To get everyone up to speed, myself included, here's a quick recap before tonights episode of the eleven new race teams, in no particular order:
Rex Harrington & Bob Hope, the Old Couple
Mickey Henry & Pete Schmatz, the Buds
Laura Takahashi & Jackie Skinner, the Camp Couple
Pierre & Michel Forget, the Twin Packers
Ryan Steele & Rob Goddard, the Bartenders
Jen & Shawn King, the married Hangries (maybe we'll just call them the Kings)
Nicole & Cormac Foster, the mother & son 'Peggers
Sukhi & Jinder Atwal, the brother & sister Entrepreneurs
Alain Chanoine & Audrey Tousignant-Maurice, the East Coast Lovebirds
Natalie Spooner & Meaghan Mikkelson, the Olympians and
Shala Kara & Nabeela Barday, the Bubbly Best Buddies(3B)
. . . and now, on with the show.
Tonight's episode is entitled "What's It Take To Get a Cup Of Tea" and with that we already know at least one task the teams are likely to run into before this leg is done.
Awesome opening as Jon starts off the show from the Canadian Rockies, walking along the newly erected Glacier Skywalk in Jasper National Park. The teams are being transported via Ice Explorer across the Athabasca Glacier to the starting line as we get the quick video intros to the eleven new teams.
Natalie & Meagan get the first intro and show off their gold medals from the Sochi Olympics. They're followed by Mickey & Pete who want to make it clear about their heterosexual male love for each other, and Sukhi & Jinder who have already travelled 29 countries together. Next up we have Pierre & Michel the twin meat packing mogul skiing brothers, and Jen & Shawn the married parents who used to have hair. Laura & Jackie met at a day camp and their friendship became a relationship, and Alain & Audrey the dating couple who like to spar. After them we get Shala & Nabeela who have been friends since they were kids, and Rex & Bob who fell in love at first sight and bought a house 28 days later. Lastly we have Ryan & Rob the late night bartenders, and Nicole & Cormac the young mother and son and fellow Winnipeggers. Love the interplay between the teammates in their videos, especially Nicole & Cormac and Mickey & Pete.
Jon welcomes everyone to the Columbia Icefields as they get off the Ice Explorers and gives them the low down, 12 legs, 15 cities, 40,000 kms. Teams also learn that the first team to the mat for the starting leg gets an express pass for themselves as well as a second express pass to give to another team before the end of the fifth leg. The grand prize this season is a trip for two around the world in business class from Air Canada, two Chevrolet Silverados, gas for life from PetroCanada, and $250,000.00. Not to mention the title of Amazing Race Canada Season Two Winners.
Time for their first clue, which is waiting atop their packs across the lot, near their Chevy Tahoes. Make your way to the Winsport Canada Olympic Park in Calgary and get your next clue outside the Frank King Day Lodge. Teams now get to drive a little over 300 kms through the Rockies on a pretty direct route, or at least it would be if Sukhi & Jinder didn't block the exit from the parking lot. It should be an easy run for the Olympians since you'd think they'd been there before, but the first ones to arrive are Nicole & Cormac who get the next clue; Accelerate to 140 kms down the zipline to your next clue.
Teams now ride an elevator to the top of a 90 meter ski jump then strap in and ride Canada's fastest zipline to the bottom. Easy task, and a lot of fun to do. When they get to the bottom another Olympic medalist will give them their next clue and their gold Scotiabank card to use along the race. Nicole & Cormac are met by Alain & Audrey as they ride the elevator. Ladies first, and the parachutes are a nice touch.
Teams must now make their way to the Calgary airport where they will board one of three flights, one hour apart, for Victoria. Again, fairly easy for those of us who live in the west but Rex has a bit of a fit trying to find the airport. Followed by the usual cuts of teams running blindly about the airport upon arrival.
On the first flight are Meaghan & Natalie, Nicole & Cormac (who is star struck by the Olympians), Rex & Bob, and Alain & Audrey. On the second flight are Ryan & Rob, Laura & Jackie, and Sukhi & Jinder. That leaves the final flight with Mickey & Pete, Shala & Nabeela, Pierre & Michel, and Jen & Shawn.
When teams arrive in Victoria they need to make their way to the Viscount Aero Centre and search a vintage bi-plane for their next clue which is . . . Roadblock; someone has to jump out of a perfectly good plane and take a 12,000 ft tandem skydive. This would be right up Wayne's alley as I can't see any reason to jump out of a perfectly good plane that's not about to crash. When teams are reunited on Willow's Beach the jump master will give them the next clue. It looks like Natalie had a little more than butterflies for breakfast as she starts to gag in the corner of the plane when she realizes what she just signed up for.
