When last we saw the intrepid racers, the long-locked rockers had lost their passports to a missing cabbie, the divorcees were loyally cheering on the synchronized diving goat farmers, and viewers everywhere were moaning, "To be continued? What the heck???"
We pick up right where we left off. The swimming pool is closing and the farmers have one last chance to go through the moves in their flowered bathing caps. They fail once more, but they're given the clue and a four-hour penalty. And the rockers are talking to the Moscow police department and the U.S. Embassy, trying to figure out a Plan B.
But this is a nonelimination round -- of course. They'll have to deal with a speed bump in the next leg, and find their passports before the next country.
Roadblock: Who's in the zone?
It's morning in Moscow and team Texas heads off to the Agricultural Academy to find Building 6 and the Large Chemistry Auditorium No. 1. The first cabbie takes them to some sketchy part of town instead, but they find a second cab and head off ... to the wrong place again. So it's the Chippendales who end up facing the task first.
Russia has an astonishing nine time zones -- and not in neat stripes, either. They're shown on a map in big, multicolored blobs with notations of +6, +8 and so on. The racers are shown Moscow time and they must calculate the time of day in five different Russian cities. It's 2:15 in Moscow, the
Fail. Fail. Fail. "It's like that nightmare where there's a test and you showed up at school and hadn't studied for it," James says.
Jaymes and Lexie decide to work together on test No. 10. After No. 11, they finally figure out that Moscow's +4 means four hours beyond Greenwich Mean Time. So a time zone marked +6 really means, you need to add the difference, i.e., two hours. They turn in their tests and the professor says, in his best Ryan Seacrest manner, "I'm really sorry but ... you win!"
Both teams scamper off. When the Sri Lankan twins arrive moments later, they use their express pass to skip the task altogether. It's probably a wise move, but I'd have liked to watch the inevitable screaming and recriminations.
Back at the ranch, the Beekman Boys are sitting out their penalty time, but Abbie and Ryan are heading to the Agriculture Academy. Ryan thinks his alma mater, UC Davis, will help with an ag task. Um, yeah, good luck with that. But when Ryan sees what the challenge actually is, he laughs.
"Got it. Nailed," he says.
Test No. 6. Nope. At Test No. 18, Ryan declares the map "misleading." In tones of utter frustration he says, "When I get a city in the same time zone as Moscow and it says +4, I add the 4." But no dice. Yep.
Soon Ryan is arguing with the professor. "The file is corrupt, it doesn't make sense," Ryan says as the professor smirks. "Moscow is +4 in its own time zone and — wait what? Ohhhh! Ohhhhhhh!!!"
Apparently, 25th time is the charm. Ryan even gets a hug from the prof.
Brent "Beekman" nails the task on what appears to be the very first round, no sweat.
Meanwhile, it's detour time ...
Detour: Movers and Shakers
The racers have two choices. In Movers, they have to learn that awesome Russian soldier dance. You know the one -- the squatting kicky one. In Shakers, they must identify seven famous Russian leaders — including a look-alike Catherine the Great, Josef Stalin and Leon Trotsky -- at a cocktail party.
Naturally, the Chippendales opt for the dancing challenge, despite James having sprained an ankle in Shanghai, and they head off, stopping to help the Texans get a cab. (The Chippendales are rapidly becoming my favorite team.) The two teams arrive, suit up in soldier uniforms and start learning the moves -- but that ankle injury is brutal. Poor James is drenched with sweat from the pain. It's a tough physical challenge for anyone, but that kind of joint abuse on an already-injured ankle is ... Well, bravo, guys. They finish the task, along with the Texans and head for the finish line.
Meanwhile, the twins suit up and start dancing and -- in what can only be described as a moment of karmic retribution for all those weeks of arrogance, attitude and nails-on-a-chalkboard screaming -- Natalie promptly rips her pants all the way from back to front. She laughs it off, unfazed, dons a fresh pair of pants and the twins make quick work of the challenge.
And Abbie, a dance instructor, absolutely owns the task.
But the Beekmans do the cocktail party task with thorough delight, shmoozing with Russian politicos and having a ball. Stalin warns Josh to beware of vodka and Russian women. Brent introduces Peter the Great to other guests, as in "Mr. Great, meet Mr. Stalin." Before heading to the mat, Brent suggests they go say thank you to everyone and they drink a final, joyous toast.
"Wow, " he says. "Lively for a dead crowd."
And from time to time, we catch glimpses of the forlorn rockers, filing police reports and trying to find their passports.
It's elimination time in Sokolniki Park, where Phil awaits at the mat. The Chippendales are the first to arrive, winning a trip for two to Costa Rica. The Texans come in second and the twins are third, followed by the divorcees in fourth and the farmers fifth. And the rockers are eliminated.
Next time: Airplane snafus and another U-turn.