Who Says Pageant Girls Don't Eat?
The Amazing Race 5: Episode 4

It's a plane! Previously, Pout and Gout got eliminated when they failed to catch a flight. This week, another team fails to get on a crucial (read: faster) flight and get eliminated while another team goes from last to near the top of the heap when they luck out and get an earlier flight. See a pattern here? In The Amazing Race, be nice to the person behind the ticket counter: he or she can be the ticket to a million dollars.

Credits. I'm so far really digging this season, by the way, because it is a well-balanced Race so far in terms of design: there aren't too many physical exertions that will force cannon fodder teams (read: Friends of Gulliver) to fall out of the Race by the second episode. Instead, two fit teams are eliminated early by virtue of their cluelessness. Right now it's anybody's Race. Hurrah!

Anyway, back to show and Philo "How Many Eggs Are There In My Basket?" Koughie. He explains that the Racers are now at last week's Pit Stop, San Carlos di Bariloche, where Teams are enjoying some R&R (the Friends of Gulliver are eating, the GLPPs are communing with God by baring skin to the light of the sun in a less secular version of what we pagans call "sunbathing", C+C Colin is addressing the other Racers maybe on Hannibal Lecterism 101, et cetera). He wonders whether the Quotas, who are so far just barely hanging in there in the Race, will ever escape the curse of the last place (foreshadowing alert), and also whether the GLPPs will keep making alliances that benefit them while screwing the other Team. Oh, Philo, that's terrible - does Jesus still love the GLPPs?

At 3:10 am, the sociopath and his victim, I mean, the C+Cs are ready to leave. They are wearing those thingies on their head that have torches attached so that people can see them coming in the dark and flee. How thoughtful of them. Their clue tells them to go to Russia and locate the old battleship Aurora (a hunky lad rings the bell on the battleship in an impressive demonstration) in St Petersburg. Cool... until I remember that they are in Argentina. Philo explains that the Teams will now have to travel by bus back to Buenos Aires (it's a twenty-hour journey, better pack those seat cushions) before taking a flight of 8,000 miles to Russia. I feel constipated already just thinking of the bus ride. I hope the Teams have packed some kaopectate. Back to the C+Cs, Christie talks about how they want to make as few mistakes as possible so that they will keep being first. Colin of course doesn't talk because he's putting on that intense face thing for the camera. If they ever need a psychopath in The OC (maybe Ryan and Luke's bastard kid after a drunken one-night fling thing), they know who is waiting in the wings for that role. Waiting intensely, naturally.

"St Petersburg!" Lillie and Brobbie squeal to the cameras as they read their clue at 3:21 am. They also jump around like giddy hobbits on the Shire after they are told that gay marriages are now legal in Middle-Earth and Gandalf will be the minister at Sam and Froddo's big happy day. Lillie looks like the happy hobbit who can't wait to be the surrogate mom for Sam and Froddo's baby (who will be named Dodo). Brobbie, however, looks like the delusional one who thinks that Gandalf will now be marrying her. Settle down, ladies. Brobbie takes the opportunity to lament about how the Friends of Gulliver were "attacked" by the Grouchy Fat Slobs last week. I won't go as far as to use the word "attack", but Brobbie is a drama queen so I expect nothing less from her. She adds that she, being a lawyer, deals with "despicable human beings" on a "constant basis", leaving unsaid that she probably doesn't think much of the human beings on this Race. I wonder what she's like in court. Will she constantly scream at the judge "I object!" but raise bloody murder when the "despicable" human being at the other side voices an objection to her ramblings? I really want to attend one of her sessions. Can someone send me an invitation?

The GLPPs are away at 3:54 am. Moppet is quite delighted to be visiting St Petersburg. I wonder why. It's all snow and gloom there. Maybe he has pleasant memories of some young lady there that he met while on some missionary trip, I suspect. As they leave, Joan talks about how she wants to spread the word of the Lord (which I suspect doesn't include the phrase "please stop going on about God because this is a freaking TV show and I DON'T CARE so SHUT UP - GOD!") but adds that she and Moppet will also play ruthlessly on the show. It's nice that they come out and clarify this, although that doesn't make her subsequent "God is on my side, not yours!" schtick easier to watch. I wonder what's her excuse for Moppet's photoshoots (stereotypical black and white near-nude fashion thingies - the usual) that cater to far less religious inclinations of the audience. Chris Rock once said, "All babies must eat". So, by extrapolation, all Christians must eat too, even if they have to pose in near-nude photoshoots. What I'm saying in a roundabout way is that, yes, I know she and her Moppet love God and believe that God love them more than He loves other Teams so for the love of God and all his angels, hush. Hubby is still convinced that these two must have some coke habit and bisexual inclinations. These two are models after all, he says. God doesn't live in a tiara, so... "Do you think that she and that Christie will kiss each other once they're drunk?" asks hubby. Ahem. Let's move on.

It's 4:22 am and it's smoochies as love.com get going. Bob says while he drives that they have "knocked off" a couple of stronger, younger Teams and he hopes that they will knock a few more out (foreshadowing alert). Technically, love.com hasn't knocked off anybody, unless he's talking about sabotaging the other Teams, which I'm sure he isn't, but I'll let that slide because I adore this Team.

