Thursday, 29 August 2013

The Amazing Race Canada: PREVIEW of Episode 8 'Clutch and Release'

There be spoilers here, matey.

This week, the four remaining teams will travel from Iqaluit to Nova Scotia's beautiful south shore. It's the same area that the TV series Haven is shot, and that production was filming at the same time. The preview at the end of last week's episode showed two things to worry about: another dreaded Double U-Turn; and what's worse, Jet and Dave fighting. Oh no.

They fly into Halifax and then it's a road trip to Mahone Bay and Lunenburg. But it's not smooth sailing for the girls - I guess they don't know how to drive stick. There's some trouble...they pull off to the side of the road, while other drivers' start honking. They were probably shown a few fingers as well, which I am pretty sure didn't mean they needed a manicure. Cheer up, don't you guys know that on a road trip getting there is half the fun? Should have stopped at that Timmies for a couple of double-doubles...I'm sure your Interac Flash budget could handle it.

Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia (see notes)
It was hardly a surprise that Amazing Race Canada had set their eyes on filming in the small community of Mahone Bay. Seems everybody there knew. Production asked the town to recreate their annual Scarecrow Festival on May 20 (this year's real festival is to be held October 4th to 6th). They were asked to make 30 to 40 scarecrows. All of this was for a single Roadblock, which appears to be recreating a scarecrow. The exact location is the gazebo on Main St., right beside The Gazebo Cafe and Grill. It's here that Dave apparently loses his patience with Jet. I guess Jet just can't get his scarecrow looking like the sample or something. The scarecrow Jet picks is dressed like a harem girl. Not exactly scary in a scarecrow kind of way - more like a 'Chucky' kind of scarey. He's probably distracted, trying to think up a few one-liners. Maybe the preview is just making a bigger deal out of this than necessary. I think they just need to fill a drama 'void' now that the docs are gone.

Lunenburg dock - Lobster challenge. (see notes)
The Detour is in Lunenburg. It's either lobster fishing or identifying varieties of sausage. There was a sighting at the Grand Banker Bar, and apparently the teams must retrieve a clue from their chef. My guess is they have to deliver fresh lobster there. In the CTV Gamisodes extra preview, the girls are seen trying to identify different sausages from a stand with a sign that reads 'Wurstelstand'. Before you ask about German sausages in a fishing town, Lunenburg had an influx of German settlers.

Beautiful St. John's Anglican Church, Lunenburg, N.S. (see notes)
Then it's the second Double U-Turn. The board is located a couple of blocks from the docks where the lobster Detour was set up. It's inside St. John's Anglican Church. Wow, what a beautiful church. The preview shows the Tims wondering if they should U-Turn anyone. If they follow the same format as in the original U.S. series, they can't. There, the U'Turn can only be used once per team, and the Tims used theirs back in Regina on Hal and Joanne. BUT, Monty didn't say that when he explained the U-Turn rules back then. So, if they can, they probably will. They said their strategy is to U-Turn anyone they can. So we'll just have to see. It would depend on if they are in the lead, or if they have a target in mind.

The teams were also seen in the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic. They were given a clue - the Canadian dime, and from what I can tell they were supposed to determine it's importance in Lunenburg. Apparently at least one team had to ask someone. Come on! Seriously? I mean really. What I really mean to say is...what the hell were they thinking? Canadian dime. It's right there in between the words 'Canada' and '10 cents'. Ship. It's called the Bluenose. It's supposed to be a Canadian icon. Like beavers, maple syrup and those guys wearing bright red coats that made them make their beds back in Regina. The Bluenose II is in Lunenburg. Geez. Last week's preview showed Jet and Dave in the museum. You know, I bet if they looked around, there just might be another over your shoulder, Jet.  I would put money on the locales getting a good laugh watching this episode. Even I anticipated a Bluenose connection as soon as the teams were spotted in Lunenburg. So I kept my eye on the lovely webcam positioned on the Bluenose II. Unfortunately, we won't be seeing the ship in it's full glory. It was covered and in dry dock for work being done on the hull. Shame really. Sure enough, the production vans showed up, set up the mat, and Monty and the local greeter got in position to welcome the teams.
The Bluenose II (see notes)

Three male teams showed up, and then the girls.

Of course, I can't say for sure if they are eliminated. But they were at the mat a long time.  So, let's look at a few facts:

There are 4 teams left, and after Nova Scotia, only 2 episodes remain: St. John's, Newfoundland and the finale in Toronto. Three teams race to the finale, so only one more team will be eliminated over these last 3 episodes. This could be a non-elimination, but that would be 3 non-elimination legs in a season consisting of only 10 episodes. That is unlikely. Or, Nova Scotia could the the first part of a double leg...where the teams "keep racing" on to Newfoundland.

  • Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. From Wikimedia Commons. Photo uploaded by user SimonP. (altered/cropped by myself for use here)
  • Dock in Lunenberg, in front of the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic. From Wikimedia Commons. Photo uploaded by user Dlanglois
  • St. John's Anglican Church. from Wikimedia Commons. Photo uploaded by user Dr Wilson.,_Lunenburg.JPG
  • Bluenose II. From Wikimedia Commons. Photo uploaded by user Raphodon.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The Amazing Race Canada RECAP of Episode 7 'We Don't Have Time to Go to the Bathroom'

The teams leave Quebec City and head to Iqaluit, Nunavut. Here are their starting times:

Jet and Dave 3:05 a.m.
Holly and Brett 3:38 a.m.
Jody and Cory 3:38 a.m.
Vanessa and Celina 3:44 a.m.
Tim and Tim 4:15 a.m.

As they leave, Jody and Cory say their goal is to get ahead of Holly and Brett and hopefully never see them again. What a giveaway! We pretty much know where this episode is going. Of course, when the start times are so early in the morning, you just know that everyone is going to catch up with the leaders. When the Tims show up at the airport, Jet and Dave explain how they can't get rid of the Tims..."They're like zombies".

They have to catch connecting flights through Montreal and then Ottawa. They arrive at the airport in Iqaluit and I immediately realize that the airport here makes the one we have in Windsor look like something out of Casablanca - you know, with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman? We'll always have Paris? No? Nothing? Well, what I mean to say is it looks like hell. Shame, shame on Windsor.  Don't expect Amazing Race Canada to come here anytime soon.

The Route Marker is a clue in Inuktitut. They have to ask people to translate. It simply says 'Sylvia Grinnell Park'. Everyone catches taxis. The first cabbie that the Tims hail needs to go to the bathroom first, but Tim Sr. says "We don't have time to go to the bathroom". Well now the title isn't so funny. Would have been much better if Celina said this to Vanessa while they were miles from nowhere with no Timmies in sight. The docs are the last to catch a cab. At the park, the next clue tells them to search for the Throat Singers. Monty tells us that Throat Singing is a custom developed by the Inuit women...when the men are away. Somewhere right now, someone is probably writing some obvious snappy one-liners about that one. Maybe something like, "so that's what they call it". But I am going to take the high road on that and leave it be. There are two women out in the snow, facing each other and doing this throat singing. Kind of a surreal moment out there on the snow. It was very cool. They give the teams the next clue which directs them to a Detour.

The Detour is a choice between 'Harpoon Hunter' or 'Igloo Builder'. Harpoon Hunter consists of one team member pulling a sled with their teammate inside, 1 km to a target where they must each throw a harpoon. Then the other team member has to pull the sled back. Igloo Builder is pretty self explanatory. They have to cut out ice blocks and build an igloo. Neither task is easy. Jody & Corey, Vanessa & Celina and the Tims choose the sled/harpoon. Lots of complaining from Celina but you can't fault her for this. Even Cory was having a hard time pulling Jody. Jet & Dave and the docs decide to give the igloo building a try. Of course the igloo building sounded easier. Jet and Dave figure out that they chose the wrong task and switch to the sled and harpoon - but this puts them behind. And the docs? Well, Holly wants to switch after one of the blocks falls on her. This is where the whining starts and doesn't end until the end of the leg. Brett is one stubborn ass though. He wants to finish the damn igloo. He says, "if it's the end of us, it's the end of us" I am thinking, "finally". More whining from Holly and more "Hol, Hol, Hol" from Brett. Then he caves in to Holly's wishes and they go to do the sled and harpoon. But their fate is pretty much sealed by this point. Thank God. One thing is for sure though, the judge on that igloo challenge must have had a good laugh over these guys trying to build an igloo. If their lives depended on it, they would either freeze to death or hope for a light saber and a spare Tauntaun or two.

