The Amazing Race 17 episode 7 ranking

Seventh episode

“Surround and Clown”



Previously on TAR: Seven teams raced from Norway to St. Petersburg, Russia. A musical Detour had Chad & Stephanie (and producers) ultimately out of tune. While Jill & Thomas were picture perfect.

At the Roadblock, Kevin got dolled up and made a new friend. In the end, Jill & Thomas came in first.

While Nick & Vicki escaped elimination (and the maestro’s vindictive nature).

Seven teams remain; who will be screwed over by production errors. . .next?

– Intro time.



st petersburg dog 5

Did you know that dogs burned over three hundred calories chasing racers while on farms outside of St. Petersburg?

st petersburg park

That is the equivalent of a puppy aimlessly running around a park searching for Phil at last week’s pit stop, and being distracted by a bright green tennis ball being thrown twelve times!

This is your FitBitch Moment. Keep on watching The Amazing Race for more fun doggie related stats and canine fitness tips!

– Phil introduces us to St. Petersburg, Russia. It is the fourth largest city in Europe. So many ordained buildings.

PHIL: Saint Isaac’s Cathedral–it was forced to become the Museum of Atheism during the Soviet era.

I wonder if the Soviets intentionally chose a cathedral to convert into an Atheist museum as a comedic joke? I bet there were other venues that were more ideal, but they just did not want to waste this opportunity. #NoOppWasted

– Today it has resumed being a house of worship.

– Jill & Thomas, who were the first to arrive at an unspecified time (undoubtedly due to the production/maestro follies from last leg), will depart at 8:30am.

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Thomas looks extremely miserable today. I assume it is because he misplaced his hat since Jill took it during their pit stop celebration on the mat at the end of last leg.

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I knew Jill was up to something.

– Teams must travel by taxi to Avtovo Circus where they will find their next clue.

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Producers are trying hard to push the arts theme in St. Petersburg. I sincerely hope this is not going to be a “Two rounds in one city” format that began in TAR 13. It always makes producers seem lazy. I mean, we had two rounds in Accra, but at least they had never visited Ghana before in any of the other sixteen seasons of TAR.

– Jill states their biggest issue to date is that Thomas is talking at her rather than to her.

THOMAS: We have a lot of differences but we work very well together.

What differences? We know little about them.

1. Thomas loves apples; Jill does not love apples quite as much.
2. Thomas has brown hair; Jill has blonde hair.
3. Thomas received a super duper awesome education in the state of Indiana; Jill did not.

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4. Thomas looks forward; Jill looks sideways.

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5. Jill wears huge ass earrings; Thomas does not.

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Jill’s earrings have such large hoops that Big Easy could probably toss a basketball in them from beyond the arc.

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They both have the same Alec-like gaping mouth pose, though. At least they have that in common.

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bill hader

Come to think of it, Thomas resembles Bill Hader at times.

– Brook & Claire begin in second place at 8:35am. Brook is the one who gets to read the clue aloud today.

BROOK: Join the circus–(pitch goes as high as possible and jumping in air)–OH MY GOD THIS IS GOING TO BE SO COOL!

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Note to self: Claire is not a morning person. She is still slumped over and ready to go back to bed.

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Another headache coming on for Claire. Not even a slice of lasagna can lift her spirits when hanging around the upbeat nature of her Odie-like partner.

– Brook & Claire run into the streets as Brook’s excitement continues.

BROOK: The circus? That’s where I belong!

– They hail a taxi and Brook is still overjoyed by this prospect.

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Imagine if she was in TAR 8 or TAR Asia 4 with the trapeze task.

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Unlike Hussein, each failed attempt would actually be intentional because she would want to do the trapeze again and again and again.

– BROOK: I hope I get to wear a leotard.
CLAIRE: Who says that?

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The Anti-Luke. I love how a leotard is the first thing that Brook mentions of all things associated with the circus.

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Claire is as horrified to wear a leotard as Luke would be.

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It should be noted that if Brook really wants to be in the circus for the rest of her life, that the elephant riding a tricycle and the chimpanzee being forced to wear lipstick while wearing a rainbow-coloured outfit would be more than happy to switch spots with Brook.

– The Jumbas depart third at 8:40am. Kev sounds bored when he reads the clue. They find a taxi instantly. Some bald guy is the driver.

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Almost bald. And he ain’t happy about that.

– Jill & Thomas spot the circus. The taxi driver points at the tent.

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Holy crap. Jill & Thomas’ driver has a huge hand.

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So this is his new job after retiring from plumbing and stomping on goombas.

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That clown has an evil grin. He’s up to something.

– Jill & Thomas jump over a short barrier.

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Everybody seems to be jumping over barriers this season.

– They reach the entrance to the circus and. . .

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Awe. The clown is sad he cannot let you in. I knew that evil clown from earlier was up to something.

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It looks like Andrew when he is in tears.

– Brook & Claire hop over the barrier too. Nat & Kat, Gary & Mallory and Chad & Stephanie also make their way to the forced sad clown equalizer. Their departure times shall remain a mystery.

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jon al intro

Ah, I see Al’s uncle works for the Russian circus.

– Accordion music that normally plays in Eastern Europe legs or when Ken & Gerard are punting can now be heard.

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What the hell happened to his hands? Are mushrooms growing out of his fingertips?

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Oh, you think balancing a f–king spoon on your nose is impressive?

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Jon balanced a clue and a pair of glasses on separate occasions in TAR 4. You ain’t nothing special, clown.

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For finishing first on the previous leg, Jill & Thomas get to enjoy their Date Night reward as they are the only ones who get to watch clowns do a bunch of crazy s–t.

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Including a clown who taunts Thomas with one of his favourite apples.

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Is he spinning a pot on his finger?

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Maybe he’ll get to be the next member of the Moscow Pottroters and play TAR Russia three times in the span of five years.

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What is this? A Kokanee beer commercial? Love the clown who is tipping his hat to the bear.

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And is that guy swing dancing with a bullet in his mouth?

Man. Cirques Du Soleil couldn’t dream of this messed up surreal take on the circus.


It’s like Dali’s concept for his own variation of a circus.

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Jill & Thomas applaud the clowns for hours of entertainment as they are stuck waiting for Nick & Vicki.

– We do not see Nick & Vicki show up, but the gates open and we presume all seven teams are there together.

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Mr. Mushroom Fingers decides to frighten teams at the clue box. Can we have just one normal leg in Russia on The Amazing Race?

– Detour.

– Phil says the circus has been a fixture in Russian culture for hundreds of years.

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That clown looks like Nat’s long lost sister.

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Wow. That kills all of the joy and hilarity of the past few minutes. I am not sure I enjoy clowns who mime being hanged by a noose shortly after a divorce and losing custody of their children. Oh, and also losing their job at the lab just a couple weeks earlier. Life was simply becoming too much to bear.

peru meth clown

As we learned in The Amazing Race 26 last week, all miserable clowns turn to meth. Then everybody is a winner!

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Oh, and Phil missed out on a golden opportunity to put on some make-up and wear Kiwi Fingers. Where’s your circus spirit, Phil?

– In Circus Band, teams choose an accordion player who teach teams to play  Russian folk song. Once teams can play the song correctly, they will receive their next clue.

russia accordion

You know you are in an odd location when the accordion players are the most normal group of people to hang out with at the time.

– In Circus Clown, teams make their way inside of the big top and learn a traditional plate-spinning routine. If they can keep ten plates spinning simultaneously for at least ten seconds, the clown will give them their next clue.

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Or in Nat’s case, have a family reunion that is long overdue.

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Look at how steady he keeps that plate.

survivor plates

He would absolutely kill it at the Survivor: China final immunity challenge.

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I love how the clown who is juggling in the background is acting casual as if he has the least to offer out of everyone inside of the big top.

– So are teams going to channel Weird Al and go with an accordion or spin some plates?

– All of the teams are required to put on red clown noses.

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Although I think this clown is an intern because he is confusing it with an eyepatch. Poor Mallory.

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On the other hand, David Bowie is adamant that an eye patch is sexy.

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“Got your nose, Steph!”

Steph ignores him and keeps reading the clue. The clown is visibly offended, and things get awkward fast.

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THE CLOWN: I SAID ‘Got. Your. Nose.’ When I get your nose, everyone always asks ‘where is it?’ then I return it to you and we have a good laugh.

(THE CLOWN puts hands on hips.)

THE CLOWN: But no. You ignore me like Katya did to me at senior prom. So you know what? F–K YOU, BEEYOTCH! I DIDN’T EVEN WANT TO GRAB YOUR DAMN NOSE IN THE FIRST PLACE. You disgust me. I hope you go get spun like a plate.

– The Jumbas choose to spin some plates.


If Abraham Simpson were doing this task, he would be spinning turtles instead of plates.

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Ewwww. Michael is picking his nose!

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I am sure all of the clowns there wants to squeeze Mallory’s big ol’ nose.

– Oh my god. This is the most visually ridiculous scene in TAR in a long time. And they didn’t even have to do silly cross-dressing.

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Ah, we even get a band for this task! This is the strangest venue for a concert.

– I should note the music playing is the classic circus music.


Yeah. Like the music in Doink the Clown’s entrance in WWF.

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The depressed clown we saw earlier resorts to hypnotizing himself. Anything to cure his internal pain.

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That clown has awful hair.