Meanwhile, the first two Teams are now at the bus station. Naturally, no ticket counter is opened for business yet. The C+Cs walk in first and Colin immediately talks to a guy who claims to work there. They are nearly getting to the juicy details about time and what-not when the Friends of Gulliver walk in too. Brobbie, without batting an eyelid, walks to stand between Colin and the other man and pollutes their decent Spanish conversation with her special brand of ebonics: "C'est possible..." Instead of telling her in her own Brobdignagian tongue, "Non, non, me non comprendo Spanishi, can senor speako Englishi?", the man turns to address her. Colin is intensely put out and asks Brobbie pointedly whether she realizes that the man is speaking to him first. Brobbie actually puts on a "how dare you?" face and tells him that yes, she can see that, but she too would like to talk to this gentleman as there is no one else to talk to. It is oh-too-amusing that she is acting like the offended party in question in this situation. Call me weird, but with her lack of self-awareness and her refusal to budge even when she's in the wrong, I can see why she can actually be a lawyer. Maybe an unpopular lawyer, but one that I may book as my TV lawyer without needing to buy a gun as a Plan B.

Colin tells her that there are some hours to go before the tickets go on sale, so Brobbie can interrogate this guy later. He tells her to go stand "over there", and then realizing that the cameras are on him, quickly puts on his Mr Nice Guy face (which of course isn't that nice but still) and adds that she can also stand where she is as long as she doesn't interrupt his conversation. Brobbie slowly enunciates that she will stand "right here" but she will concede to Colin so he can do "whatever the hell" he wants. See what I mean about Brobbie refusing to budge in the confrontation? I guess I can say that she's wrong to interrupt, but to be honest, I'm enjoying myself too much watching Colin and Brobbie acting like silly and spoiled kids to care. As a non-morning person who can get really cranky at 4:00 am, I would probably behave worse under similar circumstances.

Colin tells the camera that Brobbie is probably the rudest person he's ever met in his life. I said it before and I'll say it again: Colin and Brobbie, with their prospensity for melodrama, are a match made in heaven. She'll call him despicable in her tragic martyr tone complete with her charming Armenian accent and oh-so-proper overenunciation, he'll say she's rude in his most intense voice while giving hier an intense glare, and the ensuing Angry Hot Sex will shatter pornographic records all over the place.

At 5:04 am, the Downtown Hiltons count their money ($241 - it's obvious that a Maths geek, the tragic kind that quotes the Fibonacci series and derives trigonometric equations to impress people at parties, is in charge of the money this Season) and whine as they leave that it's hard to race with a twin as they both have the same strengths (that is, none at all) and weaknesses (too many to list down, surely) so there is no one to balance the other person. Funny, I don't see the Zoolander Twins of Season Three having the same problem. Maybe that's because they're hot, smart, and fit. These two silly women are fit, er, um, yeah, fit.

The Bates Sisters leave at 5:15 am, wishing that they can move ahead in placing at the end of this leg of the Race because they don't like playing to catch up.

At 5:17 am, the Quotas depart. Chip wants to stop being last because he's tired of being one of the "bottom feeders". I don't think he's using the phrase correctly, is he? Kim chimes in that they must run a "near perfect" Race at this leg in order to do so. They should. The number of Teams are dwindling and there are fewer Teams to screw up worse than the Quotas to save them.

The Bates Sisters seem to be lost on their way to the bus station, oh dear. The GLPPs, love.com, and the Downtown Hiltons in the meantime reach the bus station in that order. Ah, bunching. But as we shall soon see, the bunchings this Season never happen smoothly. Always, someone screws up and gets left behind. This Season can't be beaten for best airport drama.

At 5:34 am, the Grouchy Fat Slobs finally slither out of the cesspit. They grumble that they are going to a place where they must don winter gear. What a bunch of miserable losers. They act so affronted at the slightest need for exertion, which is okay if we aren't talking about a Race here. Seriously, I am terrified of walking into their pizza hole. They will hate me and pollute my pizza with unspeakably vile body fluids if I have the temerity to ask them to leave off the anchovies. They talk about how they agree about everything on this Race despite arguing over everything in their normal days. It's good that they agree about something because the world will such a lonely place for them when everyone else disagrees with them, especially after watching this show. Creeps.

They are the sixth to make it to the bus station, the Quotas having joined the Bates Sisters in the land of the lost and clueless. The Grouchy Fat Slobs are particularly happy to see the C+Cs, with Munch (I think, but it could also be Lance or Jabba the Hut for all I care) actually giving Colin a high-five. They join the queue forming before the ticket counter.

It is now 6:00 am. The Teams are getting restless. Apparently the El Valle bus counter opens only at 7:30 am. Colin, however, is not going to stand there and wait, so he asks the same gentleman he and Brobbie were fighting over earlier about alternative bus routes. I suspect that this conversation took place earlier and the editors did some creative splicing here, but the gist is this: there is another bus company, A Buenos Aires, that goes to Buenos Aires three hours later than the bus everyone is currently queuing up to buy tickets for, but it arrives at the same time as the latter because the former bus makes fewer stops along the way. If you listen closely, that's Alison screaming that damn it, she should've partnered with Colin and not Donkey. Colin helpfully provides the figures for the numerically inclined in the audience: he tells the camera that El Valle departs at 9:30 am, the A Buenos Aires at 12:30 pm, but both buses arrive at 7:30 am the following morning. He also adds that the 12:30 pm bus is more comfortable. He is practically drooling at the anticipation of pulling a coup on the others because he is, after all, an intense kid.

