Recap: The Amazing Race 17, Episode 6 – “Hello all you beautiful ladies! I have your poop and potatoes!”

Episode 17.06 – Run, Babushka, Run

It’s 8:26pm and still very much light out as Nat & Kat open the clue telling them to head to St. Petersburg, Russia via car, train, and plane.  They head to the ticket office, but it doesn’t open until 6am tomorrow.  That allows all the other teams to get on the same train at 10:26am. 

On the train, the teams have some fun smelling each other’s feet while Thomas manages to find a way to be better than Jill again. 

In Stockholm, teams race over to Arlanda Airport to catch a flight to St. Petersburg.  They all make the same flight.

The leg really begins once the teams step foot in Russia as they all run to the taxis to take them to the rostral columns on Zayachy Island for the next clue.  Brook & Claire get there first and find the Detour.

In this Detour teams will choose between Classical Music or Classic Cinema, two things synonymous with the city.
In Classical Music, teams head to a historic palace where they will listen to three different compositions playing on three gramophones.  Then, they must enter several ballrooms filled with pianists and determine which three of them are playing the compositions being played on the gramophone.  They’ll take a piece of sheet music from those pianists and present them to the maestro who will hand them their next clue if they are correct.
The compositions: Mugsorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” Rimsky-Korasakov’s “Scheherazade” and Tchaikovsky’s “Troika.”
In Classic Cinema, teams make their way to legendary film studio and one of the soundstages where they will have to search through thousands of film clips to match any part of the film, Sergei Eisenstein’s October  playing on the screen.  When they find the correct clip, the director will give them their next clue.

Brooke & Claire decide to do Cinema, but their taxi driver has no idea where it is.  Michael & Kevin in 2nd choose Cinema, but find the studio first.  Jill & Thomas are close behind.  All the other teams choose Music.  And they are overwhelmed by the rooms of pianos playing all sorts of different pieces.

The Cinema Detour isn’t that easy either with the mountains of film.  Both Detours are absolutely chaos.  But Jill & Thomas luck out and he finds the correct strip.  The director hands them a film tin with a picture of the next route marker at Palace Square.  They leave just as Brooke & Claire finally arrive. 

Back at the pianos, teams take guesses but they’re all Niet.  Chad suggests switching, but Stephanie says no. 

At the studio, Brooke finds the film strip and they head off before Kevin finally finds it too.  Meanwhile, Jill & Thomas get the next clue telling them to head to the town of Alexandrovskaya where they will follow a marked road to the Neighborhood Store for their next clue.  Brook & Claire and Michael & Kevin are close behind.

At the pianos, teams begin switching.  Gary & Mallory are first with Nick & Vicki and Nat & Kate deciding to switch together.  Chad & Stephanie see them all leave, but decide to stay, though the tension is high. 

Jill & Thomas get lose in Alexandrovskaya allowing Brook & Claire and Michael & Kevin to find the cluebox first and the Road Block.

In this Road Block, teams will have to put some work in as a babushka, a Russian grandmother who does most of the farmwork.  Teams will dress up as a babushka then grab a sack of potatoes.  They’ll then find a wheelbarrow, fill it with cow manure and bring all of the supplies to a nearby field where they will be shown how to plant them in the ground by the real basbushkas.    After they’ve planted a row of 50 potatoes, they’ll get their next clue.

Brook decides to do the Road Block, but Kevin arrives and finds the field first.  The babushka shows him how to do it, dig a hole first, fill it with manure, plop in the potato and cover it up.  Kevin gets a Russian lesson as he gets started.

The other teams are still struggling at the Detour, especially Chad & Stephanie.  Chad is being very negative and Stephanie pushes him to stay on task and get through this.  They give a few more guesses and they become really frustrated.  Chad doesn’t feel comfortable letting Stephanie take over and manage the situation.  Stephanie finally takes the lead and they finally finish the Detour.  They move into 4th! place!  Nat & Kat and Gary & Mallory finish the film, leaving Nick & Vicki who decide to switch back to the music.  They concentrate slowly and they finish.

At the Road Block, Kevin is getting encouraged and loved by his babushka while Brooke provides the other babushkas some entertainment when she steps in the poop.  Kevin finishes and they head for the Pit Stop, St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg.

Brook and Jill though finish very quickly as well and they head back to St. Petersburg too.

Nat & Kat arrive at the Road Block next and Nat starts when Chad & Stephanie arrive.  Stephanie decides to do the Road Block, but can’t find the wheelbarrows and poop at Duck’s End.  She doesn’t realize Nat passing right behind here when she asks one of the homes.

The first three teams arrive at St. Isaac’s Cathedral.  Michael & Kevin are first, but can’t find Phil.  Michael insists they check out the park across the street from the Cathedral, but Kevin insists it would be right next to the Cathedral.  Jill & Thomas aren’t so close minded though and they find Phil and the Mat and the 1st Place finish.

As Kevin continues to insist the Mat would be right next to the Cathedral, Brook & Claire arrive and quickly claim 2nd.  Kevin finally gives in, reluctantly and still doesn’t believe the Mat is at the park until Michael spots Phil himself.  They claim 3rd.

At the Road Block, Nat is well on her way to finishing, but Stephanie is still completely lost.  Mallory arrives and starts the Road Block and also lost suggests she and Stephanie work together, but she gets brushed off.  Stephanie ends up finding the poop and just to be mean, throws the shovel into the poop so Mallory would have climb in to get it.

Mallory, meanwhile, runs all over the neighborhood speaking to people who don’t understand her.  She gets helped over a fence into a home where a couple of guys offer her some vodka.  Oops.  She finally finds the field and finishes right after Stephanie.