The next clue tells them to take snowmobiles out onto Frobisher Bay and go to the Hudson's Bay Trading Post. There is an icy walk down onto the Bay. Vanessa and Celina come across some skeletal remains...a couple of spinal columns here, a couple there. They wonder what kind of creature did this. Well, I am pretty sure those were the remains of a Tauntaun, so it was either Han or a Wampa that did that. You guys better get the hell out of there. The Roadblock is a food challenge. One team member must eat 10 small pieces of maktaaq (or muktuk) - the frozen outer layer of skin and blubber from a whale. Very, very oily. But at least they have water to wash it down. Probably not a good idea in the long run. I would really like to know how many of them got killer cases of heartburn afterwards. Jody, Celina, Tim Sr, Jet and Brett took this one for their teams. Blubber is supposed to be rich in vitamen D, and give you a lot of energy. I think they are going to need it. Everyone managed to get it down. Celina took a long time and almost tossed it a couple of times. Her gag reflex was getting the better of her.

Before the Roadblock, the Tims had to complete a very easy Speed Bump. It was taking a dog sled and retrieving a food packet. This simply came down to being a time penalty as no skill was involved whatsoever. They didn't even have to drive the dogs themselves. But it looked like a hell of a lot of fun.

On to the Pitstop. They must walk 1 km northwest through the snow to find Jon and the Inuit greeter on top of a rocky hill outlook. It was not an easy hike - most of it was on an slope. Here's how they finished:

Jody and Cory in first place. They led from the start. There was no competition...they barely saw the other teams. They win 2 tickets to the Caribbean. Bet that sounded incredible out there in the middle of the frozen wilderness.
Tim and Tim in second place. WHAT? Even Monty is astounded. If there was no Speed Bump, would they have won the leg? Maybe. If not, they would have given Jody and Cory a damn good run for the money. Tim Sr. says he left half of himself back on the climb, it was that difficult.
Jet and Dave in third. Lesson learned. I still don't know why they went for the igloo building over the sled and harpoon. They overtake the girls on the climb to the Pitstop.
Vanessa and Celina in fourth. Celina carried her sister the whole episode. She ate the maktaaq. And even after all that she had to encourage Vanessa all the way to the Pitstop, stopping every once and a while to wait for her to catch up. Celina said it best herself - Vanessa is only 21 and should have made that climb easily. How bad was it? Well, Jet and Dave easily passed them from at least a half km back. Celina, my best advice is to make Vanessa eat the blubber next time. I think she needs the energy boost.
Holly and Brett in fifth...and out. Thank God. Merci beaucoup. They studied the Amazing Race 'rulebook', practiced various challenges, but in the end it was their strategy that did them in. Picking what they perceived as mental challenges over physical challenges just didn't work. They underestimated their physical abilities and learned nothing from their previous experiences in Calgary or Regina. Truth be told, I think they knew they were finished back in Quebec City. They just gave up in Iqaluit. Bye bye Mr. and Mrs. Bones. See you at the finish line when the winning team does their traditional run-by. I will miss writing stuff like, "Damn it, I'm a doctor, not an igloo builder".

Check out my homepage on Friday for a preview of Episode 8 in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Lobsters, scarecrows and the Bluenose II. Another U-Turn. Oh, no. And what's this crap about Dave getting mad at Jet? Say it ain't so guys.

Monday, 26 August 2013

The Amazing Race Canada: Pre-Finale Speculation, Teams, Legs and Spoiler Recap

This post contains spoilers. If you don't want to know, then just turn around now and leave the way you came!

With just 4 episodes left in the season, I thought it would be nice to do a little review of the remaining teams and a summary of the spoilers for each leg. When I first decided to cover The Amazing Race Canada, I never even considered putting out spoilers. But I got sucked into it all when the teams were first spotted at Niagara Falls. I wondered where they were going and what could they Canada. Then I thought, who are these people that were putting themselves out there, along with all their idiosyncrasies, practically signing their lives away, just to be on national TV?

This show simply cannot be filmed without being seen by the public. It doesn't make much of a difference anymore if it's just in Canada, or if it's an international road trip. There are franchises of it all over the world, and everyone recognizes what they are seeing when they spot two people with backpacks being followed by a cameraman and a sound tech. But, these sightings don't really tell you very much other than the where or sometimes the who. They were quite boring actually. So boring that I thought the show was going to flop badly. A lot of people thought the same. The sightings in Regina were a good example. It just all seemed so lame, yet that episode was one of the best, and the most difficult so far. All of the legs have been great. My only one complaint was the Vancouver leg which I found to be terrible. Sorry Vancouver, but I just don't think the show served your city any justice. Chinatown was nice. But they spent too much time there, when there are so many places they could have featured. Granville Island? Stanley Park? Gastown? Nope. Instead, we were treated to a marine cargo terminal. Not that cargo terminals aren't necessary to the economy, but nobody wants to see it. What a shame. I think everyone in Vancouver should get a petition going and demand a re-do in Season Two.

The Remaining Teams

Like I said, these teams practically signed their lives away on their contract. The show is free to include anything you say or do, and they have an open book when it comes to editing your character any way they want. Yes, it's considered the best in reality TV. There are worse shows out there. But it's still their show, their rules. If they want to portray you as cheaters, they will. Do you think Holly and Brett were the only ones who played dirty - like hiding the maps? The other teams were probably upset they didn't think of it first - if they thought they could get away with it they would. Or Vanessa and Celina cutting in line at the airport? If it was two women at the front of the line, you can bet that Jet and Dave would have asked them if they could cut in. The show is all in the editing. So when I make fun of the girls, or I point out how much I do not like the docs, I am just playing along with their characterization. Seriously, they should think twice before they open their mouths when that camera is rolling. If you're auditioning for the show, yes, you want to come across as one of these 'characters'. After all, this show is cast just like any other TV show. But once you are signed up and the camera is filming you, then don't do or say anything you will regret later.

Holly and Brett - At first I found them charming. They were pediatricians after all, and they've pledged a portion of their cash winnings to the Children's Hospital in Montreal. How noble is that? Now? Not so much. I am very tired of the 'know-it-alls' who really don't know anything. Brett has turned into Mr. One Note. Canada just doesn't need to be reminded every episode that you two are doctors, and as doctors, you just don't have time for all the little things in life, That noble quality is now starting to come across as condescending. I'm sure there will be lots of tears when they're eliminated. Just not from me. I take that back. I will be upset because I won't have anyone to complain about. See you at the finish line Bones, not when you win...when you're cheering on the winning team.

Vanessa and Celina - My thoughts on these two are the exact opposite of the docs. At first I just couldn't stand them, and I made fun of them by saying things like they will need to stop to do their nails. I think it was that horrible team bio on the show homepage with all that stuff about being "mini but mighty". That just screamed annoying. But now they have kind of grown on me. Sure they take advantage of their how pretty they are. Why the hell not? Especially if they are competing against Jet's muscles. Sure all the crying and whining has been way too much, but it's also kind of funny now, and it's really going to come to a head in Iqaluit. I still stand by my suspicion that these two were cast on the show in the traditional sense, but it is what it is. It's a TV show after all. Was there ever really any expectation of these two winning? No, especially not against the alpha male type teams. I will miss them in the last couple of episodes, because seeing Vanessa and Celina getting lost in Toronto would have made for great TV. They will have time to clean up real nice and do their nails in time for the traditional winning team run-by at the finish line. Sorry fanboys, but they are next out after Mr. and Mrs. Bones. It's going to be an alpha male showdown in the finale.

Tim Sr. and Tim Jr. - I like these two. These guys have to be the up and down kings of Amazing Race. They can play a good game when they set their mind to it, or they can totally mess up to the point of being saved TWICE because of non-elimination legs. They keep fighting their way back into the game, especially when the going gets tough. They are not done yet. Despite their patience and determination, they've not had a first place finish in any of the legs. (as of the writing of this post) If they can get their mojo back (as Tim Sr. puts it), they have a fighting chance, but they have to stop getting lost, or second guessing themselves. Perhaps they just haven't peaked yet.

