Amazing Race
Off to See the Wizard

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Russian Around

At the Frankfurt airport, those two unlucky teams are boarding their Lufthansa flight to Warsaw, and Ryan narrates that he and Abbie are basically racing against one team now, while Abbie says that "teams that don't like us and want us out are way ahead of us right now." Which will happen if you irritate everyone and then make bad race decisions.

And in Moscow, moments before the gates to the sculpture park open, somebody jokes, "Here comes Abbie & Ryan!" Of course they're not. When the lead four teams are allowed in -- five and a half hours after the arrival time of the later flight that the goat farmers passed on, I'm not too kind to point out -- they make the dash through narrow lanes crowded with statues on every side (so it's less of a sculpture park and more of a sculpture outlet) to find a clue box: first Team Metal, then the Chippendales, then Trey & Lexi, then the twins, all seconds apart. The clue is sending them to a place called Moskvoretsky Most, where there are apparently two red-clad, halberd-wielding guards of Ivan the Terrible waiting to give them their next clue. Yeah, I don't imagine their primary function takes up a lot of their time any more.

James & Abba get into a cab, but the others get directions to walk there, which they're told will take about 25 minutes. They have $420, why so cheap? They all run down the sidewalk in a clump as Lexi says it made sense for them all to find it together. What doesn't make sense is not springing for a cab when they're all sitting on four bills. Team Metal gets to the palace more quickly, of course and Metal James spots the two guys on red positioned out on the ramparts of the bridge overlooking a highway beneath. They walk over and collect a clue. For this they had to wait half the night.

As for the clue, it's for a Detour that offers the choice of "Synchronized" or "Alphabetized." Without preamble, Phil explains that in "Alphabetized," the teams will go to the Russian State Library, home to 24 million books and a correspondingly huge card catalog -- where everything is, of course, printed in Cyrillic lettering. This already sounds hard. Each team gets to pick a librarian who will give them a list of books, also in Russian. The racers will then have to pick out four books from the list and then use the banks of card catalogs to pull those four from the stacks in order to get their next clue from Olga, the head librarian. This looks like some serious Ark of the Covenant warehouse shit, y'all. For "Synchronized," they get to join potential future members of Russia's gold-medal-winning synchronized swimming team and do a routine to the satisfaction of the coach. These both sound incredibly difficult in completely opposite ways. Abba's worried about swimming with his bad legs, like it's not lower-impact than tramping the shelves at a giant library, but they go with the latter anyway, getting walking directions to the library from a helpful local. Good, more walking for Abba.

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Amazing Race

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