THE AMAZING RACE “Run, Babushka, Run” Recap

The Amazing Race (CBS) Run Babushka Run

THE AMAZING RACE “Run, Babushka, Run” Season 17 Episode 6 – We’re off to Russia for some music and film needle in a haystack action and potato farming in the “Run Babushka, Run” episode of THE AMAZING RACE.

Last leg’s winners Nat and Kat leave the Ankenes Marina Pit Stop first and drive to a train station where it’s time for some patented TAR bunching. Everyone ends up on the same train headed for the airport, fourteen hours after Nat and Kat’s start time. I accept there has to be some equalizing, but watching that big a lead disappear hurts me, so I can’t imagine what it does to Nat and Kat. Anyway, everyone also ends up on the same plane bound for St. Petersburg, Russia. In St. Petersburg, teams must go to the Rostral Columns in Vasilievsky Island to find their next clue.

Detour: In Classical Music, teams head to a palace where they find a Maestro with three gramophones and a ballroom filled with pianists. The teams must determine which pianists are playing the pieces heard on the gramophones and take the sheet music from each pianist and present it to the Maestro, identifying it by gramophone number. In case you missed it, Gramophone One is playing Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” Gramophone Two is playing Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, and Gramophone 3 is playing Tchaikovsky’s “Troika.” In Classic Film, teams head to Lenfilm, where a scene from Sergei Eisenstein’s “October” is playing. The teams must search through huge piles of film clips to find a snippet of “October.”

Gary and Mallory, Nat and Kat, Chad and Stephanie, and Nick and Vicki initially choose Classical Music and all of them get completely frustrated. It’s chaotic and loud and they all make the mistake of trying to figure out the three compositions simultaneously. All but Chad and Stephanie switch to Classic Film. Chad wants to switch, but Stephanie sticks to her guns and they eventually figure it out. Nick and Vicki switch back and finish once Nick shuts up and Vicki takes lead. I’m sensing a theme here.

Jill and Thomas, Brook and Claire, and Michael and Kevin all choose Classic Film and all are horrified (as I would have been) at the sight of so much film in piles. They are soon joined by Nat and Kat, Gary and Mallory, and Nick and Vicki.

Order out of the Detour: Jill and Thomas, Brook and Claire, Michael and Kevin, Chad and Stephanie, Nat and Kat, Gary and Mallory, Nick and Vicki. Each team is handed a picture (either on a record jacket or a film canister) and they must figure out it’s Palace Square and go there for a clue that tells them to go to a neighborhood store in Alexandrovskaya.

Roadblock: Each racer must dress as a Babushka, go to Duck’s end to fill a wheelbarrow with cow manure and then find a marked field. There, s/he must plant a row of fifty potatoes, packing them in with plenty of manure, under the watchful eyes of some real potato farmers/Babushkas.

Kevin starts and finishes first and is adorable doing so. Brook is the only racer to actually scream at touching the manure. Jill rocks the task with no drama, as does Nat. Stephanie and Mallory are looking for Duck’s End at the same time, but Stephanie finds it first and when she’s done scooping her manure, she throws the shovel in such a way Mallory will have to dig it out of the manure. Mallory gets very lost looking for her wheelbarrow, but she does make a new friend who wants to drinks some vodka with her. Nick makes drag queen jokes as he slaps his potatoes into the ground.

Pit Stop: St. Isaac’s Cathedral, or rather the park across the street from the cathedral. Michael and Kevin reach the cathedral first, but Kevin rejects Michael’s suggestion that they go into the park and they waste time circling the cathedral, so Jill and Thomas find Phil first and win the leg along with a trip to Sao Paulo, Brazil. Brook and Claire take second, followed by Michael and Kevin (who barely acknowledges Michael’s “I told you so”) in third. Nat and Kat land in fourth, while Chad and Stephanie take fifth with Gary and Mallory two steps behind in sixth. Nick and Vicki finish last, but it’s a non-elimination leg, so they’ll be back to race another leg, and I think Phil is genuinely sorry about that.

Random Notes: I’m glad Nat and Kat and Brook and Claire enjoy each other’s company so much, but sniffing each other’s shoes and socks? Love Michael’s talking about culture, knowing Kevin doesn’t care (“I’m just thinking about the next clue box.”) Nick’s non-sequitur of the week: “I love how they keep their buildings instead of blowin’ them up.” The face and gestures Mallory makes over the classical music are hilarious. “I’ll have to have you take that home and clean the house in that.” Ugh, Chad. I don’t really like any of these couples together.

What a fun, chaotic leg. I love the Classical Music Challenge, though it must have been torture for the pianists. As Vicki says, the trick is to take one piece at a time, and I’m not sure why it took so long to figure that out. The film challenge is straight-up needle in a haystack–the more patient you are (so difficult with fatigue clearly setting in), the better off you are. Babushka is my favorite The Amazing Race roadblock in a while. Great locals, providing a service, and manure. What could be better? Kudos to Jill leading her team to first after they got so lost trying to find the neighborhood store.

What did you think of “Run, Babushka, Run?” Were you sorry it was a non-elimination leg? Who do you think is showing the most signs of the dreaded killer fatigue?

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