Jody and Cory - My second best favourites. Who the hell doesn't like these two? Jody really won me over at the RCMP boot camp in Regina. They are sure and steady, concentrated and determined. Cory has made a few mistakes, like the charter plane mishap in Yellowknife, but they took it with stride and didn't let it get to them. They seemed a bit too serious at first, what with all that talk of destroying the other teams in their bio. Kind of put me off a bit, but I'm okay now. Plus it looks like they've opened up a bit - in Quebec with Jet and Dave's fake clue. I think they found out they can have a bit of fun along the way. It's not all business, all the time. I really think their eyes are on the prize, and that they have just been biding their time. Their run to the finish line in Carcross showed that Jody can work through that pain, and he can put a good run in when he needs to. I really believe we have not seen them peak yet. Jody will probably strap on his blades somewhere between St. John's and Toronto (he said they are more efficient) and keep them on until the finish line. They are going to treat that final leg more like the 100m and less like a marathon.

Jet and Dave - If the truth be told, I wasn't a fan at first. Yuck. Typical alpha males. Ugg. Me Jet...him Dave. Now? I love these two big lugs. They are definitely the stars of the show. Champignons? Classic. That kind of stuff is a producer's dream come true. They come across as muscle heads, but when it comes down to it, they can reason things in Quebec. Dave figuring out ham, cheese and...spinach. They are a much more confident team now that they have won 3 legs, than that pair we remember from Vancouver. Running around like ding dongs, getting lost and letting the Chinese translation get the better of them. Let's just hope they don't have to do a challenge in Toronto's Chinatown. Nah. Of course, maybe they have peaked already, and the rest of the race will just fall apart for them. All they have to do is concentrate now. Guys...just think of turning over the engines in those Corvette Stingrays. Yeah that's right. Think. Think. Think.

Remaining Legs

Leg 7 Iqaluit, Nunavut - by the look of it, it's going to be brutal. The docs and the girls just won't be able to keep looks like they have simply burnt up everything they have. The sled pull challenge will exhaust them, then they have to do a run up that snow slope to the rocky top of the mountain. It's going to be dramatic. Expect some crying from Holly and Brett. Like I said in my preview for this episode, we will probably see the teams being given a tour of Iqaluit and the surrounding area when this leg is done. This could give the remaining teams a bit of a break and a time to recharge.

Leg 8 Mahone Bay and Lunenburg, Nova Scotia - After the teams were announced by CTV, there was a lot of complaining in the Maritimes about a lack of representation. Rightfully so. I am pretty sure that these next two legs will make up for the oversight, at least partially. Of course there were no teams or legs in New Brunswick or Prince Edward Island. But this won't be the last season of the show, and I am sure these places will be covered eventually. This will be a beautiful leg, even with all the rain they had. There will be a Roadblock in Mahone Bay which appears to be duplicating a scarecrow. This takes place at the Gazebo on Main St. In Lunenburg, there is a Detour involving lobster fishing. This leg has another Double U-Turn, and that board is inside St. John's Anglican Church. There is a Route Marker at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic, and of course, what kind of leg would it be without a stop at the Bluenose II?

Leg 9 St. John's, Newfoundland - If you didn't fall in love with the Maritimes in the Episode 8, then this leg will cap it off. This episode is full of local flavour. The three remaining teams will be busking for money by performing with an ugly stick. Looks like there will be some adorable, gentle giant Newfies pulling carts (I want a Newfie!). And the Pitstop? Cape Spear of course. I believe this episode will be the first part of a 'double leg' and the three remaining teams will be told to keep racing on to the final leg. There will be no eliminations. Only the guys were seen in St. John's.

Leg 10 Toronto, Ontario - Well of course it's Toronto. Kind of disappointing, I know. But I do understand why they did it here. Traffic congestion up the wazoo. Confusion, anxiety, and lots of chances for teams to change positions. Oh the drama! Plus believe it or not, despite all the people, there is a certain amount of anonymity. It's like the old saying - you can't see the forest for the trees. There is always something being filmed here. The teams were originally set to rappel down the side of City Hall. It went through the approval process in City Council. Two things went wrong. First, it was discovered by the press. Second, May 24th just happened to be the day that every reporter in the city was at City Hall trying to cover the Rob Ford crack scandal. It was so bad that a live feed was fixed on the elevator and a Twitter account was started for it. There was no way the producers were going to film there. I don't know which challenge was substituted for it. They go to the Toronto Zoo (they were seen at the new Panda exhibit), the Cadbury factory and the L Tower (which is under construction). They were seen along the Esplanade and at Queen's Quay West. If they follow the format of the original U.S. series, one remaining challenge will be a memory game of the places they visited in the legs. Most teams have learned to take notes along the way for this very reason. Jody & Cory and Jet & Dave were spotted in Toronto.

Which brings us to the finish line. Where could it be? It has to be somewhere secluded. Well, let me tell you where the number one contender is.

Have you really watched the beginning of the show? Not the opening credits. Just before that when they describe the grand prizes. They show the First Class seating/beds on board Air Canada, a Corvette Stingray, then the $250,000 flashes on the screen. Take a good look at the car. What do you see? Yep, that's the Toronto skyline as seen from south of Toronto. There is only one place that could be and that's the Toronto Islands. It's not just CG either. The camera swings around - it's very quick, and you can see the reflection of the cameraman and the parkland behind the car. Those cars had to be at the finish line waiting for the winners - Chevrolet is going to make sure the winners turn that ignition and we can listen to that engine purr.  I can't say for sure this is the finish line, but it fits, and I just can't see them going to the expense of making that shot for some sort of foiler. Could be wrong, I admit it. Do they take the ferry or canoe? I don't know. Who will those winners be? I know who I am rooting for. In truth though, if any of those final three teams I mentioned end up winning, that would be fine with me.

Until then, I will continue to do my weekly recaps on Tuesdays and weekly previews on Fridays, where I will elaborate on the details of the final legs. 

Saturday, 24 August 2013

The Amazing Race Canada Preview of Episode 7 'We Don't Have Time to Go to the Bathroom'...In Iqaluit, Nunavut!!!

Ever wondered what these teams do when they really, really need to go to the bathroom...??? Well, normally I would just look for the nearest Tim Horton's. Yes, Iqaluit has Timmies, but they are self-serve kiosks. And before you go commenting about the weather...this was taped mid May. The high on May 18 was a beautiful -1.1, the low was -13.1. Certainly NOTHING that these teams aren't used to in Ottawa, Montreal, London or Edmonton.

This week the five remaining teams go to Iqaluit, Nunavut. Not a lot of info came out of Nunavut during filming back in May. Sorry. But here is what we do know:

  • The Tims must complete a Speed Bump. No, I don't know what it is but don't worry...they dodge this bullet AGAIN. Safe!
  • The teams have a clue that must be translated from Inuktitut into English.
  • Detour: They must build igloos at Sylvia Grinnel Park. Jet and Dave wonder why they didn't do the other challenge. One preview shows Holly and Brett having a hard time with this. One block tumbles and almost hits Holly in the head. With all the mishaps I'm surprised she didn't get a concussion. There is a LOT of over-reaction, panic and you can bet "Hol, Hol, Hol". And I'm pretty sure we will also hear Bones saying 'damn it, we're doctors, not igloo builders'. Looks like you can add 'playing in the snow' to the list of stuff they have never done, right underneath ice skating, cooking, and pretty much everything. Not that igloo building is a mandatory skill in Canada, but a childhood isn't a childhood unless you've at least built a snow fort. The other part of the Detour could be having to pull a sled - one team member wears snowshoes and pulls their partner sitting in a sled. Looks like they have to do this on a bit of an incline, so it's not going to be an easy task. (there is a chance that this is a separate challenge altogether)
  • The Roadblock is eating a 'local delicacy'. This could be 'maktaaq' - the outer layer of skin and blubber taken from a whale (Beluga or Narwhal). This is raw, usually cut up into small slices and swallowed whole. Not that I would know, I Googled it. The preview shows Celina trying to do this...complete with gagging sounds. If you're like me, and that sound alone can get you gagging like it's contagious disease, then I suggest you mute this part. Come on Celina....just do it!!! It's just like sushi. Except it's a mammal and not fish. And there's...blubber.
  • There is some dog-sledding....and you can expect to see some snowmobiles as well. These could be challenges, but are more likely used to get around...for example, Sylvia Grinnel Park is about 1 km from Iqaluit, and would make for a nice ride by sled or snowmobile.
  • They must also climb a snow-covered mountain. In the previews you can see Holly & Brett and Vanessa & Celina totally exhausted. Holly apologizes to Brett. Celina tells a very whiny Vanessa to 'shut up and come' ( comment). I can see the episode title, 'We Don't Have Time to Go to the Bathroom', being taken from this segment. How funny would it be to have to make an epic climb when you have to pee? Probably not funny in the moment, but just think of the story you could tell your grandkids? I think the finish line is up top (there is a shot of Jon and the local greeter) and one of these two teams will be eliminated. 
  • Which team gets sent home? Well, it looks like the time has finally come to say goodbye to that annoying 'Hol, Hol, Hol.'. Yep, I am pretty much done with the condescending "we're doctors" crap. But I am sure they just got a bad edit and are actually nice people in real life. Right?

