Last time on The Amazing Race, Abba lost his passport when a taxi driver took off with his and James's backpacks. Phil's displeasure was palpable. In order to check you knuckleheads in, said Phil, you need to have your passports.
This episode begins with Josh and Brent still trying to drown themselves at the synchronized swimming Detour. Someone decides to tell them the pool is closing. So sorry, terrible American swimmers, but you only have one more chance and then you must leave our pool. Watching you flail about while wearing flowered swim caps no longer amuses us. We also want you out of the pool before your loser mojo leaks into our Olympic-caliber water and screws up the pH balance.
The goat farmers incur a four hour penalty for failing to complete the Detour. At least Abbie and Ryan don't have to make up an excuse to ditch them now.
At the Trees of Love Roadblock, Josh figures how to unlock the Amazing Ribbon quickly. Abbie sits on the ground in frustration until Josh comes over to show her the pattern to unlocking the padlocks. Everyone hugs. The Trees of Love cast their spell on everyone.
At the Pit Stop, the goat farmers and Abbie and Ryan make a big production out of stepping on the mat at the same time. It's easy to be generous with a team that has a four hour penalty. Let's jump on the mat together to show our solidarity! Especially since it will be the last time we see on you on this race, losers!
Phil asks, "Tough day?" Brent gets a little whiney, but then Phil tells them another team still hasn't checked in. So Abbie and Ryan are team number four, and Josh and Brent are team number five. The four hour penalty will be assessed at the start of the next leg.
"Did you see that coming?" asks Phil. Of course no one saw it coming Phil because you MADE UP NEW RULES.
Meanwhile, James and Abba visit "different police departments" and the U.S. Embassy. "Being in the music business," says James, "teaches you no matter how many times you fall there's always a chance to get back up." That's why we haven't given up on those guys who sang "The Macarena."
James and Abba meet Phil at the mat. The accordion player is gone. His nerves couldn't take it. "I presume you have not found the passport," says Phil. They confirm his presumption. Well, guess what? You don't really need the passport to check in! We just made that up!
Since this is a non-elimination leg, we've thrown the stupid passport rule out and will allow you to race the next leg. You'll have to complete a Speed Bump, and at some point you'll need the passport to continue in the race. But "it's not over til it's over!" says Phil. Unless we make up some other new rules. We'll keep you posted.
The next day, Trey and Lexi are the first team at the Pit Start. No departure time is provided. Oh come on, Amazing Race. We're trying to work with you, but this leg just started and it's already looking hinky. Our disbelief is getting hard to suspend.
Trey and Lexi learn they're heading to "large chemistry auditorium number one" at the "Agricultural Academy." Unfortunately, their cab driver takes them to a graffiti-covered tunnel littered with broken glass. He assumed "chemistry auditorium" was what Americans call "meth labs."
Their cab driver wears a pink shirt, a pink polka dot tie with a green plaid sport coat. This is why communism failed. You can only force people to wear grey burlap for so long before the need to put on a pink polka dot tie causes a rebellion.
Lexi is less concerned about his clothing than she is about his smoking. The cab driver, she says, is smoking cigarettes with his window rolled up. She makes a face that tells us this is a very, very bad thing.
Trey and Lexi continue to drive around Moscow with Mr. Pink Tie, who obviously doesn't know where the Agricultural Academy is. Lexi's hanging out the side window, getting some air, when a nearby car drives through a puddle and sprays water onto her head. That's why you keep your window rolled up, Lexi.
The Chippendales arrive at the Academy first. A sign on "large chemistry auditorium number one" says "Beyonce at 8." Or maybe "Be back at 8." They're hoping it's Beyonce though. Maybe that's why they needed the large auditorium.
James and Jaymes are thrilled to be the first at the Roadblock. Their enthusiasm is so infectious that their cab driver has come inside with them to hang out. Who can drive a taxi when Beyonce might be at the chemistry auditorium?
Finally Trey and Lexi arrive. Lexi and Jaymes start the Roadblock together. They're shown a map of Russia and its nine time zones. The task is to identify the time of day in five different Russian cities after they're given the time in Moscow. The "professor" in the classroom will give them their clue, says Phil, "once they have zoned in on their times." Seriously Phil. You're on thin ice with us.
The professor calls out "PENCILS DOWN" and "NEXT ROUND" in an extravagantly drawn out way. This guy is totally milking his screen time. He's probably an actor, but we're going to pretend Russian chemistry professors are all like this.
After several failed attempts, Lexi realizes their mistake. The time zones are indicated by "+4" and "+6" and so forth, with Moscow being in the "+4" zone. The times, therefore, are relative to UTC, or "Coordinated Universal Time." So cities in the "+6" time zone only have two hours added to Moscow's time, not six. Lexi explains this to Jaymes, who is impressed with her intelligence.
They hand in their results, and the professor says, "I'M REALLY SORRY." After a dramatic pause, he continues, "But YOU WIN!!!" OK, he's definitely an actor. Dial it down, Marlon Brando. You're sucking all the air out of the room.
The Detour this episode is a choice between "Mover" or "Shaker." In "Mover," teams must learn and perform a "grueling" Russian soldier dance. In "Shaker," they must attend a cocktail party where people are dressed to look like famous Russian leaders, and identify seven of them. The Texans and the Chippendales both choose "Mover." They've done enough thinking today.