At 7:00 am, Colin slowly and silently (but intensely) strolls to the A Buenos Aires counter which is just opening for business. Lance of the Grouchy Fat Slobs, no doubt clued in earlier by Colin, follows. Those two aren't as quiet as they'd like though as soon the other Teams are running to follow those two. There is minor chaos at the counter as everyone fights to be in the line. love.com asks everyone to keep to the same order as previously. That's a commendable idea if we're talking about a canteen line in the kindergarten, but there is a million dollars at stake here so of course nobody listens to them. I certainly wouldn't agree, especially if I come in last earlier - outta my way, eat my fist, buster!

Colin, who should stop trying to be so diplomatic on camera when he's not fooling anyone, asks them whether they should stick to the initial order. I'd guess he's just playing to the camera. Intense boy here probably wants to be an actor, after all. Christie asks the GLPPs to step up from the back of the line because her former Miss Texas rival and her Moppet are at the back of the line. It is Brobbie who spoils the mood by saying that she and Lillie are actually "first in line". I guess she may be saying that while the C+Cs were talking to the guy earlier Lillie may have stood in line at the counter already - or something. The result of this is conflagration. Lance tells her not to talk to him. Actually she isn't, but I guess that twit has to say something anyway to meet his daily quota of rubbish. One of the idiot twin sisters wonders angrily whether everyone is going to follow the order or not because they are currently being pushed to the back of the line and they are not happy about it. Lance points out how ridiculous it is to follow the order and asks sarcastically whether the Teams intend to follow the order for the rest of this Race. Amidst the arguments going on, Chip Quota is sneakily muscling his way forward. Bob of love.com catches him at it and insists that Chip is not "kidding" him one bit. Yeah, Bob, but I don't think Chip intends to kid anybody in the first place.

Christie challenges Brobbie's notion that the Friends of Gulliver should be the first in line, pointing out that she's never given the Friends any opportunity to cut line earlier. She tells Brobbie not to expect any favors from her. Brobbie indignantly scoffs at the notion of Christie doing anybody any favors and accuses her of hating the Friends of Gulliver. Christie is shocked. She is, after all, a pretty princess, so how dare this... this.. geek question her words! Brobbie isn't finished. She says that the Friends don't need any favors because they have God on their side. Um, yes. I always say that when someone has to bring in God in a secular argument, he or she has lost that argument. If "God loves me better than you" is the best one can do in terms of rebuttal, the argument has officially gone down the drain.

Lillie, in the meantime, pushes her way to the front and tries to peer over the counter. Don't ask.

Colin decides to end the argument once and for all by buying what seems to be the remaining tickets on the bus (just enough for four Teams) so that, he says, the Friends of Gulliver don't have any chance at getting on it. Proving my skepticism right in that he never intends to honor any order, contrary to his initial insincere attempt at passing himself off as a nice guy, he buys tickets for his buddies the Grouchy Fat Slobs (he needs someplace to wait when the acting gigs aren't coming, after all), the GLPPs (his chick and Joan go way back when they are scratching each other's eyes out for Miss Texas), and the Quotas, bypassing love.com and the Downtown Hiltons who arrive before the Quotas. While Brobbie wins no cookie points from me for being a silly and rude dimwit, Colin isn't winning any points from me either for being an insincere hack. Why even try to play the Boy Scout when he has no intention of following through?

A wise woman knows when to back down, but not Brobbie. She tells the camera that she is so glad not to be on that bus because she won't have to see "that criminal's face". She declares that she can't stand "criminals". Really, she and Colin have to hook up. All this sexual tension is unbearable to watch - just get on with the shagging already! She's his darling rudest woman in the world and he's her despicable criminal baby. They will break up and get back together at least eight times every day while the rest of the world watches the train wreck in hearty amusement.

Moppet asks his newfound alliances to get together and go do research on travel routes they can use in St Petersburg. As they leave, the remaining Teams watch after them sullenly. Lillie tells Linda Bates that doing research is a smart thing to do so she doesn't "blame" them. Blame them for what? Does she expect them to sit by the Friends of Gulliver in the bus station and wave goodbye when she gets on the bus?

At a travel agency, Colin is leading the proceedings as he carefully and vey efficiently makes reservations on early flights and asks the agent to keep looking for faster and earlier alternatives. Then again, you have to be intelligent and calculative to be a creepy sociopathic dude that Colin - apparently, not definitely, lawyers - resembles, right?

At 9:30 am, four unhappy teams board the slow bus to Buenos Aires. One of the Downtown Hiltons complain that they have no "control" of their situation because they have no access to the Internet or cellphones. Yeah, they and the rest of the Third World. Judging from their track record, besides, I'd wager that they've lost control of the Race the moment Philo gives the "Go!" three episodes before.

Back at the travel agency, the agent discovers an earlier flight, but only one Team can get on it. One of the Grouchy Fat Slobs propose that the C+Cs get on this flight because Colin is their boss. That and he may knock on their doors at the Pit Stop at night and that will be really creepy. Because nobody wants to see an intense Colin with a carving knife standing at their bedroom doorway, they all agree. So the C+Cs are getting on that earlier flight. My, how nice these people are when they are among friends! At 12:30 pm, their bus departs for Buenos Aires. Munch tells the camera that he feels good because he already has tickets for a flight to Russia, unlike certain four teams who are on another bus.