You can also expect to see an extended segment promoting Nunavut. For the past 3 weeks, CTV has aired a beautiful commercial showcasing Nunavut as "the one place the teams stopped racing to have a look around', and now features a banner for The Amazing Race Canada.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The Amazing Race Canada RECAP of Episode 6 'Check the Canons'

The five teams left Regina with the following start times:

Jet and Dave 6:15 a.m.
Tim and Tim 7:56 a.m.
Vanessa and Celina 8:26 a.m.
Jody and Cory 8:40 a.m.
Holly and Brett 9:15 a.m.

The clue tells them to make their way to Levis Fort No. 1, just across the river from Quebec City and search the grounds for their next clue. Apparently Dave has been practicing his French...he says "We want to be 'les champignons' at the end of the race." Great. Now I can't get that Queen song out of my head. You know the one I mean...'We Are the Mushrooms'. Wrong Dave. You must have paid about as much attention as I did in school. But at least I have read the labels on many a can of mushrooms. Dave...for future reference, some words are the same in French as in English. They just sound prettier in French. We also get to hear Holly and Brett explain the advantage they will have. They're from Montreal, you know. They speak French. Jet and Dave, have a 2 hour lead and are able to catch the first flight out. They will arrive in Quebec City at 7:43 p.m. The Tims and Vanessa & Celina catch the next flight and will arrive at 10:43 p.m. while Jody and Cory and Holly & Brett will arrive last after midnight. All 3 of these flights connect through Toronto. Holly & Brett and Jody & Cory must have learned one lesson from Hal and Joanne. They manage to re-route their flight through Montreal, to arrive at 8:45 and ahead of the girls and Tims.

Just like I thought, Jet and Dave get to the fort ahead of the others. The Fort itself doesn't open until 10 the next morning...which means the teams will start the next day all even. Thems the breaks. Looks like Jet and Dave will just have to work a bit harder if they want to be mushrooms. With none of the other teams there yet, they must spend the night in one of the fort's rooms. They get bored and decide to set up a false clue - as a joke. They call it team-bonding or something. They try their best to translate "check the canons" and write it in a bin of sand that has a lid. They know Holly and Brett will see right through it, but they think if anyone falls for it, it will be the girls - "they'll be running around (the fort) like ding dongs." Well that's not what happened. It was Jody and Cory who got there next and started looking for a clue. Jody checked the bin of sand and he and Cory took off looking for the canons, fully convinced they found the next Route Marker. Jet and Dave at first played dumb..."Hey where are you guys going?" They started running around too, like ding dongs, but finally fessed up to Jody and Cory that they wrote the clue. It's a good thing Jody and Cory can take a joke well. Some people don't.

The teams are off at 10 a.m. the next morning. The real clues are hidden throughout the grounds of the fort. Jet and Dave find theirs first. The funny thing is that there was a real clue hidden in one of the cannons, and Vanessa & Celina found it. Maybe they actually believed the guys' fake clue and they just got lucky. Maybe production was playing their own joke. This clue tells them to catch the ferry back to Quebec City, ride the funicular up the cliff and search for the statue of Samuel de Champlain in front of the Chateau Frontenac. Beautiful! The Tims are the last team out of the fort. Jet & Dave and Vanessa & Celina get on a ferry - the other 3 teams must wait 30 minutes for the next one.

The clue here is the Detour located back down at Place Royale in the lower town. Sculpt It or Spot it. Sculpt It is carving out blocks of ice with a chisel in either a star, a house or a sailboat shape. There are completed samples and each block has a traced outline. No brain work here. No French words. Spot It involves studying a wall mural then placing French word labels for missing items on a miniature version. There is some running back and forth here.

Jet and Dave pick Sculpt It and do the star. They call for the judge a couple of times but he keeps telling them "a little bit more".
Vanessa and Celina originally try Spot It, but when they see the guys doing the carving, they switch. Looks like they are sticking with the leaders which is probably a good call. About half way through, when the carving gets a bit rough, they wonder why they switched.
Holly and Brett do Spot It. Who didn't see that one coming? Cos they are doctors. And they live in Montreal. Just in case you didn't know. But there were a few words they didn't understand...Poele a bois. If it's any comfort guys, my on-line translator didn't know it either. The running back and forth made this task more physical than they thought. Holly runs funny. It's more of a running shuffle. Odd.
Jody and Cory do Spot It alongside of the Docs. Their French language skills are much better than Jet and Dave's. That's for sure. But they ask for help from a passerby, and get it.
Tim and Tim do Sculpt it. Also a good call. They do the house, make a mistake but work around it.

The clue they receive here sends them to a Road Block at Place de l'Universite-du-Quebec. The clue says, "Who's ready...Batter up!" It's not baseball. It's making crepes. Four of them to be exact, and they must all be served at once. One person from each team has to take orders - in French of course, and there are a variety of fillings that the "customers" will ask for. There is some skill involved here because the judge is a chef. Plating and presentation are a factor. At least they are supposed to be.

Dave - has a very hard time with the translation, particularly over the word for 'spinach'. But he eventually reasons it out. I know...hard to believe. Also, it helps to turn on the crepe pan before you spread the batter. They lose a big lead when other teams start to show up. He's good on his 2nd attempt and they are the first out of there.
Holly - not a cook. Brett reminds us again that they are doctors and used to pressure. Cooking is not their forte. He's starting to remind me of Dr. McCoy. I half expect him to say "Damn it, man, I'm a Doctor. Not a pastry chef! They only cook 3 or 4 times per year. Umm. No excuse Bones. You eat everyday, don't you? So you can cook everyday. Tsk, tsk. I want to smack him for being a bad role model for the kids he treats. But Holly gets it done and they are in second place.
Cory - this guy can cook. His only problem was not serving all four crepes at once. He takes note of Holly's plating and finally clues in. He is done in third place, right behind Holly and Brett.
Vanessa - Oh my Oh my. It's not pretty. She picks the crepes up with her hands and tosses them on the plates. Gently Vanessa, gently. A crepe is a time-honoured work of art. You must treat it with love and tenderness! She is really hung up on 'cerise'. She thinks it's strawberries. If she could just focus on nail polish colours, I bet she'd get it. Instead, she asks Tim Jr. and he tells her! She finishes and they are now in fourth place.
Tim Jr. - Tim...repeat these words after me..."I don't know". That's what you say from now on whenever anyone asks you anything. He gets flustered when Pappy asks him what he's doing. He forgets all the garnishes and the icing sugar. Then he gets it right. They are the last out.

The clue they get here directs them to the Plains of Abraham and a little lacrosse. Each team member must catch a pass, then make a shot and score. The one good thing is the net is empty. Everyone actually does pretty good here, although Holly gets a bit flustered and Brett feels like he has to give her advise again. The clue here sends them to the pitstop. It's on the hilltop at Battlefields Park on Avenue St Denis. Here's how they finished:

Jet and Dave in first place. Oh sorry, I mean they're mushrooms again. Jon points out they now have a hat trick. They have won two round trip tickets on Air Canada to any European destination.
Second place is a tie between Holly & Brett and Jody & Cory. Jody says, "That's the last time we finish at the mat with Brett and Holly." Hmmn, interesting. Noted.
Vanessa and Celina finish in third place. Hey, no tears in this episode. Less whining too. Now just calm down.
Tim and Tim finish last. Jon starts his speech. "I'm sorry to tell you,...<long infuriating pause>...but your wives will have to wait a bit longer to see you." Damn it Monty! You had me going and I KNEW they weren't getting eliminated.

The Tims finish last in a non-elimination leg for the second time. And you know what that means? They have to complete a Speed Bump at some point on the next leg. That next leg is in Iqaluit, Nunavut. I's not going to be easy. Well, I don't think it's going to be easy for any of them.

