallory. She’s probably covered in poop because she’s so little.
st petersburg chad stephanie 26

“That shovel is now more sh–ty than Logan’s blog.”

– I should note Chad & Stephanie are giggling while thinking back to this incident.

st petersburg mallory ervin 25

MALLORY: Ew. Gross.

Great reaction. I wonder if that guy from earlier would not have lifted Mallory if she was covered in cow manure?

CHAD: You should see Mallory in her accent. She’s probably like–
STEPHANIE: She’s like ‘Oh my gosh!’

st petersburg chad stephanie 27

Stephanie does a good Mallory impression. Stephanie understands Mallory’s character quite well.

MALLORY: Oh my gosh! My shoe came off into the manure. That was a special moment.

st petersburg mallory ervin 26

The only way this situation could be made out to be over-the-top is if Silas was around.

st petersburg chad stephanie 28

Stephanie feels bad. Aw shucks.

st petersburg mallory ervin 27

I have a feeling her sock will not be in much better shape.

– Stephanie starts digging. The babushka reminds her to fertilize it with manure. She comments on the French Fries that could be produced. Mallory has a hard time opening the bag of potatoes.

– Vicki wants to keep racing. She refuses to give up.

– Stephanie completes the task. Mallory congratulates her.

st petersburg stephanie smith 9

Now prepare to be blinded by the sandstorm.

– Chad compliments Stephanie’s babushka outfit.

CHAD: Look at you looking all good in that babushka outfit! Might have to take you home and have you clean the house in that.

st petersburg chad waltrip 8

I am sure all of Chad’s past girlfriends love taking part in babushka role-playing. It’s right up there with Meredith & Gretchen’s role-playing.

– Mallory finishes the Roadblock too.

st petersburg mallory ervin 28

How is Mallory smiling after all of the crap she has been through today?

– Mallory is in the taxi.

MALLORY: Lord have mercy. This is cow poop. I would chew my nails off right now at this point with manure under them to not get eliminated.

st petersburg gary mallory ervin 9

Ooookay then, Mallory. You do that.

– Nat & Kat check into the pit stop. A sound effect plays when Nat clicks her heels in the air.

st petersburg nat kat 9

For some reason, clicking your heels together is appropriate for a middle of the pack finish rather than either of your back-to-back first place finishes.


– Nick & Vicki make it to the Roadblock. It is dusk.

VICKI: Russian drag race.
NICK: That’s me.
NICK: I was thinking ‘drag race’.

st petersburg nick vicki 15

I am going to put this out there: Producers must love outwitting Nick throughout this season.

NICK: Damn. Dude, really? This is how I’m going out? Like this?

st petersburg nick vicki 16

“A leather jacket goes over this. . .right?”

NICK: It was a whole lot of race with a whole lot of drag. But just more queen than cars.

– Dogs are barking at Nick, but he does eventually find some people. Unfortunately none of them speak English.

st petersburg nick decarlo 3

Seeing Russian Coca-Cola signs is rare. Did you know that during the Cold War there used to be a government official in the USSR who -loved- Coca-Cola, but since it was an American product it was not allowed.

However, the USSR and the USA made an arrangement so that the Coca-Cola bottles would have the hammer and sickle drawn on them, and then sent to the Soviet official. All so he could enjoy his love of soda.

Fun fact. Coca-Cola–Bringing contrasting political ideologies together.

– Nick finds another local.

st petersburg nick decarlo 4

Russian Georges St. Pierre is very confused.

NICK: I am asking all the locals and they are just trying to take pictures with me. They thought it was hysterical that I was in this dress. You’ll never see me in a dress again.

st petersburg nick decarlo 5

From Russia With Love.

st petersburg nick decarlo 6

Which one doesn’t belong?

This is a great example of another TAR task that forces teams to interact with locals.

– Gary & Mallory are already at the church. Chad & Stephanie see Gary & Mallory running around on the streets. Both teams scramble to the mat.

st petersburg taxi 7

Gary & Mallory’s driver was faster simply due to the power of the sunglasses.

– Both teams make it to the mat seconds apart.


Yeah. Gary & Mallory essentially Jumba’d their way to the pit stop.

– Chad, Stephanie, and Mallory all squeal in a high-pitched voice “we made it!”

st petersburg pit stop 2

The joke is on Stephanie as Mallory’s manure-covered hands are all over Steph’s back.

st petersburg pit stop 3

And Stephanie gets it all over hands too! Yes! That’s karma at its finest.

– We cut back to the farm.

NICK: I never thought I would be planting potatoes in Russia in a woman’s dress.

A sound effect plays when Nick and a babushka shake hands.

st petersburg nick decarlo 7

That hand is covered in eighteen hours of sweat, blood, tears, dirt, and manure. . .And something tells me there is not a mandatory hand sanitizing station nearby.

VICKI: Run, babushka, run!

st petersburg nick decarlo 8

Instead of Forrest’s leg braces coming off, it is Nick’s dress that breaks off the faster he runs. I mean, there is even Russian GSP chasing him on a bicycle! You’ve got to move faster, Nick.

– They read the clue and are essentially giving their surrender speech.

VICKI: We experiences so much stuff. We’ve learned so much stuff.

st petersburg nick vicki 17
That’s when you know are exhausted after a full day of. . .stuff.

– Nick & Vicki make it to the mat.


st petersburg nick vicki 18

Nick maintains the same expression since the task was completed.