At 7:52 am, the Slow Bus on Buenos Aires arrive and everyone dash for cabs the moment their feet reach the ground. It's hilarious that when Brobbie tells the cab driver "I need we go fast!" the show has subtitles informing viewers that she is telling the driver to go fast. People, Brobbie's English hasn't degenerated that badly. Yet.

At 8:03 am, the other bus arrives. The Quotas and the Fat Grouchy Slobs turn around and oops, look who's missing. Yup, the GLPPs have vamooshed. Earlier, Moppet wonders aloud to the camera whether there are alternative faster routes to Russia. Now, he explains to the camera that he is trying to get to the airport without being seen by the other two Teams. Since the other two Teams are also going to the airport, I don't... Oh, never mind. I guess it's more about the spirit of God-fearing Christians screwing their "allies" for the heck of it.

At the airport, the Friends of Gulliver realize that Swiss Air is fully booked but they will be placed on "priority standby", a phrase that long-time fans of this show will recognize as ticket agent speak for "Yeah, yeah, whatever, get out of my face". The silly ladies however seem to believe that they are set to go. Meanwhile, the Bates Sisters and the Downtown Hiltons get tickets - real tickets, not vague promises - and they're set. The GLPPs arrive at the airport and Moppet calls the travel agent that they met back in San Carlos di Bariloche to see whether there are any seats on any earlier flight. Cut to a shot of a group of nuns descending an escalator, and then Moppet gets confirmation that yes, there is a British Airways flight with seats available. Man, I have to be more cutthroat in the future because apparently that is what God wants his people to do.

Look, that's the C+Cs boarding their flight. Their flight, Philo explains helpfully, leaves for St Petersburg via Sao Paolo and Paris.

The Quotas and the Grouchy Fat Slobs spot the GLPPs as they walk into the airport and approach them. Moppet explains what he is doing - buying tickets for British Airways - and the ticket agent informs him that the flight will land at 4:15 pm, as opposed to the flight they have all booked earlier which lands at 6:00 pm. Alas, the other teams learn that there are no more tickets available at this particular flight. That will teach them not to be so rigid about the concept of "alliance" in the future. Alliances are a silly concept on this Race anyway because they don't work. Short-term symbiotic relationships for a particular moment, yes, friendship, yes, but expecting another Team to be an ally all the way to the Final Three is silly because this Race doesn't work like Survivor. The Quotas good-naturedly laugh the incident off, with Chip Quota saying that the GLPPs are "playing the game" and Kim saying that they can't blame the GLPPs for doing so. The Grouchy Fat Slobs grumble a little, saying that they are not angry at the GLPPs but they think the GLPPs are "scumbags" anyway. I believe they intend that statement to come off as something amusing for the camera but these two men are so lacking in terms of adroit wit and likeability that the statement is just another typical unimaginative nonsense these two tend to say.

The GLPPs take off. Their flight stops at Sao Paolo and London on its way to St Petersburg.

After acting so serene and confident, the Friends of Gulliver are starting to feel panic creeping in when they learn that the Swiss Air flight on which they have priority standby ticket reservations for are full and they are not getting on it. Brobbie says in dismay that she has been counting on Swiss Air to get her and Lillie to St Petersburg, which says a lot about how smart she is, banking all her hopes on a promise of standby. Ugh.

The Grouchy Fat Slobs and the Quotas depart. Their flight stops at Madrid and Frankfurt. From the way the show keeps telling me these details, I keep expecting something significant to happen at the detours. Or at least, I am supposed to care about these details, only I'm not sure why I should.

Oh no, love.com has problems with their tickets. They have booked a flight on Air France, but when they receive their tickets, they realize that the tickets are for business class. Joyce explains that the rules of the Race stipulate that only economy class tickets can be purchased, and in the case of Air France, there are no more economy class seats available. Joyce looks downcast and Bob asks her to think positive. She tells him that she is not giving up but admits to feeling depressed by this turn of events.

Brobbie tells a ticket agent that she and Lillie have to go to Russia now and even slaps her hands on the counter top to emphasis the "now". Alas, even with God on their side, the seats fail to materialize. She is starting to panic as she scurries from counter to counter, pushing Lillie in the luggage trolley. Yes, it's a hilarious sight and I laugh out loud. And yes, I'm such an evil person.

love.com manages to secure the Lufthansa flight, which puts them on the same footing as the Downtown Hiltons and the Bates Sisters until they reach Madrid. There, love.com will go separate ways with the two Teams on a slower flight that makes an additional stop at Frankfurt.

This leaves only the Friends of Gulliver behind in Buenos Aires as the other Teams take to the skies. Oh no, is this the end for the Team? No. In a truly lucky turn of events, they manage to secure some just-cancelled tickets on a flight that makes only one stop - at Frankfurt. And at Frankfurt, the Quotas and the Grouchy Fat Slobs are startled and not too-happy to see the Friends of Gulliver waiting at the departure gate for St Petersburg. See? The Friends of Gulliver aren't just lucky enough to get a flight, they are lucky enough to get a last-minute flight that puts them at the same footing as the Quotas and the Grouchy Fat Slobs! Brobbie happily declares to the camera that she is "ready to rumble in Russia", no doubt while the others grumble about the luck of the devil these two have. This is not the first and certainly not the last time that they are saved from their ineptness by chance and catapaulted from last to near the front in the process. I'm amazed. The next time I'm going to Vegas, these two are coming with me.