As Nick & Vicki head to Alexandrovskaya, the other three teams head back to St. Petersburg.  Nat & Kat officially finish 4th, Chad & Stephanie take 5th and Gary & Mallory right next to them in 6th.

Nick does the Road Block and the locals want to take pictures with him.  He finishes and they rush off to find Phil.  They’re in last place, but Phil tells them it is a Non-Elimination. 

Episode Thoughts
I really enjoyed this episode.  I love it when the teams get thrown in to crazy, chaotic situations.  It is fun to watch. =]

The tasks were great for that reason, both Detours were very mental.  As long as the teams kept calm, they would finish.  They were both challenging but interesting tasks.

The Road Block was awesome.  First because of the babushkas, though I wish they got to interact more with them.  The preview last week made it seem like the babushkas were going to be more fun but we barely saw them.  They should’ve gotten more screen time.  And second, having the teams getting down and dirty is always great.  Poop is always a winner on TAR. 

Again, the non-elimination was not a surprise.  I expected it would be, especially having the teams get bunched more than 12 hours. 

TAR17 has been very enjoyable so far.  Definitely the most enjoyable since TAR13 at this point in the Race.  I hope they keep it up!

Leg Six Itinerary
Ankenes Marina
Narvik, Norway

Stockholm, Sweden

St. Petersburg, Russia

Zayachy Island
St. Petersburg, Russia

Palace Square
St. Petersburg, Russia

Beloselsky-Belozersky Palace
St. Petersburg, Russia

St. Petersburg, Russia

Neighborhood Store
Alexandrovskaya, Saint Petersburg, Russia

Saint Isaac’s Cathedral
St. Petersburg, Russia

Departure Times

Ankenes Marina
Narvik, Norway

Nat & Kat 8:26pm
All other teams’ departure times were not shown.  All teams departed from Narvik Station at 10:26am.

Who Did the Detour?
In order of completion





<P ALIGN="CENTER"^Nick & Vicki switched from Music to Cinema and back to Music, which they completed.
*Nat & Kat and Gary & Mallory switched only from Music to Cinema.
Road Block Count
In order of completion; Italics indicate who did this week’s Road Block

Who’s ready for a Russian drag race?
2 Michael Kevin 4
3 Brook Claire 3
3 Jill Thomas 3
3 Nat Kat 2
4 Chad Stephanie 2
3 Gary Mallory 3
4 Nick Vicki 2

3 Katie Rachel 2
4 Connor Jonathan 0
0 Andie Jenna 2
1 Ron Tony 0

Order of Finish
1st Jill & Thomas (+2)
2nd Brook & Claire (+3)
3rd Michael & Kevin (+1)
4th Nat & Kat (-3)
5th Chad & Stephanie (+2)
6th Gary & Mallory (-4)
7th Nick & Vicki (-1)

My Subjective Team Rankings for Leg 6

Gary & Mallory Gary & Mallory – Mallory wasn’t her usual happy self during this leg.  For the first time in this Race, she’s gotten really frustrated, but not to the point where she just stands there helpless.  She pushed forward and kept moving which is good.  Not the best the leg for them, but still an alright performance.
Nat & Kat Nat & Kat – A relatively alright leg for them.  I am surprised they would give up on the Detour, and seemingly give up just because other teams did.  That might be a sign of weakness and a little harkening back to Ghana when Kat had no sense of urgency to finish the Road Block.  They picked it up later in the leg, but I would’ve liked to have seen them stick with it more.
Michael & Kevin Michael & Kevin – It was their Leg to lose by the time they reached the Road Block.  But Kevin’s doubts in his father cost them a 1st place finish.  A great leg tarnished by Kevin not trusting his father more.  I am losing hope that he will finally give his father a chance to shine because if Kevin keeps this up, it might just cost them the Race.
Brook & Claire Brook & Claire – Some bad taxi luck this leg, but they were able to overcome it, stay strong and finish well.  Of the female teams, they have been the most consistently strong, more than Nat & Kat, and they have a great chance of continuing that all the way to the end.  
Chad & Stephanie Chad & Stephanie – The seemed to luck out very much at the Detour.  Chad just giving up was very sorry to see and Stephanie being so helpless made it even worse.  The dysfunction came out full force at the Detour and like they’ve done, get over it quickly.  Now that’s a good thing, but they were lucky the other teams were having trouble with the Cinema Detour.  
Nick & Vicki Nick & Vicki – Bonus points to them for pushing forward and continuing to fight even when they knew they were in last place.  The Detour switching isn’t something teams should be doing all the time, but they did get it right on 2nd try and that counts for something.  Also kudos to Nick for not losing his cool like he did in Ghana (and like Chad did this week).
Jill & Thomas Jill & Thomas – More douchey behavior from Thomas.  Does he really have to be better than Jill in everything?  It is interesting how he gets upset with Jill if they’re behind and is just fine and happy when they’re in front.  Just horrible.  What does Thomas have against Jill and Ghanaian children?
Quotes from Episode 17.06

Nick: “I like how they keep all their buildings instead of blowin’ ‘em up.”

 Kat: “Our alter egos on this leg of the Race are Natasha and Katia!”

Mallory: “Dad, you’ve got to help me.  You’ve got to.”
Gary: “Well, what do you want me to do?”
Mallory: “I wanted you to have a decent ear, but…”

Kevin: “Hello all you beautiful ladies!  I have your poop and potatoes!”

Mallory: “I would chew my nails off even with manure under them just to not get eliminated.”

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