PHIL: I am sorry to tell you you’re the last team to arrive. I am also sorry to tell you. . .that you’ve got to run another leg because you’re still in the race.

st petersburg phil keoghan 6

“In unrelated news, the maestro has mysteriously wound up in the hospital, and two members of the logistics staff have been fired as of six hours ago.”

– It’s a Non-Elimination Leg. Phil does not inform them of a Speed Bump. In later seasons the Speed Bump detail will be left out, but here it is noted to be blatantly missing.

VICKI: For whatever reason, luck was not on our side today.

st petersburg phil keoghan 7

“Funny you should mention that, Vicki. . .well, that’s a story for another time.”

VICKI: We’re ready to stay here and fight. We’re not ready to go home yet. We’re going to come out on top anyways.

Oh, editors. They love their dark comedy.

st petersburg vicki casciola 4

And the payoff shall come at Vicki’s expense.

– Goofy Russian music plays in the credits. Like a freakin’ circus.

Next Time on TAR: Teams clown around under the big top. And Michael strikes out.



FINAL EDITOR’S NOTE: So why no Speed Bump for Nick & Vicki?

Well, producers evaluated that how the piano task played out overall was unfair to such an extreme that they essentially made this round null and void. That means two things had to happen.
1) An immediate equalizer must occur at the start of the next leg.
2) The Speed Bump has to be taken out to ensure everything is indeed equal.

This is the first time since maybe TAR 3 or TAR 4 where the NEL penalties still meant nothing, and there would be several equalizers entering the final few legs.

And the first time since TAR 15’s season finale that featured a production error as I mentioned earlier. Luckily, they avoided TAR 15’s fate of creating a mystery surrounding who truly won the season.

Considering all of the logistics for The Amazing Race, it is incredible that this does not happen more frequently. It is funny that the trips to Russia in TAR 13, 17, and 21 have proven to be huge headaches for producers.

TAR 13: Dallas leaves his passport behind in a cab. He and Toni are stuck in Russia until a couple of days after the season is over in Portland.
TAR 17: The production errors and judging by the maestro in this episode. What exactly the production errors were outside of judging is not exactly known.
TAR 21: A team gets robbed by a taxi creating two of the most bizarre episodes in race history.

Amazingly enough, TAR 5 having the following: a night time leg, balancing a glass of vodka on a sabre while drinking it, and eating two kilograms of caviar all went more smoothly than three other trips to Russia.

And due to a change in political climate, the TAR 21 robbery is so far the final trip for the American version of TAR to Russia.

P.S. What would have happened if this was a planned elimination leg? Would they eliminate Nick & Vicki? They cannot exactly swap the NEL to the next round because everything has to be locked in prior to the start of the season. Only a natural disaster can alter the course of the season.



1) Gloucester, Massachusetts, USA -> England, United Kingdom, London (according to Nick Decarlo)

2) London, England -> Accra, Ghana

3) Accra, Ghana -> Riksgransen, Sweden-Norway Border

4) Accra, Ghana -> Accra, Ghana

5) Riksgrandsen, Sweden/Norway -> Narvik, Norway

6) Narvik, Norway -> St. Petersburg, Russia

I think a leg where production errors with the Detour and logistics has to be ranked last by default for this season.

The leg played out in such a screwed up fashion that production made the decision to not bother with the Speed Bump for the following round, and forced everyone to be artificially equalized prior to the first task of the next round.

In other words, this leg was null and void.

The tasks were fine for the most part. The Detour of choosing to listen to ear-piercing piano music or squinting your eyes at classic Russian cinema clips was very appropriate for St. Petersburg.

Not to mention that the locations for these tasks was pretty neat as well.

I was annoyed that TAR thought it would be funny to dress everyone up as babushkas (tee hee cross-dressing isn’t this hilarious tee hee *eyeroll*), but I can ignore that when I get to watch dogs chasing out Brook and Stephanie out of their yard. It was like a kid’s movie.

This leg had many comedic moments on top of dog chasing. Mallory being picked up and lifted over a fence in exchange of joining her new buds for vodka, and Stephanie forcing Mallory to grab a manure-laden shovel were two hilarious moments in the Roadblock alone.

We also had the Brook & Claire and Nat & Kat alliance storyline continuing to be shoved down our throats. Culminating with Claire smelling Kat’s shoes and nearly vomiting. Classic.

After being ignored for a good chunk of this season, we learned a surprising amount about Chad & Stephanie. Usually that airtime has been reserved for other teams in the past.

And the Jumbas continue to defy my expectations that I had set for them prior to this season. Does Michael ever become angry?

P.S. What would have happened if this was a planned elimination leg? Would they eliminate Nick & Vicki? They cannot exactly swap the NEL to the next round because everything has to be locked in prior to the start of the season. Only a natural or political disaster can alter the course of the season according to the legalities of The Amazing Race.

Just an interesting question for Bertram and Elise if they are reading this. It would probably be a scenario that triggers a migraine just thinking about it. You are going to piss off certain teams and viewers no matter which way you go.

P.P.S. Yes, the production errors did make this leg turn into total cow s–t.


Did you know I podcast about each episode of The Amazing Race as they air on TV? I recently recapped The Amazing Race 26 round 9 for #YATNcast.

Which you can find here.

Oh, and I also recap Big Brother Canada on a weekly basis for #YATNcast too.

And can also find that here too.

P.S. Thanks to my friend Jason for the “Shag Now or Shag Later” Detour image.

This entry was posted in The Amazing Race, The Amazing Race 17 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s