The C+Cs land in St Petersburg where it's snowy all over and take a cab. As they get close to the battleship Aurora, the GLPPs land and is appropriately awed by the snow. The C+Cs find the clue stand and they realize that it's now time for a Detour. Teams must choose to perform one of two alternative tasks, "Block Five Shots" or "Drink One Shot", before they can receive the next clue. Philo explains that the "particularly Russian" detours will involve Teams having to block five shots lobbed at you by "professional hockey players" in an ice hockey rink ("block five shots") or drinking vodka from a small glass balanced on a sword without causing the glass to fall off the sword ("drink one shot"). The downsides are that it may take a long time to perform both Detours, depending on how good one is at it, and the "drink one shot" Detour takes place in a Russian ballroom in a palace a good distance away from Aurora. The ice hockey rink, on the other hand, is nearby. The C+Cs decide to drink. Christie should get used to it: I suspect she will be drinking quite considerably if she ever takes her Stockholm-heavy relationship with Colin further than the finish line.

The GLPPs read the clue. God-fearing Joan quickly wants to do the tippling. Hmm. Moppet says that he is uncomfortable with the idea of tippling vodka. He has no compunctions about posing near naked with completely naked women for bus stop ads but when it comes to a wee-little vodka, he's uncomfortable. What a wuss. He tells the camera that his faith is the most important thing to him and he lives to set a good example to other people. Dude, I'm inspired! I'm so posing in tattered and artfully revealing jeans while being embraced by gorgeous naked men for bus stop ads when I'm not screwing over my allies. Joan really wants to drink so she reminds Moppet that they will be confronting professional hockey players in the rink. Professional hockey players! Her faith in God wavers in the face of such tremendous odds. Still, remembering that Father Calvin Klein may be watching this show from his pulpit of disapproval, she agrees to block five shots.

In the Palace of Vodka and Polka, there are dancers twirling around. Colin grabs a sword from the creepy Polka Vodka Brotha in charge like he has been handling sharp utensils all his life and drains the vodka as if he's been using blades to drink vodka and probably other fluids every evening. I really should stop overromanticizing his psychopathic tendencies because I must confess that I'm in danger of actually finding him hot if he's actually like that. Christie cheers her man on with a distinctly cheerleaderish "Woo!". She's such a pathetic beauty queen stereotype.

Speaking of pathetic beauty queen stereotypes, her equally useless, only God-fearing counterpart Joan is telling Moppet while they gear up that she feels stupid, she doesn't want to do this, and she really wants to drink vodka really badly. Moppet reminds her that they are "committed" to blocking five shots and she calls him an idiot under her breath.

Christie's hand trembles as she tries to drink the vodka. Maybe it's because Colin is pushing his face right before hers while insisting, "Just put your mouth against it! Just hold it with your lips right now! Hold it with your lips right now! Hold it with your lips!" Heh heh heh. Excuse me while I snigger like the twelve-year old kid that I am inside. Seriously, as much as I am starting to find his competitiveness and ruthlessness sexy (don't look at me, I blame this on the fact that as a woman, I am genetically inclined and evolutionary nurtured to find such alpha male tendencies sexy), I am quite creeped out by the way he glowers at Christie as he barks at her to drink up, as if he's the type of man who has high standards of his partner and will take it out on her really hard when his partner lets him down. The resulting emotional guilt-trip and blame-game he may put her through can be very ugly. The C+Cs get their clue, which Philo explains will take them to the Bronze Horseman, the famous monument to commemorate Peter the Great's, er, greatness.

Back at the hockey rink, Moppet asks Joan whether she has ever ice-skated. Gee, that's a little too late to be asking her that, seeing that they are going to be staring down some supposedly professional ice hockey players soon. She snaps at him that she last skated when she was like "five" and to make her point, trips and falls down. When he asks her whether she's fine, she tells him to stuff it because she's not talking to him. All this over a glass of vodka?

The C+Cs find the Bronze Horseman, where the clue tells them that they must now head over to the Old Tower Restaurant. Philo comes out to explain that this restaurant is at he outskirts of St Petersburg, in the town of Pushkin. And then it's a cab for the C+Cs as they make their way to the Old Tower Restaurant.

The GLPPs stumble on their way down the rink. Joan warns Moppet that he's in trouble if she gets hurt in the process. There's a "Nick and Jessica" vibe I'm getting from these two, from their willingness to work in a sexually exploitative field even as they talk about God and what-not to the whole dynamics of their relationship, and I don't think I like that vibe. Anyway, they manage to eventually block five shots - shots that seem like real shots, as opposed to pity-the-newbies "aw shucks" shots I'm half expecting the players to deliver - and after some self-backpatting, they head off to find the Bronze Horseman. As they get into their cab, Joan hopes that the Detour has not cost them too much time. No, it hasn't, but what happens next, heh heh, certainly will!

The third flight bearing the Friends of Gulliver, the Quotas, and the Grouchy Fat Slobs finally arrive. The Friends of Gulliver are the first to leave the airport and they make sure the audience knows it. And don't I know it, oh boy. Chip Quota says ruefully that "as usual" they are the last to leave the airport. Yeah, but why he and his wife don't do something about that instead of endlessly bemoaning about it I will never know. Talk about overplaying an already broken record until the gramophone explodes.

The GLPPs discover the Bronze Horseman and now head on to the Old Tower Restaurant. Meanwhile, the Friends of Gulliver reach the Aurora and Brobbie wants to block five shots. Lillie, as usual, protests that she can't do it but Brobbie shushes her.