– Jill & Thomas, Brook & Claire, Chad & Stephanie, and Nick & Vicki are all attempting to spin plates.

(JILL sucks at spinning a plate.)
THOMAS: Spin it! Spin it! Watch what they’re doing. You have to understand what they’re doing to get a lot of momentum.

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Thomas wants to pop his own eye out to avoid watching Jill’s poor technique.

– So much comedy is going on here. KevJumba is spinning his plate. While he is being filmed, a clown invades the frame.

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Guy Fawkes stands right behind KevJumba to catch the plate if it falls.

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Hey guys, what’d I miss?

You know what’s the craziest part about all of this? That guy may not even be a clown. He looks just like the Mexican or Irish FIFA superfans who attend World Cup matches. The wig, the facepaint, the specific colours, and the jerseys. We just have to wait for him to shout GOAAAAAAAL.

– Another plate tips for Jill.

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Poor Jill. If only she had access to Thomas’ educational resources. He had a keen enough teacher who helped him become an ‘A’ student in Advanced Plate Spinning & Narrow Objects 234A.

A six credit course, may I add.

KEVJUMBA: The whole circus tent was bizarre, and like, frantic and clowns dancing around and as we’re doing it we’re trying to spin our plates.

Not as bizarre as you think, Kev.


Just wait until next year when he joins the circus act. That’s when you know things are truly bizarre.

boogey tent

Or in TAR 21 where teams had an unaired Roadblock that required each person to come up with a winning strategy to defeat Boogey Tent from EarthBound, and their clue came in the form of Zombie Paper thanks to the local named Apple Kid.

orange kid

No thanks to Orange Kid. Orange Kid can’t do s–t.

– Brook & Claire make some progress.

CLAIRE: Watch your face.

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Geez, Claire. Brook got her face cut open by a car door. Wasn’t that enough to make you two even?

– Chad coaches Stephanie how to do it.

CHAD: Stick it in there. Start spinnin’ it. Yeah. Throw it around.
(Plate falls.)
CHAD: Lightly, Stephanie. You like flung it!

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Every argument is funnier in a clown outfit.

– We get to learn a fun story about Nick’s childhood.

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This clown is also intrigued to hear all about it.

NICK: My grandma had a clown room growing up that we all had to sleep in as kids. So when you woke up at night time, you’d see a clown face on the wall to scare the crap out of you. Me and my brothers just don’t like clowns.

russia nick decarlo

In other words. . .


Nick had the same childhood as Bart Simpson growing up.

james clement

Perhaps Nick should take a trip to Louisiana and share stories with James. If Nick and James recorded an audiobook about their respective childhoods growing up, I would definitely rent it from the library in a second.

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And is that a gramophone in the background while Nick & Vicki are doing their confessionals for this round? I’m sorry, but that is just a cruel joke from producers.

john jessica

That would be like having a surfboard behind Jessica & Anders when they do their confessionals in round four of TAR 22.

NICK (to the clown behind him): Just don’t touch me.

– Outside the wild circus act continues.

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Now the bear is riding on a bicycle behind a clown; all while a hybrid of Danny DeVito and James Gandolfini is playing a flute.

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This needs to be used on Russia’s travel brochures.

– Back to the race. Nat & Kat are practicing the song on the accordion.  They decide to come up with a numeric code by translating music into numbers. They assign each movement they make to a number, and number the movement on their fingers.

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In other words, Nat & Kat successfully approached music by converting it into a boring mathematical science. Which shouldn’t surprise anyone if they knew they were anaesthesiologists for a living.

– Gary & Mallory are also playing the accordion. Mallory explains she is musical, and she has a good memory for tone and has the tune in her head. She knows when she is playing a wrong note.

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Gary is, uh, not musical.

– The Jumbas reach nine plates a few times. They are extremely close but they repeatedly choke. Chad & Stephanie are getting nowhere. The clowns are all excited with the Jumbas’ progress.

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If Kev started doing this in his own YouTube videos, maybe he wouldn’t need his dad to boost views.

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Holy crap, clown. It’s not like the plate falling contains the Elixir of Life.

eric jeremy plates

If the clown was horrified by the number of plates breaking in the circus, she would faint and collapse if she witnessed what Eric & Jeremy did after obtaining the Fast Forward in Greece.

socal potatoes

I think the way that teams have a disregard for Russian plates is a big slap in the face to their culture. In fact, this is just as controversial as Tyler & Laura spitting on potatoes in TAR 26.

By spitting on a potato, or breaking a plate, you are disrespecting the Peruvian and Russian cultures respectively. We need to protest this and we need to protest this now.

Nevermind. Somebody is way ahead of me here.

st petersburg kevjumba 9

Speaking of potatoes, remember in last week’s blog when teams had to plant potatoes in St. Petersburg, and they fertilized the potatoes with cow manure as well as the babushkas encouraging racers to spit in their own hands?

I wonder why there wasn’t a protest launched because of that incident specifically.


Because in Soviet Russia, potatoes spit on YOU!

That’s right. Why do we need a protest when potatoes can spit back into our faces in Soviet Russia? The words of Western potatoes can only do so much. Mr. Potato Head and his crew can actually get the job done in the Eastern Bloc. Beware, babushkas.

– We head back outside. The absurd visuals do not end.

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Is the bear being bottle fed?

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Yes, Danny DeVito is bottle feeding a bear on The Amazing Race.


At least the coca cola bear is independent enough that he can drink the bottle all by himself.

– Nat & Kat and Gary & Mallory are less excited that thy need to play a second verse. And an ending on top of that.

MALLORY: You have to learn both of ’em? Oh my gosh.

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“When I said I was musical, I meant during the Miss Kentucky Pageant that I could put my fingers in martini glasses to make music like Sandra Bullock. Not play a whole f–king Russian song on an accordion.”

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Mallory. Please never change nor ever get botox. Your facial reactions alone contribute ten percent of the fun to this season.

– Jill & Thomas are too frantic and decide to switch. Particularly because the two tasks are just a doorway apart.

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Much like TAR 4’s Valentine’s Day riddle, Jill & Thomas are wearing White + White.

– Do you know the expression “the gloves come off” when things start getting real?

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Well, in circus lingo we refer to it as “the noses come off”. Jill is in the zone.

– Thomas thinks it will be their cup of tea.

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“Be very quiet. I’m hunting white wabbits.”

– So Thomas starts playing and the stalking clown begins dancing behind him.

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The stalking clown is feelin’ that beat.

– Vicki tells Nick to stop yelling.

NICK: Put it up there! Put it up there! C’mon. Are you kidding me, dude?
VICKI: Babe, okay.
NICK: Dumbass.

This is the part where Vicki needs another asthma attack for Nick to change his tone and be sympathetic towards her faults.

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“Can’t sleep. Clown will eat me.”

– Brook says there is no challenge her and Claire cannot overcome if we just focus on the task at hand.

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Brook even mimes the barrier they put up to block out all other distractions. Claire looks like she is wearing a leotard that is covered by her shirt. In fact, those black purple straps underneath her shirt look a lot like Bret Hart’s leotard.

bret hart

“I own the best leotard there is, the best leotard there ever was, and the best leotard there ever will be!

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Brook signals they are number one as they spin the plates.

– It ain’t no coincidence as Brook & Claire put their hands in the air.

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Brook & Claire even bring the clowns into their over-the-top celebration.

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Although Claire’s spinning hug with Nat’s cousin is making her a bit dizzy. Now Claire knows what it is like to be a plate.

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The clown behind Brook is starting to freak me out a little.

– Claire reads the clue.

CLAIRE: It’s time to solve a Russian mystery.

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Additional Route Info: Adopt these three clowns and take them with you on your journey for the rest of this leg.

– Teams must figure out they are looking for Bank Bridge. It is the canal bridge guarded by golden winged creatures.

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Why does the one creature look horrified? Did he sleep in a room with  clowns growing up too?

On this bridge is where teams will find their next clue.

– As Brook & Claire try to leave, the clown that Brook just posed with is not quite done yet.

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He gets his hand right in there. Honk honk! Right on the nose. Brook is not too impressed.

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“You have betrayed me once again, Mr. Hand! The ringmaster told us if there was one more sexual harassment case and we’d be off the troop! Bad Mr. Hand! Very bad!

– None of the other clowns notice and bid farewell to the team in pink.

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While the maestro got producers in trouble because he hated the teams just a little too much on the previous leg, the clown got producers in trouble because he liked the teams just a little too much on this leg.

– All uncomfortable jokes aside, Brook & Claire have fun in a confessional.

BROOK: Don’t we look like plate spinners to you? Plate spinning is second nature to us.
CLAIRE: We do that in our free time.

– We return to the wonderful outdoors. Yes, Danny DeVito and the bear are still having a great time.

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Geez. Clowns love squeezing the noses of females on this leg. Mallory, Brook, and now Kat. And judging by Nat, she will not accept being the next victim in line.

I wish one of the racers would have told the clowns “hey, my accordion is down here”.

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Is this clown auditioning for the role of Bane in Dark Knight Rises?

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He is using BOTH hands?! I for one am disgusted.

–  Nat & Kat describe how they painted by numbers but with accordions as their numbered finger strategy continues.

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Big shoutout to the dude in the triangular guitar. This guy is a real treat for the racers.

– Nat & Kat complete the task. They are currently in second place.

