THE AMAZING RACE “I Want to Be in the Circus, That’s Where I Belong” Recap


THE AMAZING RACE “I Want to Be in the Circus, That’s Where I Belong” Season 17 Episode 7 – We stay in St. Petersburg following last week’s non-elimination leg and we get great examples of why reading (the clue) is fundamental in the “I Want to Be in the Circus, That’s Where I Belong” episode of THE AMAZING RACE. It’s another frantic one with task switching and rule-breaking all over the place. Killer fatigue is definitely taking a toll.

Last leg’s winners Jill and Thomas read the leg’s first clue at 8:30 am and find out that teams must travel by cab to the Avtovo Circus. Hello, bunching! The circus is closed when Jill and Thomas get there and all the teams get in to get their clues at the same time.

Detour: Circus Band or Circus Clown. In Circus band, the teams pick an accordion player to teach them a Russian folk song. When both team members can perform the song correctly while wearing clown noses, they get their next clue. In Circus Clown, the teams head under the big top to learn a traditional plate spinning routine. Once the team can keep ten plates spinning simultaneously for ten seconds, they get their next clue.

Circus Band: Only Nat and Kat and Gary and Mallory initially choose this, and Nat and Kat number their fingers and memorize the finger movements/notes that way. “It’s like painting by numbers, but with accordions.” I officially love them. Gary and Mallory muddle through, as do Chad and Stephanie. In case you’re curious (or even if you’re not), the song being butchered is Malinka, also known as the Tetris theme.

Circus Clown: Brook and Claire, Nick and Vicki, Kevin and Michael, Chad and Stephanie, and Jill and Thomas all initially choose this, though Chad and Stephanie and Jill and Thomas both switch to Circus Band. Brook and Claire breeze through, Nick and Vicki do well despite Nick’s epically bad attitude because Nick was terrorized by his grandmother’s clown room as a child. Kevin and Michael finish fine, and after switching back, Jill and Thomas get through okay, too.

Order leaving the Detour: Brook and Claire, Nat and Kat, Nick and Vicki, Gary and Mallory, Michael and Kevin, Chad and Stephanie, and Jill and Thomas. The teams must figure out that the canal bridge guarded by four creatures with golden wings is Bank Bridge and go there for their next clue. Yay that the clues are indeed clues again and not simply directions.

Here’s where things start to get messy. From Bank Bridge, teams must travel on foot to the Vladimirskiy Projekt tower. They can ask locals for help, but they may not pay a taxi to lead them. All of the teams except Michael and Kevin manage to follow the rules, but there is a fair amount of getting lost. Michael tells Kevin to read every word of the clue, but of course he doesn’t, and Michael doesn`t read it, either, so they follow their cab driver.

At the tower, two team members at a time go up the tower to find where they must go next. There is a tiny figurine of the Church on Spilled Blood on a ledge and the actual church is clearly visibly on the skyline, but it takes each team member a long time to see the figurine. Once they do, they immediately recognize the church in the distance.

Teams must walk to the Church on Spilled Blood, and while four teams properly read the clue, Brook and Claire, Michael and Kevin, and Chad and Stephanie all get into cabs. To their credit, Brook and Claire figure it out mid-ride, go back to the tower, and run to the church. The clue at the church tells teams to go where Peter the Great died. They need to figure out they are looking for the Fortress of Peter and Paul and there they must find the Gorodki Court. They may take a cab there.

Roadblock: Who’s the real player? Of Gorodki, that is. In a hybrid of bowling, horseshoes, and stickball, each racer must throw a bat at a patterned stack of five pins and knock them out of the court. They have two tries per pattern and they must knock out three different patterns. I love Phil acting as a human pin, but wow, he could have gotten hurt. Kat starts first and powers through. Michael starts second and falters badly. He just doesn’t have the strength/endurance to get through these tasks well. Brook is a complete show-off (shocking, I know), but she gets the job done. Nick does fine at taking out all the aggression he hasn’t already used on Vicki on the pins, Thomas is good, and Gary is a freaking natural. Stephanie has problems but eventually finishes last.

Pit Stop: Teams head from the Gorodki court into the fortress and find a flagstaff bastion inside. Nat and Kat win the leg and $5,000 each. Brook and Claire are second (yay, girl power!), Nick and Vicki take third with Gary and Mallory in fourth and Jill and Thomas in fifth. Chad and Stephanie arrive next, but they didn’t pay their cab, so Phil sends them to do that. Michael and Kevin are last and get two thirty minute penalties: one for following the cab to the tower and one for taking a cab to the church. Chad and Stephanie return from paying their cab and incur one thirty minute penalty for taking a cab to the church, but their time would be up before Michael and Kevin’s, so they are team number six and Michael and Kevin are eliminated. Anyone else exhausted from this chaotic but really fun leg?

Speed Bump: Well, there wasn’t one. It could be it was edited out for time, but there’s an internet rumor (so it must be true!) that Nick’s Facebook page claims there was an error in last week’s leg where he and Vicki were incorrectly told they had not finished the music task properly and the speed bump was waived. Re-watching the end of last week’s leg, Phil did not tell them they would have to complete one, so I’m thinking they really didn’t have one.

Random Notes: It can’t be said enough: The first commandment of The Amazing Race is: Thou (and I mean both team members) shalt read thy clue! Don’t make me yell at the TV and scare my neighbors. I will miss Michael and Kevin, and I so wish any of the three couples had been eliminated instead. Nick and Vicki are both on my absolute last nerve (with Thomas very close to it), but Nick (aka the jerk who called his girlfriend both a dumbass and a moron this leg) is using it as a trapeze. I need one of these couples to go away next leg, so the previews of a sleeping-in Chad and Stephanie make me giggle. Some of the cab fares seemed high, but they were waiting around all day, and I didn’t like racers (Hi, Kevin!) basically telling them “too bad” at first. It looked like everyone ended up settling eventually, but that was odd. Also, I don’t know if I’m blanking on this, but I don’t remember another race with so much switching between Detour tasks. It’s starting to give me whiplash.

What did you think of this leg? Are you sorry to see Michael and Kevin go? Which couple bothers you the most?

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