Love the Scotiabank ad, Jon should be more careful with his card.
Despite her nausea Natalie is the first to jump and she looks scared to death. Don't think I'd want to be the guy strapped behind her at that point. She's followed by Alain who lands just behind her as she's starting to choke. Meaghan races over to make sure she's all right and Natalie admits she should have made the jump, but Natalie pulls through and their off again. Nicole's fear of heights almost derailed her but once she was out of the plane she loved the ride down, as did Bob.
The second plane has arrived in Victoria and it's another mad dash through the airport to find a good cab. The bane of many racers, but this shouldn't really be a problem in Victoria.
After completing the Roadblock teams must now make their way to the Fairmont Empress Hotel and find their next clue near the arbutus tree on the grounds, which leads to another Roadblock; Afternoon Tea Service.
The teammate who didn't jump needs to slip back through time to serve proper British tea at the Empress Hotel to the Lords and Ladies waiting in the Tea Room to receive their next clue. After getting instructions from the hotel staff, the team member must properly present and perfectly recite the detailed menu for their guests. If they do it right, the Teamaster will give them their next clue.
As the second group gets ready to jump, Cormac is one of the first ones to learn the moves and the menu. The presentation is easy enough but the script, not so much. I'd probably have to do this if Wayne made the jump, but it's a simple memorization task and it's food. I love food. Meaghan had no problem and just raced past Cormac, Rex and Audrey to give the Olympians the lead.
Sukhi screamed all the way to the ground. Not sure if she was enjoying herself or feared for her life.
Meaghan & Natalie get the next clue which has teams travel by boat to the Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt and their Damage Control School to get their next clue. Teams need to suit up as navy recruits to stop a damaged ship from flooding. When teams stop all nine leaks they'll receive their next clue.
Alain was amazed that Meaghan got through the task so quickly, while Cormac was more concerned about the Express Pass. Focus boy, focus. Audrey completes the task as Rex steps out and Cormac steps back in. Bob is starting to loose his chipper disposition. Meanwhile the third flight has arrived and teams from the second flight are showing up at the Empress.
Rex gets it right on his eight attempt and Cormac finally gets the Tea Service on his tenth attempt.
Natalie & Meaghan arrive at CFB Esquimalt only to find there's fire and water everywhere and they haven't a clue what to do to plug the leaks. Alain & Audrey arrive soon after and seem to have figured it out as they start sealing the water leaks but it didn't take the Olympians long to catch on and pull back into the lead.
The third group has now started to arrive at the Empress.
The final clue leads teams to the historic Fort Rodd Hill and find the Fisgard Lighthouse, which is the Pit Stop for the first leg of Season Two. Alain & Audrey are right behind Natalie & Meagan and it looks like it's going to be a foot race to the mat.
Natalie & Meaghan kept their lead and are Team Number 1 and win the pair of Express Passes. They also win two round trip tickets for any South American destination that Air Canada flies to and $2,000 each on their Scotiabank card. Nice sponsors. Alain & Audrey are Team Number 2.
As teams arrive at CFB Esquimalt, everyone seems to have the same problem figuring out what to do but eventually they all figure it out. You'd think the first thought would have been to close the doors but apparently not. Meanwhile, Michel got the Tea Service on his first try.
Rex & Bob are Team Number 3, and Cormac & Nicole are Team Number 4.
The last two teams are still finishing up at the Empress and it's down to either Shawn & Jen or Shala & Nabeela for last place at this point. Until Shala completes the task, leaving Shawn to wrap up, but he's pretty quick and nails it on his third attempt. It's not looking good for the Kings, but there's still another task ahead.
Laura & Jackie are Team Number 5 and Sukhi & Jinder are Team Number 6.
Pierre and Michel manage to splash past Ryan & Rob at the water task while Mickey & Pete are Team Number 7. Which makes Pierre & Michel Team Number 8 and Ryan & Rob Team Number 9.
The Bubbly Best Buddies aren't doing so well in the ice cold water and keep dropping parts they need to seal the leaks, which may be all that Shawn & Jen need to catch up and pass them. The girls decide they can't handle the cold water any longer and decide to take the penalty. Big mistake, but since one of them could no longer feel her legs it was probably necessary.
Unfortunately that's all the Kings needed and Jen & Shawn are Team Number 10, leaving Shala & Nabeela as the last team to arrive and they have been eliminated from the race. As Jon said in our interview, there can be only one winner. So long Shala & Nabeela, chat with you soon.
It's been a great first episode for Season Two and so far all these teams are really likeable. No surprise though, they're all Canadian. We're lovable. Looking forward to the next leg and Wayne and I will be back real soon. Watch for our video review coming up later this week.