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The troop celebrates.

– Funny boing sound effects and other goofy ones are played as Gary & Mallory and Jill & Thomas practice some more.

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The guy who balances things on his nose steps up his game by balancing a top hat.

You know what would be hilarious? If teams were quizzed on whether this hat appeared at some point during The Amazing Race. This hat appeared for only half a second, but a true superfan would remember this silly clown as he successfully balanced this hat on his nose.

– Gary complains that his new red nose was too big to the extent that he could not look down to see the keys on his accordion.

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At least it would also be too big for him to look down and be reminded of his bruised testicles since the Roadblock in Norway.

– Jill & Thomas celebrate completing the first verse. Now they are taught the second verse which catches Thomas off guard.

THOMAS: We’re doing another one? We have to do both of these???? Aw, dammit. I can’t get this one. Awe, dude.
(We cut to a new clown who is unhappy with Thomas’ discouraging words.)

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So sad. ;_;

– Inside, Chad’s plate falls.

CHAD: I’m done. I don’t think I’m gentle enough. This is stupid.

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As I said before, frustrated individuals are funny if they are stuck wearing big red clown noses.

– Chad & Stephanie run outside and choose a pair of accordions. How do I know it is 2010?

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CHAD: It’s just like Guitar Hero.

Yes. A Guitar Hero reference when Chad is playing an accordion. I think Chad has as much of a lack of music experience as I do. No matter what instrument I saw someone try to learn during high school, my first thought always was “it’s just like guitar hero”.

Just convert a Russian folk anthem into Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water and you’ll breeze through this task in no time.

For people like Chad and I, playing the guitar in Guitar Hero is the closest we will ever have to success in the music industry.


Well, other than the time Chad and I created our own rap duo in Def Jam Superstar.

– Vicki screams at the top of her lungs as Nick & Vicki successfully spin all ten plates for ten seconds. Holy crap. They are currently in third.

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Although I think the clown is more excited than Vicki or Nick is about completing the task.

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She can’t even help herself when it comes to hugging Vicki.

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Why are the clowns looking over Nick & Vicki’s shoulders to see the clue? They already read it when Brook & Claire finished the task. Is it really that exciting to see the same clue twice?

– Jill wants to start over their accordion song from the beginning as Nick & Vicki re-enter the taxi. We assume it’s not a hobo cab.

– Thomas has already forgotten the first song. Jill completes the first two songs, and now there is a new tune. Thomas confirms there is a third tune.

THOMAS: Is this a third song? You’re telling me there is a third one? We have to do all three in a row? Dude, seriously? This is crazy, Jill.

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“Three songs? No continues?”

The instructor has a great reaction to Thomas’ shock of having to do all three tunes in a row.

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“If you keep acting like that, I’ll make it four you American.”

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“Trust me kid, you don’t want to test him. When I tried playing the accordion and got mad, he glued this silly red fedora to my head. I haven’t been able to remove it ever since. Be right back, just gotta get some cannoli.”

– Gary & Mallory keep playing the accordion. Gary tries to copy Mallory to get a feel for how to play the instrument properly.

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And why does Gary have a Pacman nose? Why couldn’t he have a regular clown nose like everyone else?

MALLORY: That was fun too. Playing a song together.

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Although I think Mallory’s fingers bled in the process. Every duet has its price.

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Just don’t look down, Mallory.

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At least the judge for the task seems far friendlier than the maestro, and a lot less eccentric than the clowns indoors.

I should note that there is a mural of a mouse using a piece of cheese as a guitar to his right.

– The Jumbas are closing in on perfecting the plate spinning task.

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The plate can also be. . .a hat!

– The Jumbas complete the task. For some reason the clowns are not acting as goofy as they usually are when other teams finish the Detour.

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Except for the part where KevJumba leads the troop in dancing to the Y-M-C-A.

– Jumbas enter a taxi and away they go.

– A split screen takes us back to the heart of St. Petersburg.

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Brook & Claire shove the RFF tourist to the side of the bridge as they claim their next clue. Mystery solved. . .right?

Phil informs us that teams must travel on foot to the historic building known as the 1 Vladimirskiy Prospekt Tower.

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As opposed to the 2 Vladimirskiy Prospekt Tower. It can go to hell.

But seriously, prospekt means prospect. If I am correct on that assumption, then my Russian is better than I thought.

– Teams are allowed to ask locals for help, but they CANNOT pay a taxi to lead them. Then only a maximum of two team members at a time can climb up the tower.

Once at the top, they must figure out that an object sitting on the ledge is giving them a clue to a famous building.

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And in the words of Snoop Dogg, what is this building’s “motherf–king name?”

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The Church On Spilled Blood? Did city council go out of its way to give it an unsettling name?

I guess it’s better than the park across the street being referred to as “The Park On Rat Feces”.

And why do all churches in St. Petersburg directly position themselves next to parks? It looks like the exact same setup and park design as the previous round’s pit stop.

– Once they walk on foot to the Church on Spilled Blood, they will find their next clue.

– And there we have it. This is indeed another case of two full legs occurring in one city. I know it is a budget saver, and production may very well think they have two interesting rounds of play on their hands, but I think many people will agree with me that this comes off as lazy.

Believe it or not, the man responsible for creating this cost-saving measure in TAR 13 reached out to me. I was surprised that he was reading this blog and spoke to me about the details surrounding this in meetings with producers and CBS, but I can assure you this was the real deal.

I mean, the guy was so convincing. He even apologized to me for making this become a long standing trend in the TAR universe.

Luckily, I am allowed to tell you who came up with this idea. Are you ready to find out? Well, it was. . .
brian williams

Brian Williams. Brian Williams himself stated that he was the one who created the idea for condensing two legs in the same city on The Amazing Race. It saves money, shortens the filming schedule, and helps with overall logistics.

Brian Williams really can do everything. Gangsta rap is just one of his talents.

– BROOK: We’ve gotta boogie.


– Nat & Kat are second to the clue box. I don’t know why the clue says ‘The Mystery Continues’. This is just a routine procedure of finding the next clue.

– The Jumbas are third to the clue box. Michael gives KevJumba some advice.

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I’d rather not get into how Michael pronounced the word ‘carefully’. You’ll have a good idea if you have seen the TAR 26 premiere.

Did editors really need to show this in the episode? It’s just not the type of comedy that TAR should strive for at any point. I hope the only reason this dialogue is left in the episode is because it is very relevant to what happens to Michael & Kevin very soon. -_-

– What is Michael’s other piece of valuable advice?

russia kevjumba michael wu 5

I don’t know what’s wrong with Michael. Hasn’t he caught on that even though he is right ninety percent of the time, Kevin will refuse to listen? It is a tradition here in TAR 17.

You would think Michael would just give up on teaching Kevin lessons that will ultimately fall on deaf ears.

– KevJumba reunites with the cab driver.

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“So you’re taking us to the next route marker, right?”

Yep. Kevin asks the taxi driver to lead them to the next clue. He drives and the Jumbas will run behind.

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They haven’t even left the bridge and KevJumba has missed several words.

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At least Papa Jumba is having an easier time running in St. Petersburg than he was in Ghana.

– Gary & Mallory have the clue in fifth place.

– We cut back to Chad & Stephanie who are still learning the accordion. They pick up the tune quickly by coming up with a sequence system, but it is difficult nonetheless.

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I am certain this is clown language for taunting Chad.

– Thomas is having an impossible time with it. He describes it as a nightmare and losing his mind. Thank goodness he didn’t apply to be an accordion player during his days in the Notre Dame Musical Band.

whiplash clown

“Were you rushing or were you dragging, Thomas?”

– Thomas is not getting it at all. We get a strange ‘boing’ sound effect and a creepy clown chuckle as we head to commercial break.

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HOLY CRAP. This is the last image we see for a split second before the commercial break. Are editors intentionally attempting to creep out the audience?  I am freaking out. This clown came out of absolutely nowhere.

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Yeah, this is even more uncomfortably shocking image than the awkward face Ray made heading into the commercial break of TAR 7 during the first Botswana leg.

– Commercial break. We resume.

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Oh my god. They’re still dancing. This is a prime example of why nobody should take The Amazing Race seriously. Why do you need to put the show in such a high regard when editors try as hard as possible to make it a Comedy Variety Hour?

I wish we could have a season where the troop of 22 clowns divide into 11 teams of 2 and have their own race around the world.

And yeah, I think Danny DeVito and the Bear are the frontrunners to take the million dollar prize.

– Jill & Thomas decide to switch back to the plates.

THOMAS: We’re screwed. There is just too much to learn.

Who knew Thomas would be the team member who would suck at learning something. Isn’t his ability to learn all he ever talks about?

– Jill & Thomas re-enter the big top. I am guessing the place is cleared out.

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Juggling bowling pins, jumping through hula hoops, and body contortionism is the equivalent of playing catch in the backyard for clowns. I love how casual they are about it when none of the teams are present.

–  Jill & Thomas hug it out. Jill is less than enthusiastic.

– Stephanie knew the accordion task would be better because she is musically talented. Chad was aware that going into it he would be “the straggler”.

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He is about as good at playing an accordion as he is bartering with a young girl.

– Chad & Stephanie are approved. They high five and run out of the circus.

CHAD: We should start a band!

That’s not a concert anybody wants to attend.