Check my homepage on the weekend for my preview and spoilers of Episode 7.

Friday, 16 August 2013

The Amazing Race Canada Preview of Episode 6 'Check the Canons'

Quebec City (see note)
Well, Bonjour Quebec! I absolutely adore Quebec and Quebec City, so I have really been looking forward to this episode.

The episode title, 'Check the Canons' is taken from a prank that Jet and Dave pull on the other teams. You can watch the clip from 'Inside the Race' HERE - it's at the very end. Basically, you see Jet and Dave at an overnight stop in Quebec. They are bored. So, to drum up a little excitement, they write out a clue in a box of sand. They try to translate the phrase 'check the canons' into French...'regarde dans les_______'. (I couldn't understand what they said).  They even make some sort of rudimentary map with some stones. Here's their conversation:

"Brett and Holly might not fall for this, but when the girls get here, they'll be running around like ding dongs. In the morning...back to being competitive. No harm done."

I don't know about the 'no harm done' part. Maybe the others don't understand it's just a prank or they take it personally. Or maybe they all get a good laugh. We'll just have to wait and see, but there must be more to the story or they wouldn't have used the phrase for the episode title.

Entrance to Levis Fort No. 1 (see note)
So it looks like the guys get to Quebec City ahead of the other teams. I would guess they built up enough of a lead in Regina to catch an earlier flight, and/or their challenge didn't start until morning. What the clip doesn't tell you is where they are. It's Levis Fort No. 1 National Historic Site, across the St. Lawrence from Quebec City. Military re-enactments are performed here, so there is always a possibility the teams must do a challenge before leaving. The fort was built in 1865, after the American Civil War because those Yanks made us very nervous back then, and we needed a way to defend Quebec City and the Citadelle. Wolfe and the English invaders learned during the Seven Years War that if they could do it, then any old army could sneak up that cliff. But enough of the history lesson. Let's get on with this, shall we?

In the morning the teams set out from the fort, and must make their way to the ferry to get back to Quebec City. Everyone hunts down cabs to the ferry, except Jody and Cory who decide to run to the nearest bus stop. Jody has to put on the metal spring prosthesis because they are best for running. Language is a problem for everyone except Holly and Brett of course, and it looks like at some point, Vanessa and Celina get themselves lost even when someone else is doing the driving. These girls can't catch a break. It might help if they bought a new map that isn't ripped to shreds.

Here are some of the challenges, in no particular order:

Roadblock: One team member must make crepes. There is a multitude of fillings, so I suspect the challenge involves memorizing menu options and duplicating them. Vanessa gets flustered over this and at one point picks up the filled crepes with her hands and plops it down on a plate.  I hope presentation isn't a consideration for the judges.

Place Royale (see notes)
Detour: One part of the Detour involves ice carving in Place Royale in the lower town. From pictures I've seen, the blocks have an outline of a house traced on them, so they probably have to just carve out that shape. The preview shows Vanessa and Celina hacking away at a block of ice, getting flustered and wondering why they switched from the other task. The Tims are there at the same time, which means yes, they probably would have been better off staying with the other challenge.  I believe this other challenge involves lacrosse on the Plains of Abraham. Jet and Dave do this one, and they have fun with it - comparing it to Quidditch and themselves to Harry Potter.

Perhaps another Roadblock or some sort of extra route marker challenge - they must translate phrases printed on cards. Dave is seen sitting at a table at Place de l-Universite-du-Quebec (if that's spelled wrong, then forgive my French, ha ha ha), across from the Le Soleil Newspaper building. He's scribbling out something on paper, looking like a fifth grader who's bent over covering his work during a test. He's not looking happy. This may be a separate challenge that has nothing to do with anything else. Or, based on a few of the words that I can see, they may have to translate a clue directing them to the Detour. Sorry. I may be Canadian, I may love Quebec, but I must admit I failed French miserably. I think I got the words 'window', 'wood stove', 'apron' (or flue), 'monk' and 'racket'. That was with an on-line dictionary.

The preview for this episode makes a big deal about Vanessa and Celina being in trouble this week and perhaps getting eliminated. Don't worry about the girls. Five teams went to Quebec and five teams left Quebec. They are not eliminated. This is either a non-elimination episode or a double leg 'continue racing' week. If it's a non-elimination week, I wouldn't want to be the team in last place and have to face a Speed Bump task on the next leg. Good luck with that. It's Iqaluit, Nunavut.

Photo of Quebec City Wikimedia C. Finot
Photo of Levis Fort No. 1,_L%C3%A9vis_02.jpg Wikimedia B. Gagnon.
Photo of Place Royale Wikimedia C. Finot

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

The Amazing Race Canada Recap of Episode 5 'Death by Lentils'

Challenges are ....well, challenging. That's why they are called challenges. If the teams thought the territories were tough, then they were in for a big surprise in Regina. The six remaining teams departed Whitehorse, Yukon with the following start times:

Jet and Dave 8:47 a.m.
Holly and Brett 8:51 a.m.
Hal and Joanne 9:06 a.m.
Vanessa and Celina 9:20 a.m.
Tim Sr and Tim Jr 9:22 a.m.
Jody and Cory 9:32 a.m.

The first clue told them to proceed to the S.S. Klondike (steam powered paddleboat) and search for their next clue. Jet whispers as if it's a secret, "Caution, U-Turn ahead". Oh, oh. The Routemarker here tells them to fly to Regina, Saskatchewan. Jet & Dave arrive at the boat just ahead of Holly and Brett. The guys decide to call 2 cabs, seizing an opportunity to garner a favour with the Docs. Why not? Maybe they decided to give this karma thing a try and pay it forward. Or they believe in keeping your friends close and your enemies closer.

Ladies and are the leaders.
It seems like getting from Whitehorse to Regina is no easy feat. Any way you look at it, there are going to be at  least two connections. In this case, it's either through Vancouver/Edmonton (arrive the next day in Regina 7:45 a.m.) or Vancouver/Calgary (arrive Regina 8:25 a.m.). The Docs get on the earlier flight, then tip off the guys. The favour is now repaid. Looks like the Docs don't want to carry around that baggage. The flight through Edmonton is now full. The other four teams are on the later flight through Calgary. Long, long trip.  Oh and look...Jet and Dave share a bro-nap on the plane. Reminds me of that scene from Friends when Ross and Joey are nap partners.

When they get to Calgary, Hal and Joanne manage to catch the last seat on a flight to Edmonton which will let them connect to that earlier flight. Smart. Or was it? That target on their back just doubled in size. Hal! Lay low...have you forgotten, there is a potentially game-changing U-Turn on this leg?

Once in Regina, the teams must follow the directions on a Blackberry to Saskcan Pulse Trading. I was wondering when the Blackberry sponsorship and product placement would work it's way in. They even make a big deal of the tap data transfer feature. At Saskcan they must search through huge containers of lentils and find 2 Sgt. Bullmoose toys which each hold one half of the name to the next Road Block location. Sargent Bullmoose? Like one of those tacky little souvenirs you see in highway rest stops? The kind that your kid yells, "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, I want THAT one?" One moose is tagged with 'RCMP' and the other is tagged with 'Heritage Centre'. As if the stuffed moose in an R.C.M.P. uniform wasn't enough of a clue on it's own. By the way, these containers are the kind that are loaded onto trucks for shipment...they're massive. That's a lot of lentils. It's only one team per in all those lentils there are only two moose clues. This isn't going to be easy. The first three teams from the first flight get to work. The weather gets hot...35 C. Real hot. Jet and Dave find both halves and head off to the Roadblock - leaving Hal & Joanne and Holly & Brett searching for their first clue. The other three teams show up. The Tims and the girls find their clues and are out of there. Holly hits her head on the container crossbar and has her emotional breakdown. She probably couldn't take Brett's pep talks anymore. Or his "Hol, Hol, Hol". Listen...I am about to have my own breakdown if I have to hear any more of that crap. After 2 1/2 hours, Holly and Brett decide to forfeit the lentils, incurring a 2 hour penalty. Hal and Joanne do the same.