The C+Cs walk up to the Old Tower Restaurant where they learn that it's time for one Team member who has "the taste of a good life" to perform a Roadblock. Man, after all the traveling they've done, I'm surprised they don't fight for a chance to taste a "good life". Then again, knowng this show, I'm sure a "good life" is more akin to drinking gasoline from a silver chalice. The two discuss on who should go, deducing correctly that the Roadblock will involve eating some distasteful stuff. Colin is pushing Christie to do it, saying, "I don't know - I don't know if I'm going to be able to make it go down my throat." How like a man to say such things, really. I bet he thinks he's the good life too, huh? Creep. Philo comes out to explain that the Roadblock will involve chowing down a kilogram of caviar. Ugh, those salty, slimy things? Ugh. Which only makes Colin's unfortunate statement about taking it down the throat even more hilarious.

Now, I have eaten caviar only once, and that's barely a teaspoon of it before I gag. It's salty, oily, and to me, as disgusting as cod liver oil. But a friend who's more of a gourmet food type than me tells me that one can chow down caviar by spreading it on a slice of bread. I notice that there is a tray of bread at Christie's side. But the C+Cs are more like me, I guess, clueless about caviar, because while he urges her to eat small mouthfuls and take her time, she just shoves her spoon into that cheap-looking slimy black blobs of slime and shoves in a mouthful before she gags. Colin gives her that unnervingly singular and focused glower and asks her in a truly Lecterite tone whether she is alright, whether she wants to mix the caviar with wine (ugh), and telling her that she can do it and she can eat all that stuff. Stuff it, buddy. If you don't swallow, you shouldn't expect her to, that's what I always say. I am willing to bet that Christie may be okay if he hasn't psyched her out by reenacting that dinnertime scene from Hannibal with his girlfriend.

Happy music comes on and lookee here, Lillie is in her hockey outfit. Aww, she's so adorable. Then she opens her mouth and she's not so adorable anymore. In a way, this show is actually breaking little people stereotypes. It is easy to assume that Lillie is a simple child just because she's short, but this show is telling people that Lillie can be cantankerous, carmudgeonly, and irritating just like you and me. Lillie grumbles that she never wants to play hockey as she groans and moans her way down the rink. The audience, seeing her, cheers because it is not nice to laugh instead. Brobbie tells the hockey professionals in an accent inspired by too many The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show marathons, "I give you kiss if you take easy!" I still laugh like crazy whenever I recall the atrocious accent in which she uses to deliver that awfully stupid line. In fact, I'm laughing right now as I write this down. The hockey professionals, wussing out at the idea of beating Lillie (I can't believe they actually want that "keees" from Brobbie), actually start delivering weak shots at the Friends of Gulliver. Pansies!

The Grouchy Fat Slobs and the Quotas in the meantime decide to drink a shot. They have not much problems in doing so.

The Grouchy Fat Slobs have problems locating the Bronze Horseman when they stupidly decide to walk to the statue. Naturally, Lance starts yelling at the locals because he can't really find a way to the statue based on their directions, accusing them of deliberately misleading him and Munch. Get real, those two. They should be thanking the locals for still being patient enough to deal with them when they are acting like jackasses. Munch argues with Lance, saying that they should have just taken a cab. Which is what the Quotas have done, by the way. The Grouchy Fat Slobs finally locate the Bronze Horseman at the same time that the Friends of Gulliver, having completed their task, stop right before the statue. Munch grumbles that his knees are killing him. Am I supposed to sympathize?

The GLPPs are outside the Old Tower Restaurant, reading the clue. Moppet says that Joan, being Miss Texas, has the taste for good life. Yeah, and I'm sure he not wanting to eat disgusting thingies have nothing to do with his decision. Joan agrees. That's what I don't like about her and Christie - they let their men do all the leading and it's such a distressingly typical beauty queen stereotype. Moppet, seeing the caviar, insists that it will go down "like that" down Joan's throats. Creep. I sincerely hope I don't happen to meet him or Colin on a blind date because I will bludgeon them with a thick Dr Ruth dating manual if I do.

The C+Cs noticeably sits up and becomes agitated when the GLPPs walk in. Joan sees Christie's watery and nauseated expression and asks her whether "it" is gross. Christie says that it is. Joan takes a small mouthful and expresses her disgust. Moppet asks her whether it is gross. He's a model and I'm supposed to believe that he hasn't, you know, gone down that route? What kind of model is he? He's a disgrace to the boheme fashion community everywhere! Maybe some merciful fashion guru will take Moppet under his wing and, er, feed him lots of fresh caviar. Joan tells him that swallowing caviar is like swallowing a giant "loogie". I think I need to lie down. I'm going green in the face. I'm all for models with interesting sexual proclivities but I draw the line at nostril emissions.

Remember how Anthony Hopkins puts his hands on Julianne Moore's shoulders in Hannibal? Colin has his hands on Christie's shoulders in exactly the same manner. And he's crooning at her reassurances that are simultaneously insincere on the ears, robotic, and certainly not reassuring. He's obviously comforting her not because he cares for her but because he just wants her to swallow it all baby, oh yeah. I'm thankful that this show is giving ladies everywhere an outlet to vent about some of the creeps they have the misfortune to encounter. Colin, eat shoe! Unexpectedly, the whole "eat brains, Clarice, just eat" session has Christie bursting into tears. Colin sits across the table and glowers at her. I really think he's doing more bad than good in that instance. She starts apologizing pitifully to him while he just glares at her as if he really can't believe that she is letting him down like that. Watching these two is like watching as the iceberg looms before the ship I am on.