– Chad & Stephanie hail a cab. Chad tries to mime they want to go to the bridge with the creatures that have wings.

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Yes, Chad goes all ‘angels in the outfield’ to try and communicate with the taxi driver.

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christopher lloyd

Unfortunately for Chad, the taxi driver HATES Christopher Lloyd.

– Stephanie is impressed and proud of Chad being able to complete the task.

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Smiles all around.

CHAD: Even with my sausage fingers getting in the way.

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Stephanie is not happy that Chad showed his little sausage on TV.

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Join the club, Chad.

– Brook & Claire find the canal. They meet a local who shows them the way to the Prospekt Tower.

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Good ol’ Russian Prospektor.

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Who looks like a Russian version of Don Cherry. Older Canadian men really ought to make the leap from goatees to full beards.

– The audience gets thrown a curveball as the prospektor speaks English in a very Fleur Delacoeur manner by saying “Thatz zeet ower” in a high tone.

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AH! Product placement. Somebody beat Scotiabank in TAR Canada 2 to the punch.

– The prospektor leads Brook & Claire to the correct location. It is time for his reward.

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Brook & Claire high five as the kiss count reaches nine.

The guy in the right hand corner creepily watches from the sidelines.

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And this woman! Things just got a lot more interesting.

But you know who enjoyed it the most?

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This guy!

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See, Marshall and Lance? If you just  kissed some of the locals to create your own kiss count, you would discover that St. Petersburg is a far less miserable city, and people would help you.

– BROOK: Look at every marked doorway.

Sure enough, Brook & Claire run by the marked doorway.

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“I’m lonely.”

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– Nick & Vicki see Nat & Kat and meet up with them.

NICK: You guys left first, huh?

Yet another incorrect observation by Nick or Vicki.

Come to think of it, Nick & Vicki have not been shown interacting with either Nat & Kat or Brook & Claire in any of the first seven legs.

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Proof that there was a time in The Amazing Race history where Nick & Vicki and Nat & Kat had a working relationship.

– The Jumbas continue to follow behind their taxi. Michael asks Kevin if the taxi driver is leading them in the right direction.

– Gary & Mallory are trying to find Prospekt Tower too. Mallory has become extremely stressed.

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Geez, Mallory looks like she is about to vomit on the streets of St. Petersburg if nobody helps her soon.

And yes, she does beg for help quietly to herself in the usual cartoonish voice.

– We cut back to the circus for the final time. Jill & Thomas are briefly shown spinning the plates.

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Why isn’t Jill wearing her clown nose? That is disrespectful to the troop. I believe a 30 minute penalty should be assessed immediately!

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Thomas’ intensity is all that was required to complete this task.

– The clowns read the clue with Jill & Thomas.

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Can Thomas even read the clue with his clown nose on?


Now we know what it would be like for Jimmy Durante to be on The Amazing Race.

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The Nat Clown Clone attempts to give Thomas a back massage.

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Thomas’ #1 fan.

– Jill is frustrated that they are dead last as they enter a taxi. This is the first time all season where they have truly needed their Express Pass. Too bad they wasted it earlier.

– Nat assumes they and Nick & Vicki are the top two teams in this leg, therefore they will help each other out. We cut to a confessional from Nick & Vicki.

NICK: Nat & Kat are the strongest team in this whole entire race.
VICKI: They’re very smart and they’re very athletic.

An all-female team being considered the strongest in an American season of TAR? How is that possible?

– Kat spots the doorway. Nick compliments her eye. It is an indirect Roadblock as Kat and Nick climb up the tower.

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It looks like a game of Whack-A-Kat as she heads into the attic. One more ladder to go.

– Nick and Kat are now on top.

KAT: If you’re keen, the view will reveal the location of the clue.

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Kat is on a mission.

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She has the same number of lens to use as Brandon did during the Filipino flag task in TAR 5.

And I guess Kat’s binoculars wouldn’t be called binoculars if there is just one lens–it would just be monoculars.

– Kat and Nick try to decipher the hint. Nick thinks it means the location will be far away.

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Lenny would be hopeless at this task.

NICK: Maybe we’re overlooking it. Maybe we’re overthinking this.

I don’t know if Nick corrected himself realizing ‘overlooking’ is the wrong expression, or if he did intend to use both words separately.

– Kat does eventually find something using her lens.

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From Russia, With SoCal Love. Why is he on a rooftop in St. Petersburg?

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Editors love making fun of teams in hindsight.

– Jumbas initially don’t see it, but the driver repeatedly points at the doorway until the Jumbas clue in. They join Nat and Vicki. Because of the two-person limit, the Jumbas are stuck waiting.

– Brook & Claire see the doorway, and note the Jumbas’ taxi. They chat with the Jumbas.

KEVJUMBA: Yeah, Big C!

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Kevin has never had such a power image all season long. I mean, who refers to Claire as ‘Big C’?

KEVJUMBA: You guys were carrying your bags?
BROOK: Yeah. You’re supposed to leave your cab and walk.

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“Would you ladies excuse me for a moment?”

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– Kat keeps searching. Nick provides more wisdom as he states it has to be something obvious.

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More obvious than graffiti that says ‘DS13’ next to a picture of the guy from Scream.

– You’re not going to believe this, but Nick catches on to the trick of this task before Kat.

NICK: Look how dumb we are.

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Nat & Kat are such a strong team that Nick solves a mentally challenging task before they do.

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I love how Kat has to verify it for herself rather than trust Nick’s answer.

– Nick comes up for the perfect cover when teams ask them what they saw.

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Perfect. Please let someone be outwitted by Nick motherf–king DeCarlo.

– Teams ask Nick what they saw.

KEVJUMBA: What’d you guys find up there?
NICK: We found something that said ‘Take Your Chances–DS13’.
(NICK and KAT exit.)
KEVJUMBA (to CLAIRE): I don’t think Nick would lie to us because he’s awesome, but let’s check anyways.

Awesome? More like an awesome LIAR!

– KevJumba and Claire scan the city.

KEVJUMBA: Do you want to go to DS13 or do you think they were messing with us?

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Yes, Kevin. Please ask your taxi driver to lead you to DS13 to not only incur another penalty, but waste hours and hours of your time in the process.

– Chad & Stephanie are shown as being currently in last place when they reach the canal bridge route marker. For some reason Jill & Thomas are ahead despite not being shown. We then see Jill & Thomas running on the streets to find the tower.

I guess Chad & Stephanie had a bad taxi driver to lose their lead over Jill & Thomas. They are probably more than happy to abandon him for these next two route markers.

– Nat & Kat and Nick & Vicki re-read their clue.

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If only Kevin was within earshot to hear this crucial piece of information.

– Jill & Thomas see Gary & Mallory on the street. Mallory proposes that they work together. Since nobody can turn down Mallory, the two teams search for the tower together. A curious strategy when both teams are at the bottom, but hey, they’re desperate.

– We cut back to Kevin and Claire scanning the city’s skyline.

CLAIRE: I just don’t see anything out of the ordinary.
KEV: I hope it’s not something obvious.

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Something obvious.

– Claire identifies the object seconds later.

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Just another case of Kevin not catching on to a visual piece of information. Kev expresses his shock over not seeing the replica earlier.

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Probably the same reason why you didn’t see “YOUR TAXI CANNOT LEAD YOU” in your clue, Kevin.

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You think Nick may have lied to you, Kevin? You should “take your chances” and not trust him.

– Brook & Claire and the Jumbas decide to work together. They also enter taxis. Ouch. Brook & Claire are breaking the same rule with the Jumbas. That is not good.

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To be fair, spending all morning with overly excited clowns will wear out anyone, and cause them to make silly mistakes they normally would not make in the first place.

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Hopefully this blunder does not go viral.

– Mallory and Thomas head up the ladder together at Prospekt Tower. The blunder music plays as they do not see the replica.

– Chad & Stephanie receive directions from a lady on the street.

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Am I the only one amused by the girl who looks like she is yelling on the bus stop’s poster?

– Thomas sees the replica, and grabs the object. He is behind Mallory.

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– Thomas hits Mallory in the head with the replica, and knocks her out unconscious.

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Thomas checks for witnesses and proceeds to head back down the ladder. The perfect crime.

Thomas exits with Jill, and informs Gary that Mallory is still looking for the route marker.

Hours and hours pass by. The camera operator with Mallory has no choice but to continue filming this scene due to the twenty foot rule. Gary sighs, knowing he is infringing upon the rules, and sees Mallory laying in her own pool of blood.

Thus, the true Russian crime mystery for this leg has begun. And the camera operator is the prime suspect.

– In all seriousness, Thomas and Mallory exit the tower together when Thomas finds the replica. Thomas grabs a bottle of water and is sweating. They celebrate seeing Chad & Stephanie on the street, knowing this means they are not in last place.

– Nick & Vicki and Nat & Kat arrive at the Church On Spilled Blood.

NICK: That right there. That’s the model. That big son of a bitch.

“That big son of a bitch” is probably a more appealing name than “On Spilled Blood”.

– They read the following route info: “Where Am I? Peter the Great is buried inside me.”

jackie ibarra

Yes, this was who Peter the Great was dating before he went on blind dates.

– Phil clears up the route info by stating teams will figure out the riddle is leading them to Peter and Paul Fortress.

– Nat & Kat and Nick & Vicki ask various locals, but nobody knows where Peter the Great was buried.