Meanwhile, Jet and Dave make it to the RCMP Heritage Centre/Training Camp - "Depot" Division. Jet explains that he is salivating because it's what he does for a living. Policing that is,...not salivating. He's with the London Police Force. Ha! Ha, ha, ha. The clue reads, "Who's ready for bed?". One team member must set up a cadet's room, known as a 'pit', to the standards of the RCMP. They get to use the room next door as reference. A Sargent Major will do the inspection, but the judge for this task is the Assistant Commissioner, Roger Brown. And, FYI, this is no actor...he's the real deal. He is the Commanding Officer of the RCMP Academy, “Depot” Division. Since this show was taped, he became the 29th Commanding Officer of the RCMP in New Brunswick. And...No, I don't think the show had anything to do with it. 

Like I thought, Jet is maybe taking this task a little to lightly. He calls for inspection, "Ready for inspection, Sir". The problem is, he sounds like he's not taking this very seriously. Not good. Way, way not good. Commissioner Brown is NOT impressed. Nor is he impressed that Jet belongs to the London Police Force. He tells Jet that the London Police must not have the same standards as the RCMP. Ouch. Something tells me Jet is in for it from his cop buddies when he gets back home. Or maybe there is no love lost between municipal police and the RCMP. Celina and Tim Sr. show up after Jet has been there for 2 hours. When Celina calls for her inspection, she is admonished when she turns her head to watch the Sargent Major doing the inspection. True to form, she starts to cry. These girls can cry at the drop of a hat, I swear!!! I mean really, what the frig was she crying about this time? Brown chews her out, "In the Mounted Police, there is no crying". This guy is priceless. Jet's been there 2 1/2 hours. Brown is not going to let him go easy. The Docs and Hal & Joanne show up. After Brett and Joanne head off to do the challenge, Holly and Hal explain to Dave, Tim Jr and Vanessa that they never found the previous clue and have a time penalty. Wrong. Soooo wrong. Dave, Tim Jr. and Vanessa are fighting back their joy over hearing this news. Big mistake on Hal's part too. Hal should NEVER have let Holly know he and Joanne had a two hour penalty as well. It gave them something to continue racing for. Jody and Cory finally get the clue at the lentils. They ain't going to give up.

Jet finally gets the approval of Commissioner Brown, and gets the next clue. From here, the teams must go to City Hall and and the I 'heart' Regina sign, to learn a few dance steps from a troupe of Ukrainian dancers. Easy enough. The clue here leads the teams to Mosaic Stadium, the home of the Regina Roughriders. And a shitload of trouble. But I'll get to that later. Jody and Cory show up at the RCMP, and as expected, Jody chooses to do the challenge. Joanne and Brett get their pits approved. Hal explains they MUST U-Turn the Docs. Tim gets his pit approved. Celina is approved, then tells Vanessa "It's the hardest thing I've ever done in my life". Oh dear God. Yeah I know how she feels. I remember having to clean up my daughter's room when she was three. Now that was hell, I tell you.

Cory is now waiting alone while his brother does the challenge. Even though Jody hasn't been inspected since the '90s, he completes his pit in 15 minutes. Of course he does. He calls for his inspection. Commissioner Brown asks Jody what his history is...he can easily see this guy has some experience. Brown thanks him for his service. Jody thanks Brown for his service. Classy. I think I am going to cry. Of course Jody's pit is perfect, on the first try.

And now for the big field of trouble. The Detour/Double U-turn mess. The Detour is a choice between 'Beauty' or 'Brawn'. In Beauty, the teams must learn a choreographed cheer leading routine made up of dance moves, cartwheels and lifts. In Brawn, they must do a series of football drills (speed, agility and strength); catch a pass; then kick a field goal. If they fail on any part, they must run a lap before starting all over again. When they are finished, they are directed up to the luxury boxes where the U-Turn board is hidden. Here's how it played out:

Jet and Dave - Brawn. They complete the Detour on their 2nd attempt. They choose not to U-Turn anyone. No point. They only want to get to the mat first. No one else has even showed up at the stadium yet. Well played.
Tim and Tim - Brawn. They too get it done on their 2nd attempt. They U-Turn Hal and Joanne, because they say, "It's strategically smart". Debatable. One thing is obvious...since the Tims know Hal and Joanne have a 2 hour penalty and are not a threat in this leg, their intention is clear...they want BodyBreak out of the game.
Hal and Joanne - Brawn. They take 6 attempts. They beat the Docs up to the board, see their pic and U-Turn Holly and Brett. They go back to do the Beauty challenge. They are totally exhausted and don't do well.
Holly and Brett - Beauty. They take 6 attempts. Holly has another episode over getting U-Turned and being exhausted. They go back to do the Brawn. Holly catches the pass and Brett kicks the field goal. Go figure. They finish before Hal and Joanne.
Vanessa and Celina - Beauty. It takes them 3 attempts. I think they were just having fun and not too concerned about being U-Turned. They also knew that two other teams had 2 hour penalties. So there was no rush.
Jody and Cory - Brawn. First attempt.

The pit stop is on Pine Island at Wascana Park. Here's how they finished:

1st: Jet and Dave. They win two return tickets anywhere in Canada. They totally dominated this leg of the race. But with great victory, comes great responsibility. They are now the proud owners of great big targets.
2nd: Tim and Tim. Hmmn. Looks like they got their mojo back and are ready to fight.
3rd: Vanessa and Celina. They pretty much flew under the radar this episode. This kept other teams off their backs and they avoided being U-Turned. They are consistent though...consistently in the middle of the pack. But...that pack is dwindling. Please. Enough with the whine and cry! 
4th: Jody and Cory. Slow and steady can win this game. They have the strength and endurance, but their game also depends on luck. And their luck has been bad lately. Maybe they just haven't found their groove yet.
5th: Holly and Brett. They arrived third, and ahead of Hal and Joanne, but that 2 hour penalty put them 5th. Their biggest mistake so far has been under-estimating their physical strength and relying on mental challenges. But...this leg exhausted them, and their future in this game depends on whether or not they can recharge.
6th: Hal and Joanne. They actually arrived fourth, just behind the Docs. But their fate was sealed. Eliminated.

Check back on Friday for my Preview + Spoilers for Episode 6. Five teams go into Quebec City...but how many teams leave? 

Friday, 9 August 2013

The Amazing Race Canada Preview of Episode 5 'Death by Lentils' + Spoilers

Six teams now remain. Will there be another elimination this week, and if so, who will it be? Continue reading to find out.

The teams fly from Whitehorse, Yukon to Regina, Saskatchewan. Quite a long trip, with 2 connecting flights. Once in Regina, they will be in for a very tough leg. They must make their way to Saskcan, a grain plant just outside of Regina. Teams must dig through bins of lentils to find a Route Marker clue. Sounds easy enough, right? Holly has a meltdown after banging her head on the bin's crossbar. Something about her not being able to take this shit anymore. Well, it was some sort of psychological episode - I don't know about that kind of stuff. You would have to ask a doctor. Oh wait. Ask Holly and Brett! Did you know they are doctors?

Jet: "Ready for my inspection, sir!"
The clue they find here gets them runnin' back to...Regina. Sorry Saskatoon. It directs them to a Roadblock at the R.C.M.P. Heritage Centre. One person from each team must attend an R.C.M.P. Boot Camp. The inspector puts them through their paces. He's a formidable looking man, dressed to perfection in that incredible red uniform and carrying a horse whip. They must dress in cadet uniforms, and are then given inspections. There is a quick shot of their lockers getting rifled through...clothes and belongings getting the heave-ho. Jet seems to take it in stride - probably because he is a cop, and he's been there, done that. It should be easy for him, as long as he keeps it together and doesn't have too much fun with it. Besides, how can anyone intimidate a guy with muscles like that? I mean really. Hopefully Jody will do this one....he would have the discipline for it that's for sure. Brett will probably do this one, but I can see him trying to pawn it off again on Holly. I expect to see Joanne doing this, just because it's her turn for a Road Block. Tim Sr. seems a bit put off when he gets chewed out. Celina is reduced to tears or at least reduced to wet eye. Why? Maybe she broke a nail or didn't have hospital corners on her bedsheets or something, who knows. The inspector tells Celina, "In the Mounted Police, we don't cry". Ouch.

