Is Kevin in love?
It’s episode six of The Amazing Race, and Team Houston, Michael and Kevin Wu, are proving to be strong racers.
In Norway, Amazing host Phil Keoghan gives viewers a quick War War II history lesson about the last pit stop, Ankenes Marina. This exciting history substitutes for an exciting beginning because everyone is going to St. Petersburg, and they’re all going there together, traveling by train to Stockholm and then by plane to Russia.
In the opening minutes, we learn left to their own devices, Team Doctor and Team Home Shopping Hosts will smell each others’ shoes and socks, just because, and bickering couple Chad and Stephanie are still bickering and still annoying.
After no real racing, but lots of sock smelling and fighting, the teams arrive in Russia. Once in St. Petersburg, the teams zoom around by taxi, admiring or ignoring the beauty of the city.
They’re racing for a million dollars on national television, but Team Houston takes time out to hilariously perform the standard family vacation dialogue familiar to most American parents and children. Michael, marveling at St. Petersburg, says, “This is a city full of history and culture and you don’t care. I know you don’t care.” Kevin is too busy worrying about the next clue to appreciate the scenery.
The first big task of the episode is the detour: Classical Music or Classic Cinema. Classical Music requires teams to listen to three pieces of Russian classical music on a gramophone and then search through ballrooms filled with pianists, playing a multitude of compositions, to try and find the one pianist playing each chosen piece. They then pick up the sheet music from the correct piano and take it to the Maestro who will give them the next clue if they choose correctly or say “Nyet” if they get it wrong. This is a tough challenge if teams don’t know their Rimsky-Korsakov from their Tchaikovsky, and none of them do.
Classic Cinema is almost as difficult, as teams have to wade through immense piles of celluloid, trying to find the clip that matches the film, Sergei Eisenstein’s October, projected on a screen before them. Once they find the matching film a director looking on will give them the next clue.
Kevin, of course, wants to try the cinema task, but after he sees the huge piles of film, he is uncertain how to proceed. Michael encourages them on.
Both tasks stress all the teams, but both the maestro and director seem to be having a great time saying “Nyet” to the teams as they guess incorrectly again and again.
Team Houston arrives at the cinema task first but leaves third as they’re passed by two other teams.
Fortunately, Team Houston has good cab luck this episode as they get their next clue and travel to a town outside St. Petersburg, Alexandrovskaya. There, they hit a roadblock, a task only one team member can do. The roadblock question is “Who’s ready for a Russian drag race?” because the Amazing team designers love bad puns.
Kevin chooses to do this one and immediately regrets it as he has to don Babushka attire, and then plant and fertilize 50 potatoes. At this point, comes one of those bizarre moments that only happens on The Amazing Race. The home shopping hosts, Brook and Claire, are the first arrivals to the task and while Brook is off searching for the cow manure pile, Claire and Michael watch Kevin put on his headscarf and skirt. Claire, jokingly, asks Michael if he’s proud of his son.
We have to wonder back when Kevin was an ordinary Clements High School student by day, Youtube star by afternoon, if he ever thought all his hard work and creativity would lead him to this one moment, standing in a Russian potato field, dressed as a Babushka as a home shopping host asks his father if he’s proud of him. Michael laughs and says yes.
The Brook half of Team Home Shopping has trouble finding the potato field, so Kevin and his wheelbarrow full of manure arrive first. A team of Babushkas are there to both coach and cheer for Kevin. He greets them with “Hello, beautiful ladies. I have your poop and potatoes.”
They proceed to teach him the proper potato planting procedure, and comment on what a good farmhand he is. As he works, one saucy Babushka becomes his personal cheerleader. In his after-race interview, Kevin says he fell a little in love with her. He finishes first and gives her a big kiss on her cheek. She looks like she’s having almost as much fun as the Nyet-ing maestro and director had.
The pit stop for this leg is St. Isaac’s Cathedral. Team Houston arrives at the cathedral first, then gets a little lost trying to find Phil. Two teams on their heels spot Phil in the park across the street and slip ahead by only minutes. Our guys come in third. It’s their best placement yet, but if Kevin had listened to Michael about trying the park, they would have won the leg. So close.
Next week looks like trouble as the preview shows Kevin tempting the reality show fates with the words “We’re going to be last because of this.”
Foreshadowing or fake-out? Only the Amazing editors know for sure.