Trying to run my reviews from the road takes a lot more planning than I had originally thought. Especially when you have to consider where everyone else wants to go and what everyone else wants to do. Hard enough completing a task with one teammate, but add in two more and the complexity multiplies. Yeah, my review is a little late again but better late than never.
Six teams remain as they start the seventh leg of the race from Winnipeg, the birthplace of both Jon Montgomery and myself, and all teams are now on their way to Normandy, France. As this is a commemorative episode, honouring those who died on foreign soil, I am pretty sure of one thing . . . nobody is being eliminated today, no matter how badly they perform. I'm sure this episode will have more resonance with Wayne because he's an army brat but it's important for everyone to remember the sacrifices that were made and are still being made.
Pierre & Michel are the first to depart at 6:13 am with everyone else right behind them, most closely Alain & Audrey who pick now to chat the brothers up. They're not buying it, after six legs of silent treatment. The times don't really matter though because they'll all be on the same flight to France via Toronto. I mean, seriously, how many Winnipeggers fly to France on a regular basis? At the airport we find that Jinder thinks Spanish will help him get by in France. Good luck with that, even the Dudes know better. Quick exit at the airport and cut right to the roads of France as teams make their way to the region of Normandy.
Having a levelled playing field upon arrival has allowed Natalie & Meaghan to slip back into first place as they arrive at the Bolard Calvados distillery and this leg's Roadblock, where one team member must locate a numbered barrel from the fermenting room and return to the distilling room to dilute a 100% proof Apple Brandy down to its industry standard 40% proof before receiving the next clue. Seems like a no brainer until you add in the density differences and watch the master at work. Miss one little detail and it's back to the mixing board, your spoiled attempt tossed aside. What a waste of perfectly good Brandy, but such was the case for Meaghan's first attempt, just as the Twins arrived.
Pierre is on it and should have a better grasp of the solution since he's the one in charge of wastewater issues at their plant. Pete steps up for the Dudes, and Jinder figures he can handle this without breaking a sweat. Meaghan's second attempt is tossed aside while Pierre studies the example carefully. Love when Michel says "He's gonna get it, he's smart, smarter than me." At least I think it was Michel, I'm as confused as Sukhi and Mickey as to who's who until the editors add the name.
I'm pretty sure either Wayne or I could have done this one on the first or second attempt. We're both pretty sharp, pay attention to detail, and I've made my own whiskey and wines over the years so I'm pretty sure we'd be fine here. Meaghan's fourth attempt gets tossed as Pete works out the numbers, incorrectly and loses his first attempt . . . and second. Alain & Audrey have finally arrived while Ryan & Rob are vacationing in Spain.
Audrey intends to take her time on this because there's a lot of steps to it, while Jinder, whom we discover has a science degree in organic chemistry and micro biology, . . . well, he also failed his first attempt. Pierre's first attempt, patient and slow, was successful and the Twins steal first place from the Olympians. Meaghan was not impressed . . . toss goes the fifth attempt.
The Twins are on their way to the picturesque village (aren't they all?) of Le Molay-Littry where they need to find their next clue in the public square outside the town hall. Meanwhile, Ryan & Rob have finally found the distillery and Jinder has diluted his Brandy correctly on his second attempt. Cue the loud screaming and jumping for joy as Audrey plugs her ears.
Pierre & Michel have found the town hall and it's time for a little Detour; Show It or Tell It. In Show It, teams need to locate a Percheron horse farm and then groom and French braid a selected horse's mane to the breeders satisfaction. In Tell It, teams must travel to the medieval town of Bayeux, the home of the Bayuex Tapestry which tells the story of William the Conqueror, then rearrange the panels of the tapestry into their correct order based on the plaques provided which detail the events. The brothers decide to Show It.
Never work with children or animals when doing a task. Wayne and I would likely have chosen Tell It. I've seen reproductions of the tapestry in art history classes and recreated sections of it so I'm familiar with the work. Wayne's a storyteller and this would be a natural fit for both of us . . . and no horses would be harmed during the completion of this task.
Back at the distillery Meaghan finally figured out her mistake and it's about time. Her sixth attempt is correct and they're off and running. Jinder & Sukhi have arrived at the town hall and also chose Show It and are off to the horse farm where we find Pierre & Michel speaking English to a French horse. Why?