There's a Detour at the Saskatchewan Roughriders' Mosaic Stadium. It's a choice between learning a cheerleading
routine OR a series of football training exercises: kicking a field goal; tire obstacles; blah, blah blah.  Hmmn, that's easy, right? Ah...nope. It's going to be a son of a bitch. Jody and Cory do very well at the football portion. That's pretty much a given if you've ever seen their audition video. You can bet on Vanessa and Celina getting overly excited about the cheerleading, just because it sounds easier. It won't be. Jet and Dave could probably do either task, seeing as how Dave is a champion cheerleader. Hal & Joanne and the Tims also do football. As for Holly and Brett, there is no getting around their strategy of picking mental challenges before physical ones here - so they pick football. I suspect some teams will whine, some will cry, and there will be a lot of "Holl...Holl...Holl" and "Go, go, go" from Brett.
Double U-Turn: It's how you spell 'revenge'

Another thing to expect here is a 'Double U-Turn'. What, you ask, is that? Well a U-Turn occurs after teams finish one portion of a Detour. The first team to finish their Detour task is given an opportunity to force one of the other teams to go back and complete the other task in the Detour. If they don't U-Turn another team, it can be offered to the next team, and so on. 'Double" simply means that there are two U-Turns being offered. If a team is U-Turned, their picture is displayed on the board, along with a picture of the team that screwed them over. So basically, you have to really hate another team, consider them a huge threat, or feel like you may be eliminated. Unless it's a Double Secret U-Turn (not to be confused with a double secret probation like in Animal House). The secrecy part of it means you can just screw over any team you want. The U-Turn Board is located in the upper level of the stadium.

I think it's safe to say that at least one team will get U-Turned here, if not two. There has been enough resentment and dirty tricks for several of the teams to have big targets on their backs. It will be a test to see just how polite Canadians really are - will any of them say they're sorry? There was a nice shot in the preview at the end of last week's episode of Hal & Joanne trying to beat Holly & Brett up to the U-Turn board. Looks like it's going to get a bit dirty.

There is another task in front of Regina City Hall involving Ukrainian dancers. Probably another Roadblock with teams having to learn a few dance moves.

The Pit Stop for this leg is at Wascana Lake in the middle of Regina. There better be a frigging Mountie standing next to Jon on that mat. How Canadian would that be? If for no other reason than me being able to call them 'Monty and the Mountie'. And one thing is for sure, Monty needs to have that pitcher of beer, these teams are going to need it at the end of this leg.

As for the eliminated team, ...are you ready for this? You may want to sit down.

Yep, I am afraid that it's the end of the road for fan favs Hal and Joanne. They had a pretty damn good run. I am sure a lot of people are going to be calling it karma for taking advantage of Cory's mistake at the charter sign up in the last episode. Or for daring to say unkind things about Vanessa and Celina's eyelashes. Nope! Despite all those years of BodyBreakin', I'm sad to say the Detour will do them in. They may have even been U-Turned. And you know what their last words to Jon will be, don't you? Keep fit and have fun!

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The Amazing Race Canada Recap of Episode 4 "Grab a Nug"

Gee, was I right or what?

The teams set off from Horse Thief Canyon in Alberta
Hal and Joanne 2:10 a.m.
Darren and Kristen 2:38 a.m.
Jet and Dave 3:23 a.m.
Vanessa and Celina 3:50 a.m.
Holly and Brett 4:30 a.m.
Jody and Cory (their start time is not shown)
Tim and Tim 4:37 a.m.

They must make their way to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. The first flight out is not until 6 a.m. which allows all the teams to catch up with first place team Hal and Joanne, even though 2 1/2 hours separated them at the start. For some ridiculous reason, Vanessa and Celina  get it in their heads they have to cut to the front of the line. Perhaps they don't understand what an Express Pass is. Why? What I mean is...WHY? What did it gain them to do this? Not a thing. Sure, you can argue it's part of the race. BUT the girls didn't just cut in front of other teams. I guess they didn't consider the other dozen or so regular people who had to get up in the wee hours of the morning to catch their flight. Bad, bad form. Sure they asked the first people in line if they could sneak in. Doesn't matter. What about the others? Must have been the presence of the camera.

In Yellowknife, they must make their way to the Bush Pilots' Monument. The Route Marker here instructs them to go to the Government dock on Great Slave Lake. Everyone gets lost...they go north instead of south. How this is possible is beyond me. It's as if they were all looking at their maps upside down. From there, they must make their way 1/2 km along a path on the ice to the Roadblock, "Who wants to do a whole lot of shaking?" It's a Polar Bear Dip into a whole cut into the ice. And, there are a whole lot of rowdy onlookers sitting around the hole to cheer the dippers on.  They must jump in and get the clue at the other end, about 10 feet away.

Holly - Brett insists that she does this. Wrong,'s your turn. Holly did the line dancing in Calgary. He says to her, "You knew this was coming, Holl, you knew this was coming." So I am kind of thinking they pre-planned certain challenges, and maybe practised. Whatever. Well, at least he says she looks hot in her one piece swimsuit. Holly jumps in and swims to the other end to get the next clue.
Cory - he jumps in right to the other end, then he's out in record time. Forget something Cory? Like the clue? He has to do it again.
Hal - Jumps in, gets the clue, no problem.
Dave - does it easily
Tim Jr - Tim Sr tells him to push his way front of Dave, who was there first. Maybe Dave shouldn't have dawdled so much. Anyway, the rowdies start booing. Where were these people back at the Calgary airport to boo Vanessa and Celina. Tim backs off and lets Dave have his turn.
Celina - goes for a swim with only a bit of hesitation.
Darren - he volunteered instead of Kristen, even though it was her turn for a Roadblock.

They must make their way back to the airport where they have to sign up for one of three chartered flights to Carcross in the Yukon. The flights are 20 minutes apart. The sign up board is right beside the tall red and yellow race flag in front of the hangar. Kind of easy to spot. The Docs and Jet & Dave are on the first flight. Jet says "Are we working with Brett and Holly now?" Dave answers with a thumbs down. The Tims sign in for the second flight. When Jody and Cory get there, Cory signs in for the third flight, not seeing the second space for the 2nd flight. Hal and Joanne run inside the Hangar to ask Cory and Jody where the board is. Cory directs them to it. Hal and Joanne sign in on that empty space for flight 2. Would have done the same thing. This leads to the awkward moment for Episode 4. Cory asks Hal if they can make it right, pointing out the fact that Hal and Joanne would have run around the hangar looking for the board had he not helped them. (don't know about that, it was right outside the door). All Hal can say is "it's part of the game". Joanne lets us know that "If it was me, I wouldn't expect another team to correct my mistake". It is interesting that there is an erased blur mark under Jody and Cory's name on the board. Obviously, Hal and Joanne signed in under the guys, saw the mistake, and signed in for flight 2 correctly. So if they could see the mistake, then why not Jody and Cory? A lot of the teams are making dumb mistakes. Vanessa & Celina run past the board and go into the office. Everyone just needs to friggin calm down. The girls and Darren & Kristen are on the 3rd flight with Jody & Cory. The guys realize their predicament...these other 2 teams have Express Passes.

Carcross is one of the sites of the Yukon Gold Rush in 1896. They must make their way to the next Route Marker - at an historical steam engine named The Duchess. This task is a Detour: "Yukon Supply Run" OR "Klondike Gold Rush". The Yukon Supply Run consists of making a raft out out oil drums, wood and rope. They must then load it with crates and paddle out on Lake Bennett to retrieve their clue, go back to shore and unload the supplies. "Klondike Gold Rush" involves 3 tasks: cross saw a large log; hit a target on a log with a hatchet; and retrieve 5 gold nuggets from an obstacle course - but with a catch. One team member must sit in a wheelbarrow while their partner, blindfolded, must shout out directions.

Holly and Brett - do the raft. They explain, once again, that they intend to do "mental" challenges rather than physical ones. Yeah, that strategy almost got them eliminated in Drumheller. One word....bones. Brett always seems to do these challenges a bit awkward. This time he decides to lay down to paddle. It looked kind of painful along with all the awkward. I don't think these guys get out much. Well, they are doctors.  Did they mention that? I forget.

Jet and Dave decide to do the 3 event Gold Rush thing. They let us know that they grab nugs all the time, so this
The Nug Grab. Probably not real gold. Just FYI.
challenge is perfect for them. No comment. Oh and one more thing. Jet lets us know he is some kind of body-building model, and we get shots of him all tanned and oiled up in a wee little Speedo. I am not sure how this ties into the nug grab, but,...oh wait. Forget it. They breeze through the challenges, with a touch of comedy of course.