– Nick sees the Jumbas and Brook & Claire driving up in a taxi. He notes they will be penalized. Kevin confronts Nick.

KEVIN: Did you guys lie to us?
NICK: I do? We’re right here looking.
VICKI: We’re right here looking.
KEVIN: They lied to us.
BROOK: They lied to us again?
KEVIN: They lied to us again.
BROOK: Oh my god!

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“Come at me, bro.”

NICK (to camera): They asked us if we were lying to them about something, so I don’t know.

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“All I know is they took a taxi here and they’re going to be out, anyway.”

– Jumbas and Brook & Claire now have their clue. All four teams seek where Peter the Great is buried. Kevin asks his taxi driver.

KEVJUMBA: He is really smart.

If only Kevin was bright enough to show his driver his clue.

– Nat & Kat and Nick & Vicki realize they are allowed to use their taxis to find Peter the Great’s burial site. Kevin thinks it is a race for first and second between him and Nick & Vicki. Kevin wants to beat those dirty stinking liars.

– Chad & Stephanie are last to the tower. They suffer the disadvantage of doing this task in last because there are an odd number of teams this leg. Stephanie is climbing up the tower.

CHAD (breathing heavy): Right now Stephanie is trying to find our next clue. I’m trying more and more letting her make decisions, and do things without me.

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“And that ladder had at least a dozen rungs.  Really high. Time to literally step up, Steph!”

– Stephanie is stumped.

– Nick & Vicki search for a taxi.

NICK: Taxi! (taxi goes by) Dumbass.

That had to be an audio cut because we don’t even see Nick’s face when he says this word. It made zero sense for Nick to yell ‘dumbass’ in the middle of the street.  It’s just editors trying to make Nick a bit more rude than he really is.

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Red Foreman is probably the only guy who would go on The Amazing Race and start shouting that word at everybody he encounters.

– Nat & Kat find their original cab. He knows where to go.

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Brook & Claire may have a kiss count, but Nat & Kat have a ‘pat your driver on the shoulder’ count.

– Multiple drivers reject Nick & Vicki. Nick explains that this is all Vicki’s idea.

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NICK: This is Vicki’s idea. Brilliant Vicki idea. Get off a main road to go in a ditch. Ridiculous. Who in their right mind would go off the main street?

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Better than being called a dumbass, I guess.

– Claire reads the complete route info of the previous clue. She catches on to her error.

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Brook cringes. This ain’t good. Andie & Jenna will catch up before they know it.

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There is no time to waste. Sadly, he cannot be tenth on the kiss count.

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Although I think he wasn’t going to be the tenth person kissed, anyway.

– Kevin wonders where Brook & Claire’s taxi went to as he does not see it on the road.

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Those dang social media kids of today. They cannot read route infos that are longer than 140 characters.

KEVIN: I guess they decided to go their own way, and veer off.
BROOK: If Kevin and Michael are ahead of us, they’re going to be penalized. . .that sucks.

– Commercial break. We resume. Music picks up. Brook says it would have been too difficult to help the Jumbas without putting themselves at risk for elimination.

– We cut to Stephanie back at the tower.

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Doing what KevJumba should have done a long time ago. Read through the clue.

– Stephanie decides to go down. She gives up.

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STEPHANIE: I can’t find crap.

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Which was a much easier thing to do last round given that Stephanie played with cow crap during the Roadblock.

– Stephanie is having too difficult of a time handling the patience aspect of the task.

– Brook & Claire are dropped off at the beginning and start hustling on the street.

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This is indeed their Cirie-like “Back across the ocean” moment of the week.

– Chad sees the replica almost instantly.

CHAD: Stephanie! It was right in front of your freakin’ face. A little figurine!
STEPHANIE: I love it when he rubs it in.

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Peter the Great may be buried inside of the Peter and Paul Fortress, but I’ve got a feeling Chad the Great won’t be burying himself inside of anywhere during this round’s pit stop.

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In the words of Rebecca from TAR 6, “don’t send a woman to do a man’s job”. . .which in this case entails scanning a tower to find a figurine. Such a man’s job. The epitome of male masculinity, really. Tim the Toolman Taylor would be all over that s–t.

Also, why the heck does the tower have so much graffiti?

– Oh, and Chad brags about how easy it was for him to find the church as he and Stephanie ride in the taxi.

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Chad is laughing at her.

romania kisha jen

And so are Kisha & Jen. Classic.

– Nat & Kat are first to find the monument. It’s a Roadblock.

ROADBLOCK HINT: Between the two of you, who is the real player?

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If Connor & Jonathan reached this Roadblock, they would have to quit this race because neither of them meet the task’s criteria.

– Kat nominates herself as the real player.

KAT: Master a centuries old Russian game to receive your next clue.

And what is that game? Phil explains.

PHIL: Americans love their bowling. . .

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PHIL: . . .But here in St. Petersburg, everyone from Peter the Great to Joseph Stalin played a more difficult Russian version of the game that could take the teams quite a bit of time to master.

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Looks like Phil has played a few rounds of it himself.

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Stop putting yourself on a pedestal, Keoghan. Somebody ought to take him down a peg.

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“Take this!”

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Kiwi down! Kiwi down!

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If this were America’s Funniest Home Videos, it would have been thrown at his groin.

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Thankfully he recovered.

– This is the great game of Gorodki. Using a wooden bat, teams have two tries to clear all of the pins before they reset just like American bowling. If they succeed, they can move on to another pin formation. Once they complete all three pin formations, the Gorodki coach will give them their next clue.

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Who apparently is about eighteen or nineteen years old.

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Leave it to the Russians to take the concept of a light-hearted sport like bowling and turn it into a nasty and violent game.

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I’d hate to be the guy who is paid to put the wooden pins together after every two tosses.

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“I spent five minutes putting this design together.”

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“What have you done to my beautiful work!”

– Kat passes her first formation.

– Nick & Vicki finally find a taxi. Nick is not done with criticizing Vicki’s decision.

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Yeah, Vicki. Fourth graders would deduce that not deviating from the main street to hail a taxi would be the correct move.

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And don’t even get Nick started on the expertise of fifth graders in this situation.

– Jill & Thomas and Gary & Mallory find the church. Thomas asks a local to find Peter the Great’s burial site. The local does not know.

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But we do get an extreme close-up of her. . .for some reason.

– Brook & Claire make it on foot to the church, and re-hire a cab after correcting their mistake.

CLAIRE: Now we’ve followed the rules.

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Following the rules?

jenn joe hali

“That’s overrated! We break the rules!”

– Gary & Mallory and Jill & Thomas successfully receive directions from a local. Thomas applauds the helpful local in an exaggerated manner.

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Thomas has seen way too much sun today. His face is red and his hair is a mess.

– Kat knocks down the second formation. She is a Gorodki natural.

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I love how Coca Cola partners up with the local Gorodki leagues. You tend to forget that marketing occurs on a global scale. It’s everywhere.

– Kevin & Michael are second to the Roadblock. They run by a woman in a wedding gown.

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With the Jumbas currently in second yet again this season, it is safe to say they are the bridesmaid but never the bride.

– Michael is the real player and is doing the Roadblock.

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He’s ready to do some work.

– Michael throws the stick without much strength. KevJumba insists that he must throw it harder.

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Michael feels bad for letting the team down.

– Brook & Claire show up. Bammer is the real player. She misses on both tosses. Claire and Kevin acknowledge the game is not as easy as it looks.

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Kat’s toss is high and outside.

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Michael throws a slider with a submarine toss like he was Dennis Eckersley.

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And it does nothing.

– KEVJUMBA: I wish I would have done this, but I’ve already done four Roadblocks and my dad has only done two. I didn’t think it would be that hard.

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“If only my dad was as amazing as me, and would stop hugging himself.”

– Kat gets the job done. Kevin notes Kat is done. Nat & Kat read that they must make their way inside of the Peter and Paul Fortress, and search for the bastion.

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Which, if my calculations are correct, is situated next to the battlement.

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Last team to arrive. . .will be shot at with this artillery weapon.

– Chad & Stephanie are last to the church.

STEPHANIE: I see it I see it.
CHAD: Look at you go, girl.

Personally I have never said the words ‘you go girl’ to anyone I have dated, but hey, that’s probably why I was not cast with any of my exes for The Amazing Race Canada.

– Chad & Stephanie read the clue, and the audience gets to finally see one as well.

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Due to lack of time, they cut out the verbal mention of Dostoyevsky being imprisoned there.

Yes, he is indeed the fellow who wrote Crime and Punishment. A personal favourite of mine. Especially trying to pronounce all of the names used throughout the novel. If there was a TAR Russia, the subtitles for each team’s name would take up the whole screen. Hashtagged team nicknames would be critical.

– Chad & Stephanie get into a taxi and head to the fortress. Jill & Thomas have their bags and enter a taxi. Then Gary & Mallory. Suddenly Chad & Stephanie aren’t last anymore.

– Nat & Kat are in the fortress and run up the bastion to the pt stop.

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Or maybe a bastion is synonymous with a staircase.

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Just some routine maintenance work. Hopefully the power is shut off.

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“What do you think?”

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The pit stop greeter is more than happy to welcome Nat & Kat to the fortress.

– Nat & Kat expect to hear some good news from Phil.

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“C’moooon. Say it, Philll.”