Audrey's patience made her first attempt the winner and she and Alain move on, leaving the Dudes and the Bartenders in their wake. They may even be able to pass Sukhi & Jinder who have gotten themselves lost on the way to the horse farm. They keep switching drivers in an attempt to discover who can read the map better. Apparently neither one. The Olympians choose a Tell It, while Alain & Audrey decide to Show It.
Pete's sixth, seventh and eighth attempt are all wrong for pretty much the same reason as Meaghan's earlier attempts. Ryan figured out the trick on his first attempt and he and Rob move ahead of the Dudes, but then he points out to Pete that the weights are different sizes. I can understand being helpful and all, but when you're down to the final two that's not the best strategy. Pete nails his ninth attempt.
At the tapestry the girls have set up the ones they're sure of and only missed one on their first try, but at least they know which one is wrong. Back at the stables the brothers have realized that French braids are harder than French accents and decide to switch. Just as the girls complain that the tapestry task is hard, they get it on their third attempt and are heading out before the brothers arrive.
The girls are now heading for the beaches of Asnelle, where teams will take part in the local sport of land sailing. They need to complete 10 laps to receive their next clue but with no one else on the track it should be an easy ride. The Dudes and Bartenders hit the town hall at the same time and both choose to Show It. Ryan finally realizes the error in his ways, but it's a little late for that.
Alain & Audrey arrive at the horses and are quickly joined by Sukhi & Jinder, who's worried the horse is going to bite him. Pierre & Michel arrive at the tapestry and still believe they are team number one. They're wrong. Mickey & Pete have picked up their French girlfriend and we learn that Mickey had to take cosmetology in high school. Good thing.
Pierre & Michel complete the tapestry pretty quickly and when one says "We're smart" the other replied with, "The only thing that we're smart was to leave the horses." Damn straight. They're off to the beach. Back at the farm Sukhi just raced through the braiding which put a burn on for Audrey to hurry up and both headed to Asnelle, leaving the Dudes behind. Ryan & Rob returned to their Tour de France.
Natalie & Meaghan are happy to be back in first and racing their land sailers across the beach. Ten easy laps. They're now on their way to the Bėny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery just as Pierre & Michel arrive. The brothers are a little pissed to have dropped back into second, but probably not as much as Ryan & Rob who just found the farm. The brothers make short work of the ten laps. Meanwhile, Alain & Audrey have lost the beach . . . where Mickey & Pete are racing against Sukhi & Jinder.
Time for the tissues as the Olympians arrive at the Bėny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery and reflect amongst the 2,049 headstones marking the final resting place of those who gave their all. Some teams will have a more personal connection, but everyone will cry to some extent. Not just the teams either, as a lot of viewers will also well up with tears. It's an emotional scene and well edited and scored for that purpose.
The next clue has teams deliver a poppy to the soldier waiting by the Remembrance and Renewal statue in front of the Juno Beach Centre. Once delivered he sends them down to the beach where they will meet Jon and his honoured guest, D-Day veteran Jim Parks. Jon's a little choked up as he delivers his welcome and says how special it is to be with a real hero. He's right. Even though many people consider Olympic athletes and sports stars and actors to be their heroes, the real heroes are those who have made the sacrifices to allow others to achieve their goals.
Natalie & Meaghan are Team Number 1 and have also won a flight to any Air Canada European destination and an additional $3,000 on their card. The girls both gave Jim a big hug and thank you for all he did. Pierre & Michel are Team Number 2 and honoured to meet Jim on the beach.
Ryan & Rob are still lost but make the most of it by pseudo-pitching their own travel show "Lost in France with Ryan & Rob". Alain & Audrey have completed their laps before the bartenders get anywhere near. Back at the cemetery the Dudes reflect as they walk amongst the headstones, passing Sukhi & Jinder who have also taken a moment to step out of the race. Mickey & Pete are Team Number 3 and Sukhi & Jinder are Team Number 4.
Ryan & Rob are still wandering about aimlessly. Alain & Audrey are Team Number 5 and Jim gets an encore hug from Audrey. The sun has finally set by the time Ryan & Rob arrive at the mat, only to find that they caught a break as this was a non-elimination leg. Told ya.
Next week teams continue to Paris for music, coffee, and a Mentos masterpiece. Apparently there may even be a few words between the Forget brothers and the lovebirds. I'm looking forward to it. I'm also late for our video review but at least next week things will be back on schedule. See you real soon