. They're filled with things which, on paper, look pretty easy but for one reason or another prove terribly difficult and time consuming. Tonight, we got one of those legs.

Things got really weird instantly. On their way to the airport, Michael & Mark asked to borrow their cabbie's phone. They did, and somehow placed a call (or perhaps their cabbie did) to Cara & Jaime's cabbie instead of to Lufthansa. Cara & Jaime very happily pretended to be Lufthansa, making up some random information to distress the stuntmen. The truth of the flights though was equally confusing. The teams were given umpteen choices to connect from their current stop to Moscow and then on to Krasnoyarsk, Siberia. Five teams failed to make their connection in Moscow, getting stuck for several hours.

What I was stuck on was why exactly the producers failed to show us the blown connections. They skipped straight ahead to some teams — Mark & Michael, LaKisha & Jennifer, and Jodi & Christie — reaching Siberia before filling in the gap with left behind teams recounting their missed connection. It would have made a lot more sense to see it all take place.

The three teams that reached Siberia first had to wait a few hours before the hydroelectric dam they were heading to opened. And then, further distressing me as a viewer, the dam proved irrelevant, there was no task there, just a clue sending them to a church.

The Detour was at the church; teams had to either stack firewood properly or build and install some shutters. All three early bird teams went with stack, which they proceeded to do as locals sang, played accordion, and I'm pretty sure, drank. There was one nice local who declared to the camera — with some sort of liquid in hand — "America, I love you." I think it's safe to say we all love her and her bright red hair right back.

Well, maybe not all of us. Maybe not Mark and Michael who, in building their wall, proceeded to knock down the wall they were using as a guide and then, rather than fixing it, went off to build shutters. That certainly didn't show love on their part. Cara & Jaime, Amanda & Kris, and Mel & Mike at least had the decency to not have the example pile get knocked over when the ones they were building went down. Mel & Mike and Amanda & Kris both moved to building shutters too at that point. That task also proved to take forever, but only because teams couldn't find the house they were supposed to fix.

Detour accomplished, Phil introduced the newest twist in the game — the Blind U-turn. There will be no more of that pesky guilt teams feel when they're forced to declare themselves the perpetrators of the U-turn. No, a team forcing another team to U-turn can now remain blissfully anonymous. I kind of think of that as pulling the curtain behind you in the voting booth and am all for it (not that I would ever feel bad about U-turning someone). I'm guessing that the producers thought it would lead to a little more malice. Perhaps it did. Margie & Luke U-turned Kris & Amanda to try and buy Cara & Jaime time. If I were Luke, I'd want to keep Cara & Jaime around too.

The next stop was a Roadblock forcing one member of each team to complete a three mile bobsled run in under four minutes and to spot seven letters along the way. Completing the run and correctly spotting the seven letters, a player could move on and rearrange the same letters to spell "Chekhov" (they were going for Anton, not Pavel). Apparently people don't know Chekhov, lots of folks had trouble working that out, especially Luke. Go ahead, I know you want to call that Karma, I don't believe in such things, but if you want to call it that you can.

LaKisha & Jennifer left the Roadblock first, but couldn't find the right entrance to the Pit Stop and Christie & Jodi finished the leg first. Amanda & Kris, having to move from woodpiles to construction only to do the woodpiles again meant that if this were an elimination leg they'd be gone.

The show tried to pretend like it was going to be a close finish, with Mark & Michael running out of cash and trying to barter with their cabbie, but the changes in light seemed to indicate it wasn't that close. It was an elimination leg however, and Amanda & Kris went home. Sadly, they went home figuring that it was either LaKisha & Jennifer or Christie & Jodi who U-turned them. They decided that Margie & Luke would feel terrible about seeing such a thing happen. Oops.

I'm left at the end of this episode with the same question I always have with U-turn episodes — would you really not use it because you'd think someone would get upset? Isn't it just a part of the game?

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Posted by:Josh Lasser