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It’s so obvious that he doesn’t even need to raise an eyebrow.

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Thank the heavens for winning three out of the past four rounds.

– Phil informs them that they have also won five thousand dollars EACH.

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Now THAT is something they weren’t expecting to hear.

– Phil asks if they have created a target for themselves. Kat explains that they fear that not going all out means they will be eliminated. Nat adds it is too late to remove the target.

– Kevin is confident his dad will be able to complete the Roadblock. We presume it is not supposed to be a sarcastic remark from Kevin

– Brook clears the first formation. She celebrates. I am amazed at the level of energy Brook possesses at all times throughout the race.


Similar to the constant flow of energy Shady possesses during his CXVPHER rap.

– Michael is losing faith in his ability to complete this Roadblock.

MICHAEL: I can’t do it Kevin.
KEVIN: You can do it. I promise you you can do it. You just gotta hit em.

rob schneider

“You can do it! You can play Gorodki all night long.”

– Claire comments how well Brook is doing as she has already knocked out her first formation.

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Although I think Brook is confused as to which sport she is playing.

CLAIRE: She even has a fan base going.

Claire acknowledges the crowd.

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It is the Brook Roberts Half Time Show.

CLAIRE: This is the jam right there, Bammer.

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Or as I like to say, “A Jammer for Bammer”.

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The crowd goes wild.

– Bammer’s jammer is just getting started.

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Oh my god, is Brook. . .?

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TWERK ALERT! TWERK ALERT! Brook is the first person to twerk on The Amazing Race.

Before Miley Cyrus but well after Ying Yang Twins, Brook fits halfway into the American twerking timeline.

I think Brook may be the first person to introduce twerking to the people of St. Petersburg. No wonder Russia disapproves of Western culture. All they’ve exported is Coca Cola, blue jeans, and now twerking.

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I can safely assume a game of Gorodki has never had a twerking intermission before.

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Give it a rest, Margie. We know you firmly believe twerking is not approved for primetime television. I’ve read your letters.

Brook admits aloud to herself at this moment, she is a “crazy American girl”.

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I love how the Gorodki Caddy has to pretend like nothing happened. Just like French Born Aurelia, they probably don’t even have a word for twerking in the local language.

– And then Michael Jumba starts twerking! What the hell is happening here?! He is really getting into it.



Just kidding.

– Claire observes Michael still working on the first formation. Brook blasts through the second formation.

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That is a high freakin’ kick.

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I doubt Lance can even kick that high.

– Michael misses another toss.

KEVIN: Dad. Please. Damn.

– Michael winds up for another toss.

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– If only KevJumba was the Gorodki pins. At least he actually falls down after each time Michael makes a toss.

– Brook clears her final formation.

russia brook roberts 9


vega street fighter

I never thought Vega and Brook Roberts would share the same victory pose.

– Brook compliments her coach for teaching her well. She and Claire run to get their bags from the cab.

– Kevin hopes to be done the Roadblock before another team shows up, or  they might be out.

– The camera crew fights to keep up as Nick & Vicki and Chad & Stephanie are at the Gorodki Alley.

VICKI: Between the two of you, who is the real player?
NICK: Uhhhh. Me?

russia nick vicki 6

Real players don’t question their player status, Nick.

STEPHANIE: Between the two of you, who is the real player?
(STEPHANIE laughs.)

russia chad stephanie 9

Perhaps because the answer Stephanie had in mind is “neither”.

too short

In other words, Chad cannot be compared to Too $hort.

– Chad trusts Stephanie to do the Roadblock. Kevin does not look comfortable as Nick and Stephanie begin the task.

KEVIN: I am begging you to finish this.

– Vicki comments on making Nick do the Roadblock.

VICKI: I’m so happy Nick is doing this one. He can take out his aggression on this.

russia vicki casciola 3

“Rather than take his aggression out on me.”

– Nick clears the first formation.

NICK: I got em on the first toss. I’m on the second part. Everybody is still on their first.

russia nick decarlo 8

“I’m already as awesome at Gorodki in two minutes as I am at dirtbiking over the past twenty years.”

– Michael misses the first formation yet again and laughs.

KEVIN: I don’t think this is funny.
MICHAEL: I don’t think this is funny either.
KEVIN: We’re going to be last because of this.

russia kevjumba 11

Actually you’re going to be last for reasons that have nothing to do with your father’s Roadblock performance, Kevin.

– Jill & Thomas are sixth to the Roadblock task. Thomas is adamant to do this task. We cut to Stephanie who has the worst toss of the task.

russia stephanie smith 7

Now is not the time to be sloppy.

russia stephanie smith 8

Uhh. . .

russia stephanie smith 9

Wild pitch!

russia chad waltrip 5

“What the hell was that?”

– Chad takes a peek over to see that Michael is still on the first formation. He is amused by his performance.

russia chad waltrip 6

“Michael is the Josh Towers and Craig Counsell of Gorodki.”

– Nick proves to be a Gorodki pro as he finishes the Roadblock. He’ll be bragging about this for years.

– Thomas is done with the first formation. Jill asks the Gorodki coach how many formations there are.

russia coach

Coincidentally enough, the same number of verses in the accordion song that Thomas failed to learn.

– We hear yet another “c’mon Claire” as Brook & Claire run to the mat. Phil asks them to make room for Nick & Vicki.

I have a question: How quick was the Roadblock if Brook & Claire finish the task before Nick & Vicki show up, but yet both teams race on foot to the mat and check in almost simultaneously?

russia brook claire 23

Brook hangs on to Phil’s every word, and Claire. . .is not letting her hair cooperate with the Russian wind.


russia pit stop

Even with the DS13 lie and retracing their steps back to the tower, Brook & Claire still beat almost everyone this round.

russia nick vicki 7

“But are you America’s greatest Gorodki prodigy? Helllll no.”


– Phil was impressed with Brook & Claire’s ability to correct their penalty, and complete the leg.

BROOK: It was brutalizing.

Incorrect. It is brutalizing only for the team who broke this rule but have yet to correct their mistake.

– Gary & Mallory are last to the Roadblock. For the first time since the opening round in Ghana, Gary & Mallory are in deep trouble. Gar volunteers to be the player.

– Jill tries to give advice to Thomas.

JILL: A little to the left.
THOMAS (turns around): Thank you, Jill.
JILL: Well, I’m sorry.

russia thomas wolfard 10

“Next time I want advice on what to do, I’ll call my mother.”

russia jill haney 3

“Chill, bro.”

– Thomas clears the second formation. We see Gary’s first toss.

russia gary ervin 2

Gary is really putting force into it.

russia gary ervin 3

And the pins go flying everywhere. Gary showing the pins who is the freakin’ man.

russia gary ervin 4

“F–k your pins!”

CHAD: Look at Gary crushing it over there!

Even Chad is amazed by Gary’s power.

– Kevin initiates a golf clap as Michael finishes the first formation.

russia kevjumba 12

Who initiates the slow sarcastic clap for their own father?

russia stephanie smith 10

And Stephanie finally gets mean with the pins. She clears the first formation.

russia stephanie smith 11

Stephanie prays to the heavens for her success.

– Because the other three teams at the Roadblock are not aware of Kevin & Michael’s penalty, this is probably the most intense Gorodki showdown in history. No one realizes, including the Jumbas, that this game of Gorodki pretty much has zero stakes.

– Gary is done the second formation. Mallory is impressed. Thomas is fourth to finish the Roadblock. He and Jill retreat back to their taxi.

– Who finishes the task in fifth?

russia gary ervin 5

From dead last to fifth just like that. Gary aces this task. The Ball Crusher himself is a force to be reckoned with when it is crunch time on The Amazing Race.

– Gary & Mallory already have their bags, and thus do not need to return to their taxi. They run straight to the pit stop. Phil reveals they are fourth. Mallory mentions Connor & Jonathan for some reason.


russia gary mallory ervin 5

And they are loving it.

– Michael completes the second formation on his first try. Immediately afterwards Stephanie runs through the second formation.

KEVIN: He got this too quickly.

You can’t have it both ways, Kevin. Either you want it done fast or not at all.

– Michael completes the Roadblock before Stephanie. Chad concludes they are last. We see Stephanie’s next throw.

russia stephanie smith 12

C’mon Steph.

russia stephanie smith 13

. . .Take the penalty, Steph.

russia stephanie smith 14

What an incredible feat. Stephanie managed to throw the stick into the crack behind the playing area. She is the first person to throw a gutter ball in Gorodki history.

STEPHANIE: It’s either one side or the other. It’s never in the middle.

russia stephanie smith 15

Once again, you can’t have it both ways. Stephanie’s coordination with throwing a stick or a ball is right on par with my sister’s abilities.

– Do you recall how teams have a history of conflict with Russian taxi drivers? Well, Jill & Thomas and Kevin & Michael will be added to that list.

russia jill thomas 13

The taxi driver rejects Thomas’ offer for the fare. Things escalate.

russia jill thomas 14


russia jill thomas 15

The taxi driver is scared and flinches as he prepares to be punched by Jill. There is nothing else that could be going through his mind given his facial expression.

This is hilarious. Thomas must intervene if the taxi driver wants to avoid a black eye.

russia jill thomas 16

“No touching! If only we had our Express Pass to avoid this fare.”