In a brilliant juxtaposition of scenes, we cut from the C+Cs miserable moment to Brobbie in the cab happily telling Lillie that it will be great to finally have some dinner at the Old Tower Restaurant. Ha!

Christie gives up. She tells Colin that she's full. Predictably, that excuse doesn't wash. Moppet, watching Joan struggling with the caviar, remarks that the women won't be able to do it. Colin insists that Christie can do it, she just needs the "motivation". Yeah, this is coming from a man who initially told her that he can't swallow. What a creep! Christie, hearing him, gives him a truly pathetic "please, baby, love me please" look while he just gives her a cutting look in response. He's no longer sweet at her now that she's letting him down and preventing him from winning. She'll join the ranks of the unmotivated women he's dumped because they won't swallow, oh no. Poor Christie, of course, can't have that because she is a pretty princess and she needs to be loved so she picks up her spoon again.

The Quotas are now outside the restaurant. Earlier in their cab, Chip tells Kim that they will have only this one chance to stop being last. Naturally, she now lets him do the Roadblock. Smart woman.

Colin exclaims, with hand-wringing gesture, that the Quotas have caught up with them. You have no idea how much satisfaction it gives me to see the jerk's lead get flushed down the drain. All I want now is Christie to throw up all over his face. Chip gives the caviar a brief "Oh? This? Whatever!" look before wolfing huge mouthfuls down like they are potato chips and he's watching a football game. Joan and Christie stare at him in amazement. Colin insists that Christie has to eat. She protests, saying that he has no idea how difficult this task is for her. Colin sternly tells her that eating caviar is easy and she can't quit on him. CREEP.

Then comes the Grouchy Fat Slobs. Lance, the guy with the most crap spewing from his mouth, agrees to do the Roadblock. Seeing the caviar and no doubt remembering that he has worse waiting in his kitchen back home to serve the hapless customers, he boasts that he will wolf the whole thing down in thirty seconds. But after one gulp, he has a petrified look on his face. Oopsie, heh heh. Lillie of course says that she can't eat caviar (see a pattern to her behavior here?) but Brobbie tells her to shush it and they too walk into the restaurant, much to Colin's vocal dismay. Lillie is quite mischievous - she begins gulping down the caviar while making "yummy, delicious!" faces to Joan and Christie. Chip is close to finishing his caviar, earning him Lance's admiration, which has to be worth something, I guess.

And then Chip is done and he and Kim bolt out the door. The clue tells them to head straight to the Pit Stop in one of the designated sleighs waiting for them outside the restaurant. A driver will take them to the palace of Empress Catherine, which is the Pit Stop for this leg of the Race. What a pity about the driver and sleigh; I'm hoping to see the Teams wander on the thin ice to the Pit Stop, along which hopefully a team or two will never be seen again. The Quotas are excited at the concept of being first. Chip calls Kim "Booby Cooper", by the way. I think I'm afraid to know what that means.

Lillie and Lance munch and yum away. Joan on the other hand just stares forlornly at caviar dripping from her spoon. Christie isn't eating either. She whispers an apology to Colin again, repeating that this task is not easy for her. "Oh my God!" he explodes, "I can't take it! Just eat!" What a charmer, eh? Brobbie, seeing an opportunity to pour gunpowder on her nemesis Colin's already short fuse, loudly says that Lillie is the strongest woman in the room. "I hate that woman!" Colin whispers to Christie. Ooh, the sexual tension between them! He tells Christie that they have to get out of here (or else he'll throw himself on Brobbie and they will make wild passionate love on a table). Finally, Christine bends. She picks up her spoon and starts eating the remaining caviar like a trooper. Colin naturally rubs his chin, confident that he has finally made her see the True Path or something. The Grouchy Fat Slobs actually cheer her on. Well, it's nice of them, I guess. Not that I will bend and start liking them, of course. And then she's done and she staggers after Colin as he runs out of the room.

Once Colin is no longer there to impress, Brobbie quickly changes her tune and starts insisting that the "strongest woman in the room" start "shoving" caviar down fast. Lillie looks like she's tuned out Brobbie - and she should have plenty of practice doing that by now - and keeps eating like a trooper. Meanwhile, Joan moans. She's going to be sick.

The Quotas alighted from their sleigh and Kim begins running towards the Pit Stop. Chip calls out after her, saying that his stomach can't take the running after all that caviar, heh heh. And there, right there behind the finishing mat, are Philo and Rasputin (come on, you really don't believe he's dead, do you?). Rasputin welcomes the Quotas to Pushkin. The Quotas are team number one. Chip did a good job at the Roadblock, but he acts like he and his wife have won the Race already. Let's just hope that they have broken their pattern of always coming in last.

Lance is wolfing down his caviar. His caviar is green, for some reason, when the other Teams' is black. Come to think of it, I regret taking notice of that. Speculations of the nature of the green thing make me more nauseated than I need to be. Meanwhile, Joan has abandoned the table and is curling up on the floor with her head rested on the knapsack. She moans that she is feeling dizzy, which is understandable considering that she's ingested more salt and oil in that one dining session that one normally would in a week. Taking into account of the gruelling flight and bus ride she's endured, she's definitely going to be sick, certainly. Colin should take lessons from Moppet as the latter comforts her. With Colin, his "comforts" ring false because it's obvious that he cares more about winning than her. With Moppet, he genuinely seems to exhibit concern for Joan. There is no "Eat! You need motivation!" urgings. In fact, he is not even urging her to eat. He just tells her that he is here for her.