Finally the twins get started. On their way to the Agricultural Academy, they discuss stopping somewhere to be sure the taxi's going the right way. "McDonalds?" asks their driver. No, they say, we just want directions. "I taxi 37 years!" he says. He knows where the Academy is, and he knows the Americans ALWAYS want McDonalds. Do not screw with this guy, twinnies.
Over at the Hotel National, the Chippendales and Texans put on soldier uniforms to learn the dance. It's eight counts of jumping, then eight counts of that Russian squat kick move, and eight counts of what we're told is a "coffee grinder," where you swing one leg in a circle and jump over it with the other leg.
James sprained his ankle while the Amazing Racers were in Shanghai, and says he's in terrible pain during the dance. You'd need bionic ankles to not feel pain during that dance. Still, James would rather endure excruciating ankle pain and risk long-term disability than attend a cocktail party with people dressed up as Russian leaders.
As the teams rehearse, the Russian soldier dancers are flipping and spinning and flying all over the room like circus monkeys. Reportedly, the Russian soldier dance became famous after the Mongols were defeated by Russian troops doing air-splits and herkies. In fact, legend has it that Peter the Great himself was the first to use the coffee grinder in battle.
Back at the Agricultural Academy, the twins decide they want no part of the Russian time zones. They play their Express Pass, and get the clue. Not surprisingly, they choose the dance task. A team that finds time zones challenging isn't going to tackle Russian history.
The twins get to the Roadblock just as the Texans and Chippendales are leaving. One of them rips her pants practicing the dance, and has to change clothes. You'd think dancing soldiers would have more spandex in their uniforms.
We briefly visit James and Abba, who are still in their hotel room. We're going to keep fighting, they promise. That's great, but you don't need to keep updating us. Let us know when you do something interesting.
Now we visit Josh and Brent as they sit on some stairs and wait out their four hour penalty. It's even less interesting than James and Abba sitting in their hotel room. We'll see you guys in four hours, OK?
Abbie and Ryan leave the Pit Start in fourth place. We're still not given anyone's departure time, but presumably this team's pretty far behind the first three. Ryan tells us he went to "UC Davis" which is an agricultural school. And now he's heading to the Moscow Agricultural Academy. "What what!" he says. Yes, he really did.
Ryan says, "The taste of victory is getting closer to being in our mouth." We bet. He and Abbie get "extra strength" from knowing they'd get double the prize money if they come in first this season. "That's something the other teams don't have," says Ryan. The other teams would only win one million dollars, so they're barely even trying.
At the Amazing Mat, Phil tells James and Jaymes that they're the first team to arrive. They are thrilled. It's probably because they won a trip to Costa Rica. As you'll recall, winning the race only gets them one million dollars, and it's hard to work up much enthusiasm over that.
The Roadblock clue asks, "Who's in the zone?" Abbie and Ryan agree that Ryan is most definitely in the zone. Ryan owns that zone, guys.
"Puzzles and brain games are kind of my strong point," he says. The "professor" disagrees. WRONG! he tells him. After a few rounds of this, Ryan starts tearing up his tests. Hopefully he's not thinking this will erase all evidence of his failures.
After about 18 tests, Ryan announces there's a "glitch in the matrix." "The file is corrupt!" You have a +4 in Moscow's time zone, he tells the professor. That doesn't make any sense! "Try to relax," says the professor.
You know what the problem is here? Ryan tests "really well for IQ," but didn't do well in school. And where is he taking this test? In a SCHOOL.
Finally Ryan figures it out, and passes on his 25th try. He is embarrassed. This all started back when he saw the "85" on his IQ test results. Ryan realized it must be some kind of computer glitch and added 50 points to it. The "genius" label has made life hard for him ever since.
Brent passes the time zone test on his first try. "You very smart man," says the "professor." At least compared to the bozos we've had in here today.
Josh and Brent go for the "Shakers" task. They easily identify Brezhenev, Stalin, Tsar Nicholas and Lenin. "Be careful with vodka and Russian women," Lenin tells the goat farmers. No problem there, Vladimir.
They chat with Peter the Great and dance with Catherine the Great. Some sword fighting takes place as well. "We're very good at cocktail parties," says Brent. Especially ones with sword fighting and people in period costumes. It's your typical upstate New York goat farmer party.
James and Abba go to the Moscow Police Station, where they find someone to help them translate the report they need to file. Yesterday they said they talked to "different police departments," but it seems none of them was the relevant police department. We're beginning to wonder if these guys are unlucky or just blockheads.
Regardless, they decide to finish the race. For the Speed Bump, James and Abba ride in what appears to be a hearse with a man who appears to be a priest. We've encountered so many inexplicable things in this episode that we're too tired to even speculate.
The Texans came in second, the twins in third, Abbie and Ryan in fourth and the goat farmers live to see another leg after finishing the episode in fifth place.
James and Abba come in last, which is for the best. One episode of watching them chase down the passport was enough.
"We was robbed," jokes James. "Literally," says Abba. Yeah, it's definitely time for you guys to go home.
Next time on The Amazing Race, the Chippendales contemplate U-Turning someone and losing "two friends." Abbie and Ryan appear to miss another flight. They are sad and angry. It's hard to taste victory over the stench of defeat.