Meanwhile....the Tims must pay the piper for their last place in the previous leg with a Speed Bump. They have to memorize and recite the first 4 verses (or the first 2 stanzas, as I said) of Robert W. Service's The Shooting of Dan McGrew. You know that poem..."A bunch of the boys were whooping it up at the Malamute Saloon...?".Yeah that poem. There are 3 characters sitting at a table drinking: Robert Service, and whom I presume are Dan McGrew and The Stranger from the poem. But no Lou. Seems to be a pretty easy task. They get it after 3 tries. But I think they should have made it a little harder. Maybe Dan McGrew and the Stranger could have fired their guns every once in a while. Just didn't look like anyone was "whooping it up".

Hal & Joanne and the Tims, now caught up, do the Gold Rush portion of the Detour. The last 3 teams arrive. Vanessa and Celina decide its Express Pass time. Smart move, but now they have nothing to fall back on. Jody and Cory do the Gold Rush task too, but then there's Darren and Kristen. They get it in their heads to do the raft challenge and not use the Express Pass, seemingly for the sole reason that paddling is what they do. That would have been fine IF you didn't give that damn second pass to Vanessa and Celina. So it's basically going to be a race to see who can finish their tasks first - Jody & Cory or Darren & Kristen.

They have to take ATVs and drive out into the Carcross Desert (aka sand dune), then take a rather long run to the mat. Jon is waiting there with a woman dressed as a saloon dancer. Wait, there she that supposed to be Lou? Here's the finish:

Jet and Dave - 1st. They win an all expense trip to Cancun, Mexico.
Holly and Brett - 2nd. They didn't even have to cheat this time.
Hal and Joanne - 3rd.
Vanessa and Celina - 4th. They drop their backpacks before the last dune. Jon can't check them in without the backpacks and makes the girls go back and retrieve them. But, here comes their rivals, the Tims. Somehow the girls get the backpacks and beat the Tims to the mat.
Tim and Tim - 5th. They hug the girls. Have they stopped the bickering? Probably not. Maybe the Tims were just happy to learn that the girls used that Express Pass.
Jody and Cory - 6th. Jody has a very hard time running in the sand, but once again he hangs in there.
Darren and Kristen - 7th. Eliminated. I just don't understand why they didn't use that pass. Almost as if they just gave up. They walk away...Kristen says, "Let's just stay here", and Darren answers, "Just find some hippies with a campground"

***Look on my home page on Friday, for a preview, with spoilers, of Episode 5 in Regina. There will be another unexpected elimination next week.***


Friday, 2 August 2013

Amazing Race Canada Preview and Spoilers for Episode 4 'Grab a Nug'

This looks like its going to be another good episode, with a lot going on. Hold on to your seats - I think we're in for a bumpy ride! There are spoilers here, including who gets eliminated. You have been warned.

The teams will fly from Calgary to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Remember the finish order from the last leg:

Hal and Joanne
Darren and Kristen
Jet and Dave
Vanessa and Celina
Jody and Cory
Holly and Brett
Tim Sr and Tim Jr

Well, apparently Vanessa and Celina must have decided to step up their dirty game, or they think an Express Pass is for priority seating. At the airport, they cut right to the front of the line. Not just ahead of the other teams, mind you, but ahead of regular passengers. Jet and Dave are at the back of the line. Now I don't know about you, but if that was me standing in line, I would have raised holy hell. Canadians take a lot of joking about being so polite, but no Canadian would let that one go. Surely at least one of the dozen or so people in line had to speak up. There are three things that get us Cannucks riled up: getting your car dinged by some A-hole; someone having more than 8 items in the express lane at the grocery store; and someone cutting in front of you in a service line. Perhaps it was the cameras that kept them from yelling "Hey what the hell do you think you're friggin' doing???" - maybe they realized it was Amazing Race and didn't want to look bad on camera or something.... I don't know. See, it's things like this that makes me wonder if there wasn't perhaps just a bit of producer-driven manipulation here. Just saying.

The first Roadblock is a polar bear dip into a hole cut through the ice on Great Slave Lake. Keep in mind this was filmed just before mid-May. The air temperature was 7.5 C. Double it and add's about 47 F, for all you Americans out there (you're welcome). God only knows what temperature the water was. No dive suits. It's bathing suits and a life jacket - with a safety line thrown in for good measure. Looks like Celina, Dave, Hal and Tim Jr are doing this challenge. I don't know which members of the Mitics, the Docs or the Hippies do the dip.

Looks like there was at least a Route Marker at the Pilots' Monument, which is located at the top of a hill. It was built to honour the bush pilots of the Canadian North. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know - just like in Ice Pilots NWT. The monument is a fitting stop, because the teams must next fly to Carcross, Yukon via charter plane. There are 3 flights, and the teams had to sign in on a first come first serve basis. Here's the order that can be seen in the Inside the Race preview:

Flight 1: Holly and Brett
            Hal and Joanne

Flight 2: Tim and Tim
            Jet and Dave

Flight 3: Jody and Cory
             (Vanessa and Celina & Darren and Kristen had not yet arrived) looks like Holly and Brett have recovered from the Great Badlands Bone Fiasco and make up a lot of time! Definitely a team to beat. Not to mention the karma for Vanessa and Celina! Looks like they got bumped to the back of the line after all. Apparently Jody and Cory actually got to the hangar before either the Tims or (probably Jet and Dave), but Cory accidentally signed in for the third flight. Poor Cory feels really bad about it, he just signed the first space he saw. The Inside the Race hosts make it seem like this will lead to their undoing. Not at all. They'll be fine. What is interesting, is that there seems to be an almost complete flip in positioning since the start of the leg, so I am wondering if there was a Fast Forward or maybe a Yield.

In the Yukon, they go to Carcross Desert. Although it's called the smallest desert in the world, it's not really a desert - there's too much humidity. Basically, it's a sand dune.

It's here that the Tims must complete their Speed Bump. And it's a doozey. Looks like they must memorize and recite at least a portion of The Shooting of Dan McGrew by Robert W. Service. Well, after all, they are in the Klondike. There are 3 judges, in 1890's period dress who look very formidable. I am thinking one of them is supposed to be Robert Service, and the other two Dangerous Dan McGrew and 'the Stranger'. It's a pretty cool set up. By the far I am loving the judges they are using in the series. Tim Jr. has a hard time with his portion of the poem, and I can't blame him, it's tough. Here is the second stanza he is reciting:

"When out of the night, which was fifty below, and into the din and the glare,
There stumbled a miner fresh from the creeks, dog-dirty, and loaded for bear.
He looked like a man with a foot in the grave and scarcely the strength of a louse,
Yet he tilted a poke of dust on the bar, and he called for drinks for the house.
There was one could place the stranger's face, though we searched ourselves for a clue;
But we drank his health, and the last to drink was Dangerous Dan McGrew."

****Pretty Cool Side Note: Here is a recording from 1923, held by the U.S. Library of Congress, complete with old-timey piano to set the mood: Click here for link

But...don't worry all you Tims fans out there, they persevere and do not get eliminated this week.

Part of the Detour, also in the desert, involves an obstacle course. One team member is blind-folded and must push a wheelbarrow. The other team member sits in the wheelbarrow guiding their partner, and they must collect (gold) nuggets. Here's the description from Jet and Dave, and its from this that the episode title is taken:

"The final event of this Detour is a blind-folded, wheelbarrow, nugget grab. To grab nuggets. We don't have a lot of experience driving wheelbarrows blind-folded. But we do have experience grabbing nuggets. We grab a nug all the time. Nug here...nug there."

Do they know what a nug is? Really? Interesting that they say "the final event of this Detour" - it sounds like one part of the Detour is actually a series of tasks, and this blind-folded wheelbarrow thing is just one of those tasks.

***Spoiler Stuff***

So who gets eliminated this week?
This is going to come as a big surprise, but the eliminated team this week is Darren and Kristen. Hold on to your seats! I don't know what tripped up their game, but I am thinking it must have been something big while in Yellowknife - they would be on the third charter flight to the Yukon with Jody & Cory and Vanessa & Celina. I have to wonder why they didn't use the Express Pass.

Just one more thing. I promised I would divulge where I think the finale's finish line is.

Clue # 1: It's in Toronto (that's pretty much a given) and we have actually seen a glimpse of it in Episodes 2 and 3. We will probably see it again in Episode 4. If you think you know, you can leave a comment below, or use the link, (found to the right) to my Facebook page.