The C+Cs reach the Pit Stop - second. Christie blubbers. Colin self-consciously chokes up as he talks about how proud he is of her. He explains that he wishes he'd done the Roadblock but he doesn't think that he could have done it. So, is he saying that he lacks the motivation too? I thought he said that eating caviar is a simple task? It's so obvious that this creep is just saying things he believes that he ought to say before the camera. From the whole affected "intense" poser persona to the contrived statements he gives to the camera, this guy is more fake than a counterfeit Rolex watch made in Hong Kong.

Lance is done and the Fat Grouchy Slobs dash out of the restaurant. I don't think they will want to enter a restaurant for a while. And then the Friends of Gulliver leave. It is now only the GLPPs in the restaurant, with Joan saying that she can't possibly finish the caviar and Moppet reassuring her that it is okay and pressing an ice pack over her forehead. See, Colin? That is being a good boyfriend. Moppet tells the camera that Joan is really sick and he believes that she is going to pass out. The thing is, though, as much as I symphatize with her, there is a part of me that is rolling my eyes at Joan. There's this less humane part of me that keeps whispering that hey, it's only caviar. Seriously, if eating gross food will get to her that way, she should've called a halt to this to let Moppet do the Roadblock instead, damn whatever time penalty they may inflict on her Team because any time penalty couldn't be worse than the time they have wasted so far. I guess that I just don't have patience for fragile beauty queens hoping to ride their boyfriends' coattails to a million dollars.

The remaining few minutes of the show is a quite montage of the other three teams - you do remember the Bates Sisters, the Downtown Hiltons, and love.com, right? - trying to catch up. The Bates Sisters and the Downtown Hiltons try to get their cabs to beat each other and the Downtown Hiltons say that while they love the Bates Sisters, they must do what they need to do to win. Hmm, I'm sure the Quotas are glad to hear that the Downtown Hiltons have seen the light instead of acting like some hypocrites who call names on people that beat them in the Race.

The Grouchy Fat Slobs reach the Pit Stop - third.

The Downtown Hiltons and the Bates Sisters decide to drink a shot.

love.com finally arrives in St Petersburg and Bob is certain that they are not out of the Race yet. Sniff.

The Friends of Gulliver come in fourth. Philo gets a hug from Brobbie. I think he's the only guy on earth who likes Brobbie. Hey, Colin, put down that knife! I genuinely, honestly forgot about you. It is an honest mistake: I don't hate you, I know you love Brobbie more than Philo does - aaargh!

love.com decides to block five shots. Sheesh, why? The other Detour should be faster.

The two women Teams complete the vodka tasting session and depart.

love.com completes the hockey put blocking task and gives the applauding audience a neat bow. They get a cab to the restaurant.

Back at the Old Tower Restaurant, Joan, has started taking small spoonful of the caviars. The Moppet is encouraging her slowly but steadily, urgng her to take her time. Unlike Colin's clumsy pressings, Moppet's slow and steady reassurances seem to fortify Joan's confidence and she starts eating at a faster pace. See, that's the secret, guys, to making a lady feel good, even if you're lying through your teeth - you have to make her believe that you really care about her first and foremost. Then she's done and they head to the Pit Stop, fifth, where she predictably gushes about what a wonderful and supportive boyfriend he is. Since he kisses her when she's all fishy, salty, and oily, I'm touched, really. He really comes off as a genuinely supportive boyfriend.

The Downtown Hiltons may not be that dumb after all as the one doing the eating is using some of the bread provided to eat her caviar. But her hand is visibly trembling, so she's not having an easier time at it. The other sister tells her that the other sister would do this in her place if that is allowed. I'm sure she means every word. Meanwhile, love.com are on their way to the restaurant with Bob optimistically saying that they can't give up because someone may run into trouble and give them a reprieve. Linda Bates finishes her caviar first and as the Bates Sisters hop on their sleigh, they laugh and wonder who would've thought that they'd beat the twins in an eating contest, heh heh. They are team number six.

Alas, the Downtown Hiltons leave the restaurant even before love.com reaches it. The Sister That Ate is barely moving and has to be supported by the Sister That Didn't all the way to the Pit Stop. It's actually a funnier sight than I'd like to admit (empathy for suffering people and all that). They are team number seven.

Oh, love.com! As Joyce eats caviar - Bonghammer, you bastard, forcing her to eat when she's already last! - Bob voices over that he feels truly blessed to have found love a second time around. Joyce adds that Bob completes her. Then love.com is on the sleigh where Joyce rests her weary head on Bob's chest. He tries to comfort her by asking her whether she's ever been on a sleigh ride. She smiles at him as best as she could and says no. I have to wipe my eyes as Joyce voices over that she has always expected to spend the rest of her life alone until she meets Bob. As they stand before Philo on the finishing mat, Bob tells him that Joyce is his second chance at love and life. love.com shares one last kiss to trinkly sappy music before the credits roll. Awww, I need another tissue. I really like this couple and am truly saddened to see them leave even if it's such a classy exit. Ah, but as they say, the Race goes on and tomorrow is another day.

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