– Thomas agrees to pay up. Mainly because he is unaware of the Jumba’s penalty and assumes there is zero time to waste.

– We cut to Kevin & Michael’s incident.

KEVIN: Pay him, dad.
MICHAEL: How much?

russia kevjumba 13

“Uhhhh, that’s a good question.”

russia kevjumba michael wu 15

over 9000 2

“Over 9, 000 Rubles? There’s no way that can be right! If only we didn’t pay him to lead us to the church and the canal bridge, we would have saved so much more money.”

– Kevin insists he is giving the driver all of the money he has, and attempts to get away.

russia kevjumba michael wu 16

Nice try, Kevin.

russia kevjumba michael wu 17

The driver has a solid grip on their bags.

– Chad begs Stephanie to complete the task.

russia chad waltrip 7

“I just want that ‘3’ to turn green!”

– Stephanie makes her next toss.

russia stephanie smith 16

This toss is from the perspective of the camera just outside of the Gorodki playing area.

russia camera

Which Stephanie has more success hitting than the Gorodki pins. That’s a five thousand dollar camera down the drain. Taken straight out of TAR 24’s budget.

CHAD (clenched teeth): C’mon. Daaaaaaaamn.
STEPHANIE: That’s not helping me.

russia chad waltrip 8

Chad’s fists are clenched. He is ready to throw hands with the next person who looks at him the wrong way.

russia crowd

Those three kids may want to exit now. You won’t like it when Chad gets angry.

russia stephanie smith 17

And you won’t like it when Stephanie gets angry either.

– Commercial break. We resume.

russia island

The island fortress appears to be in the shape of a boat. I wonder if this island is called Gorodki Island?

Not to be confused with Goree Island of TAR 6, of course.

– Stephanie’s frustration builds.

STEPHANIE: It’s like I am trying to avoid it.

russia chad waltrip 9

Chad finds this to be no laughing matter.

– Jill notices they have American dollars. Thomas counts out sixty dollars and hands it to their driver.

– Kevin begs his taxi driver to let them go because they are in last place. Eventually Michael notices they also have American dollars. They add forty US dollars to their current fare.

russia chad waltrip 10

Chad watches them like a hawk.


russia jill thomas 17

They’ll take it.

russia phil keoghan 13

Not sure what Phil is getting at here.

– Kevin & Michael pour as much money in the back of the cab as possible before scrambling for the mat.

russia money

You know what?

russia money 2

If I were the driver, I would be worried all of the money is going to fly out of the taxi. Unless Russian currency is heavy?

KEVIN: Dad. C’mon. Run like you’ve never ran before.

steve dave austria

So like Steve & Dave? Not sure that is the ideal comparison, Kevin.

russia michael wu 4

Although it might be the right comparison in this situation.

– Stephanie knocks out the final pins. Chad thinks they have a shot to survive if they ditch their bags.

russia chad stephanie 10

I know the rule is that you can ditch your bags if they are within the eyesight of the host’s. Phil’s vision may be good, but I don’t know if it’s that good.

russia chad stephanie 11

Yeah, the adrenalin was probably speaking when that decision was made.

STEPHANIE: I’m going to follow your lead. I am tired as hell.

That was your first mistake Steph. . .and possibly your last.

– Chad & Stephanie and Michael & Kevin see each other running around the fortress. So who will hit the mat first and be rejected by Phil?

– What’s hilarious is that the team who steps on the mat has the Jet & Cord theme song play as they arrive. Fantastic fakeout.

russia chad stephanie 12

Congratulations! You successfully outran Michael Jumba! A huge accomplishment.

PHIL: Chad and Stephanie. . .I see you have turned up without your backpacks. Did you pay your cab?

russia phil keoghan 14

“You are only one step above BJ & Tyler in terms of possessions right now.”

CHAD: No, we haven’t paid him all day. He’s been waiting for us all day.

russia chad stephanie 13

“But, if I am allowed to vouch for him, I know deep down he is a pretty chill guy. The fare is no biggie to him. I define him as a charitable and forgiving soul.”

PHIL: You guys are going to have to go back and pay your cab.

russia chad stephanie 14


– So naturally we cut to seeing Kevin & Michael enter the mat.

russia kevjumba 14

“Hey Phil, we just saw Chad & Stephanie run out because I knew they didn’t have their bags. They can’t even follow simple instructions. What morons.”

russia kevjumba michael wu 18

“Aren’t they such idiots?”

PHIL: Michael and Kevin. . .you guys broke a couple of rules.

russia kevjumba michael wu 19

Oh snap.

russia phil keoghan 15

“Yeah. Even Nick knew you screwed up.”

– Phil recaps their penalties.

russia flashback

russia flashback 2

And the punishments are much more obvious when presented to us in black and white.

– They are penalized thirty minutes per infringement (not sure how they came up with that number) for a total of one hour, and must wait out the penalty.

russia kevjumba michael wu 20

Love that Michael is confused as to how they were penalized.

russia kevjumba michael wu 21

And they are stuck waiting on concrete. This makes the punishment worse.

bangkok mark michael 11

At least Mark & Michael were able to lay on grass for four hours. That actually looked relaxing.

russia kevjumba michael wu 22

Kevin can only hope that Chad & Stephanie had the same taxi driver as James & Abba, and the driver snuck off with their bags and passports.

– Chad & Stephanie find their cab. Pay the driver without incident.

russia chad stephanie 15

Chad and the driver have a very bro-like moment. Even in a panic Chad takes the time to fistbump his bros around the world.

– Kevin reviews how he got the penalties.

russia kevjumba 15


russia kevjumba 16

Using the additional info sheet for facepalming purposes is resourceful.

russia kevjumba 17


russia kevjumba michael wu 23

Michael is the first person to find it hilarious to receive a time penalty that will put them out of the race. It is funny to him because he recalls telling Kevin to read the clue, and he didn’t do it despite this advice.

– Chad & Stephanie step onto the mat.

PHIL: Are you aware you broke a rule today?

russia chad stephanie 16

“It’s all your fault, Steph.”

– Phil reminds them that they took a taxi from the tower to the church. Therefore, they receive a thirty minute penalty.

russia chad waltrip 11

The rules are black and white. You screwed up too.

russia phil keoghan 16

PHIL: But because those two dumbf–ks managed to break the rules twice instead of once, you are officially the sixth team to arrive, and are still in the race.

– Chad & Stephanie cry and hug on the mat. Steph says she thought she lost it for the team today. She is impressed how supportive Chad has been and how far he has come.

russia chad stephanie 17

It also works out for Chad because he still hasn’t picked out a ring yet. There is a jeweller at the airport, yes?

russia chad stephanie 18

And where in the world did Stephanie get a new bandana?

– Change of colour in bandana aside, Chad & Stephanie are indeed sixth.

sindy nguyen

Sixth with an ‘S’, might I add.


– Kevin & Michael are asked to return to the mat. Phil sounds impatient.

– Michael says they did their best and is in higher spirits. Phil points out that Kevin is unhappy. They chat a bit more, and Phil asks Kevin if Michael sets a good example.

KEVIN: He has always been my role model.

russia kevjumba michael wu 24

A role model who tried teaching him how to read to no avail.

– Kevin is learning to not get frustrated and be positive.

MICHAEL: I guess I also learned more about Kevin. I knew my son a lot better before the race. When kids turn into a teenager, they think their parents don’t know anything, and I kinda feel like Kevin is no stranger to me. I think this race got us to push together again. I’m really proud of him.

And they’re out after Michael’s words of wisdom. He is always the more positive one.

Next Time on TAR: Chad & Stephanie are missing in action, and Mallory is overwhelmed in Oman.

– Well, we lost Michael Wu and Kevin Wu this episode. I can’t think of any distant relative of theirs who has anything to say about their exit in the form of a rap, so I think we can finally end things here–

brisbane allan wu 8

Oh. No. I thought he was still back in Dwutroit, Michwugan. What the hell is he doing here?

Fine. Coming up, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for the Wulapse as Marshallan Mathers a.k.a. the real Swum Shwudy has got some words to say about the Wus’ exit from this season.

This is fresh off his new single from Wuminem’s Just Wuse It.

invercargill allan wu 6

Brace yourselves. Wunter is coming.





Team Averages

Below is a list of all teams from seasons I have blogged to date, ranked by racing average.

e.g. Don & Mary Jean finished 9th, 8th, 8th, 8th, and 8th. Add up the numbers and divide it by the number of legs they have played.

Because of how long this list has become, I only show the relevant section where the team has fallen amongst the ranks of what TAR history has to offer.

Therefore their average is 8.2.
5th Kami & Karli 5.8 Saved by NEL once TAR 5
8th Michael & Kathy 5.8 TAR 3
7th Cyndi & Russell 5.8 TAR 2
7th Shana & Jennifer 5.8 Used U-Turn TAR 12
9th Heather & Eve 5.75 Legal team beaten by rule book. TAR 3
5th Nancy & Emily 5.67 R.I.P. Nancy. Saved by NEL once. TAR 1
7th Jeff & Jordan 5.67. Saved by a stupid Blind U-Turn once but dead next day. TAR 16
6th Gaghan Family 5.5 TAR 8
10th Alison & Donny 5.5 TAR 5
6th Tian & Jaree 5.43 FF TAR 4
8th Sahil & Prashant 5.4 FF. Beaten by a bunch of rules. TAR Asia 1
8th Katie & Rachel 5.4 Had all of the tools to finish with a 5.4 ratio TAR 17
–C minus–
4th Meredith & Gretchen 5.36 Saved by NEL twice TAR 7
7th Monica & Sheree 5.33 FF TAR 4
7th Marshall & Lance 5.33 TAR 5
9th Monique & Shawne 5.33 TAR 16. Praise Jesus.
9th Debbie & Bianca 5.33 TAR 7
7th KevJumba & Michael 5.29 TAR 17.  Saved by NEL once + Heather & Eve Syndrome.
7th Gus & Hera 5.29 TAR 6
6th Joe & Bill All Stars 5.25 Saved by NEL once TAR 11
8th Bob & Joyce 5.25 TAR 5
8th Lorena & Jason 5.25 U-Turned TAR 12
5th Mark & Michael 5.22 Saved by NEL once but came up just short TAR 14
3rd Andrew & Dan 5.18 Saved by NEL once TAR 13
7th Silver & Gold/ Wil & Grace 5.17 TAR 3
6th Kelly & Christy 5.14 TAR 13
7th Ray & Deana 5.0 FF TAR 7
7th Melody & Sharon 5.0. Screwed over by weird penalty for another team. TAR Asia 1
9th Steve & Josh 5.0  FF TAR 4
9th Pat & Brenda 5.0  FF TAR 1
9th Mark & Bill 5.0  Wah. TAR 13
5th Fran & Barry 4.89 TAR 9
6th Howard & Sahran 4.88 TAR Asia 1

Rank the Teams

1) Connor & Jonathan

2) Andie & Jenna

3) KevJumba & Michael

It was tough to figure out where this father-son duo fit in these rankings.

If I was ranking Kevin alone, they would probably be at the bottom simply because Kevin’s personality does not quite match up to what this all-star cast has to offer. If it were a season like TAR 6 or TAR 14, Kevin would be much higher.

Michael was golden. I understand his audio clips in confessionals were not ideal on air because it is tough for viewers to grasp his English at times, but I absolutely adored Mike’s personality.

I think I understand why Kevin & Michael’s videos were popular on YouTube. Kevin is the straight man who puts all of the work into the videos and scripts, and Michael’s over-the-top nature can play it all out in an entertaining manner.

I also think I understand the post-race story that Kevin no longer makes videos, and is away from social media in his pursuit to become a monk.

It boils down to Kevin being a super competitive guy. As someone who identifies as a super competitive guy too, I can empathize with Kevin’s struggle. You just want to be the best at every dang thing you do, and any failure can just crush you mentally. Or rather, being the best at one thing is not enough. You want to find something else you can perfect.

Kevin pretty much was as successful as somebody could get on YouTube five years ago. At a certain point, I think Kevin didn’t feel like he was reaching the potential or continuous quality that he envisioned for himself.

I am a script writer, blogger, podcaster, comedian, performer, and long distance runner. These are all areas where you are challenging yourself as much as you possibly can on a daily basis. As someone who takes himself very seriously, I think this gives me a good idea of how Kevin perceives things to a certain extent.

I watched Kevin’s Elimination Station videos. It is a couple weeks of Michael reminding Kevin that the race is over and not to dwell over their mistakes. I think Michael is the perfect person for Kevin to have in life. My dad is similar to Michael in that he is a relaxed guy who is not competitive nor focused.

Sure, my dad likes to play games in the same way that Michael likes to play The Amazing Race, but both of them can move on from a defeat rather easily and enjoy the experience for what it is.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Kevin still replays not re-reading the clue about walking instead of taking a taxi. It’s a mistake he made that played out in front of millions of fans. That is a rough way to go.

Or another possibility is I am wrong about everything. We have to acknowledge the scenario where my entire analysis is false. Hey, I’ve never spoken one word to KevJumba my whole life. How the hell am I supposed to dissect his life story based on seven episodes of edited footage on a television show?

Okay, moving on. Michael is funny in a unique way that hasn’t been seen in other seasons. We have not seen too many immigrants on the American version of The Amazing Race. Much like Mallory and Brook, Michael loved overreacting to his surroundings in a positive manner. I also love the way that he can telepathically know Kevin is outright ignoring him.

The only downside with casting Michael is that you know he and Kevin cannot win the moment Michael is nearly medically evacuated in Ghana. If his body is finished by round three, he will probably not hold up for another nine rounds of play.

However, Kevin & Michael shocked us in the slightly less physical legs as their position in the standings frequently yo-yoed. There were numerous times in the four Europe rounds where they were either in the lead or in the top three. Michael at the Gorodki Roadblock and Kevin misreading the clue were their only two fatal errors traveling through Europe.

That is impressive for a team that was on the verge of being medically evacuated after finishing last in round three.

P.S. Yes. The Speed Bump of sitting on an ice block for ten minutes is perhaps the lamest Speed Bump in TAR history.

P.P.S. I want to see Jumbammad Ali challenge Mayweather to a boxing match. Somebody has to take Floyd down a peg. Even though I am more of a MMA guy, anyway.

4) Katie & Rachel

5) Ron & Tony

Rank the Legs

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

2) London, England -> Accra, Ghana

3) St. Petersburg, Russia -> St. Petersburg, Russia

You can fill in the blanks as to why I rank this round highly. The bottle-fed bear and the crazy characters in the circus provided a ton of comedy. Perhaps one of the funniest tasks in TAR history simply because of the atmosphere alone.

I knew this task was going to be comedic gold the moment we saw the ‘Closed’ sign with a sketch of a teary-eyed depressed clown on it.

Just seeing the clowns interact with the racers was the icing on top of the cake.

On the other hand, having back-to-back rounds in the same city was disappointing. The whole Russian mystery tour did not play out in an entertaining manner. Well, unless your names are Chad & Stephanie or Kevin & Michael.

I can’t believe I am saying this, but Nick nearly dominated this round with his Gorodki playing, finding the replica before Kat, and the DS13 lie when searching for the church from the tower. Oh, and pointing out Kevin & Michael’s penalty to everyone around him.

Which made up for Vicki’s third grader antics of ditching the main street to search for a taxi. I am glad Nick used childish name-calling to make the viewer understand that Vicki made a gross miscalculation.

Gary & Mallory had an insane journey in this round as they hovered around dead last for most of the leg, but out of nowhere went from last to fourth at the very last second. Incredible.

Watching the trailing teams fight with their drivers over the taxi fare at the pit stop is an event we do not see as much when things are down to the wire. Usually it robs a team of a first place finish, or the last place team is far behind. This is one of the few times where it was nearly responsible for who was eliminated. It is even more telling when it only happened to the three teams at the bottom for this leg of the race.

Gorodki proved to be a quick Roadblock for everyone except Stephanie and Michael. It wasn’t going to be a memorable round, but luckily Brook spoke to the editors and they tworked it all out to ensure it didn’t happen.

Producers really lucked out in St. Petersburg. Their Non-Elimination Leg occurred when they suffered from severe production difficulties due to the maestro’s mistakes; this round was the elimination leg, and the only mistakes made can be blamed on the team’s own performance.

That must have been a huge sigh of relief for producers. If the NEL was instead planned for this round, they would have been in an awful situation.

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

5) Accra, Ghana -> Accra, Ghana

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

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


By the way, I co-host an Amazing Race and Big Brother Canada podcasts.

This is me and two others discussing the TAR 26 finale.

And also a Big Brother Canada podcast. A fun listen.

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

4 Responses to The Amazing Race 17 episode 7 ranking

  1. polisi25 says:

    This is a true story about me and my cousin from Australia (he migrated from Malaysia with his family). When he came back for a short visit, I mentioned about this season and what did he say: “I stopped watching it after Kevjumba was eliminated.”
    Since I never cared about teams’ celebrity status, it strikes me as ridiculous as the time where a YouTuber posted the season, and stopped after Kevjumba is eliminated. Bummer.
    But anyway, this is really a fun leg to watch.

    • Yeah, there will always be viewers who are like that. It wouldn’t surprise me if TAR 25’s ratings would have slipped if Bethany Hamilton was eliminated earlier in the season.

      • polisi25 says:

        So what is your stance about “celebrity” teams? For me I don’t really care since they don’t really turn the race unfair for them (Sure, unless you are an amputated surfer, Asia Got Talent’s hosts or Olympic hockey players that is good with their brains).

        Kinda curious about it.

      • Probably teams who get recognized internationally (not counting Rex & Bob since, well, that was a crazy fluke).

        The only team I can really think of was Rob & Amber during TAR 7. They were cast in their precise fifteen minutes of fame where magazine covers in Botswana airports had their faces on it.

        I view Romber’s casting as unfair because locals automatically helped them due to recognition. Romber didn’t have to use social skills like Oswald & Danny did to gain the trust of strangers. It’s so much easier to get a stranger to help you when they know who you are.

        That part has always bugged me. Suddenly Rob & Amber get credit for starting a strategy that Oswald & Danny worked hard to create on their own. It’s not really a Fern Strategy when strangers automatically trust you.

        I think the only recognition of a team that was not shown on-screen was when a guy in the Chilean bus station knew who Jeff & Jordan were during TAR 16. For some reason I find that funny.

        Other than the issue about strangers recognizing celebrities and trusting them enough to help them, I wouldn’t have a problem with them being cast on the race.

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